President Lincoln Advises General Grant

April 30, 1864

Presidential John Hay writes in his diary: “The President this morning read me his letter to Gen. Grant, an admirable one, full of kindness & dignity at once.” President Lincoln writes General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant: “Not expecting to see you again before the Spring campaign opens, I wish to express, in this way, my entire satisfaction with what you have done up to this time, so far as I understand it. The particulars of your plans I neither know, or seek to know. You are vigilant and self-reliant; and, pleased with this, I wish not to obtrude any constraints or restraints upon you. While I am very anxious that any great disaster, or the capture of our men in great numbers, shall be avoided. I know that these points are less likely to escape your attention than they would be mine. If there is anything wanting which is within my power to give, do not fail to let me know it.

“And now with a brave Army, and a just cause, may God sustain you.”

Grant responded to President Lincoln on May 1st 1864: “Your very kind letter of yesterday is just received. The confidence you express for the future, and satisfaction with the past, in my Military administration is acknowledged with pride. It will be my earnest endeavor that you, and the country, shall not be disappointed.

From my first entrance into the volunteer service of the country, to the present day, I have never had cause of complaint, have never expressed or implied a complaint, against the Administration, or the Sec. of War, for throwing any embarassment in the way of my vigerously prossecuting what appeared to me my duty. Indeed since the promotion which placed me in command of all the Armies, and in view of the great responsibility, and importance of success. I have been astonished at the readiness with which every thin[g] asked for has been yielded without even an explaination being asked. Should my success be less than I desire, and expect, the least I can say is, the fault is not with you.

Presidential aide John Hay writes in his diary: “The President has been powerfully reminded, by General Grant’s present movements and plans, of his (President’s) old suggestion so constantly made and as constantly neglected, to Buell & Halleck, et al to move at once upon the enemy’s whole line so as to bring into action to our advantage our great superiority in numbers. Otherwise by interior lines & control of interior railroad system the enemy can shift their men rapidly from one point to another as they may be required. In this concerted movement, however, great superiority of numbers must tell: as the enemy, however successful where he concentrates must necessarily weaken other portions of his line and lose important position. This idea of his own, the Prest recognized with especial pleasure when Grant said it was his intention to make all the line useful — those not fighting could help the fighting. “Those not skinning can hold a leg,” added his distinguished interlocutor.”

Hay writes in his diary: “A little after midnight as I was writing those last lines, the President came into the office laughing, with a volume of Hood’s works in his hand, to show Nicolay & me the little Caricature “An unfortunate Bee-ing,” seemingly utterly unconscious that he with his short shirt hanging above his long legs & setting out behind like the tail feathers of an enormous ostrich was infinitely funnier than anything in the book he was laughing at. What a man it is! Occupied all day with matters of vast moment, deeply anxious about the fate of the greatest army of the world, with his own fame & future hanging on the events of the passing hour, he yet has such a wealth of simple bonhommie & good fellow ship that he gets out of bed and perambulates the house in his shirt to find us that we may share with him the fun of one of poor Hood’s queer little conceits.”

Former Ohio Congressman Albert Riddle had been visiting Washington. “I went that morning to take leave of the President. I had seen him but once before. I was pained, almost shocked, by the change in his looks and manner wrought during the intervening five months. He looked like a man worn and harassed with petty faultfinding and criticism, until he had turned at bay, like an old stag pursued and hunted by a cowardly rabble of men and dogs. He received me as if he hardly knew whether he had not to ward off a baiting. I came to understand something of this on that Saturday forenoon at the White House.

There were a number of people in the President’s ante-room, and I very soon found that the President himself was undergoing a rude roasting at the hands of those who were waiting for admission to his presence. Even my amiable and excellent friend Worcester, spoke ironically of him as ” that great and good man.” The one most loud and bitter was Henry Wilson, of Massachusetts. His open assaults were amazing. I withdrew to the President’s desk to escape, but was annoyed by it even there, and I turned upon the Senator in indignant surprise, asking why he did not assault him in the Senate, get a seat in the June convention, instead of opening on him in the streets and in the lobbies and offices of the Executive mansion itself. He conceded what I asserted that the entire North stood with the President and would renominate him, and said that, ” bad as that would be, the best must be made of it.” ” Yes, and this is the way you are doing your share of that best work,” was my rejoinder.

