Friday, September 30, 2011

Criticism of My Behavior

As usual, Congressional opposition to President Lincoln were aimed directly at me, his personal bodyguard. Mr. Lincoln had warned me that this would happen.

Reports to the president included complaints that I was extravegant and excessive in my propensity to alcoholic beverages and eating, that I swore too much and that I smoked cigars to the extent that when one was nearly finished I used it to light the next one.

Admittedly these were problems, though minor ones. Mr. Lincoln was aware of my smoking, drinking and swearing. He didn't approve and often chided me about one or the other.  He also knew that I was willing to take a bullet for him, drop anything at any time day or night to aid him, and didn't do any of these to such an extent that it would interfere with my duties.

I smoked probably 15 cigars a day. So what?

I drank whiskey like water, but was also starting to grow fond of champaign and wines. Though my drinking was legendary, I swear I never drank enough that I couldn't recite "When you and I were young Maggie."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Maryland Legislators Arrested

In order to assure that the Maryland legislature didn't vote for succession and leave Washington City on an island and surrounded by the Confederate states, President Lincoln ordered the arrest of key legilators. They were incarcerated in the prison at Fort McHenry. When the state government met in Frederick on September 17, 1861 only eleven answered roll call. Without a quorem, there was no vote.

Several Baltimore residents were also jailed for secession leanings, along with the editor of the secessionist newspaper, The South and Baltimore Mayor George Brown for "complicity with those in armed rebellion against the government."

Secretary of War Simon Cameron said of the arrests "The passage of any act of secession by the Legislature of Maryland must be prevented. If necessary all or any part of the members must be arrested."

Ironically Maryland Governor Thomas Hicks and many of the regional newspapers supported the action of the Lincoln administration.

Friday, September 16, 2011

General Fremont Issue Comes to a Head

President Lincoln's attempt to get General Fremont to change his order (he had ordered that slaves confiscated in Missouri become freemen) failed. Fremont's wife brought the president letters from her husband saying that he refused to modify his order. Lincoln wrote back to General Fremont, this time demanding that the order be rescinded.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ironclad Board Meets with the President

President Lincoln had been receiving reports that the Confederates were constructing the Virginia, an ironclad ship. Secretary of the Navy Giddeon Welles suggested the Union built several too.  Welles sosught designs from various firms.  When the Ironclad Board met and accepted a design offered by Swedish  engineer John Ericsson. The board thought the design too radical, but Mr. Lincoln did not agree.  After much discussion, Ericcson's design of a flat ship with a rotating turret was accepted.  That first ship was to be called the Moniter.

Meanwhile, in my excitement to raise troops for the Lamon brigade, I attempted to solicit men from Colonel Rowley's area of Pennsylvania.  The assistant adjutant general refused my request, saying that my men were to come only from Virginia.  The decision greatly irked me, but I pushed on to complete the task at hand, while secretly attempting to recruit additional men from Illinois.  

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fremont's Declaration Angers the President

On August 30, General John Fremont declared the slaves in rebellion in Missouri were to be freed. That upset President Lincoln, not only becaue the general failed to tell him (he learnedd in from the newspaper accounts) but because the president feared the message would cause the border states to flee and join the South.
The President wrote to General Fremont asking him to change his order. He said in his letter to the general "Allow me therefore to ask that you will by your own motion, modify (it) to conform to the Confiscation Act."
The president also celebrated the first naval victory. On August 27 a small Union fleet and about 1,000 troops attacked Fort Clark at Hatteras Inlet. After three hours of fighting, 700 Confederates surrendered along with two forts, without a single Union casualty.