President Lincoln Concerned about Missouri and Kentucky

December 2, 1862

As the critical Battle of Fredericksburg in Virginia  approaches, President Lincoln tells Senator Orville H. Browning during a White House meeting that General George B. McClellan had to be replaced because he was “too slow.”

President Lincoln is concerned with the impact of Confederate cavalry raids on Union Forces in Kentucky.  Historian Kenneth P. Williams writes: “On this December Tuesday [General William S.] Rosecrans received a short dispatch from Washington.  Inasmuch as Brigadier General Richard Johnson, a regular cavalryman, had been badly used near Hurstville by [Confederate General John] Morgan on August 21 and was himself captured, news of a greater calamity at the place must have been a shock.  The President, said Halleck, wanted to know why there was an isolated brigade at Hurstville, and by whose fault it had been surprised and captured.  Rosecrans asked enlightenment from Thomas, and after prefacing Thomas’s full statement about garrisons and the like with an essay of his own, he telegraphed the whole at 11:00 P.M. The next day Rosecrans had a reply: ‘The most important of the President’s inquiries has not been answered.  What officer or officers are chargeable with the surprise at Hurstville and deserve punishment.’”

Businessman Henry C. Bowen writes President Lincoln regarding the editorial policies of the anti-slavery editorial policies of the New York Independent and denies that preacher Henry Ward Beecher influences the newspapers’ policies: “A mutual friend has informed me that you feel aggrieved at the strictures which have appeared in “The Independent”, on your conduct of the war, that you implicate me in the matter and also censure me. I do not blame you for entertaining such feelings if you suppose I am directly or indirectly responsible for what you condemn

By written agreement, made when The Independent was first started, some fourteen years ago, the responsible Editor has full and entire control of its columns, except as herein after mentioned. The proprietary interest has never interfered with the Editors, attempted their control or dictated their course. As business men the owners of the paper have been fully occupied in other directions. At no time until the breaking out of the present rebellion, has there been any occasion to call in question the Editorial management of the paper. All has gone on smoothly. I have frequently of late regretted the appearance of Editorials censuring you, but it was out of my power to do anything. If once the proprietors should attempt to control the Editors, as far as Henry Ward Beecher is concerned, there would be another “rebellion”. Our paper is conducted on the plan adopted by the Tribune, Times and many other large papers and while it has some objectional features, it has been found, on the whole, to work well

The Commercial Department of The Independent is, and always has been, under my special control and management. I am absolutely responsible for every line which has ever appeared in that part of the paper, as per notice as follows, in every number of the paper [ clipping inserted] Mr Beecher has no more to say about what I shall write or print, than the man in the moon If I should dictate to him, what he should say, he might dictate to me. He never has done so and I will not permit him to do it. I have never done so for the same good reason. We both are jealous of our rights and both have the reputation, among those who know us well, of being considerably independent.

Not a line or word of censure has ever appeared in the Commercial department of the paper and hardly a month has passed without some complementary reference to you. If I have time I will select and enclose you one or two specimens

My good friend Mr [Schuyler] Colfax has been censured, in our paper and has suffered, in feeling, about it, as you have, but he knows I am not to blame for it. Pardon me sir for the liberty I take in thus addressing you and believe me.

Published in: on December 2, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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