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Title: A Short Life of Abraham Lincoln - Condensed from Nicolay & Hay's Abraham Lincoln: A History
Author: Nicolay, John George, 1832-1901
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Short Life of Abraham Lincoln - Condensed from Nicolay & Hay's Abraham Lincoln: A History" ***

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The Century Co.

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_Published October, 1902_




Ancestry--Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks--Rock Spring Farm--Lincoln's
Birth--Kentucky Schools--The Journey to Indiana--Pigeon Creek
Settlement--Indiana Schools--Sally Bush Lincoln--Gentryville--Work and
Books--Satires and Sermons--Flatboat Voyage to New Orleans--The Journey
to Illinois


Flatboat--New Salem--Election Clerk--Store and Mill--Kirkham's
"Grammar"--"Sangamo Journal"--The Talisman--Lincoln's Address, March 9,
1832--Black Hawk War--Lincoln Elected Captain--Mustered out May 27,
1832--Re-enlisted in Independent Spy Battalion--Finally Mustered out,
June 16, 1832--Defeated for the Legislature--Blacksmith or Lawyer?--The
Lincoln-Berry Store--Appointed Postmaster, May 7, 1833--National


Appointed Deputy Surveyor--Elected to Legislature in 1834--Campaign
Issues--Begins Study of Law--Internal Improvement System--The
Lincoln-Stone Protest--Candidate for Speaker in 1838 and 1840


Law Practice--Rules for a Lawyer--Law and Politics: Twin
Occupations--The Springfield Coterie--Friendly Help--Anne Rutledge--Mary


Springfield Society--Miss Mary Todd--Lincoln's Engagement--His Deep
Despondency--Visit to Kentucky--Letters to Speed--The Shields
Duel--Marriage--Law Partnership with Logan--Hardin Nominated for
Congress, 1843--Baker Nominated for Congress, 1844--Lincoln Nominated
and Elected, 1846


First Session of the Thirtieth Congress--Mexican War--"Wilmot
Proviso"--Campaign of 1848--Letters to Herndon about Young Men in
Politics--Speech in Congress on the Mexican War--Second Session of the
Thirtieth Congress--Bill to Prohibit Slavery in the District of
Columbia--Lincoln's Recommendations of Office-Seekers--Letters to
Speed--Commissioner of the General Land Office--Declines Governorship of


Repeal of the Missouri Compromise--State Fair Debate--Peoria
Debate--Trumbull Elected--Letter to Robinson--The Know-Nothings--Decatur
Meeting--Bloomington Convention--Philadelphia Convention--Lincoln's Vote
for Vice-President--Frémont and Dayton--Lincoln's Campaign
Speeches--Chicago Banquet Speech


Buchanan Elected President--The Dred Scott Decision--Douglas's
Springfield Speech, 1857--Lincoln's Answering Speech--Criticism of Dred
Scott Decision--Kansas Civil War--Buchanan Appoints Walker--Walker's
Letter on Kansas--The Lecompton Constitution--Revolt of Douglas


The Senatorial Contest in Illinois--"House Divided against Itself"
Speech--The Lincoln-Douglas Debates--The Freeport Doctrine--Douglas
Deposed from Chairmanship of Committee on Territories--Benjamin on
Douglas--Lincoln's Popular Majority--Douglas Gains Legislature--Greeley,
Crittenden _et al._--"The Fight Must Go On"--Douglas's Southern
Speeches--Senator Brown's Questions--Lincoln's Warning against Popular
Sovereignty--The War of Pamphlets--Lincoln's Ohio Speeches--The John
Brown Raid--Lincoln's Comment


Lincoln's Kansas Speeches--The Cooper Institute Speech--New England
Speeches--The Democratic Schism--Senator Brown's Resolutions--Jefferson
Davis's Resolutions--The Charleston Convention--Majority and Minority
Reports--Cotton State Delegations Secede--Charleston Convention
Adjourns--Democratic Baltimore Convention Splits--Breckinridge
Nominated--Douglas Nominated--Bell Nominated by Union Constitutional
Convention--Chicago Convention--Lincoln's Letters to Pickett and
Judd--The Pivotal States--Lincoln Nominated


Candidates and Platforms--The Political Chances--Decatur Lincoln
Resolution--John Hanks and the Lincoln Rails--The Rail-Splitter
Candidate--The Wide-Awakes--Douglas's Southern Tour--Jefferson Davis's
Address--Fusion--Lincoln at the State House--The Election Result


Lincoln's Cabinet Program--Members from the South--Questions and
Answers--Correspondence with Stephens--Action of Congress--Peace
Convention--Preparation of the Inaugural--Lincoln's Farewell
Address--The Journey to Washington--Lincoln's Midnight Journey


The Secession Movement--South Carolina Secession--Buchanan's
Neglect--Disloyal Cabinet Members--Washington Central Cabal--Anderson's
Transfer to Sumter--Star of the West--Montgomery Rebellion--Davis and
Stephens--Corner-stone Theory--Lincoln Inaugurated--His Inaugural
Address--Lincoln's Cabinet--The Question of Sumter--Seward's
Memorandum--Lincoln's Answer--Bombardment of Sumter--Anderson's


President's Proclamation Calling for Seventy-five Regiments--Responses of
the Governors--Maryland and Virginia--The Baltimore Riot--Washington
Isolated--Lincoln Takes the Responsibility--Robert E. Lee--Arrival of the
New York Seventh--Suspension of Habeas Corpus--The Annapolis Route--Butler
in Baltimore--Taney on the Merryman Case--Kentucky--Missouri--Lyon
Captures Camp Jackson--Boonville Skirmish--The Missouri Convention--Gamble
made Governor--The Border States


Davis's Proclamation for Privateers--Lincoln's Proclamation of
Blockade--The Call for Three Years' Volunteers--Southern Military
Preparations--Rebel Capital Moved to Richmond--Virginia, North Carolina,
Tennessee, and Arkansas Admitted to Confederate States--Desertion of
Army and Navy Officers--Union Troops Fortify Virginia Shore of the
Potomac--Concentration at Harper's Ferry--Concentration at Fortress
Monroe and Cairo--English Neutrality--Seward's 21st-of-May
Despatch--Lincoln's Corrections--Preliminary Skirmishes--Forward to
Richmond--Plan of McDowell's Campaign


Congress--The President's Message--Men and Money Voted--The
Contraband--Dennison Appoints McClellan--Rich Mountain--McDowell--Bull
Run--Patterson's Failure--McClellan at Washington


General Scott's Plans--Criticized as the "Anaconda"--The Three Fields of
Conflict--Frémont Appointed Major-General--His Military Failures--Battle
of Wilson's Creek--Hunter Ordered to Frémont--Frémont's
Proclamation--President Revokes Frémont's Proclamation--Lincoln's Letter
to Browning--Surrender of Lexington--Frémont Takes the Field--Cameron's
Visit to Frémont--Frémont's Removal


Blockade--Hatteras Inlet--Port Royal Captured--The Trent Affair--Lincoln
Suggests Arbitration--Seward's Despatch--McClellan at Washington--Army
of the Potomac--McClellan's Quarrel with Scott--Retirement of
Scott--Lincoln's Memorandum--"All Quiet on the Potomac"--Conditions in
Kentucky--Cameron's Visit to Sherman--East Tennessee--Instructions to
Buell--Buell's Neglect--Halleck in Missouri


Lincoln Directs Coöperation--Halleck and Buell--Ulysses S.
Grant--Grant's Demonstration--Victory at Mill River--Fort Henry--Fort
Donelson--Buell's Tardiness--Halleck's Activity--Victory of Pea
Ridge--Halleck Receives General Command--Pittsburg Landing--Island No.
10--Halleck's Corinth Campaign--Halleck's Mistakes


The Blockade--Hatteras Inlet--Roanoke Island--Fort Pulaski--_Merrimac_
and _Monitor_--The _Cumberland_ Sunk--The _Congress_ Burned--Battle of
the Ironclads--Flag-Officer Farragut--Forts Jackson and St. Philip--New
Orleans Captured--Farragut at Vicksburg--Farragut's Second Expedition to
Vicksburg--Return to New Orleans


McClellan's Illness--Lincoln Consults McDowell and Franklin--President's
Plan against Manassas--McClellan's Plan against Richmond--Cameron and
Stanton--President's War Order No. 1--Lincoln's Questions to
McClellan--News from the West--Death of Willie Lincoln--The Harper's
Ferry Fiasco--President's War Order No. 3--The News from Hampton
Roads--Manassas Evacuated--Movement to the Peninsula--Yorktown--The
Peninsula Campaign--Seven Days' Battles--Retreat to Harrison's Landing


Jackson's Valley Campaign--Lincoln's Visit to Scott--Pope Assigned to
Command--Lee's Attack on McClellan--Retreat to Harrison's
Landing--Seward Sent to New York--Lincoln's Letter to Seward--Lincoln's
Letter to McClellan--Lincoln's Visit to McClellan--Halleck Made
General-in-Chief--Halleck's Visit to McClellan--Withdrawal from
Harrison's Landing--Pope Assumes Command--Second Battle of Bull Run--The
Cabinet Protest--McClellan Ordered to Defend Washington--The Maryland
Campaign--Battle of Antietam--Lincoln visits Antietam--Lincoln's Letter
to McClellan--McClellan Removed from Command


Cameron's Report--Lincoln's Letter to Bancroft--Annual Message on
Slavery--The Delaware Experiment--Joint Resolution on Compensated
Abolishment--First Border State Interview--Stevens's Comment--District
of Columbia Abolishment--Committee on Abolishment--Hunter's Order
Revoked--Antislavery Measures of Congress--Second Border State
Interview--Emancipation Proposed and Postponed


Criticism of the President for his Action on Slavery--Lincoln's Letters
to Louisiana Friends--Greeley's Open Letter--Mr. Lincoln's
Reply--Chicago Clergymen Urge Emancipation--Lincoln's Answer--Lincoln
Issues Preliminary Proclamation--President Proposes Constitutional
Amendment--Cabinet Considers Final Proclamation--Cabinet Discusses
Admission of West Virginia--Lincoln Signs Edict of Freedom--Lincoln's
Letter to Hodges


Negro Soldiers--Fort Pillow--Retaliation--Draft--Northern
Democrats--Governor Seymour's Attitude--Draft Riots in New
York--Vallandigham--Lincoln on his Authority to Suspend Writ of Habeas
Corpus--Knights of the Golden Circle--Jacob Thompson in Canada


Burnside--Fredericksburg--A Tangle of Cross-Purposes--Hooker Succeeds
Burnside--Lincoln to Hooker--Chancellorsville--Lee's Second
Invasion--Lincoln's Criticisms of Hooker's Plans--Hooker
Relieved--Meade--Gettysburg--Lee's Retreat--Lincoln's Letter to
Meade--Lincoln's Gettysburg Address--Autumn Strategy--The Armies go into
Winter Quarters


Buell and Bragg--Perryville--Rosecrans and Murfreesboro--Grant's
Vicksburg Experiments--Grant's May Battles--Siege and Surrender of
Vicksburg--Lincoln to Grant--Rosecrans's March to Chattanooga--Battle of
Chickamauga--Grant at Chattanooga--Battle of Chattanooga--Burnside at
Knoxville--Burnside Repulses Longstreet


Grant Lieutenant-General--Interview with Lincoln--Grant Visits
Sherman--Plan of Campaigns--Lincoln to Grant--From the Wilderness to
Cold Harbor--The Move to City Point--Siege of Petersburg--Early Menaces
Washington--Lincoln under Fire--Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley


Sherman's Meridian Expedition--Capture of Atlanta--Hood Supersedes
Johnston--Hood's Invasion of Tennessee--Franklin and Nashville--Sherman's
March to the Sea--Capture of Savannah--Sherman to Lincoln--Lincoln to
Sherman--Sherman's March through the Carolinas--The Burning of Charleston
and Columbia--Arrival at Goldsboro--Junction with Schofield--Visit to


Military Governors--Lincoln's Theory of Reconstruction--Congressional
Election in Louisiana--Letter to Military Governors--Letter to
Shepley--Amnesty Proclamation, December 8, 1863--Instructions to
Banks--Banks's Action in Louisiana--Louisiana Abolishes
Slavery--Arkansas Abolishes Slavery--Reconstruction in
Tennessee--Missouri Emancipation--Lincoln's Letter to Drake--Missouri
Abolishes Slavery--Emancipation in Maryland--Maryland Abolishes Slavery


Shaping of the Presidential Campaign--Criticisms of Mr. Lincoln--Chase's
Presidential Ambitions--The Pomeroy Circular--Cleveland
Convention--Attempt to Nominate Grant--Meeting of Baltimore
Convention--Lincoln's Letter to Schurz--Platform of Republican
Convention--Lincoln Renominated--Refuses to Indicate Preference for
Vice-President--Johnson Nominated for Vice-President--Lincoln's Speech
to Committee of Notification--Reference to Mexico in his Letter of
Acceptance--The French in Mexico


The Bogus Proclamation--The Wade-Davis Manifesto--Resignation of Mr.
Chase--Fessenden Succeeds Him--The Greeley Peace
Conference--Jaquess-Gilmore Mission--Letter of Raymond--Bad Outlook for
the Election--Mr. Lincoln on the Issues of the Campaign--President's
Secret Memorandum--Meeting of Democratic National Convention--McClellan
Nominated--His Letter of Acceptance--Lincoln Reëlected--His Speech on
Night of Election--The Electoral Vote--Annual Message of December 6,
1864--Resignation of McClellan from the Army


The Thirteenth Amendment--The President's Speech on its Adoption--The
Two Constitutional Amendments of Lincoln's Term--Lincoln on Peace and
Slavery in his Annual Message of December 6, 1864--Blair's Mexican
Project--The Hampton Roads Conference


Blair--Chase Chief Justice--Speed Succeeds Bates--McCulloch Succeeds
Fessenden--Resignation of Mr. Usher--Lincoln's Offer of
$400,000,000--The Second Inaugural--Lincoln's Literary Rank--His Last


Depreciation of Confederate Currency--Rigor of
Conscription--Dissatisfaction with the Confederate Government--Lee
General-in-Chief--J.E. Johnston Reappointed to Oppose Sherman's
March--Value of Slave Property Gone in Richmond--Davis's Recommendation
of Emancipation--Benjamin's Last Despatch to Slidell--Condition of the
Army when Lee took Command--Lee Attempts Negotiations with
Grant--Lincoln's Directions--Lee and Davis Agree upon Line of
Retreat--Assault on Fort Stedman--Five Forks--Evacuation of
Petersburg--Surrender of Richmond--Pursuit of Lee--Surrender of
Lee--Burning of Richmond--Lincoln in Richmond


Lincoln's Interviews with Campbell--Withdraws Authority for Meeting of
Virginia Legislature--Conference of Davis and Johnston at
Greensboro--Johnston Asks for an Armistice--Meeting of Sherman and
Johnston--Their Agreement--Rejected at Washington--Surrender of
Johnston--Surrender of other Confederate Forces--End of the Rebel
Navy--Capture of Jefferson Davis--Surrender of E. Kirby Smith--Number of
Confederates Surrendered and Exchanged--Reduction of Federal Army to a
Peace Footing--Grand Review of the Army


The 14th of April--Celebration at Fort Sumter--Last Cabinet
Meeting--Lincoln's Attitude toward Threats of Assassination--Booth's
Plot--Ford's Theater--Fate of the Assassins--The Mourning Pageant


Lincoln's Early Environment--Its Effect on his Character--His Attitude
toward Slavery and the Slaveholder--His Schooling in Disappointment--His
Seeming Failures--His Real Successes--The Final Trial--His
Achievements--His Place in History




Ancestry--Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks--Rock Spring Farm--Lincoln's
Birth--Kentucky Schools--The Journey to Indiana--Pigeon Creek
Settlement--Indiana Schools--Sally Bush Lincoln--Gentryville--Work and
Books--Satires and Sermons--Flatboat Voyage to New Orleans--The Journey
to Illinois

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States, was born
in a log cabin in the backwoods of Kentucky on the 12th day of February
1809. His father, Thomas Lincoln, was sixth in direct line of descent
from Samuel Lincoln, who emigrated from England to Massachusetts in 1638.
Following the prevailing drift of American settlement, these descendants
had, during a century and a half, successively moved from Massachusetts
to New Jersey, from New Jersey to Pennsylvania, from Pennsylvania to
Virginia, and from Virginia to Kentucky; while collateral branches of the
family eventually made homes in other parts of the West. In Pennsylvania
and Virginia some of them had acquired considerable property and local

In the year 1780, Abraham Lincoln, the President's grandfather, was able
to pay into the public treasury of Virginia "one hundred and sixty
pounds, current money," for which he received a warrant, directed to the
"Principal Surveyor of any County within the commonwealth of Virginia,"
to lay off in one or more surveys for Abraham Linkhorn, his heirs or
assigns, the quantity of four hundred acres of land. The error in
spelling the name was a blunder of the clerk who made out the warrant.

With this warrant and his family of five children--Mordecai, Josiah,
Mary, Nancy, and Thomas--he moved to Kentucky, then still a county of
Virginia, in 1780, and began opening a farm. Four years later, while at
work with his three boys in the edge of his clearing, a party of
Indians, concealed in the brush, shot and killed him. Josiah, the second
son, ran to a neighboring fort for assistance; Mordecai, the eldest,
hurried to the cabin for his gun, leaving Thomas, youngest of the
family, a child of six years, by his father. Mordecai had just taken
down his rifle from its convenient resting-place over the door of the
cabin when, turning, he saw an Indian in his war-paint stooping to seize
the child. He took quick aim through a loop-hole, shot, and killed the
savage, at which the little boy also ran to the house, and from this
citadel Mordecai continued firing at the Indians until Josiah brought
help from the fort.

It was doubtless this misfortune which rapidly changed the circumstances
of the family.[1] Kentucky was yet a wild, new country. As compared with
later periods of emigration, settlement was slow and pioneer life a hard
struggle. So it was probably under the stress of poverty, as well as by
the marriage of the older children, that the home was gradually broken
up, and Thomas Lincoln became "even in childhood ... a wandering
laboring boy, and grew up literally without education.... Before he was
grown he passed one year as a hired hand with his uncle Isaac on
Watauga, a branch of the Holston River." Later, he seems to have
undertaken to learn the trade of carpenter in the shop of Joseph Hanks
in Elizabethtown.

 [Footnote 1: By the law of primogeniture, which at that date was
 still unrepealed in Virginia, the family estate went to Mordecai,
 the eldest son.]

When Thomas Lincoln was about twenty-eight years old he married Nancy
Hanks, a niece of his employer, near Beechland, in Washington County.
She was a good-looking young woman of twenty-three, also from Virginia,
and so far superior to her husband in education that she could read and
write, and taught him how to sign his name. Neither one of the young
couple had any money or property; but in those days living was not
expensive, and they doubtless considered his trade a sufficient
provision for the future. He brought her to a little house in
Elizabethtown, where a daughter was born to them the following year.

During the next twelvemonth Thomas Lincoln either grew tired of his
carpenter work, or found the wages he was able to earn insufficient to
meet his growing household expenses. He therefore bought a little farm
on the Big South Fork of Nolin Creek, in what was then Hardin and is now
La Rue County, three miles from Hodgensville, and thirteen miles from
Elizabethtown. Having no means, he of course bought the place on credit,
a transaction not so difficult when we remember that in that early day
there was plenty of land to be bought for mere promises to pay; under
the disadvantage, however, that farms to be had on these terms were
usually of a very poor quality, on which energetic or forehanded men did
not care to waste their labor. It was a kind of land generally known in
the West as "barrens"--rolling upland, with very thin, unproductive
soil. Its momentary usefulness was that it was partly cleared and
cultivated, that an indifferent cabin stood on it ready to be occupied,
and that it had one specially attractive as well as useful feature--a
fine spring of water, prettily situated amid a graceful clump of
foliage, because of which the place was called Rock Spring Farm. The
change of abode was perhaps in some respects an improvement upon
Elizabethtown. To pioneer families in deep poverty, a little farm
offered many more resources than a town lot--space, wood, water, greens
in the spring, berries in the summer, nuts in the autumn, small game
everywhere--and they were fully accustomed to the loss of
companionship. On this farm, and in this cabin, the future President of
the United States was born, on the 12th of February, 1809, and here the
first four years of his childhood were spent.

When Abraham was about four years old the Lincoln home was changed to a
much better farm of two hundred and thirty-eight acres on Knob Creek,
six miles from Hodgensville, bought by Thomas Lincoln, again on credit,
for the promise to pay one hundred and eighteen pounds. A year later he
conveyed two hundred acres of it by deed to a new purchaser. In this new
home the family spent four years more, and while here Abraham and his
sister Sarah began going to A B C schools. Their first teacher was
Zachariah Riney, who taught near the Lincoln cabin; the next, Caleb
Hazel, at a distance of about four miles.

Thomas Lincoln was evidently one of those easy-going, good-natured men
who carry the virtue of contentment to an extreme. He appears never to
have exerted himself much beyond the attainment of a necessary
subsistence. By a little farming and occasional jobs at his trade, he
seems to have supplied his family with food and clothes. There is no
record that he made any payment on either of his farms. The fever of
westward emigration was in the air, and, listening to glowing accounts
of rich lands and newer settlements in Indiana, he had neither valuable
possessions nor cheerful associations to restrain the natural impulse of
every frontiersman to "move." In this determination his carpenter's
skill served him a good purpose, and made the enterprise not only
feasible but reasonably cheap. In the fall of 1816 he built himself a
small flatboat, which he launched at the mouth of Knob Creek, half a
mile from his cabin, on the waters of the Rolling Fork. This stream
would float him to Salt River, and Salt River to the Ohio. He also
thought to combine a little speculation with his undertaking. Part of
his personal property he traded for four hundred gallons of whisky;
then, loading the rest on his boat with his carpenter's tools and the
whisky, he made the voyage, with the help of the current, down the
Rolling Fork to Salt River, down Salt River to the Ohio, and down the
Ohio to Thompson's Ferry, in Perry County, on the Indiana shore. The
boat capsized once on the way, but he saved most of the cargo.

Sixteen miles out from the river he found a location in the forest which
suited him. Since his boat would not float up-stream, he sold it, left
his property with a settler, and trudged back home to Kentucky, all the
way on foot, to bring his wife and the two children--Sarah, nine years
old, and Abraham, seven. Another son had been born to them some years
before, but had died when only three days old. This time the trip to
Indiana was made with the aid of two horses, used by the wife and
children for riding and to carry their little equipage for camping at
night by the way. In a straight line, the distance is about fifty miles;
but it was probably doubled by the very few roads it was possible to

Having reached the Ohio and crossed to where he had left his goods on
the Indiana side, he hired a wagon, which carried them and his family
the remaining sixteen miles through the forest to the spot he had
chosen, which in due time became the Lincoln farm. It was a piece of
heavily timbered land, one and a half miles east of what has since
become the village of Gentryville, in Spencer County. The lateness of
the autumn compelled him to provide a shelter as quickly as possible,
and he built what is known on the frontier as a half-faced camp, about
fourteen feet square. This structure differed from a cabin in that it
was closed on only three sides, and open to the weather on the fourth.
It was usual to build the fire in front of the open side, and the
necessity of providing a chimney was thus avoided. He doubtless intended
it for a mere temporary shelter, and as such it would have sufficed for
good weather in the summer season. But it was a rude provision for the
winds and snows of an Indiana winter. It illustrates Thomas Lincoln's
want of energy, that the family remained housed in this primitive camp
for nearly a whole year. He must, however, not be too hastily blamed for
his dilatory improvement. It is not likely that he remained altogether
idle. A more substantial cabin was probably begun, and, besides, there
was the heavy work of clearing away the timber--that is, cutting down
the large trees, chopping them into suitable lengths, and rolling them
together into great log-heaps to be burned, or splitting them into rails
to fence the small field upon which he managed to raise a patch of corn
and other things during the ensuing summer.

Thomas Lincoln's arrival was in the autumn of 1816. That same winter
Indiana was admitted to the Union as a State. There were as yet no roads
worthy of the name to or from the settlement formed by himself and seven
or eight neighbors at various distances. The village of Gentryville was
not even begun. There was no sawmill to saw lumber. Breadstuff could be
had only by sending young Abraham, on horseback, seven miles, with a bag
of corn to be ground on a hand grist-mill. In the course of two or three
years a road from Corydon to Evansville was laid out, running past the
Lincoln farm; and perhaps two or three years afterward another from
Rockport to Bloomington crossing the former. This gave rise to
Gentryville. James Gentry entered the land at the cross-roads. Gideon
Romine opened a small store, and their joint efforts succeeded in
getting a post-office established from which the village gradually grew.
For a year after his arrival Thomas Lincoln remained a mere squatter.
Then he entered the quarter-section (one hundred and sixty acres) on
which he opened his farm, and made some payments on his entry, but only
enough in eleven years to obtain a patent for one half of it.

About the time that he moved into his new cabin, relatives and friends
followed from Kentucky, and some of them in turn occupied the half-faced
camp. In the ensuing autumn much sickness prevailed in the Pigeon Creek
settlement. It was thirty miles to the nearest doctor, and several
persons died, among them Nancy Hanks Lincoln, the mother of young
Abraham. The mechanical skill of Thomas was called upon to make the
coffins, the necessary lumber for which had to be cut with a whip-saw.

The death of Mrs. Lincoln was a serious loss to her husband and
children. Abraham's sister Sarah was only eleven years old, and the
tasks and cares of the little household were altogether too heavy for
her years and experience. Nevertheless, they struggled on bravely
through the winter and next summer, but in the autumn of 1819 Thomas
Lincoln went back to Kentucky and married Sally Bush Johnston, whom he
had known and, it is said, courted when she was merely Sally Bush.
Johnston, to whom she was married about the time Lincoln married Nancy
Hanks, had died, leaving her with three children. She came of a better
station in life than Thomas, and is represented as a woman of uncommon
energy and thrift, possessing excellent qualities both of head and
heart. The household goods which she brought to the Lincoln home in
Indiana filled a four-horse wagon. Not only were her own three children
well clothed and cared for, but she was able at once to provide little
Abraham and Sarah with home comforts to which they had been strangers
during the whole of their young lives. Under her example and urging,
Thomas at once supplied the yet unfinished cabin with floor, door, and
windows, and existence took on a new aspect for all the inmates. Under
her management and control, all friction and jealousy was avoided
between the two sets of children, and contentment, if not happiness,
reigned in the little cabin.

The new stepmother quickly perceived the superior aptitudes and
abilities of Abraham. She became very fond of him, and in every way
encouraged his marked inclination to study and improve himself. The
opportunities for this were meager enough. Mr. Lincoln himself has drawn
a vivid outline of the situation:

"It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in
the woods. There I grew up. There were some schools so called, but no
qualification was ever required of a teacher beyond readin', writin',
and cipherin' to the Rule of Three. If a straggler supposed to
understand Latin happened to sojourn in the neighborhood, he was looked
upon as a wizard. There was absolutely nothing to excite ambition for

As Abraham was only in his eighth year when he left Kentucky, the little
beginnings he had learned in the schools kept by Riney and Hazel in that
State must have been very slight--probably only his alphabet, or
possibly three or four pages of Webster's "Elementary Spelling Book." It
is likely that the multiplication table was as yet an unfathomed
mystery, and that he could not write or read more than the words he
spelled. There is no record at what date he was able again to go to
school in Indiana. Some of his schoolmates think it was in his tenth
year, or soon after he fell under the care of his stepmother. The
school-house was a low cabin of round logs, a mile and a half from the
Lincoln home, with split logs or "puncheons" for a floor, split logs
roughly leveled with an ax and set up on legs for benches, and a log cut
out of one end and the space filled in with squares of greased paper for
window panes. The main light in such primitive halls of learning was
admitted by the open door. It was a type of school building common in
the early West, in which many a statesman gained the first rudiments of
knowledge. Very often Webster's "Elementary Spelling Book" was the only
text-book. Abraham's first Indiana school was probably held five years
before Gentryville was located and a store established there. Until then
it was difficult, if not impossible, to obtain books, slates, pencils,
pen, ink, and paper, and their use was limited to settlers who had
brought them when they came. It is reasonable to infer that the Lincoln
family had no such luxuries, and, as the Pigeon Creek settlement
numbered only eight or ten families there must have been very few pupils
to attend this first school. Nevertheless, it is worthy of special note
that even under such difficulties and limitations, the American thirst
for education planted a school-house on the very forefront of every

Abraham's second school in Indiana was held about the time he was
fourteen years old, and the third in his seventeenth year. By this time
he probably had better teachers and increased facilities, though with
the disadvantage of having to walk four or five miles to the
school-house. He learned to write, and was provided with pen, ink, and a
copy-book, and probably a very limited supply of writing-paper, for
facsimiles have been printed of several scraps and fragments upon which
he had carefully copied tables, rules, and sums from his arithmetic,
such as those of long measure, land measure, and dry measure, and
examples in multiplication and compound division. All this indicates
that he pursued his studies with a very unusual purpose and
determination, not only to understand them at the moment, but to imprint
them indelibly upon his memory, and even to regain them in visible form
for reference when the school-book might no longer be in his hands or

Mr. Lincoln has himself written that these three different schools were
"kept successively by Andrew Crawford, ---- Swaney, and Azel W. Dorsey."
Other witnesses state the succession somewhat differently. The important
fact to be gleaned from what we learn about Mr. Lincoln's schooling is
that the instruction given him by these five different teachers--two in
Kentucky and three in Indiana, in short sessions of attendance scattered
over a period of nine years--made up in all less than a twelvemonth.
He said of it in 1860, "Abraham now thinks that the aggregate of all his
schooling did not amount to one year." This distribution of the tuition
he received was doubtless an advantage. Had it all been given him at his
first school in Indiana, it would probably not have carried him half
through Webster's "Elementary Spelling Book." The lazy or indifferent
pupils who were his schoolmates doubtless forgot what was taught them at
one time before they had opportunity at another; but to the exceptional
character of Abraham, these widely separated fragments of instruction
were precious steps to self-help, of which he made unremitting use.

It is the concurrent testimony of his early companions that he employed
all his spare moments in keeping on with some one of his studies. His
stepmother says: "Abe read diligently.... He read every book he could
lay his hands on; and when he came across a passage that struck him, he
would write it down on boards, if he had no paper, and keep it there
until he did get paper. Then he would rewrite it, look at it, repeat it.
He had a copy-book, a kind of scrap-book, in which he put down all
things, and thus preserved them." There is no mention that either he or
other pupils had slates and slate-pencils to use at school or at home,
but he found a ready substitute in pieces of board. It is stated that he
occupied his long evenings at home doing sums on the fire-shovel. Iron
fire-shovels were a rarity among pioneers; they used, instead a broad,
thin clapboard with one end narrowed to a handle. In cooking by the open
fire, this domestic implement was of the first necessity to arrange
piles of live coals on the hearth, over which they set their "skillet"
and "oven," upon the lids of which live coals were also heaped.

Upon such a wooden shovel Abraham was able to work his sums by the
flickering firelight. If he had no pencil, he could use charcoal, and
probably did so. When it was covered with figures he would take a
drawing-knife, shave it off clean, and begin again. Under these various
disadvantages, and by the help of such troublesome expedients, Abraham
Lincoln worked his way to so much of an education as placed him far
ahead of his schoolmates, and quickly abreast of the acquirements of his
various teachers. The field from which he could glean knowledge was very
limited, though he diligently borrowed every book in the neighborhood.
The list is a short one--"Robinson Crusoe," Aesop's "Fables," Bunyan's
"Pilgrim's Progress," Weems's "Life of Washington," and a "History of
the United States." When he had exhausted other books, he even
resolutely attacked the Revised Statutes of Indiana, which Dave Turnham,
the constable, had in daily use and permitted him to come to his house
and read.

It needs to be borne in mind that all this effort at self-education
extended from first to last over a period of twelve or thirteen years,
during which he was also performing hard manual labor, and proves a
degree of steady, unflinching perseverance in a line of conduct that
brings into strong relief a high aim and the consciousness of abundant
intellectual power. He was not permitted to forget that he was on an
uphill path, a stern struggle with adversity. The leisure hours which he
was able to devote to his reading, his penmanship, and his arithmetic
were by no means overabundant. Writing of his father's removal from
Kentucky to Indiana, he says:

"He settled in an unbroken forest, and the clearing away of surplus wood
was the great task ahead. Abraham, though very young, was large of his
age, and had an ax put into his hands at once; and from that till within
his twenty-third year he was almost constantly handling that most useful
instrument--less, of course, in plowing and harvesting seasons."

John Hanks mentions the character of his work a little more in detail.
"He and I worked barefoot, grubbed it, plowed, mowed, and cradled
together; plowed corn, gathered it, and shucked corn." The sum of it all
is that from his boyhood until after he was of age, most of his time was
spent in the hard and varied muscular labor of the farm and the forest,
sometimes on his father's place, sometimes as a hired hand for other
pioneers. In this very useful but commonplace occupation he had,
however, one advantage. He was not only very early in his life a tall,
strong country boy, but as he grew up he soon became a tall, strong,
sinewy man. He early attained the unusual height of six feet four
inches, with arms of proportionate length. This gave him a degree of
power and facility as an ax-man which few had or were able to acquire.
He was therefore usually able to lead his fellows in efforts of both
muscle and mind. He performed the tasks of his daily labor and mastered
the lessons of his scanty schooling with an ease and rapidity they were
unable to attain.

Twice during his life in Indiana this ordinary routine was somewhat
varied. When he was sixteen, while working for a man who lived at the
mouth of Anderson's Creek, it was part of his duty to manage a
ferry-boat which transported passengers across the Ohio River. It was
doubtless this which three years later brought him a new experience,
that he himself related in these words:

"When he was nineteen, still residing in Indiana, he made his first
trip upon a flatboat to New Orleans. He was a hired hand merely, and he
and a son of the owner, without other assistance, made the trip. The
nature of part of the 'cargo load,' as it was called, made it necessary
for them to linger and trade along the sugar-coast, and one night they
were attacked by seven negroes with intent to kill and rob them. They
were hurt some in the mêlée, but succeeded in driving the negroes from
the boat, and then 'cut cable,' 'weighed anchor,' and left."

This commercial enterprise was set on foot by Mr. Gentry, the founder of
Gentryville. The affair shows us that Abraham had gained an enviable
standing in the village as a man of honesty, skill, and judgment--one
who could be depended on to meet such emergencies as might arise in
selling their bacon and other produce to the cotton-planters along the
shores of the lower Mississippi.

By this time Abraham's education was well advanced. His handwriting, his
arithmetic, and his general intelligence were so good that he had
occasionally been employed to help in the Gentryville store, and Gentry
thus knew by personal test that he was entirely capable of assisting his
son Allen in the trading expedition to New Orleans. For Abraham, on the
other hand, it was an event which must have opened up wide vistas of
future hope and ambition. Allen Gentry probably was nominal supercargo
and steersman, but we may easily surmise that Lincoln, as the "bow oar,"
carried his full half of general responsibility. For this service the
elder Gentry paid him eight dollars a month and his passage home on a
steamboat. It was the future President's first eager look into the wide,
wide world.

