Serenade Visits the White House

November 10, 1864

General Grant telegraphs President Lincoln: ’The election having passed off quietly, no bloodshed or rioit [sic] throughout the land, is a victory worth more to the country than a battle won.’”

Journalist Noah Brooks writes that “an impromptu procession, gay with banners and respondent with lanterns and transparencies, marched up to the White House, the vast crowd surging around the great entrance, block up all of the semicircular avenue thereto as far as the eye could reach. Bands brayed martial music on the air, enthusiastic sovereigns cheered to the echo, and the roar of cannon shook the sky, even to the breaking of the President’s windows, greatly to the delight of the crowd and Master ‘Tad’ Lincoln, who was flying about window to window, arranging a small illumination on his own private account. The President had written out his speech, being well aware that the importance of the occasion would give it significance, and he was not willing to run the risk of being betrayed by the excitement of the occasion into saying anything which would make him sorry when he saw it in print. His appearance at the window was the signal for a tremendous yell, and it was some time before the deafening cheers would permit him to proceed….”

Presidential aide John Hay writes that President Lincoln “wrote late in the evening and read it from the window. ‘Not very graceful’ he said ‘but I am growing old enough not to care much for the manner of doing things.”   In response to a the crowd that gathered at the White House entrance, President Lincoln appeared at a second floor window. President Lincoln said:

It has been a grave question whether any government, not too strong for the liberties of its people, can be strong enough to maintain its own existence, in great emergencies.

On this point the present rebellion brought our republic to a severe test; and a presidential election occurring in regular course during the rebellion added not a little to the strain. If the loyal people, united, were put to the utmost of their strength by the rebellion, must they not fail when divided, and partially paralized, by a political war among themselves?

But the election was a necessity.

We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined u. The strife of the election is but human-nature practically applied to the facts of the case. What has occurred in this case, must ever recur in similar cases. Human-nature will not the change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak, and as a strong; as silly and as wise; as bad and good. Let us, therefore, study the incidents of this, as philosophy to learn wisdom from, and none of them as wrongs to be revenged.

But the election, along with its incidental, and undesirable strife, has done good too. It has demonstrated that a people’s government can sustain a national election, in the midst of a great civil war. Until now it has not been known to the world that this was possibility. It shows also how sound, and how strong we still are. It shows that, even among candidate of the same party, he who is most devoted to the Union, and most opposed to treason, can receive most of the people’s votes. It shows also, to the extent yet known, that we have more men now, than we had when the war began. Gold is good in its place; but living, brave, patriotic men, are better than gold.

But the rebellion continues; and now that the election is over, may not all, having a common interest, re-unite in a common effort, to save our common country? For my own part I have striven, and shall strive to avoid placing any obstacle in the way. So long as I have been here I have not willingly planted a thorn in any man’s bosom.

While I am deeply sensible to the high compliment of a re-election; and duly grateful, as I trust, to Almighty God for having directed my countrymen to a right conclusion, as I think, for their own good, it adds nothing to my satisfaction that any other man may be disappointed or pained by the result.

May I ask those who have not differed with me, to join with me, in this same spirit towards those who have?

And now, let me close by asking three hearty cheers for our brave soldiers and seamen and their gallant and skilful commanders.

President Lincoln writes Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “This lady would be appointed Chaplain of the First Wisconsin Heavy Artillery, only that she is a woman. The President has not legally anything to do with such a question, but has no objection to her appointment.”

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President Lincoln Compliments General McClellan

November 9, 1864

Presidential aide Edward Duffield Neill writes: “Anxious to know the returns from the several States the morning after the election, I came to the mansion earlier than usual. As I passed the door of his office, which was ajar, I saw that he was at his table, and engaged in official work. Entering the room, I took a seat by his side, extended my hand, and congratulated him upon the vote, for my country’s sake and for his own sake. Turning away from the papers which had been occupying his attention, he spoke kindly of his competitor, the calm, prudent general and grate organizer, whose remains this week have been placed in the cold grave. He told me that General Scott had recommended McClellan as an officer who had studied the science of war, and had been in the Crimea during the war against Russia, and that he told Scott that he knew nothing about the science of war, and it was very important to have just such a person to organize the raw recruits of the republic around Washington.”

Presidential aide John Hay reported on the day after the 1864 election: “Mr. Dana came to ask the President to come over to the War Department, Mr. Stanton being unable to come to the Ex. Mansion. They are to consult in regard to some suggestions of [General Benjamin f.] Butler’s, who wants to grab and incarcerate some gold gamblers. The President don’t like to sully victory by an harshness.

