Haiti Colonization Project Abandoned

February 1, 1864

President Lincoln has decided to abandon the colonization scheme on an island off Haiti. He writes to Edwin M. Stanton: “You are directed to have a transport (either a steam or sailing vessel as may be deemed proper by the Quartermaster-General) sent to the colored colony established by the United States at the island of Vache, on the coast of San Domingo, to bring back to this country such of the colonists there as desire to return.  You will have the transport furnished with suitable supplies for that purpose, and detail an officer of the Quartermaster’s Department who, under special instructions to be given, shall have charge of the business.  The colonists will be brought to Washington, unless otherwise hereafter directed, and be employed and provided for at the camps for colored persons around that city.  Those only will be brought from the island who desire to return, and their effects will be brought with them.”

Admiral John Dahlgren visits Mr. Lincoln’s office with his son, Ulric, a Union army officer.  President Lincoln kept them waiting for five hours.  Less than two weeks later, a Union cavalry officer, Judson Kilpatrick, also visited President Lincoln and Edwin Stanton.   He apparently convinced them to authorize a cavalry raid of Richmond with the intention of liberating Union prisoners held there.  Ulric volunteered for the raid and was killed on March 2, 1863 when it failed miserably.   On his body were found extensive memos about the raid, including references to killing Confederate President Jefferson Davis as one of the raid’s objectives.   The objective was quickly disowned by Union leaders and labeled a forgery, particularly by Admiral Dahlgren.  However, the authenticity of the captured documents was widely believed in the South and spurred discussion of similar plans — such as the one which John Wilkes Booth later employed to assassinate Mr. Lincoln.

White House aide William O. Stoddard writes in an anonymous newspaper dispatch: “Socially, the capital has been very gay for a number of days, but the season for entertainments of any considerable size is mostly at an end.  Mr. Fernando Wood, of New-York, gave a grand party the other evening, which, to the surprise of some, was largely attended by Republicans and Abolitionists of the most ultra stripe.”

Published in: on February 1, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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