Quiet White House Contemplates Eastern Tennessee

August 31, 1863

“The White House is deserted, save by our faithful and untiring Chief Magistrate, whol, alone of all our public men, is always at his post.  He looks less careworn and emaciated than in the spring, as if, living only for his country,, he found his vigor keeping pace with the returning health of the nation,” write White House aide William O. Stoddard in an anonymous newspaer dispatch.  “There are rumors that he is about to address to his fellow-citizens another of those homely but powerful appeals which have more than one been almost equal to battles won.

“In August, 1863, while Rosecrans was engaged in the preliminary movements leading up to the battle of Chickamauga, and after the fighting was known to be in progress, Lincoln, as at other critical periods, remained in the telegraph office, sometimes for hours, waiting for the latest news respecting what was then felt to be one of the most serious crises of the war,” reported telegraph operator Homer Bates.  “For three or four days the tension was very great, the President, Secretary Stanton and General Halleck conferring together almost constantly. Prior to this period, Rosecrans seems to have reached the conclusion that he did not possess the full confidence of the Administration, and in fact he did not, but he fancied the situation was worse than it really was, this impression being deepened by Halleck’s censorious letters.”

President Lincoln writes Major General William Rosecrans: “Yours of the 22nd. was received yesterday. When I wrote you before, I did [not] intend, nor do I now, to engage in an argument with you on military questions. You had informed me you were impressed, through Gen. Halleck, that I was dissatisfied with you; and I could not bluntly deny that I was, without unjustly implicating him. I therefore concluded to tell you the plain truth, being satisfied the matter would thus appear much smaller than it would if seen by mere glimpses. I repeat that my appreciation of you has not abated. I can never forget, whilst I remember anything, that about the end of last year, and beginning of this, you gave us a hard earned victory which, had there been a defeat instead, the nation could scarcely have lived over. Neither can I forget the check you so opportunely gave to a dangerous sentiment which was spreading in the North.”  Rosecrans had written: ““Thanking you for your kindness may I ask you when impulsive men suppose me querrulous to believe I am only straight forward and in earnest and that you may always rely upon my using my utmost efforts to do what is best for our country and the lives and honor of the soldiers of my command.”

President Lincoln amends his address to be read at the Springfield rally.  He writes James C. Conkling: “In my letter of the 26th. insert between the sentence ending “since the issue of the emancipation proclamation, as before” and the next, commencing “You say you will not fight &c” what follows below my signature hereto-.”

I know as fully as one can know the opinions of others, that some of the commanders of our armies in the field who have given us our most important successes, believe the emancipation policy, and the use of colored troops, constitute the heaviest blow yet dealt to the rebellion; and that, at least one of those important successes, could not have been achieved when it was, but for the aid of black soldiers. Among the commanders holding these views are some who have never had any affinity with what is called abolitionism, or with republican party politics;  but who hold them purely as military opinions. I submit these opinions as being entitled to some weight against the objections, often urged, that emancipation; and arming the blacks, are unwise as military measures, and were not adopted as such, in good faith.

Kansas-Missouri problems are on the president’s mind.  He writes General-in-chief Henry W. Halleck: “It is not improbable that retaliation for the recent great outrage at Lawrence, in Kansas, may extend to indiscriminate slaughter on the Missouri border, unless averted by very judicious action. I shall be obliged if the general-in-chief can make any suggestions to General Schofield upon the subject.”

Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase writes in his diary: “After I returned to the Department, Mr. Stanton came in and I suggested to him to propose to the President the revocation of the Proclamation exceptions in Virginia in connection with the suspension or revocation of the Northampton tax order.  He seemed disinclined to connect the two, but was disposed to insist on the tax.  We discussed the question briefly and left it unsettled.  I represented to him the great importance of prompt and vigorous military action, that tomorrow the amount of suspended military requisitions, including the pay of the whole army for July and August would approach 35,000,000$, and that unless the war could be pushed more vigorously and greater certainty of early and successful termination there was cause for serious apprehension of financial embarrassment.  He replied that the delay of Gen. Rosecrans was the principal cause of difficulty; that he commanded a full third of all the effective force of the country, and did nothing comparatively with it.  That in a week’s time he could if he would penetrate those portions of Georgia and Alabama in which the negroes had been taken by their masters, and where the gathering of large bodies of negro troops would be easy. He said that he had represented these things to the President, but so far without much effect.”

