President Lincoln Has Photos Taken

August 9, 1863

Presidential aide John Hay writes: “This being Sunday & a fine day, I went down with the President to have his picture taken at Gardner’s.  He was in very good spirits.  He thinks that the rebel power is at last beginning to disintegrate, that they will break to pieces if we only stand firm now.  Referring to the controversy between two factions in Richmond, one of whom believes still in foreign intervention, Northern treason & other cameras, and the other, the Administration party, trusts to nothing but the army, he said, “Davis is right.  His army is his only hope, not only against us, but against his own people.  If that were crushed the people would be ready to swing back to their old bearings.”

“He is very anxious that Texas should be occupied and firmly held in view of French possibilities.  He thinks it just now more important than Mobile.  He would prefer that Grant should not throw his army into the Mobile business before the Texas matter is safe.  He wrote in that sense, I believe, to Grant today.

President Lincoln writes to General Ulysses S. Grant: “I see by a despatch of yours that you incline quite strongly towards an expedition against Mobile. This would appear tempting to me also, were it not that in view of recent events in Mexico, I am greatly impressed with the importance of re-establishing the national authority in Western Texas as soon as possible. I am not making an order, however. That I leave, for the present at least, to the General-in-Chief.

A word upon another subject. Gen. Thomas has gone again to the Mississippi Valley, with the view of raising colored troops. I have no reason to doubt that you are doing what you reasonably can upon the same subject. I believe it is a resource which, if vigorously applied now, will soon close the contest. It works doubly, weakening the enemy and strengthening us. We were not fully ripe for it until the river was opened. Now, I think at least a hundred thousand can, and ought to be rapidly organized along it’s shores, relieving all the white troops to serve elsewhere.

Mr. Dana understands you as believing that the emancipation proclamation has helped some in your military operations. I am very glad if this is so. Did you receive a short letter from me, dated the 13th. of July?

President Lincoln writes John M. Fleming and Robert Morrow regarding military and civil affairs in Tennessee: “The petition of which you were the bearers, has just been handed me.  Yours and notes had come to me on two or three successive days before; and I knew then, as well as I do now, after reading the petition, what your mission was.  I knew it was the same true, and painful story, which Gov. Johnson, Mr. Maynard, Dr. Clements and others have been telling me for more than two years.  I knew that meeting you could do no good; because I have all the while done, and shall continue to do the best for you I could, and can.  I do as much for East Tennessee as I would, or could, if my own home, and family were in Knoxville.  The difficulties of getting a Union army into that region, and of keeping it there, are so apparant, – so obvious – that none can fail to see them, unless it may be those who are driven made and blind by their sufferings.  Start by whatever route they may, their lines of supply are broken before they get half way.  A small force, sufficient to beat the enemy now there, would be of no value, because the enemy would re-inforce to meet them, until we should have to give back, or accumulate so large a force, as to be very difficult to supply, and as to ruin us entirely if a great disaster should befall it. I know you are too much distressed to be argued with; and therefore I do not attempt it at length.  You known I am not indifferent to you troubles; else I should not, more than a year and a half ago, have made the effort I did to have a Railroad built on purpose to relieve you.  The Secretary of War, Gen. Halleck, Gen. Burnside, and Gen. Rosecrans are all engaged now in an effort to relieve your section.  But remember, you will probably thwart them if you make this public.

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

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