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Brevetted Major Governor Fenton's Letter

State of New York,

Executive Department,

Albany, 8th May, 1867.

Bvt. Major H. B. Smith.

Dear Sir.--I have the honor to transmit herewith a Brevet

Commission, conferred by the President in recognition of your

faithful and disinterested services in the late war.

In behalf of the State allow me to thank you for the gallantry
/> and devotion which induced this conspicuous mention by the

general government. I feel a lively solicitude in all that

relates to the honor and prosperity of the Soldiers of the

Union Army, and especially those from our own State, who

advanced its renown while defending the cause of our common


Very Respectfully,


I believe there should be no continued ill feeling towards those who

conscientiously bore arms against us. Nor towards their official spies.

Nor towards persons who by reason of blood relationship or former close

affiliations aided them. But towards those, who for personal profit

aided them, and who sought to hamper us in our efforts to preserve the

Union, we cannot cease to have contempt.

It is held that "everything is fair in war." If so, then the deceptions

used in the secret service were fair. But the moral effect on the one

who pursues such service is not pleasant. Such persons become so used to

being impressed with possible dishonesty as to doubt mankind generally.

I had to fight to overcome that tendency. It is a much happier condition

of mind to be freer of suspicion. "No thing is stronger than it is in

its weakest point" is an axiom. Almost every person has a weak point,

which a detective seeks to find.

General Wallace's references to me were made after a period of forty

years, during which time he had met me but twice. It was gratifying,

greatly so, and I am perfectly willing to confess that I had "zeal," but

prefer to let his opinion of my "ability" be passed upon by others.

I hope I have not injured the stories in their telling, but I am very

afraid I have wearied you all.

New York, April, 1911.

Semi-Centennial of the Civil War.