I was a little late in reaching the Chase residence in the afternoon. The Secretary and his daughters had left for the station, and Sprague and I followed them.

I was shown to Mr. Chase’s presence in the car set apart for his use. He was alone, and in a frightful rage, and controlled himself with difficulty while he explained the cause. The recital in a hoarse, constrained voice, seemed to rekindle his anger and aggravate its intensity. The spacious car fairly trembled under his feet.

Frank Blair had taken the floor in the house late this same afternoon against Mr. Chase, with added incidents and Blairian fervor and intensity,- had then gone to the Executive Mansion, held a brief interview with the President and received from his hands his old commission, with an order from the Secretary of War, countersigned by Mr. Lincoln, assigning him to the command of a corps, and then had left Washington for the front.

Painter Francis Carpenter introduces women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, leader in women’s rights movement to President Lincoln.

Published in: on April 30, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Explains His Treatment of His Confederate Sister-in-Law

April 29, 1864

Navy Secretary Gideon Welles writes in his diary: “The President to-day related to two or three of us the circumstances connected with his giving a pass to the half-sister of his wife, Mrs. White. He gave the details with frankness, and without disguise. I will not go into them all, though they do him credit on a subject of scandal and abuse. The papers have assailed him for giving a pass to Mrs. White to carry merchandise. Briefly, Mrs. W. called at the White House and sent in her card to Mrs. Lincoln, her sister, who declined to receive or see her. Mrs. W. two or three times repeated these applications to Mrs. L. and the President, with the same result. The President sent a pass, such as in some cases he has given, for her to proceed South. She sent it back with a request that she might take trunks without being examined. The President refused. She then showed her pass and talked ‘secesh’ at the hotel, and made application through Mallory first and then Brutus Clay. The President refused the former and told Brutus that if Mrs. W. did not leave forthwith she might expect to find herself within twenty-four hours in the Old Capitol Prison.”

Chief-of-staff Henry W. Halleck writes General-in-chief Ulysses S. Grant: “I fully agree with you, that after General Banks’ long delay it will hardly be possible to get his troops east of the Mississippi [in] time to be of any use in the spring campaign. Moreover, to withdraw any of his forces at the present time might lead to serious disaster and to be a virtual closing of the navigation of the Mississippi River.

I submitted your telegram of 10.30 a.m. to the Secretary of War, who was of opinion that before asking the President for an order I should obtain your views in regard to the extent of the proposed division, the officer to command it &c., and that I should write to you confidentially on the subject. ….

I think the President will consent to the order if you insist upon General Banks’ removal as a military necessity, but he will do so very reluctantly, as it would give offense to many of his friends, and would probably be opposed by a portion of his Cabinet. Moreover, what could be done with Banks? He has many political friends who probably demand for him a command equal to the one he now has.

Before submitting the matter to President, the Secretary of War wishes to have in definite form precisely they order you wish issued.”

Published in: on April 29, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Controversy about General/Congressman Frank Blair Consumes Washington

April 28, 1864

Under criticism for allowing Congressman Frank Blair to return to his position as a general in the army, President Lincoln sends a statement regarding two congressmen-generals to the House of Representatives: “In obedience to the Resolution of your Honorable body, a copy of which is herewith returned, I have the honor to make the following brief statement which is believed to contain the information sought.