Abraham's devotion to his books and his sums stands forth in more
striking light from the fact that his habits differed from those of most
frontier boys in one important particular. Almost every youth of the
backwoods early became a habitual hunter and superior marksman. The
Indiana woods were yet swarming with game, and the larder of every cabin
depended largely upon this great storehouse of wild meat.[2] The Pigeon
Creek settlement was especially fortunate on this point. There was in
the neighborhood of the Lincoln home what was known in the West as a
deer-lick--that is, there existed a feeble salt-spring, which
impregnated the soil in its vicinity or created little pools of brackish
water--and various kinds of animals, particularly deer, resorted there
to satisfy their natural craving for salt by drinking from these or
licking the moist earth. Hunters took advantage of this habit, and one
of their common customs was to watch in the dusk or at night, and secure
their approaching prey by an easy shot. Skill with the rifle and success
in the chase were points of friendly emulation. In many localities the
boy or youth who shot a squirrel in any part of the animal except its
head became the butt of the jests of his companions and elders. Yet,
under such conditions and opportunities Abraham was neither a hunter nor
a marksman. He tells us:

"A few days before the completion of his eighth year, in the absence of
his father, a flock of wild turkeys approached the new log cabin, and
Abraham, with a rifle gun, standing inside, shot through a crack and
killed one of them. He has never since pulled a trigger on any larger

 [Footnote 2: Franklin points out how much this resource of the
 early Americans contributed to their spirit of independence by

 "I can retire cheerfully with my little family into the boundless
 woods of America, which are sure to afford freedom and subsistence
 to any man who can bait a hook or pull a trigger."

 (See "The Century Magazine," "Franklin as a Diplomatist," October,
 1899, p. 888.)]

The hours which other boys spent in roaming the woods or lying in ambush
at the deer-lick, he preferred to devote to his effort at mental
improvement. It can hardly be claimed that he did this from calculating
ambition. It was a native intellectual thirst, the significance of which
he did not himself yet understand. Such exceptional characteristics
manifested themselves only in a few matters. In most particulars he grew
up as the ordinary backwoods boy develops into the youth and man. As he
was subjected to their usual labors, so also he was limited to their
usual pastimes and enjoyments.

The varied amusements common to our day were not within their reach. The
period of the circus, the political speech, and the itinerant show had
not yet come. Schools, as we have seen, and probably meetings or church
services, were irregular, to be had only at long intervals. Primitive
athletic games and commonplace talk, enlivened by frontier jests and
stories, formed the sum of social intercourse when half a dozen or a
score of settlers of various ages came together at a house-raising or
corn-husking, or when mere chance brought them at the same time to the
post-office or the country store. On these occasions, however, Abraham
was, according to his age, always able to contribute his full share or
more. Most of his natural aptitudes equipped him especially to play his
part well. He had quick intelligence, ready sympathy, a cheerful
temperament, a kindling humor, a generous and helpful spirit. He was
both a ready talker and appreciative listener. By virtue of his tall
stature and unusual strength of sinew and muscle, he was from the
beginning a leader in all athletic games; by reason of his studious
habits and his extraordinarily retentive memory he quickly became the
best story-teller among his companions. Even the slight training he
gained from his studies greatly quickened his perceptions and broadened
and steadied the strong reasoning faculty with which nature had endowed

As the years of his youth passed by, his less gifted comrades learned to
accept his judgments and to welcome his power to entertain and instruct
them. On his own part, he gradually learned to write not merely with the
hand, but also with the mind--to think. It was an easy transition for
him from remembering the jingle of a commonplace rhyme to the
constructing of a doggerel verse, and he did not neglect the opportunity
of practising his penmanship in such impromptus. Tradition also relates
that he added to his list of stories and jokes humorous imitations from
the sermons of eccentric preachers. But tradition has very likely both
magnified and distorted these alleged exploits of his satire and
mimicry. All that can be said of them is that his youth was marked by
intellectual activity far beyond that of his companions.

It is an interesting coincidence that nine days before the birth of
Abraham Lincoln Congress passed the act to organize the Territory of
Illinois, which his future life and career were destined to render so
illustrious. Another interesting coincidence may be found in the fact
that in the same year (1818) in which Congress definitely fixed the
number of stars and stripes in the national flag, Illinois was admitted
as a State to the Union. The Star of Empire was moving westward at an
accelerating speed. Alabama was admitted in 1819, Maine in 1820,
Missouri in 1821. Little by little the line of frontier settlement was
pushing itself toward the Mississippi. No sooner had the pioneer built
him a cabin and opened his little farm, than during every summer
canvas-covered wagons wound their toilsome way over the new-made roads
into the newer wilderness, while his eyes followed them with wistful
eagerness. Thomas Lincoln and his Pigeon Creek relatives and neighbors
could not forever withstand the contagion of this example, and at length
they yielded to the irrepressible longing by a common impulse. Mr.
Lincoln writes:

"March 1, 1830, Abraham having just completed his twenty-first year, his
father and family, with the families of the two daughters and
sons-in-law of his stepmother, left the old homestead in Indiana and
came to Illinois. Their mode of conveyance was wagons drawn by ox-teams,
and Abraham drove one of the teams. They reached the county of Macon,
and stopped there some time within the same month of March. His father
and family settled a new place on the north side of the Sangamon River,
at the junction of the timber land and prairie, about ten miles westerly
from Decatur. Here they built a log cabin, into which they removed, and
made sufficient of rails to fence ten acres of ground, fenced and broke
the ground, and raised a crop of sown corn upon it the same year.... The
sons-in-law were temporarily settled in other places in the county. In
the autumn all hands were greatly afflicted with ague and fever, to
which they had not been used, and by which they were greatly
discouraged, so much so that they determined on leaving the county. They
remained, however, through the succeeding winter, which was the winter
of the very celebrated 'deep snow' of Illinois."


Flatboat--New Salem--Election Clerk--Store and Mill--Kirkham's
"Grammar"--"Sangamo Journal"--The Talisman--Lincoln's Address, March 9,
1832--Black Hawk War--Lincoln Elected Captain--Mustered out May 27,
1832--Reënlisted in Independent Spy Battalion--Finally Mustered out, June
16, 1832--Defeated for the Legislature--Blacksmith or Lawyer?--The
Lincoln-Berry Store--Appointed Postmaster, May 7, 1833--National Politics

The life of Abraham Lincoln, or that part of it which will interest
readers for all future time, properly begins in March, 1831, after the
winter of the "deep snow." According to frontier custom, being then
twenty-one years old, he left his father's cabin to make his own fortune
in the world. A man named Denton Offutt, one of a class of local traders
and speculators usually found about early Western settlements, had
probably heard something of young Lincoln's Indiana history,
particularly that he had made a voyage on a flatboat from Indiana to New
Orleans, and that he was strong, active, honest, and generally, as would
be expressed in Western phrase, "a smart young fellow." He was therefore
just the sort of man Offutt needed for one of his trading enterprises,
and Mr. Lincoln himself relates somewhat in detail how Offutt engaged
him and the beginning of the venture:

"Abraham, together with his stepmother's son, John D. Johnston, and
John Hanks, yet residing in Macon County, hired themselves to Denton
Offutt to take a flatboat from Beardstown, Illinois [on the Illinois
River], to New Orleans; and for that purpose were to join
him--Offutt--at Springfield, Illinois, so soon as the snow should go
off. When it did go off, which was about the first of March, 1831, the
county was so flooded as to make traveling by land impracticable, to
obviate which difficulty they purchased a large canoe, and came down the
Sangamon River in it. This is the time and the manner of Abraham's first
entrance into Sangamon County. They found Offutt at Springfield, but
learned from him that he had failed in getting a boat at Beardstown.
This led to their hiring themselves to him for twelve dollars per month
each, and getting the timber out of the trees and building a boat at Old
Sangamon town on the Sangamon River, seven miles northwest of
Springfield, which boat they took to New Orleans, substantially upon the
old contract."

It needs here to be recalled that Lincoln's father was a carpenter, and
that Abraham had no doubt acquired considerable skill in the use of
tools during his boyhood and a practical knowledge of the construction
of flatboats during his previous New Orleans trip, sufficient to enable
him with confidence to undertake this task in shipbuilding. From the
after history of both Johnston and Hanks, we know that neither of them
was gifted with skill or industry, and it becomes clear that Lincoln was
from the first leader of the party, master of construction, and captain
of the craft.

It took some time to build the boat, and before it was finished the
Sangamon River had fallen so that the new craft stuck midway across the
dam at Rutledge's Mill, at New Salem, a village of fifteen or twenty
houses. The inhabitants came down to the bank, and exhibited great
interest in the fate of the boat, which, with its bow in the air and its
stern under water, was half bird and half fish, and they probably
jestingly inquired of the young captain whether he expected to dive or
to fly to New Orleans. He was, however, equal to the occasion. He bored
a hole in the bottom of the boat at the bow, and rigged some sort of
lever or derrick to lift the stern, so that the water she had taken in
behind ran out in front, enabling her to float over the partly submerged
dam; and this feat, in turn, caused great wonderment in the crowd at the
novel expedient of bailing a boat by boring a hole in her bottom.

This exploit of naval engineering fully established Lincoln's fame at
New Salem, and grounded him so firmly in the esteem of his employer
Offutt that the latter, already looking forward to his future
usefulness, at once engaged him to come back to New Salem, after his New
Orleans voyage, to act as his clerk in a store.

Once over the dam and her cargo reloaded, partly there and partly at
Beardstown, the boat safely made the remainder of her voyage to New
Orleans; and, returning by steamer to St. Louis, Lincoln and Johnston
(Hanks had turned back from St. Louis) continued on foot to Illinois,
Johnston remaining at the family home, which had meanwhile been removed
from Macon to Coles County, and Lincoln going to his employer and
friends at New Salem. This was in July or August, 1831. Neither Offutt
nor his goods had yet arrived, and during his waiting he had a chance to
show the New Salemites another accomplishment. An election was to be
held, and one of the clerks was sick and failed to come. Scribes were
not plenty on the frontier, and Mentor Graham, the clerk who was
present, looking around for a properly qualified colleague, noticed
Lincoln, and asked him if he could write, to which he answered, in local
idiom, that he "could make a few rabbit tracks," and was thereupon
immediately inducted into his first office. He performed his duties not
only to the general satisfaction, but so as to interest Graham, who was
a schoolmaster, and afterward made himself very useful to Lincoln.

Offutt finally arrived with a miscellaneous lot of goods, which Lincoln
opened and put in order in a room that a former New Salem storekeeper
was just ready to vacate, and whose remnant stock Offutt also purchased.
Trade was evidently not brisk at New Salem, for the commercial zeal of
Offutt led him to increase his venture by renting the Rutledge and
Cameron mill, on whose historic dam the flatboat had stuck. For a while
the charge of the mill was added to Lincoln's duties, until another
clerk was engaged to help him. There is likewise good evidence that in
addition to his duties at the store and the mill, Lincoln made himself
generally useful--that he cut down trees and split rails enough to make
a large hog-pen adjoining the mill, a proceeding quite natural when we
remember that his hitherto active life and still growing muscles
imperatively demanded the exercise which measuring calico or weighing
out sugar and coffee failed to supply.

We know from other incidents that he was possessed of ample bodily
strength. In frontier life it is not only needed for useful labor of
many kinds, but is also called upon to aid in popular amusement. There
was a settlement in the neighborhood of New Salem called Clary's Grove,
where lived a group of restless, rollicking backwoodsmen with a strong
liking for various forms of frontier athletics and rough practical
jokes. In the progress of American settlement there has always been a
time, whether the frontier was in New England or Pennsylvania or
Kentucky, or on the banks of the Mississippi, when the champion wrestler
held some fraction of the public consideration accorded to the victor in
the Olympic games of Greece. Until Lincoln came, Jack Armstrong was the
champion wrestler of Clary's Grove and New Salem, and picturesque
stories are told how the neighborhood talk, inflamed by Offutt's fulsome
laudation of his clerk, made Jack Armstrong feel that his fame was in
danger. Lincoln put off the encounter as long as he could, and when the
wrestling match finally came off neither could throw the other. The
bystanders became satisfied that they were equally matched in strength
and skill, and the cool courage which Lincoln manifested throughout the
ordeal prevented the usual close of such incidents with a fight. Instead
of becoming chronic enemies and leaders of a neighborhood feud,
Lincoln's self-possession and good temper turned the contest into the
beginning of a warm and lasting friendship.

If Lincoln's muscles were at times hungry for work, not less so was his
mind. He was already instinctively feeling his way to his destiny when,
in conversation with Mentor Graham, the schoolmaster, he indicated his
desire to use some of his spare moments to increase his education, and
confided to him his "notion to study English grammar." It was entirely
in the nature of things that Graham should encourage this mental
craving, and tell him: "If you expect to go before the public in any
capacity, I think it the best thing you can do." Lincoln said that if he
had a grammar he would begin at once. Graham was obliged to confess that
there was no such book at New Salem, but remembered that there was one
at Vaner's, six miles away. Promptly after breakfast the next morning
Lincoln walked to Vaner's and procured the precious volume, and,
probably with Graham's occasional help, found no great difficulty in
mastering its contents. While tradition does not mention any other study
begun at that time, we may fairly infer that, slight as may have been
Graham's education, he must have had other books from which, together
with his friendly advice, Lincoln's intellectual hunger derived further
stimulus and nourishment.

In his duties at the store and his work at the mill, in his study of
Kirkham's "Grammar," and educational conversations with Mentor Graham,
in the somewhat rude but frank and hearty companionship of the citizens
of New Salem and the exuberant boys of Clary's Grove, Lincoln's life for
the second half of the year 1831 appears not to have been eventful, but
was doubtless more comfortable and as interesting as had been his
flatboat building and New Orleans voyage during the first half. He was
busy in useful labor, and, though he had few chances to pick up scraps
of schooling, was beginning to read deeply in that book of human nature,
the profound knowledge of which rendered him such immense service in
after years.

The restlessness and ambition of the village of New Salem was many times
multiplied in the restlessness and ambition of Springfield, fifteen or
twenty miles away, which, located approximately near the geographical
center of Illinois, was already beginning to crave, if not yet to feel,
its future destiny as the capital of the State. In November of the same
year that aspiring town produced the first number of its weekly
newspaper, the "Sangamo Journal," and in its columns we begin to find
recorded historical data. Situated in a region of alternating spaces of
prairie and forest, of attractive natural scenery and rich soil, it was
nevertheless at a great disadvantage in the means of commercial
transportation. Lying sixty miles from Beardstown, the nearest landing
on the Illinois River, the peculiarities of soil, climate, and primitive
roads rendered travel and land carriage extremely difficult--often
entirely impossible--for nearly half of every year. The very first
number of the "Sangamo Journal" sounded its strongest note on the then
leading tenet of the Whig party--internal improvements by the general
government, and active politics to secure them. In later numbers we
learn that a regular Eastern mail had not been received for three weeks.
The tide of immigration which was pouring into Illinois is illustrated
in a tabular statement on the commerce of the Illinois River, showing
that the steamboat arrivals at Beardstown had risen from one each in the
years 1828 and 1829, and only four in 1830, to thirty-two during the
year 1831. This naturally directed the thoughts of travelers and traders
to some better means of reaching the river landing than the frozen or
muddy roads and impassable creeks and sloughs of winter and spring. The
use of the Sangamon River, flowing within five miles of Springfield and
emptying itself into the Illinois ten or fifteen miles from Beardstown,
seemed for the present the only solution of the problem, and a public
meeting was called to discuss the project. The deep snows of the winter
of 1830-31 abundantly filled the channels of that stream, and the winter
of 1831-32 substantially repeated its swelling floods. Newcomers in that
region were therefore warranted in drawing the inference that it might
remain navigable for small craft. Public interest on the topic was
greatly heightened when one Captain Bogue, commanding a small steamer
then at Cincinnati, printed a letter in the "Journal" of January 26,
1832, saying: "I intend to try to ascend the river [Sangamo] immediately
on the breaking up of the ice." It was well understood that the chief
difficulty would be that the short turns in the channels were liable to
be obstructed by a gorge of driftwood and the limbs and trunks of
overhanging trees. To provide for this, Captain Bogue's letter added: "I
should be met at the mouth of the river by ten or twelve men, having
axes with long handles under the direction of some experienced man. I
shall deliver freight from St. Louis at the landing on the Sangamo River
opposite the town of Springfield for thirty-seven and a half cents per
hundred pounds." The "Journal" of February 16 contained an advertisement
that the "splendid upper-cabin steamer _Talisman_" would leave for
Springfield, and the paper of March 1 announced her arrival at St. Louis
on the 22d of February with a full cargo. In due time the citizen
committee appointed by the public meeting met the _Talisman_ at the
mouth of the Sangamon, and the "Journal" of March 29 announced with
great flourish that the "steamboat _Talisman_, of one hundred and fifty
tons burden, arrived at the Portland landing opposite this town on
Saturday last." There was great local rejoicing over this demonstration
that the Sangamon was really navigable, and the "Journal" proclaimed
with exultation that Springfield "could no longer be considered an
inland town."

President Jackson's first term was nearing its close, and the Democratic
party was preparing to reëlect him. The Whigs, on their part, had held
their first national convention in December, 1831, and nominated Henry
Clay to dispute the succession. This nomination, made almost a year in
advance of the election, indicates an unusual degree of political
activity in the East, and voters in the new State of Illinois were
fired with an equal party zeal. During the months of January and
February, 1832, no less than six citizens of Sangamon County announced
themselves in the "Sangamo Journal" as candidates for the State
legislature, the election for which was not to occur until August; and
the "Journal" of March 15 printed a long letter, addressed "To the
People of Sangamon County," under date of the ninth, signed A. Lincoln,
and beginning:

"FELLOW-CITIZENS: Having become a candidate for the honorable office of
one of your representatives in the next general assembly of this State,
in accordance with an established custom and the principles of true
republicanism, it becomes my duty to make known to you, the people whom
I propose to represent, my sentiments with regard to local affairs." He
then takes up and discusses in an eminently methodical and practical way
the absorbing topic of the moment--the Whig doctrine of internal
improvements and its local application, the improvement of the Sangamon
River. He mentions that meetings have been held to propose the
construction of a railroad, and frankly acknowledges that "no other
improvement that reason will justify us in hoping for can equal in
utility the railroad," but contends that its enormous cost precludes any
such hope, and that, therefore, "the improvement of the Sangamon River
is an object much better suited to our infant resources." Relating his
experience in building and navigating his flatboat, and his observation
of the stage of the water since then, he draws the very plausible
conclusion that by straightening its channel and clearing away its
driftwood the stream can be made navigable "to vessels of from
twenty-five to thirty tons burden for at least one half of all common
years, and to vessels of much greater burden a part of the time," His
letter very modestly touches a few other points of needed legislation--a
law against usury, laws to promote education, and amendments to estray
and road laws. The main interest for us, however, is in the frank avowal
of his personal ambition.

"Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or
not, I can say, for one, that I have no other so great as that of being
truly esteemed of my fellow-men by rendering myself worthy of their
esteem. How far I shall succeed in gratifying this ambition is yet to be
developed. I am young, and unknown to many of you. I was born, and have
ever remained, in the most humble walks of life. I have no wealthy or
popular relations or friends to recommend me. My case is thrown
exclusively upon the independent voters of the country, and if elected
they will have conferred a favor upon me for which I shall be
unremitting in my labors to compensate. But if the good people in their
wisdom shall see fit to keep me in the background, I have been too
familiar with disappointments to be very much chagrined."

This written and printed address gives us an accurate measure of the man
and the time. When he wrote this document he was twenty-three years old.
He had been in the town and county only about nine months of actual
time. As Sangamon County covered an estimated area of twenty-one hundred
and sixty square miles, he could know but little of either it or its
people. How dared a "friendless, uneducated boy, working on a flatboat
at twelve dollars a month," with "no wealthy or popular friends to
recommend" him, aspire to the honors and responsibilities of a
legislator? The only answer is that he was prompted by that intuition of
genius, that consciousness of powers which justify their claims by their
achievements. When we scan the circumstances more closely, we find
distinct evidence of some reason for his confidence. Relatively
speaking, he was neither uneducated nor friendless. His acquirements
were already far beyond the simple elements of reading, writing, and
ciphering. He wrote a good, clear, serviceable hand; he could talk well
and reason cogently. The simple, manly style of his printed address
fully equals in literary ability that of the average collegian in the
twenties. His migration from Indiana to Illinois and his two voyages to
New Orleans had given him a glimpse of the outside world. His natural
logic readily grasped the significance of the railroad as a new factor
in transportation, although the first American locomotive had been built
only one year, and ten to fifteen years were yet to elapse before the
first railroad train was to run in Illinois.

One other motive probably had its influence. He tells us that Offutt's
business was failing, and his quick judgment warned him that he would
soon be out of a job as clerk. This, however, could be only a secondary
reason for announcing himself as a candidate, for the election was not
to occur till August, and even if he were elected there would be neither
service nor salary till the coming winter. His venture into politics
must therefore be ascribed to the feeling which he so frankly announced
in his letter, his ambition to become useful to his fellow-men--the
impulse that throughout history has singled out the great leaders of

In this particular instance a crisis was also at hand, calculated to
develop and utilize the impulse. Just about a month after the
publication of Lincoln's announcement the "Sangamo Journal" of April 19
printed an official call from Governor Reynolds, directed to General
Neale of the Illinois militia, to organize six hundred volunteers of his
brigade for military service in a campaign against the Indians under
Black Hawk, the war chief of the Sacs, who, in defiance of treaties and
promises, had formed a combination with other tribes during the winter,
and had now crossed back from the west to the east side of the
Mississippi River with the determination to reoccupy their old homes in
the Rock River country toward the northern end of the State.

In the memoranda which Mr. Lincoln furnished for a campaign biography,
he thus relates what followed the call for troops:

"Abraham joined a volunteer company, and, to his own surprise, was
elected captain of it. He says he has not since had any success in life
which gave him so much satisfaction. He went to the campaign, served
near three months, met the ordinary hardships of such an expedition, but
was in no battle." Official documents furnish some further interesting
details. As already said, the call was printed in the "Sangamo Journal"
of April 19. On April 21 the company was organized at Richland, Sangamon
County, and on April 28 was inspected and mustered into service at
Beardstown and attached to Colonel Samuel Thompson's regiment, the
Fourth Illinois Mounted Volunteers. They marched at once to the hostile
frontier. As the campaign shaped itself, it probably became evident to
the company that they were not likely to meet any serious fighting, and,
not having been enlisted for any stated period, they became clamorous to
return home. The governor therefore had them and other companies
mustered out of service, at the mouth of Fox River, on May 27. Not,
however, wishing to weaken his forces before the arrival of new levies
already on the way, he called for volunteers to remain twenty days
longer. Lincoln had gone to the frontier to perform real service, not
merely to enjoy military rank or reap military glory. On the same day,
therefore, on which he was mustered out as captain, he reënlisted, and
became Private Lincoln in Captain Iles's company of mounted volunteers,
organized apparently principally for scouting service, and sometimes
called the Independent Spy Battalion. Among the other officers who
imitated this patriotic example were General Whiteside and Major John T.
Stuart, Lincoln's later law partner. The Independent Spy Battalion,
having faithfully performed its new term of service, was finally
mustered out on June 16, 1832. Lincoln and his messmate, George M.
Harrison, had the misfortune to have their horses stolen the day before,
but Harrison relates:

"I laughed at our fate and he joked at it, and we all started off
merrily. The generous men of our company walked and rode by turns with
us, and we fared about equal with the rest. But for this generosity our
legs would have had to do the better work; for in that day this dreary
route furnished no horses to buy or to steal, and, whether on horse or
afoot, we always had company, for many of the horses' backs were too
sore for riding."

Lincoln must have reached home about August 1, for the election was to
occur in the second week of that month, and this left him but ten days
in which to push his claims for popular indorsement. His friends,
however had been doing manful duty for him during his three months'
absence, and he lost nothing in public estimation by his prompt
enlistment to defend the frontier. Successive announcements in the
"Journal" had by this time swelled the list of candidates to thirteen.
But Sangamon County was entitled to only four representatives and when
the returns came in Lincoln was among those defeated. Nevertheless, he
made a very respectable showing in the race. The list of successful and
unsuccessful aspirants and their votes was as follows:

    E.D. Taylor................   1127
    John T. Stuart..............   991
    Achilles Morris.............   945
    Peter Cartwright............   815

Under the plurality rule, these four had been elected. The unsuccessful
candidates were:

    A.G. Herndon..............    806
    W. Carpenter...............   774
    J. Dawson..................   717
    A. Lincoln.................   657
    T.M. Neale................    571
    R. Quinton.................   485
    Z. Peter...................   214
    E. Robinson................   169
    ---- Kirkpatrick...........    44

The returns show that the total vote of the county was about twenty-one
hundred and sixty-eight. Comparing this with the vote cast for Lincoln,
we see that he received nearly one third of the total county vote,
notwithstanding his absence from the canvass, notwithstanding the fact
that his acquaintanceship was limited to the neighborhood of New Salem,
notwithstanding the sharp competition. Indeed, his talent and fitness
for active practical politics were demonstrated beyond question by the
result in his home precinct of New Salem, which, though he ran as a
Whig, gave two hundred and seventy-seven votes for him and only three
against him. Three months later it gave one hundred and eighty-five for
the Jackson and only seventy for the Clay electors, proving Lincoln's
personal popularity. He remembered for the remainder of his life with
great pride that this was the only time he was ever beaten on a direct
vote of the people.

The result of the election brought him to one of the serious crises of
his life, which he forcibly stated in after years in the following
written words:

"He was now without means and out of business, but was anxious to remain
with his friends, who had treated him with so much generosity,
especially as he had nothing elsewhere to go to. He studied what he
should do; thought of learning the blacksmith trade, thought of trying
to study law, rather thought he could not succeed at that without a
better education."

The perplexing problem between inclination and means to follow it, the
struggle between conscious talent and the restraining fetters of
poverty, has come to millions of young Americans before and since, but
perhaps to none with a sharper trial of spirit or more resolute
patience. Before he had definitely resolved upon either career, chance
served not to solve, but to postpone his difficulty, and in the end to
greatly increase it.

New Salem, which apparently never had any good reason for becoming a
town, seems already at that time to have entered on the road to rapid
decay. Offutt's speculations had failed, and he had disappeared. The
brothers Herndon, who had opened a new store, found business dull and
unpromising. Becoming tired of their undertaking, they offered to sell
out to Lincoln and Berry on credit, and took their promissory notes in
payment. The new partners, in that excess of hope which usually attends
all new ventures, also bought two other similar establishments that were
in extremity, and for these likewise gave their notes. It is evident
that the confidence which Lincoln had inspired while he was a clerk in
Offutt's store, and the enthusiastic support he had received as a
candidate, were the basis of credit that sustained these several
commercial transactions.

It turned out in the long run that Lincoln's credit and the popular
confidence that supported it were as valuable both to his creditors and
himself as if the sums which stood over his signature had been gold coin
in a solvent bank. But this transmutation was not attained until he had
passed through a very furnace of financial embarrassment. Berry proved a
worthless partner, and the business a sorry failure. Seeing this,
Lincoln and Berry sold out again on credit--to the Trent brothers, who
soon broke up and ran away. Berry also departed and died, and finally
all the notes came back upon Lincoln for payment. He was unable to meet
these obligations, but he did the next best thing. He remained, promised
to pay when he could, and most of his creditors, maintaining their
confidence in his integrity, patiently bided their time, till, in the
course of long years, he fully justified it by paying, with interest
every cent of what he learned to call, in humorous satire upon his own
folly, the "national debt."

With one of them he was not so fortunate. Van Bergen, who bought one of
the Lincoln-Berry notes, obtained judgment, and, by peremptory sale,
swept away the horse, saddle, and surveying instruments with the daily
use of which Lincoln "procured bread and kept body and soul together,"
to use his own words. But here again Lincoln's recognized honesty was
his safety. Out of personal friendship, James Short bought the property
and restored it to the young surveyor, giving him time to repay. It was
not until his return from Congress, seventeen years after the purchase
of the store, that he finally relieved himself of the last instalments
of his "national debt." But by these seventeen years of sober industry,
rigid economy, and unflinching faith to his obligations he earned the
title of "Honest old Abe," which proved of greater service to himself
and his country than if he had gained the wealth of Croesus.

Out of this ill-starred commercial speculation, however, Lincoln derived
one incidental benefit, and it may be said it became the determining
factor in his career. It is evident from his own language that he
underwent a severe mental struggle in deciding whether he would become a
blacksmith or a lawyer. In taking a middle course, and trying to become
a merchant, he probably kept the latter choice strongly in view. It
seems well established by local tradition that during the period while
the Lincoln-Berry store was running its fore-doomed course from bad to
worse, Lincoln employed all the time he could spare from his customers
(and he probably had many leisure hours) in reading and study of various
kinds. This habit was greatly stimulated and assisted by his being
appointed, May 7, 1833, postmaster at New Salem, which office he
continued to hold until May 30, 1836, when New Salem partially
disappeared and the office was removed to Petersburg. The influences
which brought about the selection of Lincoln are not recorded, but it is
suggested that he had acted for some time as deputy postmaster under the
former incumbent, and thus became the natural successor. Evidently his
politics formed no objection, as New Salem precinct had at the August
election, when he ran as a Whig, given him its almost solid vote for
representative notwithstanding the fact that it was more than two thirds
Democratic. The postmastership increased his public consideration and
authority, broadened his business experience, and the newspapers he
handled provided him an abundance of reading matter on topics of both
local and national importance up to the latest dates.

Those were stirring times, even on the frontier. The "Sangamo Journal"
of December 30, 1832, printed Jackson's nullification proclamation. The
same paper, of March 9, 1833, contained an editorial on Clay's
compromise and that of the 16th had a notice of the great nullification
debate in Congress. The speeches of Clay, Calhoun, and Webster were
published in full during the following month, and Mr. Lincoln could not
well help reading them and joining in the feelings and comments they

While the town of New Salem was locally dying, the county of Sangamon
and the State of Illinois were having what is now called a boom. Other
wide-awake newspapers, such as the "Missouri Republican" and "Louisville
Journal," abounded in notices of the establishment of new stage lines
and the general rush of immigration. But the joyous dream of the New
Salemites, that the Sangamon River would become a commercial highway,
quickly faded. The _Talisman_ was obliged to hurry back down the rapidly
falling stream, tearing away a portion of the famous dam to permit her
departure. There were rumors that another steamer, the _Sylph_, would
establish regular trips between Springfield and Beardstown, but she
never came. The freshets and floods of 1831 and 1832 were succeeded by a
series of dry seasons, and the navigation of the Sangamon River was
never afterward a telling plank in the county platform of either
political party.


Appointed Deputy Surveyor--Elected to Legislature in 1834--Campaign
Issues--Begins Study of Law--Internal Improvement System--The
Lincoln-Stone Protest--Candidate for Speaker in 1838 and 1840

When Lincoln was appointed postmaster, in May, 1833, the Lincoln-Berry
store had not yet completely "winked out," to use his own picturesque
phrase. When at length he ceased to be a merchant, he yet remained a
government official, a man of consideration and authority, who still had
a responsible occupation and definite home, where he could read, write,
and study. The proceeds of his office were doubtless very meager, but in
that day, when the rate of postage on letters was still twenty-five
cents, a little change now and then came into his hands, which, in the
scarcity of money prevailing on the frontier, had an importance
difficult for us to appreciate. His positions as candidate for the
legislature and as postmaster probably had much to do in bringing him
another piece of good fortune. In the rapid settlement of Illinois and
Sangamon County, and the obtaining titles to farms by purchase or
preëmption, as well as in the locating and opening of new roads, the
county surveyor had more work on his hands than he could perform
throughout a county extending forty miles east and west and fifty north
and south, and was compelled to appoint deputies to assist him. The name
of the county surveyor was John Calhoun, recognized by all his
contemporaries in Sangamon as a man of education and talent and an
aspiring Democratic politician. It was not an easy matter for Calhoun to
find properly qualified deputies, and when he became acquainted with
Lincoln, and learned his attainments and aptitudes, and the estimation
in which he was held by the people of New Salem, he wisely concluded to
utilize his talents and standing, notwithstanding their difference in
politics. The incident is thus recorded by Lincoln:

"The surveyor of Sangamon offered to depute to Abraham that portion of
his work which was within his part of the county. He accepted, procured
a compass and chain, studied Flint and Gibson a little, and went at it.
This procured bread, and kept soul and body together."

Tradition has it that Calhoun not only gave him the appointment, but
lent him the book in which to study the art, which he accomplished in a
period of six weeks, aided by the schoolmaster, Mentor Graham. The exact
period of this increase in knowledge and business capacity is not
recorded, but it must have taken place in the summer of 1833, as there
exists a certificate of survey in Lincoln's handwriting signed, "J.
Calhoun, S.S.C., by A. Lincoln," dated January 14, 1834. Before June of
that year he had surveyed and located a public road from "Musick's Ferry
on Salt Creek, _via_ New Salem, to the county line in the direction to
Jacksonville," twenty-six miles and seventy chains in length, the exact
course of which survey, with detailed bearings and distances, was drawn
on common white letter-paper pasted in a long slip, to a scale of two
inches to the mile, in ordinary yet clear and distinct penmanship. The
compensation he received for this service was three dollars per day for
five days, and two dollars and fifty cents for making the plat and

An advertisement in the "Journal" shows that the regular fees of another
deputy were "two dollars per day, or one dollar per lot of eight acres
or less, and fifty cents for a single line, with ten cents per mile for

While this class of work and his post-office, with its emoluments,
probably amply supplied his board, lodging and clothing, it left him no
surplus with which to pay his debts, for it was in the latter part of
that same year (1834) that Van Bergen caused his horse and surveying
instruments to be sold under the hammer, as already related. Meanwhile,
amid these fluctuations of good and bad luck, Lincoln maintained his
equanimity, his steady, persevering industry, and his hopeful ambition
and confidence in the future. Through all his misfortunes and his
failures, he preserved his self-respect and his determination to

Two years had nearly elapsed since he was defeated for the legislature,
and, having received so flattering a vote on that occasion, it was
entirely natural that he should determine to try a second chance. Four
new representatives were to be chosen at the August election of 1834,
and near the end of April Lincoln published his announcement that he
would again be a candidate. He could certainly view his expectations in
every way in a more hopeful light. His knowledge had increased, his
experience broadened, his acquaintanceship greatly increased. His
talents were acknowledged, his ability recognized. He was postmaster and
deputy surveyor. He had become a public character whose services were in
demand. As compared with the majority of his neighbors, he was a man of
learning who had seen the world. Greater, however, than all these
advantages, his sympathetic kindness of heart, his sincere, open
frankness, his sturdy, unshrinking honesty, and that inborn sense of
justice that yielded to no influence, made up a nobility of character
and bearing that impressed the rude frontiersmen as much as, if not more
quickly and deeply than, it would have done the most polished and
erudite society.

