President Lincoln Meets with Would-Be Black Chaplains

August 21, 1863

After meeting with a  a twelve-man delegation from the American Baptist Missionary Convention, President Lincoln writes a memo “To whom it may concern”: “To-day I am called upon by a committee of colored ministers of the Gospel, who express a wish to go within our military lines and minister to their brethern there.  The object is a worthy one, and I shall be glad for all facilities to be afforded them which may not be inconsistent with or a hindrance to our military operations.”

Navy Secretary Gideon Welles writes in his diary:“Made an early call on the President with Joseph P. Allyn, one of the Judges for the Territory of Arizona, on the subject of Governor for that Territory.  At the Cabinet-meeting, subsequently, the President concluded to appoint Goodwin Governor and Turner Chief Justice.

Had a free conversation with the President on his proposed instructions to our naval officers. Told him they would in my opinion be injudicious. That we were conceding too much, and I thought unwisely, to the demands of the British Minister. He said he thought it for our interest to strengthen the present ministry, and would therefore strain a point in that direction. I expressed a hope he would not impair his Administration and the national vigor and character by yielding what England had no right to claim, or ask, and what we could not, without humiliation, yield. I finally suggested that Lord Lyons should state what were the instructions of his government, — that he should distinctly present what England claimed and what was the rule in the two cases. We are entitled to know on what principle she acts, — whether her claim is reciprocal, and if she concedes to others what she requires of us. The President chimed in with this suggestion, requested me to suspend further action, and reserve and bring up the matter when Seward and Lord Lyons returned.

This conclusion will disturb Seward, who makes no stand, — yields everything, — and may perhaps clear up the difficulty, or its worst points.  I do not shut my eyes to the fact that the letter of the President and the proposed instructions have their origin in the state Department.  Lord Lyons has pressed a point, and the easiest way for Mr. Seward to dispose of it is to yield what is asked, without examination or making himself acquainted with the principles involved and the consequences which are to result from his concession.  To a mortifying extent Lord Lyons shapes and directs, through the Secretary of State, as erroneous policy to this government. This is humiliating but true.

President Lincoln writes Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “In the autumn of 1861, certain persons in armed rebellion, against the United States, within the counties of Acomac and Northampton, laid down their arms upon certain terms then proposed to them by Genl. Dix, in and by a certain procla[ma]tion. It is now said that these persons or some of them, are about to be forced into the military lines of the existing rebellion, unless they will take an oath prescribed to them since, and not included in, Gen. Dix’ proclamation referred to. Now, my judgment is that no one of these men should be forced from his home, who has not broken faith with the government, according to the terms fixed by Gen. Dix and these men. It is bad faith in the government to force new terms upon such as have kept faith with it. At least so it seems to me.”

President Lincoln writes Secretary of War Stanton: “Sec. of War, please see this Pittsburgh boy. He is very young, and I shall be satisfied with whatever you do with him.”

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

President Responds to Springfield Rally Invitation

August  20, 1863

President Lincoln responds to Springfield attorney James C. Conkling, who is organizing a Union rally: “Your letter of the 14th. is received.  I think I will go, or send a letter–probably the latter.”  President Lincoln had never returned to Springfield, Illinois since leaving in February 1861.

President Lincoln writes Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “Since leaving the Telegraph office it has occurred to me that it might be well to have Gen. Lockwood send down to us, the two men he mentions as just arrived from Fredericksburg.”  General Lockwood had wired General George Meade: “A gentleman of the highest respectability . . . has ridden into town to report information just received from Fredericksburg by two men from that place, one a Unionist, the other a secessionist. These men agree in reporting Lee’s army very much disorganized.”

Later, President Lincoln, accompanied by Secretary of War Stanton , General James  Wadsworth, General John H. Martindale, General Montgomery Meigs, and General John G. Barnard, takes a boat ride on Potomac River to visit new fort on Rosier’s Bluff in Virginia.  Barnard was hief engineer of the Department of Washington – in charge of the city’s defenses.

