President Lincoln Congratulates General Ulysses S. Grant

July 13, 1863

In the wake the Union capture of Vicksburg, President Lincoln writes to General Ulysses S. Grant: “I do not remember that you and I ever met personally.  I write this now as a grateful acknowledgement for the almost inestimable service you have done the country.  I wish to say a word further.  When you first reached the vicinity of Vicksburg, I thought you should do, what you finally did–march the troops across the neck,  run the batteries with the transports, and thus go below; and I never had any faith, except a general hope that you knew better than I, that the Yazoo Pass expedition, and the like, could succeed.  When you get below, and took Port-Gibson, Grand Gulf, and vicinity, I thought you should go down the river and join Gen. Banks; and when you turned Northward East of the Big Black, I feared it was a mistake.  I know wish to make the personal acknowledgement that you were right, and I was wrong.”

Confederate troops under General Robert E. Lee crosses back across the Potomac, eluding Union troops.  Presidential aide John Hay writes in his diary: “The President begins to grow anxious and impatient about Meade’s silence.  I thought and told him there was nothing to prevent th enemy from getting away by the Falling Waters, if they were not vigorously attacked.  Eckert says Kelly is up on their rear.   Nothing can save them, if Meade does his duty.  I doubt him.  He is an engineer.”

Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles writes in his diary: “The army is still at rest.  Halleck stays here in Washington, within four hours of the army, smoking his cigar, doing as little as the army.  If he gives orders for an onward movement and is not obeyed, why does he not remove to headquarters in the field?  If this army is permitted to escape across the Potomac, woe be to those who permit it!” Welles adds that he visited the White House to urge that David Dixon Porter “should be made a rear-admiral.  He assented very cheerfully, though is estimate of Porter is not so high as mine.  Stanton denies him any merit; speaks of him as a gas-bag, who makes a great fuss and claims credit that belongs to others.  Chase, Seward, and Blair agree with me that Porter has done good service.  I am aware of his infirmities.  He is selfish, presuming, and wasteful, but is brave and energetic.”

Dealing with the continuing unrest in Missouri, President Lincoln responds to Henry T. Blow, who had protested the arrest of arrest of William McKee, editor of the Missouri Democrat: “I saw your dispatch to the Secretary of War. The publication of a letter without the leave of the writer or the receiver I think cannot be justified, but in this case I do not think it of sufficient consequence to justify an arrest; and again, the arrest being, through a parole, merely nominal, does not deserve the importance sought to be attached to it. Cannot this small matter be dropped on both sides without further difficulty?”  President Lincoln also wrote General John Schofield, commander of Union forces in Missouri: “I regret to learn of the arrest of the Democrat editor. I fear this loses you the middle position I desired you to occupy. I have not learned which of the two letters I wrote you, it was that the Democrat published; but I care very little for the publication of any letter I have written. Please spare me the trouble this is likely to bring.”

Draft riots break out in New York City.

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Published in: on July 13, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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