Friday, June 27, 2014

Mr. Lincoln visits with General Grant at City Point, Virginia

The president and his party, along with his son Tad, traveled this week via the U.S.S. Baltimore to visit with General Grant and the troops at City Point on the James River in Virginia. The president and the general rode horseback about ten miles to the front where Mr. Lincoln was greeted enthusiastically by the soldiers including members of the U.S. Colored troops.

"Hurray for the Liberator" and "Hurray for the President" they shouted all along the way. Mr. Lincoln was reportedly moved to tears. That evening General Grant promised the president that "you will never hear of me further from Richmond than now, till I have taken may take a long summer day, but I will go in."

Mr. Lincoln, upon returning to the white House, writes to William Dennison, Republican Party chairman, accepting the nomination for a second term. He also congratulates the delegates for recognizing the military efforts saying "the solder and seaman forever must and will be remembered by the grateful country for whose salvation they devote their lives."

Friday, June 20, 2014

The president supports a fund raising effort in Philadephia

Mr. Lincoln approved a sitting with "the Crayon" which his son, Robert, had requested.  Being familiar with Porte Crayon (David Hunter Strother), myself, as he was also a resident of Berkeley County, VA and a fine artist for Harpers Weekly, I approved the move. In this instance, however, I had not been consulted on this particular matter.

The president traveled by train to attend the Great Fair in Philadelphia in aid of the U.S. Sanitary Commission.  There he spoke briefly saying "war, at the best, is terrible, and this war of ours, in its magnitude and in its duration is one of the most terrible.  We accepted this war for an object, a worthy object, and the war will end when the object is obtained." He went on to predict that General Grant and the Union army was in place to never be dislodged until Richmond is taken.

Later that same evening he attended a reception and spoke at the Union League in Philadelphia. He returned to Washington the following day.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Mr. Lincoln is nominated at the Republican Convention

The Republican National Convention opened in Baltimore, Maryland surrounded by much excitement. I sent a telegram to Mr. Lincoln indicating "enthusiastic unanimity beyond even my expectations. Preliminaries not yet settled. Nomination to be made tomorrow."

The convention delegates did indeed nominate Abraham Lincoln. They also confirmed their endorsement of Andrew Jackson as vice-president. Mr. Lincoln received the notification via telegram as he waited for news at the telegraph office arriving from the front about General Grant's efforts.

This convention was much different from the one in Chicago, IL in 1860 at the Wigwam, where several candidates split the vote.  There was much less arm twisting and much less alcohol flowing this round.  Mr. Lincoln was the unanimous choice.

Mr. Lincoln concurred with Edwin Stanton regarding the payment of $300 from those who decided they wanted to opt out of serving in the military. Secretary Stanton was recommending that clause frustrated the object of enrollment by furnishing money instead of men. Mr. Lincoln agreed.

Friday, June 6, 2014

With the convention looming, the news from the war is disturbing

In preparations for the upcoming Republican National Convention, Mr. Lincoln asked me to speak on his behalf among the fourteen counties of the 8th circuit of Illinois.  This was familiar territory for me for I had been an attorney on the 8th Circuit for a dozen years.  I was pleased to have been asked.  I was not going to let a little bruising from my recent carriage accident stand in my way.

The president also indicated to me that he preferred dropping Hannibal Hamlin from the vice-presidential slot in favor of Andrew Johnson, the military governor of Tennessee. Although Tennessee had seceded, Johnson was a staunch Union man. Mr. Lincoln felt Johnson's name on the ticket would enhance his chance for re-election -- which was certainly not a forgone conclusion. But the president also thought he should leave that decision up to the convention delegates.

The only thing that dampened spirits going into the convention was the horrible news that General Grant had lost 7,000 men in one hour in the trenches at Cold Harbor near Richmond. It didn't help to also hear the news that General Lee had only lost 1,500 over that same time period.


Friday, May 30, 2014

A third party candidate emerges for the upcoming election

With the Republican National Convention approaching (June 7 in Baltimore) came the news that disillusioned Republicans had joined with Copperheads and had chosen John Fremont as a third party candidate.  While not surprised, Mr. Lincoln was disappointed.  Radical Republicans had not been on his side from day one. Some criticized his Emancipation Proclamation as not going far enough while others thought his Reconstruction ideas were too soft.  Mr. Lincoln knew could not win any points where the Radicals were concerned.

Fremont and Mr. Lincoln had been at odds throughout the war when Fremont was relieved of command for attempting himself to enlist contraband Negroes into his regiment. Fremont would now represent the "Radical Democracy -- a protest for the "imbecile and vacillating policy of the present administration." The New York Times reported the new party's convention to be "a congregation of malcontents, representing no constituents and controlling no votes." They reported only about 400 attended.

Meanwhile, Congress had stripped me of part of my salary in a dispute over my financial reports.  As if that weren't enough, I was in a carriage mishap. I am badly bruised from falling from my carriage. And I am expected to be at the Baltimore Convention next week.


Friday, May 23, 2014

The president suspends the operation of two newspapers

The president was troubled by reports in the New York World and Journal of Commerce newspaper who had both printed proclamations erroneously attributed to him.  his reaction was to suspend operation of both newspapers. After conferring with Secretaries Stanton and Seward, Mr. Lincoln does not go ahead with his plan to arrest the newspaper editors in question or the publishers. By the end of the week, he had also lifted the publishing ban for both newspapers.

Mr. Lincoln wrote to U.S. Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts on behalf of Mrs. Booth, wife of Major Lionel Booth of the U.S. Colored Troops, who had fallen at Fort Pillow. Mr. Lincoln suggested that colored soldier's descendants should be allowed the same provisions as had been already approved for widows and orphans of white soldiers.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Mr. Lincoln's response to an argument among two Senators

Earlier in the week, a band from the 27th Michigan Volunteers serenaded the president and friends at teh White House.

The president was grateful this week to receive a cane presented by John Birely, a Philadelphia ship builder who had built the cane from wood from the wreck of the U.S. ship The Alliance which had sunk in the Rd Rover in Delaware.  Birely called himself "an old soldier and officer of the War of 1812."

Mr. Lincoln became annoyed when he became involved in a dispute between Senator Samuel Pomeroy and Senator Lane, both from Kansas regarding who they supported to be the state assessor.  Finally done with the whole argument, Mr. Lincoln told them to "make a sincere effort to get out of the mood you are in.  It does neither of you any good -- it gives you the means of tormenting my life out of me, and nothing else."

Mr. Lincoln was quite troubled this week by the death of General Wadsworth. Wadsworth was Grant's oldest division commander at age 56.  A veteran of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, General Wadsworth was wounded at the Wilderness on May 5 and died two days later in an enemy hospital.