President Orders Recruiting of Black Troops along Mississippi River

July 21, 1863

Presidential aide John Hay writes colleague John G. Nicolay: “There is nothing new.  Will not probably be any thing for a month or so.”   He added: “Be virtuous & you will be miserable.”

President Lincoln writes Senator Oliver O. Howard regarding the slow pursuit of Confederate forces after the Battle of Gettysburg: “Your letter of the 18th. is received. I was deeply mortified by the escape of Lee across the Potomac, because the substantial destruction of his army would have ended the war, and because I believed, such destruction was perfectly easy—believed that Gen. Meade and his noble army had expended all the skill, and toil, and blood, up to the ripe harvest, and then let the crop go to waste. Perhaps my mortification was heightened because I had always believed—making my belief a hobby possibly—that the main rebel army going North of the Potomac, could never return, if well attended to; and because I was so greatly flattered in this belief, by the operations at Gettysburg. A few days having passed, I am now profoundly grateful for what was done, without criticism for what was not done. Gen. Meade has my confidence as a brave and skillful officer, and a true man.”

President Lincoln writes Kansas Secretary Thomas Carney: “Yours dated Pittsburgh, the 19 Inst. is received. The day after you were with me I wrote a note to the Sec. of War, asking him to place you on the same ground, with all other governors of loyal States as to the appointment of military officers. In reply to this he verbally told me, when I next met him, that he had never placed you on any other ground—that the forces in regard to which you and Gen. Blunt have a controversy, were raised on special authority from the War Department, given before you were governor, and that the officers were commissioned by him (the Sec. of War) according to the original authority; and that he never had required you to commission officers nominated by Gen. Blunt. The like of this has been done in some other States, as I remember. As to leaving no part of Kansas in Blunt’s Department, the thing should not be hastily done. He, with his command, is now in the field South of Kansas; and while I do not know how much what you now desire, might interfere with his supplies, it is very certain that he can not now be interfering with you.”  He added: “It is my purpose to take care that he shall not any more, take persons charged with civil crimes, out of the custody of the courts and turn them over to mobs to be hanged.”

President Lincoln writes Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “I desire that a renewed and vigorous effort be made to raise colored forces along the shores of the Missippi. Please consult the General-in-Chief; and if it is perceived that any acceleration of the matter can be effected, let it be done.  I think the evidence is nearly conclusive that Gen. [Lorenzo] Thomas is one of the best, if not the very best, instruments for this service.”   Since Stanton despised Thomas, there was little probability that he would oppose getting Thomas out of town.

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Published in: on July 21, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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