“Montgomery Blair came in this morning. He returned from his Kentucky trip in time to vote at home. He is very bitter against the Davis clique, (whats left of it) and foolishly I think confounds the War Department and the Treasury as parties to the Winter Davis conspiracy against the president. He spoke with pleasant sarcasm of the miscalculation that has left Reverdy Johnson out in the cold, & gave an account of his ‘being taken by the insolent foe’ in the Blue Grass Region. He says he stands as yet by what he has said, that Lincoln will get an unanimous electoral vote. The soldier vote in Kentucky he thinks will save the state if the guerillas have allowed the country people peace enough to have an election.”

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President Lincoln Elected President

November 8, 1864

When all the votes are counted, President Lincoln receives 2,206,938 popular votes and 212 Electoral College votes. General George B. McClellan received 1,803,787 popular votes and 21 Electoral College votes.

Rainy, foggy night in Washington. “The House has been still and almost deserted today. Every body in Washington, not at home voting seems ashamed of it and stays away from the President,” writes presidential aide John Hay in his diary. “I was talking with him today. He said ‘It is a little singular that I who am not a vindictive man, should have always been before the people for election in canvasses marked for their bitterness: always but once: when I came to Congress it was a quiet time: but always besides that the contests in which I have been prominent have been marked with great rancor.”

Stanley Kimmel wrote in Mr. Lincoln’s Washington: “As returns began to indicate Lincoln’s reelection, enthusiastic Republican marched through the streets singing ‘Rally Round The Flag, boys, Rally Once Again.’ For hours they kept up a continual din in downtown Washington which reached a climax about half-past one o’clock in the morning of November 9 when some of them serenaded Lincoln at the White House. Appearing at one of the windows, the President said in part: ‘I am thank ful to God….” President Lincoln says:

Even before I had been informed by you that this compliment was paid me by loyal citizens of Pennsylvania friendly to me. I had inferred that you were of that portion of my countrymen who think that the best interests of the nation are to be subserved by the support of the present Administration. I do not pretend to say that you think so embrace all the patriotism and loyalty of the country. But I do believe, and I trust, without personal interest, that the welfare of the country does require that such support and indorsement be given. I earnestly believe that the consequences of this day’s work, if it be as you assure me and as now seems probable, will be to the last lasting advantage, if not to the very salvation, of the country. I cannot at this hour say what has been the result of the election; but, whatever it may be, I have no desire to modify this opinion–that all who have labored to-day in behalf of the Union organization, have wrought for the best interests of their country and the world, not only for the present, but for all future ages. I am thankful to God for this approval of the people. But while deeply grateful for this mark of their confidence in me, if I know my heart, my gratitude is free from any taint of personal triumph. It is no pleasure to me to triumph over any one; but I give thanks to the Almighty for this evidence of the people’s resolution to stand by free government and the rights of humanity.

Assistant Secretary of War Charles A. Dana later wrote: “All the power and influence of the War Department, then something enormous from the vast expenditure and extensive relations of the war, was employed to secure the re-election of Mr. Lincoln. The political struggle was most intense, and the interest taken in it, both in the White House and in the War Department, was almost painful. After the arduous toil of the canvass, there as naturally a great suspense of feeling until the result of the voting should be ascertained. On November 8th, election day, I went over to the War Department about half past eight o’clock in the evening, and found the President and Mr. Stanton together in the Secretary’s office. General Eckert, who then had charge of the telegraph department of the War Office, was coming in constantly with telegrams containing election returns. Mr. Stanton would read them, and the President would look at them and comment upon them. Presently there came a lull in the returns, and Mr. Lincoln called me to a place by his side.

‘Dana,’ said he, ‘have you ever read any of the writings of Petroleum V. Nasby?’

‘No, sir,’ I said; ‘I have only looked at some of them, and they seemed to be quite funny.’

‘Well,’ said he, ‘let me read you a specimen’; and, pulling out a thin yellow-covered pamphlet from his breast pocket, he began to read aloud. Mr. Stanton viewed these proceedings with great impatience, as I could see, but Mr. Lincoln paid no attention to that. He would read a page or a story, pause to consider a new election telegram, and then open the book again and go ahead with a new passage. Finally, Mr. Chase came in, and presently somebody else, and then the reading was interrupted.

