Friday, August 26, 2011

President Lincoln's New Worry -- Troubles Brewing WIth the Spanish

President Lincoln met with representatives from the cities of Philadelphia, Boston and New York to help secure a $50,000,000 government loan to help finance the war. He continued to monitor troop action in Missouri.
Meanwhile General George McClellan, assure the president often that his men were in training, something they had not had much of prior to Manassas Junction/Bull Run, and would be much more prepared when they took the field. Mr. Lincoln was not patient waiting for General McClellan to take aggressive action against the sesesh states.
Supreme Court Justice John Catron, a supporter of slavery but a man who opposed secession, was expelled from Nashville, Tennessee because of his loyalty to the federal government.
Captain General of Cuba, Francisco Serrano y Dominguez, declared at this time that he would offer protection of rebel ships in the port of Cuba. And he gave them additional guarantees that were unfavorable to the saving of the Union. This caused a rift in foreign policy that President Lincoln thought might sour the relations between the United States and Spain. Mr. Lincoln feared that a disruption against Spain would bring other foreign nations into conflict, something he didn’t think the country could deal with at the present time.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pro-treason Newspaper Denied Access to the Mails

Around this time, several newspapers including the Daily News, The New York Journal of Commerce, Freeman’s Journal , The Brooklyn Eagle, and the Day-Book, all considered pro-treason newspapers, were shut off and no longer allowed to use the U.S. mails to send their newspapers into the South. At the same time, government officials seized and shut down The Christian Observer in Philadelphia for similar reasons.
The government also arrested Charles J. Falkner, who had been sent by President James Buchanan to England. Faulkner was charged with treason and furnishing arms for the rebellion.
I spent much of the month organizing the First Virginia Volunteers in Williamsport, Maryland. They were made up mostly of boys from Virginia, just across the river from Williamsport. Mr. Lincoln had encouraged my efforts which ended up being eleven companies called the Lamon Brigade, which included four cavalry, six infantry and one light artillery company with two additional infantry uniots to be filled.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Confiscation Act Passes by Congress

In early August, just prior to their adjournment on the sixth, Congress passed the Confiscation Act, allowing for the confiscation of any property used to aid the Confederacy. The primary focus on the act was to allow for the confiscation of slaves.
Congress also acted to authorize items President Lincoln had already taken upon himself to do without authorization due to Congress being absent from the scene. Among those programs now given full authorization were his inaugurating of war, his initial calling of the troops, and his appropriations of funds needed to suppress the rebellion. All were heartily approved.
Mr. Lincoln monitored the war efforts from the War office where he could read the telegrams from the field at the instant they arrived.  He spent much of his time there. He also opened the White House to allow persons seeking federal appointments to walk in most any time and talk to him. He thought the public had a right to converse with the president.  All federal appointments were open for the first time in the country’s history to members of the Republican party.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Enforcing the Fugitive Slave Law Became My Charge

I had received word from my mother back in Mill Creek, Virginia that three of my brothers had joined the Confederate Army. I wrote back reminding her that she had always encouraged us to “obey the laws of our country and to support the Constitution and laws of the United States.”  I hoped that the time would never come when we had to lift our hands against each other.
In attempting to keep the Border States loyal, President Lincoln made it clear that he wanted the Fugitive Slave Law enforced fully. That became part of my job. Negroes from Maryland and those states close by in the south, saw Washington City as an ideal haven and fled here. I took them into my jails and held them, mostly for their protection. Our “accommodations” in the District jails became overcrowded with runaways, criminals and some military prisoners.
In our conversations, Mr. Lincoln reminded me that he had suggested that the District of Columbia ban slavery during his few short years in Congress, but that the measure was never been enacted.
About this time my brother, Robert, a Confederate soldier was captured and sent to my jail. After talking to him for several days, he saw the light. I arranged for his release. He would stay on in Washington City to become one of my assistants.