Prior to, and at the meeting of the present Congress, Robert C. Schenck, of Ohio, and Frank P. Blair, Jr. of Missouri, members elect thereto, by and with the consent of the Senate, held commissions from the Executive, as Major Generals in the Volunteer Army. Gen. Schenck tendered the resignation of his said commission and took his seat in the House of Representatives, at the assembling thereof, upon the distinct verbal understanding with the Secretary of war and the Executive, that he might, at any time during the session, at this own pleasure, withdraw said resignation, and return to the field. Gen. Blair was, by temporary assignment of Gen. Sherman, in command of a corps, through the battles in front of Chattanooga, and in the march to the relief of Knoxville, which occurred in the latter days of November, and early days of December last; and, of course was not present at the assembling of Congress. When he subsequently arrived here, he sought, and was allowed by the Secretary of War and the Executive, the same conditions, and promise as allowed and made to Gen. Schenck. Gen. Schenck has not applied to withdraw his resignation; but when Gen. Grant was made Lieut. General, producing some change of commanders, Gen. Blair sought to be assigned to the command of a corps. This was made known to Generals Grant and Sherman and assented to by them, and the particular corps for him designated. This was all arranged and understood, as now remembered, so much as a month ago; but the formal withdrawal of Gen. Blair’s resignation, and making the order assigning him to the command of the corps, were not consummated at the War Department until last week–perhaps on the 23rd. of April, Inst. As a summary of the whole it may be stated that Gen. Blair holds no military commission or appointment, other than as herein stated; and that it is believed he is now acting as a Major General upon the assumed validity of the commission herein stated, in connection with the facts herein stated, and not otherwise. There are some letters, notes, telegrams, orders, entries, and perhaps other documents, in connection with this subject, which it is believed would throw no additional light upon it; but which will be cheerfully furnished, if desired.

Presidential aide John Hay writes in his diary: “The Prest tells a queer story of Meigs. When McClellan lay at Harrison’s land, Meigs came one night to the President & waked him up at Soldiers’ Home to urge upon him the immediate flight of the Army from that point — the men to get away on transports and the horses to be killed as the [army?] cd not be saved. “Thus often,” says the President, “I who am not a specially brave man have had to sustain the sinking courage of these professional fighters in critical times.”

“When it was proposed to station Halleck here in general command, he insisted, to use his own language, on the appt of a General-in-Chief who shd be held responsible for results. We appointed him & all went well enough until after Pope’s defeat, when he broke down — nerve and pluck all gone– and has ever since evaded all possible responsibility — little more since that than a first-rate clerk.”

Navy Secretary Gideon Welles writes in his diary: “General Frank Blair has resigned his seat to the House, and the President has revoked the acceptance of his military resignation. This is a stretch of power and construction that I do not like. Much censure will fall on the President for this act, and it will have additional edge from the violent and injudicious speech of General Blair denouncing in unmeasured terms Mr. Chase. He also assails the appointees of Chase, and his general policy touching agent’s permits in the valley of the Mississippi as vicious and corrupt. I have an unfavorable opinion of the Treasury management there and on the coast, and there are some things in the conduct of Chase himself that I disapprove.”

The Blairs are pugnacious, but their general views, especially those of Montgomery Blair, have seemed to me sound and judicious in the main. A forged requisition of General Blair has been much used against him. A committee of Congress has pronounced the document a forgery, having been altered so as to cover instead of $150 worth of stores some $8000 or $10,000. He charges the wrong the Treasury agents, and Chase’s friends, who certainly have actively used it. Whether Chase has given encouragement to the scandal is much to be doubted. I do not believe he would be implicated in it, though he has probably not discouraged, or discountenanced it. Chase is deficient in magnaminity and generosity. The Blairs have both, but they have strong resentments. Warfare with them is open, bold and unsparing. With Chase it is silent, persistent, but regulated with discretion. Blairs make no false professions. Chase avows no enmities.

Presidential aide John G. Nicolay writes General Benjamin F. Butler regarding the recent visit of President Lincoln’s sister-in-law, Martha White to Washington: “I thank you for your kind letter of the 21st inst., answering my inquiries in the case of Mrs. White. I sent the enclosed brief editiorial to the N.Y. Tribune, which appeared in its issue of yesterday. I felt myself that the whole canard was too silly and trivial to merit an official contradiction, but thought that a correction in this shape was due and proper, and troubled you with the matter only that I might get the exact facts, to have them put in as few words as possible.”