Published in: on August 20, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Third Date of Target Practice

August 19, 1863

Presidential aide John Hay writes: “This evening and yesterday evening an hour was spent by the President in shooting with Spencer’s new repeating rifle.  A wonderful gun, loading with absolutely contemptible simplicity and ease with seven balls & firing the whole readily & deliberately in less than half a minute.  The President made some pretty good shots.  Spencer, the inventor, a quiet little Yankee who sold himself in relentless slavery to his idea for six weary years before it was perfect, did some splendid shooting.  My shooting was the most lamentably bad.  My eyes are gradually failing.  I can scarcely see the target two inches wide at thirty yards.”   The presidential party had spectators:

An irrepressible patriot came up and talked about his son John who when lying on his belly on a hilltop at Gettysburg, feeling the shot fly over him like to lost his breath – felt himself puffing up like a toad – thought he would bust.  Another seeing the gun recoil slightly said it wouldn’t do; too much powder; a good piece of audience [ordnance]  should not rekyle; if it should rekyle a little forrid.’

President Lincoln writes Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “The bearer of this, Judge Colt, of Mo, introduced to me by the Attorney General, tells me [he] has a Step-son—Singleton Wilson—who ran away into the rebel army, then under seventeen, and still under nineteen, and who is now a prisoner at Camp-Morton, Indiana. He now wants to take the oath of allegiance, and go home with the Judge, and the Judge desires the same.”

Published in: on August 19, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Tries to Mediate Kansas Disputes

August  18, 1863

President Lincoln writes General James G. Blount about affairs in Kansas: “Yours of July 31st is received. Governor Carney did leave some papers with me concerning you; but they made no great impression upon me; and I believe they are not altogether such as you seem to think. As I am not proposing to act upon them, I do not now take the time to re-examine them.

I regret to find you denouncing so many persons as liars, scoundrels, fools, thieves, and persecutors of yourself. Your military position looks critical, but did any body force you into it? Have you been ordered to confront and fight ten thousand men, with three thousand men? The Government cannot make men; and it is very easy, when a man has been given the highest commission, for him to turn on those who gave it and vilify them for not giving him a command according to his rank.

My appointment of you first as a Brigadier, and then as a Major General, was evidence of my appreciation of your service; and I have not since marked but one thing in connection with you, with which to be dissatisfied. The sending a military order twenty five miles outside of your lines, and all military lines, to take men charged with no offence against the military, out of the hands of the courts, to be turned over to a mob to be hanged, can find no precedent or principle to justify it. [2] Judge Lynch sometimes takes jurisdiction of cases which prove too strong for the courts; but this is the first case within my knowledge, wherein the court being able to maintain jurisdiction against Judge Lynch, the military has come to the assistance of the latter. I take the facts of this case as you state them yourself, and not from any report of Governor Carney, or other person.

President Lincoln witnesses a test of Spencer’s Repeating Rifle in Treasury Park south of the Treasury Building.  According to Christopher Spencer: “The next day we started on time for the shooting place, which was about where stands the Washington Monument.  With us was the President’s son Robert and an official of the War Department.

“On the way the President stopped in front of the War Department and sent Robert to ask Mr. Stanton, the Secretary of War, to come with us.  While we were waiting Mr. Lincoln told us some good stories, and, noticing that one of the pockets of his black alpaca coat was torn, he took a pin from his waistcoat and proceeded to mend it, saying, laughingly, ‘It seems to me that this does not look quite right for the Chief Magistrate of this mighty Republic.’  Robert reported that Mr. Stanton was too busy to accompany us.  ‘Well,’ said the President, ‘they do pretty much as they have a mind to over there.’  The target was a board about 6 inches wide and 3 feet long, with a black spot painted at each end.  The rifle contained six 50-calibre, rim-fire, copper cartridges.  Mr. Lincoln’s first shot was to the left and 5 inches low, but the next shot hit the bul’s eye and the other five were placed close around it.

“‘Now,’ said Mr. Lincoln, ‘we will see the inventor try it.’  The board was reversed and I did somewhat better than the President.  ‘Well,’ he said, ‘you are younger than I am and have a better eye and steadier nerve.’

Published in: on August 18, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Tests Rifle

August  17, 1863

President Lincoln, Robert Todd Lincoln and John Hay witness a test of the Spencer repeating rifle.  Christopher Spencer recalled: “Among my most pleasing recollections of the war times was a shooting match which I engaged in with President Lincoln.  I had been delegated by our company to present the president with one of the rifles, which I did on August 17, 1863.  On my arrival at the White House I was rushed immediately into the reception room, with my repeating rifle in my hand, and there I found the President alone.  I took the rifle from its cloth case and handed it to him.  He examined it carefully and handled it like one familiar with firearms.  He requested me to take it apart and how the ‘inwardness of the thing.’  After carefully examining and approving the gun, he asked me if I had any engagement for the following day [August 18], and requested me to come over about 2 o’clock, when, he said, ‘we will go out and see the thing shoot.”

