The genesis of this moving message is obscure. The note was illustrated on the front page of The Minneapolis Journal for 16 August 1906 under the headline "Prized Mementoes of Lincoln." The story told there is that the President encountered a young soldier named John Quincy Adams while visiting a Union hospital and wrote the note to allow Adams to return home immediately upon his dismissal from the hospital. However, although Lincoln had a very full day on 19 January 1865, his movements did not include a tour of a hospital. He did, however, attend ceremonies of the U.S. Christian Commission in the House of Representatives, and he may have met Adams, or a petitioner on his behalf, at that event. Adding to the mystery, the note is accompanied not only by the newspaper clipping but a clipped entry from what appears to be a mid-twentieth-century auction, dealer, or exhibition catalogue, numbered 117, that describes the card similarly, although without naming the recipient. But the note cannot be traced in either sale records or among Lincoln's writing. Despite its unknown origin and its extreme brevity—indeed, perhaps because of its brevity—this note illuminates the very epitome of Lincoln's character.
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