President Lincoln writes his wife: “The draft will go to you. Tell Tad the goats and father are very well–especially the goats.”

Lowell H. Harrison wrote in Lincoln of Kentucky: “Louisville Journal editor George D. Prentice was involved in one of Lincoln’s special clemency cases. His son Clarence had entered Confederate service and was a major when he was captured in Louisville in April 1863; he had slipped into town to visit his family. Sent to Camp Chase, he was to be tried as a spy. The parents’ other son had been killed while fighting with John Hunt Morgan, and the parents were distraught at the thought of losing Clarence as well. On April 28, 1863, Prentice implored the president ‘to let him go on his taking that simple oath anywhere outside of the United States and of the rebel Confederacy. I know his plans. His mother will go with him and he will never bear arms against us again. I will be surety for this with fortune and life.’ Judge Advocate Joseph Holt recommended that Clarence be exchanged instead; Clarence had not indicated a willingness to take the oath of allegiance, and no one could be sure that he would not take up arams again if an opportunity presented itself. Lincoln issued a parole order to Secretary Stanton on May 16, 1863, but it was apparently not used. Major Prentice was exchanged, and he ended the war as a Confederate colonel.”

Published in: on April 28, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Congressman Blair Returns to Army after Attacks on Secretary Chase on House Floor

April 27, 1864

General Francis P. Blair, Jr., had alternated between commission as major general and stints in Congress. Historian Frederick Blue wrote his biography of Secretary of State Salmon P. Chase: “Several of Chase’s Ohio friends in Congress, including James M. Ashley, Riddle, and Rufus Spalding, confronted Lincoln and demanded a repudiation of the Blair speech, but the president explained that he had issued the commission before he knew anything of the speech; moreover, he would let the appointment stand and would make no public disavowal of Blair’s actions even though he disapproved of them, nor would he issue any expression of confidence in Chase. Having endured Chase’s disloyalty for so long, Lincoln no doubt felt little remorse as he watched the secretary suffer under Blair abuse. Furthermore, to repudiate Blair might anger moderates in the party. For the president, it was an ongoing struggle to try to satisfy all Republican factions.”

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Photographs Taken of President for Painting of Emancipation Proclamation

April 26, 1864

The irascible Navy Secretary Gideon Welles writes in his diary after the regular Tuesday cabinet meeting: “Photographers from M.B. Brady’s studio work in White House to make stereoscopic studies of Lincoln in his office.”

Neither Chase nor Blair were at the Cabinet to-day nor was Stanton. The course of these men is reprehensible, and yet the President, I am sorry to say, does not reprove but rather encourages it by bringing forward no important measure connected with either. As regards Chase, it is evident he presumes on his position and the condition of the finance to press a point, hoping it may favor his aspirations.

Stanton has a cabinet and is a power in his own Department. He deceives the President and Seward, makes confidants of certain leading men, and is content to have matters move on without being compelled to show his exact position. He is not on good terms with Blair, nor is Chase, which is partly attributable to that want of concert which frequent assemblages and mutual counselling on public measures would secure. At such a time the country should have the combined wisdom of all.

Artist Francis Carpenter recalled that “the day after the review of Burnside’s division, some photographers from Brady’s Gallery came up to the White House to make some stereoscopic studies for me of the President’s office. They requested a dark closet, in which to develop the pictures; and without a thought that I was infringing upon anybody’s rights, I took them to an. unoccupied room of which little ” Tad” had taken possession a few days before, and with the aid of a couple of the servants, had fitted up as a miniature theatre, with stage, curtains, orchestra, stalls, parquette, and all. Knowing that the use required would interfere with none of his arrangements, I led the way to this apartment.