Beginning his campaign in April, he had three full months before him for
electioneering, and he evidently used the time to good advantage. The
pursuit of popularity probably consisted mainly of the same methods that
in backwoods districts prevail even to our day: personal visits and
solicitations, attendance at various kinds of neighborhood gatherings,
such as raisings of new cabins, horse-races, shooting-matches, sales of
town lots or of personal property under execution, or whatever occasion
served to call a dozen or two of the settlers together. One recorded
incident illustrates the practical nature of the politician's art at
that day:

"He [Lincoln] came to my house, near Island Grove, during harvest. There
were some thirty men in the field. He got his dinner and went out in the
field where the men were at work. I gave him an introduction, and the
boys said that they could not vote for a man unless he could make a
hand. 'Well, boys,' said he, 'if that is all, I am sure of your votes.'
He took hold of the cradle, and led the way all the round with perfect
ease. The boys were satisfied, and I don't think he lost a vote in the

Sometimes two or more candidates would meet at such places, and short
speeches be called for and given. Altogether, the campaign was livelier
than that of two years before. Thirteen candidates were again contesting
for the four seats in the legislature, to say nothing of candidates for
governor, for Congress, and for the State Senate. The scope of
discussion was enlarged and localized. From the published address of an
industrious aspirant who received only ninety-two votes, we learn that
the issues now were the construction by the general government of a
canal from Lake Michigan to the Illinois River, the improvement of the
Sangamon River, the location of the State capital at Springfield, a
United States bank, a better road law, and amendments to the estray

When the election returns came in Lincoln had reason to be satisfied
with the efforts he had made. He received the second highest number of
votes in the long list of candidates. Those cast for the representatives
chosen stood: Dawson, 1390; Lincoln, 1376; Carpenter 1170; Stuart, 1164.
The location of the State capital had also been submitted to popular
vote at this election. Springfield, being much nearer the geographical
center of the State, was anxious to deprive Vandalia of that honor, and
the activity of the Sangamon politicians proved it to be a dangerous
rival. In the course of a month the returns from all parts of the State
had come in, and showed that Springfield was third in the race.

It must be frankly admitted that Lincoln's success at this juncture was
one of the most important events of his life. A second defeat might have
discouraged his efforts to lift himself to a professional career, and
sent him to the anvil to make horseshoes and to iron wagons for the
balance of his days. But this handsome popular indorsement assured his
standing and confirmed his credit. With this lift in the clouds of his
horizon, he could resolutely carry his burden of debt and hopefully look
to wider fields of public usefulness. Already, during the progress of
the canvass, he had received cheering encouragement and promise of most
valuable help. One of the four successful candidates was John T. Stuart,
who had been major of volunteers in the Black Hawk War while Lincoln
was captain, and who, together with Lincoln, had reënlisted as a private
in the Independent Spy Battalion. There is every likelihood that the two
had begun a personal friendship during their military service, which was
of course strongly cemented by their being fellow-candidates and both
belonging to the Whig party. Mr. Lincoln relates:

"Major John T. Stuart, then in full practice of the law [at
Springfield], was also elected. During the canvass, in a private
conversation he encouraged Abraham to study law. After the election, he
borrowed books of Stuart, took them home with him, and went at it in
good earnest. He studied with nobody.... In the autumn of 1836 he
obtained a law license, and on April 15, 1837, removed to Springfield
and commenced the practice, his old friend Stuart taking him into

From and after this election in 1834 as a representative, Lincoln was a
permanent factor in the politics and the progress of Sangamon County. At
a Springfield meeting in the following November to promote common
schools, he was appointed one of eleven delegates to attend a convention
at Vandalia called to deliberate on that subject. He was reëlected to
the legislature in 1836, in 1838, and in 1840, and thus for a period of
eight years took a full share in shaping and enacting the public and
private laws of Illinois, which in our day has become one of the leading
States in the Mississippi valley. Of Lincoln's share in that
legislation, it need only be said that it was as intelligent and
beneficial to the public interest as that of the best of his colleagues.
The most serious error committed by the legislature of Illinois during
that period was that it enacted laws setting on foot an extensive system
of internal improvements, in the form of railroads and canals,
altogether beyond the actual needs of transportation for the then
existing population of the State, and the consequent reckless creation
of a State debt for money borrowed at extravagant interest and liberal
commissions. The State underwent a season of speculative intoxication,
in which, by the promised and expected rush of immigration and the
swelling currents of its business, its farms were suddenly to become
villages, its villages spreading towns, and its towns transformed into
great cities, while all its people were to be made rich by the increased
value of their land and property. Both parties entered with equal
recklessness into this ill-advised internal improvement system, which in
the course of about four years brought the State to bankruptcy, with no
substantial works to show for the foolishly expended millions.

In voting for these measures, Mr. Lincoln represented the public opinion
and wish of his county and the whole State; and while he was as
blamable, he was at the same time no more so than the wisest of his
colleagues. It must be remembered in extenuation that he was just
beginning his parliamentary education. From the very first, however, he
seems to have become a force in the legislature, and to have rendered
special service to his constituents. It is conceded that the one object
which Springfield and the most of Sangamon County had at heart was the
removal of the capital from Vandalia to that place. This was
accomplished in 1836, and the management of the measure appears to have
been intrusted mainly to Mr. Lincoln.

One incident of his legislative career stands out in such prominent
relation to the great events of his after life that it deserves special
explanation and emphasis. Even at that early date, a quarter of a
century before the outbreak of the Civil War, the slavery question was
now and then obtruding itself as an irritating and perplexing element
into the local legislation of almost every new State. Illinois, though
guaranteed its freedom by the Ordinance of 1787, nevertheless underwent
a severe political struggle in which, about four years after her
admission into the Union, politicians and settlers from the South made a
determined effort to change her to a slave State. The legislature of
1822-23, with a two-thirds pro-slavery majority of the State Senate, and
a technical, but legally questionable, two-thirds majority in the House,
submitted to popular vote an act calling a State convention to change
the constitution. It happened, fortunately, that Governor Coles, though
a Virginian, was strongly antislavery, and gave the weight of his
official influence and his whole four years' salary to counteract the
dangerous scheme. From the fact that southern Illinois up to that time
was mostly peopled from the slave States, the result was seriously in
doubt through an active and exciting campaign, and the convention was
finally defeated by a majority of eighteen hundred in a total vote of
eleven thousand six hundred and twelve. While this result effectually
decided that Illinois would remain a free State, the propagandism and
reorganization left a deep and tenacious undercurrent of pro-slavery
opinion that for many years manifested itself in vehement and intolerant
outcries against "abolitionism," which on one occasion caused the murder
of Elijah P. Lovejoy for persisting in his right to print an antislavery
newspaper at Alton.

Nearly a year before this tragedy the Illinois legislature had under
consideration certain resolutions from the Eastern States on the subject
of slavery, and the committee to which they had been referred reported a
set of resolves "highly disapproving abolition societies," holding that
"the right of property in slaves is secured to the slaveholding States
by the Federal Constitution," together with other phraseology calculated
on the whole to soothe and comfort pro-slavery sentiment. After much
irritating discussion, the committee's resolutions were finally passed,
with but Lincoln and five others voting in the negative. No record
remains whether or not Lincoln joined in the debate; but, to leave no
doubt upon his exact position and feeling, he and his colleague, Dan
Stone, caused the following protest to be formally entered on the
journals of the House:

"Resolutions upon the subject of domestic slavery having passed both
branches of the General Assembly at its present session, the undersigned
hereby protest against the passage of the same."

"They believe that the institution of slavery is founded on both
injustice and bad policy, but that the promulgation of abolition
doctrines tends rather to increase than abate its evils."

"They believe that the Congress of the United States has no power under
the Constitution to interfere with the institution of slavery in the
different States."

"They believe that the Congress of the United States has the power,
under the Constitution, to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia,
but that the power ought not to be exercised, unless at the request of
the people of the District."

"The difference between these opinions and those contained in the said
resolutions is their reasons for entering this protest."

In view of the great scope and quality of Lincoln's public service in
after life, it would be a waste of time to trace out in detail his words
or his votes upon the multitude of questions on which he acted during
this legislative career of eight years. It needs only to be remembered
that it formed a varied and thorough school of parliamentary practice
and experience that laid the broad foundation of that extraordinary
skill and sagacity in statesmanship which he afterward displayed in
party controversy and executive direction. The quick proficiency and
ready aptitude for leadership evidenced by him in this, as it may be
called, his preliminary parliamentary school are strikingly proved by
the fact that the Whig members of the Illinois House of Representatives
gave him their full party vote for Speaker, both in 1838 and 1840. But
being in a minority, they could not, of course, elect him.


Law Practice--Rules for a Lawyer--Law and Politics: Twin Occupations--The
Springfield Coterie--Friendly Help--Anne Rutledge--Mary Owens

Lincoln's removal from New Salem to Springfield and his entrance into a
law partnership with Major John T. Stuart begin a distinctively new
period in his career, From this point we need not trace in detail his
progress in his new and this time deliberately chosen vocation. The
lawyer who works his way up in professional merit from a five-dollar fee
in a suit before a justice of the peace to a five-thousand-dollar fee
before the Supreme Court of his State has a long and difficult path to
climb. Mr. Lincoln climbed this path for twenty-five years with
industry, perseverance, patience--above all, with that sense of moral
responsibility that always clearly traced the dividing line between his
duty to his client and his duty to society and truth. His unqualified
frankness of statement assured him the confidence of judge and jury in
every argument. His habit of fully admitting the weak points in his case
gained their close attention to its strong ones, and when clients
brought him bad cases, his uniform advice was not to begin the suit.
Among his miscellaneous writings there exist some fragments of autograph
notes, evidently intended for a little lecture or talk to law students
which set forth with brevity and force his opinion of what a lawyer
ought to be and do. He earnestly commends diligence in study, and, next
to diligence, promptness in keeping up his work.

"As a general rule, never take your whole fee in advance," he says, "nor
any more than a small retainer. When fully paid beforehand, you are more
than a common mortal if you can feel the same interest in the case as if
something was still in prospect for you as well as for your client."
"Extemporaneous speaking should be practised and cultivated. It is the
lawyer's avenue to the public. However able and faithful he may be in
other respects, people are slow to bring him business if he cannot make
a speech. And yet, there is not a more fatal error to young lawyers than
relying too much on speech-making. If any one, upon his rare powers of
speaking, shall claim an exemption from the drudgery of the law, his
case is a failure in advance. Discourage litigation. Persuade your
neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the
nominal winner is often a real loser--in fees, expenses, and waste of
time. As a peacemaker, the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a
good man. There will still be business enough. Never stir up litigation.
A worse man can scarcely be found than one who does this. Who can be
more nearly a fiend than he who habitually overhauls the register of
deeds in search of defects in titles, whereon to stir up strife and put
money in his pocket? A moral tone ought to be infused into the
profession which should drive such men out of it." "There is a vague
popular belief that lawyers are necessarily dishonest. I say vague
because when we consider to what extent confidence and honors are
reposed in and conferred upon lawyers by the people, it appears
improbable that their impression of dishonesty is very distinct and
vivid. Yet the impression is common--almost universal. Let no young man
choosing the law for a calling for a moment yield to the popular belief.
Resolve to be honest at all events; and if, in your own judgment, you
cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer.
Choose some other occupation, rather than one in the choosing of which
you do, in advance, consent to be a knave."

While Lincoln thus became a lawyer, he did not cease to remain a
politician. In the early West, law and politics were parallel roads to
usefulness as well as distinction. Newspapers had not then reached any
considerable circulation. There existed neither fast presses to print
them, mail routes to carry them, nor subscribers to read them. Since
even the laws had to be newly framed for those new communities, the
lawyer became the inevitable political instructor and guide as far as
ability and fame extended. His reputation as a lawyer was a twin of his
influence as an orator, whether through logic or eloquence. Local
conditions fostered, almost necessitated, this double pursuit. Westward
emigration was in its full tide, and population was pouring into the
great State of Illinois with ever accelerating rapidity. Settlements
were spreading, roads were being opened, towns laid out, the larger
counties divided and new ones organized, and the enthusiastic visions of
coming prosperity threw the State into that fever of speculation which
culminated in wholesale internal improvements on borrowed capital and
brought collapse, stagnation, and bankruptcy in its inevitable train. As
already said, these swift changes required a plentiful supply of new
laws, to frame which lawyers were in a large proportion sent to the
legislature every two years. These same lawyers also filled the bar and
recruited the bench of the new State, and, as they followed the
itinerant circuit courts from county to county in their various
sections, were called upon in these summer wanderings to explain in
public speeches their legislative work of the winter. By a natural
connection, this also involved a discussion of national and party
issues. It was also during this period that party activity was
stimulated by the general adoption of the new system of party caucuses
and party conventions to which President Jackson had given the impulse.

In the American system of representative government, elections not only
occur with the regularity of clockwork, but pervade the whole organism
in every degree of its structure from top to bottom--Federal, State,
county, township, and school district. In Illinois, even the State
judiciary has at different times been chosen by popular ballot. The
function of the politician, therefore, is one of continuous watchfulness
and activity, and he must have intimate knowledge of details if he would
work out grand results. Activity in politics also produces eager
competition and sharp rivalry. In 1839 the seat of government was
definitely transferred from Vandalia to Springfield, and there soon
gathered at the new State capital a group of young men whose varied
ability and future success in public service has rarely been
excelled--Douglas, Shields, Calhoun, Stuart, Logan, Baker, Treat,
Hardin, Trumbull, McClernand, Browning, McDougall, and others.

His new surroundings greatly stimulated and reinforced Mr. Lincoln's
growing experience and spreading acquaintance, giving him a larger share
and wider influence in local and State politics. He became a valued and
sagacious adviser in party caucuses, and a power in party conventions.
Gradually, also, his gifts as an attractive and persuasive campaign
speaker were making themselves felt and appreciated.

His removal, in April, 1837, from a village of twenty houses to a "city"
of about two thousand inhabitants placed him in striking new relations
and necessities as to dress, manners, and society, as well as politics;
yet here again, as in the case of his removal from his father's cabin to
New Salem six years before, peculiar conditions rendered the transition
less abrupt than would at first appear. Springfield, notwithstanding its
greater population and prospective dignity as the capital, was in many
respects no great improvement on New Salem. It had no public buildings,
its streets and sidewalks were unpaved, its stores, in spite of all
their flourish of advertisements, were staggering under the hard times
of 1837-39, and stagnation of business imposed a rigid economy on all
classes. If we may credit tradition, this was one of the most serious
crises of Lincoln's life. His intimate friend, William Butler, related
to the writer that, having attended a session of the legislature at
Vandalia, he and Lincoln returned together at its close to Springfield
by the usual mode of horseback travel. At one of their stopping-places
over night Lincoln, in one of his gloomy moods, told Butler the story of
the almost hopeless prospects which lay immediately before him--that the
session was over, his salary all drawn, and his money all spent; that he
had no resources and no work; that he did not know where to turn to earn
even a week's board. Butler bade him be of good cheer, and, without any
formal proposition or agreement, took him and his belongings to his own
house and domesticated him there as a permanent guest, with Lincoln's
tacit compliance rather than any definite consent. Later Lincoln shared
a room and genial companionship, which ripened into closest intimacy, in
the store of his friend Joshua F. Speed, all without charge or expense;
and these brotherly offerings helped the young lawyer over present
necessities which might otherwise have driven him to muscular handiwork
at weekly or monthly wages.

From this time onward, in daily conversation, in argument at the bar, in
political consultation and discussion, Lincoln's life gradually
broadened into contact with the leading professional minds of the
growing State of Illinois. The man who could not pay a week's board bill
was twice more elected to the legislature, was invited to public
banquets and toasted by name, became a popular speaker, moved in the
best society of the new capital, and made what was considered a
brilliant marriage.

Lincoln's stature and strength, his intelligence and ambition--in short,
all the elements which gave him popularity among men in New Salem,
rendered him equally attractive to the fair sex of that village. On the
other hand, his youth, his frank sincerity, his longing for sympathy and
encouragement, made him peculiarly sensitive to the society and
influence of women. Soon after coming to New Salem he chanced much in
the society of Miss Anne Rutledge, a slender, blue-eyed blonde, nineteen
years old, moderately educated, beautiful according to local
standards--an altogether lovely, tender-hearted, universally admired,
and generally fascinating girl. From the personal descriptions of her
which tradition has preserved, the inference is naturally drawn that her
temperament and disposition were very much akin to those of Mr. Lincoln
himself. It is little wonder, therefore, that he fell in love with her.
But two years before she had become engaged to a Mr. McNamar, who had
gone to the East to settle certain family affairs, and whose absence
became so unaccountably prolonged that Anne finally despaired of his
return, and in time betrothed herself to Lincoln. A year or so after
this event Anne Rutledge was taken sick and died--the neighbors said of
a broken heart, but the doctor called it brain fever, and his science
was more likely to be correct than their psychology. Whatever may have
been the truth upon this point, the incident threw Lincoln into profound
grief, and a period of melancholy so absorbing as to cause his friends
apprehension for his own health. Gradually, however, their studied and
devoted companionship won him back to cheerfulness, and his second
affair of the heart assumed altogether different characteristics, most
of which may be gathered from his own letters.

Two years before the death of Anne Rutledge, Mr. Lincoln had seen and
made the acquaintance of Miss Mary Owens, who had come to visit her
sister Mrs. Able, and had passed about four weeks in New Salem, after
which she returned to Kentucky. Three years later, and perhaps a year
after Miss Rutledge's death, Mrs. Able, before starting for Kentucky,
told Mr. Lincoln probably more in jest than earnest, that she would
bring her sister back with her on condition that he would become
her--Mrs. Able's--brother-in-law. Lincoln, also probably more in jest
than earnest, promptly agreed to the proposition; for he remembered Mary
Owens as a tall, handsome, dark-haired girl, with fair skin and large
blue eyes, who in conversation could be intellectual and serious as well
as jovial and witty, who had a liberal education, and was considered
wealthy--one of those well-poised, steady characters who look upon
matrimony and life with practical views and social matronly instincts.

The bantering offer was made and accepted in the autumn of 1836, and in
the following April Mr. Lincoln removed to Springfield. Before this
occurred, however, he was surprised to learn that Mary Owens had
actually returned with her sister from Kentucky, and felt that the
romantic jest had become a serious and practical question. Their first
interview dissipated some of the illusions in which each had indulged.
The three years elapsed since they first met had greatly changed her
personal appearance. She had become stout; her twenty-eight years (one
year more than his) had somewhat hardened the lines of her face. Both in
figure and feature she presented a disappointing contrast to the slim
and not yet totally forgotten Anne Rutledge.

On her part, it was more than likely that she did not find in him all
the attractions her sister had pictured. The speech and manners of the
Illinois frontier lacked much of the chivalric attentions and flattering
compliments to which the Kentucky beaux were addicted. He was yet a
diamond in the rough, and she would not immediately decide till she
could better understand his character and prospects, so no formal
engagement resulted.

In December, Lincoln went to his legislative duties at Vandalia, and in
the following April took up his permanent abode in Springfield. Such a
separation was not favorable to rapid courtship, yet they had occasional
interviews and exchanged occasional letters. None of hers to him have
been preserved, and only three of his to her. From these it appears that
they sometimes discussed their affair in a cold, hypothetical way, even
down to problems of housekeeping, in the light of mere worldly prudence,
much as if they were guardians arranging a _mariage de convenance_,
rather than impulsive and ardent lovers wandering in Arcady. Without
Miss Owens's letters it is impossible to know what she may have said to
him, but in May, 1837, Lincoln wrote to her:

"I am often thinking of what we said about your coming to live at
Springfield. I am afraid you would not be satisfied. There is a great
deal of flourishing about in carriages here, which it would be your
doom to see without sharing it. You would have to be poor, without the
means of hiding your poverty. Do you believe you could bear that
patiently? Whatever woman may cast her lot with mine, should any ever do
so, it is my intention to do all in my power to make her happy and
contented; and there is nothing I can imagine that would make me more
unhappy than to fail in the effort. I know I should be much happier with
you than the way I am, provided I saw no signs of discontent in you.
What you have said to me may have been in the way of jest, or I may have
misunderstood it. If so, then let it be forgotten; if otherwise, I much
wish you would think seriously before you decide. What I have said I
will most positively abide by, provided you wish it. My opinion is that
you had better not do it. You have not been accustomed to hardship, and
it may be more severe than you now imagine. I know you are capable of
thinking correctly on any subject, and if you deliberate maturely upon
this before you decide, then I am willing to abide your decision."

Whether, after receiving this, she wrote him the "good long letter" he
asked for in the same epistle is not known. Apparently they did not meet
again until August, and the interview must have been marked by reserve
and coolness on both sides, which left each more uncertain than before;
for on the same day Lincoln again wrote her, and, after saying that she
might perhaps be mistaken in regard to his real feelings toward her,
continued thus:

"I want in all cases to do right, and most particularly so in all cases
with women. I want at this particular time, more than anything else, to
do right with you; and if I knew it would be doing right, as I rather
suspect it would, to let you alone, I would do it. And for the purpose
of making the matter as plain as possible, I now say that you can now
drop the subject, dismiss your thoughts (if you ever had any) from me
forever, and leave this letter unanswered, without calling forth one
accusing murmur from me. And I will even go further, and say that if it
will add anything to your comfort or peace of mind to do so, it is my
sincere wish that you should. Do not understand by this that I wish to
cut your acquaintance. I mean no such thing. What I do wish is that our
further acquaintance shall depend upon yourself. If such further
acquaintance would contribute nothing to your happiness, I am sure it
would not to mine. If you feel yourself in any degree bound to me, I am
now willing to release you, provided you wish it; while, on the other
hand, I am willing and even anxious to bind you faster, if I can be
convinced that it will in any considerable degree add to your happiness.
This, indeed, is the whole question with me."

All that we know of the sequel is contained in a letter which Lincoln
wrote to his friend Mrs. Browning nearly a year later, after Miss Owens
had finally returned to Kentucky, in which, without mentioning the
lady's name, he gave a seriocomic description of what might be called a
courtship to escape matrimony. He dwells on his disappointment at her
changed appearance, and continues:

"But what could I do? I had told her sister that I would take her for
better or for worse, and I made a point of honor and conscience in all
things to stick to my word, especially if others had been induced to act
on it, which in this case I had no doubt they had; for I was now fairly
convinced that no other man on earth would have her, and hence the
conclusion that they were bent on holding me to my bargain. 'Well,'
thought I, 'I have said it, and, be the consequences what they may, it
shall not be my fault if I fail to do it....' All this while, although I
was fixed 'firm as the surge-repelling rock' in my resolution, I found I
was continually repenting the rashness which had led me to make it.
Through life I have been in no bondage, either real or imaginary, from
the thraldom of which I so much desired to be free.... After I had
delayed the matter as long as I thought I could in honor do (which, by
the way, had brought me round into last fall), I concluded I might as
well bring it to a consummation without further delay, and so I mustered
my resolution and made the proposal to her direct; but, shocking to
relate, she answered, No. At first I supposed she did it through an
affectation of modesty, which I thought but ill became her under the
peculiar circumstances of her case, but on my renewal of the charge I
found she repelled it with greater firmness than before. I tried it
again and again, but with the same success, or rather with the same want
of success. I finally was forced to give it up, at which I very
unexpectedly found myself mortified almost beyond endurance. I was
mortified, it seemed to me, in a hundred different ways. My vanity was
deeply wounded by the reflection that I had so long been too stupid to
discover her intentions, and at the same time never doubting that I
understood them perfectly; and also that she, whom I had taught myself
to believe nobody else would have, had actually rejected me with all my
fancied greatness. And, to cap the whole, I then for the first time
began to suspect that I was really a little in love with her."

The serious side of this letter is undoubtedly genuine and candid, while
the somewhat over-exaggeration of the comic side points as clearly that
he had not fully recovered from the mental suffering he had undergone
in the long conflict between doubt and duty. From the beginning, the
match-making zeal of the sister had placed the parties in a false
position, produced embarrassment, and created distrust. A different
beginning might have resulted in a very different outcome, for Lincoln,
while objecting to her corpulency, acknowledges that in both feature and
intellect she was as attractive as any woman he had ever met; and Miss
Owens's letters, written after his death, state that her principal
objection lay in the fact that his training had been different from
hers, and that "Mr. Lincoln was deficient in those little links which
make up the chain of a woman's happiness." She adds: "The last message I
ever received from him was about a year after we parted in Illinois.
Mrs. Able visited Kentucky, and he said to her in Springfield, 'Tell
your sister that I think she was a great fool because she did not stay
here and marry me.'" She was even then not quite clear in her own mind
but that his words were true.


Springfield Society--Miss Mary Todd--Lincoln's Engagement--His Deep
Despondency--Visit to Kentucky--Letters to Speed--The Shields
Duel--Marriage--Law Partnership with Logan--Hardin Nominated for
Congress, 1843--Baker Nominated for Congress, 1844--Lincoln Nominated and
Elected, 1846

The deep impression which the Mary Owens affair made upon Lincoln is
further shown by one of the concluding phrases of his letter to Mrs.
Browning: "I have now come to the conclusion never again to think of
marrying." But it was not long before a reaction set in from this
pessimistic mood. The actual transfer of the seat of government from
Vandalia to Springfield in 1839 gave the new capital fresh animation.
Business revived, public improvements were begun, politics ran high.
Already there was a spirit in the air that in the following year
culminated in the extraordinary enthusiasm and fervor of the Harrison
presidential campaign of 1840, that rollicking and uproarious party
carnival of humor and satire, of song and jollification, of hard cider
and log cabins. While the State of Illinois was strongly Democratic,
Sangamon County was as distinctly Whig, and the local party disputes were
hot and aggressive. The Whig delegation of Sangamon in the legislature,
popularly called the "Long Nine," because the sum of the stature of its
members was fifty-four feet, became noted for its influence in
legislation in a body where the majority was against them; and of these
Mr. Lincoln was the "tallest" both in person and ability, as was
recognized by his twice receiving the minority vote for Speaker of the

Society also began organizing itself upon metropolitan rather than
provincial assumptions. As yet, however society was liberal. Men of
either wealth or position were still too few to fill its ranks. Energy,
ambition talent, were necessarily the standard of admission; and
Lincoln, though poor as a church mouse, was as welcome as those who
could wear ruffled shirts and carry gold watches. The meetings of the
legislature at Springfield then first brought together that splendid
group of young men of genius whose phenomenal careers and distinguished
services have given Illinois fame in the history of the nation. It is a
marked peculiarity of the American character that the bitterest foes in
party warfare generally meet each other on terms of perfect social
courtesy in the drawing-rooms of society; and future presidential
candidates, cabinet members, senators, congressmen, jurists, orators,
and battle heroes lent the little social reunions of Springfield a zest
and exaltation never found--perhaps impossible--amid the heavy,
oppressive surroundings of conventional ceremony, gorgeous upholstery,
and magnificent decorations.

It was at this period also that Lincoln began to feel and exercise his
expanding influence and powers as a writer and speaker. Already, two
years earlier, he had written and delivered before the Young Men's
Lyceum of Springfield an able address upon "The Perpetuation of Our
Political Institutions," strongly enforcing the doctrine of rigid
obedience to law. In December, 1839, Douglas, in a heated conversation,
challenged the young Whigs present to a political discussion. The
challenge was immediately taken up, and the public of Springfield
listened with eager interest to several nights of sharp debate between
Whig and Democratic champions, in which Lincoln bore a prominent and
successful share. In the following summer, Lincoln's name was placed
upon the Harrison electoral ticket for Illinois, and he lent all his
zeal and eloquence to swell the general popular enthusiasm for
"Tippecanoe and Tyler too."

In the midst of this political and social awakening of the new capital
and the quickened interest and high hopes of leading citizens gathered
there from all parts of the State, there came into the Springfield
circles Miss Mary Todd of Kentucky, twenty-one years old, handsome,
accomplished, vivacious, witty, a dashing and fascinating figure in
dress and conversation, gracious and imperious by turns. She easily
singled out and secured the admiration of such of the Springfield beaux
as most pleased her somewhat capricious fancy. She was a sister of Mrs.
Ninian W. Edwards, whose husband was one of the "Long Nine." This
circumstance made Lincoln a frequent visitor at the Edwards house; and,
being thus much thrown in her company, he found himself, almost before
he knew it, entangled in a new love affair, and in the course of a
twelvemonth engaged to marry her.

Much to the surprise of Springfield society, however, the courtship took
a sudden turn. Whether it was caprice or jealousy, a new attachment, or
mature reflection will always remain a mystery. Every such case is a law
unto itself, and neither science nor poetry is ever able to analyze and
explain its causes and effects. The conflicting stories then current,
and the varying traditions that yet exist, either fail to agree or to
fit the sparse facts which came to light. There remains no dispute,
however, that the occurrence, whatever shape it took, threw Mr. Lincoln
into a deeper despondency than any he had yet experienced, for on
January 23, 1841, he wrote to his law partner, John T. Stuart:

"For not giving you a general summary of news you must pardon me; it is
not in my power to do so. I am now the most miserable man living. If
what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there
would not be one cheerful face on earth. Whether I shall ever be better,
I cannot tell; I awfully forebode I shall not. To remain as I am is
impossible; I must die or be better."

Apparently his engagement to Miss Todd was broken off, but whether that
was the result or the cause of his period of gloom seems still a matter
of conjecture. His mind was so perturbed that he felt unable to attend
the sessions of the legislature of which he was a member; and after its
close his intimate friend Joshua F. Speed carried him off for a visit to
Kentucky. The change of scene and surroundings proved of great benefit.
He returned home about midsummer very much improved, but not yet
completely restored to a natural mental equipoise. While on their visit
to Kentucky, Speed had likewise fallen in love, and in the following
winter had become afflicted with doubts and perplexities akin to those
from which Lincoln had suffered. It now became his turn to give sympathy
and counsel to his friend, and he did this with a warmth and delicacy
born of his own spiritual trials, not yet entirely overmastered. He
wrote letter after letter to Speed to convince him that his doubts about
not truly loving the woman of his choice were all nonsense.

"Why, Speed, if you did not love her, although you might not wish her
death, you would most certainly be resigned to it. Perhaps this point
is no longer a question with you, and my pertinacious dwelling upon it
is a rude intrusion upon your feelings. If so, you must pardon me. You
know the hell I have suffered on that point, and how tender I am upon
it.... I am now fully convinced that you love her, as ardently as you
are capable of loving.... It is the peculiar misfortune of both you and
me to dream dreams of Elysium far exceeding all that anything earthly
can realize."

When Lincoln heard that Speed was finally married, he wrote him:

"It cannot be told how it now thrills me with joy to hear you say you
are 'far happier than you ever expected to be,' That much, I know, is
enough. I know you too well to suppose your expectations were not, at
least, sometimes extravagant; and if the reality exceeds them all, I
say, Enough, dear Lord. I am not going beyond the truth when I tell you
that the short space it took me to read your last letter gave me more
pleasure than the total sum of all I have enjoyed since the fatal first
of January, 1841. Since then it seems to me I should have been entirely
happy, but for the never-absent idea that there is one still unhappy
whom I have contributed to make so. That still kills my soul. I cannot
but reproach myself for even wishing to be happy while she is

It is quite possible that a series of incidents that occurred during the
summer in which the above was written had something to do with bringing
such a frame of mind to a happier conclusion. James Shields, afterward a
general in two wars and a senator from two States, was at that time
auditor of Illinois, with his office at Springfield. Shields was an
Irishman by birth, and, for an active politician of the Democratic
party, had the misfortune to be both sensitive and irascible in party
warfare. Shields, together with the Democratic governor and treasurer,
issued a circular order forbidding the payment of taxes in the
depreciated paper of the Illinois State banks, and the Whigs were
endeavoring to make capital by charging that the order was issued for
the purpose of bringing enough silver into the treasury to pay the
salaries of these officials. Using this as a basis of argument, a couple
of clever Springfield society girls wrote and printed in the "Sangamo
Journal" a series of humorous letters in country dialect, purporting to
come from the "Lost Townships," and signed by "Aunt Rebecca," who called
herself a farmer's widow. It is hardly necessary to say that Mary Todd
was one of the culprits. The young ladies originated the scheme more to
poke fun at the personal weaknesses of Shields than for the sake of
party effect, and they embellished their simulated plaint about taxes
with an embroidery of fictitious social happenings and personal
allusions to the auditor that put the town on a grin and Shields into
fury. The fair and mischievous writers found it necessary to consult
Lincoln about how they should frame the political features of their
attack, and he set them a pattern by writing the first letter of the
series himself.

Shields sent a friend to the editor of the "Journal," and demanded the
name of the real "Rebecca." The editor, as in duty bound, asked Lincoln
what he should do, and was instructed to give Lincoln's name, and not to
mention the ladies. Then followed a letter from Shields to Lincoln
demanding retraction and apology, Lincoln's reply that he declined to
answer under menace, and a challenge from Shields. Thereupon Lincoln
instructed his "friend" as follows: If former offensive correspondence
were withdrawn and a polite and gentlemanly inquiry made, he was
willing to explain that:

"I did write the 'Lost Townships' letter which appeared in the 'Journal'
of the 2d instant, but had no participation in any form in any other
article alluding to you. I wrote that wholly for political effect; I had
no intention of injuring your personal or private character or standing
as a man or a gentleman; and I did not then think, and do not now think,
that that article could produce or has produced that effect against you,
and had I anticipated such an effect I would have forborne to write it.
And I will add that your conduct toward me, so far as I know, had always
been gentlemanly, and that I had no personal pique against you and no
cause for any.... If nothing like this is done, the preliminaries of the
fight are to be:

"_First_. Weapons: Cavalry broadswords of the largest size, precisely
equal in all respects, and such as now used by the cavalry company at

"_Second_. Position: A plank ten feet long, and from nine to twelve
inches broad, to be firmly fixed on edge, on the ground, as the line
between us, which neither is to pass his foot over upon forfeit of his
life. Next, a line drawn on the ground on either side of said plank and
parallel with it, each at the distance of the whole length of the sword
and three feet additional from the plank, and the passing of his own
such line by either party during the fight shall be deemed a surrender
of the contest."

The two seconds met, and, with great unction, pledged "our honor to each
other that we would endeavor to settle the matter amicably," but
persistently higgled over points till publicity and arrests seemed
imminent. Procuring the necessary broadswords, all parties then hurried
away to an island in the Mississippi River opposite Alton, where, long
before the planks were set on edge or the swords drawn, mutual friends
took the case out of the hands of the seconds and declared an
adjustment. The terms of the fight as written by Mr. Lincoln show
plainly enough that in his judgment it was to be treated as a farce, and
would never proceed beyond "preliminaries." There, of course, ensued the
usual very bellicose after-discussion in the newspapers, with additional
challenges between the seconds about the proper etiquette of such
farces, all resulting only in the shedding of much ink and furnishing
Springfield with topics of lively conversation for a month. These
occurrences, naturally enough, again drew Mr. Lincoln and Miss Todd
together in friendly interviews, and Lincoln's letter to Speed detailing
the news of the duels contains this significant paragraph:

"But I began this letter not for what I have been writing, but to say
something on that subject which you know to be of such infinite
solicitude to me. The immense sufferings you endured from the first days
of September till the middle of February you never tried to conceal from
me, and I well understood. You have now been the husband of a lovely
woman nearly eight months. That you are happier now than the day you
married her I well know, for without you could not be living. But I have
your word for it too, and the returning elasticity of spirits which is
manifested in your letters. But I want to ask a close question. 'Are you
now in feeling as well as judgment glad that you are married as you
are?' From anybody but me this would be an impudent question not to be
tolerated, but I know you will pardon it in me. Please answer it
quickly, as I am impatient to know."

The answer was evidently satisfactory, for on November 4, 1842, the Rev.
Charles Dresser united Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd in the holy bonds
of matrimony.[3]

 [Footnote 3: The following children were born of this marriage:

 Robert Todd, August 1, 1843; Edward Baker, March 10, 1846; William
 Wallace, December 21, 1850; Thomas, April 4, 1853.

