President Lincoln Concerned about Racial Relations in Baltimore

February 4, 1863

President Lincoln wrote General Robert Schenck, the commander in Maryland, “I hear of some difficulty in the streets of Baltimore yesterday.  What is the amount of it?”  A report

suggested the reasons for President Lincoln’s concerns: “’The practical feeling of white soldiers toward negroes is seen in the fact that yesterday morning a lot of one hundred and fifty convalescents from Philadelphia, in charge of a guard of ten men, armed at the Solders’ Rest, and at once showed their antipathy to the colored people by assaulting the contrabands employed about the quarters…The Baltimore papers state that in coming through that city they attacked every colored person coming in their way, assaulted the police who endeavored to protect them.”

President Lincoln writes Congress: “In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives on the 5th. December last, requesting information upon the present condition of Mexico, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, and the papers by which it was accompanied.”

Washington is increasingly concerned about the naval campaign to recapture Charleston, South Carolina.  Navy Secretary Gideon Welles writes in his diary: “We have the whole world agog with an account of an onset on our fleet before Charleston. The Mercedita is reported to have been surprised and sunk, and other vessels damaged. But the great hullabaloo is over a report that the whole blockading fleet ran away, — the foreign consuls at Charleston went out and could see none of the vessels, —and the blockade is by the Rebels declared raised. Seward called on me in great trepidation with these tidings. Told him most of the stuff was unworthy of a moment’s consideration. Not unlikely the Mercedita may have been surprised and sunk, as she is of light draft and was probably close in. If there had been other vessels captured or sunk, we should have had their names. It looked to me as if the budget was made up for the European market by the foreign consuls, who are in fact Rebel agents, and I asked why their exequaturs were not annulled.”

Published in: on February 4, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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