His decision about deserters was most fair and was one of the reasons he became one of the most respected presidents of all time. Lincoln was not concerned with just winning the war, but with repairing the social and emotional damage of it. "War is hell" is an apt description. The loss of life and permanent injury to the men and their families caused many to desert. The lack of a swift and decisive victory caused untold suffering. Starvation and disease, the horror of death up close and personal drove formerly brave men to run. Later they would realize the hopelessness of the situation for both themselves and their families. This offer of amnesty healed much of the hopeless feelings of the men. They could return to active duty with only a modicum of punishment and take on the needed roles for the military. In addition, the pressure was off the families to assist their loved ones and be punished by the government for simply loving the family members who had deserted.