 Edward died in infancy; William in the White House, February 20,
 1862; Thomas in Chicago, July 15, 1871; and the mother, Mary
 Lincoln, in Springfield, July 16, 1882.

 Robert, who filled the office of Secretary of War with distinction
 under the administrations of Presidents Garfield and Arthur, as
 well William as that of minister to England under the
 administration of President Harrison, now resides in Chicago,

His marriage to Miss Todd ended all those mental perplexities and
periods of despondency from which he had suffered more or less during
his several love affairs, extending over nearly a decade. Out of the
keen anguish he had endured, he finally gained that perfect mastery over
his own spirit which Scripture declares to denote a greatness superior
to that of him who takes a city. Few men have ever attained that
complete domination of the will over the emotions, of reason over
passion, by which he was able in the years to come to meet and solve the
tremendous questions destiny had in store for him. His wedding once
over, he took up with resolute patience the hard, practical routine of
daily life, in which he had already been so severely schooled. Even his
sentimental correspondence with his friend Speed lapsed into neglect. He
was so poor that he and his bride could not make the contemplated visit
to Kentucky they would both have so much enjoyed. His "national debt" of
the old New Salem days was not yet fully paid off. "We are not keeping
house, but boarding at the Globe tavern," he writes. "Our room ... and
boarding only cost us four dollars a week."

His law partnership with Stuart had lasted four years, but was dissolved
by reason of Stuart's election to Congress, and a new one was formed
with Judge Stephen T. Logan, who had recently resigned from the circuit
bench, where he had learned the quality and promise of Lincoln's
talents. It was an opportune and important change. Stuart had devoted
himself mainly to politics, while with Logan law was the primary object.
Under Logan's guidance and encouragement, he took up both the study and
practical work of the profession in a more serious spirit. Lincoln's
interest in politics, however, was in no way diminished, and, in truth,
his limited practice at that date easily afforded him the time necessary
for both.

Since 1840 he had declined a reëlection to the legislature, and his
ambition had doubtless contributed much to this decision. His late law
partner, Stuart, had been three times a candidate for Congress. He was
defeated in 1836, but successfully gained his election in 1838 and 1840,
his service of two terms extending from December 2, 1839, to March 3,
1843. For some reason, the next election had been postponed from the
year 1842 to 1843. It was but natural that Stuart's success should
excite a similar desire in Lincoln, who had reached equal party
prominence, and rendered even more conspicuous party service. Lincoln
had profited greatly by the companionship and friendly emulation of the
many talented young politicians of Springfield, but this same condition
also increased competition and stimulated rivalry. Not only himself, but
both Hardin and Baker desired the nomination, which, as the district
then stood, was equivalent to an election.

When the leading Whigs of Sangamon County met, Lincoln was under the
impression that it was Baker and not Hardin who was his most dangerous
rival, as appears in a letter to Speed of March 24, 1843:

"We had a meeting of the Whigs of the county here on last Monday to
appoint delegates to a district convention, and Baker beat me and got
the delegation instructed to go for him. The meeting, in spite of my
attempt to decline it, appointed me one of the delegates, so that in
getting Baker the nomination I shall be fixed a good deal like a fellow
who is made groomsman to a man that has cut him out and is marrying his
own dear 'gal.'"

The causes that led to his disappointment are set forth more in detail
in a letter, two days later, to a friend in the new county of Menard,
which now included his old home, New Salem, whose powerful assistance
was therefore lost from the party councils of Sangamon. The letter also
dwells more particularly on the complicated influences which the
practical politician has to reckon with, and shows that even his
marriage had been used to turn popular opinion against him.

"It is truly gratifying to me to learn that while the people of Sangamon
have cast me off, my old friends of Menard, who have known me longest
and best, stick to me. It would astonish, if not amuse, the older
citizens to learn that I (a stranger, friendless, uneducated, penniless
boy, working on a flatboat at ten dollars per month) have been put down
here as the candidate of pride, wealth, and aristocratic family
distinction. Yet so, chiefly, it was. There was, too, the strangest
combination of church influence against me. Baker is a Campbellite, and
therefore, as I suppose, with few exceptions got all that church. My
wife has some relations in the Presbyterian churches and some with the
Episcopal churches; and therefore, wherever it would tell, I was set
down as either the one or the other, while it was everywhere contended
that no Christian ought to go for me, because I belonged to no church,
was suspected of being a deist, and had talked about fighting a duel.
With all these things, Baker of course had nothing to do. Nor do I
complain of them. As to his own church going for him, I think that was
right enough, and as to the influences I have spoken of in the other,
though they were very strong, it would be grossly untrue and unjust to
charge that they acted upon them in a body, or were very near so. I only
mean that those influences levied a tax of a considerable per cent. upon
my strength throughout the religious community."

In the same letter we have a striking illustration of Lincoln's
intelligence and skill in the intricate details of political management,
together with the high sense of honor and manliness which directed his
action in such matters. Speaking of the influences of Menard County, he

"If she and Mason act circumspectly, they will in the convention be able
so far to enforce their rights as to decide absolutely which one of the
candidates shall be successful. Let me show the reason of this. Hardin,
or some other Morgan candidate, will get Putnam, Marshall, Woodford,
Tazewell, and Logan [counties], making sixteen. Then you and Mason,
having three, can give the victory to either side. You say you shall
instruct your delegates for me, unless I object. I certainly shall not
object. That would be too pleasant a compliment for me to tread in the
dust. And, besides, if anything should happen (which, however, is not
probable) by which Baker should be thrown out of the fight, I would be
at liberty to accept the nomination if I could get it. I do, however,
feel myself bound not to hinder him in any way from getting the
nomination. I should despise myself were I to attempt it. I think, then,
it would be proper for your meeting to appoint three delegates, and to
instruct them to go for some one as a first choice, some one else as a
second, and perhaps some one as a third; and if in those instructions I
were named as the first choice it would gratify me very much. If you
wish to hold the balance of power, it is important for you to attend to
and secure the vote of Mason also."

A few weeks again changed the situation, of which he informed Speed in a
letter dated May 18:

"In relation to our Congress matter here, you were right in supposing I
would support the nominee. Neither Baker nor I, however, is the man--but
Hardin, so far as I can judge from present appearances. We shall have no
split or trouble about the matter; all will be harmony."

In the following year (1844) Lincoln was once more compelled to exercise
his patience. The Campbellite friends of Baker must have again been very
active in behalf of their church favorite; for their influence, added to
his dashing politics and eloquent oratory, appears to have secured him
the nomination without serious contention, while Lincoln found a partial
recompense in being nominated a candidate for presidential elector,
which furnished him opportunity for all his party energy and zeal during
the spirited but unsuccessful presidential campaign for Henry Clay. He
not only made an extensive canvass in Illinois, but also made a number
of speeches in the adjoining State of Indiana.

It was probably during that year that a tacit agreement was reached
among the Whig leaders in Sangamon County, that each would be satisfied
with one term in Congress and would not seek a second nomination. But
Hardin was the aspirant from the neighboring county of Morgan, and
apparently therefore not included in this arrangement. Already, in the
fall of 1845, Lincoln industriously began his appeals and instructions
to his friends in the district to secure the succession. Thus he wrote
on November 17:

"The paper at Pekin has nominated Hardin for governor, and, commenting
on this, the Alton paper indirectly nominated him for Congress. It would
give Hardin a great start, and perhaps use me up, if the Whig papers of
the district should nominate him for Congress. If your feelings toward
me are the same as when I saw you (which I have no reason to doubt), I
wish you would let nothing appear in your paper which may operate
against me. You understand. Matters stand just as they did when I saw
you. Baker is certainly off the track, and I fear Hardin intends to be
on it."

But again, as before, the spirit of absolute fairness governed all his
movements, and he took special pains to guard against it being
"suspected that I was attempting to juggle Hardin out of a nomination
for Congress by juggling him into one for governor." "I should be
pleased," he wrote again in January, "if I could concur with you in the
hope that my name would be the only one presented to the convention; but
I cannot. Hardin is a man of desperate energy and perseverance, and one
that never backs out; and, I fear, to think otherwise is to be deceived
in the character of our adversary. I would rejoice to be spared the
labor of a contest, but, 'being in,' I shall go it thoroughly and to the
bottom." He then goes on to recount in much detail the chances for and
against him in the several counties of the district, and in later
letters discusses the system of selecting candidates, where the
convention ought to be held, how the delegates should be chosen, the
instructions they should receive, and how the places of absent
delegates should be filled. He watched his field of operations, planned
his strategy, and handled his forces almost with the vigilance of a
military commander. As a result, he won both his nomination in May and
his election to the Thirtieth Congress in August, 1846.

In that same year the Mexican War broke out. Hardin became colonel of
one of the three regiments of Illinois volunteers called for by
President Polk, while Baker raised a fourth regiment, which was also
accepted. Colonel Hardin was killed in the battle of Buena Vista, and
Colonel Baker won great distinction in the fighting near the City of

Like Abraham Lincoln, Douglas was also elected to Congress in 1846,
where he had already served the two preceding terms. But these
redoubtable Illinois champions were not to have a personal tilt in the
House of Representatives. Before Congress met, the Illinois legislature
elected Douglas to the United States Senate for six years from March 4,


First Session of the Thirtieth Congress--Mexican War--"Wilmot
Proviso"--Campaign of 1848--Letters to Herndon about Young Men
in Politics--Speech in Congress on the Mexican War--Second Session
of the Thirtieth Congress--Bill to Prohibit Slavery in the District
of Columbia--Lincoln's Recommendations of Office-Seekers--Letters
to Speed--Commissioner of the General Land Office--Declines Governorship
of Oregon

Very few men are fortunate enough to gain distinction during their first
term in Congress. The reason is obvious. Legally, a term extends over
two years; practically, a session of five or six months during the
first, and three months during the second year ordinarily reduce their
opportunities more than one half. In those two sessions, even if we
presuppose some knowledge of parliamentary law, they must learn the
daily routine of business, make the acquaintance of their
fellow-members, who already, in the Thirtieth Congress, numbered
something over two hundred, study the past and prospective legislation
on a multitude of minor national questions entirely new to the new
members, and perform the drudgery of haunting the departments in the
character of unpaid agent and attorney to attend to the private
interests of constituents--a physical task of no small proportions in
Lincoln's day, when there was neither street-car nor omnibus in the
"city of magnificent distances," as Washington was nicknamed. Add to
this that the principal work of preparing legislation is done by the
various committees in their committee-rooms, of which the public hears
nothing, and that members cannot choose their own time for making
speeches; still further, that the management of debate on prepared
legislation must necessarily be intrusted to members of long experience
as well as talent, and it will be seen that the novice need not expect
immediate fame.

It is therefore not to be wondered at that Lincoln's single term in the
House of Representatives at Washington added practically nothing to his
reputation. He did not attempt to shine forth in debate by either a
stinging retort or a witty epigram, or by a sudden burst of inspired
eloquence. On the contrary, he took up his task as a quiet but earnest
and patient apprentice in the great workshop of national legislation,
and performed his share of duty with industry and intelligence, as well
as with a modest and appreciative respect for the ability and experience
of his seniors.

"As to speech-making," he wrote, "by way of getting the hang of the
House, I made a little speech two or three days ago on a post-office
question of no general interest. I find speaking here and elsewhere
about the same thing. I was about as badly scared, and no worse, as I am
when I speak in court. I expect to make one within a week or two in
which I hope to succeed well enough to wish you to see it." And again,
some weeks later: "I just take my pen to say that Mr. Stephens of
Georgia, a little, slim, pale-faced consumptive man with a voice like
Logan's, has just concluded the very best speech of an hour's length I
ever heard. My old, withered, dry eyes are full of tears yet."

He was appointed the junior Whig member of the Committee on Post-offices
and Post-roads, and shared its prosaic but eminently useful labors both
in the committee-room and the House debates. His name appears on only
one other committee,--that on Expenditures of the War Department,--and
he seems to have interested himself in certain amendments of the law
relating to bounty lands for soldiers and such minor military topics. He
looked carefully after the interests of Illinois in certain grants of
land to that State for railroads, but expressed his desire that the
government price of the reserved sections should not be increased to
actual settlers.

During the first session of the Thirtieth Congress he delivered three
set speeches in the House, all of them carefully prepared and fully
written out. The first of these, on January 12, 1848, was an elaborate
defense of the Whig doctrine summarized in a House resolution passed a
week or ten days before, that the Mexican War "had been unnecessarily
and unconstitutionally commenced by the President," James K. Polk. The
speech is not a mere party diatribe, but a terse historical and legal
examination of the origin of the Mexican War. In the after-light of our
own times which shines upon these transactions, we may readily admit
that Mr. Lincoln and the Whigs had the best of the argument, but it must
be quite as readily conceded that they were far behind the President and
his defenders in political and party strategy. The former were clearly
wasting their time in discussing an abstract question of international
law upon conditions existing twenty months before. During those twenty
months the American arms had won victory after victory, and planted the
American flag on the "halls of the Montezumas." Could even successful
argument undo those victories or call back to life the brave American
soldiers who had shed their blood to win them?

It may be assumed as an axiom that Providence has never gifted any
political party with all of political wisdom or blinded it with all of
political folly. Upon the foregoing point of controversy the Whigs were
sadly thrown on the defensive, and labored heavily under their already
discounted declamation. But instinct rather than sagacity led them to
turn their eyes to the future, and successfully upon other points to
retrieve their mistake. Within six weeks after Lincoln's speech
President Polk sent to the Senate a treaty of peace, under which Mexico
ceded to the United States an extent of territory equal in area to
Germany, France, and Spain combined, and thereafter the origin of the
war was an obsolete question. What should be done with the new territory
was now the issue.

This issue embraced the already exciting slavery question, and Mr.
Lincoln was doubtless gratified that the Whigs had taken a position upon
it so consonant with his own convictions. Already, in the previous
Congress, the body of the Whig members had joined a small group of
antislavery Democrats in fastening upon an appropriation bill the famous
"Wilmot Proviso," that slavery should never exist in territory acquired
from Mexico, and the Whigs of the Thirtieth Congress steadily followed
the policy of voting for the same restriction in regard to every piece
of legislation where it was applicable. Mr. Lincoln often said he had
voted forty or fifty times for the Wilmot Proviso in various forms
during his single term.

Upon another point he and the other Whigs were equally wise. Repelling
the Democratic charge that they were unpatriotic in denouncing the war,
they voted in favor of every measure to sustain, supply, and encourage
the soldiers in the field. But their most adroit piece of strategy, now
that the war was ended, was in their movement to make General Taylor

In this movement Mr. Lincoln took a leading and active part. No living
American statesman has ever been idolized by his party adherents as was
Henry Clay for a whole generation, and Mr. Lincoln fully shared this
hero-worship. But his practical campaigning as a candidate for
presidential elector in the Harrison campaign of 1840, and the Clay
campaign of 1844, in Illinois and the adjoining States, afforded him a
basis for sound judgment, and convinced him that the day when Clay could
have been elected President was forever passed.

"Mr. Clay's chance for an election is just no chance at all," he wrote
on April 30. "He might get New York, and that would have elected in
1844, but it will not now, because he must now, at the least, lose
Tennessee which he had then, and in addition the fifteen new votes of
Florida, Texas, Iowa, and Wisconsin.... In my judgment, we can elect
nobody but General Taylor; and we cannot elect him without a nomination.
Therefore don't fail to send a delegate." And again on the same day:
"Mr. Clay's letter has not advanced his interests any here. Several who
were against Taylor, but not for anybody particularly before, are since
taking ground, some for Scott and some for McLean. Who will be nominated
neither I nor any one else can tell. Now, let me pray to you in turn. My
prayer is that you let nothing discourage or baffle you, but that, in
spite of every difficulty, you send us a good Taylor delegate from your
circuit. Make Baker, who is now with you, I suppose, help about it. He
is a good hand to raise a breeze."

In due time Mr. Lincoln's sagacity and earnestness were both justified;
for on June 12 he was able to write to an Illinois friend:

"On my return from Philadelphia, where I had been attending the
nomination of 'Old Rough,' I found your letter in a mass of others which
had accumulated in my absence. By many, and often, it had been said they
would not abide the nomination of Taylor; but since the deed has been
done, they are fast falling in, and in my opinion we shall have a most
overwhelming, glorious triumph. One unmistakable sign is that all the
odds and ends are with us--Barnburners, Native Americans, Tyler men,
disappointed office-seeking Locofocos, and the Lord knows what. This is
important, if in nothing else, in showing which way the wind blows. Some
of the sanguine men have set down all the States as certain for Taylor
but Illinois, and it as doubtful. Cannot something be done even in
Illinois? Taylor's nomination takes the Locos on the blind side. It
turns the war-thunder against them. The war is now to them the gallows
of Haman, which they built for us, and on which they are doomed to be
hanged themselves."

Nobody understood better than Mr. Lincoln the obvious truth that in
politics it does not suffice merely to nominate candidates. Something
must also be done to elect them. Two of the letters which he at this
time wrote home to his young law partner, William H. Herndon, are
especially worth quoting in part, not alone to show his own zeal and
industry, but also as a perennial instruction and encouragement to young
men who have an ambition to make a name and a place for themselves in
American politics:

"Last night I was attending a sort of caucus of the Whig members, held
in relation to the coming presidential election. The whole field of the
nation was scanned, and all is high hope and confidence.... Now, as to
the young men. You must not wait to be brought forward by the older men.
For instance, do you suppose that I should ever have got into notice if
I had waited to be hunted up and pushed forward by older men? You young
men get together and form a 'Rough and Ready Club,' and have regular
meetings and speeches.... Let every one play the part he can play
best,--some speak, some sing, and all 'holler.' Your meetings will be of
evenings; the older men, and the women, will go to hear you; so that it
will not only contribute to the election of 'Old Zach,' but will be an
interesting pastime, and improving to the intellectual faculties of all

And in another letter, answering one from Herndon in which that young
aspirant complains of having been neglected, he says:

"The subject of that letter is exceedingly painful to me; and I cannot
but think there is some mistake in your impression of the motives of the
old men. I suppose I am now one of the old men; and I declare, on my
veracity, which I think is good with you, that nothing could afford me
more satisfaction than to learn that you and others of my young friends
at home are doing battle in the contest, and endearing themselves to the
people, and taking a stand far above any I have been able to reach in
their admiration. I cannot conceive that other old men feel differently.
Of course I cannot demonstrate what I say; but I was young once, and I
am sure I was never ungenerously thrust back. I hardly know what to say.
The way for a young man to rise is to improve himself every way he can,
never suspecting that anybody wishes to hinder him. Allow me to assure
you that suspicion and jealousy never did help any man in any situation.
There may sometimes be ungenerous attempts to keep a young man down; and
they will succeed, too, if he allows his mind to be diverted from its
true channel to brood over the attempted injury. Cast about, and see if
this feeling has not injured every person you have ever known to fall
into it."

Mr. Lincoln's interest in this presidential campaign did not expend
itself merely in advice to others. We have his own written record that
he also took an active part for the election of General Taylor after his
nomination, speaking a few times in Maryland near Washington, several
times in Massachusetts, and canvassing quite fully his own district in
Illinois. Before the session of Congress ended he also delivered two
speeches in the House--one on the general subject of internal
improvements, and the other the usual political campaign speech which
members of Congress are in the habit of making to be printed for home
circulation; made up mainly of humorous and satirical criticism,
favoring the election of General Taylor, and opposing the election of
General Cass, the Democratic candidate. Even this production, however,
is lighted up by a passage of impressive earnestness and eloquence, in
which he explains and defends the attitude of the Whigs in denouncing
the origin of the Mexican War:

"If to say 'the war was unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced
by the President,' be opposing the war, then the Whigs have very
generally opposed it. Whenever they have spoken at all they have said
this; and they have said it on what has appeared good reason to them.
The marching an army into the midst of a peaceful Mexican settlement,
frightening the inhabitants away, leaving their growing crops and other
property to destruction, to you may appear a perfectly amiable,
peaceful, unprovoking procedure; but it does not appear so to us. So to
call such an act, to us appears no other than a naked, impudent
absurdity, and we speak of it accordingly. But if, when the war had
begun, and had become the cause of the country, the giving of our money
and our blood, in common with yours, was support of the war, then it is
not true that we have always opposed the war. With few individual
exceptions, you have constantly had our votes here for all the necessary
supplies. And, more than this, you have had the services, the blood, and
the lives of our political brethren in every trial and on every field.
The beardless boy and the mature man, the humble and the
distinguished--you have had them. Through suffering and death, by
disease and in battle, they have endured, and fought and fell with you.
Clay and Webster each gave a son, never to be returned. From the State
of my own residence, besides other worthy but less known Whig names, we
sent Marshall, Morrison, Baker, and Hardin; they all fought and one
fell, and in the fall of that one we lost our best Whig man. Nor were
the Whigs few in number or laggard in the day of danger. In that
fearful, bloody, breathless struggle at Buena Vista, where each man's
hard task was to beat back five foes or die himself, of the five high
officers who perished, four were Whigs. In speaking of this, I mean no
odious comparison between the lion-hearted Whigs and the Democrats who
fought there. On other occasions, and among the lower officers and
privates on that occasion, I doubt not the proportion was different. I
wish to do justice to all. I think of all those brave men as Americans,
in whose proud fame, as an American, I, too, have a share. Many of them,
Whigs and Democrats, are my constituents and personal friends; and I
thank them--more than thank them--one and all, for the high,
imperishable honor they have conferred on our common State."

During the second session of the Thirtieth Congress Mr. Lincoln made no
long speeches, but in addition to the usual routine work devolved on him
by the committee of which he was a member, he busied himself in
preparing a special measure which, because of its relation to the great
events of his later life, needs to be particularly mentioned. Slavery
existed in Maryland and Virginia when these States ceded the territory
out of which the District of Columbia was formed. Since, by that
cession, this land passed under the exclusive control of the Federal
government, the "institution" within this ten miles square could no
longer be defended by the plea of State sovereignty, and antislavery
sentiment naturally demanded that it should cease. Pro-slavery
statesmen, on the other hand, as persistently opposed its removal,
partly as a matter of pride and political consistency, partly because it
was a convenience to Southern senators and members of Congress, when
they came to Washington, to bring their family servants where the local
laws afforded them the same security over their black chattels which
existed at their homes. Mr. Lincoln, in his Peoria speech in 1854,
emphasized the sectional dispute with this vivid touch of local color:

"The South clamored for a more efficient fugitive-slave law. The North
clamored for the abolition of a peculiar species of slave trade in the
District of Columbia, in connection with which, in view from the windows
of the Capitol, a sort of negro livery-stable, where droves of negroes
were collected, temporarily kept, and finally taken to Southern markets,
precisely like droves of horses, had been openly maintained for fifty

Thus the question remained a minor but never ending bone of contention
and point of irritation, and excited debate arose in the Thirtieth
Congress over a House resolution that the Committee on the Judiciary be
instructed to report a bill as soon as practicable prohibiting the slave
trade in the District of Columbia. In this situation of affairs, Mr.
Lincoln conceived the fond hope that he might be able to present a plan
of compromise. He already entertained the idea which in later years
during his presidency he urged upon both Congress and the border slave
States, that the just and generous mode of getting rid of the barbarous
institution of slavery was by a system of compensated emancipation
giving freedom to the slave and a money indemnity to the owner. He
therefore carefully framed a bill providing for the abolishment of
slavery in the District upon the following principal conditions:

_First_. That the law should be adopted by a popular vote in the

_Second_. A temporary system of apprenticeship and gradual emancipation
for children born of slave mothers after January 1, 1850.

_Third_. The government to pay full cash value for slaves voluntarily
manumitted by their owners.

_Fourth_. Prohibiting bringing slaves into the District, or selling them
out of it.

_Fifth_. Providing that government officers, citizens of slave States,
might bring with them and take away again, their slave house-servants.

_Sixth_. Leaving the existing fugitive-slave law in force.

When Mr. Lincoln presented this amendment to the House, he said that he
was authorized to state that of about fifteen of the leading citizens of
the District of Columbia, to whom the proposition had been submitted,
there was not one who did not approve the adoption of such a
proposition. He did not wish to be misunderstood. He did not know
whether or not they would vote for this bill on the first Monday in
April; but he repeated that out of fifteen persons to whom it had been
submitted, he had authority to say that every one of them desired that
some proposition like this should pass.

While Mr. Lincoln did not so state to the House, it was well understood
in intimate circles that the bill had the approval on the one hand of
Mr. Seaton, the conservative mayor of Washington, and on the other hand
of Mr. Giddings, the radical antislavery member of the House of
Representatives. Notwithstanding the singular merit of the bill in
reconciling such extremes of opposing factions in its support, the
temper of Congress had already become too hot to accept such a rational
and practical solution, and Mr. Lincoln's wise proposition was not
allowed to come to a vote.

The triumphant election of General Taylor to the presidency in November,
1848, very soon devolved upon Mr. Lincoln the delicate and difficult
duty of making recommendations to the incoming administration of persons
suitable to be appointed to fill the various Federal offices in
Illinois, as Colonel E.D. Baker and himself were the only Whigs elected
to Congress from that State. In performing this duty, one of his leading
characteristics, impartial honesty and absolute fairness to political
friends and foes alike, stands out with noteworthy clearness. His term
ended with General Taylor's inauguration, and he appears to have
remained in Washington but a few days thereafter. Before leaving, he
wrote to the new Secretary of the Treasury:

"Colonel E.D. Baker and myself are the only Whig members of Congress
from Illinois--I of the Thirtieth, and he of the Thirty-first. We have
reason to think the Whigs of that State hold us responsible, to some
extent, for the appointments which may be made of our citizens. We do
not know you personally, and our efforts to see you have, so far, been
unavailing. I therefore hope I am not obtrusive in saying in this way,
for him and myself, that when a citizen of Illinois is to be appointed,
in your department, to an office, either in or out of the State, we most
respectfully ask to be heard."

On the following day, March 10, 1849, he addressed to the Secretary of
State his first formal recommendation. It is remarkable from the fact
that between the two Whig applicants whose papers are transmitted, he
says rather less in favor of his own choice than of the opposing

"SIR: There are several applicants for the office of United States
Marshal for the District of Illinois, among the most prominent of whom
are Benjamin Bond, Esq., of Carlyle, and ---- Thomas, Esq., of Galena.
Mr. Bond I know to be personally every way worthy of the office; and he
is very numerously and most respectably recommended. His papers I send
to you; and I solicit for his claims a full and fair consideration.
Having said this much, I add that in my individual judgment the
appointment of Mr. Thomas would be the better.

     "Your obedient servant,
     "A. LINCOLN"

(Indorsed on Mr. Bond's papers.)

"In this and the accompanying envelop are the recommendations of about
two hundred good citizens, of all parts of Illinois, that Benjamin Bond
be appointed marshal for that district. They include the names of nearly
all our Whigs who now are, or have ever been, members of the State
legislature, besides forty-six of the Democratic members of the present
legislature, and many other good citizens. I add that from personal
knowledge I consider Mr. Bond every way worthy of the office, and
qualified to fill it. Holding the individual opinion that the
appointment of a different gentleman would be better, I ask especial
attention and consideration for his claims, and for the opinions
expressed in his favor by those over whom I can claim no superiority."

There were but three other prominent Federal appointments to be made in
Mr. Lincoln's congressional district, and he waited until after his
return home so that he might be better informed of the local opinion
concerning them before making his recommendations. It was nearly a month
after he left Washington before he sent his decision to the several
departments at Washington. The letter quoted below, relating to one of
these appointments, is in substance almost identical with the others,
and particularly refrains from expressing any opinion of his own for or
against the policy of political removals. He also expressly explains
that Colonel Baker, the other Whig representative, claims no voice in
the appointment.

"DEAR SIR: I recommend that Walter Davis be appointed Receiver of the
Land Office at this place, whenever there shall be a vacancy. I cannot
say that Mr. Herndon, the present incumbent, has failed in the proper
discharge of any of the duties of the office. He is a very warm
partizan, and openly and actively opposed to the election of General
Taylor. I also understand that since General Taylor's election he has
received a reappointment from Mr. Polk, his old commission not having
expired. Whether this is true the records of the department will show. I
may add that the Whigs here almost universally desire his removal."

If Mr. Lincoln's presence in Washington during two sessions in Congress
did not add materially to either his local or national fame, it was of
incalculable benefit in other respects. It afforded him a close
inspection of the complex machinery of the Federal government and its
relation to that of the States, and enabled him to notice both the easy
routine and the occasional friction of their movements. It brought him
into contact and, to some degree, intimate companionship with political
leaders from all parts of the Union, and gave him the opportunity of
joining in the caucus and the national convention that nominated General
Taylor for President. It broadened immensely the horizon of his
observation, and the sharp personal rivalries he noted at the center of
the nation opened to him new lessons in the study of human nature. His
quick intelligence acquired knowledge quite as, or even more, rapidly by
process of logical intuition than by mere dry, laborious study; and it
was the inestimable experience of this single term in the Congress of
the United States which prepared him for his coming, yet undreamed-of,
responsibilities, as fully as it would have done the ordinary man in a

Mr. Lincoln had frankly acknowledged to his friend Speed, after his
election in 1846, that "being elected to Congress, though I am very
grateful to our friends for having done it, has not pleased me as much
as I expected." It has already been said that an agreement had been
reached among the several Springfield aspirants, that they would limit
their ambition to a single term, and take turns in securing and enjoying
the coveted distinction; and Mr. Lincoln remained faithful to this
agreement. When the time to prepare for the election of 1848 approached,
he wrote to his law partner:

"It is very pleasant to learn from you that there are some who desire
that I should be reëlected. I most heartily thank them for their kind
partiality; and I can say, as Mr. Clay said of the annexation of Texas,
that 'personally I would not object' to a reëlection, although I thought
at the time, and still think, it would be quite as well for me to
return to the law at the end of a single term. I made the declaration
that I would not be a candidate again, more from a wish to deal fairly
with others, to keep peace among our friends, and to keep the district
from going to the enemy, than for any cause personal to myself; so that,
if it should so happen that nobody else wishes to be elected, I could
not refuse the people the right of sending me again. But to enter myself
as a competitor of others, or to authorize any one so to enter me, is
what my word and honor forbid."

Judge Stephen T. Logan, his late law partner, was nominated for the
place, and heartily supported not only by Mr. Lincoln, but also by the
Whigs of the district. By this time, however, the politics of the
district had undergone a change by reason of the heavy emigration to
Illinois at that period, and Judge Logan was defeated.

Mr. Lincoln's strict and sensitive adherence to his promises now brought
him a disappointment which was one of those blessings in disguise so
commonly deplored for the time being by the wisest and best. A number of
the Western members of Congress had joined in a recommendation to
President-elect Taylor to give Colonel E.D. Baker a place in his
cabinet, a reward he richly deserved for his talents, his party service,
and the military honor he had won in the Mexican War. When this
application bore no fruit, the Whigs of Illinois, expecting at least
some encouragement from the new administration, laid claim to a bureau
appointment, that of Commissioner of the General Land Office, in the new
Department of the Interior, recently established.

"I believe that, so far as the Whigs in Congress are concerned," wrote
Lincoln to Speed twelve days before Taylor's inauguration, "I could
have the General Land Office almost by common consent; but then Sweet
and Don Morrison and Browning and Cyrus Edwards all want it, and what is
worse, while I think I could easily take it myself, I fear I shall have
trouble to get it for any other man in Illinois."

Unselfishly yielding his own chances, he tried to induce the four
Illinois candidates to come to a mutual agreement in favor of one of
their own number. They were so tardy in settling their differences as to
excite his impatience, and he wrote to a Washington friend:

"I learn from Washington that a man by the name of Butterfield will
probably be appointed Commissioner of the General Land Office, This
ought not to be.... Some kind friends think I ought to be an applicant,
but I am for Mr. Edwards. Try to defeat Butterfield, and, in doing so,
use Mr. Edwards, J.L.D. Morrison, or myself, whichever you can to best

As the situation grew persistently worse, Mr. Lincoln at length, about
the first of June, himself became a formal applicant. But the delay
resulting from his devotion to his friends had dissipated his chances.
Butterfield received the appointment, and the defeat was aggravated
when, a few months later, his unrelenting spirit of justice and fairness
impelled him to write a letter defending Butterfield and the Secretary
of the Interior from an attack by one of Lincoln's warm personal but
indiscreet friends in the Illinois legislature. It was, however, a
fortunate escape. In the four succeeding years Mr. Lincoln qualified
himself for better things than the monotonous drudgery of an
administrative bureau at Washington. It is probable that this defeat
also enabled him more easily to pass by another temptation. The Taylor
administration, realizing its ingratitude, at length, in September,
offered him the governorship of the recently organized territory of
Oregon; but he replied:

"On as much reflection as I have had time to give the subject, I cannot
consent to accept it."


Repeal of the Missouri Compromise--State Fair Debate--Peoria
Debate--Trumbull Elected--Letter to Robinson--The Know-Nothings--Decatur
Meeting--Bloomington Convention--Philadelphia Convention--Lincoln's Vote
for Vice-President--Frémont and Dayton--Lincoln's Campaign
Speeches--Chicago Banquet Speech

After the expiration of his term in Congress Mr. Lincoln applied himself
with unremitting assiduity to the practice of law, which the growth of
the State in population, and the widening of his acquaintanceship no
less than his own growth in experience and legal acumen, rendered ever
more important and absorbing.

"In 1854," he writes, "his profession had almost superseded the thought
of politics in his mind, when the repeal of the Missouri Compromise
aroused him as he had never been before."

Not alone Mr. Lincoln, but, indeed, the whole nation, was so
aroused--the Democratic party, and nearly the entire South, to force the
passage of that repeal through Congress, and an alarmed majority,
including even a considerable minority of the Democratic party in the
North, to resist its passage.

Mr. Lincoln, of course, shared the general indignation of Northern
sentiment that the whole of the remaining Louisiana Territory, out of
which six States, and the greater part of two more, have since been
organized and admitted to the Union, should be opened to the possible
extension of slavery. But two points served specially to enlist his
energy in the controversy. One was personal, in that Senator Douglas of
Illinois, by whom the repeal was championed, and whose influence as a
free-State senator and powerful Democratic leader alone made the repeal
possible, had been his personal antagonist in Illinois politics for
almost twenty years. The other was moral, in that the new question
involved the elemental principles of the American government, the
fundamental maxim of the Declaration of Independence, that all men are
created equal. His intuitive logic needed no demonstration that bank,
tariff, internal improvements, the Mexican War, and their related
incidents, were questions of passing expediency; but that this sudden
reaction, needlessly grafted upon a routine statute to organize a new
territory, was the unmistakable herald of a coming struggle which might
transform republican institutions.

It was in January, 1854, that the accidents of a Senate debate threw
into Congress and upon the country the firebrand of the repeal of the
Missouri Compromise. The repeal was not consummated till the month of
May; and from May until the autumn elections the flame of acrimonious
discussion ran over the whole country like a wild fire. There is no
record that Mr. Lincoln took any public part in the discussion until the
month of September, but it is very clear that he not only carefully
watched its progress, but that he studied its phases of development, its
historical origins, and its legal bearings with close industry, and
gathered from party literature and legislative documents a harvest of
substantial facts and data, rather than the wordy campaign phrases and
explosive epithets with which more impulsive students and speakers were
content to produce their oratorical effects. Here we may again quote
Mr. Lincoln's exact written statement of the manner in which he resumed
his political activity:

"In the autumn of that year [1854] he took the stump, with no broader
practical aim or object than to secure, if possible, the reëlection of
Hon. Richard Yates to Congress. His speeches at once attracted a more
marked attention than they had ever before done. As the canvass
proceeded he was drawn to different parts of the State, outside of Mr.
Yates's district. He did not abandon the law, but gave his attention by
turns to that and politics. The State Agricultural Fair was at
Springfield that year, and Douglas was announced to speak there."

