Cabinet Meeting about Trading with Enemy for Cotton.

September 9, 1864

General William T. Sherman telegraphs General Grant: “Until we can repopulate Georgia, it is useless for us to occupy it; but the utter destruction of its roads, houses, and people will cripple their military resources. I can make this march, and make Georgia howl.”

Attorney General Edward Bates writes in his diary: “In C.C. today, Mr. Fessenden produced his plan for getting out cotton, under the late act of Congress.”

His plan seemed to me well enough, if confined to his own Statutory duties, i.e. the appointment and instruction of agents to purchase cotton, at certain points within our lines. But he embarrassed himself by trying also to regulate the method of getting the cotton in, ready to be bought – That is outside his province, and can only be controlled by the President as commander in chief.

I stated the intrinsic difficulty of carrying on war and trade, against and with the same people, at the same time. But, that difficulty overcome, I thought the measure might be made effectual, to a considerable extent, by refusing permits to all of our people, to go into the enemy country, to get cotton – as leading to corrupt speculation and odious monopoly – and allowing all cotton to be brought in to our military posts, asking no questions, to be forwarded to the Treasury agents, to be bought and paid for under the act.

And the Prest: directed the Secy. of the Treasury to try his his [sic] hand, in drawing up the details of such an intercourse.

This discussion (if an informal, disjointed conversation can be called discussion) convinced me, more than ever, of the evil tendency of times like these, in removing the land marks of power, and breaking down the barriers which ought to [stand.] between the different authorities…..

Illinois Congressman Jesse Norton writes President Lincoln: “You are doubtless aware that determined movements are being made, to supercede you as our Candidate.1 I fear the movement is growing formidable. One of the agents of the cause was here from Cincinnati, the other day, from whom I learned much of their plans. Of course I told him I was an out & outer, & had been for you ever since you was an aspirant for any public favor, & that I was regarded in Congress as one man whose position was not doubtful.

The grounds of their efforts I need not trouble you with. But I will say a few words about their plans.

They propose to hold another Convention on the 28th at Cincinnati to nominate another candidate. Butler is evidently their man. Preparatory to this they want to get you off the track. To this end they are striving to get every body, of any influence, to write & advise you to relinquish your nomination & try your chances at their convention. They say this would be magnanimous, I say it would be pusilanimous No good could come of it either to you or the Country. It would be disastrous to our cause. We could not rally our forces, under another name, at this late day, & as to your nomination there it is simply preposterous. You were nominated by the people. Trust them. They will sustain you. We cannot change our base now. We must not change our leader. In the tremendous burden that is cast upon us, we have but one thing to do, & that is, stand firm. It is no time to waver. Think not for one moment of withdrawing. You might as well withdraw Grant from Richmond or Sherman from Atlanta. We must stand by your nomination.

If they cannot coax or flatter you to give up the field, they propose to nominate at Cincinnati, & drive you out. Let them try it. It will not win, & in my judgement their nomination will fall as dead in the streets as Fremonts2 did. At all events if we stand fast, and disaster or defeat come, it will not be our fault.

I firmly believe the movement, in the main, comes from soreheads, and grumblers, & that it will not be sustained by the people.

The clouds are already lifting, and I believe you will be triumphantly sustained. At all events, the cause must stand or fall with you. It is no time for timid counsels or weak plans. Firmness & courage will carry us through, nothing else will

Late in the morning, Lincoln meets Judge David McDonald and journalist Charles M. Walker, both of Indiana. McDonald writes in his diary, “my notion of the President’s abilities was somewhat raised. Certainly he is very far from being a fool.”

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

General George McClellan Accepts Democratic Presidential Nomination

September 8, 1864

General George B. McClellan responds to his nomination by the Democratic National Convention meeting in Chicago: “I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter informing me of my nomination by the Democratic National Convention, recently assembled at Chicago, as their candidate, at the next election, for President of the United States.

It is unnecessary for me to say to you that this nomination comes to me unsought. [Crossed out: Since the record of my public life has been open to the world, I assume that the record was kept in view] I am happy to know that when the nomination was made the record of my public life was kept in view.   The effect of long and varied service in the Army, during war and peace, has been to strengthen and make indelible in my mind and heart the love and reverence for the Union, Constitution, Laws and Flag of our country impressed upon me in early youth.

These feelings have thus far guided the course of my life, and must continue to do so to its end.

The existence of more than one Government over the region which once owned our flag is incompatible with the peace, the power, and the happiness of the people.

The preservation of our Union was the sole avowed object for which the war was commenced.

It should have been conducted for that object only, and in accordance with those principles which I took occasion to declare when in [crossed out: command of armies, and especially in my letter to the President from Harrison’s Landing.] active service. Thus conducted, the work of reconciliation would have been easy, and we might have repeated the benefits of our many victories on land and sea.

The Union was originally formed by the exercise of a spirit of conciliation and compromise.

To restore and preserve it the same spirit must prevail in our Councils, and in the hearts of the people. The reestablishment of the Union in all its integrity is, and must continue to be, the indispensable condition in any settlement [crossed out: of the questions at issue in this war]. So soon as it is clear, or even possible, that our present adversaries are ready for peace upon the basis of the Union, we should exhaust all the resources of statesmanship practiced by civilized nations, and taught by the traditions of the American people, consistent with the honor and interest of the country, to secure such peace, reestablish the Union, and guarantee for the future the Constitutional rights of every State. The Union is [crossed out: our only] the one condition of peace. We ask no more.

Let me add what I doubt not was, although unexpressed, the sentiment of the Convention, as it is of the people they represent, that when any one State is willing to return to the Union, it should be received at once, with a full guarantee of all its Constitutional rights.