Everything went on well, and one or two pictures had been taken, when suddenly there was an uproar. The operator came back to the office, and said that “Tad” had taken great offence at the occupation of his room without his consent, and had locked the door, refusing all admission. The chemicals had been taken inside, and there was no way of getting at them, he having carried off the key. In the midst of this conversation, ” Tad” burst in, in a fearful passion. He laid all the blame upon me, — said that I had no right to use nis room, and that the men should not go in even to get their things. He had locked the door, »nd they should not go there again — ” they had no business in his room!” Mr. Lincoln had been sitting for a photograph, and was still in the chair. He said, very mildly, ” Tad, go and unlock the door.” Tad went off muttering into his mother’s room, refusing to obey. I followed him into the passage, but no coaxing would pacify him. Upon my return to the President, I found him still sitting patiently in the chair, from which he had not risen. He said: “Has not the boy opened that door?” I replied that we could do nothing with him, — he had gone off in a great pet. Mr. Lincoln’s lips came together firmly, and then, suddenly rising, he strode across the passage with the air of one bent on punishment, and disappeared in the domestic apartments. Directly he returned with the key to the theatre, which he unlocked himself. – ” There,” said he, ” go ahead, it is all right now.” He then went back to his office, followed by myself, and resumed his seat. “Tad,” said he, half apologetically, “is a peculiar child. He was violently excited when I went to him. I said, ‘Tad, do you know you are making your father a great deal of trouble?’ He burst into tears, instantly giving me up the key.”

Another irascible man, New York Tribune Editor Horace Greeley: “I thank you heartily for your note of yesterday. I shall of course publish the enclosure to-morrow” refuting allegations that President Lincoln’s Confederate sister-in-law, Martha Todd White, had received special treatment on her return to Alabama. “Please send me any thing of public interest you may at any time have to publish. Though I am an earnest one-term man, I want to publish all the truth I can get and as few falsehoods as possible.”

New Yorker H. L. Williams writes President Lincoln seeking government assistance: “I have for some time intended to compile a Book, on “The Negro as a Soldier.” But I find that to produce such a work properly it would be necessary to visit and remain for a brief period in Paris, France.”

Published in: on April 26, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Reviews 30,000 Marching Through Washington

April 25, 1864

President Lincoln has a busy day. He goes to the nearby Willard’s Hotel. There he reviews troops commanded by General Ambrose Burnside en route to the Army of Potomac. Artist Francis B. Carpenter recalled:

The 25th of April, Burnside’s command marched through Washington, on the way from Annapolis, to reinforce the army of the Potomac. The President reviewed the troops from the top of the eastern portico at Willard’s Hotel, standing with uncovered head while the entire thirty thousand men filed through Fourteenth Street. Of course the passage of so large a body of troops through the city — presaging as’ it did the opening of the campaign — drew out a numerous concourse of spectators, and the coming movement was everywhere the absorbing topic of conversation. Early in the evening, Governor Curtin, of Pennsylvania, with a friend, came into the President’s office. As he sat down he referred to the fine appearance of Burnside’s men; saying, with much emphasis, “Mr. President, if there is in the world one man more than another worthy of profound respect, it is the volunteer citizen soldier.” To this Mr. Lincoln assented, in a quiet way, — the peculiar dreaminess of expression so remarkable at times, stealing over his face as his mind reverted to the thousands whose lives had been so freely offered upon the altar of their country, and the myriad homes represented by the thronging columns of the day’s review, in sc many of which there was henceforth to be weary watching and waiting for footsteps which would return no more.

I took this opportunity to get at the truth concerning a newspaper story which went the rounds a year or two previous, purporting to be an account of a meeting of the loyal Governors in Washington, early in the war. It was stated that the President laid the condition of the country before such a council, convened at the White House, and anxiously awaited the result. An oppressive silence followed. Curtin was represented as having” been standing, looking out of one of the windows, drumming unconsciously upon a pane of glass. Mr. Lincoln, at length addressing him personally, said: “Andy, what is Pennsylvania going to do?” Turning around, Curtin replied: “She is going to send twenty thousand men to start with, and will double it, if necessary!” “This noble response” [quoted from memory] “overwhelmed the President, and lifted the dead weight which seemed to have paralyzed all present.”