The new question had created great excitement and uncertainty in
Illinois politics, and there were abundant signs that it was beginning
to break up the organization of both the Whig and the Democratic
parties. This feeling brought together at the State fair an unusual
number of local leaders from widely scattered counties, and almost
spontaneously a sort of political tournament of speech-making broke out.
In this Senator Douglas, doubly conspicuous by his championship of the
Nebraska Bill in Congress, was expected to play the leading part, while
the opposition, by a common impulse, called upon Lincoln to answer him.
Lincoln performed the task with such aptness and force, with such
freshness of argument, illustrations from history, and citations from
authorities, as secured him a decided oratorical triumph, and lifted him
at a single bound to the leadership of the opposition to Douglas's
propagandism. Two weeks later, Douglas and Lincoln met at Peoria in a
similar debate, and on his return to Springfield Lincoln wrote out and
printed his speech in full.

The reader who carefully examines this speech will at once be impressed
with the genius which immediately made Mr. Lincoln a power in American
politics. His grasp of the subject is so comprehensive, his statement so
clear, his reasoning so convincing, his language so strong and eloquent
by turns, that the wonderful power he manifested in the discussions and
debates of the six succeeding years does not surpass, but only amplifies
this, his first examination of the whole brood of questions relating to
slavery precipitated upon the country by Douglas's repeal. After a
searching history of the Missouri Compromise, he attacks the
demoralizing effects and portentous consequences of its repeal.

"This declared indifference," he says, "but, as I must think, covert
real zeal for the spread of slavery, I cannot but hate. I hate it
because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because
it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world;
enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us
as hypocrites; causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our
sincerity; and especially because it forces so many good men among
ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil
liberty, criticizing the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that
there is no right principle of action but self-interest.... Slavery is
founded in the selfishness of man's nature--opposition to it in his love
of justice. These principles are an eternal antagonism, and when brought
into collision so fiercely as slavery extension brings them, shocks and
throes and convulsions must ceaselessly follow. Repeal the Missouri
Compromise, repeal all compromises, repeal the Declaration of
Independence, repeal all past history, you still cannot repeal human
nature. It still will be the abundance of man's heart that slavery
extension is wrong, and out of the abundance of his heart his mouth
will continue to speak."

With argument as impetuous, and logic as inexorable, he disposes of
Douglas's plea of popular sovereignty:

"Here, or at Washington, I would not trouble myself with the oyster laws
of Virginia, or the cranberry laws of Indiana. The doctrine of
self-government is right--absolutely and eternally right--but it has no
just application as here attempted. Or perhaps I should rather say, that
whether it has such application depends upon whether a negro is not or
is a man. If he is not a man, in that case, he who is a man may, as a
matter of self-government, do just what he pleases with him. But if the
negro is a man, is it not to that extent a total destruction of
self-government to say that he too shall not govern himself? When the
white man governs himself, that is self-government; but when he governs
himself and also governs another man, that is more than
self-government--that is despotism.... I particularly object to the new
position which the avowed principle of this Nebraska law gives to
slavery in the body politic. I object to it because it assumes that
there can be moral right in the enslaving of one man by another. I
object to it as a dangerous dalliance for a free people--a sad evidence
that, feeling prosperity, we forget right; that liberty, as a principle,
we have ceased to revere.... Little by little, but steadily as man's
march to the grave, we have been giving up the old for the new faith.
Near eighty years ago we began by declaring that all men are created
equal; but now, from that beginning, we have run down to the other
declaration, that for some men to enslave others is a 'sacred right of
self-government.' These principles cannot stand together. They are as
opposite as God and Mammon."

If one compares the serious tone of this speech with the hard cider and
coon-skin buncombe of the Harrison campaign of 1840, and its lofty
philosophical thought with the humorous declamation of the Taylor
campaign of 1848, the speaker's advance in mental development at once
becomes apparent. In this single effort Mr. Lincoln had risen from the
class of the politician to the rank of the statesman. There is a
well-founded tradition that Douglas, disconcerted and troubled by
Lincoln's unexpected manifestation of power in the Springfield and
Peoria debates, sought a friendly interview with his opponent, and
obtained from him an agreement that neither one of them would make any
further speeches before the election.

The local interest in the campaign was greatly heightened by the fact
that the term of Douglas's Democratic colleague in the United States
Senate was about to expire, and that the State legislature to be elected
would have the choosing of his successor. It is not probable that
Lincoln built much hope upon this coming political chance, as the
Democratic party had been throughout the whole history of the State in
decided political control. It turned out, nevertheless, that in the
election held on November 7, an opposition majority of members of the
legislature was chosen, and Lincoln became, to outward appearances, the
most available opposition candidate. But party disintegration had been
only partial. Lincoln and his party friends still called themselves
Whigs, though they could muster only a minority of the total membership
of the legislature. The so-called Anti-Nebraska Democrats, opposing
Douglas and his followers, were still too full of traditional party
prejudice to help elect a pronounced Whig to the United States Senate,
though as strongly "Anti-Nebraska" as themselves. Five of them brought
forward, and stubbornly voted for, Lyman Trumbull, an Anti-Nebraska
Democrat of ability, who had been chosen representative in Congress from
the eighth Illinois District in the recent election. On the ninth ballot
it became evident to Lincoln that there was danger of a new Democratic
candidate, neutral on the Nebraska question, being chosen. In this
contingency, he manifested a personal generosity and political sagacity
far above the comprehension of the ordinary smart politician. He advised
and prevailed upon his Whig supporters to vote for Trumbull, and thus
secure a vote in the United States Senate against slavery extension. He
had rightly interpreted both statesmanship and human nature. His
personal sacrifice on this occasion contributed essentially to the
coming political regeneration of his State; and the five Anti-Nebraska
Democrats, who then wrought his defeat, became his most devoted personal
followers and efficient allies in his own later political triumph, which
adverse currents, however, were still to delay to a tantalizing degree.
The circumstances of his defeat at that critical stage of his career
must have seemed especially irritating, yet he preserved a most
remarkable equanimity of temper. "I regret my defeat moderately," he
wrote to a sympathizing friend, "but I am not nervous about it."

We may fairly infer that while Mr. Lincoln was not "nervous," he was
nevertheless deeply impressed by the circumstance as an illustration of
the grave nature of the pending political controversy. A letter written
by him about half a year later to a friend in Kentucky, is full of such
serious reflection as to show that the existing political conditions in
the United States had engaged his most profound thought and

"That spirit," he wrote, "which desired the peaceful extinction of
slavery has itself become extinct with the occasion and the men of the
Revolution. Under the impulse of that occasion, nearly half the States
adopted systems of emancipation at once, and it is a significant fact
that not a single State has done the like since. So far as peaceful
voluntary emancipation is concerned, the condition of the negro slave in
America, scarcely less terrible to the contemplation of a free mind, is
now as fixed and hopeless of change for the better as that of the lost
souls of the finally impenitent. The Autocrat of all the Russias will
resign his crown and proclaim his subjects free republicans sooner than
will our American masters voluntarily give up their slaves. Our
political problem now is, 'Can we as a nation continue together
permanently--forever--half slave and half free?' The problem is too
mighty for me--may God, in his mercy, superintend the solution."

Not quite three years later Mr. Lincoln made the concluding problem of
this letter the text of a famous speech. On the day before his first
inauguration as President of the United States, the "Autocrat of all the
Russias," Alexander II, by imperial decree emancipated his serfs; while
six weeks after the inauguration the "American masters," headed by
Jefferson Davis, began the greatest war of modern times to perpetuate
and spread the institution of slavery.

The excitement produced by the repeal of the Missouri Compromise in
1854, by the election forays of the Missouri Border Ruffians into Kansas
in 1855, and by the succeeding civil strife in 1856 in that Territory,
wrought an effective transformation of political parties in the Union,
in preparation for the presidential election of that year. This
transformation, though not seriously checked, was very considerably
complicated by an entirely new faction, or rather by the sudden revival
of an old one, which in the past had called itself Native Americanism,
and now assumed the name of the American Party, though it was more
popularly known by the nickname of "Know-Nothings," because of its
secret organization. It professed a certain hostility to foreign-born
voters and to the Catholic religion, and demanded a change in the
naturalization laws from a five years' to a twenty-one years'
preliminary residence. This faction had gained some sporadic successes
in Eastern cities, but when its national convention met in February,
1856, to nominate candidates for President and Vice-President, the
pending slavery question, that it had hitherto studiously ignored,
caused a disruption of its organization; and though the adhering
delegates nominated Millard Fillmore for President and A.J. Donelson for
Vice-President, who remained in the field and were voted for, to some
extent, in the presidential election, the organization was present only
as a crippled and disturbing factor, and disappeared totally from
politics in the following years.

Both North and South, party lines adjusted themselves defiantly upon the
single issue, for or against men and measures representing the extension
or restriction of slavery. The Democratic party, though radically
changing its constituent elements, retained the party name, and became
the party of slavery extension, having forced the repeal and supported
the resulting measures; while the Whig party entirely disappeared, its
members in the Northern States joining the Anti-Nebraska Democrats in
the formation of the new Republican party. Southern Whigs either went
boldly into the Democratic camp, or followed for a while the delusive
prospects of the Know-Nothings.

This party change went on somewhat slowly in the State of Illinois,
because that State extended in territorial length from the latitude of
Massachusetts to that of Virginia, and its population contained an
equally diverse local sentiment. The northern counties had at once
become strongly Anti-Nebraska; the conservative Whig counties of the
center inclined to the Know-Nothings; while the Kentuckians and
Carolinians, who had settled the southern end, had strong antipathies to
what they called abolitionism, and applauded Douglas and repeal.

The agitation, however, swept on, and further hesitation became
impossible. Early in 1856 Mr. Lincoln began to take an active part in
organizing the Republican party. He attended a small gathering of
Anti-Nebraska editors in February, at Decatur, who issued a call for a
mass convention which met at Bloomington in May, at which the Republican
party of Illinois was formally constituted by an enthusiastic gathering
of local leaders who had formerly been bitter antagonists, but who now
joined their efforts to resist slavery extension. They formulated an
emphatic but not radical platform, and through a committee selected a
composite ticket of candidates for State offices, which the convention
approved by acclamation. The occasion remains memorable because of the
closing address made by Mr. Lincoln in one of his most impressive
oratorical moods. So completely were his auditors carried away by the
force of his denunciation of existing political evils, and by the
eloquence of his appeal for harmony and union to redress them, that
neither a verbatim report nor even an authentic abstract was made during
its delivery: but the lifting inspiration of its periods will never fade
from the memory of those who heard it.

About three weeks later, the first national convention of the Republican
party met at Philadelphia, and nominated John C. Frémont of California
for President. There was a certain fitness in this selection, from the
fact that he had been elected to the United States Senate when
California applied for admission as a free State, and that the
resistance of the South to her admission had been the entering wedge of
the slavery agitation of 1850. This, however, was in reality a minor
consideration. It was rather his romantic fame as a daring Rocky
Mountain explorer, appealing strongly to popular imagination and
sympathy, which gave him prestige as a presidential candidate.

It was at this point that the career of Abraham Lincoln had a narrow and
fortunate escape from a premature and fatal prominence. The Illinois
Bloomington convention had sent him as a delegate to the Philadelphia
convention; and, no doubt very unexpectedly to himself, on the first
ballot for a candidate for Vice-President he received one hundred and
ten votes against two hundred and fifty-nine votes for William L. Dayton
of New Jersey, upon which the choice of Mr. Dayton was at once made
unanimous. But the incident proves that Mr. Lincoln was already gaining
a national fame among the advanced leaders of political thought.
Happily, a mysterious Providence reserved him for larger and nobler

The nominations thus made at Philadelphia completed the array for the
presidential battle of 1856. The Democratic national convention had met
at Cincinnati on June 2, and nominated James Buchanan for President and
John C. Breckinridge for Vice-President. Its work presented two points
of noteworthy interest, namely: that the South, in an arrogant
pro-slavery dictatorship, relentlessly cast aside the claims of Douglas
and Pierce, who had effected the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and
nominated Buchanan, in apparently sure confidence of that
super-serviceable zeal in behalf of slavery which he so obediently
rendered; also, that in a platform of intolerable length there was such
a cunning ambiguity of word and concealment of sense, such a double
dealing of phrase and meaning, as to render it possible that the
pro-slavery Democrats of the South and some antislavery Democrats of the
North might join for the last time to elect a "Northern man with
Southern principles."

Again, in this campaign, as in several former presidential elections,
Mr. Lincoln was placed upon the electoral ticket of Illinois, and he
made over fifty speeches in his own and adjoining States in behalf of
Frémont and Dayton. Not one of these speeches was reported in full, but
the few fragments which have been preserved show that he occupied no
doubtful ground on the pending issues. Already the Democrats were
raising the potent alarm cry that the Republican party was sectional,
and that its success would dissolve the Union. Mr. Lincoln did not then
dream that he would ever have to deal practically with such a
contingency, but his mind was very clear as to the method of meeting it.
Speaking for the Republican party, he said:

"But the Union in any event will not be dissolved. We don't want to
dissolve it, and if you attempt it, we won't let you. With the purse and
sword, the army and navy and treasury, in our hands and at our command,
you could not do it. This government would be very weak, indeed, if a
majority, with a disciplined army and navy and a well-filled treasury,
could not preserve itself when attacked by an unarmed, undisciplined,
unorganized minority. All this talk about the dissolution of the Union
is humbug, nothing but folly. We do not want to dissolve the Union; you
shall not."

While the Republican party was much cast down by the election of
Buchanan in November, the Democrats found significant cause for
apprehension in the unexpected strength with which the Frémont ticket
had been supported in the free States. Especially was this true in
Illinois, where the adherents of Frémont and Fillmore had formed a
fusion, and thereby elected a Republican governor and State officers.
One of the strong elements of Mr. Lincoln's leadership was the cheerful
hope he was always able to inspire in his followers, and his abiding
faith in the correct political instincts of popular majorities. This
trait was happily exemplified in a speech he made at a Republican
banquet in Chicago about a month after the presidential election.
Recalling the pregnant fact that though Buchanan gained a majority of
the electoral vote, he was in a minority of about four hundred thousand
of the popular vote for President, Mr. Lincoln thus summed up the
chances of Republican success in the future:

"Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public
opinion, can change the government, practically, just so much. Public
opinion on any subject always has a 'central idea,' from which all its
minor thoughts radiate. That 'central idea' in our political public
opinion at the beginning was, and until recently has continued to be,
'the equality of men.' And although it has always submitted patiently to
whatever of inequality there seemed to be as matter of actual necessity,
its constant working has been a steady progress towards the practical
equality of all men. The late presidential election was a struggle by
one party to discard that central idea and to substitute for it the
opposite idea that slavery is right in the abstract; the workings of
which as a central idea may be the perpetuity of human slavery and its
extension to all countries and colors.... All of us who did not vote for
Mr. Buchanan, taken together, are a majority of four hundred thousand.
But in the late contest we were divided between Frémont and Fillmore.
Can we not come together for the future? Let every one who really
believes, and is resolved, that free society is not and shall not be a
failure, and who can conscientiously declare that in the past contest he
has done only what he thought best--let every such one have charity to
believe that every other one can say as much. Thus let bygones be
bygones; let past differences as nothing be; and with steady eye on the
real issue, let us reinaugurate the good old 'central ideas' of the
republic. We can do it. The human heart is with us; God is with us. We
shall again be able, not to declare that 'all States as States are
equal,' nor yet that 'all citizens as citizens are equal,' but to renew
the broader, better declaration, including both these and much more,
that 'all men are created equal.'"


Buchanan Elected President--The Dred Scott Decision--Douglas's
Springfield Speech, 1857--Lincoln's Answering Speech--Criticism of Dred
Scott Decision--Kansas Civil War--Buchanan Appoints Walker--Walker's
Letter on Kansas--The Lecompton Constitution--Revolt of Douglas

The election of 1856 once more restored the Democratic party to full
political control in national affairs. James Buchanan was elected
President to succeed Pierce; the Senate continued, as before, to have a
decided Democratic majority; and a clear Democratic majority of
twenty-five was chosen to the House of Representatives to succeed the
heavy opposition majority of the previous Congress.

Though the new House did not organize till a year after it was elected,
the certainty of its coming action was sufficient not only to restore,
but greatly to accelerate the pro-slavery reaction begun by the repeal
of the Missouri Compromise. This impending drift of national policy now
received a powerful impetus by an act of the third coördinate branch,
the judicial department of the government.

Very unexpectedly to the public at large, the Supreme Court of the
United States, a few days after Buchanan's inauguration, announced its
judgment in what quickly became famous as the Dred Scott decision. Dred
Scott, a negro slave in Missouri, sued for his freedom on the ground
that his master had taken him to reside in the State of Illinois and
the Territory of Wisconsin, where slavery was prohibited by law. The
question had been twice decided by Missouri courts, once for and then
against Dred Scott's claim; and now the Supreme Court of the United
States, after hearing the case twice elaborately argued by eminent
counsel, finally decided that Dred Scott, being a negro, could not
become a citizen, and therefore was not entitled to bring suit. This
branch, under ordinary precedent, simply threw the case out of court;
but in addition, the decision, proceeding with what lawyers call _obiter
dictum_, went on to declare that under the Constitution of the United
States neither Congress nor a territorial legislature possessed power to
prohibit slavery in Federal Territories.

The whole country immediately flared up with the agitation of the
slavery question in this new form. The South defended the decision with
heat, the North protested against it with indignation, and the
controversy was greatly intensified by a phrase in the opinion of Chief
Justice Taney, that at the time of the Declaration of Independence
negroes were considered by general public opinion to be so far inferior
"that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect."

This decision of the Supreme Court placed Senator Douglas in a curious
dilemma. While it served to indorse and fortify his course in repealing
the Missouri Compromise, it, on the other hand, totally negatived his
theory by which he had sought to make the repeal palatable, that the
people of a Territory, by the exercise of his great principle of popular
sovereignty, could decide the slavery question for themselves. But,
being a subtle sophist, he sought to maintain a show of consistency by
an ingenious evasion. In the month of June following the decision, he
made a speech at Springfield, Illinois, in which he tentatively
announced what in the next year became widely celebrated as his Freeport
doctrine, and was immediately denounced by his political confrères of
the South as serious party heterodoxy. First lauding the Supreme Court
as "the highest judicial tribunal on earth," and declaring that violent
resistance to its decrees must be put down by the strong arm of the
government, he went on thus to define a master's right to his slave in

"While the right continues in full force under the guarantees of the
Constitution, and cannot be divested or alienated by an act of Congress,
it necessarily remains a barren and a worthless right unless sustained,
protected, and enforced by appropriate police regulations and local
legislation prescribing adequate remedies for its violation. These
regulations and remedies must necessarily depend entirely upon the will
and wishes of the people of the Territory, as they can only be
prescribed by the local legislatures. Hence, the great principle of
popular sovereignty and self-government is sustained and firmly
established by the authority of this decision."

Both the legal and political aspects of the new question immediately
engaged the earnest attention of Mr. Lincoln; and his splendid power of
analysis set its ominous portent in a strong light. He made a speech in
reply to Douglas about two weeks after, subjecting the Dred Scott
decision to a searching and eloquent criticism. He said:

"That decision declares two propositions--first, that a negro cannot sue
in the United States courts; and secondly, that Congress cannot prohibit
slavery in the Territories. It was made by a divided court--dividing
differently on the different points. Judge Douglas does not discuss the
merits of the decision, and in that respect I shall follow his example,
believing I could no more improve on McLean and Curtis than he could on
Taney.... We think the Dred Scott decision was erroneous. We know the
court that made it has often overruled its own decisions, and we shall
do what we can to have it overrule this. We offer no resistance to
it.... If this important decision had been made by the unanimous
concurrence of the judges, and without any apparent partizan bias, and
in accordance with legal public expectation and with the steady practice
of the departments throughout our history and had been in no part based
on assumed historical facts which are not really true; or if, wanting in
some of these, it had been before the court more than once, and had
there been affirmed and reaffirmed through a course of years, it then
might be, perhaps would be, factious, nay, even revolutionary, not to
acquiesce in it as a precedent. But when, as is true, we find it wanting
in all these claims to the public confidence, it is not resistance, it
is not factious, it is not even disrespectful, to treat it as not having
yet quite established a settled doctrine for the country....

"The Chief Justice does not directly assert, but plainly assumes, as a
fact, that the public estimate of the black man is more favorable now
than it was in the days of the Revolution. This assumption is a mistake.
In some trifling particulars the condition of that race has been
ameliorated; but as a whole, in this country, the change between then
and now is decidedly the other way; and their ultimate destiny has never
appeared so hopeless as in the last three or four years. In two of the
five States--New Jersey and North Carolina--that then gave the free
negro the right of voting, the right has since been taken away; and in
the third--New York--it has been greatly abridged; while it has not
been extended, so far as I know, to a single additional State, though
the number of the States has more than doubled. In those days, as I
understand, masters could, at their own pleasure, emancipate their
slaves; but since then such legal restraints have been made upon
emancipation as to amount almost to prohibition. In those days,
legislatures held the unquestioned power to abolish slavery in their
respective States, but now it is becoming quite fashionable for State
constitutions to withhold that power from the legislatures. In those
days, by common consent, the spread of the black man's bondage to the
new countries was prohibited, but now Congress decides that it will not
continue the prohibition and the Supreme Court decides that it could not
if it would. In those days, our Declaration of Independence was held
sacred by all, and thought to include all; but now, to aid in making the
bondage of the negro universal and eternal, it is assailed and sneered
at and construed, and hawked at and torn, till, if its framers could
rise from their graves, they could not at all recognize it. All the
powers of earth seem rapidly combining against him. Mammon is after him,
ambition follows, philosophy follows, and the theology of the day is
fast joining the cry. They have him in his prison-house; they have
searched his person, and left no prying instrument with him. One after
another they have closed the heavy iron doors upon him; and now they
have him, as it were, bolted in with a lock of a hundred keys, which can
never be unlocked without the concurrence of every key--the keys in the
hands of a hundred different men, and they scattered to a hundred
different and distant places; and they stand musing as to what
invention, in all the dominions of mind and matter, can be produced to
make the impossibility of his escape more complete than it is."

There is not room to quote the many other equally forcible points in Mr.
Lincoln's speech. Our narrative must proceed to other significant events
in the great pro-slavery reaction. Thus far the Kansas experiment had
produced nothing but agitation, strife, and bloodshed. First the storm
in Congress over repeal; then a mad rush of emigration to occupy the
Territory. This was followed by the Border Ruffian invasions, in which
Missouri voters elected a bogus territorial legislature, and the bogus
legislature enacted a code of bogus laws. In turn, the more rapid
emigration from free States filled the Territory with a majority of
free-State voters, who quickly organized a compact free-State party,
which sent a free-State constitution, known as the Topeka Constitution,
to Congress, and applied for admission. This movement proved barren,
because the two houses of Congress were divided in sentiment. Meanwhile,
President Pierce recognized the bogus laws, and issued proclamations
declaring the free-State movement illegal and insurrectionary; and the
free-State party had in its turn baffled the enforcement of the bogus
laws, partly by concerted action of nonconformity and neglect, partly by
open defiance. The whole finally culminated in a chronic border war
between Missouri raiders on one hand, and free-State guerrillas on the
other; and it became necessary to send Federal troops to check the
disorder. These were instructed by Jefferson Davis, then Secretary of
War, that "rebellion must be crushed." The future Confederate President
little suspected the tremendous prophetic import of his order. The most
significant illustration of the underlying spirit of the struggle was
that President Pierce had successively appointed three Democratic
governors for the Territory, who, starting with pro-slavery bias, all
became free-State partizans, and were successively insulted and driven
from the Territory by the pro-slavery faction when in manly protest they
refused to carry out the behests of the Missouri conspiracy. After a
three years' struggle neither faction had been successful, neither party
was satisfied; and the administration of Pierce bequeathed to its
successor the same old question embittered by rancor and defeat.

President Buchanan began his administration with a boldly announced
pro-slavery policy. In his inaugural address he invoked the popular
acceptance of the Dred Scott decision, which he already knew was coming;
and a few months later declared in a public letter that slavery "exists
in Kansas under the Constitution of the United States.... How it ever
could have been seriously doubted is a mystery." He chose for the
governorship of Kansas, Robert J. Walker, a citizen of Mississippi of
national fame and of pronounced pro-slavery views, who accepted his
dangerous mission only upon condition that a new constitution, to be
formed for that State, must be honestly submitted to the real voters of
Kansas for adoption or rejection. President Buchanan and his advisers,
as well as Senator Douglas, accepted this condition repeatedly and
emphatically. But when the new governor went to the Territory, he soon
became convinced, and reported to his chief, that to make a slave State
of Kansas was a delusive hope. "Indeed," he wrote, "it is universally
admitted here that the only real question is this: whether Kansas shall
be a conservative, constitutional, Democratic, and ultimately free
State, or whether it shall be a Republican and abolition State."

As a compensation for the disappointment, however, he wrote later direct
to the President:

"But we must have a slave State out of the southwestern Indian
Territory, and then a calm will follow; Cuba be acquired with the
acquiescence of the North; and your administration, having in reality
settled the slavery question, be regarded in all time to come as a
re-signing and re-sealing of the Constitution.... I shall be pleased
soon to hear from you. Cuba! Cuba! (and Porto Rico, if possible) should
be the countersign of your administration, and it will close in a blaze
of glory."

And the governor was doubtless much gratified to receive the President's
unqualified indorsement in reply: "On the question of submitting the
constitution to the _bona fide_ resident settlers of Kansas, I am
willing to stand or fall."

The sequel to this heroic posturing of the chief magistrate is one of
the most humiliating chapters in American politics. Attendant
circumstances leave little doubt that a portion of Mr. Buchanan's
cabinet, in secret league and correspondence with the pro-slavery
Missouri-Kansas cabal, aided and abetted the framing and adoption of
what is known to history as the Lecompton Constitution, an organic
instrument of a radical pro-slavery type; that its pretended submission
to popular vote was under phraseology, and in combination with such
gigantic electoral frauds and dictatorial procedure, as to render the
whole transaction a mockery of popular government; still worse, that
President Buchanan himself, proving too weak in insight and will to
detect the intrigue or resist the influence of his malign counselors,
abandoned his solemn pledges to Governor Walker, adopted the Lecompton
Constitution as an administration measure, and recommended it to
Congress in a special message, announcing dogmatically: "Kansas is
therefore at this moment as much a slave State as Georgia or South

The radical pro-slavery attitude thus assumed by President Buchanan and
Southern leaders threw the Democratic party of the free States into
serious disarray, while upon Senator Douglas the blow fell with the
force of party treachery--almost of personal indignity. The Dred Scott
decision had rudely brushed aside his theory of popular sovereignty, and
now the Lecompton Constitution proceedings brutally trampled it down in
practice. The disaster overtook him, too, at a critical moment. His
senatorial term was about to expire; the next Illinois legislature would
elect his successor. The prospect was none too bright for him, for at
the late presidential election Illinois had chosen Republican State
officers. He was compelled either to break his pledges to the Democratic
voters of Illinois, or to lead a revolt against President Buchanan and
the Democratic leaders in Congress. Party disgrace at Washington, or
popular disgrace in Illinois, were the alternatives before him. To lose
his reëlection to the Senate would almost certainly end his public
career. When, therefore, Congress met in December, 1857, Douglas boldly
attacked and denounced the Lecompton Constitution, even before the
President had recommended it in his special message.

"Stand by the doctrine," he said, "that leaves the people perfectly free
to form and regulate their institutions for themselves, in their own
way, and your party will be united and irresistible in power.... If
Kansas wants a slave-State constitution, she has a right to it; if she
wants a free-State constitution, she has a right to it. It is none of my
business which way the slavery clause is decided. I care not whether it
is voted down or voted up. Do you suppose, after the pledges of my honor
that I would go for that principle and leave the people to vote as they
choose, that I would now degrade myself by voting one way if the
slavery clause be voted down, and another way if it be voted up? I care
not how that vote may stand.... Ignore Lecompton; ignore Topeka; treat
both those party movements as irregular and void; pass a fair bill--the
one that we framed ourselves when we were acting as a unit; have a fair
election--and you will have peace in the Democratic party, and peace
throughout the country, in ninety days. The people want a fair vote.
They will never be satisfied without it.... But if this constitution is
to be forced down our throats in violation of the fundamental principle
of free government, under a mode of submission that is a mockery and
insult, I will resist it to the last."

Walker, the fourth Democratic governor who had now been sacrificed to
the interests of the Kansas pro-slavery cabal, also wrote a sharp letter
of resignation denouncing the Lecompton fraud and policy; and such was
the indignation aroused in the free States, that although the Senate
passed the Lecompton Bill, twenty-two Northern Democrats joining their
vote to that of the Republicans, the measure was defeated in the House
of Representatives. The President and his Southern partizans bitterly
resented this defeat; and the schism between them, on the one hand, and
Douglas and his adherents, on the other, became permanent and


The Senatorial Contest in Illinois--"House Divided against Itself"
Speech--The Lincoln-Douglas Debates--The Freeport Doctrine--Douglas
Deposed from Chairmanship of Committee on Territories--Benjamin on
Douglas--Lincoln's Popular Majority--Douglas Gains Legislature--Greeley,
Crittenden, _et al._--"The Fight Must Go On"--Douglas's Southern
Speeches--Senator Brown's Questions--Lincoln's Warning against Popular
Sovereignty--The War of Pamphlets--Lincoln's Ohio Speeches--The John
Brown Raid--Lincoln's Comment

The hostility of the Buchanan administration to Douglas for his part in
defeating the Lecompton Constitution, and the multiplying chances
against him, served only to stimulate his followers in Illinois to
greater efforts to secure his reëlection. Precisely the same elements
inspired the hope and increased the enthusiasm of the Republicans of the
State to accomplish his defeat. For a candidate to oppose the "Little
Giant," there could be no rival in the Republican ranks to Abraham
Lincoln. He had in 1854 yielded his priority of claim to Trumbull; he
alone had successfully encountered Douglas in debate. The political
events themselves seemed to have selected and pitted these two champions
against each other. Therefore, when the Illinois State convention on
June 16, 1858, passed by acclamation a separate resolution, "That
Abraham Lincoln is the first and only choice of the Republicans of
Illinois for the United States Senate as the successor of Stephen A.
Douglas," it only recorded the well-known judgment of the party. After
its routine work was finished, the convention adjourned to meet again in
the hall of the State House at Springfield at eight o'clock in the
evening. At that hour Mr. Lincoln appeared before the assembled
delegates and delivered a carefully studied speech, which has become
historic. After a few opening sentences, he uttered the following
significant prediction:

"'A house divided against itself cannot stand.' I believe this
government cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free. I do not
expect the Union to be dissolved--I do not expect the house to fall--but
I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or
all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further
spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the
belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates
will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the
States, old as well as new, North as well as South."

Then followed his critical analysis of the legislative objects and
consequences of the Nebraska Bill, and the judicial effects and
doctrines of the Dred Scott decision, with their attendant and related
incidents. The first of these had opened all the national territory to
slavery. The second established the constitutional interpretation that
neither Congress nor a territorial legislature could exclude slavery
from any United States territory. The President had declared Kansas to
be already practically a slave State. Douglas had announced that he did
not care whether slavery was voted down or voted up. Adding to these
many other indications of current politics, Mr. Lincoln proceeded:

"Put this and that together, and we have another nice little niche,
which we may, ere long, see filled with another Supreme Court decision
declaring that the Constitution of the United States does not permit a
State to exclude slavery from its limits.... Such a decision is all that
slavery now lacks of being alike lawful in all the States.... We shall
lie down pleasantly dreaming that the people of Missouri are on the
verge of making their State free, and we shall awake to the reality,
instead, that the Supreme Court has made Illinois a slave State."

To avert this danger, Mr. Lincoln declared it was the duty of
Republicans to overthrow both Douglas and the Buchanan political

"Two years ago the Republicans of the nation mustered over thirteen
hundred thousand strong. We did this under the single impulse of
resistance to a common danger, with every external circumstance against
us. Of strange, discordant, and even hostile elements, we gathered from
the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under the
constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud, and pampered enemy. Did we
brave all then to falter now?--now, when that same enemy is wavering,
dissevered, and belligerent? The result is not doubtful. We shall not
fail--if we stand firm, we shall not fail. Wise counsels may accelerate
or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later, the victory is sure to

Lincoln's speech excited the greatest interest everywhere throughout the
free States. The grave peril he so clearly pointed out came home to the
people of the North almost with the force of a revelation; and
thereafter their eyes were fixed upon the Illinois senatorial campaign
with undivided attention. Another incident also drew to it the equal
notice and interest of the politicians of the slave States.

Within a month from the date of Lincoln's speech, Douglas returned from
Washington and began his campaign of active speech-making in Illinois.
The fame he had acquired as the champion of the Nebraska Bill, and, more
recently, the prominence into which his opposition to the Lecompton
fraud had lifted him in Congress, attracted immense crowds to his
meetings, and for a few days it seemed as if the mere contagion of
popular enthusiasm would submerge all intelligent political discussion.
To counteract this, Mr. Lincoln, at the advice of his leading friends,
sent him a letter challenging him to joint public debate. Douglas
accepted the challenge, but with evident hesitation; and it was arranged
that they should jointly address the same meetings at seven towns in the
State, on dates extending through August, September, and October. The
terms were, that, alternately, one should speak an hour in opening, the
other an hour and a half in reply, and the first again have half an hour
in closing. This placed the contestants upon an equal footing before
their audiences. Douglas's senatorial prestige afforded him no
advantage. Face to face with the partizans of both, gathered in immense
numbers and alert with critical and jealous watchfulness, there was no
evading the square, cold, rigid test of skill in argument and truth in
principle. The processions and banners, the music and fireworks, of both
parties, were stilled and forgotten while the audience listened with
high-strung nerves to the intellectual combat of three hours' duration.

It would be impossible to give the scope and spirit of these famous
debates in the space allotted to these pages, but one of the
turning-points in the oratorical contest needs particular mention.
Northern Illinois, peopled mostly from free States, and southern
Illinois, peopled mostly from slave States, were radically opposed in
sentiment on the slavery question; even the old Whigs of central
Illinois had to a large extent joined the Democratic party, because of
their ineradicable prejudice against what they stigmatized as
"abolitionism." To take advantage of this prejudice, Douglas, in his
opening speech in the first debate at Ottawa in northern Illinois,
propounded to Lincoln a series of questions designed to commit him to
strong antislavery doctrines. He wanted to know whether Mr. Lincoln
stood pledged to the repeal of the fugitive-slave law; against the
admission of any more slave States; to the abolition of slavery in the
District of Columbia; to the prohibition of the slave trade between
different States; to prohibit slavery in all the Territories; to oppose
the acquisition of any new territory unless slavery were first
prohibited therein.