President Lincoln writes Shakespearean actor James H. Hackett: “Months ago I should have acknowledged the receipt of your book, and accompanying kind note; and I now have to beg your pardon for not having done so.

For one of my age, I have seen very little of the drama.  The first presentation of Falstaff I ever saw was yours here, last winter or spring.  Perhaps the best compliment I can pay is to say, as I truly can, I am very anxious to see it again.  Some of Shakespeare’s plays I have never read; while others I have gone over perhaps as frequently as any unprofessional reader. Among the latter are Lear, Richard Third, Henry Eighth, Hamlet, and especially Macbeth.  I think nothing equals Macbeth.  It is wonderful. Unlike you gentlemen of the profession, I think the soliloquy in Hamlet commencing ‘O, my offence is rank’ surpasses that commencing ‘To be, or not be.’  But pardon this small attempt at criticism.  I should like to hear you pronounce the opening speech of Richard the Third.  Will you not soon visit Washington again?  If you do, please call and let me make your personal acquaintance.

Upon receiving Lincoln’s letter, Hackett issued a broadside printing entitled ‘A Letter from President Lincoln to Mr. Hacket,’ which bore the notice ‘Printed not for publication but for private distribution only, and its convenient perusal by personal friends.’ Seized upon by political enemies, the letter thus distributed was soon carried in the newspapers with sarcastic comments on the president’s lack of critical sense.

President Lincoln writes California Republican Frederick F. Low: “There seems to be considerable misunderstanding about the recent movement to take possession of the New-Almedan mine. It had no reference to any other mines or miners. In regard to mines and miners generaly, no change of policy by the government has been decided on, or even thought of, so far as I know. The New-Almedan mine was peculiar in this, that its occupants claimed to be the legal owners of it, on a Mexican grant, and went into court on the claim. The case found it’s way into the Supreme Court of the United States; and last term, in and by that court, the claim of the occupants was decided to be utterly fraudulent. Thereupon it was considered the duty of the government, by the Secretary of the Interior, the Attorney General, and myself, to take possession of the premises; and the Attorney General carefully made out the Writ, and I signed it. It was not obtained surreptitiously, although I suppose Gen. Halleck thought it had been, when he telegraphed, simply because he thought possession was about being taken by a Military order—while he knew no such order had passed through his hands, as General-in-Chief.”

The Writ was suspended, upon urgent representations from California, simply to keep the peace. It never had any direct or indirect reference to any mine, place, or person, except the New-Almedan mine, and the persons connected with it.

President Lincoln writes Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “The writer of the within is reliable. Dr. [William]  Chipley has a son at Camp Chase, captured in the Confed. Army, who is now only in his eighteenth year. I think the Sec. of War may safely bail him to his father, who is unquestionably loyal.

Published in: on August 17, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Reads his “Conkling Letter” Aloud to Aide

August 16, 1863

President Lincoln is preparing a major speech to be read at a Union rally at Springfield, Illinois.  Presidential aide William O. Stoddard later relates what happened that day after he decided to visit the White House Library on the second floor:

If it is a good place to loaf in, it is also a good place to read in, and we will go over to the library and get a book.

It is a fairly well selected library, largely from the fact that only part of it was in any manner selected, and all the rest simply gathered from time to time. It is an evening for novel-reading. Something tame and quiet, like Bulwer, to grow still and rested over, after the thrilling realities of the long life-romance of these White House days.

Why not read in the library? Nobody can tell; but it does not seem to be the right place to read in, and then Mr. Lincoln is still at work in his own rooms and you might as well be here.

One can really become interested in Bulwer’s Strange Story, but if he could have spent a few months in Andrew Jackson’s chair, what wonderful things he might have written!

“Ah! I’m glad you’re here. I was thinking everybody had gone. Come over into my room.”

“Certainly, Mr. Lincoln!”

Down come your feet from the mantel, the Strange Story shoots across the table, and you follow him back across the hall into the room where he and so many other Presidents before him have sat, alone or in company, and have pondered or discussed the condition of parties and the country and all the world, if not the other world.