Chase writes that  Mr. Wright “expressed his conviction that I would be the nominee in ’64, and that it was his wish to promote that result.  I replied that nothing could be more uncertain than the currents of popular sentiment; that I was by no means anxious that they should turn towards me, and that if they did, and the result should be such as he predicted, it must be without any pledges from me in relation to appointments, for no man could honorably take charge of the administration under any other obligations than those of duty, and exercise its powers for the best good of the whole country in conformity with the principles upon which, and in general with the aid of the best men by whom, he had been elected.”

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A Quiet Day at the White House

August 30, 1863

The president’s top two aides are away.  Mary and Tad Lincoln are on vacation.  No incoming or outgoing mail.  But politics is always on the agenda as gubernatorial elections in Ohio and Pennsylvania in early October.  Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase wrote that Pennsylvania Congressman John Covode “thought Gov. Curtin and his friends designed that he should be brought forward as a candidate for the Presidency, and that, if elected Governor he would shape matters in Pennsylvania so as to secure its delegates in the Convention, while a majority of the loyal men of Pennsylvania preferred me, and that the vote of the State controlled by Curtin would not be given to me unless under some arrangement which would pledge to Gov. Curtain and his friends the patronage in Pennsylvania.  To this I replied that no speculations as to Gov. Curtin’s future course could excuse the loyal men from supporting him now; that the future must take care of itself; that I was not anxious for the Presidency; that there was but one position in the Government which I really w’d like to have, if it were possible to have it without any sacrifice of principle or public interest, and that was the Chief Justiceship, and that should the wishes of our political friends incline to me as a nominee for the Presidency, those wishes be entirely of a public nature, for I certainly would never consent under any circumstances to make pledges as to appointments to office, but would insist upon being left entirely free to avail myself of the services of the best men in the country.”

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Presidential Reviews the Arming of Black Troops

August 29, 1863

Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase writes in his diary: “In the afternoon the President came in with letters from Generals Grant and Banks in relation to the arming of negro troops, and read them to me.  Gen. Banks that he had already about 12,000 in about 25 regiments of 500 each, which number he regarded as most likely to secure good discipline and drill, and the greatest efficiency of the regiments when filled to their maximum, which he expected to accomplish by degrees.  He tho’t he had now organized about all the blacks who could be obtained till a larger extent of country should be occupied.  Gen. Grant’s was much to the same effect, except that he did not  contemplate any other original organization as to numbers than that of the white regiments, nor did he specify the numbers actually enlisted.  Both Generals express confidence in the efficiency of these troops and clear opinions in favor of using them.  These letters gave much satisfaction to the President, and I suggested to him that not only was the public sentiment of the loyal people of Louisiana in favor of negro troops, but also in favor of the revocation of the exception in his Proclamation of the two Districts, including New Orleans, from its operation, and told him that some weeks ago, after talking with him on this subject, tho’ more particularly in reference to excepted Virginia Districts, I had prepared the draft of a Proclamation revoking the exceptions, which, with his permission, I would hand it to him.  He received it kindly, and said he would consider it further.”

President Lincoln writes Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “Dr. Brown, the embalmer, who has so long gone with our Armies, says he is now prevented in consequence of the loss of a  paper. I suppose he should be given another, unless there be some reason to the contrary unknown to me.”

President Lincoln writes his wife Mary in New Hampshire: “All quite well.  Fort-Sumpter is certainly battered down, and utterly useless to the enemy, and it is believed here, but not entirely certain, that both Sumpter and Fort-Wagner, are occupied by our forces.  It is also certain that Gen. Gilmore has thrown some shot into the City of Charleston.”

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President Lincoln Discusses Pennsylvania Politics

August 28, 1863

Pennsylvania Goveror  Andrew G. Curtin visits White House to request furloughing soldiers to vote in October election for governor.  A tight election was expected and Republicans were generally pro-Republican voters.  President Lincoln was usually amenable to such furloughs if they could be done without injuring military operations.

President Lincoln writes General Samuel W. Crawford: “I regret that I can not be present to witness the presentation of a Sword by the gallant Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, to one so worthy to receive it as Gen. Meade.”  The presentation was to be made at Rappahannock-Station, Virginia.