But if a frank, earnest and persistent effort to achieve these objects should fail, [crossed out: it will be necessary to insist upon the preservation of the Union at all hazards, and] the responsibility for ulterior consequences will fall upon those who remain in arms against the Union. But the Union must be preserved at all hazards. I could not look in the face of my gallant comrades of the Army and Navy, who have survived so many bloody battles, and tell them that their labors, and the sacrifice of so many of our slain and wounded brethren had been in vain — that we had abandoned that Union for which we have so often perilled our lives.

A vast majority of our people, whether in the Army and Navy or at home, would, as I would, hail with unbounded joy the permanent restoration of peace, on he basis of the Union under the Constitution, without the effusion of another drop of blood. But no peace can be permanent without Union.

As to the other subjects presented in the resolutions of the Convention, I need only say that I should seek in the Constitution of the United States, and the laws framed in accordance therewith, the rule of my duty and the limitation of executive power, — endeavor to restore economy in public expenditure, reestablish the supremacy of law, [crossed out: and assert for our country and people that commanding position to which our history & our principles entitle us among the nations of the world.] & by the assertion of a more vigorous nationality reserve our commanding position among the nations of the Earth. The conditions of our finances, the depreciation of the paper currency, and the burdens thus imposed on labor, [crossed out: industry] & capital show the necessity of a return to a sound financial system; while the rights of citizens and the rights of States, and the binding authority of law over President, Army and people are subjects of not less vital importance in war than in peace. Believing that the views here expressed are those of the Convention and the people you represent, I accept the nomination.

I realize the weight of the responsibility to be borne should the people ratify your choice.

Conscious of my own weakness, I can only seek fervently the guidance of the Ruler of the Universe, and relying on His all-powerful aid, do my best to restore Union and Peace to a suffering people, and to establish and guard their liberties and rights.

I am, Gentlemen very respectfully your obedient servant

President Lincoln writes Simeon Draper: “Allow me to introduce Gov. W. A. Newell of New-Jersey. You know him by reputation. He and I were in congress together sixteen years ago. He is a true friend of the Union, and every way a reliable gentleman. Please hear him whenever he calls.”

Quaker leader Eliza P. Gurney writes President Lincoln: I like to address thee in thy own familiar way and tell thee how grateful to my feelings is thy valued and valuable letter, which I shall keep among my treasured things, and for which, allow me to return thee my sincere and grateful thanks.—-

In the close and absorbing occupation of thy daily life, I know it must be difficult to find a moment to appropriate to courtesies of this description, and I appreciate accordingly the generous effort thou has made on my behalf — one, which I certainly did not anticipate, when, from a motive of sincere and christian interest, I ventured to impose upon thee, a written evidence of my unfeigned regard. The visit which I paid thee two years since, of which thou has made such gratifying mention, was not, as I believe thou art aware, the effect of idle curiosity, but of a true concern, which, as I cannot doubt, was laid upon me by my Heavenly Father, and of which, I could not possibly divest myself, in any other way — so that if there was any consolation in the message, I believe thou Mayst receive it as coming, not truly from a very feeble and unworthy instrument, but from that gracious God, who comforts all that mourn– May He continue to sustain and strengthen, uphold and comfort thee, in every future exigency, and when He has enabled thee, in the meekness and gentleness, the patience and forbearance, the firmness and integrity of the Truth, to fulfil his gracious will; when all his blessed purposes concerning thee shall be accomplished, (through his redeeming and unbounded mercy in the only Saviour) may He receive thy ransomed spirit into glory.–

“Friends” have been placed as thou has justly said, in a peculiar, and somewhat anomalous position– Decidedly opposed to all oppression, and believing as they do, that the holding of our fellow men, in cruel bondage, is a sin of the deepest dye, in the sight of a just and holy Judge, and earnestly desiring their enfranchisement from the galling chains imposed upon them by their hard taskmasters, nevertheless they cannot conscientiously resort to arms, even to effect this blessed, and “devoutly to be wished for” end.– The weapons of their warfare, are not carnal– The Saviour has commanded them to love their enemies, therefore they dare not fight them.– The only victory, which they, as followers of the Prince of Peace, can, with consistency, rejoice in, is that which is alone obtained, through the transforming power of the Grace of God — over the world, the flesh and the Evil one. “This is the Victory that overcometh the world,” saith the Apostle — even our Faith.” — and again, “Who is he, that overcometh the world but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God.”– May this vital, operative Faith, which is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen, be more abundantly bestowed upon us — then, though the surface may be tempest tossed, (being justified by Faith,) the Believer in Jesus, will have ” peace with God” — a holy calm, a deep still undercurrent of soul-satisfying happiness which even the rudest storms of Time fail to disturb, and none of the vicissitudes of Life have any power over.– an heir of Heaven, with childlike confidence, he can adopt the language, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?– “The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid”?– “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his Pavilion — in the secret of his Tabernacle shall he hide me– He shall set me up, upon a Rock– And now shall my head be lifted up above mine enemies — therefore will I offer in his Tabernacle sacrifices of Joy.”– That this may be thy blessed experience is the fervent desire of my heart.

In conclusion, I would just remark, that the very kind consideration for the religious scruples of the society of Friends, which has been so invariably and generously manifested by the Government, and especially by our honoured Executive, has been fully and gratefully appreciated– I think I may venture to say, that Friends are not less loyal for the lenity with which their honest convictions have been treated, and I believe there are very few amongst us who would not lament to see any other than ” Abraham Lincoln” fill the Presidential chair — at least at the next election — believing as we do, that he is conscientiously endeavouring, according to his own convictions of right, to fulfil the important trust committed to him, and to discharge the solemn duties of his high and responsible office, “not with eye service,” as man-pleaser, but “in simpleness of heart, fearing God.”–

May our worthy Chief Magistrate yet see the day, when the Prince of Peace, the wonderful counsellor shall rule and reign over this now distracted Country–

The Union unbroken — the opprest set free — and instead of the sounds of lamentation and woe, which now, so often fill the heart with mourning, “Joy and gladness shall be heard therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.”

