October 24, 1862
A clearly perturbed President Lincoln writes General McCellan: “I have just read your despatch about sore tongued and fatigued [sic] horses. Will you pardon me for asking w hat the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigue anything?”
More sympathetically, President Lincoln writes a reference for his White House valet: “The bearer of this, William Johnson (colored), came with me from Illinois; and is a worthy man, as I believe.” Johnson would continue in Lincoln’s service for more than another year. After accompanying President Lincoln to Gettysburg in November 1863, both Lincoln and Johnson would come down with a form of smallpox. Lincoln would recover. Johnson would not and Lincoln would see to closing Johnson’s financial affairs and his burial in Arlington National Cemetery.