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Joe Biden’s paternal great-great grandfather got a pardon from Abraham Lincoln 160 years ago, records reveal

Abraham Lincoln did more than just free the slaves and preserve the Union.

America’s 16th (and perhaps greatest in history) president also pardoned the current president’s paternal great-grandfather, who was sentenced to hard labor in a military prison, newly unearthed documents reveal.

President Biden’s ancestor, Moses Robinette, got into a fistfight with fellow Union Army civilian John Alexander on March 21, 1864, and was placed in the dock, according to records discovered by the Pentagon. revealed. washington post.

Alexander, the brigade’s coachmaster, was covered in blood from a wound from Robinette’s pocketknife, and the president’s ancestor was taken away by the camp guards.

President Biden has a bust and portrait of Abraham Lincoln in the Oval Office. Getty Images

According to documents unearthed at the National Archives in Washington, Robinette, whose name remains the middle name of the 46th president, was hired by the Army to work as a veterinarian sometime in 1862 or 1863. .

The conflict with Alexander appears to have started when Alexander overheard Robinette disrespecting him about a female cook.

Robinette faced a military tribunal in April 1864 on charges including drunkenness, inciting a “dangerous quarrel” and assault with “attempted murder.”

Witnesses differed on whether either had been drinking before the fight, with one describing Robinette as “full of fun, always upbeat and joking.”

“Everything I did was in self-defense and I had no malice toward Mr. Alexander before or since,” Robinette testified for the defense. “He grabbed me and he probably could have seriously injured me if I hadn’t taken steps.”

Abraham Lincoln is generally ranked by historians as the greatest president in American history. Bettman Archive

Robinette was ultimately found guilty on all charges except for “intent to murder.” He was sentenced to two years in prison at hard labor and transported to Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas Islands, Florida.

Three police officers who knew Robinette asked President Lincoln for mercy and sentenced him for “in a fit of excitement of the moment, he slashed with a penknife a defending teamster who was far superior in strength and size.” said it was too strict.

After the clemency petition was approved by West Virginia’s Senator Weightman Willey and the report and court records were sent to the White House, the Great Emancipator made his decision.

“I forgive the unfulfilled portion of the sentence. A. Lincoln. September 1, 1864.”

Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 15, 1865, a few months after pardoning him. Bettman Archive

After Robinette’s release, he returned to his home in Maryland and began farming, but died in 1903, some 40 years before the future president was born.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment.

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