President Lincoln Receives Political Reports on Kansas and New York

October 25, 1864

Lincoln’s old Illinois friend Mark Delahay writes: “Kansas safe, [Confederate General Sterling] Price retreating South on the Kansas line, Pleasonton, Blunt & others in pursuit; our Malitia returning to their homes; we have been all playing soldier for the last Ten days — last night several Regiments passed through this City going North, Shouting as they passed ” hurrah for Lincoln” I stood at a Corner and waved my hat to them until they passed; Kansas will give you a large vote; I feel proud of Maryland now she is fine; Your election would seem to be nearly a certainty, I thank God for the prospect, if the Delegates to the Chicago or Cin[cinnati] Peace Convention should come together after it is known that you are elected, such meeting will mean violence and treason, against which a timely and strict preperation should be made; if they utter Sedition in any form they should be arrested by strong hands and held in close custody, I hope you will bear this suggestion in mind.”

From New York, businessman George W. Egleston writes President Lincoln: “Enclosed you will please find a Circular entitled “Slavery and the next President”

The design of this document is to show, 1st That Slavery is the cause of the dissensions between the North and the South. 2nd Its extreme wickedness in the eyes of a great Creator 3rd That the Election of any candidate under the Chicago Platform would encourage this evil. 4th That if there is any in these United States who will cast out Slavery from among us it is you Sir who realize its inhumanity and have given your energies from the first for its extinction.

I have thought it was especially important at this time that no individual should be in the dark as to these facts. I have therefore gotton up this Circular at my own expense, and distributed it.

I beleive it Sir, but a just tribute to say that the Country owes you a debt of gratitude for your efforts to abolish Slavery and establish free labor, and I beleive and expect that your fellow-Countrymen will show their appreciation of your efforts on the 8th of November next by again causing your Election.

I submit this Sir to you, and did I know that it meets your approval should feel most happy as I feel happy in paying you this just tribute of my respect and esteem.

President Lincoln writes General John F. Miller: “Suspend execution of Young C. Edmonson, until further order from me.”

Published in: on October 25, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Supporter Push Salmon P. Chase for Chief Justice

October 24, 1864

Speculation about a replacement for Chief Justice B. Taney continues. Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner writes to Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase: “You ought to be C.J., & I do not doubt that you will be; for I cannot believe that the Presdt. will allow himself to be pushed from his original conclusion.

It has been said that Judge [Ira] Harris wished to be an Associate, &, to carry out this idea Judge Swayne was to be made C.J. I do not think this possible. It so happened that the Presdt. last spring mentioned Judge Swayne to me as the ablest of the new judges & a candidate for C.J. I spoke very frankly of the effect of such an appointment, & insisted that he had not the elements required for the head of the bench now. It was after this conversation that he said that he would tender the place to you, & I understand he has repeated this determination since, especially to the Senate Comttee. when it visited him to know the occasion of yr resignation. He then confessed that you & he could not get along together in the cabinet, but that he should be glad to make you C.J. John Sherman knows about this conversation.

I have written again to the Presdt. renewing my recommendation & insisting that the sooner it was done the better.”

Sumner writes President Lincoln: “It seems to me that there is a feverishness in the public mind with regard to the Chief Justiceship. Anti-Slavery men are all trembling, lest the opportunity should be lost of appointing a Chief Justice, who, in his interpretation of the Constitution & of the War Powers, would deal a death-blow to Slavery. They do not think that any old-fashioned lawyer, who has accepted for years pro-slavery glosses can do this. Our new Chief Justice must believe in Liberty & be inspired by it.

I think the nomination of Mr Chase would cause a glow of delight throughout the country among all the best supporters of the Administration, & according to my judgment, the sooner it is made the better.

You will pardon my earnestness; but I long to secure a just interpretation of the Constitution. NO personal friendship could induce me to intrude upon you, if I did not feel that I was consulting the best interests of my country.

Sumner added a postscript in which he : “I have to-day recd. a letter from Mr. Chase which contains a passage that venture to transcribe:

“It is perhaps not exactly en regle to say what one will do in regard to an appointment not tendered to him; but it is certainly not wrong to say to you that I should accept. If feel that I can do more for our cause & our country & for the success of the next Administration in that place than in any other. Happily it is now certain that the next Administration will be in the hands of Mr Lincoln from whom the world will expect great things. God grant that his name may go down to posterity with the two noblest additions historian ever record — Restorer & Liberator.

From New York, Thurlow Weed waxes pessimistic: “You kindly permitted me to visit you Sunday morning before last, but your cares and responsibilities are so great that I spared you, tho’ I did want to say things that seemed important. The Day before yesterday you went to a Review and I left before you returned.

