President Lincoln Promotes Raising Black Troops in Louisiana

March 29. 1863

President Lincoln goes to the Navy Department offices, west of the White House, where he has a meeting with Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles and Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus V. Fox.

President Lincoln writes General Nathaniel P. Banks, the New Orleans commander regarding the recruitment of black troops: “Hon. Daniel Ullmann, with a commission of Brigadier General, and two or three hundred other gentlemen as officers, goes to your department and reports to you, for the purpose of raising a colored brigade.  To now avail ourselves of this element of force, is very important, if not indispensable.  I therefore will thank you to help Gen. Ullmann forward with his undertaking, as much, and as rapidly, as you can; and also to carry the general object beyond his particular organization if you find it practicable.  The necessity of this is palpable if, as I understand, you are now unable to effect anything with your present force; and which force is soon to be greatly diminished by the expiration of terms of service, as well as by ordinary causes.  I shall be very glad if you will take hold of the matter in earnest.”

New York attorney George Templeton Strong writes in his diary: “Story of Senator Dixon calling on the President and suggesting a parallel between secession and that first rebellion of which Milton sang.  Very funny interview.  Abe Lincoln didn’t know much about Paradise Lose and sent out for a copy, looked through its first books under the Senator’s guidance, and was struck by the coincidences between the utterances of Satan and those of Jefferson Davis, whom by-the-by he generally designates as ‘that t’other fellow.’  Dixon mentioned the old joke about the Scotch professor who was asked what his views were about the fall of the Angels and replied, ‘Aweel, there’s much to be said on both sides.’  ‘Yes,’ said Uncle Abraham,’I always thought the Devil was some to blame!'”

Published in: on March 29, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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