President Handles Issues of Colonization, Recruitment and Patronage

January 6, 1863

President Lincoln responds to a note from Secretary of State William H. Seward regarding a contract to colonize an island off Haiti with former black slaves: “The Secretary of State is directed not to countersign the within contract, or to affix the seal of the United States thereto, but to retain the instrument under advisement.  Seward wrote Lincoln on January 2 urging “a few precautions taken before I certify the contract of Bernard Kock.”

Two Union army officers, Col. Daniel Ullmann and Capt. Alban B. Botsford, speak to president Lincoln regarding a proposal to recruit a Louisiana regiment of black soldiers.  Lincoln writes a brief memo: “Col. Ulmann, calls with Capt. Alban B. Botsford, now of 78th. N.Y. Inftry.—both at National Hotel. Has property in Mississippi and is well acquainted in La. When time comes would like to aid in organizing blacks there.”

President Lincoln wrote a Chicago mother seeking a staff commission for her son: “I am sorry I failed in my former note to make myself understood by you. You send me a commission, which is good as far as it goes; but it fills only one of the three conditions which I stated to you as being indispensable. The remaining conditions are that a Major General must be found who has not already the full complement of Staff-officers, which the law allows to a Major-General, and who is willing to take your son as one of them. Without these I should violate both law, and an indispensable courtesy, to thrust your son, or any one else, upon any Major General’s staff. As to Brigadier-Generals, they are not allowed any staff officers with as high rank as Major. If I were to undertake it, I probably could not, in less than a month, nor without a laborious correspondence, find the General entitled by law to have an additional staff officer with the rank of Major, and who is willing [to] take your son as the man. This your son must do this [sic] for himself. I hope I now make myself understood.”

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Published in: on January 6, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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