President Lincoln writes a Contingency Plan for his Defeat

August 23, 1864

After the dismal Republican National Committee meeting in New York the previous day and reports of his probable defeat in many states, President Lincoln writes and seals a memorandum: “This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he can not possibly save it afterwards.”   The president then has the cabinet members sign the unread memo.

President Lincoln meets with New York Congressman Reuben Fenton about the upcoming gubernatorial race. President Lincoln clearly wanted Fenton’s help in sorting about political and patronage difficulties in New York State. Fenton later recalled: “On the 22d day of August, I received a telegram from Mr. John G. Nicolay, Private Secretary, saying that the President desired to see me. I arrived in Washington next day. The President, speaking to me said, in language as nearly as I can remember: ‘You are to be nominated by our folks for Governor of your State. [Governor Horatio] Seymour of course will be the Democratic nominee. You will have a hard fight. I am very desirous that you should win the battle. New York should be on our side by honest possession. There is some trouble among our folks over there, which we must try and manage. Or rather, there is one man who may give us trouble, because of his indifference, if in no other way. He has great influence, and his feelings may be reflected in many of his friends. We must have his counsel and cooperation if possible. This, in one sense, is more important to you than to me, I think, for I should rather expect to get on without New York, but you can’t. But in a larger sense than what is merely personal to myself, I am anxious for New York, and we must put our heads together and see if the matter can’t be fixed.”

President Lincoln issues order: “For the sale of Valuable lands in the late Winnebago Indian Reservation, in Minnesota.”

In pursuance of law, I ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States of America, do hereby declare and make known that public sales will be held in the undermentioned Land Office, in the State of Minnesota, at the period herinafter designated, to wit:

At the Land Office at ST. PETER, commencing on Monday the Fifth day of December next, for the disposal of the Public lands comprised in the late reserve for the Winnebago Indians, above mentioned, and situated within the following parts of townships, which will be sold at the appraised value of the land and the improvements thereon

From Chicago, Congressman Isaac N. Arnold writes President Lincoln: “Immediately following your last call for troops the Illinois Staatz Zeitúng commenced attacking the enrollment law, the call for more troops, & especially myself. I caused copys of the paper & a translation of one of the articles to be sent to the Secretary of War. The result was, the paper was dropped from those receiving the advertisements of the War Department. It continues its attacks, & its editors declare, that if I am nominated, they will not support me, nor you. I have no doubt the paper will support the tickit after the nomination is made. The Congressional Convention is next week. If any application is made to renew the advertising for the paper I hope it may not be done until after the convention, & then, on condition that it shall cease its assaults upon the enrollment law, & upon the administration, & support the nominees of the party. I hope to be in Washington in two or three weeks.”


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

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