Friday, March 29, 2013

General Sherman does not accept the president's intervention

This week, General William T. Sherman got in a powerful dispute with newspaper reporter, Thomas Knox, of the New York Herald.  Knox had reportedly followed General Sherman's army to Chickasaw and printed an account disparaging Sherman's sanity. Knox also revealed General Sherman's troop strength. Sherman had Knox arrested. The reporter was banished from Sherman's army when found guilt of disobeying an order.

President Lincoln thought it necessary to have the New York Herald's support. He revoked Knox's court marshal and said he would allow Knox to return to Sherman's army upon authority of General Ulysses S. Grant. General Grant relayed the proposal to General Sherman. Without mincing any words at all, General Sherman said, "Come with a sword or a musket in your hand...and I will welcome you...but come as you now a representative of the press...and my answer is, 'Never'."

In a move called "bold" by some, Mr. Lincoln notified Tennessee military Governor Andrew Johnson that it was alright to organize Negro soldiers. Johnson was governor of a slave state and owned slaves himself. Mr. Lincoln said "the colored population is the great available and yet unavailed of, force for restoring the Union. The bare sight of fifty thousand armed, and drilled black soldiers on the banks of the Mississippi, would end the rebellion at once."

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln tour the Patent Office

Mr. and Mrs.Lincoln take a rare respite from the crowded and often hectic White House to take a tour of the Patent Office.  Mrs. Lincoln contributes several presents they have received to the office collection of unique treasures including ones from the King of Siam and the Tycoon of Japan.  A suit of armor was among them.

The president declares for the public sale of lands in the Territory of Washington and the states of Michigan and Kansas. Those sales had been provided for in the federal law.

It is announced that the president has secured treaties for commerce and transportation with the Republic of Liberia.

The Cabinet continued their meetings on  the subject of privateering. Privateering had become a major problem for the Union navy and private merchant ships that we being stopped and boarded by private vessels, armed by the Confederacy. It was a highly profitable venture for the privateers, and caused hardships for Union vessels intent on blockading the southern ports.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Mr. Lincoln criticizes the British in their role of providing ships to the Confederacy

I had the privilege of being in consult this week with Mr. Lincoln and Attorney General Edward Bates regarding the pending execution of Augustus Ford who had been convicted of manslaughter in the death of a Baltimore man, A. Barklie Kyle.

Mr. Lincoln approved that Secretary of State William H. Seward notify Lord Lyons of Britain that the U.S. would no longer allow the British to built ships and slip them out of her ports for use by the Confederate States of America.

The president forwarded to the Senate new treaties that had been worked out in recent meetings between Mr. Lincoln and tribal leaders of the Chippewa Indian nation.

Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln attended the play "King Henry IV" at the Washington Theater on March 13. As his personal body guard, I was not happy to see the president attend any theatrical performance. I thought the theater was a very unsafe place for him.  As usual, he thought my concerns were unfounded and ridiculous.

Friday, March 8, 2013

President Lincoln signs the country's first draft into law

With Congress winding down, Mr. Lincoln needed to spend the last evening of the session signing bills. He was up until almost midnight on March 3 to do just that.

The Enrollment Act, which was the first actual draft in the United States, was necessary legislation. Many of the initial two year enlistees and most of the nine month enlistees from the 1862 Militia Act had come to the end of their term.  Enlistments were down considerably as Union armies actions in the field had be disappointing.

His other signing was even more controversial as he suspended Habeas Corpus in certain areas of the country. The debate was whether Congress or the president had the right to suspend Habeas Corpus. The president had decided that it was up to the commander-in-chief.

In other legislation also signed, Mr. Lincoln approved the establishment of the National Academy of Sciences and approved the use of public lands in Kansas to be used for the development of the railroad and the telegraph.    

Friday, March 1, 2013

The president meets with the western Virginia delegation regarding military protection

The president met this week with a group from western Virginia who were seeking statehood and military protection from the government. Francis H. Pierpont, newly elected Governor of the Restored and Reorganized government of Virginia has requested Mr. Lincoln's help in the form of a letter telling Mr. Lincoln, "I have not at my command sufficient military force to suppress this rebellion and violence. The Legislature cannot be convened in time to act in the premises; it therefore becomes my duty as Governor of this Commonwealth to call on the Government of the United States for aid to repress such rebellion and violence.I therefore earnestly request that you will furnish a military force to aid in suppressing the rebellion, and to protect the good people of this Commonwealth from domestic violence."

Mr. Lincoln also approves a measuring calling for the establishment of a national system of banks. The measure, called officially the National Currency Act, attempted to establish a single national currency. The federal government would issue and print the currency and issue it to banks proportional to the amount of capital deposited with the comptroller of the currency at the Treasury Department.