April 25, 1861 — an excerpt from The First Assassin:
[General Winfield] Scott was obviously irritated. Having a good sleep interrupted for any reason made the general grumpy. Having it ruined the way it was just a few hours ago, when a messenger from the White House banged on his door in the middle of the night and delivered an urgent note whose contents seemed to undermine so much of what he had been saying over the last several weeks–that was downright humiliating. And Scott disliked few things more than personal humiliation.
Anybody who knew Scott even a little knew this much about him, and Rook had admired the tactful way in which President Lincoln phrased his note to his top general. There was no attempt to complain or disgrace. It was a simple order, issued delicately:
My dear sir: In the morning, you will be pleased to receive Col. Rook. He will convey information of the utmost importance. Your obedient servant, A. LINCOLN