Friday, December 30, 2011

My Report to Congress

I was asked to compile a list of all the prisoners in the DC jails under my jurisdiction, including how long they were to be incarcerated and who made the arrest. My report showed that there were 187 prisoners and 51 runaway slaves.

Mr. Lincoln and Congress met to consider the surrender of Slidell and Mason from the Trent affair. And Mr. Lincoln authorized the purchase of 10,000 Spencer repeating rifles for the Union army.

Mr. Lincoln discussed my participation as a host for the party he and Mrs. Lincoln were hosting on January 1 at the White House.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Submission of a question to the senate

At the president's insistence, I offered the following letter to the Senate for their consideration.
"In obedience to the resolution of your Honorable body, a copy of which accompanies this, I have the honor to state that since I have held the office of Marshal of the District of Columbia, three persons claimed to be slaves, have been admitted into the jail of said District on the requests, respectively, of the persons claiming to be their owners; that this has been acquiesced in by me, upon an old and uniform custom here, based as I supposed upon some valid law, but of which supposed law I have made no investigation." signed Ward Hill Lamon

President Lincoln signed a bill to increase efficiency of navy. He also signed a bill to raise duty on tea, sugar, coffee, and molasses.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Congress Convenes in Regular Session

For the first time since the war started and following their special session which began on July 4, 1861, Congress convened on December 10, 1861. They heard a report early in session that the Union army, regular and volunteer, navy and marines now numberd 682,971 men.

One of their first votes was to move Mr. Mason and Mr. Slidell, rebel envoys to France and Britain and now incarcerated in Fort Lafayette, to solitary confinement. This was done in retaliation to the Confederate treatment of Colonel Michael Corcoran and Colonel Alfred Wood.

The whole Trent affair, incolving Mason and Slidell, was escalating in the British press.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Lincoln Delivers His Annual State of the Union Message to Congress

On December 3, President Lincoln delivered his annual State of the Union message to Congress. In his message he said "In the midst of unprecedented political troubles we have cause of great gratitude to God for unusual good health and most abundant harvests. You will not be surprised to learn that in the peculiar exigencies of the times our intercourse with foreign nations has been attended with profound solicitude, chiefly turning upon our own domestic affairs.
A disloyal portion of the American people have during the whole year been engaged in an attempt to divide and destroy the Union. A nation which endures factious domestic division is exposed to disrespect abroad, and one party, if not both, is sure sooner or later to invoke foreign intervention.
Nations thus tempted to interfere are not always able to resist the counsels of seeming expediency and ungenerous ambition, although measures adopted under such influences seldom fail to be unfortunate and injurious to those adopting them.

Friday, December 2, 2011

President Lincoln celebrates Thanksgiving in the White House

On Wednesday November 28, the Lincoln's celebrated Thanksgiving in the White House having dinner with his friend Joshua Speed and his wife. The following day President Lincoln read part of his upcoming message to Congress to his cabinet. The message was to be delivered on December 3.

Part of the annual message was published in the New York Herald, prompting and investigation as to who leaked the speech. Henry Wikoff, a European who was a friend of French leader Napoleon, was a suspect, as he had been sent to Washington by the Herald to be a secret correspondent. The president was embarrassed because Wikoff had been seen in close proximity to Mary Lincoln on several occasions.