New York Politics and Proposals Concern President Lincoln

February 17, 1863

The regular Tuesday Cabinet meet is held at the White House where communications from Congressman Fernando Wood, a former New York mayor, is the subject of discussion: “The President read to the Cabinet a correspondence between himself and Fernando Wood.  The latter wrote the President on the 8th of December last that he had good reason to believe the South desired a restoration of the Union, etc. The President replied on the 12th of December that he had no confidence in the impression, but that he would receive kindly any proposition.  Wood’s letter was confidential; the President made his so.  All was well enough, perhaps, in form and manner if such a correspondence was to take place.  Wood is a Representative and his letter was brought to the President Opdyke.  Mayor Opdyke and ex-Mayor Wood are on opposite extremes of parties,–so opposite that each is, if not antagonistic, not very friendly inclined to the President.  Wood now telegraphs the President that the time has arrived when the correspondence should be published.  It is a piece of political machinery intended for certain party purposes.”

President Lincoln meets in the evening with a committee of New York Citizens headed by W. H. Tyler who bring resolutions to establish “armed free labor colonies” in Florida with former black slaves.

Illinois politician William Pitt Kellogg carries a communication to the White House: “I arrived [in Washington] in the early part of the evening, went directly to the White House, and was received by Mr. Lincoln in the library.  I handed him the sealed letter [from General Grant] referred to.  I was with him but a short time, but during that time he fired questions at me with the rapidity of a gatlin [Gatling] gun.  I left late that night, and a few days reached the point when I started.”

President Lincoln writes General William Rosecrans: “In no other way does the enemy give us so much trouble, at so little expence to himself, as by the raids of rapidly moving small bodies of troops (largely, if not wholly, mounted) harrassing, and discouraging loyal residents, supplying themselves with provisions, clothing, horses, and the like, surprising and capturing small detachments of our forces, and breaking our communications. And this will increase just in proportion as his larger armies shall weaken, and wane. [2] Nor can these raids be successfully met by even larger forces of our own, of the same kind, acting merely on the defensive. I think we should organize proper forces, and make counter-raids. We should not capture so much of supplies from them, as they have done from us; but it would trouble them more to repair railroads and bridges than it does us. What think you of trying to get up such a corps in your army? Could you do it without any, or many additional troops (which we have not to give you) provided we furnish horses, suitable arms, and other appointments? Please consider this, not as an order, but as a suggestion.”

Published in: on February 17, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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