Mr. Stanton went to the door and beckoned me into the next room. I shall never forget the fire of his indignation at what seemed to him to be mere nonsense. The idea that when the safety of the republic was thus at issue, when the control of an empire was to be determined by a few figures brought in by the telegraph, the leader, the man most deeply concerned, not merely for himself but for his country, could turn aside to read such balderdash and to laugh at such frivolous jests was, to his mind, repugnant, even damnable. He could not understand, apparently, that it was by the relief which these jests afforded to the strain of mind, under which Lincoln had so long been living, and to the natural gloom of a melancholy and desponding temperament–this was Mr. Lincoln’s prevailing characteristic–that the safety and sanity of his intelligence were maintained and preserved.

Dana recalled: “Stanton motioned to me to come with him into General Eckert’s room, and when the door was shut he broke out in fury: ‘God damn it to hell,’ said he, was there ever such nonsense? Was there ever such inability to appreciate what is going on in an awful crisis? Here is the fate of this whole republic at stake, and here is the man around whom it all centers, on whom it all depends, turning aside from this monumental issue to read the God damned trash of a silly mountebank!”

“This fiery speech of the enraged Secretary was interrupted by General Eckert, who had another telegram which he showed to him, and with which we all went back into Mr. Stanton’s own office, in order that the President might see it Hardly had he begun to read it, however, when a new occasion of irritation arose. The messenger brought in a card and handed it to the President, who said at once, as he passed the card over to the Secretary, ‘Show him in!’ Stanton read it, and turning to me, exclaimed in a low voice: ‘God in heaven, it is Whitelaw Reid!’ I understood at once the point of this explosion. Mr. Reid, who was then the correspondent of the Cincinnati Gazette and a great friend of Secretary Chase in Washington, was not liked by the Secretary of War. This dislike had gone so far that the doorkeepers at the War Department had received directions that Mr. Reid was not to be admitted. But when he sent his card in to the President, they could not refuse it. Mr. Reid came in and was greeted by Mr. Lincoln, but not by the Secretary. His purpose was merely to obtain from headquarters and from the highest authority the assurance that the election had certainly gone in favor of Lincoln; and after expressions of thanks and congratulations he withdraw. Just then Judge David C. Cartter came in with two or three other gentlemen, among Mr. Fox of the Navy Department, and the reading of Petroleum V. Nasby from the Confederate Cross Roads was not resumed.

Mrs. Lincoln remarked to her seamstress, Elizabeth Keckley: “”Now that we have won the position, I almost wish it were otherwise. Poor Mr. Lincoln is looking so broken-hearted, so completely worn out, I fear he will not get through the next four years.”

Presidential aide John Hay writes in his diary that he and the President Lincoln left for the War Department about 7 PM: Major “Eckert came in shaking the rain from his cloak, with trousers very disreputably muddy. We sternly demanded an explanation. He had slipped, he said, & tumbled prone, crossing the street. He had done it, watching a fellow-being ahead and chuckling at his uncertain footing. Which reminded the Tycoon, of course. The President said, ‘For such an awkward fellow, I am pretty sure-footed. It used to take a pretty dextrous man to throw me. I remember, the evening of the day in 1858, that decided the contest for the Senate between Mr Douglas and myself, was something like this, dark, rainy & gloomy. I had been reading the returns, and had ascertained that we had lost the Legislature and started to go home. The path had been worn hog-back & was slippery. My foot slipped from under me, knocking the other one out of the way, but I recovered myself & lit square, and I said to myself, ‘It’s a slip and not a fall.’

The President sent over the first fruits to Mrs. Lincoln. He said, ‘She is more anxious than I.’

We went into the Secretary’s room. Mr Wells and fox soon came in. They were especially happy over the election of Rice, regarding it as a great triumph for the Navy Department. Says Fox, ‘There are two fellows that have been especially malignant to us, and retribution has come upon them both, Hale and Winter Davis.’ ‘You have more of that feeling of personal resentment than I,’ said Lincoln. ‘Perhaps I may have too little of it, but I never thought it paid. A man has not time to spend half his life in quarrels. If any man ceases to attack me. I never remember the past against him. It has seemed to me recently that Winter Davis was growing more sensible to his own true interests and has ceased wasting his time by attacking me. I hope for his own good he has. He has been very malicious against me but has only injured himself by it. His conduct has been very strange to me. I came here, his friend, wishing to continue so. I had heard nothing but good of him; he was the cousin of my intimate friend Judge Davis. But he had scarcely been elected when I began to learn of his attacking me on all possible occasions. It is very much the same with Hickman. I was much disappointed that he failed to be my friend. But my greatest disappointment of all has been with Grimes. Before I cam here, I certainly expected to rely upon Grimes more than any other one man in the Senate. I like him very much. He is a great strong fellow. He is a valuable friend, a dangerous enemy. He carries too many guns not to be respected in any point of view. But he got wrong against me, I do not clearly know how, and has always been cool and almost hostile to me. I am glad he has always been the friend of the Navy and generally of the Administration.