Published in: on September 8, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Baltimore Black Delegation Gives President Lincoln a Bible

September 7, 1864

A delegation of black men from Baltimore who presented him with a Bible inscribed: “To Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, the Friend of Universal Freedom, from the Loyal Colored People of Baltimore, as a token of respect and Gratitude. Baltimore, 4th July 1864.”   The delegation leader, Rev. S. W. Chase tells the President as follows: “The loyal colored people of Baltimore have entrusted us with authority to present this Bible as a testimonial of their appreciation of your humane conduct towards the people of our race. While all others of this nation are offering their tribute of respect to you, we cannot omit suitable manifestation of ours. Since our incorporation into the American family we have been true and loyal, and we are now ready to aid in defending the country, to be armed and trained in military matters, in order to assist in protecting and defending the star-spangled banner.”

Towards you, sir, our hearts will ever be warm with gratitude. We come to present to you this copy of the Holy Scriptures, as a token of respect for your active participation in furtherance of the cause of the emancipation of our race. This great event will be a matter of history. Hereafter, when our children shall ask what mean these tokens, they will be told of your worthy deeds, and will rise up and call you blessed.

The loyal colored people of this country everywhere will remember you at the Throne of Divine Grace. May the King Eternal, an all-wise, Providence protect and keep you, and when you pass from this world to that of eternity, may you be borne to the bosom of your Savior and your God.’

President Lincoln responds: “This occasion would seem fitting for a lengthy response to the address which you have just made. I would make one, if prepared; but I am not. I would promise to respond in writing, had not experience taught me that business will not allow me to do so. I can only now say, as I have often before said, it has always been a sentiment with me that all mankind should be free. So far as able, within my sphere, I have always acted as I believed to be right and just; and I have done all I could for the good of mankind generally. IN letter and documents sent from this office I have expressed myself better than I now can. In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man.”

All the good the Saviour gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it. To you I return my most sincere thanks for the very elegant copy of the great Book of God which you present.

Rev. S. W. Chase to President had told President Lincoln: “The loyal colored people of Baltimore have entrusted us with authority to present this Bible as a testimonial of their appreciation of your humane conduct towards the people of our race. While all others of this nation are offering their tribute of respect to you, we cannot omit suitable manifestation of ours. Since our incorporation into the American family we have been true and loyal, and we are now ready to aid in defending the country, to be armed and trained in military matters, in order to assist in protecting and defending the star-spangled banner.

President Lincoln writes an order: “Let this man—Chas D. Stewart—be discharged from the military custody of the United States, and left to the control of his family & the laws for the insane.”

Chicago Congressman Isaac N. Arnold, who has withdrawn from a contested renomination, writes President Lincoln for a patronage position: “I see by the telegraphic dispatches that our friend Gov. [Gustav] Koerner is returning from Spain. If he has resigned, & there is a vacancy in that Mission I would gratefully accept it.” Arnold, who is one of the president’s biggest supporters in Congress writes: “I do not desire to press the matter, & I hope You will regard this note as a suggestion, that the appointment would be gratifying, & not as indicating that I would embarrass You in the least by any urgent request in the matter.

Our friends in the North West are now confident, active, & Zealous, in the canvass & I believe You will receive the vote of every North-Western State.

Published in: on September 7, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Meets with Woman Soldier

September 6, 1864

President Lincoln talks with Mary E. Wise, an orphan who joined 34th Indiana Regimen as “William Wise” and served for two years until wounded at Chickamauga and

Lookout Mountain when her gender was discovered and she was discharged without the proper paperwork. The Army’s paymaster refused to pay her for five months’ pay. Lincoln orders payment.

President Lincoln writes John J. Meier: “You write me under date of the 2d inst. that your boy who is at school at Dusseldorf, has for the last eighteen months been “saving up his pennies,” and has sent you the proceeds, amounting to five dollars which you enclose, to “help the sick and wounded of our brave boys fighting for the glorious cause of truth and freedom” as he is himself “not yet old enough to fight.”

The amount is duly received and shall be devoted to the object indicated. I thank your boy, not only for myself, but also for all the children of the nation, who are even more interested than those we those of us, of maturer age, that this war shall be successful, and the Union be maintained and perpetuated.

New York Republicans are still in disarray. New York Post Editor William C. Bryant remains angry with President Lincoln over patronage changes in New York. He publishes an editorial: “No Negotiations with the Rebel Government.” Presidential aide John Nicolay writes New York Independent editor Theodore Tilton: “There is no truth whatever in the report that Mr Lincoln said he was “a beaten man”. I felt quite sure of it, when I saw you, though of course I could not positively know the fact as I do now. We have encouraging news from all quarters. The Atlanta victory alone, ought to win the Presidential contest for us.” Tilton, heretofore a Lincoln opponent, replies:

I thank you for your note. If the President has not said that he was “a beaten man”, he will hereafter have no occasion to say it. We are going to win the Presidential election. The divisions are going to be healed. I have never seen such a sudden lighting up of the public mind as since the late victory at Atlanta. This great event, following the Chicago platform — the most villanous political manifesto known to American history! — has secured a sudden unanimity for Mr. Lincoln. As for myself, never having been a partisan for Mr Lincoln’s re-election, but the reverse, I shall give all the influence I can use, for the triumph of the Baltimore platform and candidates. I have blown the trumpet heartily in to-day’s Independent. Rather than have Chicago and McClellan triumph, I would cheerfully give up my life, with only an hour’s preparation for death. My hands are tired with writing private letters, far & near, counseling all my friends to unite on Mr. Lincoln.

The American Minister to Mexico Thoms Corwin, a former Ohio governor and senator, writes President Lincoln: “I wish my resignation to be filed as of its date It is important that I should not be an office holder. It cripples me in both private & public Matters especially the latter. When Mr. Seward comes home if there is any objection I will take it back & be reappointed.”

Tennessee Governor Andrew Johnson writes President Lincoln: “In regard to the execution of Thos R Bridge on friday next you state in your dispatch to col Geo Bridges that if I desire the suspension it would be granted I would suggest that it be extended twenty days persons who are reliable inform me that facts & circumstances are being developed which will go a great way in mitigation of the offence if not to entirely exhonorate him.” President Lincoln grants the delay and eventually postpones the execution indefinitely.

Louisiana attorney Cuthbert Bullitt writes President Lincoln: “The elections are over & all is right,1 the people are for the free State Constitution & the Congressmen are to a man, for you, first last & all the time amongst whom is A. P. Field,2 though not my choice at first, was perhaps the best could be done under all the Circumstances– I wrote him a letter & propounded questions to him, whether he would vote for you, Support the measures of the administration & the free State Constitution, to all of which he agreed to, unhesitatingly,–

You see I have taken the Marshalship, for which I am indebted, for your goodness, — I will do my best to promote the interests of the Government & your administration–

From Louisiana, Governor Nathaniel Banks writes President Lincoln: “The constitution was submitted to the People of Louisiana yesterday at an election held in all the Parishes within our lines for this purpose and for the election of members of Congress and a State Legislature. I am gratified to be able to report that the Constitution was ratified by a very large majority of votes, and that intelligent able and patriotic men have been elected to Congress, after a thorough canvass, in which men of all parties participated and which was conducted with perfect freedom. The vote is not so large as we expected. Two weeks before the election an order was issued from the Head Quarters of Major General Canby, directing a general enrollment of the militia.

Interested parties secretly represented that all citizens Registered or voting in the election would be forced into the military service of the Country–

No representations could disabuse them of this fear. Many of the men employed by the govt declined to vote or to register for this reason. The officers of the Govt civil or military have not assisted with energy. With exception of Mr Dennison,1 collector, no aid has been given by the Treasury Department.

It is not improbable they may have voted but nothing more. Nevertheless about nine thousand (9000) votes have been given by the unquestionably loyal people of the State, seven thousand of which will be in favor of the Constitution and two thousand against it. Full returns are not received yet, but enough to make the result above stated certain.

This is a large vote, considering these circumstances: 1st There was no serious opposition to the Constitution. 2d The factious opposition manifested in the north encouraged opponents of your administration here, some in high office silently to resist its adoption and to prevent voters from coming out 3d The election, in September, the fever month, found many of the most prominent and influential registered voters absent in the North, and rendered it difficult on account of the great heat for a large class of men to participate in the contest: 4″ The poverty of the People and the State and City goverments has made it impossible to appropriate money for the election, as heretofore when voters have been invariably brought to the Polls: 5th The time allowed for the canvass was unusually short–

Nevertheless a good and honest vote has been given for and against the Constitution– No person, citizen or soldier, has voted who had not the right by the laws of the State. Every voter in the city of New Orleans is registered: and every soldiers vote throughout the state. The election was open and quiet: The city was in perfect order, and no arrests were made during the day or night.

Vermont votes Republican in state and congressional elections.

Published in: on September 6, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Republican Politics Still Confused

September 5, 1864

Springfield attorney James C. Conkling writes to President Lincoln: “Gov [Richard] Yates has received a joint Letter from Horace Greely, Parke Godwin and … Tilton Editor of the Independent enquiring of him whether we can carry Illinois whether you can be elected and whether it would be advisable to nominate another candidate2 The Governor will answer most emphatically that we can carry Illinois — that you can be elected and that it would not be advisable to put any other candidate in the field His answer he will send to the Governors of the other States as said Letter has been sent to them also

This communication has no doubt some connection with the Cincinnati Convention to be held on the 28 inst and shews a systematic effort to interfere with your nomination Joseph Medill sends a Letter from Chicago to Gov Yates to the same effect

Cant something be done to check this proceeding and prevent the Convention? If it shall be held and any request shall be made through a committee or by the passage of resolutions, I hope that a firm emphatic refusal will be the only reply and that an appeal will be made to the people in opposition to the demands of a parcel of sore headed, disappointed, impracticable politicians If any change shall be made we are irretrievably ruined and I would rather see ten thousand Greelys crushed than any alteration in our programme as arranged at Baltimore That is the universal feeling here The campaign in Illinois is opening finely and our prospects are encouraging We shall carry the State by a large majority, if we can keep clear of these faint hearted, weakkneed politicians who are afraid of the popularity of McClellan.

Philadelphia North American journalist Henry Puleston writes presidential aide John G. Nicolay: “I was sorry to leave without seeing you last week and sorry to find you have left a few minutes before I arrived on Friday — nothing important, however– Thy Campaign is assuming a very cheerful aspect– The recent satisfactory military news has given the friends of the administration additional encouragement. Weed3 has written a good letter which will appear today or tomorrow and every thing seems from this standpoint to be working well for Mr: Lincoln– I understand McClellan4 is to write his letter of acceptance in season for the Maine Election, and that he is waiting now only for Dean Richmond. I am led to believe that his letter will set forth that he will not under any circumstance agree to any armistice or compromise based upon disunion– That the rebels should have every protection & right “under the constitution” & that unless they concur in this the rebellion shall be put down at all hazards. The peace platform will be practically ignored and Pendleton it is said has acquiesced to be governed by the sentiment of McClellan’s letter. This at least is the programme given me today by a very prominent Copperhead who is inside the ring. They say that now the campaign has opened the regular peace men will be forced to acquiesce &c. It looks, however as favorable for Mr. Lincoln as you could wish & I cannot see a possibility now of McClellan’s Election. I think we ought to have captured the “Herald”

New York real estate businessman Simeon Draper, a former chairman of the New York State Republican Party, writes President Lincoln regarding his recent patronage appointment – part of John G. Nicolay’s mission to bring about peace among the Republican factions in New York: “Permit me to acknowledge the receipt of my appointment as Collector of this City and at the same time assure you of my grateful appreciation of the important trust you have placed in my hands. I shall always feel happy in the performance of my duty to your satisfaction and in rendering myself of service to you in whatever direction you may desire.”

President Lincoln’s Confederate sister-in-law, Katherine Todd, writes for a favor: “You will doubtless be surprised at receiving a letter from me but never the less I hope it will be welcome– I have written to you to ask if you will grant an especial Exchange of Brig Genl W N R. Beall of the Confederate States Army captured at Port Hudson Miss — last July 5th, 1863. He is a prisoner now at Johnsons Island, Ohio– Genl Beall’s family have always been old and warm friends of my Father’s and if you would grant my request We all would be under everlasting obligations If you would parole him to go to Richmond Va. and effect the Exchange of an Officer of an equal rank in the United States Army, any one you might name, no doubt would be exchange for Genl Beall– Should you object to an exchange, could you parole him to New York, Missouri or Kentucky for a few weeks, Hoping you will be kind enough to grant me this request. With love to Sister Mary, and kind wishes for yourself in which Emilie joins me. Trusting I may hear from you an answer to my letter.”

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

President Lincoln Discusses Presidential Politics with Senator Zachariah Chandler

September 4, 1864

President Lincoln has discussions with Michigan Senator Zachariah Chandler regarding the candidacy of General John C. Frémont and the possible dismissal of Postmaster Montgomery Blair, whose criticisms of Radical Republicans had infuriated them.

President Lincoln writes Quaker leader to Eliza P. Gurney: “I have not forgotten – probably never shall forget – the very impressive occasion when yourself and friends visited me on a Sabbath forenoon two years ago. Nor has your kind letter, written nearly a year later, ever been forgotten. In all, it has been your purpose to strengthen my reliance on God. I am much indebted to the good christian people of the country for their constant prayers and consolations; and to no one of the, more than to yourself. The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must prevail, though we, erring mortals may fail to accurately perceive them in advance. We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise. We shall yet acknowledge His wisdom and our own error therein. Meanwhile we must work earnestly in the best light He gives us, trusting that so working still conduces to the great ends He ordains. Surely He intends some great god to follow this mighty convulsion, which no mortal could make, and no mortal could stay.”

Your people – the Friends – have had, and are having a very great trial. On principle, and faith, opposed to both war and oppression, they can only practically oppose oppression by war. In this hard dilemma, some have chosen one horn and some the other. For those appealing to me on conscientious grounds, I have done, and shall do, the best I could and can, in my own conscience, under my oath to the law. That you believe this I doubt not; and believing it, I shall still receive, for our country and myself, your earnest prayers to our Father in Heaven.

On August 8, Mrs. Gurney had written President Lincoln: “Many times, since I was privileged to have an interview with thee, nearly a year ago, my mind has turned towards thee with feelings of sincere and christian interest, and, as our kind friend Isaac Newton offers to be the bearer of a paper messenger, I feel inclined to give the assurance of my continued hearty sympathy in all thy heavy burtherns and responsibilities and to express, not only my own earnest prayer, but I believe the prayer of many thousands whose hearts thou hast gladdened by thy praiseworthy and successful effort ‘to burst the bands of wickedness, and let the oppressed go free’ that the Almighty…may strengthen thee to accomplish all the blessed purposes, which, in the unerring counsel of his will and wisdom, I do assuredly believe he did design to make thee instrumental in accomplishing, when he appointed thee thy present post of vast responsibility, as the Chief Magistrate…’ Again on September, she writes:

“I like to address thee in thy own familiar way and tell thee how grateful to my feelings is thy valued and valuable letter…In the close and absorbing occupation of thy daily life, I know it must be difficult to find a moment to appropriate to courtesies of this description, and I appreciate accordingly the generous effort thou hast made on my behalf – one, which I certainly did not anticipate, when, from a motive of sincere and christian interest, I ventured to impose upon thee, a written evidence of my unfeigned regard…I would remark, that they very kind consideration for the religious scruples of the society of Friends, which has been so invariably and generously manifested by the Government, and especially by our honoured Executive, has been fully and gratefully appreciated. I think I may venture to say, that Friends are not less loyal for the lenity with which their honest convictions have been treated, and I believe there are very few amongst us who would not lament to see any other than ‘Abraham Lincoln’ fill the Presidential chair – at least at the next election…May our worthy Chief Magistrate yet see the day, when the Prince of Peace, the wonderful counsellor shall rule and reign over this now distracted country….’

Presidential Secretary John G. Nicolay writes home: ““I returned on yesterday from New York, where I have been since last Monday, on a mission from the President in connection with some changes in the custom house officials, which the President deemed advisable and necessary. It was a very delicate, disagreeable and arduous duty, but I think my visit had a beneficial influence, and assisted in bringing about some much needed reforms.

“Our friends in New York were much dispirited when I went there, and evidently gave up all hope of Republican success in this fall’s election. But several circumstances – the fall of Mobile, the Chicago nominations and Platform, &c &c. – occurred while I was there, and gave them new hope and courage and I think we shall have no similar despondency during the campaign. While it is utterly impossible to harmonize all the New York factions, I think they will generally acquiesce in the new appointments the President will make there, and work earnestly for success in November….

“The political condition has very much improved since I last wrote to you. The depression under which our friends were everywhere laboring, in undergoing a very decided and healthy reaction; the surrender platform which the Chicago Convention made is disgusting very many honest War Democrats, and the fall of Fort Morgan and capture of Atlanta by Sherman of which we received news here yesterday morning will stimulate it into a very potent enthusiasm. If things continue as favorable as they seem today we shall beat Little Mac very handsomely. When I left New York the feeling that he would take grounds in favor of the prosecution of the War in his letter of acceptance. I do not think however that that will save him. In a conversation with a Democratic friend there I told him that I thought Little Mac’s blanket was too short – if he pulled it up over his head his feet would stick out – if he kept his feet covered he would have cold ears. Unless Republicans are recreant to every sentiment of duty and honor we shall send this Chicago programme to a speedy oblivion. The Lord preserve this country [from] the kind of peace they would give us. It will be a dark day for this nation if they should elect the Chicago ticket, and purchase peace at the cost of Disunion, Secession, bankruptcy and National Dishonor, an ‘ultimate’ Slave Empire. I cannot think that Providence has this humiliation or disgrace and disaster in store for us….”

Published in: on September 4, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Negotiates with Radical Republicans for Their Support

September 3, 1864

President Lincoln again telegraphs Postmaster General Montgomery Blair to return to Washington from the campaign trail. His wife writes President Lincoln: “Mr Blair left this morning[.] Will be in Washn Monday.”

Senator Zachariah Chandler, accompanied by Congressman Elihu Washburne, Senator James Harlan of Iowa, and President James Edmunds of the Union League, confer with President Lincoln about possible negotiation to get General John C. Fremont out of the presidential race – in return for getting Blair out of the cabinet.

Kentucky Governor Thomas Bramlette writes to complain about military activities in his state and to announce his opposition to Lincoln’s reelection: . ‘Extreme measures, by which they sought to break the just pride and subdue the free spirit of the people, and which would only have fitted them for enslavement, have aroused the determined opposition to your re-election of at least three-fourths of the people of Kentucky when a different and just policy might have made them friends.’”

In celebration of recent victories, President Lincoln issues a “Proclamation of Thanksgiving and Prayer” for the following Sunday: “The signal success that Divine Providence has recently vouchsafed to the operations of the United States fleet and army in the harbor of Mobile and the reduction of Fort-Powell, Fort-Gaines, and Fort-Morgan, and the glorious achievements of the Army under Major General Sherman in the State of Georgia, resulting in the capture of the City of Atlanta, call for devout acknowledgment to the Supreme Being in whose hands are the destinies of nations. It is therefore requested that on next Sunday, in all places of public worship in the United-States, thanksgiving be offered to Him for His mercy in preserving our national existence against the insurgent rebels who so long have been waging a cruel war against the Government of the United-States, for its overthrow; and also that prayer be made for the Divine protection to our brave soldiers and their leaders in the field, who have so often and so gallantly perilled their lives in battling with the enemy; and for blessing and comfort from the Father of Mercies to the sick, wounded, and prisoners, and to the orphans and widows of those who have fallen in the service of their country, and that he will continue to uphold the Government of the United-States against all the efforts of public enemies and secret foes.”

Published in: on September 3, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Military and Political News Shifts the Presidential Landscape

September 2, 1864

Historian Robert S. Harper wrote in Lincoln and the Press that New York Tribune Editor Horace “Greeley still was unconvinced and continued to press the movement for a substitute Republican candidate for President. He headed a committee of three that wrote letters to the ‘loyal governors’ to learn whether they believed Lincoln could be reelected. These letters were dated September 2, 1864, and were marked ‘private and confidential.’” In addition to Greeley, the letters were signed by Theodore Tilton, editor of the New York Independent, and Parke Godwin, editor of the New York Evening Post.:

California journalist Noah Brooks sends a report on the Democratic National Convention to John G. Nicolay: “While I am spending a few days of rest in my old Illinois home I cannot do better, perhaps, than write up a brief account of what I heard and saw at the Chicago Convention after my last letter, written at Chicago, though the accounts in the newspapers have given you all of the main facts of the concluding days of the convention.

The nomination of McClellan was a foregone conclusion, the only possible obstacle thereto being the deep determination of the ultra “peace” men to carry all the points which they could. And, failing in defeating his nomination, they secured all possible concessions in the platform, which was the work of Vallandigham4 and Weller5 of California. There was a prolonged and bitter struggle, however, over the platform while it was in the hands of the committee and the subcommittee, but the “peace” men finally triumphed, yielding their adhesion to McClellan for availability’s sake. Though, as you are aware, a few malcontents, like Long6 and Harris,7 refused to the last to vote for the nomination. Maryland, Kentucky and a great part of Ohio and Indiana refused to support McClellan in convention in any way, and they kept their promise, not voting for him, and yet not voting at all when his nomination was made unanimous, as the phrase goes, for it is only a phrase so far as that goes. I enclose, as a curiosity, the tally-list which I kept during the role-call for nomination for President, by which you will see in the first three columns on the left the exact vote for each state as first given, and the subsequent changes to McClellan are noted in the next column, the order of their change being placed in small fig figures in ink. This is more correct than any of the reports which were printed in the newspapers here. You will see that Kentucky did not change to McClellan until nearly next to Ohio, who was the last, and that Ohio still, even then, refused all her vote, throwing six for Seymour; also that Missouri, who changed first, still held back four votes for Seymour; Kansas went for McClellan unwillingly, and so did Iowa, Maryland, Delaware and three and-a-half votes of Indiana would not, and did not go for McClellan at all. But Kentucky and Indiana are most dissatisfied with the nomination, the former especially considering that it has been sorely abused. It had been early conceded that a border state would have the vice presidency certainly, in the event of McClellan’s nomination, but, to secure the “peace” men, it was necessary to give it to Pendleton, who traded for it by bringing over his forces for McClellan. New York City made the trade throughout and [August] Belmont and Dean Richmond,11 who managed for McC–, gave the vote of their State to Pendleton on condition that he brought his strength over to McClellan. They had previously promised the same to Guthrie, and gave him the vote on the first ballot, as you will see by the enclosed, but when the second ballot was had they waited until Kentucky voted five and a half for Powell and the same for Guthrie, then threw in their whole vote for Pendleton, with the explanation that having voted for Guthrie on the first ballot, as promised, &c &c. This turned the scale and Pendleton was at once nominated. Kentucky complains of bad faith on the part of New York, who retorts that the irrepressible conflict in her own delegation was the occasion of her own non-success. You know there were two delegations in the convention from Kentucky, both voting, but one-half vote being allowed to each.

Gov [Horatio] Seymour refused to have the seven votes cast for him be announced as his, and they were read by the secretary as having been given to T. R. Seymour, much to the disgust of those who threw them. He was chagrined and disappointed at not being at least a prominent candidate, but his prospects were very good on the night of the second day, when Long and Harris made their attacks on McClellan; he artfully allowed them all possible advantage, and by permitting them to speak, though not in order, succeeded in staving off the nomination for that night at least, and the Seymour men were in excellent spirits when the convention adjourned for that day, without making any nomination. During that night the McClellan men, alarmed, made several trades one of which was the vote of New York for Pendleton. It is also said that a written agreement was given to Seymour (by whom signed I know not) covenanting that he would have the portfolio of Secretary of State, in the event of McC–s election. Several other promises were made in that direction, I believe, only one being for the West and that was the Chief Justice-ship for Judge Caton of Illinois, in case Justice Taney should not die or resign by before March 1864! This, it is said, secured the whole vote of Illinois on the first ballot; some such valuable consideration did, for the vote was reluctantly give, and Hickok,16 the chairman of the delegation did not hesitate to say that the nominee was the weakest man, for a Democrat, that God ever made. He and others like him admit that McClellan’s nomination was made for the soldiers’ vote, which, they think, will be the bl decisive power in the next election. This was all that enabled Vallandigham to swallow the bitter pill, which he did with a very ill grace. Our people hereabouts are confident and hopeful. The nomination has already served to unite them, and I feel more encouraged than when I left Washington. Shall remain here for a few weeks and shall be glad to hear from you.

From Ohio, former Governor William Dennison writes a more optimistic report: “I write merely to say, that our opening meeting of the Campaign here last night was a magnificent success. Its effect throughout the State cannot but be good. Our friends this morning are in the very best of spirits. Encouraging reports of various meetings in different parts of the State during the past few days have reached us. No uneasiness need be felt for Ohio. The Chicago nominations1 are welcomed with no enthusiasm here, nor, so far as I learn, any where in the State. True, the Ohio delegates have not yet returned, and demonstrations may be waiting their presence. Still we know McClellan had little strength in Ohio. The peace element is the prevailing one in our democracy.

You have been advised of the movement to hold a Convention in Cincinnati on the 28′ to give the Union party another Candidate for the presidency. I have but little information in regard to it– The prominent men connected with it in Cini so far as I have heard, are chiefly friends of Gov Chase– Sen Campbell of Butler County, who seems the most active in this movement, never was understood to be particularly friendly to the Gov. Rumor points to Butler as the nominee– It also says, one of his staff has been in Cinc trying to manipulate the Gazette & Commercial– The movement is supposed to be a part of one in the east under the direction of David Dudley Field, Jno A Stevens & others, having the sympathy of Gov Andrew,4 & other official gentlemen– I give all this as rumor, & refer to it chiefly to add, that it will only damage its authors. Long before the 28′ the Country will be aroused from whatever lethargy or despondency may have fallen upon it, and the test of loyalty will be the support of yourself & Johnson–

Indiana minister James Mitchell urges changes in the Lincoln cabinet: “Having returned from The West after a visit of two months spent mostly in the states of Illinois, Indiana Kentucky and Missouri, I trust I will be permitted to say a word in regard to public interests in that section.

As the decisive political struggle must take place in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana; in my opinion it becomes necessary that one of the most influential men in those states be tendered a place in your Cabinet. In these four important states together with Kentucky and Western Virginia; by which they are bounded on the south and to which they are more or less attached by family connection and sympathy there is no Cabinet minister of sufficient influence to act as a breakwater against the strong tide of revolution that has set in– Mr Stanton being credited by most men to this section of the Country making “the outs” in the great valley largely overbalance “the ins” which in it self is a point of much danger.

Again it is not safe to ignore the fact that in a republic representative men always lead the masses, men who have power to give opinion and direction to them, indeed representative men are essential to their proper control at those times when passion endangers the slender bonds of Constitutional government.

As the gentlemen who occupy the Interior are the men who represent the section named — duty to you, to my own personal and political friends and the public interest require me to say that they have no power with the masses of that section, and you stand unaided and alone the representative man of that wide and now much endangered section. I mean so far as the Administration in this city is concerned.

I presume no one will claim that Mr Usher is a representative man of that section — he is not, never has been such in his own state — doubtful whether he could carry his own Congressional district as he has not heretofore — his opinions have had no weight or place in the structure of the past history of Indiana His foolish war on me commenced at the instigation of the Arch-traytor Elwood Fiske years ago, and continued by the direction of an equally pure cliant A W Thompson — disregarding obligation show him destitute of that magnanimity, and breadth of view essential to the statesman. I would not trouble you with these remarks about him I would endure my own injuries in silence but it is expected of me by numerous influential friends that I lodge this objection to his present position. I can make objections of more weight but I trust the political necessities of the situation will save me that painful duty.

I respectfully and earnestly urge a change in the Department of the Interior, and that the choice falls if possible within the States named and on one of the writers friends

I make this request with profound respect for your own judgement and choice in the case and a resolve to abide its conclusions; but whilst doing so I must be permitted to refer to the equities of the case and to ask whether the writer and his friends have not rights unrecognized; we are honestly pledged to your support but we have found it hard “to make brick without straw” yet as the people of Israel did render “the tale of the bricks” I trust we will be able to do so to the end.

I would further suggest that if possible the friends of Mr Chase should be conciliated, not by crushing me as seems to have been the policy but by tendering Senator Sherman a place in the Cabinet, provided a representative man can not be found such as I have indicated above. I regretted the necessity that obliged me to take ground against Mr Chase, he had been the most considerate of all the Secretaries when the claims of our people were presented and the sympathy of thousands of them go with him.

From Illinois, Governor Richard Yates writes President Lincoln: “I understand that Hon Wm Kellogg of this State, who I believe has been appointed by you Minister to Gaut Central America, has written to the Dept of State, that he desires to remain in this State until after the election in order to Canvass the State in support of our Ticket We need all the aid we can get and if it can be done I trust he will be permitted to remain here until after November. The Democracy are rampant but we are going to work with a will and believe we can carry the State &c1

From New York, Henry Bowen writes President Lincoln: “I am perfectly satisfied after a full conference with mutual friends since I saw Mr Nicolay last evening that Mr Simon Draper should have the appointment of collector of New York the other parties named to me I am sure would not give satisfaction either politically or to the merchants of New York”  Lincoln had embarked on phase two of his political pacification program in New York when he arranged the dismissal of the radical Collector of the Port of New York, Hiram Birney, and his replacement with the more moderate Simeon Draper, an ally of Thurlow Weed and his political friends.

Published in: on September 2, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

News of Fall of Atlanta Received at White House

September 1, 1864

“Atlanta is ours and fairly won,” General William T. Sherman telegraphs to President Lincoln.

The political situation is fast changing with the nomination of General George B. McClellan by the Democratic National Convention meeting in Chicago and the capture of Atlanta by General William T. Sherman.   President Lincoln is moving to unite the Republican Party and cut off the dissident candidacy of General John C. Fremont. President Lincoln wires. Montgomery Blair: “Please return here at your earliest convenience.” Illinois Congressman Elihu B. Washburne writes President Lincoln: “Can you not get a despatch immediately from Blair as to when he will be here.1 It is very important that Gov. [Alexander W.] Randal should leave here to-morrow night, but he dare not leave till he gets word that Blair will be here by Monday morning. Please get word from him at the earliest moment that he will be here Monday morning.”

Historian Allen Nevins wrote in The War for the Union Volume IV: “Seldom has so swift a change occurred in the political situation of the great republic. No sooner did the country learn of the Chicago platform than Bryant, Greeley, Charles Sumner, John A. Andrew, Richard Yates, Lyman Trumbull, and other influential Republican dissidents, one by one, fell in behind Lincoln, declaring they would put every ounce of strength into the fight against McClellan. After Mobile Bay and Atlanta, gold came down with a rush, easing the pressure on national finances and prices. Volunteers pressed forward…”

President Lincoln writes Army Colonel Henry S. Huidekoper: “It is represented to me that there are at Rock Island, Ills. as rebel prisoners of war, many persons of Northern and foreign birth, who are unwilling to be exchanged and sent South, but who wish to take the oath of allegiance and enter the military service of the Union. Col. Huidekoper on behalf of the people of some parts of Pennsylvania wishes to pay the bounties the government would have to pay to proper persons of this class, have them enter the service of the United States, and be credited to the localities furnishing the bounty money. He will, therefore proceed to Rock Island, ascertain the names of such persons (not including any who have attractions Southward) and telegraph them to the Provost Marshal General here, whereupon directions will be given to discharge the persons named upon their taking the oath of allegiance; and then upon the official evidence being furnished that they shall have been duly received and mustered into the service of the United States, their number will be credited as may be directed by Col. Huidekoper.”

Former Colonel Thomas Worthington pesters Lincoln from Ohio for reinstatement in command: “Col. T Worthington late of the 46th Regt O. V. I. respectfully represents that he has been dismissed the service without trial or any cause officially assigned beyond a verbal statement that he is dismissed under the law of July 17th 1862 authorising the president to dismiss any officer for any cause which in his judgement renders such officer unsuitable for, or whose dismission would promote the public service.

Claiming that he has transgressed no regulation of the service and no article of war, but granting that he has been dismissed for just cause, he urges in plea of his restoration the past performance of the following specified acts and duties which may operate in extenuation or mitigation of his fault what ever it may have been.

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