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President Lincoln Declines to Overrule Military Executions of Bounty Jumpers

August 27, 1863

President Lincoln writes to General George C. Meade: “Walter, Rainese, Faline, Lae, & Kuhne appeal to me for mercy, without giving any ground for it whatever.  I understand these are very flagrant cases, and that you deem their punishment, as being indispensable to the service.  If I am no mistaken in this, please let them know at once that their appeal is denied.”

General Meade responded: “Walter, Rionese, Faline, and Kuhn were to have been executed yesterday.  Their execution was postponed by my order till Saturday the 29th that time might be given to procure the services of a Roman Catholic Priest to assist them in preparing for death.  They are substitute conscripts who enlisted for the purpose of deserting after receiving the bounty, and being the first of this class whose cases came before me.  I believed that humanity the safety of this Army, and the most vital interest of the Country, required their prompt execution as an example…In view of these circumstances I shall therefore inform them their appeal to you is denied.”  The soldiers were executed August 29, 1863.

President Lincoln writes Governor Horatio Seymour regarding the draft in New York City: “Yours of the 21st. with exhibits, was received on the 24th.  In the midst of pressing duties, I have been unable to answer sooner.  In the mean time the Provost-Marshal General has had access to yours, and has addressed a communication in relation [to] it, to the Secretary of War, a copy of which communication, I herewith inclose to you.

Independently of this, I addressed a letter, on the same subject, to the Secretary of War, a copy of which I also inclose to you.  The Secretary has sent my letter to the Provost-Marshal-General, with direction that he adopt and follow the course therein pointed out.  It will, of course, over-rule any conflicting view of the Provost Marshal-General, if there be such.

President Lincoln added: “I do not mean to say if the Provost-Marshall General can find it practicable to give credits by sub-districts, I over-rule him in that.  On the contrary I shall be glad of it; but I will not take the risk of over-burthening him, by ordering him to do it.”

President Lincoln transmits his address to James C. Conkling to be read at Springfield Union rally: My dear Conkling Aug. 27 1863.  I can not leave here now. Herewith is a letter instead. You are one of the best public readers. I have but one suggestion. Read it very slowly. And now God bless you, and all good Union-men.”

President Lincoln writes General John M. Schofield regarding affairs in his Missouri-Kansas district: “I have just received the despatch which follows, from two very influential citizens of Kansas, whose names I omit. The severe blow they have received, naturally enough makes them intemperate, even without there being any just cause for blame. Please do your utmost to give them future security, and to punish their invaders.” President Lincoln writes Kansas Congressman Abel C. Wilder and Senator James H. Lane: “Notice of your demand for the removal of Gen. Schofield, is hereby acknowledged.”

Published in: on August 27, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Prepares to Send “Conkling Letter”

August 26, 1863

President Lincoln writes Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “In my correspondence with Gov. Seymour in relation to the draft, I have said to him, substantially, that credits shall be given for volunteers up to the latest moment, before drawing in any district, that can be done without producing confusion or delay.  In order to do this, let our mustering officers in New-York, and elsewhere, be at once instructed that whenever they muster into our service any number of volunteers, to at once make return to the War Department, both by telegraph and mail, the date of the muster, the number mustered, and the Congressional or enrolment District, or Districts, of their residences, giving the number separately for each District.  Keep these returns diligently posted, and by them give full credit on the quotas, if possible, on the last day before the draft begins in any District.

Again, I have informed Governor Seymour that he shall be notified of the time when the draft is to commence in each District in his State.  This is equally proper for all the States.  In order to carry it out, I propose that so soon as the day for commencing the draft in any District is definitely determined, the Governor of the State, including the District, be notified thereof, both by telegraph and mail, in form, about as follows:

…………  1863

Governor of …………

You are notified that the draft will commence in the …. District, at … on the …. day of …… 1863, at …. A.M. of said day.  Please acknowledge receipt of this, by telegraph and mail.

President Lincoln writes to Springfield attorney James C. Conkling a major state paper to be read at a Union rally in Springfield on September 3:                                                                                                             \

Your letter inviting me to attend a mass-meeting of unconditional Union-men, to be held at the Capital of Illinois, on the 3d day of September, has been received.

It would be very agreeable to me, to thus meet my old friends, at my own home; but I can not, just now, be absent from here, so long as a visit there, would require.

