3 William McKendree Gwin, a former physician and U. S. Senator from California, had been imprisoned briefly for disloyalty in 1861.
4 Joseph Vial (“Victor”) Smith was collector of customs for the Puget Sound district and a friend of Secretary Chase’s from Ohio. Lincoln had determined to remove Smith from his position the previous May, and had originally settled upon Frederick A. Wilson as his successor. Lewis C. Gunn, however, was ultimately given the post and Wilson did not receive the appointment until Gunn resigned in 1865. For more on the Smith controversy, see Henry to Lincoln, April 13, 1863; Lincoln to Chase, May 8, 1863; and Chase to Lincoln, May 11, 1863. See also Collected Works, VI, 209 and 215.
Lt. Selden is one of the most worthy men in the Service, and it is too bad to allow such scamps as Smith to insult and degrade him.
Smith makes his boasts publicly that Dr Gwin is his special friend & that he has the Entire confidence of of Mr Chase notwithstanding the Efforts of the President and his friend Henry to break him down.
There is a majority of Administration men in the Territory, but if Smith keeps on we wont have a coprals guard-- A. G. H.
Document: Horatio Seymour to Abraham Lincoln, August 7, 1863
2 Following the Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, Secretary of State Seward gave a speech in Washington on July 7, 1863 in which he stated: “The country shall be saved by the republican party if it will, by the democratic party if it choose, without slavery if it is possible, with slavery if it must.” For the text of the speech, see George E. Baker ed., The Works of William H. Seward (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1890), Volume 5, 485-89.
Mr Thurlow Weed has increased those anxieties by the overtures which he has made in the Even’g Journal.
For myself, I have seen but one way from the beginning, & that way becomes brighter as we proceed. It is by doing justice to the black man. Then shall we deserve success.
But I did not intend a sermon. My object was simply to call attention to the extract from the London paper which stands by us always.
Document: Abraham Lincoln to Mary Todd Lincoln, August 8, 18631
1 President Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, and sons Robert and Tad were on a visit to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. It is likely that this letter never actually reached Mrs. Lincoln, for it turned up in 1864 in the hands of a soldier in the Army of the Potomac, who returned it to the president. For a full account of these mysterious circumstances, seeDavid R. Bacon to Lincoln, April 25, 1864.
Washington, August 8, 1863.
My dear Wife.
All as well as usual, and no particular trouble any way. I put the money into the Treasury at five per cent, with the previlege of withdrawing it any time upon thirty day’s notice. I suppose you are glad to learn this. Tell dear Tad, poor “Nanny Goat.” is lost; and Mrs Cuthbert2 & I are in distress about it.
The petition itself is sufficiently explanatory of the causes and motives that gave rise to it, and while, from personal experience, we can endorse every word it contains, we feel that we can add nothing to the force of its own simple narrative of suffering and wrongs. Our people, (for we are East Tennesseeans ourselves) driven almost to desperation by repeated inflictions of cruelty on the part of the Rebel authorities, being powerless, themselves, and having so long waited in vain, yet hopefully still, for protection from the Government to which they have heroically adhered under circumstances that have not yet tested the loyalty of any other loyal people, have, as the final resort, appealed directly to Your Excellency, and this appeal no doubt is accompanied by the prayers of thousands of loyal men, women and children who can see no hope of temporal deliverance but in the strong arm of the United States Government. They feel, and justly feel, that although deprived of the blessing of republican liberty, themselves, they have given up their youth and their middle-aged to the service of the Government as freely as any other section of the Union in proportion to their population, and they account it a hard fate, indeed, that while district after district of rebellious citizens are being restored to the jurisdiction and protection of the Government, they are left to suffer, to languish and to die under the cruelties of a heartless despotism.
The practical object sought to be accomplished by this petition is to induce Your Excellency, if possible, to so strengthen the national forces designed to operate against East Tennessee, as to enable them to take immediate possession of that section, whereby they will not only afford the relief asked for, but accomplish another grand stride toward the final extinction of the rebellion.
5 See also Fleming to Burnside, July 21, 1863; Morrow to Burnside, August 1, 1863; Burnside to Lincoln, August 2, 1863; and Carter to Lincoln, August 2, 1863.
Your Excellency will readily appreciate the peril attending the circulation and signing of such a petition as the enclosed, in a region infested by rebel soldiery; for the mere publication of the fact of such a document being in existence would only subject our people to new trials and persecutions.