I have done all that our Maryland Friends required, and have done something for our Friend Sweat.

Now I am in for a New-York Canvass. Nothing would so much here as a Victory, which it will not be your fault if we do not get.

Our State is in danger. There is a re-action in the public mind against us.

President Lincoln tells the 189th New York Regiment: “I am exceedingly obliged to you for this mark of respect. It is said that we have the best Government the world ever knew, and I am glad to meet you, the supporters of that Government. To you who render the hardest work in its support should be given the greatest credit. Others who are connected with it, and who occupy higher positions, their duties can be dispensed with, but we cannot get along without your aid. While others differ with the Administration, and perhaps, honestly, the soldiers generally have sustained it; they have not only fought right, but, so far as could be judged from their actions, they have voted right, and I for one thank you for it. I know you are en route for the front, and therefore do not expect me to detain you long, and will therefore bid you good morning.”

Speculation also continues about whether New York Democrats are splitting. Attorney General Edward Bates write: “I see, in the Chronicle, an account of a new movement in Politics, to weaken the Democratic nomination. It is headed by many of the most prominent democrats in the city and State of New York – such as F. B. Corning, Moses Taylor, Edwards Pierrepont, John A Dix, and the like.”

Published in: on October 24, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Concern about the Sailor Vote Reaches White House

October 23, 1864

New York political boss Thurlow Weed writes President Lincoln: “The Adversary is making the canvass sanguinary. The most desperate and profligate efforts are being made.

Our Friends report favorably from the Counties, but the Cities will give an ugly Vote.

Maj. Richardson writes from Beaufort, N. C. that he finds most of the Sailors against us. They are largely Irish– Another Agent writes to the State Committee that Admiral Lee is against us.

We have encouraging accounts from New-Jersey.

The same day, Major William Richardson had written Weed: “Thus far the indications are bad for the Navy vote amounting to much for us. The Officers are mostly right, but some Commandants evidently consider it a great innovation on the “good old way.” As far as the Officers can vote, they are generally ready to support the Administration, but there is no doubt that the feeling of the men of the Navy is generally and largely for McClellan4 — especially of those from our State, coming, as they so generally do, from the City and Brooklyn. The Irish firemen, coal passers &c. are nearly unanimous against us, but unless we are badly cheated their absence ought to help us on the home vote.

It is lucky that the opposition have made no intelligent effort to get their share of this vote, for those sent home to them from the Navy will generally be so irregular and informal that they will be of no use. I shall work all the time left to the best advantage I can, but it is an unpromising field. Much of this state of things, I learn from the Officers, is the result of the mismanagement (or not knowing how to smooth things down) on the part of the Navy Dept. The men are all kept 13 months for a year — they blame this on Lincoln. They have an idea amongst them that their grog ration is to be given them if McClellan is elected, and nothing has been done to enlighten them. Not a document — scarce ever a paper — has reached them — and it is too late now of course to change them. We must take what we can get and leave the rest.

President Lincoln meets with a group of Jewish New Yorkers.

President Lincoln writes General George Thomas: “I received information to-day, having great appearance of authenticity, that there is to be rebel raid into Western Kentucky—that it is to consist of four thousand Infantry, and three thousand Cavalry, and is to start from Corinth, Mississippi on the fourth day of November.”

Published in: on October 23, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Thanks General Philip Sheridan for Battle Victory

October 22, 1864

President Lincoln telegraphs General Philip H. Sheridan regarding his recent defeat of Confederates at Cedar Creek : “With great pleasure I tend to you and your brave army, the thanks of the Nation, and my own personal admiration and gratitude for the month’s operations in the Shenandoah Valley; and especially for the splendid work of October 19, 1864.”

President Lincoln writes William B. Campbell regarding affairs in Tennessee: “I presume that the conducting of a Presidential election in Tennessee in strict accordance with the old code of the State is not now a possibility. It is scarcely necessary to add that if any election shall be held, and any votes shall be case in the State of Tennessee for President and Vice President of the United States, it will belong, not to the military agents, nor yet to the Executive Department, but exclusively to another department of the Government, to determine whether they are entitled to be counted, in conformity with the Constitution and laws of the United States. Except it be to give protection against violence, I decline to interfere in any way with any presidential election.”

