President Lincoln Follows Battles in Knoxville and Chattanooga

November 24, 1863

Although bedridden, President Lincoln remains concerned about military operations at Knoxville and Chatttanooga in Tennessee.  He writes Secretary of State William H. Seward: “A despatch from Foster at Cincinnati received half an hour ago, contains one from Wilcox, at Cumberland Gap without date, saying ‘fighting going on at Knoxville today.’ The want of date makes the time of fighting uncertain, but I rather think it means yesterday the 23rd.”

An editorial in the Philadelphia News favors President Lincoln’s renomination.   “A very remarkable editorial appeared this morning in the Baltimore American under the title ‘Shall the Gulf States be allowed to retain a remnant of slavery?’ writes John Hay in his diary.  “I took it in to the President to show it to him.  He said he did not entirely agree with that view.  He thinks that the enormous influx of slave population into the Gulf states does not strengthen slavery in them.  He says, ‘It creates in those states a vast preponderance of the population of a servile and oppresed class.  It fearfully imperils the lives and safety of the ruling class.  Now, the slaves are quiet, choosing to wait for the deliverance they hope from us, rather than endager their lives by a frantic struggle for freedom.  The society of the Southern states is now constituted on a basis entirely military.  It would be easier now than formerly, to repress a rising of unarmed and uneducated slaves.  But if they should succeed in secession the Gulf states would be more endangered than ever.  The slaves, despairing of liberty through us would take the matter into their own hands, and no longer opposed by the government of the United States they would succeed.  When the Democrats of Tennessee continually asserted in their canvass of 56that Fremont’s election would free the negroes, though they did not believe it themselves, their slaves did: and as soon as the news of Fremont’s defeat came to the plantations the disappointment of the slaves flashed into insurrection.”

Presidential aide John Hay writes John G. Nicolay, who is still on leave: “Where is your umbrella?  I cant find it.  It is raining like the Devil, whose reign you know is infernal…..There is no news from the Army.  When any comes I will shove it along.”

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Published in: on November 24, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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