Despatches kept coming in all the evening showing a splendid triumph in Indiana, showing steady, small gains all over Pennsylvania, enough to give a fair majority this time on the home vote. Guesses from New York and Albany which boiled down to about the estimated majority against us in the city, 35,000, and left the result in the State still doubtful.

A despatch from Butler was picked up & sent by Sanford, saying that the City had gone 35,000 McC. & the State 40,000. This looked impossible. The State had been carefully canvassed & such a result was impossible except in view of some monstrous and undreamed of frauds. After a while another came from Sanford correcting former one & giving upon the 40,000 in the State.

Sanford’s despatches all the evening continued most jubilant: especially when he announced the most startling majority of 80,000 in Massachusetts.

General Eaton came in and waited for news with us. I had not before known he was with us. His denunciations of Seymour were especially hearty and vigorous.

Towards midnight we had supper, provided by Eckert. The President went awkwardly and hospitably to work shovelling out the fried oysters. He was most agreeable and genial al the evening in fact. Fox was abusing the coffee for being so hot–saying quaintly, it kept hot all the way down to the bottom of the cup as a piece of ice staid cold till you finished eating it.

We got later in the evening a scattering despatch from the West, giving us Michigan, one from Fox promising Missouri certainly, but a loss of the first district from that miserable split of Knox & Johnson, one promising Delaware, and one, too good for ready credence, saying Raymond & Doge & Darling had been elected in New York City.

Capt Thomas came up with a bad about half-past two, and made some music. The President answered from the window with rather unusual dignity and effect & we came home.   I wrote the speech and sent it to Hanscum.”]

H. L. [Ward Hill Lamon] came to my room to talk over the Chief Justiceship; he goes in for Stanton & thinks, as I am inclined to think, that the President cannot afford to place an enemy in a position so momentous for good or evil.

He took a glass of whiskey and then, refusing my offer of a bed, went out &, rolling himself up in his cloak, lay down at the President’s door; passing the night in that attitude of touching and dumb fidelity, with a small arsenal of pistols & bowie knives around him. In the morning he went away leaving my blankets at my door, before I or the President were awake.

California journalist Noah Brooks writes: “Election day was dull, gloomy and rainy; and, as if by common consent, the White House was deserted, only two members [Welles and Bates] of the Cabinet attending the regular meeting of that body….The President took no pains to conceal his anxious interest in the result of the election then going on all over the country, but just before the hour for Cabinet meeting he said: ‘I am just enough of a politician to know that there was not much doubt about the result of the Baltimore Convention, but about this thing I am far from being certain; I wish I were certain.’ Very few Union men here would have been unwilling to be as certain of a great good for themselves as they were of Lincoln’s re-election.

The first gun came from Indiana, Indianapolis sending word about half-past six in the evening that a gain of fifteen hundred in that city had been made for Lincoln. At seven o’clock, accompanied only by a friend, the President went over the War Department to hear the telegraphic dispatches, as they brought in the returns, but it was nearly nine o’clock before anything definite came in, and then Baltimore sent up her splendid majority of ten thousand plus. The President only smiled good-naturel and said that was a fair beginning. Next Massachusetts send word that she was good for 75,000 majority (since much increased), and hard upon her came glorious old Pennsylvania, Forney telegraphing that the State was sure for Lincoln. ‘As goes Pennsylvania, so goes the Union, they say,’ remarked Father Abraham, and he looked solemn, as he seemed to see another term of office looming before him. There was a long lull, and nothing heard from New York, the chosen battle ground of the Democracy, about which all were so anxious. New Jersey broke the calm by announcing a gain of one Congressman for the Union, but with a fair prospect of the State going for McClellan; then the President had to tell a story about the successful New Jersey Union Congressman, Dr. Newell, a family friend of the Lincolns, which was interrupted by a dispatch from New York City, claiming the State by 10,000. ‘I don’t believe that,’ remarked the incredulous Chief Magistrate, and when Greeley telegraphed at midnight that we should have the state by about four thousand, he thought that more reasonable. So the night wore on, and by midnight we were sure of Pennsylvania, the New England States, Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and it then appeared that we should have Delaware. Still no word came from Illinois, or Iowa, or any of the trans-Mississippi States, and the President was specially concerned to hear from his own State, which sent a dispatch from Chicago about one o’clock in the morning, claiming the State for Lincoln by 20,000 and Chicago by 2,500 majority. The wires worked badly on account of the storm, which increased, and nothing more was heard from the West until last night, the 10th, when the President received two days’ dispatches from Springfield, claiming the state by 17,000 and the Capital by 20 majority, Springfield having been heretofore Democratic. By midnight the few gentlemen in the office had had the pleasure of congratulating the President on his re-election. He took it very calmly – said that he was free to confess that he felt relieved of suspense, and was glad that the verdict of the people was so likely to be clear, full and unmistakable, for it them appeared that his majority in the electoral college would be immense. About two o’clock in the morning a messenger came over from the White House with the intelligence that a crowd of Pennsylvanians were serenading his empty chamber, whereupon he went home, and in answer to repeated calls came forward and made one of the happiest and noblest little speeches of his life…”