In their second joint debate at Freeport, Lincoln answered that he was
pledged to none of these propositions, except the prohibition of slavery
in all Territories of the United States. In turn he propounded four
questions to Douglas, the second of which was:

"Can the people of a United States Territory in any lawful way, against
the wish of any citizen of the United States, exclude slavery from its
limits prior to the formation of a State constitution?"

Mr. Lincoln had long and carefully studied the import and effect of this
interrogatory, and nearly a month before, in a private letter,
accurately foreshadowed Douglas's course upon it:

"You shall have hard work," he wrote, "to get him directly to the point
whether a territorial legislature has or has not the power to exclude
slavery. But if you succeed in bringing him to it--though he will be
compelled to say it possesses no such power--he will instantly take
ground that slavery cannot actually exist in the Territories unless the
people desire it and so give it protection by territorial legislation.
If this offends the South, he will let it offend them, as at all events
he means to hold on to his chances in Illinois."

On the night before the Freeport debate the question had also been
considered in a hurried caucus of Lincoln's party friends. They all
advised against propounding it, saying, "If you do, you can never be
senator." "Gentlemen," replied Lincoln, "I am killing larger game; if
Douglas answers, he can never be President, and the battle of 1860 is
worth a hundred of this."

As Lincoln had predicted, Douglas had no resource but to repeat the
sophism he had hastily invented in his Springfield speech of the
previous year.

"It matters not," replied he, "what way the Supreme Court may hereafter
decide as to the abstract question whether slavery may or may not go
into a Territory under the Constitution, the people have the lawful
means to introduce it or exclude it, as they please, for the reason that
slavery cannot exist a day or an hour anywhere unless it is supported by
local police regulations. Those police regulations can only be
established by the local legislature, and if the people are opposed to
slavery they will elect representatives to that body who will by
unfriendly legislation effectually prevent the introduction of it into
their midst. If, on the contrary, they are for it, their legislation
will favor its extension. Hence, no matter what the decision of the
Supreme Court may be on that abstract question, still the right of the
people to make a slave Territory or a free Territory is perfect and
complete under the Nebraska Bill."

In the course of the next joint debate at Jonesboro', Mr. Lincoln easily
disposed of this sophism by showing: 1. That, practically, slavery had
worked its way into Territories without "police regulations" in almost
every instance; 2. That United States courts were established to protect
and enforce rights under the Constitution; 3. That members of a
territorial legislature could not violate their oath to support the
Constitution of the United States; and, 4. That in default of
legislative support, Congress would be bound to supply it for any right
under the Constitution.

The serious aspect of the matter, however, to Douglas was not the
criticism of the Republicans, but the view taken by Southern Democratic
leaders, of his "Freeport doctrine," or doctrine of "unfriendly
legislation." His opposition to the Lecompton Constitution in the
Senate, grievous stumbling-block to their schemes as it had proved,
might yet be passed over as a reckless breach of party discipline; but
this new announcement at Freeport was unpardonable doctrinal heresy, as
rank as the abolitionism of Giddings and Lovejoy.

The Freeport joint debate took place August 27, 1858. When Congress
convened on the first Monday in December of the same year, one of the
first acts of the Democratic senators was to put him under party ban by
removing him from the chairmanship of the Committee on Territories, a
position he had held for eleven years. In due time, also, the Southern
leaders broke up the Charleston convention rather than permit him to be
nominated for President; and, three weeks later, Senator Benjamin of
Louisiana frankly set forth, in a Senate speech, the light in which they
viewed his apostacy:

"We accuse him for this, to wit: that having bargained with us upon a
point upon which we were at issue, that it should be considered a
judicial point; that he would abide the decision; that he would act
under the decision, and consider it a doctrine of the party; that having
said that to us here in the Senate, he went home, and, under the stress
of a local election, his knees gave way; his whole person trembled. His
adversary stood upon principle and was beaten; and, lo! he is the
candidate of a mighty party for the presidency of the United States. The
senator from Illinois faltered. He got the prize for which he faltered;
but, lo! the grand prize of his ambition to-day slips from his grasp,
because of his faltering in his former contest, and his success in the
canvass for the Senate, purchased for an ignoble price, has cost him the
loss of the presidency of the United States."

In addition to the seven joint debates, both Lincoln and Douglas made
speeches at separate meetings of their own during almost every day of
the three months' campaign, and sometimes two or three speeches a day.
At the election which was held on November 2, 1858, a legislature was
chosen containing fifty-four Democrats and forty-six Republicans,
notwithstanding the fact that the Republicans had a plurality of
thirty-eight hundred and twenty-one on the popular vote. But the
apportionment was based on the census of 1850, and did not reflect
recent changes in political sentiment, which, if fairly represented,
would have given them an increased strength of from six to ten members
in the legislature. Another circumstance had great influence in causing
Lincoln's defeat. Douglas's opposition to the Lecompton Constitution in
Congress had won him great sympathy among a few Republican leaders in
the Eastern States. It was even whispered that Seward wished Douglas to
succeed as a strong rebuke to the Buchanan administration. The most
potent expression and influence of this feeling came, however, from
another quarter. Senator Crittenden of Kentucky, who, since Clay's death
in 1852, was the acknowledged leader of what remained of the Whig party,
wrote a letter during the campaign, openly advocating the reëlection of
Douglas, and this, doubtless, influenced the vote of all the Illinois
Whigs who had not yet formally joined the Republican party. Lincoln's
own analysis gives, perhaps, the clearest view of the unusual political

"Douglas had three or four very distinguished men of the most extreme
antislavery views of any men in the Republican party expressing their
desire for his reëlection to the Senate last year. That would of itself
have seemed to be a little wonderful, but that wonder is heightened when
we see that Wise of Virginia, a man exactly opposed to them, a man who
believes in the divine right of slavery, was also expressing his desire
that Douglas should be reëlected; that another man that may be said to
be kindred to Wise, Mr. Breckinridge, the Vice-President, and of your
own State, was also agreeing with the antislavery men in the North that
Douglas ought to be reëlected. Still to heighten the wonder, a senator
from Kentucky, whom I have always loved with an affection as tender and
endearing as I have ever loved any man, who was opposed to the
antislavery men for reasons which seemed sufficient to him, and equally
opposed to Wise and Breckinridge, was writing letters to Illinois to
secure the reëlection of Douglas. Now that all these conflicting
elements should be brought, while at daggers' points with one another,
to support him, is a feat that is worthy for you to note and consider.
It is quite probable that each of these classes of men thought by the
reëlection of Douglas their peculiar views would gain something; it is
probable that the antislavery men thought their views would gain
something that Wise and Breckinridge thought so too, as regards their
opinions; that Mr. Crittenden thought that his views would gain
something, although he was opposed to both these other men. It is
probable that each and all of them thought they were using Douglas, and
it is yet an unsolved problem whether he was not using them all."

Lincoln, though beaten in his race for the Senate, was by no means
dismayed, nor did he lose his faith in the ultimate triumph of the cause
he had so ably championed. Writing to a friend, he said:

"You doubtless have seen ere this the result of the election here. Of
course I wished, but I did not much expect a better result.... I am glad
I made the late race. It gave me a hearing on the great and durable
question of the age, which I could have had in no other way; and though
I now sink out of view, and shall be forgotten, I believe I have made
some marks which will tell for the cause of civil liberty long after I
am gone."

And to another:

"Yours of the 13th was received some days ago. The fight must go on. The
cause of civil liberty must not be surrendered at the end of one or even
one hundred defeats. Douglas had the ingenuity to be supported in the
late contest, both as the best means to break down and to uphold the
slave interest. No ingenuity can keep these antagonistic elements in
harmony long. Another explosion will soon come."

In his "House divided against itself" speech, Lincoln had emphatically
cautioned Republicans not to be led on a false trail by the opposition
Douglas had made to the Lecompton Constitution; that his temporary
quarrel with the Buchanan administration could not be relied upon to
help overthrow that pro-slavery dynasty.

"How can he oppose the advances of slavery? He don't care anything about
it. His avowed mission is impressing the 'public heart' to care nothing
about it.... Whenever, if ever, he and we can come together on principle
so that our great cause may have assistance from his great ability, I
hope to have interposed no adventitious obstacle. But, clearly, he is
not now with us--he does not pretend to be--he does not promise ever to
be. Our cause, then, must be intrusted to, and conducted by, its own
undoubted friends--those whose hands are free, whose hearts are in the
work, who do care for the result."

Since the result of the Illinois senatorial campaign had assured the
reëlection of Douglas to the Senate, Lincoln's sage advice acquired a
double significance and value. Almost immediately after the close of the
campaign Douglas took a trip through the Southern States, and in
speeches made by him at Memphis, at New Orleans, and at Baltimore sought
to regain the confidence of Southern politicians by taking decidedly
advanced ground toward Southern views on the slavery question. On the
sugar plantations of Louisiana he said, it was not a question between
the white man and the negro, but between the negro and the crocodile. He
would say that between the negro and the crocodile, he took the side of
the negro; but between the negro and the white man, he would go for the
white man. The Almighty had drawn a line on this continent, on the one
side of which the soil must be cultivated by slave labor? on the other,
by white labor. That line did not run on 36° and 30' [the Missouri
Compromise line], for 36° and 30' runs over mountains and through
valleys. But this slave line, he said, meanders in the sugar-fields and
plantations of the South, and the people living in their different
localities and in the Territories must determine for themselves whether
their "middle belt" were best adapted to slavery or free labor. He
advocated the eventual annexation of Cuba and Central America. Still
going a step further, he laid down a far-reaching principle.

"It is a law of humanity," he said, "a law of civilization that whenever
a man or a race of men show themselves incapable of managing their own
affairs, they must consent to be governed by those who are capable of
performing the duty.... In accordance with this principle, I assert that
the negro race, under all circumstances, at all times, and in all
countries, has shown itself incapable of self-government."

This pro-slavery coquetting, however, availed him nothing, as he felt
himself obliged in the same speeches to defend his Freeport doctrine.
Having taken his seat in Congress, Senator Brown of Mississippi, toward
the close of the short session, catechized him sharply on this point.

"If the territorial legislature refuses to act," he inquired "will you
act? If it pass unfriendly acts, will you pass friendly? If it pass laws
hostile to slavery, will you annul them, and substitute laws favoring
slavery in their stead?"

There was no evading these direct questions, and Douglas answered

"I tell you, gentlemen of the South, in all candor, I do not believe a
Democratic candidate can ever carry any one Democratic State of the
North on the platform that it is the duty of the Federal government to
force the people of a Territory to have slavery when they do not want

An extended discussion between Northern and Southern Democratic
senators followed the colloquy, which showed that the Freeport doctrine
had opened up an irreparable schism between the Northern and Southern
wings of the Democratic party.

In all the speeches made by Douglas during his Southern tour, he
continually referred to Mr. Lincoln as the champion of abolitionism, and
to his doctrines as the platform of the abolition or Republican party.
The practical effect of this course was to extend and prolong the
Illinois senatorial campaign of 1858, to expand it to national breadth,
and gradually to merge it in the coming presidential campaign. The
effect of this was not only to keep before the public the position of
Lincoln as the Republican champion of Illinois, but also gradually to
lift him into general recognition as a national leader. Throughout the
year 1859 politicians and newspapers came to look upon Lincoln as the
one antagonist who could at all times be relied on to answer and refute
the Douglas arguments. His propositions were so forcible and direct, his
phraseology so apt and fresh, that they held the attention and excited
comment. A letter written by him in answer to an invitation to attend a
celebration of Jefferson's birthday in Boston, contains some notable

"Soberly, it is now no child's play to save the principles of Jefferson
from total overthrow in this nation. One would state with great
confidence that he could convince any sane child that the simpler
propositions of Euclid are true; but, nevertheless, he would fail,
utterly, with one who should deny the definitions and axioms. The
principles of Jefferson are the definitions and axioms of free society.
And yet they are denied and evaded with no small show of success. One
dashingly calls them 'glittering generalities.' Another bluntly calls
them 'self-evident lies.' And others insidiously argue that they apply
to 'superior races.' These expressions, differing in form, are identical
in object and effect--the supplanting the principles of free government,
and restoring those of classification, caste, and legitimacy. They would
delight a convocation of crowned heads plotting against the people. They
are the vanguard, the miners and sappers of returning despotism. We must
repulse them, or they will subjugate us. This is a world of
compensation; and he who would be no slave must consent to have no
slave. Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves,
and, under a just God, cannot long retain it."

Douglas's quarrel with the Buchanan administration had led many
Republicans to hope that they might be able to utilize his name and his
theory of popular sovereignty to aid them in their local campaigns.
Lincoln knew from his recent experience the peril of this delusive party
strategy, and was constant and earnest in his warnings against adopting
it. In a little speech after the Chicago municipal election on March 1,
1859, he said:

"If we, the Republicans of this State, had made Judge Douglas our
candidate for the Senate of the United States last year, and had elected
him, there would to-day be no Republican party in this Union.... Let the
Republican party of Illinois dally with Judge Douglas, let them fall in
behind him and make him their candidate, and they do not absorb him--he
absorbs them. They would come out at the end all Douglas men, all
claimed by him as having indorsed every one of his doctrines upon the
great subject with which the whole nation is engaged at this hour--that
the question of negro slavery is simply a question of dollars and
cents? that the Almighty has drawn a line across the continent, on one
side of which labor--the cultivation of the soil--must always be
performed by slaves. It would be claimed that we, like him, do not care
whether slavery is voted up or voted down. Had we made him our candidate
and given him a great majority, we should never have heard an end of
declarations by him that we had indorsed all these dogmas."

To a Kansas friend he wrote on May 14, 1859:

"You will probably adopt resolutions in the nature of a platform. I
think the only temptation will be to lower the Republican standard in
order to gather recruits In my judgment, such a step would be a serious
mistake, and open a gap through which more would pass out than pass in.
And this would be the same whether the letting down should be in
deference to Douglasism, or to the Southern opposition element; either
would surrender the object of the Republican organization--the
preventing of the spread and nationalization of slavery.... Let a union
be attempted on the basis of ignoring the slavery question, and
magnifying other questions which the people are just now not caring
about, and it will result in gaining no single electoral vote in the
South, and losing every one in the North."

To Schuyler Colfax (afterward Vice-President) he said in a letter dated
July 6, 1859:

"My main object in such conversation would be to hedge against divisions
in the Republican ranks generally and particularly for the contest of
1860. The point of danger is the temptation in different localities to
'platform' for something which will be popular just there, but which,
nevertheless, will be a firebrand elsewhere and especially in a national
convention. As instances: the movement against foreigners in
Massachusetts; in New Hampshire, to make obedience to the
fugitive-slave law punishable as a crime; in Ohio, to repeal the
fugitive-slave law; and squatter sovereignty, in Kansas. In these things
there is explosive matter enough to blow up half a dozen national
conventions, if it gets into them; and what gets very rife outside of
conventions is very likely to find its way into them."

And again, to another warm friend in Columbus, Ohio, he wrote in a
letter dated July 28, 1859:

"There is another thing our friends are doing which gives me some
uneasiness. It is their leaning toward 'popular sovereignty.' There are
three substantial objections to this. First, no party can command
respect which sustains this year what it opposed last. Secondly Douglas
(who is the most dangerous enemy of liberty, because the most insidious
one) would have little support in the North, and, by consequence, no
capital to trade on in the South, if it were not for his friends thus
magnifying him and his humbug. But lastly, and chiefly, Douglas's
popular sovereignty, accepted by the public mind as a just principle,
nationalizes slavery, and revives the African slave-trade inevitably.
Taking slaves into new Territories, and buying slaves in Africa, are
identical things, identical rights or identical wrongs, and the argument
which establishes one will establish the other. Try a thousand years for
a sound reason why Congress shall not hinder the people of Kansas from
having slaves, and when you have found it, it will be an equally good
one why Congress should not hinder the people of Georgia from importing
slaves from Africa."

An important election occurred in the State of Ohio in the autumn of
1859, and during the canvass Douglas made two speeches in which, as
usual, his pointed attacks were directed against Lincoln by name. Quite
naturally, the Ohio Republicans called Lincoln to answer him, and the
marked impression created by Lincoln's replies showed itself not alone
in their unprecedented circulation in print in newspapers and pamphlets,
but also in the decided success which the Ohio Republicans gained at the
polls. About the same time, also, Douglas printed a long political essay
in "Harper's Magazine," using as a text quotations from Lincoln's "House
divided against itself" speech, and Seward's Rochester speech defining
the "irrepressible conflict." Attorney-General Black of President
Buchanan's cabinet here entered the lists with an anonymously printed
pamphlet in pungent criticism of Douglas's "Harper" essay; which again
was followed by reply and rejoinder on both sides.

Into this field of overheated political controversy the news of the John
Brown raid at Harper's Ferry on Sunday, October 19, fell with startling
portent. The scattering and tragic fighting in the streets of the little
town on Monday; the dramatic capture of the fanatical leader on Tuesday
by a detachment of Federal marines under the command of Robert E. Lee,
the famous Confederate general of subsequent years; the undignified
haste of his trial and condemnation by the Virginia authorities; the
interviews of Governor Wise, Senator Mason, and Representative
Vallandigham with the prisoner; his sentence, and execution on the
gallows on December 2; and the hysterical laudations of his acts by a
few prominent and extreme abolitionists in the East, kept public
opinion, both North and South, in an inflamed and feverish state for
nearly six weeks.

Mr. Lincoln's habitual freedom from passion, and the steady and
common-sense judgment he applied to this exciting event, which threw
almost everybody into an extreme of feeling or utterance, are well
illustrated by the temperate criticism he made of it a few months later:

"John Brown's effort was peculiar. It was not a slave insurrection. It
was an attempt by white men to get up a revolt among slaves, in which
the slaves refused to participate. In fact, it was so absurd that the
slaves, with all their ignorance, saw plainly enough it could not
succeed. That affair, in its philosophy, corresponds with the many
attempts, related in history, at the assassination of kings and
emperors. An enthusiast broods over the oppression of a people till he
fancies himself commissioned by Heaven to liberate them. He ventures the
attempt, which ends in little else than his own execution. Orsini's
attempt on Louis Napoleon and John Brown's attempt at Harper's Ferry
were, in their philosophy, precisely the same. The eagerness to cast
blame on old England in the one case, and on New England in the other,
does not disprove the sameness of the two things."


Lincoln's Kansas Speeches--The Cooper Institute Speech--New England
Speeches--The Democratic Schism--Senator Brown's Resolutions--Jefferson
Davis's Resolutions--The Charleston Convention--Majority and Minority
Reports--Cotton State Delegations Secede--Charleston Convention
Adjourns--Democratic Baltimore Convention Splits--Breckinridge
Nominated--Douglas Nominated--Bell Nominated by Union Constitutional
Convention--Chicago Convention--Lincoln's Letters to Pickett and
Judd--The Pivotal States--Lincoln Nominated

During the month of December, 1859, Mr. Lincoln was invited to the
Territory of Kansas, where he made speeches at a number of its new and
growing towns. In these speeches he laid special emphasis upon the
necessity of maintaining undiminished the vigor of the Republican
organization and the high plane of the Republican doctrine.

"We want, and must have," said he, "a national policy as to slavery
which deals with it as being a wrong. Whoever would prevent slavery
becoming national and perpetual yields all when he yields to a policy
which treats it either as being right, or as being a matter of
indifference." "To effect our main object we have to employ auxiliary
means. We must hold conventions, adopt platforms, select candidates, and
carry elections. At every step we must be true to the main purpose. If
we adopt a platform falling short of our principle, or elect a man
rejecting our principle, we not only take nothing affirmative by our
success, but we draw upon us the positive embarrassment of seeming
ourselves to have abandoned our principle."

A still more important service, however, in giving the Republican
presidential campaign of 1860 precise form and issue was rendered by him
during the first three months of the new year. The public mind had
become so preoccupied with the dominant subject of national politics,
that a committee of enthusiastic young Republicans of New York and
Brooklyn arranged a course of public lectures by prominent statesmen and
Mr. Lincoln was invited to deliver the third one of the series. The
meeting took place in the hall of the Cooper Institute in New York, on
the evening of February 27, 1860; and the audience was made up of ladies
and gentlemen comprising the leading representatives of the wealth,
culture, and influence of the great metropolis.

Mr. Lincoln's name and arguments had filled so large a space in Eastern
newspapers, both friendly and hostile, that the listeners before him
were intensely curious to see and hear this rising Western politician.
The West was even at that late day but imperfectly understood by the
East. The poets and editors, the bankers and merchants of New York
vaguely remembered having read in their books that it was the home of
Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett, the country of bowie-knives and pistols,
of steamboat explosions and mobs, of wild speculation and the
repudiation of State debts; and these half-forgotten impressions had
lately been vividly recalled by a several years' succession of newspaper
reports retailing the incidents of Border Ruffian violence and
free-State guerrilla reprisals during the civil war in Kansas. What was
to be the type, the character, the language of this speaker? How would
he impress the great editor Horace Greeley, who sat among the invited
guests? David Dudley Field, the great lawyer, who escorted him to the
platform; William Cullen Bryant, the great poet, who presided over the

Judging from after effects, the audience quickly forgot these
questioning thoughts. They had but time to note Mr. Lincoln's impressive
stature, his strongly marked features, the clear ring of his rather
high-pitched voice, and the almost commanding earnestness of his manner.
His beginning foreshadowed a dry argument using as a text Douglas's
phrase that "our fathers, when they framed the government under which we
live, understood this question just as well and even better than we do
now," But the concise statements, the strong links of reasoning, and the
irresistible conclusions of the argument with which the speaker followed
his close historical analysis of how "our fathers" understood "this
question," held every listener as though each were individually merged
in the speaker's thought and demonstration.

"It is surely safe to assume," said he, with emphasis, "that the
thirty-nine framers of the original Constitution and the seventy-six
members of the Congress which framed the amendments thereto, taken
together, do certainly include those who may be fairly called 'our
fathers who framed the government under which we live.' And, so
assuming, I defy any man to show that any one of them ever, in his whole
life, declared that, in his understanding, any proper division of local
from Federal authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbade the
Federal government to control as to slavery in the Federal Territories."

With equal skill he next dissected the complaints, the demands, and the
threats to dissolve the Union made by the Southern States, pointed out
their emptiness, their fallacy, and their injustice, and defined the
exact point and center of the agitation.

"Holding, as they do," said he, "that slavery is morally right and
socially elevating, they cannot cease to demand a full national
recognition of it, as a legal right and a social blessing. Nor can we
justifiably withhold this on any ground, save our conviction that
slavery is wrong. If slavery is right, all words, acts, laws, and
constitutions against it are themselves wrong, and should be silenced
and swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly object to its
nationality--its universality! If it is wrong, they cannot justly insist
upon its extension--its enlargement. All they ask we could readily
grant, if we thought slavery right; all we ask they could as readily
grant, if they thought it wrong. Their thinking it right, and our
thinking it wrong, is the precise fact upon which depends the whole
controversy.... Wrong as we think slavery is we can yet afford to let it
alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising
from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will
prevent it, allow it to spread into the national Territories, and to
overrun us here in the free States? If our sense of duty forbids this,
then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be
diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so
industriously plied and belabored, contrivances such as groping for some
middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a
man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man; such as a policy
of 'don't care,' on a question about which all true men do care; such as
Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to disunionists;
reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the
righteous to repentance; such as invocations to Washington, imploring
men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washington did. Neither
let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor
frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the government nor of
dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in
that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it."

The close attention bestowed on its delivery, the hearty applause that
greeted its telling points, and the enthusiastic comments of the
Republican journals next morning showed that Lincoln's Cooper Institute
speech had taken New York by storm. It was printed in full in four of
the leading New York dailies, and at once went into large circulation in
carefully edited pamphlet editions. From New York, Lincoln made a tour
of speech-making through several of the New England States, and was
everywhere received with enthusiastic welcome and listened to with an
eagerness that bore a marked result in their spring elections. The
interest of the factory men who listened to these addresses was equaled,
perhaps excelled, by the gratified surprise of college professors when
they heard the style and method of a popular Western orator that would
bear the test of their professional criticism and compare with the best
examples in their standard text-books.

The attitude of the Democratic party in the coming presidential campaign
was now also rapidly taking shape. Great curiosity existed whether the
radical differences between its Northern and Southern wings could by any
possibility be removed or adjusted, whether the adherents of Douglas and
those of Buchanan could be brought to join in a common platform and in
the support of a single candidate. The Democratic leaders in the
Southern States had become more and more out-spoken in their pro-slavery
demands. They had advanced step by step from the repeal of the Missouri
Compromise in 1854, the attempt to capture Kansas by Missouri invasions
in 1855 and 1856, the support of the Dred Scott decision and the
Lecompton fraud in 1857, the repudiation of Douglas's Freeport heresy in
1858, to the demand for a congressional slave code for the Territories
and the recognition of the doctrine of property in slaves. These last
two points they had distinctly formulated in the first session of the
Thirty-sixth Congress. On January 18, 1860, Senator Brown of Mississippi
introduced into the Senate two resolutions, one asserting the
nationality of slavery, the other that, when necessary, Congress should
pass laws for its protection in the Territories. On February 2 Jefferson
Davis introduced another series of resolutions intended to serve as a
basis for the national Democratic platform, the central points of which
were that the right to take and hold slaves in the Territories could
neither be impaired nor annulled, and that it was the duty of Congress
to supply any deficiency of laws for its protection. Perhaps even more
significant than these formulated doctrines was the pro-slavery spirit
manifested in the congressional debates. Two months were wasted in a
parliamentary struggle to prevent the election of the Republican, John
Sherman, as Speaker of the House of Representatives, because the
Southern members charged that he had recommended an "abolition" book;
during which time the most sensational and violent threats of disunion
were made in both the House and the Senate, containing repeated
declarations that they would never submit to the inauguration of a
"Black Republican" President.

When the national Democratic convention met at Charleston, on April 23,
1860, there at once became evident the singular condition that the
delegates from the free States were united and enthusiastic in their
determination to secure the nomination of Douglas as the Democratic
candidate for President, while the delegates from the slave States were
equally united and determined upon forcing the acceptance of an extreme
pro-slavery platform. All expectations of a compromise, all hope of
coming to an understanding by juggling omissions or evasions in their
declaration of party principles were quickly dissipated. The platform
committee, after three days and nights of fruitless effort, presented
two antagonistic reports. The majority report declared that neither
Congress nor a territorial legislature could abolish or prohibit slavery
in the Territories, and that it was the duty of the Federal government
to protect it when necessary. To this doctrine the Northern members
could not consent; but they were willing to adopt the ambiguous
declaration that property rights in slaves were judicial in their
character, and that they would abide the decisions of the Supreme Court
on such questions.

The usual expedient of recommitting both reports brought no relief from
the deadlock. A second majority and a second minority report exhibited
the same irreconcilable divergence in slightly different language, and
the words of mutual defiance exchanged in debating the first report rose
to a parliamentary storm when the second came under discussion. On the
seventh day the convention came to a vote, and, the Northern delegates
being in the majority, the minority report was substituted for that of
the majority of the committee by one hundred and sixty-five to one
hundred and thirty-eight delegates--in other words, the Douglas
platform was declared adopted. Upon this the delegates of the cotton
States--Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida, Texas,
and Arkansas--withdrew from the convention. It soon appeared, however,
that the Douglas delegates had achieved only a barren victory. Their
majority could indeed adopt a platform, but, under the acknowledged
two-thirds rule which governs Democratic national conventions, they had
not sufficient votes to nominate their candidate. During the fifty-seven
ballots taken, the Douglas men could muster only one hundred and
fifty-two and one half votes of the two hundred and two necessary to a
choice; and to prevent mere slow disintegration the convention adjourned
on the tenth day, under a resolution to reassemble in Baltimore on June

Nothing was gained, however, by the delay. In the interim, Jefferson
Davis and nineteen other Southern leaders published an address
commending the withdrawal of the cotton States delegates, and in a
Senate debate Davis laid down the plain proposition, "We want nothing
more than a simple declaration that negro slaves are property, and we
want the recognition of the obligation of the Federal government to
protect that property like all other."

Upon the reassembling of the Charleston convention at Baltimore, it
underwent a second disruption on the fifth day; the Northern wing
nominated Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, and the Southern wing John C.
Breckinridge of Kentucky as their respective candidates for President.
In the meanwhile, also, regular and irregular delegates from some
twenty-two States, representing fragments of the old Whig party, had
convened at Baltimore on May 9 and nominated John Bell of Tennessee as
their candidate for President, upon a platform ignoring the slavery
issue and declaring that they would "recognize no other political
principle than the Constitution of the country, the union of the States,
and the enforcement of the laws."

In the long contest between slavery extension and slavery restriction
which was now approaching its culmination the growing demands and
increasing bitterness of the pro-slavery party had served in an equal
degree to intensify the feelings and stimulate the efforts of the
Republican party; and, remembering the encouraging opposition strength
which the united vote of Frémont and Fillmore had shown in 1856, they
felt encouraged to hope for possible success in 1860, since the Fillmore
party had practically disappeared throughout the free States. When,
therefore, the Charleston convention was rent asunder and adjourned on
May 10 without making a nomination, the possibility of Republican
victory seemed to have risen to probability. Such a feeling inspired the
eager enthusiasm of the delegates to the Republican national convention
which met, according to appointment, at Chicago on May 16.

A large, temporary wooden building, christened "The Wigwam," had been
erected in which to hold its sessions, and it was estimated that ten
thousand persons were assembled in it to witness the proceedings.
William H. Seward of New York was recognized as the leading candidate,
but Chase of Ohio, Cameron of Pennsylvania, Bates of Missouri, and
several prominent Republicans from other States were known to have
active and zealous followers. The name of Abraham Lincoln had also often
been mentioned during his growing fame, and, fully a year before, an
ardent Republican editor of Illinois had requested permission to
announce him in his newspaper. Lincoln, however, discouraged such
action at that time, answering him:

"As to the other matter you kindly mention, I must in candor say I do
not think myself fit for the presidency. I certainly am flattered and
gratified that some partial friends think of me in that connection; but
I really think it best for our cause that no concerted effort, such as
you suggest, should be made."

He had given an equally positive answer to an eager Ohio friend in the
preceding July; but about Christmas 1859, an influential caucus of his
strongest Illinois adherents made a personal request that he would
permit them to use his name, and he gave his consent, not so much in any
hope of becoming the nominee for President, as in possibly reaching the
second place on the ticket; or at least of making such a showing of
strength before the convention as would aid him in his future senatorial
ambition at home, or perhaps carry him into the cabinet of the
Republican President, should one succeed. He had not been eager to enter
the lists, but once having agreed to do so, it was but natural that he
should manifest a becoming interest, subject, however, now as always, to
his inflexible rule of fair dealing and honorable faith to all his party

"I do not understand Trumbull and myself to be rivals," he wrote
December 9, 1859. "You know I am pledged not to enter a struggle with
him for the seat in the Senate now occupied by him; and yet I would
rather have a full term in the Senate than in the presidency."

And on February 9 he wrote to the same Illinois friend:

"I am not in a position where it would hurt much for me not to be
nominated on the national ticket; but I am where it would hurt some for
me not to get the Illinois delegates. What I expected when I wrote the
the letter to Messrs. Dole and others is now happening. Your discomfited
assailants are most bitter against me; and they will, for revenge upon
me, lay to the Bates egg in the South, and to the Seward egg in the
North, and go far toward squeezing me out in the middle with nothing.
Can you not help me a little in this matter in your end of the

It turned out that the delegates whom the Illinois State convention sent
to the national convention at Chicago were men not only of exceptional
standing and ability, but filled with the warmest zeal for Mr. Lincoln's
success; and they were able at once to impress upon delegates from other
States his sterling personal worth and fitness, and his superior
availability. It needed but little political arithmetic to work out the
sum of existing political chances. It was almost self-evident that in
the coming November election victory or defeat would hang upon the
result in the four pivotal States of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana,
and Illinois. It was quite certain that no Republican candidate could
carry a single one of the fifteen slave States; and equally sure that
Breckinridge, on his extreme pro-slavery platform, could not carry a
single one of the eighteen free States. But there was a chance that one
or more of these four pivotal free States might cast its vote for
Douglas and popular sovereignty.

A candidate was needed, therefore, who could successfully cope with
Douglas and the Douglas theory; and this ability had been convincingly
demonstrated by Lincoln. As a mere personal choice, a majority of the
convention would have preferred Seward; but in the four pivotal States
there were many voters who believed Seward's antislavery views to be
too radical. They shrank apprehensively from the phrase in one of his
speeches that "there is a higher law than the Constitution." These
pivotal States all lay adjoining slave States, and their public opinion
was infected with something of the undefined dread of "abolitionism."
When the delegates of the pivotal States were interviewed, they frankly
confessed that they could not carry their States for Seward, and that
would mean certain defeat if he were the nominee for President. For
their voters Lincoln stood on more acceptable ground. His speeches had
been more conservative; his local influence in his own State of Illinois
was also a factor not to be idly thrown away.

Plain, practical reasoning of this character found ready acceptance
among the delegates to the convention. Their eagerness for the success
of the cause largely overbalanced their personal preferences for
favorite aspirants. When the convention met, the fresh, hearty
hopefulness of its members was a most inspiring reflection of the public
opinion in the States that sent them. They went at their work with an
earnestness which was an encouraging premonition of success, and they
felt a gratifying support in the presence of the ten thousand spectators
who looked on at their work. Few conventions have ever been pervaded by
such a depth of feeling, or exhibited such a reserve of latent
enthusiasm. The cheers that greeted the entrance of popular favorites,
and the short speeches on preliminary business, ran and rolled through
the great audience in successive moving waves of sound that were echoed
and reëchoed from side to side of the vast building. Not alone the
delegates on the central platform, but the multitude of spectators as
well, felt that they were playing a part in a great historical event.

The temporary, and afterward the permanent organization, was finished on
the first day, with somewhat less than usual of the wordy and
tantalizing small talk which these routine proceedings always call
forth. On the second day the platform committee submitted its work,
embodying the carefully considered and skilfully framed body of
doctrines upon which the Republican party, made up only four years
before from such previously heterogeneous and antagonistic political
elements was now able to find common and durable ground of agreement.
Around its central tenet, which denied "the authority of Congress, of a
territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence
to slavery in any territory of the United States," were grouped vigorous
denunciations of the various steps and incidents of the pro-slavery
reaction, and its prospective demands; while its positive
recommendations embraced the immediate admission of Kansas, free
homesteads to actual settlers, river and harbor improvements of a
national character, a railroad to the Pacific Ocean, and the maintenance
of existing naturalization laws.

The platform was about to be adopted without objection when a flurry of
discussion arose over an amendment, proposed by Mr. Giddings of Ohio, to
incorporate in it that phrase of the Declaration of Independence which
declares the right of all men to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness. Impatience was at once manifested lest any change should
produce endless delay and dispute. "I believe in the Ten Commandments,"
commented a member, "but I do not want them in a political platform";
and the proposition was voted down. Upon this the old antislavery
veteran felt himself agrieved, and, taking up his hat, marched out of
the convention. In the course of an hour's desultory discussion
however, a member, with stirring oratorical emphasis, asked whether the
convention was prepared to go upon record before the country as voting
down the words of the Declaration of Independence--whether the men of
1860, on the free prairies of the West, quailed before repeating the
words enunciated by the men of '76 at Philadelphia. In an impulse of
patriotic reaction, the amendment was incorporated into the platform,
and Mr. Giddings was brought back by his friends, his face beaming with
triumph; and the stormy acclaim of the audience manifested the deep
feeling which the incident evoked.

