President Lincoln Gets Reports on Campaign Progress

October 18, 1864

In Washington, President Lincoln meets with William O. Bartlett, a New York lawyer who is his primary link to James Gordon Bennett, the influential owner of the New York Herald.

Lincoln had been courting Bennett’s support – apparently even promising to appoint him as U.S. Minister to France.

From Pennsylvania, where the Republican Party is split into factions, Simon Cameron reports to President Lincoln on the October 11 state elections: “We are still, without the whole official returns — but I believe we will have 1500, or 2000. on the Congressional home vote — which is quite as much as we had a right to expect, considering that last year you sent home 17.000 to aid Gov. Curtin, and that he had only 15,560 maj — and that we have sent since to the field over 23,000– Looking at the votes in the counties, I find we have greatly increased our resident vote over Gov. Curtin; but we will do better, in Nov, and will give you 20 or 25.000. maj–

We have had difficulties in getting the army vote — and annoyances from officers at home which, with the aid of Mr Stanton and yourself, can be corrected, and will give us many votes. I will come to Washington, some day this week, to see you on the subject.

I am informed, by a Penn: officer stationed at Indianapolis, that all soldiers in the state, no matter where belonging, voted for Morton. He had no officers in command, that did not aid him. In this state we had very few of them to help us. A few changes would help us, greatly.

From Arkansas Christopher C. Andrews reports: “The 1st Brigade of the 3d Division 19th A. C. arrived here today from Morganza; and I learn that a few thousand more troops are coming from the lower Mississippi. One brigade of Gen. Dennis’s1 division arrived here about ten days ago; and the rest of the division is on the way up.

We ought to annihilate Prices’s army to compensate for the injury he has done.

Maj. Gen. Herron is at Little Rock having come up a few days ago.

Fortune may favor us by a rise in the Arkansas

I hardly think Price will venture this particular way in returning, as he must apprehend our getting reinforcements readily.

Conjectures amount to but little. The important thing is to have men enough in hand, and ready to strike and to march. I hope something will occur in our favor that is more than common place.

We have had two weeks of delightful weather, which is being taken advantage of by the troops at this place, in making earth works and building comfortable quarters.

I had the pleasure the other day of voting for you, the com

Presidential aide John G. Nicolay reports to the White House from Missouri where he had been sent to investigate reports about treasonous activities by anti-war secret societies: “I arrived here last night, having left St. Louis yesterday morning. I as there over a week, and talked very fully with our friends of all the different factions, and have I think as full and fair an understanding of their quarrels as one can get in such brief time.

My conclusion is, that there is little else than personal animosity, and the usual eagerness to appropriate the spoils, that is left to prevent a full and harmonious combination of all the Union voters of Missouri. Even these obstacles are fast giving way before the change and pressure of circumstances, and the mere lapse of time.

Of the Claybank faction, but little is left in point of numbers. Such portion of them as did not go to the Democracy (where they originally came from ) are fusing with the Radicals, until but a small nucleus, consisting of the office-holders, and a few old personal friends of Frank Blair, remains as a distinct and separate organization. They are held aloof more by pride and personal feeling, I think, than anything else.

A few days before my arrival in St. Louis, Mr. [William L.] Avery, the Secretary of the Western branch of the Union National Committee, had called a meeting of men belonging to the different factions, with a view of brining about united action, and also to devise measures for a more active campaign. The meeting was well attended, and the talk was conciliatory. A committee was appointed; when it met, Hume offered a resolution to raise a finance committee to collect funds, and Foy offered a substitute, proposing to vote for all candidates that would support Lincoln and Johnson, and that the primary meetings, conventions &c. for the selection of candidates should be called simply ‘Union’ meetings. The Radicals would not consent to strike the word ‘Radical’ from their party title, and voted down Foy’s substitute, whereupon he and others withdrew from the Committee. A number of Claybanks, however, took part in the primary meetings and conventions for nomination of the County ticket, and two or three Claybanks were put on the ticket.

Foy and Blair both told me that the only test they desire to make was that candidates, whether State, Congressional or County, should avow themselves for you. That the man who would not avow himself for you when the choice was only between yourself and McClellan, was clearly not your friend; and that you certainly could not wish your friends to vote for your enemies. While I was in St. Louis, the Claybanks held a caucus, to which I was invited, where the same sentiments were expressed, and at which a committee was appointed to address a letter to the various candidates, asking them the direct question whether or not they intended to support you. SO much for the Claybanks.

As to the Radicals, Hume called on me the day after my arrival, and told me that he had some weeks before interrogated Fletcher, the Radical candidate for Governor, and had received his private assurance that he would support you, but that he did not then deem it politic to declare his purpose, because such avowal would be almost certain to alienate from him a large number of Germans who were yet bitterly hostile to you, and who in such event would take measures to set up a ticket of their own. Afterwards I saw Fletcher, who had the evening before made a little reception speech at Barnum’s Hotel, in which, while announcing his determination not to vote for McClellan, he had not said anything about voting for you. Fletcher told me that when eh arrived, he had made up his mind to announce his purpose to vote for you; but that at Barnum’s he had found the letter of the Claybank Committee (which I have previously mentioned,) and the concluded he would not be coerced into an explanation; but that in the course of a week or ten days he would take occasion to declare himself for you. Meanwhile primary meetings had been held, and on Monday Oct 10th the County convention was held and a ticket nominated. The Convention did not adopt a resolution endorsing the national ticket. On the same day the Congressional Convention for the second District was held, and nominated Blow. He has not yet, even in private, admitted that he would vote for you. On the 12th, the Congressional Convention for the 1st District met Know was the candidate of the ‘Democrat’ Office clique – C. P. Johnson was the candidate of those against the Democrat. Johnson was nominated; but the Knox men contended that the nomination was unfair, and have bolted, and when I left were obtaining signatures requesting Knox to run independent. As that however would most likely insure the election of a Democrat, efforts were also being made to induce both Johnson and Knox to withdraw, and to combine the Union vote on Judge [Samuel T.] Clover [Glover]. The indications were when I came away that this would be done in a day or two.

I gave Mr. Foy your message and learned from him that he and the other office-holders are entirely willing to acquiesce in your wishes. They claim they have always been ready to support the ticket as soon as candidates were ready to declare themselves for you. I am satisfied that the indisposition on the part of both radicals and claybanks to come forward in a manly spirit and heal their dissensions, is due entirely to the long and chronic character of the quarrel, and that in the very nature of the case the reconciliation will be somewhat slow, although it seems to be going on pretty satisfactorily now.

It seems to be very well understood that with the exception of very few impracticables, the Union men will cast their votes, for you, for the radical Congressmen, for the Emancipation candidates for the State Legislature and the State Convention, so that in practice nearly everybody is right and united, while in profession everybody is wrong, or at cross purposes. I do not see that anything but time will abate the disorder.

When I arrived, Gen. Rosecrans had not yet issued his order about the election, and the radicals were very apprehensive, and anxious about that – more so than about their own factious quarrels, or the distribution of patronage. They said,’a good election order is the main thing we want. That, and that alone will enable us to carry the State.’ Rosecrans issued his order and they expressed themselves entirely satisfied with it. They said I might assure you would carry the State. Fletcher, who knows more of the other parts of the State than of the City, seems confident of the same result. He think he will be elected by ten thousand majority. I think he is perhaps too sanguine, but he seems pretty confident, and as he has lately been a good deal among the people, his judgment ought to be pretty good.

I urged upon the factions in the 1st Congressional district, that their quarrel ought not to be permitted to lose us the Congressman there – that if we continued to make giants as we had done in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania we should get a two-thirds vote in the House and thus be able to pass the Constitutional Amendment about Slavery. They acknowledge the importance of the matter and will I think unite on a third candidate and elect him.

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