Summer Comes to Washington

June 13, 1862

Summer clearly has arrived in Washington.  Illinois Senator Orville H. Browning writes: “At night went to Presidents — but the family had moved out to soldiers Home, and I did not see him.”  During the summer months, President Lincoln generally stayed at the Soldiers Home in Northeast Washington at night to avoid the humidity and heat at the White House.

President Lincoln writes General John C. Frémont regarding military operations in the Shenandoah Valley: “We can not afford to keep your force, and Banks, and McDowell’s, engaged in keeping Jackson South of Strasburg and Front-Royal.  You fought Jackson alone, and worsted him.  He can have no substantial reinforcement, so long as a battle is pending at Richmond.  Surely you and Banks in supporting distance are capable of keeping him from returning to Winchester.  But if Sigel be sent forward to you, and McDowell (as he must) be put to other work.  Jackson will break through at Front Royal again.  He is already on the right side of the Shenandoah to do it, and on the wrong side of it to attack you.  The orders already sent you and Banks place you and him in proper positions for the work assigned you.  Jackson can not move his whole force on either of you, before the other can learn of it, and go to his assistance.  He can not divide his force, sending part against each of you because he will be too weak for either.  Please do as I directed in order of the 8th. and my despatch of yesterday, the 12th. and neither you nor Banks will be overwhelmed by Jackson.  By proper scouts-look-outs, and beacons of smokes by day, and fires by night, you can always have timely notice of the enemies approach.  I know not as to you, but by some, this has been too much neglected.”

Lord Richard Lyons, the British Minister to Washington, visits with President Lincoln prior to leaving on a vacation.  Historian Gordon H. Warren wrote of Lyons: “The minister had flaws, but he was not incompetent and he was at least as qualified as his recent predecessors…. Unfortunately for relations between the two countries, Lyons’s dispatches produced deep unrest and a sense of impending disaster within the London cabinet.”

Published in: on June 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

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