Abraham Lincoln Pardoned Joe Biden’s Ancestor

(RepublicanNews.org) – President Joe Biden’s great-great-grandfather was convicted of several offenses relating to a “dangerous quarrel,” after a vicious mess room brawl in March 1864, but after being sentenced to just two years hard labor was pardoned by then-President Abraham Lincoln.

Writing in the Washington Post on Presidents’ Day, historian David J. Gerleman used sources from the National Archives to tell the story of Moses J. Robinette, a civil employee in the Union Army, having a violent altercation with his colleague, John J. Alexander. In the course of the fight, Robinette pulled out a pocket knife and cut Alexander. He did not succeed in convincing the court that he acted in self-defense and was found guilty of all his charges but attempted murder.

Before the Civil War Robinette had made a living as a hotelier, but he enlisted as a veterinary surgeon for the Union in either 1862 or 1863. The Maryland native was given a position in the reserve artillery of the Army of the Potomac, resulting in his stay at an army camp in Virginia. It was there that Alexander is said to have overheard Robinette remark about him to a female cook. Alexander confronted Robinette, resulting in a fight breaking out between the two men. The charges levied against Robinette stated that he had been drunk and had been the one to cause the fight.

Following his conviction, Robinette was sent to a military island prison in Fort Jefferson, close to what is now the Florida coast. He argued that he had acted in self-defense against a larger and stronger man, an argument that was also made by several army officers who lobbied for his release. They wrote to West Virginia’s Senator Waitman T. Willey who was won over by their plea and offered his political weight to their efforts. By September 1st, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln had signed Robinette’s pardon, relieving him of the need to serve the remainder of his sentence. After just one month in Florida, he was able to return home to Maryland.

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