Politics mixing with judicial promotion in some letters to President Lincoln.   Senator John Sherman writes from Iowa: “In a conversation with Judge [Samuel F. ]Miller of the Supreme Court last evening he authorised me to say to you that he preferred the appointment of Gov. Chase as Chief Justice to any one named — and that he knew Judge [Samuel F.] Field concurred in this

He said he felt some delicacy in writing you as last winter he concurred in authorizing Judge Davis to say for him that the appointment of Judge Swayne would be acceptable — but subsequent reflection satisfied him that the public service would be best promoted by the selection of Gov Chase — As the hearty concurrence of the newly appointed Judges is vitally important I deem it proper to inform you of these facts — and I can assure you with great confidence that the profession in the States west of the Mississippi generally agree that Chase will bring more Judicial Strength to the Bench — and than any one named– I telegraphed you from Chicago in consequence of very decided opinions expressed there — in favor of Chase. With no personal preference between Chase & Swayne it is my firm conviction that Chase will reflect higher honor in the exalted position of Chief Justice than Judge Swayne & his appointment could be justified by obvious political reasons.

Allow me to say that Iowa is all right on the “main question” & will give you a greater majority than any man ever had in this State

Supreme Court Justice David Davis, who had been instrumental in Lincoln’s election as president, writes from his sick bed to President Lincoln: “I have been confined to my bed for three weeks which will account for my employing someone else to write for me. Chief Justice Taney is dead and of course you are thinking of his successor.1 I feel deeply and earnestly on the subject and have seen no reason to change my views since last Winter. I think now as then, that Judge Swayne ought to have the place; he is an able man and has been a practicing Lawyer all his life. Although of decided political views he has never been an active partisan. No regular partisan ought to be elevated to such a place Judic[i]al life should be kept as free as possible from party politics. To place a mere partisan in such a position weakens an administration and lessons the respect that should attach to the decisions of the Court. My earnestness on this subject must be my apology for addressing you in my weak state. If I was well I would go to Washington in person and solicit an interview.”

On a distinctly non-judicial matter, President Lincoln writes that Judge “James Hughes of Indiana is a worthy gentleman and a friend, whom I wish to oblige. He desires to trade in southern products, and all officers of the Army and Navy and other agents of the government will afford him such protection and such facilities of transportation, and otherwise in such business as can be consistently done with the regulations of trade and with the public service– ”

Published in: on October 22, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Watches Torchlight Procession Backing His Reelection

October 21, 1864

Tad Lincoln joins President Lincoln in observing a Republican torchlight procession from the second floor of the White House. Later, crowd calls for President, and he responds briefly.”   Journalist Noah Brooks later reports: “a splendid torchlight procession gotten up by the Lincoln and Johnson Club of this city. Nothing so fine has ever been seen in this city, and seldom, perhaps, has it been outdone elsewhere. Measuring by the length of the avenue, the procession was over two miles long, and it was resplendent from end to end with banners, torches, fireworks, transparencies and all of the paraphernalia of such a demonstration. Few finer sights could be shown than view of the length of Pennsylvania avenue, vanishing in the distance, gemmed with colored lights, flaming with torches, and illuminated with the lurid glare from shooting fires of red, green and blue Roman candles — the whole procession creeping like a living thing and winding its slow length around the White House, where the President looked out upon the spectacle…”   Stanley Kimmel wrote in Mr. Lincoln’s Washington: “Some fighting, the burning of a McClellan flag, and several arrests, enlivened the evening. In view of the immense number of persons on the streets, the amount of cannon-firing, and the incessant discharge of fireworks, it was remarkable that nothing of a more serious nature occurred.”

President Lincoln writes a pass for Judge James Hughes: “All officers of the Army and Navy of the United States are hereby authorized and required to afford every facility in their power to James Hughes of Indiana and his authorized agents or employees in the transmission to market of cotton or other products of the states in rebellion purchased by him or his agents, including transportation and protection, any orders to the contrary notwithstanding.”

Baltimore American editor Charles C. Fulton writes President Lincoln about the recent Maryland elections on October 12: “Owing to delay in receiving official returns of vote of Maryland troops on new constitution2 there has been considerable uncertainty felt as to result but all uncertainty is now removed by the arrival tonight of the commissioner sent to collect the vote in Sheridans army the new constitution has been clearly adopted by a majority of not less than 300 several organizations including the 3d Regt in West Va & the 3d Cav’y at Ft Gaines Mobile Bay these it is expected will considerably increase majority.” The election narrowly but conclusively approved the new Maryland constitution abolishing slavery.”

Published in: on October 21, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Issues Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

October 20, 1864

President Lincoln issues third proclamation declaring the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving: “It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with his guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad, and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while he has opened to us new sources of wealth, and has crowned the labor of our working men in every department of industry with abundant rewards. Moreover, He has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of Freedom and Humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions.”

