William C Reiff, 'Lincoln's kindness'.

Lincoln's kindness

[William C Reiff, 'Lincoln's kindness', National Tribune 26 December 1895, page 3]
[transcribed from Chronicling America, 9 June 2012]

Lincoln's Kindness.

W. C. Reiff, Eddy, N.M., sends a story of an Irish soldier's visit to Lincoln. He says: "Hugh McLaughlin, a genial and brave Irishman hailing from Boston, after having served a three-months' term in the 69th N.Y., and being also wounded in the First Bull Run battle, later on found his way into my company and regiment. Hugh was several times wounded while with us, which, as a matter of course, compelled his going North to hospitals.

"An acquired desire to spree at time caused Mac, or Hughey, as we called him, to leave the different hospitals and have what he considered a 'good time' of it before going to the front. One day, in 1864, Hugh brought up in Washington City and applied to a certain Army Paymaster whose office was, I understood, opposite the Treasury Department. He asked for his pay, but the Dispenser of Greenbacks said he could not accommodate him on account of his hospital record. Hughey volunteered the information that he would have his pay even if he had to see President Lincoln about it. He turned his back upon the Paymaster's office and started for the White House. Right here I must add by way of explanation that our Hughey was a polite and intelligent man when free from drink, and not at all forward. Just now he was not exactly himself.

"Upon reaching the main entrance of the White House, there was an attempt made by the white-gloved sentry at the door to prevent his entry. Hughey just pushed this guardian of the National Chief aside and stepped into the home of the President, and soon found himself in the presence of that good man and his wife.

"The President was seated at a table, writing. Hughey made his errand known at once with the eloquence of a Burke. The soldiers' best and truest friend listened attentively, and so did his companion. They asked Hughey a good many questions about his long army service and his home. Then the President took up a pen and wrote a few lines to the Paymaster. He instructed Hugh to take the note to him and get his pay. When Hugh got the funds he sent them almost all to his wife and family in Boston."

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