President Lincoln Watches Actor John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater

November 9, 1863

President and Mrs. Lincoln go to Ford’s Theater with aides John G. Nicolay and John Hay, who writes: “J.  Wilkes Booth was doing ‘the Marble Heart.’  Rather tame than otherwise.”

President Lincoln writes a group of New York leaders who seek support for General John Adams Dix for mayor of New York City: “Upon the subject of your letter I have to say that it is beyond my province to interfere with New-York City politics; that I am very grateful to Gen. Dix for the zealous and able Military, and quasi civil support he has given the government during the war; and that if the people of New-York should tender him the Mayoralty, and he accept it, nothing on that subject could be more satisfactory to me. In this I must not be understood as saying ought against any one, or as attempting the least degree of dictation in the matter. To state it in another way, if Gen. Dix’ present relation to the general government lays any restraint upon him in this matter, I wish to remove that restraint.”

President Lincoln writes General Ambrose Burnside: “Have seen despatch from Gen. Grant about your loss at Rogersville. [2]Per-contra, about the same time [William] Averell & [Alfred] Duffie got considerable advantage of the enemy at and about Lewisburg Va; [3] and on Saturday, the 7th. Meade drove the enemy from Rappahannockstation, and Kellys-ford, capturing 8 battle-flags, four guns, and over eighteen hundred prisoners, with very little loss to himself. Let me hear from you.”  Burnside responded:

Your dispatch received. The Telegraph lines have been down since Saturday night, so that we could not communicate with Genl Grant. Our loss at Rogersville was about five hundred (500) old troops and one hundred & fifty (150) new troops. Four (4) pieces of artillery and thirty six (36) wagons with all the baggage & ammunition of two (2) Regts & a battery the principal loss was in the Second Tennessee mounted Infantry. The Seventh Ohio Cavalry lost about one hundred (100) men & Phillips Illinois Battery about forty (40). The force at that point consisted of these two (2) Regts & the Phillips Battery with some recruits for a new Tennessee Regt. The rebel attacking force amounted to thirty five hundred (3500) mounted men under Gen Sam Jones. They captured about six hundred horses & equipment & as many stand of small arms. An investigation is being made as to the cause of defeat. I at first thought it was the result of carelessness on the part of the Comdg Officer Col Garrard & want of steadiness on the part of the men but as the Investigation progresses I am becoming satisfied that it is result of the necessity for holding so long a line between two formidable forces of the Enemy. It seems to be impossible to be sufficiently watchful to prevent trouble when so many points are assailable. We were holding the line from Washn. on the Tenn. River to the Watauga. The troops of this command have behaved so well that I shall be glad to find that no one was censurable for the defeat. I send you a cipher dispatch. We were all rejoiced to hear of the Successes in Western Virginia & in the Army of the Potomac.”

Regarding reconstruction in Louisiana, President Lincoln writes Benjamin F. Flanders, a New Orleans politician who had briefly served in Congress earlier in the year.  Flanders had been appointed Special Agent of the United States Treasury Department in August.  Lincoln wrote: “In a conversation with Gen. Butler he made a suggestion which impressed me a good deal at the time. It was that, as a preliminary step, a vote be taken, yea or nay, whether there shall be a State convention to repeal the Ordinance of secession, and remodel the State constitution. I send it merely as a suggestion for your consideration, not having considered it maturely myself. The point which impressed me was, not so much the questions to be voted on, as the effect of chrystallizing, so to speak, in taking such popular vote on any proper question. In fact, I have always thought the act of secession is legally nothing, and needs no repealing. Turn the thought over in your mind, and see if in your own judgment, you can make any thing of it.”

The President meets with wife of General Benjamin Butler who came to the White House to meet with Mrs. Lincoln.

White House aide William O. Stoddard writes in an anonymous newspaper dispatch: “The result of the New-York election must be a cheering thing to the Administration, and as chilling on the other hand to the rebels.  The whole North has now spoken, State by State, and all with the same spirit.”

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

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