Mr. Lincoln has evidently been sitting at the end of the Cabinet table, and he has been writing something. He has in hand a number of sheets of closely written foolscap paper.

“Sit down. I can always tell more about a thing after I’ve heard it read aloud, and know how it sounds. Just the reading of it to myself doesn’t answer as well, either.”

“Do you wish me to read it to you?”

“No, no; I’ll read it myself. What I want is an audience. Nothing sounds the same when there isn’t anybody to hear it and find fault with it.”

“I don’t know, Mr. President, that I’d care to criticise anything you’d written.”

“Yes, you will. Everybody else will. It’s just what I want you to do. Sit still now, and you’ll make as much of an audience as I call for.”

He has been punctuating his manuscript with a pen, while speaking, and he has drawn the pen across it, through something that is to come out.

If you are indeed an audience, you believe he has forgotten you are there for a moment, but that is only while he is beginning. He is more an orator than a writer, and he is quickly warmed up to the place where his voice rises and his long right arm goes out, and he speaks to you somewhat as if you were a hundred thousand people of an audience, and as if he believes that something like fifty thousand of you do not at all agree with him. He will convince that half of you, if he can, before he has done with it.

The manuscript is long. It is a letter nominally addressed to some gentlemen in Illinois, but really to the country and to the world. He. is satisfied that it is about what he intended it should be, and he laughs silently when at last he puts it down on the table.

            “Now! Is there any criticism that you wanted to make?”

“Well, I was thinking—of course, it’s as nearly beyond criticism as it well could be, but there’s one place”

            “What’s that? Take the paper and show it to me.”

“Why, Mr. Lincoln, some people will find fault with this: ‘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, 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.'”

The silent laugh of the President becomes heartily audible, as he listens to that bit of criticism.

“I reckoned it would be some such place as that. I’ll leave it in just as it is. I reckon the people’ll know what it means.”

“That’s about the only fault I can find, but I never saw a web-footed gunboat in all my life. They’re a queer kind of duck.”

“Some of ’em did get ashore, though,” and the silent laugh comes again this time. “I’ll leave it in, now I know how it’s going to sound. That’ll do. I sha’n’t want you any more to-night.”

About this date, President Lincoln drafts a letter to General Stephen A. Hurlbut: “The within discusses a difficult subject–the most difficult with which we have to deal.  The able bodied male contrabands are already employed by the Army.  But the rest are in confusion and destitution.  They better be set to digging their subsistence out of the ground.  If there are plantations near you, on either side of the river, which are abandoned by their owners, first put as many contrabands on such, as they will hold–that is, as can draw subsistence from them.  If some still remain, get loyal men, of character in the vicinity, to take them temporarily on wages, to be paid to the contrabands themselves–such men obliging themselves to not let the contrabands be kidnapped, or forcibly carried away.  Of course, if any voluntarily make arrangements to work for their living, you will not hinder them.  It is thought best to leave details to your discretion subject to the provisions of the acts of Congress & the orders of the War Department.

By directions of the President.

Published in: on August 16, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Finds Job for Former Commander of Fort Sumter

August  15, 1863

President Lincoln writes to General Robert Anderson, who had commanded Fort Sumter at the beginning of the Civil War but who was now in ill health: “I have been through the War Department this morning looking up your case.  Section 20 of ‘An act providing for the better Organization of the Military Establishment’ Approved August 3, 1861, seems to leave no discretion to President, Secretary of War, General-in-Chief, or any one else.   The General-in-Chief, however says that, if agreeable to you, he will give you command of Fort-Adams (I think) at New-Port, R.I. by which your pay will be the same as if this law did not exist.  I advise you to try it, at all events.  Gen. Halleck says it will require substantially no labor, or thought, whatever.  Please telegraph whether you conclude to try it.”  He concluded: “And now, my dear General allow me to assure you that we here are all your sincere friends.”   A few days later, he was appointed to the Fort Adams command, but but the end of October, Anderson was retired for disability.

President Lincoln writes General Edward S. Sanford, in charge of the New York State militia a draft order: “Whereas by reason of unlawful combinations against the authority of the government of the United States, it has become impracticable, in my judgment to enforce, by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, the laws of the United States, within therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do call forth yourself and your command, as part of the Militia of the State of New-York, to aid in suppressing said combinations and opposition to said laws; and I do order and direct that, for this object, you report forthwith to Major General John A. Dix.”

