President Lincoln Takes a Evening Carriage, Then Leaves Washington at Night

May 22, 1862

“At 6 O’clock Mrs. Lincoln called in her carriage — the President on horseback.  Capt James N Brown & myself took seats in the carriage, and went with them riding; and then had an interview with the President.   He read me a despatch of 7 or 8 pages from Genl. McClelland from the army in front of Richmond, giving position of our forces &c.

“He told me he, the President, was going to slip away as soon as I should leave him, and go, I suppose, to McDowells division.   He thought he could do some good, and be back tomorrow night.

Accompanied by Sec. Stanton and Navy Commander John Dahlgren, President Lincoln then leaves to consult with General Irvin McDowell commanding an army corps at Fredericksburg.  McDowell was scheduled to proceed toward Richmond in coordination with General George B. McClellan on the Peninsula.  McClellan writes his wife:

I am very glad that the Presdt has come out as he did about Hunter’s order — I feared he would not have the moral courage to do so.  I can’t think how Hunter could have done such a thing without authority from some one..

If I succeed in getting the two additional passages of the River tomorrow I will move next day — in fact I hope to have a strong advanced guard within a couple of miles of Richmond tomorrow evening.  Then I shall be able to examine the enemy’s positions & arrange for the battle.  I will not fight on Sunday if I can help it.  I am obliged to do so I will have faith that God will defend the right, & trust that we have the right on our side.  How freely I shall breathe when my look task of months is over & Richmond is ours!  I know the uncertainty of all human events — I know that God may even now deem best to crush all the high hopes of the nation & this army — I will do the best I can to insure success & will do my best to be contented with whatever result God sees fit to terminate our efforts.  I have long prayed that I might neither be elated by success nor unduly cast down by defeat.  I hope my prayers may be granted I am here on the eve of one of the great historic battles of the world — one of those crises in a nation’s life that occurs but seldom — far more than my fate is involved in the issue.  I have done the best I could.  I have tried to serve my country honesty & faithfully — all I can now do is to commit myself to the hands of God 7 pray that the country may not be punished for my sins & shortcomings.

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Published in: on May 22, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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