While in Washington we heard a good story in regard to Uncle Abe and John B. Weller, “the Mexican killer.”
Weller was at Washington settling his accounts as Minster to Mexico. After their adjustment, he concluded to pay his respects to Mr. Lincoln, with whom he had served in congress. He called at the Presidential mansion, and was courteously received.
“Mr. President,” said Colonel Weller, “I have called on you to say that I most heartily endorse the conservative position you have assumed and will stand by you so long as you prosecute the war for the preservation of the Union and the Constitution.”
“Colonel Weller, said the President, “I am heartily glad to hear you say this.”
“Yes, Mr. President,” said Weller, “I desire an appointment to aid in this work.”
“What do you want, Colonel?” asked Abraham.
“I desire to be appointed Commodore in the Navy,” said Weller.
The President replied:
“Colonel, I did not think you had any experience as a sailor.”
“I never had, Mr. President,” said Weller, “but judging from the Brigadier Generals you have appointed in Ohio, the less experience a man has the higher position he attains.”
Lincoln turned off, with a hearty laugh and said – “I owe you one, Colonel.”
– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, February 8, 1862, p. 2