Published in: on November 8, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Anxiety on Eve of the Election

November 7, 1864

Pennsylvania Republican Alexander McClure writes to President Lincoln from Pennsylvania: ‘The work is as well done as it can be done, & well enough I have no doubt. We shall carry the State by from 5,000 to 10,000 on the home vote, & it may be more, unless all signs are deceptive.   We should have had much more, but it is too late for complaint, & we shall have enough. I go home to-morrow greatly encouraged by the conviction that your Election will be by a decisive vote, & give you all the moral power necessary for your high & holy trust….’

From Maryland, Henry W. Hoffman writes President : “Our canvass closes to day, and from the improvement made of the time since the vote upon the Constitution, I have every reason to anticipate the most satisfactory result upon to morrow.

Armed with the powers conferred by the New Constitution, we have taken the precaution to provide as far as possible against the introduction of votes obnoxious to it’s provisions.

I have had printed and placed in the hands of the Judges of Election and challengers, a circular, which, with the organization now existing in the State, will I have every reason to believe be productive of the greatest good.

I anticipate a largely increased majority for our National and State ticket in the City and a materially reduced one against it in all the Rebel strongholds of the State.

I have arranged for the earliest returns from all parts of the State and will forward them by Military Telegraph as fast as received.

President Lincoln orders General Benjamin F. Butler, not noted for his subtlety in dealing with civilians, to avert clashes between state and federal military forces on election day.

Quaker Elizabeth S. Comstock visits President Lincoln and reads from Isaiah. “Mr. Lincoln was highly gratified with the interview, and before taking her leave she kneeled in prayer, while he joined in the reverend [sic] attitude.”

John Hay writes in his diary: “Talking with the President a day or two ago about Sherman he told me that Sherman was inclined to let Hood run his gait for a while, while he overran the Gulf States in Hoods rear. Grant seems rather inclined to have Sherman strike and destroy Hood now, before going South but gives no orders in the case.”   Hay writes fellow presidential aide John G. Nicolay: “I have nothing to say till the day after tomorrow. God save the Republic!”

Published in: on November 7, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Gets New York Political News

November 6, 1864

President Lincoln writes Secretary of State William H. Seward, who is home in Auburn, New York: “Nothing of much importance. Day-before-yesterday rebels destroyed two more of our wooden gun-boats, at Johnsonville, on Tennessee River. Curtis, on the 4th., was at Fayetteville, Ark. still pursuing and damaging Price. Richmond papers say Yankees landed at Escambia Bay, below Hilton (not far from Mobile) captured fifty men, and destroyed all camp equipage, wagons Saltworks, &c and every thing in and about Hilton. Richmond papers also confirm the destruction of the Albemarle & the consequent evacuation of Plymouth N.C.”

New York Republican political boss Thurlow Weed, an ally of Seward who usually was a political pessimist, writes President Lincoln: “I am preparing to go to Albany– If I had been there, as usual, I could have told you how the State would vote to-morrow. Here, amid “noise and confusion” I cannot judge for myself.

The confidence of the Adversary has risen during the last twenty-four hours. Their Speakers come in encouraged. All, however, depend upon the Fraudulent Votes, the manufacture of which has been enormous.

Gen. Butler’s order, this morning, allays the excitement which his presence occasioned. And yet I am by no means sure that we shall not suffer. I know that most of our Friends would have advised against sending either the General or Troops.

All has been done that can be done here. Every Ward — here and in Brooklyn — and every Election District, is abundantly supplied with “material aid.” I don’t like to loose my own Vote or I would stay here to-morrow.

I am sorry to see so many of the Returning Soldiers against us. They obtained Furloughs under false pretenses.

If New-York goes right your majority will be greater than your opponents Vote.

