Mrs. Lincoln’s Sister Arrives at the White House

February 25, 1862

The death of Willie Lincoln was having a devastating impact on Mrs. Lincoln; her sister Elizabeth Edwards had been summoned from Springfield, Illinois  “Breakfasted at the Presidents — then came to Senate,” wrote Illinois Senator Orville H. Browning.  “After dinner returned to the Presidents and remained all night At 6-7 & 9 PM went in Prests carriage to Rail Road depot to meet Mrs. [Elizabeth] Edwards of Springfield, Illinois — She was on the 9 Oclock train.”

President Lincoln signed the Legal Tender legislation authorizing the printing of greenbacks as currency.    Lincoln also  met with the Committee on the Conduct of the War.  The congressional committee, dominated by Republican Radicals, wanted the army broken up into corps.   They got no commitment, but Lincoln would eventually embrace the idea and order its implementation.  As historian Hans Trefousse wrote, Lincoln “was a master of the art of making use of the radicals’ zeal to spur on reluctant conservatives.”

Presidential aide John Hay tried to downplay rifts within the Lincoln Administration. Writing in an anonymous newspaper article, Hay contended: “The authority of the President and of the Council of Administration is, and ought to be absolute in determining the general plan of campaign and policy of war.  General McClellan himself, who adds to great military skill a clear and accurate perception of war to Government, has always plainly enunciated and governed his action by this principle.  There can be nothing more absurd than the senseless clamor of exultation raised by the crack-brained fanatics in Congress, and out of it, at the supposed discovery they had made of the decline of McClellan’s power and influence.  The assumption of power by the President and War Department proceeded from no diminishing of confidence in General McClellan.  They were the result of clearly recognized views of the President, and were in entire harmony with the ideas of McClellan.  Whatever the indiscreet friends or the silly opposers of the Generals may say, it is true that no relations now exist, or have existed between the President and McClellan but those of the most cordial and even affectionate nature.   There not only is no misunderstanding, but there can be none between men whose relative positions are so clearly defined and understood by each, and between whom there is so much of mutual confidence and esteem.”

Published in: on February 25, 2012 at 12:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

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