Francis P Blair Sr. writes President Lincoln to push his son Montgomery for appointment as chief justice.   After outlining his family’s loyalty to the Union and President Lincoln, Blair writes: “Now I come to what I hope you will consider another & higher opportunity of serving you & the Republic by carrying your political principles & the support of your policy expressed in relation to the reconstruction, into the Supreme Court. I think Montgomery’s unswerving support of your administration in all its aspects coupled with his unfaltering attachment to you personally fits him to be your representative man at the head of that bench.’ He hesitatingly mentioned the fine qualities of his son, and assured the president that he could do nothing better to remove the cloud of ostracism which had descended upon Montgomery as a result of his removal from the Cabinet. Montgomery could go abroad, for his children needed to be educated, but he had to work in his profession to make a living. The elder Blair closed his letter by staring that, ‘Although I have urged this matter with some earnestness you will not infer that I set up any claim. You have done enough for the Blairs to entitle you to their gratitude & of their posterity.”

New York Attorney William O. Bartlett, a close friend of New York Herald publisher James Gordon Bennett, writes President Lincoln: “August Belmont bet $4.000 night before last that this State would go for McClellan.

Gen. [George B.] McClellan has been up to Fort Washington and spent a day with Mr. Bennett.

Mr. B. expressed the opinion to me, this morning, that you would be elected, but by a very close vote. He said that puffs did no good, and he could accomplish most for you by not mentioning your name.

Former Emigration Commissioner James Mitchell, an Indiana minister, writes President Lincoln in search of a new job: Permit me to state that I much desire to know the fate of my petition now in the hands of the Attorney General.

It is now near four months sinse the men of this Department cut off my salary, and assumed the remaining effects of my office (having drawn my files long before) If the Attorney General rules that my present position is not tenable, be so kind as to grant me one more so, that will not be so much exposed to the fierce fires of an unscrupulous faction on one hand and corrupt officials on the other; until I have time to form the necessary combinations for 1868 if God will permit me to live that long, for in this work success with me is a duty. Thank God the work for 1864 is done, and this administration will be continued in power– May your second term be as calm and peaceful as your first was dark and stormy — but I have fears Napolion has just entered on his new Combinations which were foiled last year by the action of England — in my opinion again do they include the United States, and North America. I hope I am wrong in this, but time will show.

I am thankful to you for what you have done– You have kindly laid down the foundation, and fixed the precedent, and I think the majority of the Nation will never permit a successor to build on any other– Yet I trust that class of opinions which I know have given you the vantage ground will not be abandoned in your second term.

My means being slender and my expenses sinse the revolution of political parties resulting in the election of Lain and McCarty to contest the seats of Bright and Fitch have been a heavy drain on my slender estate — as I have been under salary but a fragment of that long period through which I have looked to something like present results. I now therefore respectfully state that if I have a claim on the Government as an officer thereof — I desire to know it — as I stand in need of all I can legally claim.

I herewith submit a Copy of a paper some friends tendered on learning whilst at home that the appropriation for my office had been repealed.

Over a month later, as Attorney General Edward Bates is leaving office, he writes President Lincoln: “ beg your pardon for having overlooked, in the pressure of business, in my latter days in the office, the duty to give formal answer to your question concerning your power still to retain the Revd Mr Mitchell as your assistant or aid in the matter of executing the several acts of Congress relating to the emigration or Colonizing of the freed blacks.

It is too late for me now to give a formal opinion upon the question, as this is my last day in office. I can only say that, having examined all the acts referred to, I am satisfied that, notwithstanding the act which repeals the appropriation contingently, you still have something to do, under those acts; and therefore, that you have the same right to continue Mr Mitchell that you had to appoint him originally. And I hope it will be done, for he seems to be a good man, of zeal & capacity.

Published in: on October 20, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Missouri Causes President Lincoln Military and Political Difficulties

October 19, 1864

Political and military affairs in Missouri continue to be a problem. Illinois Governor Richard Yates writes: “From representations made to me by Committee & from the loyal people of North Missouri it is indispensable that more troops be sent. [Iowa] Gov [William] Stone of Iowa is willing to furnish them I am informed. I would urge upon you the importance of a telegraph order on him to send three tho[u]sand armed militia along the Hannibal & St Joe immy.”

Union General Carl Schurz writes President Lincoln about his political canvass and political problems in Missouri: “To-night I shall set out on a trip to Illinois and Wisconsin, having so far confined my labors to Pennsylvania and New-York.– As this is the place where I am awaiting orders, I hope the War-Department will not call on me for anything during my absence. Although it is not probable, yet, as a mistake might happen, I would ask you to drop a hint to those concerned.