In a second note, Weed writes: “I have information — reliable I think — that the recent Letter of Mr [Alexander T.] Stevens, of Georgia, was reluctantly written, upon assurance from this city, that it would elect McClellan and bring Peace; and that now, regarding your re-election as “a fixed fact,” he will resign his Vice Presidency and take ground in favor of a Restoration of the Union.

I was with Gen. [Benjamin F.] Butler till late last Evening. He will promulgate a soothing General Order to-morrow morning. His arrival here caused great excitement, and uneasiness among our Friends. I believe he made a discreet disposition of his Troops.

We are safe in the State if not overwhelmed by Fraudulent Votes, of which Tens of thousands here are manufactured.

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Massachusetts Folk on President’s Mind and Conversation

November 5, 1864

Massachusetts Adjutant-General William Schouler writes to Massachusetts Governor John Andrew: “Called upon the President, whom I had not seen since he was inaugurated. I had known him when in Congress, and when I lived in the West. He knew me, and I passed an agreeable half-hour with him…”

President Lincoln writes a Boston woman, Charlotte B. Wise, who had requested a photograph for a Navy Photograph Book for our Sailors’ Fair, which opens on the 9th.”   He writes:”It gives me pleasure to comply with your request.”

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President Discusses Gold and Railroads

November 4, 1864

President Lincoln orders: “The permanent location of the Union Pacific Railroad, for one hundred miles west from Omaha, Nebraska, as shown by the map thereof certified by the President and Secretary of said Company, Oct. 19, 1864, is hereby approved.

Treasury official John A. Stewart, in New York, meets with President Lincoln about a conspiracy to manipulate gold price. Stewart himself was a prominent New York banker.

Mary J. Baldwin, the sister of several Union generals writes President Lincoln`In consideration of the approaching election I feel a delicacy in troubling you. Mrs. Fogg and Mrs Bridges are constantly intreating me to write and beg you pardon [former Confederate Army officer] Robert T.]Bridges as is you can do no better send him to the Penitentary a short time. As you know from the evidence he was tried and convicted for the death of a “Rebel Soldier” — while in the rebel Army– I think he is entitled to some consideration for the deed and indeed the condition of his family is pitiable. Let this and the Young4 case be the first merciful act after your re-election Which thank Heaven is certain–

After the execution of [Mirbey?] nine union men — near Shelbyville [were?] shot in retaliation of his death proving my judgment was correct–

Please Mr President — send to Capt W. H. McLyman now in charge of the Goverment Bakery in this city a commission as Major– He is a splendid officer and so honest and devoted to his duties– Grant me this as a personal favor — and the just reward of well-doing–

Do you know Genl Thomas (God bless the Hero) has appointed me Agent for the Army of the Cumberland — and I am succeeding nicely and have employed the best of counselers and help. Although the Sutlers say they will force the Secty of War to brake up the arraingment– If any thing should occur — I hope you will be true to the daughter & sister of four dead Hero’s–

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Podiatrist Reports on Jewish Vote in New York

November 3, 1864

The President’s podiatrist, Isachar Zacharie, writes President Lincoln about his efforts to campaign for President Lincoln among Jewish voters in New York:: “I just returned to this city after a trip of 9 days through Pennsylvania and New York state, and I am happy to inform you, that I am satisfied that I have done much good, I now think all is Right — and if we can reduce the Democratic Majority in this city, I shall be satisfied– As regards the Isrelites – with but few Exceptions, they will vote for you, I understand them well, and have taken the precaution — to see that they do as they have promised– I have secured good and trustworthy men to — attend on them on Election Day– My Men have been all the week seeing that their masses are properly Registered — so that all will go right on the 8th ins.

As Regards Pennsylvania, if you knew all — you and your friends would give me much credit — for I flatter myself I have done one of the sharpest things that has been done in the champaigne, will explain it to you when I see you.

I wish to God all was done for I am used up, but 3 years ago, I promised I would elect you, and if you are not it shall not be my fault–

Raymond will inform you that I am doing all I can for him but his choices are very Doubtful l– I should feel very bad if your choices was like his–

I have much to say to you but have been up almost every night — that I am used up– I hope to see you after the fun is over, when I hope you will say

“Well done my good and faithfull servant.”

General Christopher C. Andrews writes President Lincoln about affairs in Arkansas: “Matters remain here about as usual.

The weather has been rainy for three days. We have storehouses however, so that every thing is under good cover. There are now 60.000 sacks of grain in good shelter.

Undoubtedly a rise in the streams will be of advantage to our side. For some weeks past there has been no communication by water between Pine Bluff and Little Rock.

