President Lincoln Prepares for Military Conference with General Ambrose Burnside

November 25, 1862

President Lincoln telegraphs General Ambrose Burnside, commander of the Armyh of the Potomac which was preparing for major milit: “If I should be in a Boat off Aquia-Creek, at dark to-morrow (wednesday) evening, could you, without inconvenience, meet me & pass an hour or two with me?”

President Lincoln also responds to a Chicago woman who was seeking a military commission for one of her sons: “ Your note of this morning is just received. If I can learn that your son has a commission from the Governor, enabling me to give him a staff appointment, and then any Brigadier General entitled to another staff officer, will ask to have your son for the place, I will appoint him. Without the first condition, it is not lawful for me to appoint him; and without the second, it would obviously be improper– Preserve this note & send it to me with any papers you may send, as evidence on the points named.

New York Times editor Henry J. Raymond, an influential Republican,  writes President Lincoln: “I beg permission “just once” to intrude upon your time & attention, in order to make a suggestion concerning the best mode of carrying into practical effect the policy of your Proclamation.

1. I think it clear that any attempt to make this war subservient to the sweeping abolition of Slavery, will revolt the Border States, divide the North and West, invigorate and make triumphant the opposition party, and thus defeat itself as well as destroy the Union.

2. I think it equally clear that an effort to use emancipation, within the limitation of law, against rebels as a military weapon purely & exclusively, will be sustained by the whole loyal country, Border States and all.

3. I suggest, then, that the Proclamation to be issued in January, take the form of a Military order, — commanding the Generals of the Army, within every designated state and part of a state in rebellion, to deprive the rebel forces of the aid direct & indirect derived from their slaves, by setting them free and protecting them in their freedom.

The advantages of such a mode of procedure, me judice, are;–

1. It avoids all cavil on points of legality and constitutionality.

2. It avoids the public odium and dissension inevitable to a in a more sweeping and less guarded movement.

3. It will free just as many slaves and thus attain the same practical results, inasmuch as no Proclamation can operate beyond the lines of our armies.

The only drawback I can think of is, that such a mode of reaching a result will not suit those who deem the mode of more importance than the result itself.

Published in: on November 25, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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