President Lincoln Focuses on Troop Recruitment

July 3, 1862

President Lincoln writes Andrew Johnson, war governor of Tennessee: “You are aware we have called for a big levy of new troops.  If we can get a fair share of them in Tennessee I shall value it more highly than a like number most anywhere else, because of the face of the thing, and because they will be the very place that needs protection.  Please do what you can, and do it quickly.  Time is everything.  A word on another subject.  If we could, somehow, get a vote of the people of Tennessee and have it result properly it would be worth more to us than a battle gained.  How long before we can get such a vote?”

President Lincoln writes New York Governor Edwin D.  Morgan: “I should not want the half of three hundred thousand new troops, if I could have them now.  If I had fifty thousand additional troops here now, I believe I could substantially close the war in two weeks.  But time is every-thing; and if I get fifty thousand new men in a month, having gained only thirty thousand, with the difference between old and new troops still against me.  The quicker you send, the fewer you will have to send.  Time is everything.  Please act in view of this.  The enemy having given up Corinth, it is not wonderful that he is thereby enabled to check us for a time at Richmond.

President Lincoln writes General George B. McClellan to reassure him about reinforcements: “Yours of 5:30. yesterday is just received.  I am satisfied that yourself, officers and men have done the best you could.  All accounts say better fighting was never done.  Ten thousand thanks for it.”

On the 28th. we sent Gen. Burnside an order to send all the force he could spare, to you.  We then learned that you had requested him to go to Goldsborough, upon which, we said to him our order was intended for your benefit, and we did not wish to be in conflict with your views.  We hope you will have help from him soon.  To day we have ordered Gen. Hunter to send you all he can spare.  At last advices Halleck thinks he can not send reinforcements, without endangering all he has gained.

General McClellan renews his plea for troops in a telegram to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “In order to ensure a perfect understanding of the exact condition of this Army I have directed my Chief of Staff, Genl R B Marcy, to repair to Washington & give you full explanations of the events of last few weeks.

A simple summary is that this Army has fought every day for a week against superior numbers, holding its own, at least, often repulsing the enemy by day, then retiring at night.  Our light & heavy guns are saved, with the exception of one; all the wagons are now within the line of pickets — & I hope will all be saved.  The Army is thoroughly worn out & requires rest & very heavy reinforcements.
Our losses have been very great — for the fighting has been desperate, & officers and men have behaved heroically.
I am in hopes that the enemy is as completely worn out as we are; he was certainly very severely punished in the last battle; the roads are now very bad — for these reasons I hope that we shall [have] enough breathing space to reorganize & rest the men, & get them into position before the enemy can attack again.  I have ordered Burnside to bring up all his available force, & leave to your judgement the question of evacuating Newbern & its dependencies so as to bring every available man to reinforce this Army.  It is of course impossible to estimate as yet our losses — but I doubt whether there are today than 50,000 men with their colors.
To accomplish the great task of capturing Richmond & putting an end to this rebellion reinforcements should be sent to me rather much over than much less than 100,000 men.
I beg that you will be fully impressed by the magnitude of the crisis in which we are placed — we require action on a gigantic scale — one commensurate with the view I expressed in a memorandum to the Presdt submitted early last August — when first ordered to command the Army of the Potomac.  The safety of the country & the preservation of its honor demand the utmost energy & intelligence.

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Published in: on July 3, 2012 at 12:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

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