I repeated this account substantially as here given ; but both parties smiled and shook their heads. “It is a pity to spoil so good a story,” returned the President, “but, unfortunately, there is not a word of truth in it. I believe the only convocation of Governors that has taken place during the war,” he added, looking at Curtin, “was that at Altoona — was it not?”

Subsequently the two gentlemen proposed to visit my room, and Mr. Lincoln accompanied them. Sitting down under the chandelier on the edge of the long table, which ran the whole length- of the apartment, swinging back and forth his long legs, passing his hand occasionally over his brow and through his rough hair (his appearance and manner come back to me most vividly, as I write), he listened abstractedly to my brief explanation of the design of the picture. When I ceased, he took up the record in his own way. “You see, Curtin,” said he, “I was brought to the conclusion that there was no dodging this negro question any longer. We had reached the point where it

Presidential aide John G. Nicolay writes: “The President thinks it will be impossible for him to take up the Court Martial cases today. To-morrow morning at nine, however, he will endeavor to do so.” President Lincoln had been actively reviewing court martial cases for the past week.

President Lincoln writes Illinois Sanitary Commission official John R. Woods: “I regret that I cannot be present at the inauguration of your Soldiers Home this week. Accept my thanks for your kind invitation and believe me, very truly Your Obedient Servant.”

From Pennsylvania comes a report of President Lincoln’s political strength as the Republican National Convention approaches: “On Saturday last we elected two firm & unwavering Lincoln men, as our Delegates to Baltimore, & instructed them to vote accordingly.”

In our district there is no dissenting voice, and so far, as I can learn, the State will be unanimous, for your re-election. Our State Convention will be held on Thursday next, at Harrisburg.

From the House of Representative comes a resolution regarding the outspoken critic of Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase: “That the President be requested to communicate to this House whether the Hon. Francis P. Blair, Jr., representing the first Congressional District of Missouri in the present House, now hold any appointment or commission in the Military service of the United States, and if so, what that appointment or commission is, and when the said Blair accepted the same, and whether he is now acting under the authority of any such appointment or commission.”


Published in: on April 25, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln “Loafs”

April 24, 1864

Presidential aide John Hay writes in his diary: “Today, the President, loafing into my room, picked up a paper and read the Richmond Examiner’s recent attack on Jeff. Davis. It amused him. ‘Why,’ said he, ‘the Examiner seems abt as fond of Jeff as the [New York] World is of me.’” President Lincoln also met with General Ambrose Burnside.

General Henry W. Halleck writes General William T. Sherman: “Newspaper stories about quarrels between the President, secretary of War, General Grant, and myself, and my resigned are all ‘bosh.’ Not a word of truth in them.

There has not been the slightest difficulty, misunderstanding, or even difference of opinion between any of the parties, so far as I know, and the relations between Grant and myself are not only friendly and pleasant, but cordial.

I have never had the slightest intention of resigning, so long as my services can be useful to the country. These malicious stories generally originate in such secesh journals as the [New York] Herald and World. Of course my position here, both as General-in-Chief and as Chief of Staff, has been and is a disagreeable one, from which I can receive no credit, but sufficient abuse to satisfy any ordinary ambition.

To this, however, I have become utterly callous. Grant very wisely keeps away from Washington, and out of reach of the rascally politicians and shoddy contractors who infest every department of the Government and abuse everybody who will not grind their axes.

Banks’ operations in the West are about what should have been expected from a general so utterly destitute of military education and military capacity. It seems but little better than murder to give important commands to such men as Banks, Butler, McClernand, Sigel and Lew. Wallace, and yet it seems impossible to prevent it.

If Banks and Steele fail to occupy the line of Red River and the troops are withdrawn as General Grant contemplated, I fear that we shall have serious trouble in Louisiana and Arkansas, and that the navigation of the Mississippi will be greatly disturbed, if not suspended.

