Friday, January 27, 2012

My Resignation is Tendered but Not Accepted

On January 23, 1862, my frustrations reached a high point. I tendered my resignation telling the president "there appears to be a studious effort upon the part of the more radical part of the party which you placed in power, to pursue me with relentless persecution. I am now under condemnation by the United States Senate for doing what I am sure meets your approval. I fear you will be driven to the necessity of either sustaining the action of that body or breaking with them to sustain me, which you cannot afford to do under the circumstances."

My resignation was not accepted by the president. He reminded me that I served him, not Congress. He told me not to take the assaults personally. The Radicals attacked me, he said, because they couldn't attack him.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Congress Confirms Stanton as Secretary of War

Congress approved of the appointment of Edwin Stanton as Secretary of War.  Mr. Lincoln had put aside his personal feelings about Stanton to make the appointment. While representing opposite sides in a dispute as attorneys, Stanton had once characterized Mr. Lincoln as a gorilla. Mr. Lincoln thought Stanton was of impeccable honesty with great attention to detail.

Mr. Lincoln's charge to Mr. Stanton was to get the army moving. The president had recently characterized the war effort as "exceedingly discouraging" saying if General McClellan did not want to use the army (now in winter quarters) Mr. Lincoln would like to borrow them.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Mr. Lincoln meets with James Shields

Mr. Lincoln and General James Shields of Illinois met on January 8. Shields had challenged Mr. Lincoln to a duel back in 1842 when Lincoln criticized him in a letter to the newspaper. Shields was a crack shot with a pistol. Mr. Lincoln, who was challenged, got to choose the weapons. He chose broad swords. His long arms and tremendous strength gave Mr. Lincoln an obvious advantage.  Shields backed down and cancelled the duel.

Later Mr. Lincoln commented that "If all the good things I have ever done are remembered as long and as well as my scrape with Shields, it is plain I shall not be forgotten."

On this day, Mr. Lincoln decided to replace Simon Cameron with Edwin Stanton as Secretary of War. He submitted Stanton's name to Congress. Cameron's war department had become extremely corrupt and inept. Mr. Lincoln proposed to Congress that Cameron be appointed minister to Russia.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The New Year Arrives

I was a host on January 1 at the new year reception hosted at the White House. Cabinet members and members of Congress met with the President and Mrs. Lincoln starting at 11 am. The general public was allowed into the reception starting at noon. Hundreds gathered and greeted Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln right up to the time the gates were closed at 2 pm. I was troubled with so many unknown persons in close access of Mr. Lincoln. I discussed my concerns following the reception. Mr. Lincoln listened to my concerns but did not take them seriously.

The Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War met and reported that they wanted General George McClellan removed as commanding General. Mr. Lincoln visited General McClellan who was ill at home. The president was not in favor of relieving General McClellan of his position.