The meeting is to be of all those who maintain unconditional devotion to the Union; and I am sure my old political friends will thank me for tendering, as I do, the nation’s gratitude to those other noble men, whom no partizan malice, or partizan hope, can make false to the nation’s life.

There are those who are dissatisfied with me.  To such I would say: You desire peace; and you blame me that we do not have it.  But how can attain it?  There are but three conceivable ways.  First, to suppress the rebellion by force of arms.  This, I am trying to do.  Are you for it?  If you are, so far we are agreed.  If you are not for it, a second way is, to give up the Union.  I am against this.  Are you for it?  If you are, you should say so plainly.  If you are not for force, not yet for dissolution, there only remains some imaginable compromise.  I do not believe any compromise, embracing the maintenance of the Union, is now possible.  All I learn, leads to a directly opposite belief.  The strength of the rebellion, is its military–its army.  That army dominates all the country, and all the people, within its range.  Any offer of terms made by any man or men within that range, in opposition to that army, is simply nothing for the present; because such man or men, have no power whatever to enforce their side of a compromise, if one were made with them.  To illustrate–Suppose refugees from the South, and peace men of the North, get together in convention, and frame and proclaim a compromise embracing a restoration of the Union; in what way can that compromise be used to keep Lee’s army out of Pennsylvania; and, I think, can ultimately drive it out of existence.  But no paper compromise, to which the controllers of Lee’s army are not agreed, can, at all, affect that army.  In an effort at such compromise we should waste time, which the enemy would improve to our disadvantage; and that would be all.  A compromise, to be effective, must be made either with those who control the rebel army, or with the people first liberated from the domination of that army, by the success of our own army.  Now allow me to assure you, that no word or intimation, from that rebel army, or from any of the men controlling it, in relation to any peace compromise, has ever come to my knowledge or belief.  All charges and insinuations to the contrary, are deceptive and groundless.  And I promise you, that if any such proposition shall hereafter come, it shall not be rejected, and kept a secret from you.  I freely acknowledge myself the servant of the people, according to the bond of service–the United States constitution; and that, as such, I am responsible to them.

But, to be plain, you are dissatisfied with me about the negro.  Quite likely there is a difference of opinion between you and myself upon that subject.  I certainly wish that all men could be free, while I suppose you do not.  Yet I have neither adopted, nor proposed any measure, which is not consistent with even your view, provided you are for the Union.  I suggested compensated emancipation; to which you replied you wished not to be taxed to buy negroes.  But I had not asked you to be taxed to buy negroes, except in such way, as to save you from greater taxation to save the Union exclusively by other means.

You dislike the emancipation proclamation; and, perhaps, would have it retracted.  You say it is unconstitutional–I think differently.  I think the constitution invests its commander-in-chief, with the law of war, in time of war.  The most that can be said, if so much, is, that slaves are property.  Is there–has there ever been–any question that by the law of war, property, both of enemies and friends, may be taken when needed?  And is it needed whenever taking it, helps us, or hurts the enemy?  Armies, the world over, destroy enemies’ property when they can not use it; and even destroy their own to keep it from the enemy.  Civilized belligerents do all in their power to help themselves, or hurt the enemy, except a few things regarded as barbarous or cruel.  Among the exceptions are the massacre of vanquished foes, and non-combatants, male and female.

But the proclamation, as law, either is valid, or is not valid.  If it is not valid, it needs no retraction.  If it is valid, it can not be retracted, any more than the dead can be brought to life.  Some of you profess to think its retraction would operate favorably for the Union.  Why better after the retraction, than before the issue?  There was more than a year and a half of trial to suppress the rebellion before the proclamation issued, the last one hundred days of which passed under an explicit notice that it was coming, unless averted by those in revolt, returning to their allegiance.  The war has certainly progressed as favorable for us, since the issue of the proclamation as before.  I know as fully as one can know the opinions of others, that some of the commanders of our armies in the field who have give us our most important successes, believe the emancipation policy, and the use of colored troops, constitute the heaviest blow yet dealt tot he rebellion; and that, at least one of those important successes, could not have been achieved when it was, but for the aid of black soldiers. Among the commanders holding these views are some who have never had any affinity with what is called abolitionism, or with republican party politics; but who hold them purely as military opinions.  I submit these opinions as being entitled to some weight against the objections, often urged, that emancipation, and arming the blacks, are unwise as military measures, and were not adopted, as such, in good faith.

you say you will not fight to free negroes.  Some of them seem wiling to fight for you; but, no matter. Fight you, then, exclusively to save the Union.  I issued the proclamation on purpose to aid you in saving the Union.  Whenever you shall have conquered all resistance to the Union, if I shall urge you to continue fighting, it will be an apt time, then, for you to declare you will not fight to free negroes.