Recently a train of 300 wagons with supplies, left Little Rock for Fort Smith. Maj. Gen. Herron1 accompanied the escort.

I learn on fair authority that the rebel McRay who accompanied Price into Missouri with about 3000 men, is now at Searcy, (sixty miles north west of here).

I have now at this post 4000 troops, the greater part of whom have good winter quarters. I have 500 men at work on fortifications, all of which I hope to have finished in a few days. One of my regiments is the 57th U. S. Infy (Col.) and is at work on the last and heaviest earthwork. I told them the other day I thought if they made a good fort of it we would call it Fort Lincoln which greatly pleased the men and made them shovel faster.

I believe in getting as many colored troops as possible. The more rebels see that they cannot retain slavery the more readily will they quit

General George Meade writes President Lincoln: “Your dispatch of this date directing that execution of the sentence in the cases of Samuel J Smith and George Brown alias George Rock [who had been sentenced to death for desertion] be suspended until further orders has been received The records in their cases were forwarded to the Judge Advocate General some days ago.”


Published in: on November 3, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

White House Receives Reports About Upcoming Election

November 2, 1864

Three Illinois state officials – William Butler, J K Dubois, and Ozias M Hatch – telegraph President Lincoln about the soldier vote in the state: “On twenty fourth (24) inst Gov [Richard] Yates telegraphed Secretary of War asking issue of order for furloughing of Ills troops in Camps of Distribution & Rendezvous & U S Hospitals in this Dept.1 The order as to hospitals are properly carried out. General Hooker in pursuance of order of War Dept ordered on twenty sixth (26) Oct that all Illinois soldiers in Camps of Distribution & Rendezvous should be furloughed Maj J J Hefferman Commanding Camp Butler received this order on twenty seventh (27) October & failed to obey it & from influences unknown to us War Dept through Breck4 A A G has revoked Hookers dispatches to Hefferman yesterday including drafted men Subs & recruits while Vincent A A G telegraphs Dubois that it is impracticable to furlough recruits, the necessity for furloughing all troops except Substitutes at Camp Butler is known to be greater now than now than when Dubois teleghed you before.”

From nearly Missouri, Republican official William Avery writes presidential assistant John G. Nicolay about the always confusing and cantankerous politics of the state “Yours of the 29th ult was received last night.

In respect to the Congressional election in the 1st district, I have to say that matters are a good deal muddled. The contest between Knox and Johnson is waged with great bitterness. The partisans of each loudly assert that their candidate will be elected. But I have not yet been able to determine in my own mind which will be successful. The Copperhead candidate is regarded as out of the question. He excites no enthusiasm and the meetings in his behalf are small, chilly affairs.

The German element, will I think, give as a general thing, its support to the Union National candidates. Price’s raid is regarded as having helped our cause.

You will see by the German newspaper, which I sent you, yesterday, that we now have an organ through which we can reach the German mind.

The congressional quarrel absorbs some of the attention of our friends here than I wish it did. I am doing the best I can for the national ticket, but find great difficulty in getting what I write before the public. Whether it is a repugnance to “Old Abe” or my bungling manner of presenting his cause, keeps my communications from the press, I leave you to judge. I have done something in the way of printing on my own hook.

The peculiarities of the canvass here would be ridiculous, if not fraught with so much danger to the country Fletcher, for instance, the radical candidate for Governor, is entirely in the hands of Frank Blair’s chief fugleman, who also is Johnson’s prime agent. The Union newspaper, which assails both Knox and Blow favor Johnson. The more respectable portion of the Claybanks, except the office holders, will vote for Knox, who is the Democrat’s candidate.

This is a brief statement of the political condition here. There can be no harmony.

A group of Missouri Radicals writes President Lincoln: “In various ways the intimation has reached this city, that Maj. Gen. Rosecrans is to be relieved from the command of the Department of the Missouri. Assuming such to be the case, we would address you in regard to the matter of the appointment of his successor; and as the wishes of the Radical Union men of Missouri as to the command of this Department seem not heretofore to have been considered, we make another effort to be heard on that subject, in the hope of better results.

We suppose that, at this advanced stage of the Presidential canvass, we need hardly tell you that outside of the ranks of the Radicals you have very few supporters in Missouri. If this State casts its Electoral vote for you, — as we hope and believe it will, you will owe it to the Radicals: if it should not do so, you may thank the Conservatives, to whose counsels you have in times past listened, and who, professing to be your friends, now desert you at the pinch. The majority of the Conservative leaders are for McClellan,1 and of course the majority of that faction follow their leaders. In our opinion, you will not receive five hundred Conservative votes in Missouri.

