President Lincoln Thanks Massachusetts Woman for Socks

May 5, 1864

President Lincoln writes Mrs. Abner Bartlett: “I have received the very excellent pair of socks of your own knitting, which you did me the honor to send. I accept them as a very comfortable article to wear; but more gratefully as an evidence, of the patriotic devotion which, at your advanced age, you bear to our great and just cause.” He concludes: “May God give you yet many happy days.”

California journalist Noah Brooks writes of General Ulysses S. Grant’s Wilderness Campaign, which is beginning in northern Virginia: “The past few days of suspense and intense anxiety have been succeeded by a relief of substantial good news; our most ardent hopes have been realized by the good tidings from the front of battle, and yesterday and last night the excitement over the glorious news was unparalleled, even in Washington. On every street corner and public place hundreds of men were gathered in knots, discussing or inquiring about the military situation, and last evening the entire city was ablaze with joy upon learning that Grant had pressed the rebels past their old battle ground of the Wilderness, and was driving them before him toward Richmond. About nine o’clock in the evening, the excitement of the populace having risen to a fever heat, an impromptu procession was formed in front of Willard’s and preceded by a band of music the crowd marched up to the White House, where a fine serenade was given the President, and he appeared at the door, stepping out among the sovereigns who were crowded around the entrance. Order being restored, he proceeded to thank the assemblage for the compliment, which he thought would not have been bestowed if they were not anxious to hear from his own lips the confirmation of the good news which was in circulation on the street.”

Navy Secretary Gideon Welles writes: “I have written a letter to the President in relation to the Fort Pillow massacre, but it is not satisfactory to me, nor can I make it so without the evidence of what was done, nor am I certain that even then I could come to a conclusion on so grave and important a question. The idea of retaliation, — killing man for man, — which is the popular noisy demand, is barbarous, and I cannot assent to or advise it. The leading officers should be held accountable and punished, but how? The policy of killing negro soldiers after they have surrendered must not be permitted, and the Rebel leaders should be called upon to avow or disavow it. But how is this to be done? Shall we go to Jeff Davis and his government, or apply to General Lee? If they will give us no answer, or declare they will kill the negroes, or justify Forrest, shall we take innocent Rebel officers as hostages? The whole subject is beset with difficulties. I cannot yield to any inhuman scheme of retaliation. Must wait the publication of the testimony.”

Presidential aide John Hay writes in his diary: “This evening while I was sitting in the Prest’s room, came in Green Clay Smith & [James] Ashley. They were talking about some matters which drifted into politics. Smith said nothing cd. beat Lincoln. Ashley did not give in his adhesion, but denounced the Fremont-Cleveland movement as foolish and ruinous: he said that Fremont was in New York personally soliciting signers to the Cleveland call: that he sent for him (Ashley) & he wd. not go to see him: that Fremont was an ass &c.”

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Published in: on May 5, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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