Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Attorney General Edward Bates on August 5, 1861 written from the Executive Mansion in Washington, D.C. Lincoln writes of the appointment of Fletcher M. Haight to the United States District Court for the Southern District of California and Joseph G. Knapp to the Third Judicial District of the Supreme Court of New Mexico Territory.
The American West proved to be a volatile region at the start of the Civil War. The efforts of settlers from the American South to expand their influence during the antebellum period resulted in a preponderance of pro-secession political and social leaders in the states and territories of the Far West. One way the Lincoln administration countered the influence of these pro-South leaders was through the appointment of loyal Union men such as Haight and Knapp.
Haight took his seat in August 1861 and served until his death in February 1866. Knapp served from 1861 until his removal from the bench in August 1864 following a year-long feud with General James H. Carleton, Commander of the Military Department of New Mexico.