President Lincoln writes to New York Governor Horatio Seymour: “Whereas, by reason of unlawful combinations against the authority of the Government of the United States, it has become impracticable, in my judgment, to enforce, by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, the laws of the United States, within therefore:

I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do call forth the Militia of the State of New-York, to aid in suppressing said combinations and opposition to said laws.  And I do respectfully request, and direct that, for this purpose, your Excellency do forthwith order Major General Sanford, with his command, to report for orders to Major General John A. Dix.

Published in: on August 15, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

General George Meade Visits Cabinet Meeting

August 14, 1863

Navy Secretary Gideon Welles writes in his diary: “General Meade called at the Executive Mansion whilst the Cabinet was in session.  Most of the members, like myself had never met since they graduated until to-day.  He has a sharp visage and a narrow head.  Would do better as second in command than as General-in-Chief.  It is doubtless a good officer, but not a great and capable commander.  He gave some details of the battle of Gettysburg clearly and fluently.  Shows intelligence and activity, and on the whole I was as well or better pleased with him than I expected I should be, for I have had unfavorable impressions, prejudiced, perhaps, since the escape of Lee.  This interview confirms previous impressions of the calibre and capacity of the man.”

President Lincoln writes Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “The subscribers of this letter are most worthy & reliable gentlemen. They ask three things [regarding Rock Island, Illinois].

1st. That the City of Rock-Island, which is on the main land, Illinois side, may have consent of the U.S. to build a bridge across the Slough to Rock-Island, which Island belongs to the U.S.

2nd. That Capt. Ben. Harper be appointed Post-Quarter-Master; and William Baily Military Storekeeper.

3rd. That the Island be not thrown into a Military Department lying West of the River.

I submit the whole to the Secretary of War.

Presidential aide John Hay writes a friend: “The trash you read every day about wrangles in the Cabinet about measures of state policy looks very silly from an inside view, where Abraham Rex is the central figure continually.  I wish you could see as I do, that he is devilish near an autocrat in this Administration.”

President Lincoln writes his wife’s cousin, Elizabeth Grimsley back in Springfield: “My dear Cousin Lizzie I have, by the law, two classes of appointments to make to the Naval-School—ten of each, to the year. The first class, according to the law, must be of families of the meritorious Naval-Officers; while the other class does not have such restriction. You see at once that if I have a vacancy in the first class, I can not appoint Johnny to it; and I have intended for months, and still intend, to appoint him to the very first vacancy I can get in the other class.”

Published in: on August 14, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Patronage, Politics and Politics on White House Agenda

August 13, 1863

Lincoln aide John Hay writes in his diary that John “Conness has been here, the guest of [Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P.] Chase. [Charles] James is made Collector of San Franco. In place of [soon to be California Governor Frederick Ferndinand] Low.  I rather intimated to the Presdt. that this was Chases game and he replied good humoredly ‘I suppose C. thinks it is to his advantage.  Let him have him.”   The appointment of customs collectors occasionally resulted in patronage conflicts between President Lincoln and Secretary Chase.

Chase is plotting a bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Meanwhile, the president meets with Republican leaders Governor  David Tod and New York Senator Ira  Harris more inclined to Lincoln’s reelection.  About this time, Hay writes in his diary: “The Presidential aspiration of Mr Chase are said to have been compared by the President to a horsefly on the neck of a ploughhorse – which kept him lively about his work.”

President Lincoln writes Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt: “Major Alexander Montgomery, who has been dismissed from the Regular Army, is now with me, and denies the charges upon which he was dismissed, and which he says he now, for the first time, has officially heard. As the principal charge, can be given the appearance at least of being merely personally offensive to me, and as he denies it, I think he should have a Court-Martial, rather than to abide my arbitrary dismissal.

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

President Lincoln Visits the Capitol

August 12, 1863

Navy Secretary Gideon Welles writes in his diary: “The President addressed me a letter, directly additional instructions and of a more explicit character to our naval officers in relation to their conduct at neutral ports.  In doing this, the President takes occasion to compliment the administration of the Navy in terms most commendatory and gratifying.

The proposed instructions are in language almost identical with certain letters which have passed between Mr. Seward and Lord Lyons, which the former submitted to me and requested me to adopt.  My answer was not what the Secretary and Minister had agreed between themselves should be my policy and action.  The President has therefore been privately interviewed and persuaded to write me,–an unusual course with him and which he was evidently reluctant to do.  He earnestly desires to keep on terms of peace with England and, as he says to me in his letter, to sustain the present Ministry, which the Secretary of State assures him is a difficult matter, requiring all his dexterity assures him is a difficult matter, requiring all his dexterity and ability,–hence constant derogatory concessions.

In all of this Mr. Seward’s subservient policy, or want of a policy, is perceptible.  He has no convictions, no fixed principles, no rule of action, but is governed and moved by impulse, fancied expediency, and temporary circumstances.

…The President has a brief reply to Governor Seymour’s rejoinder, which is very well.  Stanton said to me he wished the President would stop letter-writing, for which he has a liking and particularly when eh feels he has facts and right [on his side].  I might not disagree with Stanton as regards some correspondence, but I think the President has been more successful with Seymour than some others.  His own letters and writings are generally unpretending and abound in good sense.

President Lincoln writes to John A. McClernand regarding a colleague from Lincoln’s youth: “Our friend, William G. Greene, has just presented a kind letter in regard to yourself, addressed to me by our other friends, Yates, Hatch, and Dubois.  I doubt whether your present position is more painful to you than to myself.  Grateful for the patriotic stand so early taken by you in this life-and-death struggle of the nation, I have done whatever has appeared practicable to advance you and the public interest together.  No charges, with a view to a trial, have been preferred against you by any one; nor do I suppose any will be.  All there is, so far as I have heard, is Gen. Grant’s statement of his reasons for relieving you.  And even this I have not seen or sought to see; because it is a case, as appears to me, in which I could do nothing without doing harm.  Gen. Grant and yourself have been conspicuous in our most important successes; and for me to interfere, and thus magnify a breach between you, could not but be of evil effect.  Better leave it where the law of the case has placed it.  For me to force you back upon Gen. Grant, would be forcing him to resign.  I can not give you a new command, because we have no forces except such as already have commanders.  I am constantly pressed by those who scold as already have commanders.  I am constantly pressed by those who scold before they think, or without thinking at all, to give commands respectively to Fremont, McClellan, Butler, Sigel, Curtis, Hunter, Hooker, and perhaps others when, all else out of the way, I have no commands to give them when, all else out of the way, I have no commands to give them.  This is now your case, which, as I have before said, pains me, not less than it does you.

My belief is that the permanent estimate of what a general does in the field, is fixed by the ‘cloud of witnesses’ who have been with him in the field; and that relying on these, he who has the right needs not to fear.

President Lincoln writes Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “Hon. Secretary of War: Mrs. Baird tells me that she is a widow; that her two sons and only support joined the army, where one of them still is; that her other son, Isaac P. Baird, is a private in the Seventy-second Pennsylvania Volunteers—Baxter’s Fire Zouaves, Company K; that he is now under guard with his regiment on a charge of desertion; that he was under arrest for desertion, so that he could not take the benefit of returning under the proclamation on that subject.  Please have it ascertained if this is correct, and if it is, let him be discharged from arrest and go to duty.  I think, too, he should have his pay for duty actually performed. Loss of pay falls so hard upon poor families.”

Aide John Hay accompanies President Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward to the Capitol.  Hay writes in his diary: “Saw the Statuary of the East Pediment.  The Presdt. objected to [Hiram”Powers Statute of the Woodchopper, as he did not make a sufficiently clean cut.”  Mr. Lincoln was always proud of his own axemanship skills.  Hay adds:

Coming home the President told Seward of what Frank Blair said about an interview he had had with Poindexter in the West.  Poindexter said ‘we are gone up, there is no further use of talking.’  ‘How about yr. Institution?” Frank asked.  ‘Gone to the Devil.

Seward said ‘Slavery is dead: the only trouble is that the fools who support it from the outside do not recognize this, and will not till thing is over.  In our Masonic warfare, we made a great fight.  The Masons were beaten: they knew & felt it, and retired from the fight.  But the Jack Masons as they were called kept up their dismal howls of sympathy for the Masons long after they had given up the fight and forgotten all about it.  So now, though slavery is dead, the Democratic party insists on devoting itself to guarding the corpse.”

Published in: on August 12, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment