President Lincoln Awaits Results of Ohio Elections

October 11, 1864

Presidential aide John Hay accompanies President Lincoln to the War Department to receive telegrams from Ohio and Pennsylvania giving election results.   Ohio went strongly Republican but the vote in Pennsylvania was close.   Hay writes in his diary: “I was mentioning old Mr. Blair’s very calm and discreet letter of October 5 to the Prest today, contrasting it with Montgomery’s indiscretions, & the President said, ‘Yes, they remind me of ____. He was sitting in a bar-room among strangers who were telling of some affair in which his father, as they said, had been tricked in a trade, and he said, ‘That’s a lie!’ Some sensation. ‘What do you mean?’ ‘why the old man ain’t so easy tricked. You can fool the boys but ye can’t the old man.” Hay adds: “At Eight o’clock the President went over to the war Department to watch for despatches. I went with him. We found the building in a state of preparation for siege. Stanton had locked the doors and taken the keys upstairs, so that it was impossible even to send a card to him. A Shivering messenger was pacing to and fro in the moonlight over the withered leaves, who, catching sight of the President, took us around by the Navy Department & conducted us into the War Office by a side door.”

Hay writes in his diary: “The President in a lull of despatches took from his pocket the Nasby Papers and read several chapters of the experience of the saint & martyr, Petroleum V. They were immensely amusing, Stanton and Dana enjoyed them scarcely less than the President, who read, con amore, until 9 o’clock. At this time I went to Seward’s to….”   Hay writes John G. Nicolay of the election results: “Indiana is simply glorious. The surprise of this good thing is its chief delight. Pennsylvnia has done pretty well. We have a little majority on home vote as yet & will get a fair vote from the soldiers, and do better in November. The wild estimates of Forney & Cameron founded on no count or thorough canvass are of course not fulfilled, but we did not expect them to be.”

President Lincoln writes his oldest son, Robert T. Lincoln: “Your letter makes us a little uneasy about your health. Telegraph us how you are. If you think it would help you make us a visit.”

President Lincoln is anxious to make sure as many soldiers and sailors vote in November. Navy Secretary Gideon Welles writes: “The President and Seward called on me this forenoon relative to New York voters in the Navy. Wanted one of our boats to be placed at the disposal of the New York commission to gather votes in the Mississippi Squadron. A Mr. Jones was referred to, who subsequently came to me with a line from the President, and wanted also to send to the blockading squadrons.”

Much is said and done in regard to the soldier’s vote, and many of the States not only have passed laws but altered their constitutions to permit it. The subject is one that has not struck me favorably. I have not, perhaps, given it the consideration that I ought, — certainly not enough to advocate it, — and yet it seems ungracious to oppose it. Were I to vote on this question at all, I should, with my present impressions, vote against it.

Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles writes in his diary.

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Published in: on October 11, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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