Although Jethro never interfaces with Lincoln except via a single letter, Lincoln's presence throughout the text is crucial. Lincoln represents stability and guidance in a time when it seems as if everyone and everything is falling apart. Lincoln stands by his decision to enter the war, although he did not see it as a good option, only the least bad one. The advice Lincoln gives Jethro and the decisions Lincoln makes—particularly in regards to the treatment of deserters and Southerners—exemplifies mercy and demonstrates Lincoln's constant pursuit of what is right.