From Iowa, Congressman Josiah Grinnell write: “The State of Iowa will give you from 35 to 40 thousand majority. We are at work early and late. I write to say that your devoted friends expect that you will make Gov. Chaise [sic] Chief Justice. On that subject I trust there will be no question.”

President Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton meet with New York election commissioners.   New York Republican boss Thurlow Weed writes President Lincoln: “Major Richardson, our Agent to collect Sailors votes on the Blockading Ships, has just returned from a not successful enterprize, though he is a most thorough man.

It is fortunate that the Adversary did not move in that direction. The Sailors are nearly all against us, for a simple but potent reason — their Grog has been stopped!

The Officers generally were right, though the Commander of one of the finest vessels was hostile and abusive.

Major Richardson secured only about 500 Votes. I have rec’d your telegram of November first ordering me to suspend the execution of Private P Carroll until further orders

From New York, Thurlow Weed and Henry J. Raymond write President Lincoln: “If possible please telegraph Genl [James A.] Dix to postpone execution of Patrick Carrol fixed for Friday for ten or fifteen days.”   President Lincoln had already acted. From New York, General John A. Dix writes President Lincoln: “I have rec’d your telegram of November first ordering me to suspend the execution of Private P Carroll until further orders.”

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Presidential Election Preoccupies White House

November 1, 1864

President Lincoln meets with General Benjamin Butler, who is on is way to New York City to keep order during elections there. William O. Bartlett, a close associate of New York Herald proprietor James Gordon Bennett, writes President Lincoln after meeting with him: “In regard to New York I may remark that our latest advices from the central, Northern, and Western counties — all coming from sources entitled to confidence — represent that unless McClellan goes out of the city more than fifty thousand ahead, your majority in the State will still be large.”

Presidential aide John G. Nicolay writes Myer S. Isaacs of the New York Jewish Messenger: “The President directs me to acknowledge the reception of your favor of the 26h October. You are in error in the assumptions you make in regard to the circumstances of the recent interveiw [sic] to which you refer, between certain gentlemen of the Hebrew faith, and the President. No pledge of the Jewish vote was made by these gentlemen and no inducements or promises were extended to them by the President. They claimed no such authority, and received no such response as you seem to suppose. The President deems this statement due to you, and directs me to thank you for your letter.”

Attorney General Edward Bates writes: “I happened today, to hear Mr. Seward read to Mr. Lincoln a draft of [a] dispatch to one of our Ministers abroad, in which he stated the success of the new Maryland constitution. And, putting this in contrast with the Dred Scott decision, the dispatch affirms that the Supreme Court affirms, in that case, that Congress has no power to restrain the spread of slavery.

That is a plain error. And it seems to me strange that Mr. S.[eward] should go out of the way to cite the case, as if just to blunder over it. The case decides no such doctrine; and distinctly so declared in my opinion on ‘Citizenship.’

And so, the issue is direct between Mr. S.[eward] and me – He tells one of our ministers abroad, that the court did so decide and this, in a letter that must come out some day. And I tell all and this, in a letter that must come out some day. And I tell all the world in a printed opinion, that the court did not so decide. The difference between us is that he had no occasion to cite the case at all, while I was under the unavoidable necessity to discuss it and declare its true legal import.

And, in this way false views are propagated, for many will read the short letter who will never read the long case.

Journalist Noah Brooks writes that “the colored people of this District held [at night] held a jubilation in honor of the emancipation of Maryland, manifesting their intelligent appreciation of the advance into freedom of Maryland in their own style. One of the largest of their churches was thrown open, religious exercises were held, and enthusiastic addresses were made by their head men and preachers. After an hour spent in this way, they organized themselves into an impromptu torchlight procession, numbering some few hundreds, who bore aloft the borrowed torches and a few of the transparencies of the late Union torchlight procession, among which latter were some not specially adapted to the occasion, California figuring as ‘20,000 for the Union,’ and ‘Indiana gives a us a gain of five Congressmen,’ while Massachusetts was represented by a picture of Bunker Hill monument, with an objurgatory remark as to Toombs’ prediction cornering his roll-call of slaves. With these emblems, and a hoarse band of music, the somewhat irregular procession up to the White House, where loud and repeated cheers brought out the President, who began by saying: ‘I have to guess, my friends, the object of this call, which has taken me quite by surprise this evening.’ Whereupon a chief spokesman shouted, ‘The emancipation of Maryland, sah;’ at which the President proceeded as follows:

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