Some time ago I wrote you a few lines about the state of things in Missouri and especially St. Louis.1 I should have been very glad to go there, had not the very precarious, and for a short time indeed alarming state of Mrs. Schurz’s health obliged me to spend here several days inactive. And now I can not so shape my appointments as to render a trip to St. Louis possible. But there is something else that can be done. A few days ago I had a conversation with Mr. Frederick Kapp, a leading German lawyer in New-York, — you probably know him. He took an active part in the Fremont-movement,2 but now he is willing to go to St. Louis and to use his influence there to heal up the existing divisions. As he was a member of the Fremont-National-Committee, he is likely to have considerable influence with the radical German element in Missouri. I shall write again to him to-day, and I hope he will start for St. Louis either this or next week.

In connection with this I would renew the suggestion I ventured upon some time ago. If you could do something in the way of placing some of the more important federal offices in Missouri at the disposal of the radical element, it would, no doubt, greatly facilitate a general reconciliation.

As a general thing the prospects are good. Pennsylvania has not done as well as she ought to have done, but I do not think there is any cause for alarm. The November-election will fetch out our heavy majorities.

From New York, attorney William Bartlett writes President Lincoln: “I do not know how you feel about the prospect, in Pennsylvania, at the Presidential election. Some of your friends here, whose judgment is commonly considered good, think there is no doubt whatever as to the result. For myself I confess that I am not without misgivings. I have not forgotten ’56. Your friends are not more confident now than Fremont’s were at that time. We might have saved the State then; we may lose it now. I am in possession of such information as leaves no doubt that much remains undone in that State which might be done. It would cost great effort and considerable money. I and my friends are ready and willing to furnish both; but not unless in your judgment it is advisable.

If you desire it I will repair at once to Washington, and submit to you the facts which I have, bearing on the case, and then I will be governed by your decision in the premises.

“Group of loyal Marylanders from east Washington, headed by band from Emory Hospital and carrying signs proclaiming ‘The Union Forever,’ joins delegation from Lincoln & Johnson Club of Washington and marches from Navy Yard to White House to serenade President Lincoln appears at upper window with Tad by his side holding torch, and responds to serenade.”

Maryland residents, accompanied by a band march from Navy Yard to the White House

President Lincoln responds to their serenade: “Something said by the Secretary of State in his speech at Auburn, has been construed by some into a threat that, if I shall be beaten at the election, I will, between then and the end of my constitutional term, do what I may be able, to ruin the government.”

Others regard the fact that the Chicago Convention adjourned, not sine die, but to meet again, if called to do so by a particular individual, as the intimation of a purpose that if their nominee shall be elected, he will at once size control of the government. I hope the good people will permit themselves to suffer uneasiness on either point. I am struggling to maintain government, not to overthrow it. I am struggling to maintain government, not to overthrow it. I therefore say, that if I shall live, I shall remain President until the fourth of next March; and that whoever shall be constitutionally elected therefor in November, shall be duly installed as President on the fourth of March; and that in the interval I shall do my utmost that whoever is to hold the helm for the next voyage, shall start with the best possible chance to save the ship.

This is due to the people both on principle, and under the constitution. Their will, constitutionally expressed, is the ultimate law for all. If they should deliberately resolve to have immediate peace even at the loss of their country, and their liberty, I know not the power or the right to resist them. I t is their own business, and they must do as they please with their own. I believe, however, they are still resolved to preserve their country and their liberty; and in this, in office or out of it, I am resolved to stand by them.

I may add that in this purpose to save the country and it’s liberties, no classes of people seem so nearly unanamous as the soldiers in the field and the seamen afloat. Do they not have the hardest of it? Who should quail while they do not?

God bless the soldiers and seamen, with all their brave commanders.

Union General Philip H. Sheridan rallies Union troops to defeat Confederate General Jubal Early at Battle of Cedar Creek.

Published in: on October 19, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Gets Reports on Campaign Progress

October 18, 1864

In Washington, President Lincoln meets with William O. Bartlett, a New York lawyer who is his primary link to James Gordon Bennett, the influential owner of the New York Herald.

Lincoln had been courting Bennett’s support – apparently even promising to appoint him as U.S. Minister to France.

From Pennsylvania, where the Republican Party is split into factions, Simon Cameron reports to President Lincoln on the October 11 state elections: “We are still, without the whole official returns — but I believe we will have 1500, or 2000. on the Congressional home vote — which is quite as much as we had a right to expect, considering that last year you sent home 17.000 to aid Gov. Curtin, and that he had only 15,560 maj — and that we have sent since to the field over 23,000– Looking at the votes in the counties, I find we have greatly increased our resident vote over Gov. Curtin; but we will do better, in Nov, and will give you 20 or 25.000. maj–

We have had difficulties in getting the army vote — and annoyances from officers at home which, with the aid of Mr Stanton and yourself, can be corrected, and will give us many votes. I will come to Washington, some day this week, to see you on the subject.