On the third day it was certain that balloting would begin, and crowds
hurried to the Wigwam in a fever of curiosity. Having grown restless at
the indispensable routine preliminaries, when Mr. Evarts nominated
William H. Seward of New York for President, they greeted his name with
a perfect storm of applause. Then Mr. Judd nominated Abraham Lincoln of
Illinois and in the tremendous cheering that broke from the throats of
his admirers and followers the former demonstration dwindled to
comparative feebleness. Again and again these contests of lungs and
enthusiasm were repeated as the choice of New York was seconded by
Michigan, and that of Illinois by Indiana.

When other names had been duly presented, the cheering at length
subsided, and the chairman announced that balloting would begin. Many
spectators had provided themselves with tally-lists, and when the first
roll-call was completed were able at once to perceive the drift of
popular preference. Cameron, Chase, Bates, McLean, Dayton, and Collamer
were indorsed by the substantial votes of their own States; but two
names stood out in marked superiority: Seward, who had received one
hundred and seventy-three and one half votes, and Lincoln, one hundred
and two.

The New York delegation was so thoroughly persuaded of the final success
of their candidate that they did not comprehend the significance of this
first ballot. Had they reflected that their delegation alone had
contributed seventy votes to Seward's total, they would have understood
that outside of the Empire State, upon this first showing, Lincoln held
their favorite almost an even race. As the second ballot progressed,
their anxiety visibly increased. They watched with eagerness as the
complimentary votes first cast for State favorites were transferred now
to one, now to the other of the recognized leaders in the contest, and
their hopes sank when the result of the second ballot was announced:
Seward, one hundred and eighty-four and one half, Lincoln, one hundred
and eighty-one; and a volume of applause, which was with difficulty
checked by the chairman, shook the Wigwam at this announcement.

Then followed a short interval of active caucusing in the various
delegations, while excited men went about rapidly interchanging
questions, solicitations, and messages between delegations from
different States. Neither candidate had yet received a majority of all
the votes cast, and the third ballot was begun amid a deep, almost
painful suspense, delegates and spectators alike recording each
announcement of votes on their tally-sheets with nervous fingers. But
the doubt was of short duration. The second ballot had unmistakably
pointed out the winning man. Hesitating delegations and fragments from
many States steadily swelled the Lincoln column. Long before the
secretaries made the official announcement, the totals had been figured
up: Lincoln, two hundred and thirty one and one half, Seward, one
hundred and eighty. Counting the scattering votes, four hundred and
sixty-five ballots had been cast, and two hundred and thirty-three were
necessary to a choice. Seward had lost four and one half, Lincoln had
gained fifty and one half, and only one and one half votes more were
needed to make a nomination.

The Wigwam suddenly became as still as a church, and everybody leaned
forward to see whose voice would break the spell. Before the lapse of a
minute, David K. Cartter sprang upon his chair and reported a change of
four Ohio votes from Chase to Lincoln. Then a teller shouted a name
toward the skylight, and the boom of cannon from the roof of the Wigwam
announced the nomination and started the cheering of the overjoyed
Illinoisans down the long Chicago streets; while in the Wigwam,
delegation after delegation changed its vote to the victor amid a tumult
of hurrahs. When quiet was somewhat restored, Mr. Evarts, speaking for
New York and for Seward, moved to make the nomination unanimous, and Mr.
Browning gracefully returned the thanks of Illinois for the honor the
convention had conferred upon the State. In the afternoon the convention
completed its work by nominating Hannibal Hamlin of Maine for
Vice-President; and as the delegates sped homeward in the night trains,
they witnessed, in the bonfires and cheering crowds at the stations,
that a memorable presidential campaign was already begun.


Candidates and Platforms--The Political Chances--Decatur Lincoln
Resolution--John Hanks and the Lincoln Rails--The Rail-Splitter
Candidate--The Wide-Awakes--Douglas's Southern Tour--Jefferson Davis's
Address--Fusion--Lincoln at the State House--The Election Result

The nomination of Lincoln at Chicago completed the preparations of the
different parties of the country for the presidential contest of 1860;
and presented the unusual occurrence of an appeal to the voters of the
several States by four distinct political organizations. In the order of
popular strength which they afterward developed, they were:

1. The Republican party, whose platform declared in substance that
slavery was wrong, and that its further extension should be prohibited
by Congress. Its candidates were Abraham Lincoln of Illinois for
President and Hannibal Hamlin of Maine for Vice-president.

2. The Douglas wing of the Democratic party, which declared indifference
whether slavery were right or wrong, extended or prohibited, and
proposed to permit the people of a Territory to decide whether they
would prevent or establish it. Its candidates were Stephen A. Douglas of
Illinois for President, and Herschel V. Johnson of Georgia for

3. The Buchanan wing of the Democratic party, which declared that
slavery was right and beneficial, and whose policy was to extend the
institution, and create new slave States. Its candidates were John C.
Breckinridge of Kentucky for President, and Joseph Lane of Oregon for

4. The Constitutional Union party, which professed to ignore the
question of slavery, and declared it would recognize no political
principles other than "the Constitution of the country, the union of the
States, and the enforcement of the laws." Its candidates were John Bell
of Tennessee for President, and Edward Everett of Massachusetts for

In the array of these opposing candidates and their platforms, it could
be easily calculated from the very beginning that neither Lincoln nor
Douglas had any chance to carry a slave State, nor Breckinridge nor Bell
to carry a free State; and that neither Douglas in the free States, nor
Bell in either section could obtain electoral votes enough to succeed.
Therefore, but two alternatives seemed probable. Either Lincoln would be
chosen by electoral votes, or, upon his failure to obtain a sufficient
number, the election would be thrown into the House of Representatives,
in which case the course of combination, chance, or intrigue could not
be foretold. The political situation and its possible results thus
involved a degree of uncertainty sufficient to hold out a contingent
hope to all the candidates and to inspire the followers of each to
active exertion. This hope and inspiration, added to the hot temper
which the long discussion of antagonistic principles had engendered,
served to infuse into the campaign enthusiasm, earnestness, and even
bitterness, according to local conditions in the different sections.

In campaign enthusiasm the Republican party easily took the lead. About
a week before his nomination, Mr. Lincoln had been present at the
Illinois State convention at Decatur in Coles County, not far from the
old Lincoln home, when, at a given signal, there marched into the
convention old John Hanks, one of his boyhood companions, and another
pioneer, who bore on their shoulders two long fence rails decorated with
a banner inscribed: "Two rails from a lot made by Abraham Lincoln and
John Hanks in the Sangamon Bottom in the year 1830." They were greeted
with a tremendous shout of applause from the whole convention succeeded
by a united call for Lincoln, who sat on the platform. The tumult would
not subside until he rose to speak, when he said:

"GENTLEMEN: I suppose you want to know something about those things
[pointing to old John and the rails]. Well, the truth is, John Hanks and
I did make rails in the Sagamon Bottom. I don't know whether we made
those rails or not; fact is, I don't think they are a credit to the
makers [laughing as he spoke]. But I do know this: I made rails then,
and I think I could make better ones than these now."

Still louder cheering followed this short, but effective reply. But the
convention was roused to its full warmth of enthusiasm when a resolution
was immediately and unanimously adopted declaring that "Abraham Lincoln
is the first choice of the Republican party of Illinois for the
Presidency," and directing the delegates to the Chicago convention "to
use all honorable means to secure his nomination, and to cast the vote
of the State as a unit for him."

It was this resolution which the Illinois delegation had so successfully
carried out at Chicago. And, besides they had carried with them the two
fence rails, and set them up in state at the Lincoln headquarters at
their hotel, where enthusiastic lady friends gaily trimmed them with
flowers and ribbons and lighted them up with tapers. These slight
preliminaries, duly embellished in the newspapers, gave the key to the
Republican campaign, which designated Lincoln as the Rail-splitter
Candidate, and, added to his common Illinois sobriquet of "Honest Old
Abe," furnished both country and city campaign orators a powerfully
sympathetic appeal to the rural and laboring element of the United

When these homely but picturesque appellations were fortified by the
copious pamphlet and newspaper biographies in which people read the
story of his humble beginnings, and how he had risen, by dint of simple,
earnest work and native genius, through privation and difficulty, first
to fame and leadership in his State, and now to fame and leadership in
the nation, they grew quickly into symbols of a faith and trust destined
to play no small part in a political revolution of which the people at
large were not as yet even dreaming.

Another feature of the campaign also quickly developed itself. On the
preceding 5th of March, one of Mr. Lincoln's New England speeches had
been made at Hartford, Connecticut; and at its close he was escorted to
his hotel by a procession of the local Republican club, at the head of
which marched a few of its members bearing torches and wearing caps and
capes of glazed oilcloth, the primary purpose of which was to shield
their clothes from the dripping oil of their torches. Both the
simplicity and the efficiency of the uniform caught the popular eye, as
did also the name, "Wide-Awakes," applied to them by the "Hartford
Courant." The example found quick imitation in Hartford and adjoining
towns, and when Mr. Lincoln was made candidate for President, every
city, town, and nearly every village in the North, within a brief space,
had its organized Wide-Awake club, with their half-military uniform and
drill; and these clubs were often, later in the campaign, gathered into
imposing torch-light processions, miles in length, on occasions of
important party meetings and speech-making. It was the revived spirit of
the Harrison campaign of twenty years before; but now, shorn of its fun
and frolic, it was strengthened by the power of organization and the
tremendous impetus of earnest devotion to a high principle.

It was a noteworthy feature of the campaign that the letters of
acceptance of all the candidates, either in distinct words or
unmistakable implication, declared devotion to the Union, while at the
same time the adherents of each were charging disunion sentiments and
intentions upon the other three parties. Douglas himself made a tour of
speech-making through the Southern States, in which, while denouncing
the political views of both Lincoln and Breckinridge, he nevertheless
openly declared, in response to direct questions, that no grievance
could justify disunion, and that he was ready "to put the hemp around
the neck and hang any man who would raise the arm of resistance to the
constituted authorities of the country."

During the early part of the campaign the more extreme Southern
fire-eaters abated somewhat of their violent menaces of disunion.
Between the Charleston and the Baltimore Democratic conventions an
address published by Jefferson Davis and other prominent leaders had
explained that the seventeen Democratic States which had voted at
Charleston for the seceders' platform could, if united with Pennsylvania
alone, elect the Democratic nominees against all opposition. This hope
doubtless floated before their eyes like a will-o'-the-wisp until the
October elections dispelled all possibility of securing Pennsylvania for
Breckinridge. From that time forward there began a renewal of disunion
threats, which, by their constant increase throughout the South,
prepared the public mind of that section for the coming secession.

As the chances of Republican success gradually grew stronger, an
undercurrent of combination developed itself among those politicians of
the three opposing parties more devoted to patronage than principle, to
bring about the fusion of Lincoln's opponents on some agreed ratio of a
division of the spoils. Such a combination made considerable progress in
the three Northern States of New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. It
appears to have been engineered mainly by the Douglas faction, though,
it must be said to his credit, against the open and earnest protest of
Douglas himself. But the thrifty plotters cared little for his

By the secret manipulations of conventions and committees a fusion
electoral ticket was formed in New York, made up of adherents of the
three different factions in the following proportion: Douglas, eighteen;
Bell, ten; Breckinridge, seven; and the whole opposition vote of the
State of New York was cast for this fusion ticket. The same tactics were
pursued in Pennsylvania, where, however, the agreement was not so openly
avowed. One third of the Pennsylvania fusion electoral candidates were
pledged to Douglas; the division of the remaining two thirds between
Bell and Breckinridge was not made public. The bulk of the Pennsylvania
opposition vote was cast for this fusion ticket, but a respectable
percentage refused to be bargained away, and voted directly for Douglas
or Bell. In New Jersey a definite agreement was reached by the managers,
and an electoral ticket formed, composed of two adherents of Bell, two
of Breckinridge, and three of Douglas; and in this State a practical
result was effected by the movement. A fraction of the Douglas voters
formed a straight electoral ticket, adopting the three Douglas
candidates on the fusion ticket, and by this action these three Douglas
electors received a majority vote in New Jersey, On the whole, however,
the fusion movement proved ineffectual to defeat Lincoln and, indeed, it
would not have done so even had the fusion electoral tickets deceived a
majority in all three of the above-named States.

The personal habits and surroundings of Mr. Lincoln were varied
somewhat, though but slightly, during the whole of this election summer.
Naturally, he withdrew at once from active work, leaving his law office
and his whole law business to his partner, William H. Herndon; while his
friends installed him in the governor's room in the State House at
Springfield, which was not otherwise needed during the absence of the
legislature. Here he spent the time during the usual business hours of
the day, attended only by his private secretary, Mr. Nicolay. Friends
and strangers alike were thus able to visit him freely and without
ceremony and they availed themselves largely of the opportunity. Few, if
any, went away without being favorably impressed by his hearty Western
greeting, and the frank sincerity of his manner and conversation, in
which, naturally, all subjects of controversy were courteously and
instinctively avoided by both the candidate and his visitors.

By none was this free, neighborly intercourse enjoyed more than by the
old-time settlers of Sangamon and the adjoining counties, who came to
revive the incidents and memories of pioneer days with one who could
give them such thorough and appreciative interest and sympathy. He
employed no literary bureau, wrote no public letters, made no set or
impromptu speeches, except that once or twice during great political
meetings at Springfield he uttered a few words of greeting and thanks to
passing street processions. All these devices of propagandism he left to
the leaders and committees of his adherents in their several States.
Even the strictly confidential letters in which he indicated his advice
on points in the progress of the campaign did not exceed a dozen in
number; and when politicians came to interview him at Springfield, he
received them in the privacy of his own home, and generally their
presence created little or no public notice. Cautious politician as he
was, he did not permit himself to indulge in any over-confidence, but
then, as always before, showed unusual skill in estimating political
chances. Thus he wrote about a week after the Chicago convention:

"So far as I can learn, the nominations start well everywhere; and, if
they get no backset, it would seem as if they are going through."

Again, on July 4:

"Long before this you have learned who was nominated at Chicago. We know
not what a day may bring forth, but to-day it looks as if the Chicago
ticket will be elected."

And on September 22, to a friend in Oregon:

"No one on this side of the mountains pretends that any ticket can be
elected by the people, unless it be ours. Hence, great efforts to
combine against us are being made, which, however, as yet have not had
much success Besides what we see in the newspapers, I have a good deal
of private correspondence; and, without giving details, I will only say
it all looks very favorable to our success."

His judgment was abundantly verified at the presidential election,
which occurred upon November 6, 1860. Lincoln electors were chosen in
every one of the free States except New Jersey, where, as has already
been stated, three Douglas electors received majorities because their
names were on both the fusion ticket and the straight Douglas ticket;
while the other four Republican electors in that State succeeded. Of the
slave States, eleven chose Breckinridge electors, three of them Bell
electors, and one of them--Missouri--Douglas electors. As provided by
law, the electors met in their several States on December 5, to
officially cast their votes, and on February 13, 1861, Congress in joint
session of the two Houses made the official count as follows: for
Lincoln, one hundred and eighty; for Breckinridge, seventy-two; for
Bell, thirty-nine; and for Douglas, twelve; giving Lincoln a clear
majority of fifty-seven in the whole electoral college. Thereupon
Breckinridge, who presided over the joint session, officially declared
that Abraham Lincoln was duly elected President of the United States for
four years, beginning March 4, 1861.


Lincoln's Cabinet Program--Members from the South--Questions and
Answers--Correspondence with Stephens--Action of Congress--Peace
Convention--Preparation of the Inaugural--Lincoln's Farewell
Address--The Journey to Washington--Lincoln's Midnight Journey

During the long presidential campaign of 1860, between the Chicago
convention in the middle of May and the election at the beginning of
November, Mr. Lincoln, relieved from all other duties, had watched
political developments with very close attention not merely to discern
the progress of his own chances, but, doubtless, also, much more
seriously to deliberate upon the future in case he should be elected.
But it was only when, on the night of November 6, he sat in the
telegraph office at Springfield, from which all but himself and the
operators were excluded, and read the telegrams as they fell from the
wires, that little by little the accumulating Republican majorities
reported from all directions convinced him of the certainty of his
success; and with that conviction there fell upon him the overwhelming,
almost crushing weight of his coming duties and responsibilities. He
afterward related that in that supreme hour, grappling resolutely with
the mighty problem before him, he practically completed the first
essential act of his administration, the selection of his future
cabinet--the choice of the men who were to aid him.

From what afterward occurred, we may easily infer the general principle
which guided his choice. One of his strongest characteristics, as his
speeches abundantly show, was his belief in the power of public opinion,
and his respect for the popular will. That was to be found and to be
wielded by the leaders of public sentiment In the present instance there
were no truer representatives of that will than the men who had been
prominently supported by the delegates to the Chicago convention for the
presidential nominations. Of these he would take at least three, perhaps
four, to compose one half of his cabinet. In selecting Seward, Chase,
Bates, and Cameron, he could also satisfy two other points of the
representative principle, the claims of locality and the elements of
former party divisions now joined in the newly organized Republican
party. With Seward from New York, Cameron from Pennsylvania, Chase from
Ohio, and himself from Illinois, the four leading free States had each a
representative. With Bates from Missouri, the South could not complain
of being wholly excluded from the cabinet. New England was properly
represented by Vice-President Hamlin. When, after the inauguration,
Smith from Indiana Welles from Connecticut, and Blair from Maryland were
added to make up the seven cabinet members, the local distribution
between East and West, North and South, was in no wise disturbed. It
was, indeed, complained that in this arrangement there were four former
Democrats, and only three former Whigs; to which Lincoln laughingly
replied that he had been a Whig, and would be there to make the number

It is not likely that this exact list was in Lincoln's mind on the night
of the November election, but only the principal names in it; and much
delay and some friction occurred before its completion. The post of
Secretary of State was offered to Seward on December 8.

"Rumors have got into the newspapers," wrote Lincoln, "to the effect
that the department named above would be tendered you as a compliment,
and with the expectation that you would decline it. I beg you to be
assured that I have said nothing to justify these rumors. On the
contrary, it has been my purpose, from the day of the nomination at
Chicago, to assign you, by your leave, this place in the

Seward asked a few days for reflection, and then cordially accepted.
Bates was tendered the Attorney-Generalship on December 15, while making
a personal visit to Springfield. Word had been meanwhile sent to Smith
that he would probably be included. The assignment of places to Chase
and Cameron worked less smoothly. Lincoln wrote Cameron a note on
January 3, saying he would nominate him for either Secretary of the
Treasury or Secretary of War, he had not yet decided which; and on the
same day, in an interview with Chase, whom he had invited to
Springfield, said to him:

"I have done with you what I would not perhaps have ventured to do with
any other man in the country--sent for you to ask whether you will
accept the appointment of Secretary of the Treasury, without, however,
being exactly prepared to offer it to you."

They discussed the situation very fully, but without reaching a definite
conclusion, agreeing to await the advice of friends. Meanwhile, the
rumor that Cameron was to go into the cabinet excited such hot
opposition that Lincoln felt obliged to recall his tender in a
confidential letter; and asked him to write a public letter declining
the place. Instead of doing this, Cameron fortified himself with
recommendations from prominent Pennsylvanians, and demonstrated that in
his own State he had at least three advocates to one opponent.

Pending the delay which this contest consumed, another cabinet
complication found its solution. It had been warmly urged by
conservatives that, in addition to Bates, another cabinet member should
be taken from one of the Southern States. The difficulty of doings this
had been clearly foreshadowed by Mr. Lincoln in a little editorial which
he wrote for the Springfield "Journal" on December 12:

"_First_. Is it known that any such gentleman of character would accept
a place in the cabinet?

"_Second_. If yea, on what terms does he surrender to Mr. Lincoln, or
Mr. Lincoln to him, on the political differences between them, or do
they enter upon the administration in open opposition to each other?"

It was very soon demonstrated that these differences were
insurmountable. Through Mr. Seward, who was attending his senatorial
duties at Washington, Mr. Lincoln tentatively offered a cabinet
appointment successively to Gilmer of North Carolina, Hunt of Louisiana
and Scott of Virginia, no one of whom had the courage to accept.

Toward the end of the recent canvass, and still more since the election,
Mr. Lincoln had received urgent letters to make some public declaration
to reassure and pacify the South, especially the cotton States, which
were manifesting a constantly growing spirit of rebellion. Most of such
letters remained unanswered, but in a number of strictly confidential
replies he explained the reasons for his refusal.

"I appreciate your motive," he wrote October 23, "when you suggest the
propriety of my writing for the public something disclaiming all
intention to interfere with slaves or slavery in the States: but, in my
judgment, it would do no good. I have already done this many, many
times; and it is in print, and open to all who will read. Those who will
not read or heed what I have already publicly said, would not read or
heed a repetition of it. 'If they hear not Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.'"

To the editor of the "Louisville Journal" he wrote October 29:

"For the good men of the South--and I regard the majority of them as
such--I have no objection to repeat seventy and seven times. But I have
bad men to deal with, both North and South; men who are eager for
something new upon which to base new misrepresentations; men who would
like to frighten me, or at least to fix upon me the character of
timidity and cowardice."

Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia, who afterward became Confederate
Vice-President, made a strong speech against secession in that State on
November 14; and Mr. Lincoln wrote him a few lines asking for a revised
copy of it. In the brief correspondence which ensued, Mr. Lincoln again
wrote him under date of December 22:

"I fully appreciate the present peril the country is in, and the weight
of responsibility on me. Do the people of the South really entertain
fears that a Republican administration would, directly or indirectly,
interfere with the slaves, or with them about the slaves? If they do, I
wish to assure you, as once a friend, and still, I hope, not an enemy,
that there is no cause for such fears. The South would be in no more
danger in this respect than it was in the days of Washington. I
suppose, however, this does not meet the case. You think slavery is
right and ought to be extended, while we think it is wrong and ought to
be restricted. That, I suppose, is the rub. It certainly is the only
substantial difference between us."

So, also, replying a few days earlier in a long letter to Hon. John A.
Gilmer of North Carolina, to whom, as already stated, he offered a
cabinet appointment, he said:

"On the territorial question I am inflexible, as you see my position in
the book. On that there is a difference between you and us; and it is
the only substantial difference. You think slavery is right and ought to
be extended; we think it is wrong and ought to be restricted. For this
neither has any just occasion to be angry with the other. As to the
State laws, mentioned in your sixth question, I really know very little
of them. I never have read one. If any of them are in conflict with the
fugitive-slave clause, or any other part of the Constitution, I
certainly shall be glad of their repeal; but I could hardly be
justified, as a citizen of Illinois, or as President of the United
States, to recommend the repeal of a statute of Vermont or South

Through his intimate correspondence with Mr. Seward and personal friends
in Congress, Mr. Lincoln was kept somewhat informed of the hostile
temper of the Southern leaders, and that a tremendous pressure was being
brought upon that body by timid conservatives and the commercial
interests in the North to bring about some kind of compromise which
would stay the progress of disunion; and on this point he sent an
emphatic monition to Representative Washburne on December 13:

"Your long letter received. Prevent as far as possible any of our
friends from demoralizing themselves and their cause by entertaining
propositions for compromise of any sort on slavery extension. There is
no possible compromise upon it but what puts us under again, and all our
work to do over again. Whether it be a Missouri line or Eli Thayer's
popular sovereignty, it is all the same. Let either be done, and
immediately filibustering and extending slavery recommences. On that
point hold firm as a chain of steel."

Between the day when a President is elected by popular vote and that on
which he is officially inaugurated there exists an interim of four long
months, during which he has no more direct power in the affairs of
government than any private citizen. However anxiously Mr. Lincoln might
watch the development of public events at Washington and in the cotton
States; whatever appeals might come to him through interviews or
correspondence, no positive action of any kind was within his power,
beyond an occasional word of advice or suggestion. The position of the
Republican leaders in Congress was not much better. Until the actual
secession of States, and the departure of their representatives, they
were in a minority in the Senate; while the so-called South Americans
and Anti-Lecompton Democrats held the balance of power in the House. The
session was mainly consumed in excited, profitless discussion. Both the
Senate and House appointed compromise committees, which met and labored,
but could find no common ground of agreement. A peace convention met and
deliberated at Washington, with no practical result, except to waste the
powder for a salute of one hundred guns over a sham report to which
nobody paid the least attention.

Throughout this period Mr. Lincoln was by no means idle. Besides the
many difficulties he had to overcome in completing his cabinet, he
devoted himself to writing his inaugural address. Withdrawing himself
some hours each day from his ordinary receptions, he went to a quiet
room on the second floor of the store occupied by his brother-in-law, on
the south side of the public square in Springfield, where he could think
and write in undisturbed privacy. When, after abundant reflection and
revision, he had finished the document, he placed it in the hands of Mr.
William H. Bailhache, one of the editors of the "Illinois State
Journal," who locked himself and a single compositor into the
composing-room of the "Journal." Here, in Mr. Bailhache's presence, it
was set up, proof taken and read, and a dozen copies printed; after
which the types were again immediately distributed. The alert newspaper
correspondents in Springfield, who saw Mr. Lincoln every day as usual,
did not obtain the slightest hint of what was going on.

Having completed his arrangements, Mr. Lincoln started on his journey to
Washington on February 11, 1861, on a special train, accompanied by Mrs.
Lincoln and their three children, his two private secretaries, and a
suite of about a dozen personal friends. Mr. Seward had suggested that
in view of the feverish condition of public affairs, he should come a
week earlier; but Mr. Lincoln allowed himself only time enough
comfortably to fill the appointments he had made to visit the capitals
and principal cities of the States on his route, in accordance with
non-partizan invitations from their legislatures and mayors, which he
had accepted. Standing on the front platform of the car, as the
conductor was about to pull the bell-rope, Mr. Lincoln made the
following brief and pathetic address of farewell to his friends and
neighbors of Springfield--the last time his voice was ever to be heard
in the city which had been his home for so many years:

     "My friends: No one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling
     of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of
     these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a
     century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my
     children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not
     knowing when or whether ever I may return, with a task before me
     greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the
     assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot
     succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who
     can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good,
     let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care
     commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I
     bid you an affectionate farewell."

It was the beginning of a memorable journey. On the whole route from
Springfield to Washington, at almost every station, even the smallest,
was gathered a crowd of people in hope to catch a glimpse of the face of
the President-elect, or, at least, to see the flying train. At the
larger stopping-places these gatherings were swelled to thousands, and
in the great cities into almost unmanageable assemblages. Everywhere
there were vociferous calls for Mr. Lincoln, and, if he showed himself,
for a speech. Whenever there was sufficient time, he would step to the
rear platform of the car and bow his acknowledgments as the train was
moving away, and sometimes utter a few words of thanks and greeting. At
the capitals of Indiana, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania,
as also in the cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland, Buffalo, New York, and
Philadelphia, a halt was made for one or two days, and a program was
carried out of a formal visit and brief address to each house of the
legislature, street processions, large receptions in the evening, and
other similar ceremonies; and in each of them there was an
unprecedented outpouring of the people to take advantage of every
opportunity to see and to hear the future Chief Magistrate of the Union.

Party foes as well as party friends made up these expectant crowds. The
public suspense was at a degree of tension which rendered every eye and
ear eager to catch even the slightest indication of the thoughts or
intentions of the man who was to be the official guide of the nation in
a crisis the course and end of which even the wisest dared not predict.
In the twenty or thirty brief addresses delivered by Mr. Lincoln on this
journey, he observed the utmost caution of utterance and reticence of
declaration; yet the shades of meaning in his carefully chosen sentences
were enough to show how alive he was to the trials and dangers
confronting his administration, and to inspire hope and confidence in
his judgment. He repeated that he regarded the public demonstrations not
as belonging to himself, but to the high office with which the people
had clothed him; and that if he failed, they could four years later
substitute a better man in his place; and in his very first address, at
Indianapolis, he thus emphasized their reciprocal duties:

"If the union of these States and the liberties of this people shall be
lost, it is but little to any one man of fifty-two years of age, but a
great deal to the thirty millions of people who inhabit these United
States, and to their posterity in all coming time. It is your business
to rise up and preserve the Union and liberty for yourselves and not for
me.... I appeal to you again to constantly bear in mind that not with
politicians, not with Presidents, not with office-seekers, but with you,
is the question, Shall the Union and shall the liberties of this country
be preserved to the latest generations?"

Many salient and interesting quotations could be made from his other
addresses, but a comparatively few sentences will be sufficient to
enable the reader to infer what was likely to be his ultimate conclusion
and action. In his second speech at Indianapolis he asked the question:

"On what rightful principle may a State, being not more than
one-fiftieth part of the nation in soil and population, break up the
nation, and then coerce a proportionally larger subdivision of itself in
the most arbitrary way?"

At Steubenville:

"If the majority should not rule, who would be the judge? Where is such
a judge to be found? We should all be bound by the majority of the
American people--if not, then the minority must control. Would that be

At Trenton:

"I shall do all that may be in my power to promote a peaceful settlement
of all our difficulties. The man does not live who is more devoted to
peace than I am, none who would do more to preserve it, but it may be
necessary to put the foot down firmly."

At Harrisburg:

"While I am exceedingly gratified to see the manifestation upon your
streets of your military force here, and exceedingly gratified at your
promise to use that force upon a proper emergency--while I make these
acknowledgments, I desire to repeat, in order to preclude any possible
misconstruction, that I do most sincerely hope that we shall have no use
for them; that it will never become their duty to shed blood, and most
especially never to shed fraternal blood. I promise that so far as I may
have wisdom to direct, if so painful a result shall in any wise be
brought about, it shall be through no fault of mine."

While Mr. Lincoln was yet at Philadelphia, he was met by Mr. Frederick
W. Seward, son of Senator Seward, who brought him an important
communication from his father and General Scott at Washington. About the
beginning of the year serious apprehension had been felt lest a sudden
uprising of the secessionists in Virginia and Maryland might endeavor to
gain possession of the national capital. An investigation by a committee
of Congress found no active military preparation to exist for such a
purpose, but considerable traces of disaffection and local conspiracy in
Baltimore; and, to guard against such an outbreak, President Buchanan
had permitted his Secretary of War, Mr. Holt, to call General Scott to
Washington and charge him with the safety of the city, not only at that
moment, but also during the counting of the presidential returns in
February, and the coming inauguration of Mr. Lincoln. For this purpose
General Scott had concentrated at Washington a few companies from the
regular army, and also, in addition, had organized and armed about nine
hundred men of the militia of the District of Columbia.

In connection with these precautions, Colonel Stone, who commanded these
forces, had kept himself informed about the disaffection in Baltimore,
through the agency of the New York police department. The communication
brought by young Mr. Seward contained besides notes from his father and
General Scott, a short report from Colonel Stone, stating that there had
arisen within the past few days imminent danger of violence to and the
assassination of Mr. Lincoln in his passage through Baltimore, should
the time of that passage be known.

"All risk," he suggested, "might be easily avoided by a change in the
traveling arrangements which would bring Mr. Lincoln and a portion of
his party through Baltimore by a night train without previous notice."

The seriousness of this information was doubled by the fact that Mr.
Lincoln had, that same day, held an interview with a prominent Chicago
detective who had been for some weeks employed by the president of the
Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore railway to investigate the danger
to their property and trains from the Baltimore secessionists. The
investigations of this detective, a Mr. Pinkerton, had been carried on
without the knowledge of the New York detective, and he reported not
identical, but almost similar, conditions of insurrectionary feeling and
danger, and recommended the same precaution.

Mr. Lincoln very earnestly debated the situation with his intimate
personal friend, Hon. N.B. Judd of Chicago, perhaps the most active and
influential member of his suite, who advised him to proceed to
Washington that same evening on the eleven-o'clock train. "I cannot go
to-night," replied Mr. Lincoln; "I have promised to raise the flag over
Independence Hall to-morrow morning, and to visit the legislature at
Harrisburg. Beyond that I have no engagements."

The railroad schedule by which Mr. Lincoln had hitherto been traveling
included a direct trip from Harrisburg, through Baltimore, to Washington
on Saturday, February 23. When the Harrisburg ceremonies had been
concluded on the afternoon of the 22d, the danger and the proposed
change of program were for the first time fully laid before a
confidential meeting of the prominent members of Mr. Lincoln's suite.
Reasons were strongly urged both for and against the plan; but Mr.
Lincoln finally decided and explained that while he himself was not
afraid he would be assassinated, nevertheless, since the possibility of
danger had been made known from two entirely independent sources, and
officially communicated to him by his future prime minister and the
general of the American armies, he was no longer at liberty to disregard
it; that it was not the question of his private life, but the regular
and orderly transmission of the authority of the government of the
United States in the face of threatened revolution, which he had no
right to put in the slightest jeopardy. He would, therefore, carry out
the plan, the full details of which had been arranged with the railroad

Accordingly, that same evening, he, with a single companion, Colonel W.
H. Lamon, took a car from Harrisburg back to Philadelphia, at which
place, about midnight, they boarded the through train from New York to
Washington, and without recognition or any untoward incident passed
quietly through Baltimore, and reached the capital about daylight on the
morning of February 23, where they were met by Mr. Seward and
Representative Washburne of Illinois, and conducted to Willard's Hotel.

When Mr. Lincoln's departure from Harrisburg became known, a reckless
newspaper correspondent telegraphed to New York the ridiculous invention
that he traveled disguised in a Scotch cap and long military cloak.
There was not one word of truth in the absurd statement. Mr. Lincoln's
family and suite proceeded to Washington by the originally arranged
train and schedule, and witnessed great crowds in the streets of
Baltimore, but encountered neither turbulence nor incivility of any
kind. There was now, of course, no occasion for any, since the telegraph
had definitely announced that the President-elect was already in


The Secession Movement--South Carolina Secession--Buchanan's
Neglect--Disloyal Cabinet Members---Washington Central Cabal--Anderson's
Transfer to Sumter--Star of the West--Montgomery Rebellion---Davis and
Stephens--Corner-stone Theory--Lincoln Inaugurated--His Inaugural
Address--Lincoln's Cabinet--The Question of Sumter--Seward's
Memorandum--Lincoln's Answer--Bombardment of Sumter--Anderson's

It is not the province of these chapters to relate in detail the course
of the secession movement in the cotton States in the interim which
elapsed between the election and inauguration of President Lincoln.
Still less can space be given to analyze and set forth the lamentable
failure of President Buchanan to employ the executive authority and
power of the government to prevent it, or even to hinder its
development, by any vigorous opposition or adequate protest. The
determination of South Carolina to secede was announced by the governor
of that State a month before the presidential election, and on the day
before the election he sent the legislature of the State a revolutionary
message to formally inaugurate it. From that time forward the whole
official machinery of the State not only led, but forced the movement
which culminated on December 20 in the ordinance of secession by the
South Carolina convention.

This official revolution in South Carolina was quickly imitated by
similar official revolutions ending in secession ordinances in the
States of Mississippi, on January 9, 1861; Florida, January 10; Alabama,
January 11; Georgia, January 19; Louisiana, January 26; and by a still
bolder usurpation in Texas, culminating on February 1. From the day of
the presidential election all these proceedings were known probably more
fully to President Buchanan than to the general public, because many of
the actors were his personal and party friends; while almost at their
very beginning he became aware that three members of his cabinet were
secretly or openly abetting and promoting them by their official
influence and power.

