President Lincoln Meets About Promotions and Appointments

March 11, 1863

President Lincoln meets with New Hampshire Senator John Hales regard

Col. Edward B. Cross, who also attends meeting.   The president also meets with Missouri Congressman James Rollins regarding  Colonel  Odon Guitar’s promotion to brigadier general.

President Lincoln writes Secretary of the Interior  John P. Usher at the request of Iowa Senator James Harlan regarding Mahlon Wilkinson of Dakota Territory as an Indian agent: “If there be a vacancy at the place named, let the appointment within requested, be made. If there be two vacancies, let this appointment be to the lower one.”   He writes Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner: “I still have no name for Solicitor to go to Peru. Have you?”  The president writes Attorney General Edward Bates: “Attorney General, please make out & send me a pardon for Wilbur Buckheart [convicted of mail robbery].  The papers are with you.”

General Carl Schurz, ever opinionated and ever ambitious,  writes President Lincoln regarding his own promotion: “I arrived here yesterday quite sick, on my way to our old family physician at Philadelphia. I would have taken the liberty of calling upon you, had I been able to go out to-day.

This morning Mr. [Charles] Sumner visited me and related to me a conversation he had had with you. From what he told me I had to conclude that I was dropped from the list of your nominations because otherwise it would have been necessary to promote Gens Stahel and Steinwehr also. I have no objection to the promotion of these two gentlemen, but I really do not see, permit me to say why we should be inseparably bound together and placed on a level. You will not remember a single instance in which I spoke ill of any person to you, and I am far from desiring to do so in this case. But I may say without overestimating my position in this country too much, that the government will hardly expose itself to the charge of partiality by placing me a step ahead of men who have so far scarcely in a single instance commanded the attention of the people. Leaving aside all services rendered before and during the war, only those who will find fault under all circumstances will forget, that I gave up a first-class mission for the privilege of fighting and dying for the country, while the gentlemen, whom I must not overtake in their career — and I wish you would try the experiment — would gladly give up their shoulder straps for a comfortable second class consulate. Pardon me for saying such things; but by classifying me with others you have roused my pride a little.

Mr. Sumner tells me also that the Germans expressed to you different opinions on this matter. I know I have enemies among them; I would perhaps have none if I enjoyed the benefit of indifference and obscurity. There are some whose sensitiveness I have hurt; others whom I have refused to recommend for office; and still others who are of an envious disposition, hate everybody that rises above their heads and magnify one to belittle another. But should this quarrelsome spirit have an influence upon the action of this Government? Besides I feel as though I had become something of an American and not altogether dependent upon the endorsement of any class of foreign born people. Nobody will consider this claim on my part presumptuous who remembers, that the votes for Liberty I have made were by no means all German.

But if I wanted the endorsement of a large majority of the Germans, I am positive I can have it at any moment. We might commence by taking the vote of my Army-Corps, and I give you my word for it, three fourth of all the officers and men will give me a vote of confidence to the exclusion of all my competitors.

Pardon me, Sir, I feel almost ashamed of arguing my claims, and I would certainly not do so, did I not feel still more humiliated before the people by being dropped by this Administration, while such men as Dan. Sickles, F. Steele and others are sustained and honored. Everybody must necessarily believe in the existence of some special reason against me, — for nobody will suppose that my promotion is impossible because in that case Messrs. R. and Z. want to be promoted also. Do you want a special occasion for promoting me? Let it be for meritorious conduct at the battle of Bull Run, let my commission bear that date, and every officer and soldier of the 11th Corps who has seen me on that day will applaud the act.– Still, had I never been nominated I would have submitted with equanimity. But to be first nominated and then dropped is a reflection on my character, which as a man who is widely known I ought not so suffer.

I should be happy to speak to you about two or three subjects not connected with this matter, but of some importance. If I were sure that I could see you without being obliged to wait too long, I would, sick as I am be happy to call. Will you be kind enough to let me know[?] I shall go to Philadelphia I think day after to-morrow.

Published in: on March 11, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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