Sincerely regretting that Your Excellency’s engagements have been such as to preclude a personal interview, and still hoping that our mission will not have been fruitless,
We have the honor to be,
Your Excellency’s most Obt S’vts
Jno: M. Fleming
We are temporarily located at the Burnet House, Cincinnati. Should Your Excellency deem it proper to make any response to the matters herewith submitted, it will at the proper time be communicated through us, to the people for whom it may be designed.
[Endorsed on Envelope by Robert T. Lincoln:]
The petition of the East Tennesseeans
Also the President’s Answer -- which I do not think was sent
6 The last three lines of this endorsement were written by Lincoln’s son, Robert T. Lincoln, who owned and organized his father’s papers. For a draft and an unsigned copy of Lincoln’s answer, which was apparently filed in this envelope, see Lincoln to Robert Morrow and John M. Fleming, August 9, 1863. Whether or not this reply was actually sent is not evident. d2545600
Document: Carl Schurz to Abraham Lincoln, August 8, 1863
3 General George H. Gordon commanded the First Division of the 11th Corps from July 17 to August 5.
4 The 1st Division was transferred to the Department of the South and became part of the 10th Corps, taking part in the operations against Charleston.
You must not consider it a whim mere whim if I say, that I do not see how under present circumstances I can remain in my present situation much longer. I have suffered here more than I can tell you. The most cruel imputations springing from the disaster at Chancellorsville I have borne in silence and with fortitude; -- for it required some fortitude to see my good name blackened in the Press not only of this country but of Europe also, for an occurrence for which I least of all was responsible -- and to suffer this without being permitted to defend myself.
6 Meade eventually did reorganize the Army of the Potomac, but not until early 1864, long after Shurz’s departure.
Things being in that state, could you not save me from the necessity of resigning by assigning me together with my small command to some other duty? As Gen. Halleck is opposed to the occupation of the Shenandoah-Valley, that plan, I expect, has to be dropped. But would it not be possible to give me the Department of Western Virginia, which is now, -- I suppose only temporarily -- in the hands of a Brigadier? I would then concentrate some troops in the Kanawha Valley and orgainize expeditions with a view to the destruction of the Lynchburg railroad, a thing which ought to have been done long ago. If my division, comprising only about 2400 muskets, is withdrawn from this Army, it might easily be replaced by troops from Harpers Ferry, those, if necessary, to be replaced from the interior of the Department. All this could be done without any cost to the Government by marching the troops across the country. To this, I am sure, Gen. Meade would not objection, as the relations of the the troops of the 11th Corps with the rest of the Army are of the unpleasantest nature; and Gen. Howard, I know, for I have that in writing, would be glad to be placed in command of the 2d Corps, as he was to be if the original plan of breaking up the 11th Corps had been carried out.
It was not my intention to trouble you with any request, and I want to have it understood that I do not want anything for my personal accommodation, that would not chime with the general plan. The department of Western Virginia is certainly not very desirable in itself. I would have preferred to step out quietly were this possible, and not to have discussed this matter, were it not for the object of settling this German question to mutual satisfaction. In fact, this question has been forced upon me. I would request you to look upon this letter as private It is certainly better that such matters should be settled quietly, if possible, and if you favor the idea, it will be time to put it in an official form. I venture to predict that Gen. Halleck will not favor it, first because he wants to get rid of the class of men to which I belong on general principles, and then because he looks at matters from a point of view very different from yours.
Pardon me for having encroached so much upon your time. I considered it a duty.
Most truly yours
Document: Horatio Seymour to Abraham Lincoln, August 8, 1863
2 Judge Advocate Nelson J. Waterbury of the State of New York. A copy of Waterbury’s report, dated August 7, 1863, is in this collection.
Truly yours &c
Document: Charles Weston to Abraham Lincoln, August 8, 1863
Portland Me. August 8, 1863.
Mr. Sweat M. C. from this district, has returned with the welcome intelligence that you have revoked the order dismissing me. Through all these weary months, I never doubted, if you examined the case, you would do me justice.1
1 By the time he received this letter, General Grant was changing his mind about a Mobile expedition. Of more importance here is Lincoln’s concern about the recruitment of black troops, a matter he continually emphasized after issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. Grant was most receptive to the proposition, responding to Lincoln that he considered the arming of African-Americans to be “the heavyest blow yet given the Confederacy…” See Grant to Lincoln, August 23, 1863.
Washington, August 9, 1863.
My dear General Grant:
I see by a despatch of yours that you incline quite strongly towards an expedition against Mobile. This would appear tempting to me also, were it not that in view of recent events in Mexico, I am greatly impressed with the importance of re-establishing the national authority in Western Texas, as soon as possible-- I am not making an order, however-- That I leave, for the present at least, to the General-in-Chief--
Document: Abraham Lincoln to Robert Morrow and John M. Fleming, August 9, 1863 [Draft and Copy]1
1 Lincoln responds here to John M. Fleming and Robert Morrow to Lincoln, August 8, 1863, and East Tennessee Citizens to Lincoln, July, 1863. Fleming and Morrow were residents of Knoxville, Tennessee. Both documents retailed the sufferings of East Tennessee Unionists and asserted that those Unionists were entitled to Federal protection. They asked that Lincoln strengthen Federal forces in East Tennessee.
Robert T. Lincoln, who organized his father’s papers, seems to have believed that the presence here of Hay’s unsigned copy of the draft suggests that this letter was never sent, but definite confirmation of this is lacking.
4 Andrew Jackson Clements served in Congress as a Unionist from Tennessee, 1861-1863.
Start by whatever route they may, their lines of supply are broken before they get half way-- A small force, sufficient to beat the enemy now there, would be of no value, because the enemy would re-inforce to meet them, until we should have to give back, or accumulate so large a force, as to be very difficult to supply, and as to ruin us entirely if a great disaster should befal it-- I know you are too much distressed to be argued with; and therefore I do not attempt it at length. You know I am not indifferent to your troubles; else I should not, more than a year and a half ago have made the effort I did to have a Railroad built on purpose to relieve you. The Secretary of War, Gen. Halleck, Gen. Burnside,5 and Gen. Rosecrans6 are all engaged now in an effort to relieve your section. But remember, you will probably thwart them if you make this public.
5 Ambrose E. Burnside
6 William S. Rosecrans
[Copy in John Hay’s hand:]
Washington, August 9, 1863.
The petition of which you were the bearers, has just been handed me. Your cards and notes had come to me on two or three successive days before, and I knew then, as well as I do now, after reading the petition, what your mission was. I knew it was the same true and painful story, which Gov. Johnson, Mr. Maynard, Dr. Clements and others have been telling me for more than two years. I also knew that meeting you could do no good; because I have all the while done, and shall continue to do the best for you I could, and can. I do as much for East Tennessee as I would or could, if my own home, and family were in Knoxville. The difficulties of getting a Union army into that region, and of keeping it there, are so apparent, so obvious, that none can fail to see them, unless it may be those who are driven mad and blind by their sufferings.
Start by whatever route they may, their lines of supply are broken before they get half- way. A small force sufficient to beat the enemy now there, would be of no value, because the enemy would re-inforce to meet them, until we should have to give back, or accumulate so large a force, as to be very difficult to supply, and as to ruin us entirely if a great disaster should befal it.
I know you are too much distressed to be argued with, and therefore I do not attempt it at length. You know I am not indifferent to your troubles; else I should not, more than a year and a half ago, have made the effort I did to have a Rail Road built on purpose to relieve you. The Secretary of War, Gen. Halleck, Gen. Burnside and Gen. Rosecrans are all engaged now in an effort to relieve your section. But remember, you will probably thwart them, if you make this public.
Document: William P. Dole to John P. Usher, August 9, 1863
2 Samuel Hallett was a New York banker and a leading promoter of the building of a transcontinental railroad. In October 1861 a treaty between the U. S. Government and the Delaware Indians was ratified by the Senate and signed by Lincoln. The treaty granted the Leavenworth, Pawnee & Western Railroad the right to purchase the “surplus land” of the Delaware for the purpose of constructing the road. After paying for the land the company was to receive title to half the property upon completion of a specified portion of the line. Title for the remaining land was to be granted upon completion of the road to the western boundary of the Delaware reserve.
Yours truly W. P. Dole
Genl Logan says any a Telegraph will reach him at Carbondale in case the leave can be extended -- have it done3
Logan says he has not time even if he would ask for it from Genl Grant
Document: Charles F. Havelock to Abraham Lincoln, August 9, 18631
1 Havelock was an Englishman and former member of General McClellan’s staff who had taken exception to being mustered out of U. S. service. See Collected Works, VI, 351 for a summary of the case.
Washington Augt 9th
254 F Street
I beg leave to tender my grateful acknowledgements for your kind consideration in directing that I should be relieved from the order under which I was mustered out of the service in April last, and for your special order, restoring my date pay and emoluments. But on account of the stringency of the certificate which requires me to state that I have been regularly stationed on duty at Washington during the period charged for, I cannot sign it. I believe myself entitled to this allowance, and respectfully ask that the Quarter Master at this Station (Major Morris S Miller) may be authorized to pay me on a certificate in which this phrase may be omitted.
With high consideration
and Sincere regards
Your very obedt Servant
Charles F Havelock
Document: Andrew Johnson to Abraham Lincoln, August 9, 1863
Rec’d 9.15 PM
Aug 9th 1863
Three hundred men of 2nd West Tennessee Cavalry who were captured by Forrest and paroled have been at Camp Chase since December last 1862-- They are good soldiers and are anxious to join their Reg’ts Numbers of other troops have been exchanged since they were sent to Camp Chase and I hope steps will be taken to have these released--
Now is the time to for an entrance into East Tennessee-- If you will let us mass the entire Tennessee force we will enter take and hold the Country without regard to transportation which has always seemed to be an obstacle that could not be overcome
Document: Amos Tuck to Abraham Lincoln, August 9, 1863
1 Because desertions following the battle of Gettysburg posed so great a threat to the survival of the Army of Northern Virginia, General Lee asked Davis to proclaim a general amnesty to all men who would willingly return to their regiments. On August 1, Davis issued a proclamation that promised amnesty to all officers and men returning to the army within twenty days. In overblown fashion, however, he accused the Union government of planning to exterminate not only Southern soldiers, but their wives and children as well; and of a plot to incite “servile insurrection,” among other evils. For the complete text of the proclamation, see Official Records, Series IV, Volume 2, 687-88. Again, allow me to submit the query, whether it is not time for the head of our Government to address a few words to these deserters from the rebel cause, which Jefferson Davis is attempting to cajole again into his service. Many of them are Union men, and will it not be refreshing to them, to be told that their abandonment and denial of support to the rebellion, is in accordance with duty, and not in violation of it-- They will, many of them, hear what the President shall say, and they will believe his utterances a thousand times sooner than the falsehoods of the man at the head of the lying confederacy--
Document: Abraham Lincoln to Edwin M. Stanton, August 10, 18631
1 On August 3, 1863 General John A. McClernand wrote to Lincoln (q. v.) that “it is the purpose of my enemy’s…to attempt to gloss the more than mortal injury they have done me, by bringing me before a court-martial.” On the strength of the inquiries detailed in this document, Lincoln was able to reply to McClernand on August 12 that no charges had been preferred against the general, and none were likely to be. See Lincoln to McClernand, August 12, 1863.
Washington, Aug. 10, 1863.
I have not heard of any charges being filed against Gen. J. A. McClernand-- Are there any?
[Endorsed by Edwin M. Stanton:]
I do not know of any charges against General McClernand. General Grant has made a report which I have not seen & know nothing of its contents
Edwin M Stanton
Referred to Genl in Chief
E M Stanton
[Endorsed by Henry W. Halleck:]
There are no formal charges against Major Genl McClernand. Genl Grant has reported his reasons for removing him from command
H. W. Halleck
Genl in Chf
[Endorsed on Envelope by Lincoln:]
About Gen. McClernand
Aug 10 1863 .
Document: Abraham Lincoln to Rachel S. Evans, August 10, 1863 [Copy in Hay’s Hand]1
1 Mrs. Evans had sent a sofa cushion to Lincoln on July 9. It was purchased from The Pennsylvania Relief Association for Sick and Wounded Soldiers at a floral fair held in Philadelphia. See Evans to Lincoln, July 9, 1863.
As with a letter of the same date acknowledging another gift, this letter was likely composed, at Lincoln’s direction, by John Hay. See Lincoln to Elizabeth E. Hutter, Misses Lager and Miss Claghorn, August 10, 1863.
Washington, August 10, 1863
I thank you very cordially for the beautifully finished Cushion received, by your kindness courtesy, today. But grateful as I am it will be a greater pleasure to you to know reflect that the brave soldiers who reap the benefit of your kindness and liberality, are to day more grateful still.
I am yours very sincerely
Document: Abraham Lincoln to Elizabeth E. Hutter, Misses Lager and Miss Claghorn, August 10, 1863 [Draft in Hay’s Hand]1
1 Of the recipients, Hutter and Claghorn were associated with the Northern Home for Friendless Children and Associated Institute for Soldiers and Sailors Orphans, at Philadelphia. Since both the recipient copy of this document (which Lincoln signed), and the draft are in John Hay’s hand, and the language is distinctly un-Lincolnian, it seems likely that Lincoln only authorized this letter, and that Hay wrote it. See Collected Works, VI, 375-76.
Permit me to return my grateful acknowledgements to the fair manufacturers and generous donors of the beautiful present which accompanies their note of the 20th July. If anything could enhance to me the value of this representation of our national ensign, so elegantly executed and so gracefully bestowed, it would be the consideration that its price has been devoted to the comfort and restoration of those heroic men, who have bled and suffered in our flag’s defense. May our, We should never, & I think never shall be niggard of gratitude and benefaction to the soldiers who have endured toil and privations and wounds, that the nation may live.
I am very truly & grateful your
Document: Abraham Lincoln to William S. Rosecrans, August 10, 1863 [Copy in Hay’s Hand]1
1 Beginning on June 24, General Rosecrans and the Army of the Cumberland drove General Braxton Bragg’s Army of the Tennessee from Middle Tennessee to within sight of the vital rail junction at Chattanooga. Thereafter Rosecrans was under pressure from General Halleck and the president himself to seize the city, especially before Bragg could be relieved by General Joseph E. Johnston, for the only railroads connecting the eastern and western parts of the Confederacy converged there. Rosecrans justified the delays in his further movement in Rosecrans to Lincoln, August 1, 1863, to which this letter is a reply.
Washington, August 10, 1863.
My Dear General Rosecrans
Yours of the 1st was received two days ago. I think you must have inferred more than Gen Halleck has intended, as to any dissatisfaction of mine with you. I am sure you, as a reasonable man, would not have been wounded, could you have heard all my words and seen all my thoughts, in regard to you. I have not abated in my kind feelings for and confidence in you. I have seen most of your despatches to General Halleck -- probably all of them. After Grant invested Vicksburg, I was very anxious lest Johnston should overwhelm him from the outside, and when it appeared certain that part of Bragg’s force had gone and was going to Johnston, it did seem to me it was the exactly proper time for you to attack Bragg with what force he had left. In all kindness, let me say, it so seems to me yet. Finding from your despatches to General Halleck that your judgement was different, and being very anxious for Grant, I, on one occasion told Gen. Halleck, I thought he should direct you to decide at once, to immediately attack Bragg or to stand on the defensive, and send part of your force to Grant. He replied he had already so directed, in substance. Soon after, despatches from Grant abated my anxiety for him, and in proportion abated my anxiety about any movement of yours. When afterwards, however, I saw a despatch of yours arguing that the right time for you to attack Bragg was not before but would be after the fall of Vicksburg, it impressed me very strangely; and I think I so stated to the Secretary of War and General Halleck. It seemed no other than the proposition that you could better fight Bragg when Johnston should be at liberty to return and assist him, than you could before he could so return to his assistance!
Since Grant has been entirely releived by the fall of Vicksburg, by which Johnston is also releived, it has seemed to me that your chance for a stroke, has been considerably diminished, and I have not been pressing you directly or indirectly. True, I am very anxious for East Tennessee to be occupied by us; but I see and appreciate the difficulties you mention. The question occurs, Can the thing be done at all? Does preparation advance at all? Do you not consume supplies as fast as you get them forward? Have you more animals to day than you had at the battle of Stone River? And yet have not more been furnished you since then than your entire present stock? I ask the same questions as to your mounted force.
Do not misunderstand. I am not casting blame upon you. I rather think by great exertion, you can get to East Tennessee. But a very important question is, “Can you stay there?” I make no order in the case -- that I leave to General Halleck and yourself.
And now, be assured once more, that I think of you in all kindness and confidence: and that I am not watching you with an evil-eye.
Yours very truly
[Endorsed on Envelope by Lincoln:]
To Gen. Rosecrans. Aug. 10 1863
Document: John G. Barnard to Abraham Lincoln, August 10, 1863
Washington Aug. 10. 1863.
Excuse me for adding a few words to what I said when you did me the honor of an interview
1 Yorktown was abandoned by the Confederates on May 3, 1862 and their rear guard action at Williamsburg was fought the next day. Norfolk surrendered to Union forces under Gen. John E. Wool on May 10.
I would most respectfully remark that this supposed necessity applies in no manner to brevets and I can only reconcile myself to the omission of my name among those of officers brevetted on the 4th July 1862, by the supposition that the services and duties of the Chief Engineer of an army as large as that of the Potomac, after a campaign which involved not only incessant engineering operations but an actual seige (in which the only success of the campaign was attained), were not fully understood.2
2 Barnard was brevetted colonel in the regular army to date from June 30, 1862, for “gallant and meritorious service in the campaign of the Peninsula.”
And to the assumption of a “necessity” which confines Engineers to obscurity I would respectfully remark that Engineers, junior to myself, are now exercising the principal military commands in the country, while to me the fact that I am an Engineer is held up as an insurmountable barrier--
Indeed, owing to the fact that no rank had been given, I lost the important command of the defences of Washington, conferred on me, in a complimentary manner by Gen. Halleck, at a moment of great peril. I need scarcely remind you how often, since that period (and before it) rank has been conferred expressly to enable an officer to excercise an important command
I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your obidient Servant
J. G. Barnard
Brig General &c
Document: Francis P. Blair, Sr. to Abraham Lincoln, August 10, 1863
4 A reference to the defeat at Chancellorsville in early May 1863.
5 Joseph Hooker
6 George G. Meade
It is plain that “The friend: behind: the: scenes,” discloses these confidences, not to defend Gen Halleck against accusations not stated, but rather to convince the public that the President has always been in the wrong & the Gen: in: Chief always in the right -- that the one has sacrificed the army to political objects -- (“The political elements trying their hand at running”) -- while the latter, the Gen: in: Cheif has labored to bring it back to “military discipline & an adherence to army usage,” which the President ignores-- Now that Halleck bears sway it is intimated the good time has come.
The feeling among out-siders like myself, -- (who beleive that the cause & the country depend upon faith in the man to whom their fate is committed & good faith towards him on the part of those especially in whom he puts his trust, of all things most essential) is, that no betrayals should be tolerated, designed to pull down the character of the cheif magistrate & to set up that of a Gen: in: Cheif -- and yet a series of publications makes it evident that some some, (one or more) in immediate connexion, with Gen Halleck do not hesitate to avail themselves of his position & circumstances derived from the confidential consultations & relations which grow out of it, to attempt to shake the confedince of the people in the motives as well as the capacity of the controlling Head of the Republic in this trying hour. That you have continued so long to support Halleck & the load of odium under which labors, ought, I think, to have excited a gratitude forbidding such repeated attempts to elevate himself at the expence of the deserved popularity you have earned-- Yo mo. ob. fd.
F. P. Blair
Document: Simon Cameron to Abraham Lincoln, August 10, 1863
I have known Major Montgomery myself for many years -- he belongs to a family that have fought in all our wars, -- and he his many friends feel deeply pained. In my brief administration of the War Dept. I was acquainted with his conduct as an officer -- and I looked on him, as one of the best businessmen connected with the Qr Masters Dept. It is not at all unlikely that in the honest discharge of his duties he has come under the censure of persons, whose sinister conduct he could not countenance.
Document: Phineas D. Gurley to Abraham Lincoln, August 10, 18631
1 The Rev. Dr. Phineas D. Gurley was pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, which was attended by the Lincolns.
2 Alexander B. Hagner of Annapolis, Maryland was married to the niece of the Rev. Harrison. See Collected Works, VI, 378, and Hagner’s, A Personal Narrative of the Acquaintance of My Father and Myself with Each of the Presidents of the United States (Washington: Press of W. F. Roberts Co., 1915), 47.
3 Lincoln ordered that nothing further be done in the case without further orders.
P. D. Gurley.
Document: Stephen A. Hurlbut to Abraham Lincoln, August 10, 1863
Memphis Aug. 10. 1863
Acknowledging with the deepest gratitude the kindly expressions in your letter & in that of the Genl in Chief I have concluded to adopt the suggestions made by my superiors and have withdrawn my Resignation1
1 See Lincoln to Hurlbut, July 31, 1863. Halleck’s letter is in Official Records, Series I, Volume 24, Part III, 563-64.
Very Truly & gratefully
S A Hurlbut
Maj Genl U. S. V.
Document: Stephen A. Hurlbut to S. B. Walker, August 10, 18631
1 See Lincoln’s draft response in Collected Works, VI, 387.
Memphis Tenn. Aug. 10. 1863.
The views which you will find below are personal not Official, the opinions of an individual not representative. As such they are at your service.
I prefer to deal fairly with the facts before us, and consider it cowardly in any man not to recognise, and shape his course by the necessities of the time.
First therefore I affirm that the Constitution was made for citizens, not aliens.
The individuals and the States that by secession have so far as they could do made themselves aliens are not within the protection of the Constitution while that alienage continues.
The socalled Confederate Government is the creature and exponent of Treason: as such it is impossible for the U. States to treat with or consider it except for the sake of humanity on questions of exchange of prisoners.
The states although rebellious are corporations known to the Constitution, and when they desire to speak and act as States for reconstruction can be heard.
As States they went out -- as States they may return.
It is held by the U. States as a matter of national existence not to be surrendered that no State or States has lawful power to withdraw, and thus break up the Union.
On the contrary it is held by the confederacy as the absolute basis of their present existence that each and every State had and now has the inherent power to secede from any Government.
The right therefore of separating from secession is indisputable. The wisdom is apparent.
By repealing the Ordinance of Secession the State of Mississippi so far as the confederacy is concerned assumes its original sovereignty and has power without hindrance from such Confederacy to do all acts belonging to a Sovereign State, to call its citizens within its limits, to connect itself with the old or any other form of Government and to deny admittance within its borders to the troops of the Confederacy.
These powers are the logical and undeniable sequence of the doctrine of paramount State Allegiance and the right of secession, and under the “States’-right” point of view cannot be objected to by the Confederate Government.
It is true that the Confederate authorities may and probably will declare the State so acting an enemy, and may threaten war.
Now the State having we will suppose thus severed the rope of sand which was the shadow of an Union with the Confederacy may apply to the General Government for reception into the Union
The terms and conditions of such reception will depend upon the discretion of Congress. It can scarcely be expected that it will be unconditional.
A crime of such magnitude as Armed Treason cannot be wholly ignored nor would it appear safe to trust fully and completely those who so lately have been deeply engaged in endeavoring to overthrow and destroy the very ark from which and in which they now seek safety
But this is for the hereafter and for others. I feel assured that neither the Government, the people, nor the armies of the U. States entertain animosity or revenge against the people of the Insurrectionary States, and will promptly meet any sincere effort toward reunion.
I very clearly see the difficulty which stands in the way of action by the people of Mississippi. Their chief stumbling block is and will be on the question of slavery. On this, as on all others I am disposed to speak with absolute clearness my own personal views.
Slavery in the State of Mississippi existed by her own State laws.
It was tolerated and to a certain extent protected by the Constitution of the U. States and while the State remained a loyal member of the Union could not lawfully be interfered with, with out the consent of the State. But all these relations, tolerations, and protections are voluntarily broken up by the wilful act of the State.
Mississippi has chosen to become alien and hostile and cannot claim the protection of an instrument she disowns and of a Government against which she is in armed rebellion. Protection and allegiance are reciprocal.
Now while in this State of armed alienage, war existing in fact as fully as between two wholly alien nations, the Commander in Chief of the Armies of the U. States as a war measure declares Slavery annihilated within this insurrectionary State: waiving all questions foreign to the case and which the insurrectionary state has no authority to make, the palpable fact exists that wherever the armed jurisdiction of the U States penetrates the State, its former slaves are actually free.
The U. States are in no manner bound to recognize or enforce the laws of this insurrectionary State, and are by the laws of war entitled to seize or destroy all elements of strength to the opposing party. Slave labor while obedient and quiet is an element of strength -- and we have not forgotten the employment and conscription by the Confederacy of Negroes for Engineer labor upon fortifications.
So far then as the U. States are concerned the relation of master and slave does not exist in Mississippi.
But again negroes formerly slaves can be used as Soldiers and it is authroized by the same laws of war. And the thing has been done and is now going on and soon the banks of the Great River will bristle with the bayonets of colored Regiments taken from the former slaves of the soil.
Let this war continue six months and a very heavy proportion of the able bodied negroes of the Insurrectionary States will be in arms.
Thus if Mississippi continues in insurrection there will be no slave property over which any question can arise.
What limitations and conditions may by the Congress of the U. States be imposed or required as gages and pledges of continued loyalty, as I said before I cannot predict.
But is is a visible fact that the only hope of escape for the State is in the speedy restoration of her relations with the Union. It is not for her to make terms, but to accept them and I am fully satisfied that the Government have no other wish or desire than to have conclusive evidence by acts of the honest and faithful purpose of obedience and loyalty, on which to meet the returning State with magnanimity and forgiveness.
Anything which I can consistently do to bring about the result I will with pleasure, but I cannot and will not indicate action for the State of Mississippi further than I have done.
