Missouri Causes President Lincoln Military and Political Difficulties

October 19, 1864

Political and military affairs in Missouri continue to be a problem. Illinois Governor Richard Yates writes: “From representations made to me by Committee & from the loyal people of North Missouri it is indispensable that more troops be sent. [Iowa] Gov [William] Stone of Iowa is willing to furnish them I am informed. I would urge upon you the importance of a telegraph order on him to send three tho[u]sand armed militia along the Hannibal & St Joe immy.”

Union General Carl Schurz writes President Lincoln about his political canvass and political problems in Missouri: “To-night I shall set out on a trip to Illinois and Wisconsin, having so far confined my labors to Pennsylvania and New-York.– As this is the place where I am awaiting orders, I hope the War-Department will not call on me for anything during my absence. Although it is not probable, yet, as a mistake might happen, I would ask you to drop a hint to those concerned.

Some time ago I wrote you a few lines about the state of things in Missouri and especially St. Louis.1 I should have been very glad to go there, had not the very precarious, and for a short time indeed alarming state of Mrs. Schurz’s health obliged me to spend here several days inactive. And now I can not so shape my appointments as to render a trip to St. Louis possible. But there is something else that can be done. A few days ago I had a conversation with Mr. Frederick Kapp, a leading German lawyer in New-York, — you probably know him. He took an active part in the Fremont-movement,2 but now he is willing to go to St. Louis and to use his influence there to heal up the existing divisions. As he was a member of the Fremont-National-Committee, he is likely to have considerable influence with the radical German element in Missouri. I shall write again to him to-day, and I hope he will start for St. Louis either this or next week.

In connection with this I would renew the suggestion I ventured upon some time ago. If you could do something in the way of placing some of the more important federal offices in Missouri at the disposal of the radical element, it would, no doubt, greatly facilitate a general reconciliation.

As a general thing the prospects are good. Pennsylvania has not done as well as she ought to have done, but I do not think there is any cause for alarm. The November-election will fetch out our heavy majorities.

From New York, attorney William Bartlett writes President Lincoln: “I do not know how you feel about the prospect, in Pennsylvania, at the Presidential election. Some of your friends here, whose judgment is commonly considered good, think there is no doubt whatever as to the result. For myself I confess that I am not without misgivings. I have not forgotten ’56. Your friends are not more confident now than Fremont’s were at that time. We might have saved the State then; we may lose it now. I am in possession of such information as leaves no doubt that much remains undone in that State which might be done. It would cost great effort and considerable money. I and my friends are ready and willing to furnish both; but not unless in your judgment it is advisable.

If you desire it I will repair at once to Washington, and submit to you the facts which I have, bearing on the case, and then I will be governed by your decision in the premises.

“Group of loyal Marylanders from east Washington, headed by band from Emory Hospital and carrying signs proclaiming ‘The Union Forever,’ joins delegation from Lincoln & Johnson Club of Washington and marches from Navy Yard to White House to serenade President Lincoln appears at upper window with Tad by his side holding torch, and responds to serenade.”

Maryland residents, accompanied by a band march from Navy Yard to the White House

President Lincoln responds to their serenade: “Something said by the Secretary of State in his speech at Auburn, has been construed by some into a threat that, if I shall be beaten at the election, I will, between then and the end of my constitutional term, do what I may be able, to ruin the government.”

Others regard the fact that the Chicago Convention adjourned, not sine die, but to meet again, if called to do so by a particular individual, as the intimation of a purpose that if their nominee shall be elected, he will at once size control of the government. I hope the good people will permit themselves to suffer uneasiness on either point. I am struggling to maintain government, not to overthrow it. I am struggling to maintain government, not to overthrow it. I therefore say, that if I shall live, I shall remain President until the fourth of next March; and that whoever shall be constitutionally elected therefor in November, shall be duly installed as President on the fourth of March; and that in the interval I shall do my utmost that whoever is to hold the helm for the next voyage, shall start with the best possible chance to save the ship.

This is due to the people both on principle, and under the constitution. Their will, constitutionally expressed, is the ultimate law for all. If they should deliberately resolve to have immediate peace even at the loss of their country, and their liberty, I know not the power or the right to resist them. I t is their own business, and they must do as they please with their own. I believe, however, they are still resolved to preserve their country and their liberty; and in this, in office or out of it, I am resolved to stand by them.

I may add that in this purpose to save the country and it’s liberties, no classes of people seem so nearly unanamous as the soldiers in the field and the seamen afloat. Do they not have the hardest of it? Who should quail while they do not?

God bless the soldiers and seamen, with all their brave commanders.

Union General Philip H. Sheridan rallies Union troops to defeat Confederate General Jubal Early at Battle of Cedar Creek.

Published in: on October 19, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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