President Lincoln Focuses on the Use of Former Slaves to Win the War

July 24, 1862

New General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck heads off to meet with General George B. McClellan, commander of the Army of the Potomac.  President Lincoln is focused farther west.  Illinois Orville H. Browning writes that he “went to the Presidents and had an interview with him.  He took a map and pointed out the Counties on each side of the River from Memphis down, showing me that blacks averaged 75 or 80 to 20 whites – Spoke of the importance of having the Mississippi opened, and said, ‘I will tell you – I am determined to open it, and, if necessary will take all these negroes to open it, and keep it open’.  At this moment Mr Seward came in, whereupon I rose to leave, but he requested me to remain saying he had rather I was present than not.  He then said to the President that he wished to send Nicolay the Presidents private Secy to England with despatches to Mr Adams relative to Mexican and South American affairs.  The President assented and it was agreed he should go.  I asked Mr Seward if there was any danger of intervention in our affairs by England and France.  He said there was unless volunteering went on rapidly, and our army was greatly increased.  During the morning I told the President I wished to give him a piece of advice, – That there were many persons, and many cliques who thought they understood how public affairs should be managed better than he did and who would seek to control him, and force their opinions upon him as his rule of conduct – that the views of such would be various and conflicting – that he had, at the same time, a more comprehensive and more minute view of the entire field of public affairs than any other person could have – and that he should hear all suggestions and get all the fats that he could, and then do himself justice – make up his mind calmly deliberately, and conscientiously what was proper to be done, and adhere firmly to his own opinions, and neither to be bullied or cajoled out of them. He answered that he had done so to a greater extent than was generally supposed – that when he made up his mind to send supplies to Fort Sumter he was sustained by only two members of his cabinet Blair and Chase, and that when he determined to give the rebels at Charleston notice of his purpose the entire cabinet was against him, tho they all now admitted that he was right.”

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Published in: on July 24, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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