Friday, October 26, 2012

Mr. Lincoln contemplates sending Negroes to Liberia

Mr. Lincoln mulls over a letter presented to him by the New York State Colonization Society written by Rev. J. B. Pinney suggesting the emigration of Negroes to Liberia.  The president decided to take the proposal under advisement.

Mr. Lincoln also removed General Don Carlos Beall from command of the Department of the Ohio for failing to pursue Confederate General Braxton Bragg. 

Mr. Lincoln also wrote to U.S. Navy Captain John Dahlgren. Dahlgren was in charge of Union munitions at the Naval yard. The president asked Captain Dahlgren to secure for his son, Tad, "a little gun that he cannot hurt himself with."  The youngster already had a uniform and marched with the soldiers.  He was fascinated with the military. And his 8th birthday was just around the corner.

P.T. Barnum presented one of his oddest attractions at the White House to entertain Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln. The show featured "Commodore" Nutt, a twenty-nine inch tall dwarf.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mr. Lincoln appoints Illinois judge Davis to the Supreme Court

President Lincoln met with Attorney General Edward Bates and asked Mr. Bates to draw up the proper paperwork so that Mr. Lincoln could appoint David Davis of Illinois as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Judge Davis had been the long time chief judge of the 8th Judicial District of Illinois when Mr. Lincoln and I rode the circuit.  Mr. Davis had also been instrumental in helping Mr. Lincoln gather the nomination at the Republican National Convention at the Wigwam in Chaicago, Illinois in May 1860.

I had known of Mr. Lincoln's displeasure of Judge Davis' actions during the convention. Against Mr. Lincoln's specific wishes, Judge Davis had promised Cabinet seats to states who threw their votes to Mr. Lincoln.  Judge Davis had wanted a Supreme Court position since Mr. Lincoln had been in Washington. Mr. Lincoln made him wait until now.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Newspaper reports said that I sang inappropriate songs

Admittedly I got in some trouble during our recent trip to Sharpsburg, Maryland. Mr. Lincoln often asked me to play my banjo for him and sing little silly songs to lighten his spirit, which had certainly been troubled by this long war.

I always obliged, often singing "off color" songs. In this instance, it was reported that I sang songs for the president that were inappropirate and disrepectful of the dead and wounded lying on the field of battle. That could not have been further from the truth.

There were no dead and dying on the field on the day we walked the grounds.  The battle had taken place September 17. We walked the field on October 3, long after the dead had been buried and the wounded had been removed to local buildings being used as hospitals.

I wrote out an explantion about the affair and complained to the president that we were being unfairly represented.  His response was "You know, Hill, this is the truth and the whole truth about the affair, but I dislike appearing as an apologist for an act of my own which I know was right.  Keep this paper, and we will see about it." Thus, at his insistence, the newspaper report went unchallenged.

Friday, October 5, 2012

President Lincoln visits with General McClellan at Sharpsburg, Maryland

On October 1, we left Washington by special train to Harpers Ferry to visit General McClellan at Sharpsburg, Maryland.  The president was furious with his commanding general. He had intended for General McClellan to puruse and crush General Lee's army.  Instead, McClellan's army was still in Sharpsburg, weeks after the September 17th battle.

Our train, carrying Gen. McClernand, Capt. Wright Rives, Ozias M. Hatch, John W. Garrett (president of B. & O. Railroad) arrived in Harper's Ferry at noon. General McClellan arrived and reviewed the troops stationed at Bolivar Heights with Mr. Lincoln. Prior to spending the night in Harper's Ferry, Mr. Lincoln asked me to send a telegram to his wife. I carried it to the telegraph office in the lower town.  The message was as follows: "General McClellan and myself are to be photographed by Mr. Gardner if we can be still long enough.  I feel General McClellan will have no trouble at his end but I may sway in the breeze a bit."

Upon reaching Sharpsburg, President Lincoln was indeed the subject of several photographs.  I myself was in one photograph sitting on a chair in a group setting.

Mr. Lincoln complained to General McClellan for his lack of action. The general had a whole list of excuses as to why his men were still in Shaprsburg.