The National Archives added to its collection a short letter written by President Abraham Lincoln to help an ousted U.S. Mint director, who was a friend of a fellow Republican.

In the new letter, Lincoln asked his treasury secretary, Salmon Chase, to allow the fired head of the U.S. Mint in San Francisco, Robert Stevens, to review the charges that led to his removal. Lincoln had appointed Stevens as a favor to Oregon Sen. Edward Baker, the ousted director's father-in-law.

"This letter, while seemingly routine, is an extremely important key to understanding President Lincoln's relationship with Sen. Baker," said James Hastings, director of access programs at the archives. "It shows his interest, even in the midst of the Civil War, in political issues on the West Coast."

The letter is written on yellowed stationary simply marked Executive Mansion, Washington, with a dashed line where the date — Nov. 14, 1863 — was filled in by hand.

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