Discussions of Cabinet Shakeup and Black Soldiers Continue

May 20, 1863

Journalist Noah Brooks, a regular visitor to the White House,  writes that Secretary of State William H. Seward is under attack from Radical Republicans: “The President is exceeding loth to give up his wise and conservative counsels, and retains him against the wishes of a respectably large fraction of his own party friends, merely because he believes that to his far-seeing and astute judgment the Administration has owed more than one deliverance from a very tight place.  Moreover, Seward’s policy has always been of a character to avoid all things which might result in a divided North, and though it may have been too emollient at times, it has resulted in retaining to the Administration its cohesive strength, when it would have driven off its friends by following the more arbitrary and rash measures of Stanton.”

Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, often an adversary to Seward on foreign policy, writes President Lincoln,: “I have been horror-struck by the menace of Slavery to our colored troops & of death to the gentlemen who command them, should they fall into the hands of the rebel enemy.”

It seems to me that the time has come, when it should be declared to the world, by Presidential Proclamation, in the most solemn form possible, that these officers & soldiers of the U. States will be protected by the Govt. according to the laws of war, & that not one of them shall suffer without a retaliation, which shall be complete; not vindictive but conservative.

Such a Proclamation would give encouragement to the army; it would gratify the country, & it would teach foreign nations the difference between a barbarous foe & the upholders of Human Liberty.  Besides, it would be intrinsically an act of justice.

President Lincoln tries to calm General William S. Rosecrans regarding his handling of the case of Colonel David R. Haggard, who had been absent from duty because of ill health: “Yours of yesterday in relation to Col. Haggard is received. I am anxious that you shall not misunderstand me. In no case have I intended to censure you, or to question your ability. In Col. Haggard’s case I meant no more than to suggest that possibly you might have been mistaken, in a point that could be corrected. I frequently make mistakes myself, in the many things I am compelled to do hastily.”

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Published in: on May 20, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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