President Lincoln meets with General John C. Frémont Regarding New Command

March 17, 1862

While President Lincoln meets at the White House with General John C. Frémont regarding a new command in western Virginia, General George B. McClellan begins transfer of his army to Fort Monroe Peninsula.  Only the previous autumn, Lincoln had removed Frémont from command in Missouri after his leadership had proved ineffective and controversial.  Frémont, however, retained influential Republican backers.

A Philadelphia Inquirer journalist reported an act of censorship taken against a newspaper normally allied with President Lincoln regarding an article that had been published on Sunday:

Secretary Stanton has today issued a written order to General James I. Wadsworth, who is now acting as military governor of the District of Columbia, directing him to suppress the number of the Washington Sunday Chronicle published yesterday and to take measures for the prevention of publication in its columns of any more information of army movements for the enemy.
It also directed the arrest of all connected with the paper, even to its compositors.  The Chronicle is a spicy, enterprising sheet, owned by Colonel John W. Forney and edited by John R. Young, neither of whom was the author of the offensive matter in yesterday’s issue.  It is believed that this, being the first arrest of the kind, that the warning will be sufficient without harsher measures being resorted to and that the parties implicated will be released without a reprimand.

Historian Robert S. Harper wrote that Forney, who ran in and out of the White House and was as near to Lincoln as any man in journalism or politics, probably had the President smooth things over with ‘Mars,’ as the Chief Executive liked to call the Secretary of War.  Nothing further was heard of the case.”  President Lincoln usually sought to avoid such blatant military censorship, but his military subordinates showed less reluctance.

Published in: on March 17, 2012 at 12:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

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