Upcoming Election Preoccupies Washington

October 28, 1864

Attorney General Edward Bates writes in his diary about the regular Friday cabinet meeting: “Attended C.C. and [was] not a little surprised, to hear nothing talked of but election matters, and those minor points. Neither great principles nor great facts seem, at present, to have any chance for a fair consideration

Even matters of the gravest intrinsic importance are, just now, viewed and acted upon only in their relations to the pending election – e.g. the prosecution of Dodd et al (Sons of Liberty!) In Inda., and the trials of Ferry and Donahue, in Baltimore, for fraud and forgery, in the vote of the N.Y. soldiers.

I wish the election was over. The President, I think, as soon as re elected, will be a freer and bolder man.

From New York, New York City Superior Court Justice James W. White writes to Abraham Lincoln: “I omitted to say when I had the pleasure of seeing you this morning, that the prompt action of the Government against the traitors who have falsified the New York Soldiers votes, is hailed with gratitude by all the loyal people of our State; and we trust and pray, that upon all those who shall be convicted by the Military Commission authorized to try them you will fearlessly order the Sentence of the Court to be promptly executed.

Thousands and probably tens of thousands of those fraudulent votes are now in the hands of Copperhead politicians and their dupes in New York. If an example is made of a few of their accomplices in advance of the election day by shooting or inflicting such other punishment upon them as the Court shall deem it proper to order, the culprits in New York will fear to present the forged ballots at the polls lest they, too, may be detected and dealt with as they deserve.

But if the Government falters and shows any weak lenity to the prisoners now in its hands, the accomplices in New York will be encouraged, and will venture to attempt the consummation of their villainy by using the forged votes. In such an event we shall have trouble at the polls that we can hardly overcome — trouble that will not fail to be damaging in its effects.

We trust, therefore, dear Sir, that you will show the outlaws in your hands nothing but the sternest justice. You will be sustained in this course by all the Union Men of the Country

Navy Secretary Gideon Welles writes President Lincoln: “You are aware that owing to shoal water at the mouth of the Cape Fear river, a purely naval attack cannot be undertaken against Wilmington. Had there been water enough for our broadside ships of the Hartford class, the naval attacks of New Orleans, Mobile and Port Royal would have been repeated there. I have, as you are aware, often pressed upon the War Department the importance of capturing Wilmington and urged upon the military authorities the necessity of undertaking a joint operation against the defences of Cape Fear river, but until recently there never seems to have been a period when that Department was in a condition to entertain the subject.

Two months ago it was arranged that an attack should be made on the 1st of October, but subsequently postponed to the 15th, and the naval force has been ready since the 15th inst. in accordance with that agreement. One hundred and fifty vessels of war now form the North Atlantic Squadron. The command first offered to Rear Admiral Farragut but declined by him has been given to Rear Admiral Porter. Every other Squadron has been depleted and vessels detached from other duty to strengthen this expedition. The vessels are concentrated at Hampton Roads and Beaufort where they remain — an immense force laying idle awaiting the movements of the Army. The retention of so many vessels from blockade and cruising duty is a most serious injury to the public service, and if the Expedition cannot go forward for want of troops I desire to be notified, so that the ships may be relieved and dispersed for other service.

The importance of closing Wilmington is so well understood by you that I refrain from presenting any new arguments. I am aware of the anxiety of yourself, and of the disposition of the War Department to render all the aid in its power. The cause of the delay is not from the want of a proper conception of the importance of the subject, but the season for naval coast operation will soon be gone. Genl. Bragg has been sent from Richmond to Wilmington to prepare for the attack and the autumn weather so favorable for such an expedition is fast passing away. The public expect this attack and the country will be distressed if it be not made: to procrastinate much longer will be to peril its success. Of the obstacles which delay or prevent military co-operation at once I cannot judge, but the delay is becoming exceedingly embarrassing to this Department and the importance of having the military authorities impressed with the necessity of speedy action has prompted this communication to you.

From New Orleans, Louisiana Governor Michael Hahn writes President Lincoln: “In a letter which I addressed you on the 24th ultimo, and which has no doubt reached you through Gen. Banks, I suggested the names of suitable persons to fill certain offices in this city and connected with the Treasury Department.1 I now beg leave to alter the list in one particular. I desire and earnestly urge the appointment of Col. Thomas B. Thorpe to the office of Surveyor of the Port of New Orleans instead of the gentleman (Judge Barrett) named in my former letter. Col. Thorpe is a good free state man and a writer of considerable repute. Some months ago he was highly recommended to you for the position now held by Mr. Flanders, but at my instance he abandons his application for that office, and will be entirely satisfied and pleased with the office of Surveyor of the Port.

I hope you will give him the position, and that the other appointments for this city, recommended by me may be acted on after consultation with Gen. Banks, who knows our people and our wants.

Published in: on October 28, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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