Published in: on April 24, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Busy Saturday on Military Matters

April 23, 1864

President Lincoln orders the reinstatement of Congressman Frank P. Blair, Jr. as a Union Army general. Lincoln writes Secretary of War Edwin Stanton: “According to our understanding with Major General Frank P. Blair, at the time he took his seat in Congress last winter, he now asks to withdraw his resignation as major general, then tendered, and be sent to the field. Let this be done. Let the order sending him be such as shown me to-day by the Adjutant General, only dropping from it the names of Maguire and Tompkins.” Blair had written Stanton: “I respectfully request to withdraw my resignation as major general of the United States volunteers, tendered on the 12th day of January, 1864.”

Earlier in the day, Blair had strongly attacked Chase and his conduct of Treasury Department affairs – partly in response to attacks that Chase’s congressional allies had made on Blair: ““These dogs have been set on me by their master, and since I have whipped them back into their kennels I mean to hold their master for this outrage and not the curs who have been set upon me.” Blair’s enemies had descended on the White House after his speech but President Lincoln refused to abandon the embattled Blair family.

President Lincoln writes to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “The foregoing proposition of the Governors is accepted, and the Secretary of War is directed to carry it into execution.” The previous day, Stanton had sent a memo in long with a letter from the governors and a telegram from General Grant, as follows:

‘An estimate has been made of the probable expense of the force mentioned in the foregoing proposition and it is believed that its cost to the United States will amount to $25,000,000. The views of General Grant are indicated in the telegram a copy of which is annexed and which is a response to my enquiry as to whether he would desire the acceptance of 100 000 men as at first proposed by the Governors. In view of the importance of the ensuing campaign and the judgement of General Grant that the troops offered may be of ‘vast importance’ I am in favor accepting the offer. The present estimates are inadequate to meet the expense and additional appropriation will be required.’

‘To the President                                                                                          Washington City,

of the United States:                                                                                     April 21st 1864.

I. The Governors of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin offer to the President infantry troops for the approaching campaign, as follows:

Ohio                            `           30,000

Indiana                                    20,000

Illinois                                     20,000

Iowa                                           10,000

Wisconsin                                  5,000

II. The term of service to be one hundred days, reckoning from the date of muster into the service of the United States, unless sooner discharged.

III. The troops to be mustered in to the service of the United States by regiments, when the regiments are filled up, according to the regulations, to the minimum strength–the regiments to be organized according to the regulations of the War Department. The whole number to be furnished within twenty days from date of notice of the acceptance of this proposition.

Iv. The troops to be clothed, armed, equipped, subsisted, transported, and paid as other United States infantry volunteers, and to serve in fortifications, or wherever their services may be required, within or without their respective States.

V. No bounty to be paid the troops, nor the service charged or credited or credited on any draft.

VI. The draft for three years’ service to go on in any State or district where the quota is not filled up; but if any officer or soldier in this special service should be drafted, he shall be credited for the service rendered.

President Lincoln had been postponing a trip to visit General Benjamin F. Butler:   Butler writes Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus V. Fox: “I think you can do more good to the service by coming here for twenty-four hours than anywhere else. Please breakfast with me to-morrow morning at 9 a.m. Perhaps you can bring the President with you.” President Lincoln writes Fox: “I do not think I can go. Shall be glad if Captain Fox does.”   Assistant Secretary John Hay accompanies Fox to the meeting in Virginia.

Published in: on April 23, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

“In God We Trust” Becomes Coin Standard

April 22, 1864

Navy Secretary Gideon Welles writes in his diary: “Neither Seward nor Chase nor Stanton was at the Cabinet-meeting to-day. For some time Chase has been disinclined to be present and evidently for a purpose. When sometimes with him, he takes occasion to allude to the Administration as departmental,– as not having council, not acting in concert. There is much truth in it, and his example and conduct contribute to it. Seward is more responsible than any one, however, although he is generally present. Stanton does not care usually to come, for the President is much of his time at the War Department, and what is said or done is communicated by the President, who is fond of telling as well as of hearing what is new. Three or four times daily the President goes to the War Department and into the telegraph office to look over communications.”