I thought that in your struggle for the Union, to whatever extent the negroes should cease helping the enemy, to that extent it weakened the enemy in his resistance to you.  Do you think differently?  I thought that whatever negroes can be got to do as sliders, leaves just so much less for white soldiers to do, in saving the Union.  Does it appear otherwise to you?  But negroes, like other people, act upon motives.  Why should they do thing for us, if well will do nothing for them?  If they stake their lives for us, they must be prompted by the strongest motive–even the promise of freedom.  And the promise being made, must be kept.

The signs look better.  The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea.  Thanks to the great North-West for it.  Nor yet wholly to them.  Three hundred miles up, they met New-England, Empire, Key-Stone, and Jersey, hewing their way right and left. The Sunny South too, in more colors than one, also lent a hand.  On the spot, their part of the history was jotted down in black and white.  The job was a great national one; and let none be banned who bore an honorable part in it.  And while those who have cleared the great river may well be proud, even that is not all.  It is hard to say that anything has been more bravely, and well done, than at Antietam, Murfreesboro, Gettysburg, and on many fields of lesser note.  Nor must Uncle Sam’s Web-feet be forgotten.  At all the watery margins they have been present.  Not only on the deep sea, the broad bay, and the rapid river, but also up the narrow muddy bayou, and wherever the ground was a little damp, they have been, and made their tracks.  Thanks to all.  For the great republic–for the principle it lives by, and keeps alive–for man’s vast future,–thanks to all.

Peace does not appear so distant as it did.  I hope it will come soon, and come to say; and so come as to be worth the keeping in all future time.  It will then have been proved that, among free men, there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and that they who take such appeal are sure to lose their case, and pay the cost.  And then, there will be some black men who can remember that, with silent tongue, and clenched teeth, and steady eye, and well-poised bayonet, they have helped mankind on to this great consummation; while, I fear, there will be some white ones, unable to forget that, with malignant heart, and deceitful speech, they have strove to hinder it.

Still let us not be over-sanguine of a speedy final triumph.  Let us be quite sober.  Let us diligently apply the means, never doubting that a just God, in his own time, will give us the rightful result.

About this time, President Lincoln writes a speech fragment – perhaps in conjunction with the Conkling letter: “Suppose those now in rebellion should say: ‘We cease fighting re-establish the national authority amongst us–customs, courts, mails, land-offices,–all as before the rebellion–we claiming to send members to both branches of Congress, as of yore, and to hold our slaves according to our State laws, notwithstanding anything or all things which has occurred during the rebellion.’  I probably should answer: ‘It will be difficult to justify in reason, or to maintain in fact, a war on one side, which shall have ceased on the other.  You began the war, and you can end it.  If questions remain, let them be solved by peaceful means–by courts, and votes.  This war is an appeal, by you, from the ballot to the sword; and a great object with me has been to teach the futility of such appeal–to teach that what is decided by the ballot, can not be reversed by the sword–to teach that there can be successful appeal from a fair election, but to the next election.  Whether persons sent to congress, will be admitted to seats is, by the constitution, left to each House to decide, the President having nothing to do with it.  Yet the question can not be one of indifference to me.  I shall dread, and I think we all should dread, to see the ‘the disturbing element’ so brought back into the government, as to make probable a renewal of the terrible scenes through which we are now passing.  During my continuance here, the government will return no person to slavery who is free according to the proclamation, or to any of the acts of congress, unless such return shall be held to a legal duty, by the proper court of final resort, in which case I will promptly act as may then appear to be my personal duty.[‘]

Congress has left to me very large powers to remit forfeitures and personal penalties; and I should exercise these to the great extent which might seem consistent with the future public safety.  I have thus told you, one more, so far as it is for me to say, what you are fighting for.  The prospects of the Union have greatly improved recently; still, let us not be over-sanguine of a speedy final triumph.  Let us diligently apply the means, never doubting that a just God, in his own good time, will give us the rightful result.