Let it be perfectly understood that although the U States would welcome such conduct on the part of the State they do not solicit it.
Treason has done its worst. The nation survives prompt to do all, to dare all, and to bear all rather than yield one jot of the National dominion, one particle of the National domain.
The meeting of individuals of which you spoke to consider these questions is well enough as a means of influencing the popular mind, for any other purpose it is insignificant because it cannot act by authority. The State as a State must act. Her voice will be respectable and respected.
Let these Gentlemen understand that there must be no vain talk about “Armistice” and such other delusions. The hostile armed military attitude must be abandoned as a preliminary.
These Sir are my views which you are at liberty to show to the persons you named.
Your obedient servant.
(signed) S: A. Hurlbut.
a true copy.
A. A. A. G
Document: Frederick Moelich to Abraham Lincoln, August 10, 1863 [With Endorsement by Lincoln]1
1 Lincoln’s endorsement attests to his refusal to be involved in the civil affairs of the District of Columbia.
2 B. W. Ferguson was a Justice of the Peace in the District of Columbia.
The true fact of the matter is this; “A Civilian dressed in a blue Coat with brass buttons, was taken for a soldier, and seen trinking beer at my place; for which Justice Ferguson fined me $2000 not giving me the chance to defend myself.
The second case is this: An Irishman I suppose a Soldier, came into my house begging for a glass beer, saying that he was sick and would be oblige to me for it; having refused to sell him any he persisted in me giving him some; my wife especting troubles made him present with a Glass and told him to go.-- Two hours afterwarts he came back with a patronille had me arrested and Justice Ferguson; without asking any questions fined me again $2000.
A short time before this occured, the safe of my house was broken into, and the content of $700 with $200 deposited money taken therefrom; it was all I possessed, and I have now to refund the deposited money.
I pray now, knowing the kindness and good heart of Our President, that Your Excellency will cause those two fines to be refunded to me; my place has always been a place of order and my actions strictly to the Law of the United States, of which I am the truest citizen.
Hoping that Your Excellency will give a favorable consideration to this my petition
I am with the truest Sentiments
Your most obedient Servant
289 & 291 B. Street. between 2nd & 3d
[Endorsed by Lincoln:]
I can not listen to a man’s own story, unsupported by any evidence, who has been convicted of violating the law; because that would put an end to all law.
Sep. 10. 1863
Document: Abraham Lincoln to George G. Meade, August 11, 1863 [Copy in Hay’s Hand]1
1 On July 27, 1863, Lincoln asked General Meade if he would agree to General Hooker taking command of a corps under Meade’s authority (Lincoln to Meade, July 27, 1863). Meade’s response (Meade to Lincoln, July 30, 1863) was that he would be glad to have the benefit of Hooker’s services, if Hooker would be willing to serve under him. Here Lincoln reports on Hooker’s decision on the offer. However instead of joining Meade, Hooker was sent in September with the 11th and 12th Corps to the Army of the Cumberland, commanded by General Rosecrans. When General Grant took command in that area, Hooker aided him in the operations at Chattanooga.
Washington, August 11, 1863.
My Dear General Meade
Yesterday week I made known to Gen. Hooker our brief correspondence in regard to him. He seemed gratified with the kind spirit manifested by both of us; but said he was busy preparing a report and would consider.
Yesterday he called again and said he would accept the offer if it was still open; would go at once if you desire; but would prefer waiting till the first of September, unless there was to be a battle, or you desired him to come sooner. I told him I would write you. Please answer.
Yours very truly
Sgd A Lincoln
Document: Abraham Lincoln to Horatio Seymour, August 11, 1863 [Draft]1
1 In the wake of the New York draft riots of July 13-16, 1863, Governor Horatio Seymour wrote to Lincoln requesting a suspension of the draft in New York, especially in New York City and Brooklyn. (See two letters of the same date from Seymour to Lincoln, August 3, 1863.) Seymour argued that the draft quotas in New York, especially in the two cities mentioned, were discriminatory and unfair, reflecting partisan considerations in fact, and he appended tables to illustrate that contention. In a letter of August 8, he sent additional tables to further illustrate what he considered to be unjust quotas. Lincoln’s concern to avoid any imputation of unfairness is visible in the response to Seymour that follows. For relevant correspondence, see Seymour to James B. Fry, August 1, 1863, Seymour to Lincoln, August 7, 1863, and Nelson Waterbury to Seymour, August 7, 1863.