President Lincoln Mourns General James Wadsworth

May 14, 1864

Presidential aide John Hay writes in his diary: “The President came in last night in his shirt & told us of the retirement of the enemy from his works at Spottsylvania & our pursuit. I complimented him on the amount of underpinning he still has left & he said he weighed 180 pds. Important if true.”

News of the death of General James Wadsworth reaches the White House.   Hay writes in his diary: “I have not known the President so affected by a personal loss since the death of Baker, as by the death of General [James S.] Wadsworth. While deeply regretting the loss of Sedgwick, he added, “Sedgwick’s devotion an earnestness were professional. But no man has given himself up to the war with such self-sacrificing patriotism as Genl Wadsworth. He went into the service not wishing or expecting great success or distinction in his military career & profoundly indifferent to popular applause, actuated only by a sense of duty which he neither evaded nor sought to evade.”

President Lincoln writes Kansas Governor Thomas Carney: “The within letter is, to my mind, so obviously intended as a page for a political record, as to be difficult to answer in a straight-forward business-like way. The merits of the Kansas people need not to be argued to me. They are just as good as any other loyal and patriotic people; and, as such, to the best of my ability, I have always treated them, and intend to treat them. It is not my recollection that I said to you Senator Lane would probably oppose raising troops in Kansas, because it would confer patronage upon you. What I did say was that he would probably oppose it because he and you were in a mood of each opposing whatever the other should propose. I did argue generally too, that, in my opinion, there is not a more foolish or demoralizing way of conducting a political rivalry, than these fierce and bitter struggles for patronage.

As to your demand that I will accept or reject your proposition to furnish troops, made to me yesterday, I have to say I took the proposition under advisement, in good faith, as I believe you know; that you can withdraw it if you wish, but that while it remains before me, I shall neither accept or reject it, until, with reference to the public interest, I shall feel that I am ready. Yours truly

Carney had written him: ““Kansas has furnished more men according to her population, to crush this rebellion, than any other State in this Union. Her sons, to day; are scattered over the country, defending the Old Flag, while many of her peaceable citizens at home, are being murdered by lawless Guerrillas. Such is the intelligence I received today.

The Major General Commanding that Department, informed me, he needed more troops to secure protection to the State. I have tendered you two thousand troops, for One hundred days, such as you have accepted from other States, to be used as you might direct through the Commander of that Department, without other cost to the Government than the pay of Volunteers without bounty.

You refered the matter to the Secretary of War, for his consideration. I found that officer overburdened with business of such magnatude to the country, that he could not be seen, either upon my request or yours.

Published in: on May 14, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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