I am informed, by a Penn: officer stationed at Indianapolis, that all soldiers in the state, no matter where belonging, voted for Morton. He had no officers in command, that did not aid him. In this state we had very few of them to help us. A few changes would help us, greatly.

From Arkansas Christopher C. Andrews reports: “The 1st Brigade of the 3d Division 19th A. C. arrived here today from Morganza; and I learn that a few thousand more troops are coming from the lower Mississippi. One brigade of Gen. Dennis’s1 division arrived here about ten days ago; and the rest of the division is on the way up.

We ought to annihilate Prices’s army to compensate for the injury he has done.

Maj. Gen. Herron is at Little Rock having come up a few days ago.

Fortune may favor us by a rise in the Arkansas

I hardly think Price will venture this particular way in returning, as he must apprehend our getting reinforcements readily.

Conjectures amount to but little. The important thing is to have men enough in hand, and ready to strike and to march. I hope something will occur in our favor that is more than common place.

We have had two weeks of delightful weather, which is being taken advantage of by the troops at this place, in making earth works and building comfortable quarters.

I had the pleasure the other day of voting for you, the com

Presidential aide John G. Nicolay reports to the White House from Missouri where he had been sent to investigate reports about treasonous activities by anti-war secret societies: “I arrived here last night, having left St. Louis yesterday morning. I as there over a week, and talked very fully with our friends of all the different factions, and have I think as full and fair an understanding of their quarrels as one can get in such brief time.

My conclusion is, that there is little else than personal animosity, and the usual eagerness to appropriate the spoils, that is left to prevent a full and harmonious combination of all the Union voters of Missouri. Even these obstacles are fast giving way before the change and pressure of circumstances, and the mere lapse of time.

Of the Claybank faction, but little is left in point of numbers. Such portion of them as did not go to the Democracy (where they originally came from ) are fusing with the Radicals, until but a small nucleus, consisting of the office-holders, and a few old personal friends of Frank Blair, remains as a distinct and separate organization. They are held aloof more by pride and personal feeling, I think, than anything else.

A few days before my arrival in St. Louis, Mr. [William L.] Avery, the Secretary of the Western branch of the Union National Committee, had called a meeting of men belonging to the different factions, with a view of brining about united action, and also to devise measures for a more active campaign. The meeting was well attended, and the talk was conciliatory. A committee was appointed; when it met, Hume offered a resolution to raise a finance committee to collect funds, and Foy offered a substitute, proposing to vote for all candidates that would support Lincoln and Johnson, and that the primary meetings, conventions &c. for the selection of candidates should be called simply ‘Union’ meetings. The Radicals would not consent to strike the word ‘Radical’ from their party title, and voted down Foy’s substitute, whereupon he and others withdrew from the Committee. A number of Claybanks, however, took part in the primary meetings and conventions for nomination of the County ticket, and two or three Claybanks were put on the ticket.

Foy and Blair both told me that the only test they desire to make was that candidates, whether State, Congressional or County, should avow themselves for you. That the man who would not avow himself for you when the choice was only between yourself and McClellan, was clearly not your friend; and that you certainly could not wish your friends to vote for your enemies. While I was in St. Louis, the Claybanks held a caucus, to which I was invited, where the same sentiments were expressed, and at which a committee was appointed to address a letter to the various candidates, asking them the direct question whether or not they intended to support you. SO much for the Claybanks.

As to the Radicals, Hume called on me the day after my arrival, and told me that he had some weeks before interrogated Fletcher, the Radical candidate for Governor, and had received his private assurance that he would support you, but that he did not then deem it politic to declare his purpose, because such avowal would be almost certain to alienate from him a large number of Germans who were yet bitterly hostile to you, and who in such event would take measures to set up a ticket of their own. Afterwards I saw Fletcher, who had the evening before made a little reception speech at Barnum’s Hotel, in which, while announcing his determination not to vote for McClellan, he had not said anything about voting for you. Fletcher told me that when eh arrived, he had made up his mind to announce his purpose to vote for you; but that at Barnum’s he had found the letter of the Claybank Committee (which I have previously mentioned,) and the concluded he would not be coerced into an explanation; but that in the course of a week or ten days he would take occasion to declare himself for you. Meanwhile primary meetings had been held, and on Monday Oct 10th the County convention was held and a ticket nominated. The Convention did not adopt a resolution endorsing the national ticket. On the same day the Congressional Convention for the second District was held, and nominated Blow. He has not yet, even in private, admitted that he would vote for you. On the 12th, the Congressional Convention for the 1st District met Know was the candidate of the ‘Democrat’ Office clique – C. P. Johnson was the candidate of those against the Democrat. Johnson was nominated; but the Knox men contended that the nomination was unfair, and have bolted, and when I left were obtaining signatures requesting Knox to run independent. As that however would most likely insure the election of a Democrat, efforts were also being made to induce both Johnson and Knox to withdraw, and to combine the Union vote on Judge [Samuel T.] Clover [Glover]. The indications were when I came away that this would be done in a day or two.