Published in: on August 26, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Slow August Day in Washington

August 25, 1863

President Lincoln issues an order for clearance of vessels headed for New Orleans: “1st. That clearances issued by the Treasury Department for vessels or merchandize bound for the port of New-Orleans for the military necessities of the Department cert[i]fied by Brigadier General Shepley the Military Governor of Louisiana, shall be allowed to enter said port.”

2nd. That vessels and domestic produce from New-Orleans permitted by the Military Governor of Louisiana at New-Orleans for the military purpose of his Department, shall on his permit be allowed to pass from said port to its destination to any port not blockaded by the United States.

President Lincoln writes Isaac N. Morris: “Your note, asking what you were to understand, was received yesterday. Monday morning, I sent the papers to the Secretary of the Interior, with an indorsement that my impression of the law was not changed, and that I desired him to take up the case and do his duty according to his view of the law. Yesterday I said the same thing to him verbally.

Now, my understanding is that the law has not assigned me, specifically, any duty in the case, but has assigned it to the Secretary of the Interior. It may be my general duty to direct him to act; which I have performed. When he shall have acted, if his action is not satisfactory, there may, or may not, be an appeal to me. It is a point I have not examined; but if then it be shown that the law gives such appeal, I shall not hesitate to entertain it when presented

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President Lincoln addresses Illinois Land Claims

August 24, 1863

President Lincoln writes a memorandum about Illinois land claims: “Under that provision of the United States Constitution which requires the President to take care that the Laws be faithfully executed, I am requested to cause a sum of money to be paid from the Treasury of the United States to the State of Illinois.”

By the sixth Section of the Illinois enabling act, approved April 18, 1818, it was among other things, provided that two per cent of the net proceeds of the sales of the United States lands, within Illinois, and which should be sold after the 1st. day of January 1819, should be disbursed under the direction of Congress in making roads leading to the State—this under a condition that the State should not tax the lands sold within five years of the day of sale.

President Lincoln writes Secretary of the Interior John Palmer Usher regarding the claim: “By the within you see the claim of Illinois for the two per cent. on sales of public lands is again presented.  My view of the case is not changed. I believe the law is with the State; and yet I think it is ungracious to be pressing the claim at this time of national trouble.”

Presidential aide John Hay writes Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner: “The President directs me to thank you for your kindness in sending him the letters of Mr. Bright and Mr. Cobden, which I now return, and to express the gratification with which he has read them.”  In afternoon Hay leaves for vacation in New York and Long Branch, New Jersey.

Published in: on August 24, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Works on Conkling Letter for Springfield Rally

August 23, 1863

President Lincoln revises Conkling letter after riding in from the Soldiers Home where he had spent the night: “This morning we ate an egg and came in very early,” writes John Hay in his diary.  “He went to the library to write a letter to Conkling & I went to pack my trunk for the North.”   Unlike Lincoln, Hay was allowed to take a vacation.  He was headed for New York and Long Branch, New Jersey.    He writes an officer in the War Department: “I am going to the sea-shore; burst not with envy.”  Hay leaves William O. Stoddard to act as the chief presidential aide.

Published in: on August 23, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Ponders Kentucky Election Results

August 22, 1863

President Lincoln is consistently concerned with local election results; he writes Green Adams regarding recent elections in Kentucky: “I see by the papers that with nine counties still out [gubernatorial candidate Thomas] Bramlette has over 50,000 majority. I wish you would ascertain for me the aggregate vote he has received. I wish to see whether it will be a clear majority of the largest vote ever cast in Kentucky. The Presidential vote of 1860 which I suppose to be the largest, was 146,216 and 73,109 would be a clear majority of it.”

President Lincoln writes General Daniel E. Sickles: “Your note and brief, about the California Land Claim, are received. The question presented is a property question, with which I do not think I should meddle as a volunteer. It will save me labor, therefore, if you will first point me to the law which assigns any duty to the President in the case. This done, next send me a reference to the treaty, and all the statutory law which bears upon the case.”

At night, President Lincoln visits Observatory at 23rd and E Streets with John Hay: “The Predt. Took a look at the moon and Arcturus.  I went with him to the Soldiers’ Home & he read Shakespeare to me, the end of Henry VI and the beginning of Richard II till my heavy eye-lids caught his considerate notice & he sent me to bed.”

Published in: on August 22, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment