Military Plans against Charleston Reviewed

October 25, 1863

President Lincoln talks to General  Alfred H. Terry and Colonel  Joseph R. Hawley about military plans for Charleston.”   John Hay writes: “I presented them to the President.  They said in answer to his inquiry why Charleton was not shelled that they preferred to save their fire for service against Johnson & Moultrie when the navy moves, rather than burst their guns now by throwing a few Shell into the city.  A very sensible conclusion as it appears to me.  They had a long talk & came away much pleased.”

Massachusetts Senator Henry Wilson writes President Lincoln while campaigning in New York: “I am on a stumping tour in this state. Our friends are making a fair canvass and will I think win. But it is no such fight as we had in Pennsylvania. If we had such a canvass I think we should have 40,000 majority. Some of our best men are doing nothing. We have quite too much petty partizanship in this state for the good of the country. Some of the politicians and Editors ought to have, — as you said about the Missouri ranglers, — their heads knocked together.

A friend of mine spent an hour yesterday with [Governor Horatio] Seymour and had a full talk with him. Seymour says his party is gaining ground now and would carry the election if it had more time — that your call for men will give them several thousand votes. They are trying to make out of that call and will do so to some extent — it enables Seymour to take ground in favor of raising men and making a show of patriotism and it enables his “friends” to appeal to the fears of the selfish and the base. He and his “friends” are doing what they can in these respects.

Everybody wants to know why we do not raise more Black soldiers. I see why we do not. No one is organizing the movement. If an organizer like Butler, Forbes2 an eminent business man of Boston or some other good organizer had committed to him in the War office this great work and had full power to act he could in the border states and in the conquered portions of the rebel states raise men with great rapidity – fill our armies and distroy slavery. As it is — no head – we are doing but little and calling for more men here in the loyal states and must suffer by it. I intended that the conscription act should include the colored men free and slave but I do not see that they are enrolled in the Slave states. Our people do not understand this.

Since this war came upon us I have never writtened a line of complaint or criticism of the action of our Generals and I do so now for the first time and to say that it seems to me that Lee has completely fooled and outgeneraled the army of the Potomac — that it retreated before a shaddow. I do not see why we should spend weeks and thirty thousand dollars a mile to rebuild a road not worth defending and to reach a barren region of no account to hold. We shall have some hard questions put at us in the next Congress. Blair is universally denounced for his speeches and actions and is every hour setting men against you.3 On the opening of Congress — when the pressure of the elections are over — the war he has made causelessly upon us will be repelled – at any cost.

Onetime Secretary of War Simon Cameron is being sued by some Baltimore residents for false arrests back when he was secretary of war in July 1861.  Cameron writes President Lincoln: “I am very desirous of having the damage cases instituted by the leading Baltimore traitors [against?] tried, & decided, at the next term of the U. S. Court, which begins the 1st Monday in Nov.1 To me these cases are of much importance, and if left until it may suit the traitors, it may involve all my fortune. It is time the suits were made by the State Dept. and it is also, time that Congress passed an act for the relief — of those thus sued — but still there are contingencies enough to ruin me, if the trial is suffered to hang until the rebels are allowed to come back as repentant sinners & be received as the prodigal children of the republic.”

My attorney you will see recommends that the treason trials, be ordered for trial at the same court — and if you will have them so ordered, I feel confident the traitors will not give me much trouble. All the parties in Baltimore are banded together, — and many of them are related.

I will esteem it a great favor if you will order the trials to be commenced.

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Published in: on October 25, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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