I gave Mr. Foy your message and learned from him that he and the other office-holders are entirely willing to acquiesce in your wishes. They claim they have always been ready to support the ticket as soon as candidates were ready to declare themselves for you. I am satisfied that the indisposition on the part of both radicals and claybanks to come forward in a manly spirit and heal their dissensions, is due entirely to the long and chronic character of the quarrel, and that in the very nature of the case the reconciliation will be somewhat slow, although it seems to be going on pretty satisfactorily now.

It seems to be very well understood that with the exception of very few impracticables, the Union men will cast their votes, for you, for the radical Congressmen, for the Emancipation candidates for the State Legislature and the State Convention, so that in practice nearly everybody is right and united, while in profession everybody is wrong, or at cross purposes. I do not see that anything but time will abate the disorder.

When I arrived, Gen. Rosecrans had not yet issued his order about the election, and the radicals were very apprehensive, and anxious about that – more so than about their own factious quarrels, or the distribution of patronage. They said,’a good election order is the main thing we want. That, and that alone will enable us to carry the State.’ Rosecrans issued his order and they expressed themselves entirely satisfied with it. They said I might assure you would carry the State. Fletcher, who knows more of the other parts of the State than of the City, seems confident of the same result. He think he will be elected by ten thousand majority. I think he is perhaps too sanguine, but he seems pretty confident, and as he has lately been a good deal among the people, his judgment ought to be pretty good.

I urged upon the factions in the 1st Congressional district, that their quarrel ought not to be permitted to lose us the Congressman there – that if we continued to make giants as we had done in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania we should get a two-thirds vote in the House and thus be able to pass the Constitutional Amendment about Slavery. They acknowledge the importance of the matter and will I think unite on a third candidate and elect him.

Published in: on October 18, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Replacement Suggestions of Chief Justice Taney Hit White House

October 17, 1864

Recommendations to replace Chief Justice Roger B. Taney continue to flow to the White House – some obscure, some prominent. Former Ohio Governor David Todd writes President Lincoln: Allow me to advise that you leave the Chief Justiceship vacant until after the fall of Richmond. And then tender the position to [Secretary of War Edwin M.] Stanton. “I know whereof I speak” We have carried this State by about 50.000. including the Soldier’s vote. Your majority will be from 20.000 to 30.000. better, say 75.000.”

Perhaps more welcome was a letter from William Warburton: “I forward to day by Adams Express, another Hat, in place of the one first sent you, returned. I feel much gratified that Your Excellency has indicated your willingness to accept a Hat from your humble servant.

It will give me great pleasure to know that the Hat now sent fits properly, and is pleasing to you.

About this time, an Austrian vice consul, E.T. Hardy, wrote his government: “Mr. Lincoln will probably be the re-elected next President. It is usual to regard him as inferior intellect to some members of his cabinet, at the head of whom Mr. Seward is supposed to stand. But Mr. Lincoln wears well. As he is more honest, so he is more logical than the Secretary of State: as he is more original, so are his turns more unexpected, he is very shrewd and pointed in his observations and acts. I should regard him as a more formidable antagonist in any encounter than the Secretary, whose specious plausibilities are not always discreet.”

From Illinois, however, Congressman Elihu B. Washburne is pessimistic: “It is no use to deceive ourselves about this State.”

We have no close, active, efficient organization. Everything is at sixes and sevens and no head or tail to anything.

There is imminent danger of our losing the State.

Moulton, our candidate for Congressman at large, was here yesterday. He has been canvassing the State diligently since the 12th of August and he says that to-day we would lose the State by 10.000 majority without the soldiers vote.3

Steps must be taken, instantly, to have every soldier home possible.

Please consult with Mr. Stanton and have the most efficient measures taken to have our soldiers started home at once. There are vast numbers of them in hospitals and at garrisoned forts, who can be spared, if we cannot get any from the front

We shall lose 20.000 votes on our majority of 1860 in four northern Congressional districts.

The Copperheads are working with desperation.

If you would save our State from the most appalling calamity, pray do not neglect what I herein suggest about getting the soldiers home.– We want them home not only on the election day, but several days before.

Former Illinois Senator Orville H. Browning writes in his diary: “Called on the President and urged on him the appointment of Mr Stanton as chief Justice. He said nothing in reply to what I urged except to admit Mr Stantons ability, and fine qualifications. I think he was pleased with what I said and I have some hope that he will adopt my suggestion.”

The complications of politics and the soldier vote is indicated in a letter from Norman Wiard to President Lincoln about Pennsylvania: “A few days before the Pennsylvania election,2 I learned that from three to four thousand of the employees of the Quarter Master Department, from Pennsylvania Ohio and Indiana had been over looked by all persons engaged in the effort to have voters at home during the election. I obtained this information from Col Ellison3 Q M of this Dept and immeadiatly went to the Capitol in company with Mr Halstead and informed Mr Washburne4 of the Con” Committee of the facts. He was much interested and imeadiatly called on the Sect” of War in reference to the matter The result was about one thousand voters went to Pennsylvania for the Union ticket who were [incited?] to go home by an arrangement made with the R. R. companies to send them at a fare of 1/4 of a cent a mile. The details of this arrangement was intrusted to Col Ellison Q M of this Dept, and to Captain Thomas5 Military Store keeper, each man being furnished with the necessary furlough. When they returned as I am informed, three of the men boasted they had voted the Copper Head ticket and upon hearing this Col Ellison discharged them. Where upon these Copper heads managed to get Col Ellison removed, and Captain Thomas it is said is to be subjected to the same discipline. It often proves dangerous for any one to support the administration a fact which is exciting much feeling among your supporters and friends. “

Lucien Anderson writes President Lincoln to report on conditions in Kentucky: “Genl. [Solomon] Meredith as you know is in command of the District We have made speeches in three of the Counties west of the river in accordance with the policy of the Gen’l which is wise & conciliatory the people in the Counties where we have been have attended and listened attentively and they profess to be all right in many places I think they intend to do right the town of Mayfield in Graves Co. which is near the center of the seven Counties west of the river heretofore occupied by our troops was last night evacuated and the troops withdrawn to this place which leav[e]s all these Counties subject to rebell & Gurillia rule unless these Counties are held of course no votes will be polled the Genl says he intends to reoccupy that place in a few days, but says his forces are not sufficient to hold beyond a doubt the whole of these Counties therefore he desires more troops immediately which I hope will be given him, the whole district shall be canvassed if tis possible to do so, nothing on my part shall be wanting, I hope Kentucky will do her duty in this contest, am not however sanguine, if she fails it will not be the fault of the true men of the state.”

Published in: on October 17, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Military Questions Dominate in the Middle of Political Campaign

October 16, 1864

General Philip Sheridan is on his way from the Shenandoah Valley to Washington for military conferences. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton writes President Lincoln from Fortress Monroe: “Have just arrived and will go on immediately.1 It has occurred to me to propose Genl Jno A Logan for Missouri, or else for Hooker’s present command, and then Hooker go to Missouri– What is your opinion in respect to this proposition? Expect to reach City Point at 9. AM– Please let me have your answer.” President Lincoln and Stanton are contemlating a replacement for General William S. Rosecrans as commander of Missouri.

Tennessee Governor Andrew Johnson writes President Lincoln regarding military affairs: “Sometime since for varied reasons and in compliance with the wishes of the real Union men of this state I requested the Secy of War to include all Eastern Tenn in the Dept of the Cumb[erland]. This should be done I hope there is no objection to it by the Executive The change can produce no conflict but on the contrary will produce harmony & concert of action I have again renewed the request to the Secy of War & hope that there will be favorable action on the part of the Prest & the Secy of War.”

Meanwhile, military authorities are questioning the treasonable intent of anti-war societies operating in the North. William Frank Zornow wrote in Lincoln & the Party Divided: “The Dodd trial had no sooner ended than Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt issued a report on October 16 further exposing the activity of the secret societies. This report was based to a large extent on information supplied by Rosecrans, Carrington, Morton and Colonel Sanderson, who had been investigating the organizations for many months. The Holt report served as a convenient device to keep the public aware of the nature and magnitude of the treason being committed by the Democratic party. A special edition was prepared and circulated as campaign propaganda. ‘If there is a prudent, a thoughtful, a patriotic man in this country who thinks of voting for McClellan, we pray him to study the astounding testimony in the treason trial at Indianapolis,’ said the New York Tribune. ‘There is no longer room for a doubt of its nefarious purposes. The evidence in the trial of Dodd…is overwhelmingly conclusive,’ echoed the Boston Daily Journal.

Published in: on October 16, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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