A Cabinet Meeting without a Purpose

January 8, 1864

To-day at the Executive Mansion,” write Navy Secretary Gideon Welles.  “Only Usher with myself was present, and no business transacted. Mr. Hudson of Massachusetts, formerly Member of Congress, was with the President. Conversation was general, with anecdotes as usual. These are usually very appropriate and instructive, conveying much truth in few words, well, if not always elegantly, told. The President’s estimate of character is usually very correct, and he frequently divests himself of partiality with a readiness that has surprised me”

President Lincoln writes Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton after meeting with Iowa Senator James Grimes: “To-day Senator Grimes calls and asks that I may particularly examine the recommendations on file for Grenville M. Dodge for Major Genl. & Edward Hatch of 2nd. Iowa Cav. & Henry C. Caldwell of the 3rd. Iowa. Cav. for Brig. Genls. which I promise to do.”  Stanton replies: “There is no vacancy for Major or Brigadier General,” but eventually Dodge and Hatch do get promotions.

President Lincoln writes Esther Stockton: “Madam: Learning that you who have passed the eighty-fourth year of life, have given to the soldiers, some three hundred pairs of stockings, knitted by yourself, I wish to offer you my thanks. Will you also convey my thanks to those young ladies who have done so much in feeding our soldiers while passing through your city?

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