Military Impact of Emancipation Proclamation Discussed at White House

January 9, 1863

Illinois Senator Orville H. Browning writes in his diary about his visit to the White House: “Went at night with Admiral [Andrew]  Foote to the Presidents to speak to him in regard to the promotion of Ge[nera]ls Buford & Prentiss.  In conversation with the Admiral he expressed the deepest regret at the Presidents proclamations, saying they did no good, and had the unhappy effect of reviving party strifes and dividing us in the North when unity of purpose and action were essential to success, and when such unit existed until destroyed by the proclamations .  He added that their effect was also baneful in the army — damping their zeal and ardor, and producing discontent at the idea of fighting only for the negro.  He also said that the removal of McClellan was unfortunate — that he was the ablest Genl we had — in fact the only one capable of commanding a great army, and so considered by all competent judges — that his officers and soldiers were devoted to him, and that if he had been let alone and not interfered with at all after he first took command of the army the war would now have been mainly over.   He further said that he would not have much hope of any great successes until McClellan was restored.

Found [New Hampshire John P.] Senator Hale at the Presidents.   Before he left the President said having two Senators present he wished to make a speech to us.  He then took us to a map and pointed out the relative positions of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.   He said since the proclamation the negroes were stampeding in Missouri, which was producing great dissatisfaction among our friends there, and that the democratic legislatures of Illinois & Indiana seemed bent upon mischief, and the party in those states was talking of a union with the lower Mississippi states.  That we could at once stop that trouble by passing a law immediately appropriating $25,000,00 to pay for the slaves in Missouri — that Missouri being a free state the others would give up their scheme — that Missouri was an empire of herself — could sustain a population equal to half the population of the United States, and pay the interest on all of our debt, and we ought to drive a stake there immediately — He said to Hale you and I must die but it will be enough for us to have done in our if we make Missouri free.”

Navy Secretary Gideon Welles reports in his diary: “On my way to Cabinet-meeting this A.m. met [Pennsylvania Congressman]Covode and Judge Lewis of Pennsylvania. The two had just left the President and presented me with a card from him to the effect that Covode had investigated the case of Chambers, Navy Agent at Philadelphia, and that if I saw no objection he should be removed.  Told them I was going to the President and the subject should have attention.  When I mentioned the subject, the President wished me to look into the case and see that all was right.  He had not, he said, examined it, but passed it over to me, who he knew would.”

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

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