President Lincoln Returns to Washington

December 28, 1863

President Lincoln returns from a visit with Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton to  Point Lookout.  Presidential aide John Hay wrote that the president “returned about dusk.  He says that Gen M[arston]. represents a strong feeling of attachment to the Union or rather disgust for the rebellion existing among his prisoners – a good many of whom are Northern men & foreigners the victims of conscription: from one-third to one-half ask that they may not be exchanged and bout one half of this number desire to enter our army, having, poor devils, nowhere else to go & nothing else to do.  The Bill just introduced in the Rebel Congress which will probably become a law, holding permanently all soldiers now in the army, will doubtless greatly increase the disaffection.”

Hay writes that Illinois attorney Ebenezer “Peck was here this evening. The Indiana State Convention meets in Mass Assembly of the people on the 22nd of February to nominate delegates to the Union Convention for Presidential selection.  P. does not understand this clearly.  He will cause the Illinois Convention to be called two days before, if it is thought advisable.”

Talked with the President about the matter of the reconstruction of Florida.  He wants me to take one of his Oath books down to Pt Lookout and get the matter going there and after that he will appoint me a Commissioner to go to Florida and engineer the business there.  By their meeting at St Augustine the other day there seems a prospect of getting the State under way early next spring.  I will go down & form my plans after I get there, as to my own course.

White House aide William O. Stoddard writes in an anonymous newspaper dispatch: “It is really winter today, if there was only a trifle of snow on the ground.  The wind rudely flutters the capes and reddens the noses of the sentries on the ramparts of the forts, and reddens the noses of the sentries on the ramparts of the forts, and in the shelter-tents the outlying pickets huddle together closely to keep warm, longing even for hear, and dust, and long marches.”

Stoddard added: “The President is steadily recovering his health and strength, and his friends say that he will be rather improved than otherwise by his brief struggle with fever.  He received his guests at the Reception the other day with a good deal of his usual hearty cheerfulness, though compelled to avail himself of occasional opportunities for a brief resting-spell.”

Published in: on December 28, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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