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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Published in: on August 29, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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