Presidential aide John G. Nicolay writes an Illinois friend regarding the Republican presidential race: There si butt little stir in politics here just now. A few discontented Radicals in New York are agitating in Fremont’s behalf, but they are a skelton organization and haveno public sentiment at their back. In this city, a few original Chase men,chagrined that hteir favorite gave out so early in the Presidential race, still live in hope that that something may turn up to their advantage in the Baltimore Convention, and to this end also echo and magnify the mutterings of the Fremonters. The Fremont movement has no substantial foundation outside of the State of Missouri, except so far as Republicans at other points sympathize with the supposed wrongs of the Missouri Radicals – wrongs which are entirely suppositious, and exist only in the scheming brains of factious and selfish and faithless Missouri politicians of the Gratz brown school, who avow ‘rule or ruin’ as their principle of action.” He added: “but their whole scheme will come to nothing. Mr. Lincoln will be renominated, and re-elected unless there should be an unexpected and surprising revolution before November next.”

President Lincoln signs legislation authorizing inscription “In God We Trust” to be used on coins.

Kentucky editor Albert Hodges responds to Lincoln’s state paper of April 4: “Yours of the 4th instant was received by due course of mail, and will be given to the people of Kentucky at the proper time. I have shown it to some of the prominent Union men here and from other parts of the State who visit here on business or pleasure, and I have met but one as yet who dissents from your reasoning upon the subject of slavery.

It is with feelings of profound satisfaction I inform you, that every day since my arrival at home, I have been receiving information of your steady gain upon the gratitude and confidence of the People of Kentucky. Extraordinary efforts, however, will be made by Mr. [James] Guthrie and the Louisville Journal to carry off a majority of the Union men to the support of the nominee of the Chicago Convention. My deliberate belief is, that with your name before the people of our State, — to use a homely phrase, — we shall ” flax them out handsomely.”

We have the advantage of them, greatly, in one respect, and that is, the working and laboring men are with us, from every part of the State from which I have been able, thus far, to obtain information. The county meetings which are now being held to appoint Delegates to the Louisville Convention, of unconditional Union men, with but few exceptions, are for sending Delegates to Baltimore. I believe that that Convention, will, with great unanimity, not only send Delegates to Baltimore but send them instructed to vote for you for re-election to the Presidency.

I have just received a letter from an old friend in Lewis County, with a goodly list of subscribers, sending me the proceedings of his County meeting to appoint Delegates to the Union Convention at Louisville, in which he used the following language — “Our meeting was large — every District being represented, and unanimous for Abraham. I tell you that the mountains are all right.”

I have received one also from the County of Whitley today of similar import. One yesterday from Pulaski (one of the largest counties in our State) which states that nearly every Union man in that County is for you. I might go and multiply others received heretofore, but it is unnecessary. I only mention these because they were received yesterday and to-day.

If you have the time, occasionally, to glance over the columns of the Commonwealth, you will see from the published proceedings of the meetings in the various counties, how nobly our people are coming up to your support.

I shall leave home in a day or two, and be absent about two weeks, has induced me to write you a few lines to let you know how we are progressing in Kentucky.

I think I may safely say now, that all will be safe in this State.

Published in: on April 22, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Works Through Court Martial Cases

April 21, 1864

President Lincoln reviews more than 70 court martial cases. He writes General George Meade about one man: “This case is submitted to Gen. Meade to be disposed of by him, under the recent order upon the subject.” He adds: “If Gen. Warren has recommended the discharge of this man, let him be discharged.”

President Lincoln, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and General Henry W. Halleck meet with Ohio Governor John Brough, Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton, Illinois Governor Richard Yates, and Iowa Governor William Milo Stone about new enlistments.

Published in: on April 21, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment