Concern about the Sailor Vote Reaches White House

October 23, 1864

New York political boss Thurlow Weed writes President Lincoln: “The Adversary is making the canvass sanguinary. The most desperate and profligate efforts are being made.

Our Friends report favorably from the Counties, but the Cities will give an ugly Vote.

Maj. Richardson writes from Beaufort, N. C. that he finds most of the Sailors against us. They are largely Irish– Another Agent writes to the State Committee that Admiral Lee is against us.

We have encouraging accounts from New-Jersey.

The same day, Major William Richardson had written Weed: “Thus far the indications are bad for the Navy vote amounting to much for us. The Officers are mostly right, but some Commandants evidently consider it a great innovation on the “good old way.” As far as the Officers can vote, they are generally ready to support the Administration, but there is no doubt that the feeling of the men of the Navy is generally and largely for McClellan4 — especially of those from our State, coming, as they so generally do, from the City and Brooklyn. The Irish firemen, coal passers &c. are nearly unanimous against us, but unless we are badly cheated their absence ought to help us on the home vote.

It is lucky that the opposition have made no intelligent effort to get their share of this vote, for those sent home to them from the Navy will generally be so irregular and informal that they will be of no use. I shall work all the time left to the best advantage I can, but it is an unpromising field. Much of this state of things, I learn from the Officers, is the result of the mismanagement (or not knowing how to smooth things down) on the part of the Navy Dept. The men are all kept 13 months for a year — they blame this on Lincoln. They have an idea amongst them that their grog ration is to be given them if McClellan is elected, and nothing has been done to enlighten them. Not a document — scarce ever a paper — has reached them — and it is too late now of course to change them. We must take what we can get and leave the rest.

President Lincoln meets with a group of Jewish New Yorkers.

President Lincoln writes General George Thomas: “I received information to-day, having great appearance of authenticity, that there is to be rebel raid into Western Kentucky—that it is to consist of four thousand Infantry, and three thousand Cavalry, and is to start from Corinth, Mississippi on the fourth day of November.”

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