President Lincoln Directs Union Forces in the Shenandoah by Telegraph

May 30, 1862

President Lincoln writes General Nathaniel Banks: “If the enemy, in force, is in or about Martinsburg, Charlestown, and Winchester, or any or all of them, he may come in collision with Fremont; in which case I am anxious that your force, with you, and at Harper’s Ferry, should so operate as to assist Fremont, if possible. The same, if the enemy should engage McDowell. This was the meaning of my despatch yesterday>”

President Lincoln sends a series of insistent telegrams to Union General John C. Frémont, urging action.   The first read: “Yours of this morning from Moorefield, just received. There can not be more than twenty, probably not more than fifteen thousand of the enemy, at or about Winchester. Where is your force? It ought this minute to be near Strasburg. Answer at once.”  He later wrote: “Yours saying you will reach Strasburg, or vicinity, at five PM, saturday, has been received and sent to Gen. McDowell, & he directed to act in view of it. You must be up to time you promise if possible.”  Finally, Lincoln wrote: “It seems the game is before you.”

President Lincoln’s worries about Frémont cause him to send four telegrams to General Irvin McDowell: “I somewhat apprehend that Frémont’s force, in it’s present condition, may not be quite strong enough in case it comes in collision with the enemy. For this additional reason, I wish you to push forward your column as rapidly as possible. Tell me what number your force reaching Front Royal will amount to.”  In his last telegram, Lincoln repeats the language he used with Fremont: “It seems the game is before you.”

Published in: on May 30, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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