Instead of promptly dismissing these unfaithful servants, he retained
one of them a month, and the others twice that period, and permitted
them so far to influence his official conduct, that in his annual
message to Congress he announced the fallacious and paradoxical doctrine
that though a State had no right to secede, the Federal government had
no right to coerce her to remain in the Union.

Nor could he justify his non-action by the excuse that contumacious
speeches and illegal resolves of parliamentary bodies might be tolerated
under the American theory of free assemblage and free speech. Almost
from the beginning of the secession movement, it was accompanied from
time to time by overt acts both of treason and war; notably, by the
occupation and seizure by military order and force of the seceding
States, of twelve or fifteen harbor forts, one extensive navy-yard, half
a dozen arsenals, three mints, four important custom-houses, three
revenue cutters, and a variety of miscellaneous Federal property; for
all of which insults to the flag, and infractions of the sovereignty of
the United States, President Buchanan could recommend no more
efficacious remedy or redress than to ask the voters of the country to
reverse their decision given at the presidential election, and to
appoint a day of fasting and prayer on which to implore the Most High
"to remove from our hearts that false pride of opinion which would impel
us to persevere in wrong for the sake of consistency."

Nor must mention be omitted of the astounding phenomenon that,
encouraged by President Buchanan's doctrine of non-coercion and purpose
of non-action, a central cabal of Southern senators and representatives
issued from Washington, on December 14, their public proclamation of the
duty of secession; their executive committee using one of the rooms of
the Capitol building itself as the headquarters of the conspiracy and
rebellion they were appointed to lead and direct.

During the month of December, while the active treason of cotton-State
officials and the fatal neglect of the Federal executive were in their
most damaging and demoralizing stages, an officer of the United States
army had the high courage and distinguished honor to give the
ever-growing revolution its first effective check. Major Robert
Anderson, though a Kentuckian by birth and allied by marriage to a
Georgia family, was, late in November, placed in command of the Federal
forts in Charleston harbor; and having repeatedly reported that his
little garrison of sixty men was insufficient for the defense of Fort
Moultrie, and vainly asked for reinforcements which were not sent him,
he suddenly and secretly, on the night after Christmas, transferred his
command from the insecure position of Moultrie to the strong and
unapproachable walls of Fort Sumter, midway in the mouth of Charleston
harbor, where he could not be assailed by the raw Charleston militia
companies that had for weeks been threatening him with a storming
assault. In this stronghold, surrounded on all sides by water, he
loyally held possession for the government and sovereignty of the United

The surprised and baffled rage of the South Carolina rebels created a
crisis at Washington that resulted in the expulsion of the President's
treacherous counselors and the reconstruction of Mr. Buchanan's cabinet
to unity and loyalty. The new cabinet, though unable to obtain President
Buchanan's consent to aggressive measures to reëstablish the Federal
authority, was, nevertheless, able to prevent further concessions to the
insurrection, and to effect a number of important defensive precautions,
among which was the already mentioned concentration of a small military
force to protect the national capital.

Meanwhile, the governor of South Carolina had begun the erection of
batteries to isolate and besiege Fort Sumter; and the first of these, on
a sand-spit of Morris Island commanding the main ship-channel, by a few
shots turned back, on January 9, the merchant steamer _Star of the
West_, in which General Scott had attempted to send a reinforcement of
two hundred recruits to Major Anderson. Battery building was continued
with uninterrupted energy until a triangle of siege works was
established on the projecting points of neighboring islands, mounting a
total of thirty guns and seventeen mortars, manned and supported by a
volunteer force of from four to six thousand men.

Military preparation, though not on so extensive or definite a scale,
was also carried on in the other revolted States; and while Mr. Lincoln
was making his memorable journey from Springfield to Washington,
telegrams were printed in the newspapers, from day to day, showing that
their delegates had met at Montgomery, Alabama, formed a provisional
congress, and adopted a constitution and government under the title of
The Confederate States of America, of which they elected Jefferson Davis
of Mississippi President, and Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia

It needs to be constantly borne in mind that the beginning of this vast
movement was not a spontaneous revolution, but a chronic conspiracy.
"The secession of South Carolina," truly said one of the chief actors,
"is not an event of a day. It is not anything produced by Mr. Lincoln's
election, or by the non-execution of the fugitive-slave law. It is a
matter which has been gathering head for thirty years." The central
motive and dominating object of the revolution was frankly avowed by
Vice-President Stephens in a speech he made at Savannah a few weeks
after his inauguration:

"The prevailing ideas entertained by him [Jefferson] and most of the
leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution,
were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of
nature; that it was wrong in _principle_, socially, morally, and
politically.... Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite
idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests upon the great
truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that
slavery--subordination to the superior race--is his natural and normal
condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the
world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth."

In the week which elapsed between Mr. Lincoln's arrival in Washington
and the day of inauguration, he exchanged the customary visits of
ceremony with President Buchanan, his cabinet, the Supreme Court, the
two Houses of Congress, and other dignitaries. In his rooms at Willard's
Hotel he also held consultations with leading Republicans about the
final composition of his cabinet and pressing questions of public
policy. Careful preparations had been made for the inauguration, and
under the personal eye of General Scott the military force in the city
was ready instantly to suppress any attempt to disturb the peace or
quiet of the day.

On March 4 the outgoing and incoming Presidents rode side by side in a
carriage from the Executive Mansion to the Capitol and back, escorted by
an imposing military and civic procession; and an immense throng of
spectators heard the new Executive read his inaugural address from the
east portico of the Capitol. He stated frankly that a disruption of the
Federal Union was being formidably attempted, and discussed
dispassionately the theory and illegality of secession. He held that the
Union was perpetual; that resolves and ordinances of disunion are
legally void; and announced that to the extent of his ability he would
faithfully execute the laws of the Union in all the States. The power
confided to him would be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property
and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and
imposts. But beyond what might be necessary for these objects there
would be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people
anywhere. Where hostility to the United States in any interior locality
should be so great and universal as to prevent competent resident
citizens from holding the Federal offices, there would be no attempt to
force obnoxious strangers among them for that object. The mails, unless
repelled, would continue to be furnished in all parts of the Union; and
this course would be followed until current events and experience should
show a change to be necessary. To the South he made an earnest plea
against the folly of disunion, and in favor of maintaining peace and
fraternal good will; declaring that their property, peace, and personal
security were in no danger from a Republican administration.

"One section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be
extended," he said, "while the other believes it is wrong and ought not
to be extended; that is the only substantial dispute.... Physically
speaking, we cannot separate. We cannot remove our respective sections
from each other, nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband
and wife may be divorced, and go out of the presence and beyond the
reach of each other; but the different parts of our country cannot do
this. They cannot but remain face to face, and intercourse, either
amicable or hostile, must continue between them. Is it possible, then,
to make that intercourse more advantageous or more satisfactory after
separation than before? Can aliens make treaties easier than friends can
make laws? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between aliens, than
laws can among friends? Suppose you go to war, you cannot fight always;
and when, after much loss on both sides and no gain on either, you cease
fighting, the identical old questions as to terms of intercourse are
again upon you.... In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and
not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will
not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the
aggressors.... I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We
must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break
our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from
every battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart and
hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the
Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels
of our nature."

But the peaceful policy here outlined was already more difficult to
follow than Mr. Lincoln was aware. On the morning after inauguration the
Secretary of War brought to his notice freshly received letters from
Major Anderson, commanding Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, announcing
that in the course of a few weeks the provisions of the garrison would
be exhausted, and therefore an evacuation or surrender would become
necessary, unless the fort were relieved by supplies or reinforcements;
and this information was accompanied by the written opinions of the
officers that to relieve the fort would require a well-appointed army of
twenty thousand men.

The new President had appointed as his cabinet William H. Seward,
Secretary of State; Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury; Simon
Cameron, Secretary of War; Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy; Caleb
B. Smith, Secretary of the Interior; Montgomery Blair,
Postmaster-General; and Edward Bates, Attorney-General. The President
and his official advisers at once called into counsel the highest
military and naval officers of the Union to consider the new and
pressing emergency revealed by the unexpected news from Sumter. The
professional experts were divided in opinion. Relief by a force of
twenty thousand men was clearly out of the question. No such Union army
existed, nor could one be created within the limit of time. The officers
of the navy thought that men and supplies might be thrown into the fort
by swift-going vessels, while on the other hand the army officers
believed that such an expedition would surely be destroyed by the
formidable batteries which the insurgents had erected to close the
harbor. In view of all the conditions, Lieutenant-General Scott,
general-in-chief of the army, recommended the evacuation of the fort as
a military necessity.

President Lincoln thereupon asked the several members of his cabinet the
written question: "Assuming it to be possible to now provision Fort
Sumter, under all the circumstances is it wise to attempt it?" Only two
members replied in the affirmative, while the other five argued against
the attempt, holding that the country would recognize that the
evacuation of the fort was not an indication of policy, but a necessity
created by the neglect of the old administration. Under this advice, the
President withheld his decision until he could gather further

Meanwhile, three commissioners had arrived from the provisional
government at Montgomery, Alabama, under instructions to endeavor to
negotiate a _de facto_ and _de jure_ recognition of the independence of
the Confederate States. They were promptly informed by Mr. Seward that
he could not receive them; that he did not see in the Confederate States
a rightful and accomplished revolution and an independent nation; and
that he was not at liberty to recognize the commissioners as diplomatic
agents, or to hold correspondence with them. Failing in this direct
application, they made further efforts through Mr. Justice Campbell of
the Supreme Court, as a friendly intermediary, who came to Seward in the
guise of a loyal official, though his correspondence with Jefferson
Davis soon revealed a treasonable intent; and, replying to Campbell's
earnest entreaties that peace should be maintained, Seward informed him
confidentially that the military status at Charleston would not be
changed without notice to the governor of South Carolina. On March 29 a
cabinet meeting for the second time discussed the question of Sumter.
Four of the seven members now voted in favor of an attempt to supply the
fort with provisions, and the President signed a memorandum order to
prepare certain ships for such an expedition, under the command of
Captain G.V. Fox.

So far, Mr. Lincoln's new duties as President of the United States had
not in any wise put him at a disadvantage with his constitutional
advisers. Upon the old question of slavery he was as well informed and
had clearer convictions and purposes than either Seward or Chase. And
upon the newer question of secession, and the immediate decision about
Fort Sumter which it involved, the members of his cabinet were, like
himself, compelled to rely on the professional advice of experienced
army and navy officers. Since these differed radically in their
opinions, the President's own powers of perception and logic were as
capable of forming a correct decision as men who had been governors and
senators. He had reached at least a partial decision in the memorandum
he gave Fox to prepare ships for the Sumter expedition.

It must therefore have been a great surprise to the President when, on
April 1, Secretary of State Seward handed him a memorandum setting forth
a number of most extraordinary propositions. For a full enumeration of
the items the reader must carefully study the entire document, which is
printed below in a foot-note;[4] but the principal points for which it
had evidently been written and presented can be given in a few

 1, 1861.

 First. We are at the end of a month's administration, and yet
 without a policy, either domestic or foreign.

 Second. This, however, is not culpable, and it has even been
 unavoidable. The presence of the Senate, with the need to meet
 applications for patronage, have prevented attention to other and
 more grave matters.

 Third. But further delay to adopt and prosecute our policies for
 both domestic and foreign affairs would not only bring scandal on
 the administration, but danger upon the country.

 Fourth. To do this we must dismiss the applicants for office. But
 how? I suggest that we make the local appointments forthwith,
 leaving foreign or general ones for ulterior and occasional action.

 Fifth. The policy at home. I am aware that my views are singular
 and perhaps not sufficiently explained My system is built upon this
 idea as a ruling one, namely, that we must

 ABOUT SLAVERY, for a question upon UNION OR DISUNION.

 In other words, from what would be regarded as a party question, to
 one of _Patriotism_ or _Union_.

 The occupation or evacuation of Fort Sumter, although not in fact a
 slavery or a party question, is so regarded. Witness the temper
 manifested by the Republicans in the free States, and even by the
 Union men in the South.

 I would therefore terminate it as a safe means for changing the
 issue. I deem it fortunate that the last administration created the

 For the rest, I would simultaneously defend and reinforce all the
 ports in the Gulf, and have the navy recalled from foreign stations
 to be prepared for a blockade. Put the island of Key West under
 martial law.

 This will raise distinctly the question of _Union_ or _Disunion_. I
 would maintain every fort and possession in the South.


 I would demand explanations from Spain and France, categorically,
 at once.

 I would seek explanations from Great Britain and Russia, and send
 agents into Canada, Mexico, and Central America, to rouse a
 vigorous continental spirit of independence on this continent
 against European intervention.

 And, if satisfactory explanations are not received from Spain and

 Would convene Congress and declare war against them.

 But whatever policy we adopt, there must be an energetic
 prosecution of it.

 For this purpose it must be somebody's business to pursue and
 direct it incessantly.

 Either the President must do it himself, and be all the while
 active in it, or

 Devolve it on some member of his cabinet. Once adopted, debates on
 it must end, and all agree and abide.

 It is not in my especial province.

 But I neither seek to evade nor assume responsibility.]

A month has elapsed, and the administration has neither a domestic nor a
foreign policy. The administration must at once adopt and carry out a
novel, radical, and aggressive policy. It must cease saying a word about
slavery, and raise a great outcry about Union. It must declare war
against France and Spain, and combine and organize all the governments
of North and South America in a crusade to enforce the Monroe Doctrine.
This policy once adopted, it must be the business of some one
incessantly to pursue it. "It is not in my especial province," wrote Mr.
Seward; "but I neither seek to evade nor assume responsibility." This
phrase, which is a key to the whole memorandum, enables the reader
easily to translate its meaning into something like the following:

After a month's trial, you, Mr. Lincoln, are a failure as President. The
country is in desperate straits, and must use a desperate remedy. That
remedy is to submerge the South Carolina insurrection in a continental
war. Some new man must take the executive helm, and wield the undivided
presidential authority. I should have been nominated at Chicago, and
elected in November, but am willing to take your place and perform your

Why William H. Seward, who is fairly entitled to rank as a great
statesman, should have written this memorandum and presented it to Mr.
Lincoln, has never been explained; nor is it capable of explanation. Its
suggestions were so visionary, its reasoning so fallacious, its
assumptions so unwarranted, its conclusions so malapropos, that it falls
below critical examination. Had Mr. Lincoln been an envious or a
resentful man, he could not have wished for a better occasion to put a
rival under his feet.

The President doubtless considered the incident one of phenomenal
strangeness, but it did not in the least disturb his unselfish judgment
or mental equipoise. There was in his answer no trace of excitement or
passion. He pointed out in a few sentences of simple, quiet explanation
that what the administration had done was exactly a foreign and domestic
policy which the Secretary of State himself had concurred in and helped
to frame. Only, that Mr. Seward proposed to go further and give up
Sumter. Upon the central suggestion that some one mind must direct, Mr.
Lincoln wrote with simple dignity:

"If this must be done, I must do it. When a general line of policy is
adopted, I apprehend there is no danger of its being changed without
good reason, or continuing to be a subject of unnecessary debate; still,
upon points arising in its progress I wish, and suppose I am entitled to
have, the advice of all the cabinet."

Mr. Lincoln's unselfish magnanimity is the central marvel of the whole
affair. His reply ended the argument. Mr. Seward doubtless saw at once
how completely he had put himself in the President's power. Apparently,
neither of the men ever again alluded to the incident. No other persons
except Mr. Seward's son and the President's private secretary ever saw
the correspondence, or knew of the occurrence. The President put the
papers away in an envelop, and no word of the affair came to the public
until a quarter of a century later, when the details were published in
Mr. Lincoln's biography. In one mind, at least, there was no further
doubt that the cabinet had a master, for only some weeks later Mr.
Seward is known to have written: "There is but one vote in the cabinet,
and that is cast by the President." This mastery Mr. Lincoln retained
with a firm dignity throughout his administration. When, near the close
of the war, he sent Mr. Seward to meet the rebel commissioners at the
Hampton Roads conference, he finished his short letter of instructions
with the imperative sentence: "You will not assume to definitely
consummate anything."

From this strange episode our narrative must return to the question of
Fort Sumter. On April 4, official notice was sent to Major Anderson of
the coming relief, with the instruction to hold out till the eleventh or
twelfth if possible; but authorizing him to capitulate whenever it might
become necessary to save himself and command. Two days later the
President sent a special messenger with written notice to the governor
of South Carolina that an attempt would be made to supply Fort Sumter
with provisions only; and that if such attempt were not resisted, no
further effort would be made to throw in men, arms, or ammunition,
without further notice, or unless in case of an attack on the fort.

The building of batteries around Fort Sumter had been begun, under the
orders of Governor Pickens, about the first of January, and continued
with industry and energy; and about the first of March General
Beauregard, an accomplished engineer officer, was sent by the
Confederate government to take charge of and complete the works. On
April 1 he telegraphed to Montgomery: "Batteries ready to open Wednesday
or Thursday. What instructions?"

At this point, the Confederate authorities at Montgomery found
themselves face to face with the fatal alternative either to begin war
or to allow their rebellion to collapse. Their claim to independence was
denied, their commissioners were refused a hearing; yet not an angry
word, provoking threat, nor harmful act had come from President Lincoln.
He had promised them peace, protection, freedom from irritation; had
offered them the benefit of the mails. Even now, all he proposed to do
was--not to send guns or ammunition or men to Sumter, but only bread and
provisions to Anderson and his soldiers. His prudent policy placed them
in the exact attitude described a month earlier in his inaugural; they
could have no conflict without being themselves the aggressors. But the
rebellion was organized by ambitious men with desperate intentions. A
member of the Alabama legislature, present at Montgomery, said to
Jefferson Davis and three members of his cabinet: "Gentlemen, unless you
sprinkle blood in the face of the people of Alabama, they will be back
in the old Union in less than ten days." And the sanguinary advice was
adopted. In answer to his question, "What instructions?" Beauregard on
April 10 was ordered to demand the evacuation of Fort Sumter, and, in
case of refusal, to reduce it.

The demand was presented to Anderson, who replied that he would evacuate
the fort by noon of April 15, unless assailed, or unless he received
supplies or controlling instructions from his government. This answer
being unsatisfactory to Beauregard, he sent Anderson notice that he
would open fire on Sumter at 4:20 on the morning of April 12.

Promptly at the hour indicated the bombardment was begun. As has been
related, the rebel siege-works were built on the points of the islands
forming the harbor, at distances varying from thirteen hundred to
twenty-five hundred yards, and numbered nineteen batteries, with an
armament of forty-seven guns, supported by a land force of from four to
six thousand volunteers. The disproportion between means of attack and
defense was enormous. Sumter, though a work three hundred by three
hundred and fifty feet in size, with well-constructed walls and
casemates of brick, was in very meager preparation for such a conflict.
Of its forty-eight available guns, only twenty-one were in the
casemates, twenty-seven being on the rampart _en barbette_. The garrison
consisted of nine commissioned officers, sixty-eight non-commissioned
officers and privates, eight musicians, and forty-three non-combatant
workmen compelled by the besiegers to remain to hasten the consumption
of provisions.

Under the fire of the seventeen mortars in the rebel batteries, Anderson
could reply only with a vertical fire from the guns of small caliber in
his casemates, which was of no effect against the rebel bomb-proofs of
sand and roofs of sloping railroad iron; but, refraining from exposing
his men to serve his barbette guns, his garrison was also safe in its
protecting casemates. It happened, therefore, that although the attack
was spirited and the defense resolute, the combat went on for a day and
a half without a single casualty. It came to an end on the second day
only when the cartridges of the garrison were exhausted, and the red-hot
shot from the rebel batteries had set the buildings used as officers'
quarters on fire, creating heat and smoke that rendered further defense

There was also the further discouragement that the expedition of relief
which Anderson had been instructed to look for on the eleventh or
twelfth, had failed to appear. Several unforeseen contingencies had
prevented the assembling of the vessels at the appointed rendezvous
outside Charleston harbor, though some of them reached it in time to
hear the opening guns of the bombardment. But as accident had deranged
and thwarted the plan agreed upon, they could do nothing except
impatiently await the issue of the fight.

A little after noon of April 13, when the flagstaff of the fort had been
shot away and its guns remained silent, an invitation to capitulate with
the honors of war came from General Beauregard, which Anderson accepted;
and on the following day, Sunday, April 14, he hauled down his flag with
impressive ceremonies, and leaving the fort with his faithful garrison,
proceeded in a steamer to New York.


President's Proclamation Calling for Seventy-five Regiments--Responses
of the Governors--Maryland and Virginia--The Baltimore Riot--Washington
Isolated--Lincoln Takes the Responsibility--Robert E. Lee--Arrival of
the New York Seventh--Suspension of Habeas Corpus--The Annapolis
Route--Butler in Baltimore--Taney on the Merryman
Case--Kentucky--Missouri--Lyon Captures Camp Jackson--Boonville
Skirmish--The Missouri Convention--Gamble made Governor--The Border

The bombardment of Fort Sumter changed the political situation as if by
magic. There was no longer room for doubt, hesitation, concession, or
compromise. Without awaiting the arrival of the ships that were bringing
provisions to Anderson's starving garrison, the hostile Charleston
batteries had opened their fire on the fort by the formal order of the
Confederate government, and peaceable secession was, without
provocation, changed to active war. The rebels gained possession of
Charleston harbor; but their mode of obtaining it awakened the
patriotism of the American people to a stern determination that the
insult to the national authority and flag should be redressed, and the
unrighteous experiment of a rival government founded on slavery as its
corner-stone should never succeed. Under the conflict thus begun the
long-tolerated barbarous institution itself was destined ignobly to

On his journey from Springfield to Washington Mr. Lincoln had said that,
devoted as he was to peace, he might find it necessary "to put the foot
down firmly." That time had now come. On the morning of April 15, 1861,
the leading newspapers of the country printed the President's
proclamation reciting that, whereas the laws of the United States were
opposed and the execution thereof obstructed in the States of South
Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas,
by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of
judicial proceedings, the militia of the several States of the Union, to
the aggregate number of seventy-five thousand, was called forth to
suppress said combinations and cause the laws to be duly executed. The
orders of the War Department specified that the period of service under
this call should be for three months; and to further conform to the
provisions of the Act of 1795, under which the call was issued, the
President's proclamation also convened the Congress in special session
on the coming fourth of July.

Public opinion in the free States, which had been sadly demoralized by
the long discussions over slavery, and by the existence of four factions
in the late presidential campaign, was instantly crystallized and
consolidated by the Sumter bombardment and the President's proclamation
into a sentiment of united support to the government for the suppression
of the rebellion. The several free-State governors sent loyal and
enthusiastic responses to the call for militia, and tendered double the
numbers asked for. The people of the slave States which had not yet
joined the Montgomery Confederacy--namely, Virginia, North Carolina,
Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and
Delaware--remained, however, more or less divided on the issue as it
now presented itself. The governors of the first six of these were
already so much engaged in the secret intrigues of the secession
movement that they sent the Secretary of War contumacious and insulting
replies, and distinct refusals to the President's call for troops. The
governor of Delaware answered that there was no organized militia in his
State which he had legal authority to command, but that the officers of
organized volunteer regiments might at their own option offer their
services to the United States; while the governor of Maryland, in
complying with the requisition, stipulated that the regiments from his
State should not be required to serve outside its limits, except to
defend the District of Columbia.

A swift, almost bewildering rush of events, however, quickly compelled
most of them to take sides. Secession feeling was rampant in Baltimore;
and when the first armed and equipped Northern regiment, the
Massachusetts Sixth, passed through that city on the morning of April
19, on its way to Washington, the last four of its companies were
assailed by street mobs with missiles and firearms while marching from
one depot to the other; and in the running fight which ensued, four of
its soldiers were killed and about thirty wounded, while the mob
probably lost two or three times as many. This tragedy instantly threw
the whole city into a wild frenzy of insurrection. That same afternoon
an immense secession meeting in Monument Square listened to a torrent of
treasonable protest and denunciation, in which Governor Hicks himself
was made momentarily to join. The militia was called out, preparations
were made to arm the city, and that night the railroad bridges were
burned between Baltimore and the Pennsylvania line to prevent the
further transit of Union regiments. The revolutionary furor spread to
the country towns, and for a whole week the Union flag practically
disappeared from Maryland.

While these events were taking place to the north, equally threatening
incidents were occurring to the south of Washington. The State of
Virginia had been for many weeks balancing uneasily between loyalty and
secession. In the new revolutionary stress her weak remnant of
conditional Unionism gave way; and on April 17, two days after the
President's call, her State convention secretly passed a secession
ordinance, while Governor Letcher ordered a military seizure of the
United States navy-yard at Norfolk and the United States armory at
Harper's Ferry. Under orders from Washington, both establishments were
burned to prevent their falling into insurrectionary hands; but the
destruction in each case was only partial, and much valuable war
material thus passed to rebel uses.

All these hostile occurrences put the national capital in the greatest
danger. For three days it was entirely cut off from communication with
the North by either telegraph or mail. Under the orders of General
Scott, the city was hastily prepared for a possible siege. The flour at
the mills, and other stores of provisions were taken possession of. The
Capitol and other public buildings were barricaded, and detachments of
troops stationed in them. Business was suspended by a common impulse;
streets were almost deserted except by squads of military patrol;
shutters of stores, and even many residences, remained unopened
throughout the day. The signs were none too reassuring. In addition to
the public rumors whispered about by serious faces on the streets,
General Scott reported in writing to President Lincoln on the evening of
April 22:

"Of rumors, the following are probable, viz.: _First_, that from
fifteen hundred to two thousand troops are at the White House (four
miles below Mount Vernon, a narrow point in the Potomac), engaged in
erecting a battery; _Second_, that an equal force is collected or in
progress of assemblage on the two sides of the river to attack Fort
Washington; and _Third_, that extra cars went up yesterday to bring down
from Harper's Ferry about two thousand other troops to join in a general
attack on this capital--that is, on many of its fronts at once. I feel
confident that with our present forces we can defend the Capitol, the
Arsenal, and all the executive buildings (seven) against ten thousand
troops not better than our District volunteers."

Throughout this crisis President Lincoln not only maintained his
composure, but promptly assumed the high responsibilities the occasion
demanded. On Sunday, April 21, he summoned his cabinet to meet at the
Navy Department, and with their unanimous concurrence issued a number of
emergency orders relating to the purchase of ships, the transportation
of troops and munitions of war, the advance of $2,000,000 of money to a
Union Safety Committee in New York, and other military and naval
measures, which were despatched in duplicate by private messengers over
unusual and circuitous routes. In a message to Congress, in which he
afterward explained these extraordinary transactions, he said:

"It became necessary for me to choose whether, using only the existing
means, agencies, and processes which Congress had provided, I should let
the government fall at once into ruin, or whether, availing myself of
the broader powers conferred by the Constitution in cases of
insurrection, I would make an effort to save it with all its blessings
for the present age and for posterity."

Unwelcome as was the thought of a possible capture of Washington city,
President Lincoln's mind was much more disturbed by many suspicious
indications of disloyalty in public officials, and especially in
officers of the army and navy. Hundreds of clerks of Southern birth
employed in the various departments suddenly left their desks and went
South. The commandant of the Washington navy-yard and the
quartermaster-general of the army resigned their positions to take
service under Jefferson Davis. One morning the captain of a light
battery on which General Scott had placed special reliance for the
defense of Washington came to the President at the White House to
asseverate and protest his loyalty and fidelity; and that same night
secretly left his post and went to Richmond to become a Confederate

The most prominent case, however, was that of Colonel Robert E. Lee, the
officer who captured John Brown at Harper's Ferry, and who afterward
became the leader of the Confederate armies. As a lieutenant he had
served on the staff of General Scott in the war with Mexico. Personally
knowing his ability, Scott recommended him to Lincoln as the most
suitable officer to command the Union army about to be assembled under
the President's call for seventy-five regiments; and this command was
informally tendered him through a friend. Lee, however, declined the
offer, explaining that "though opposed to secession, and deprecating
war, I could take no part in an invasion of the Southern States." He
resigned his commission in a letter written on April 20, and, without
waiting for notice of its acceptance, which alone could discharge him
from his military obligation, proceeded to Richmond, where he was
formally and publicly invested with the command of the Virginia military
and naval forces on April 22; while, two days later, the rebel
Vice-President, Alexander H. Stephens, and a committee of the Richmond
convention signed a formal military league making Virginia an immediate
member of the Confederate States, and placing her armies under the
command of Jefferson Davis.

The sudden uprising in Maryland and the insurrectionary activity in
Virginia had been largely stimulated by the dream of the leading
conspirators that their new confederacy would combine all the slave
States, and that by the adhesion of both Maryland and Virginia they
would fall heir to a ready-made seat of government. While the
bombardment of Sumter was in progress, the rebel Secretary of War,
announcing the news in a jubilant speech at Montgomery, in the presence
of Jefferson Davis and his colleagues, confidently predicted that the
rebel flag would before the end of May "float over the dome of the
Capitol at Washington." The disloyal demonstrations in Maryland and
Virginia rendered such a hope so plausible that Jefferson Davis
telegraphed to Governor Letcher at Richmond that he was preparing to
send him thirteen regiments, and added: "Sustain Baltimore if
practicable. We reinforce you"; while Senator Mason hurried to that city
personally to furnish advice and military assistance.

But the flattering expectation was not realized. The requisite
preparation and concert of action were both wanting. The Union troops
from New York and New England, pouring into Philadelphia, flanked the
obstructions of the Baltimore route by devising a new one by way of
Chesapeake Bay and Annapolis; and the opportune arrival of the Seventh
Regiment of New York in Washington, on April 25, rendered that city
entirely safe against surprise or attack, relieved the apprehension of
officials and citizens, and renewed its business and public activity.
The mob frenzy of Baltimore and the Maryland towns subsided almost as
quickly as it had risen. The Union leaders and newspapers asserted
themselves, and soon demonstrated their superiority in numbers and

Serious embarrassment had been created by the timidity of Governor
Hicks, who, while Baltimore remained under mob terrorism, officially
protested against the landing of Union troops at Annapolis; and, still
worse, summoned the Maryland legislature to meet on April 26--a step
which he had theretofore stubbornly refused to take. This event had
become doubly dangerous, because a Baltimore city election held during
the same terror week had reinforced the legislature with ten secession
members, creating a majority eager to pass a secession ordinance at the
first opportunity. The question of either arresting or dispersing the
body by military force was one of the problems which the crisis forced
upon President Lincoln. On full reflection he decided against either

"I think it would not be justifiable," he wrote to General Scott, "nor
efficient for the desired object. _First_, they have a clearly legal
right to assemble; and we cannot know in advance that their action will
not be lawful and peaceful. And if we wait until they shall have acted,
their arrest or dispersion will not lessen the effect of their action.
_Secondly_, we cannot permanently prevent their action. If we arrest
them, we cannot long hold them as prisoners; and, when liberated, they
will immediately reassemble and take their action. And precisely the
same if we simply disperse them: they will immediately reassemble in
some other place. I therefore conclude that it is only left to the
commanding general to watch and await their action, which, if it shall
be to arm their people against the United States, he is to adopt the
most prompt and efficient means to counteract, even if necessary to the
bombardment of their cities; and, in the extremest necessity, the
suspension of the writ of _habeas corpus_."

Two days later the President formally authorized General Scott to
suspend the writ of _habeas corpus_ along his military lines, or in
their vicinity, if resistance should render it necessary. Arrivals of
additional troops enabled the General to strengthen his military hold on
Annapolis and the railroads; and on May 13 General B.F. Butler, with
about one thousand men, moved into Baltimore and established a fortified
camp on Federal Hill, the bulk of his force being the Sixth
Massachusetts, which had been mobbed in that city on April 19. Already,
on the previous day, the bridges and railroad had been repaired, and the
regular transit of troops through the city reëstablished.

Under these changing conditions the secession majority of the Maryland
legislature did not venture on any official treason. They sent a
committee to interview the President, vented their hostility in spiteful
reports and remonstrances, and prolonged their session by a recess.
Nevertheless, so inveterate was their disloyalty and plotting against
the authority of the Union, that four months later it became necessary
to place the leaders under arrest, finally to head off their darling
project of a Maryland secession ordinance.

One additional incident of this insurrectionary period remains to be
noticed. One John Merryman, claiming to be a Confederate lieutenant, was
arrested in Baltimore for enlisting men for the rebellion, and Chief
Justice Taney of the United States Supreme Court, the famous author of
the Dred Scott decision, issued a writ of _habeas corpus_ to obtain his
release from Fort McHenry. Under the President's orders, General
Cadwalader of course declined to obey the writ. Upon this, the chief
justice ordered the general's arrest for contempt, but the officer sent
to serve the writ was refused entrance to the fort. In turn, the
indignant chief justice, taking counsel of his passion instead of his
patriotism, announced dogmatically that "the President, under the
Constitution and laws of the United States, cannot suspend the privilege
of the writ of _habeas corpus_, nor authorize any military officer to do
so"; and some weeks afterward filed a long written opinion in support of
this dictum. It is unnecessary here to quote the opinions of several
eminent jurists who successfully refuted his labored argument, nor to
repeat the vigorous analysis with which, in his special message to
Congress of July 4, President Lincoln vindicated his own authority.

While these events were occurring in Maryland and Virginia, the
remaining slave States were gradually taking sides, some for, others
against rebellion. Under radical and revolutionary leadership similar to
that of the cotton States, the governors and State officials of North
Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas placed their States in an attitude of
insurrection, and before the middle of May practically joined them to
the Confederate government by the formalities of military leagues and
secession ordinances.

But in the border slave States--that is, those contiguous to the free
States--the eventual result was different. In these, though secession
intrigue and sympathy were strong, and though their governors and State
officials favored the rebellion, the underlying loyalty and Unionism of
the people thwarted their revolutionary schemes. This happened even in
the northwestern part of Virginia itself. The forty-eight counties of
that State lying north of the Alleghanies and adjoining Pennsylvania and
Ohio repudiated the action at Richmond, seceded from secession, and
established a loyal provisional State government. President Lincoln
recognized them and sustained them with military aid; and in due time
they became organized and admitted to the Union as the State of West
Virginia. In Delaware, though some degree of secession feeling existed,
it was too insignificant to produce any note-worthy public

In Kentucky the political struggle was deep and prolonged. The governor
twice called the legislature together to initiate secession proceedings;
but that body refused compliance, and warded off his scheme by voting to
maintain the State neutrality. Next, the governor sought to utilize the
military organization known as the State Guard to effect his object. The
Union leaders offset this movement by enlisting several volunteer Union
regiments. At the June election nine Union congressmen were chosen, and
only one secessionist; while in August a new legislature was elected
with a three-fourths Union majority in each branch. Other secession
intrigues proved equally abortive; and when, finally, in September,
Confederate armies invaded Kentucky at three different points, the
Kentucky legislature invited the Union armies of the West into the State
to expel them, and voted to place forty thousand Union volunteers at the
service of President Lincoln.

In Missouri the struggle was more fierce, but also more brief. As far
back as January, the conspirators had perfected a scheme to obtain
possession, through the treachery of the officer in charge, of the
important Jefferson Barracks arsenal at St. Louis, with its store of
sixty thousand stand of arms and a million and a half cartridges. The
project, however, failed. Rumors of the danger came to General Scott,
who ordered thither a company of regulars under command of Captain
Nathaniel Lyon, an officer not only loyal by nature and habit, but also
imbued with strong antislavery convictions. Lyon found valuable support
in the watchfulness of a Union Safety Committee composed of leading St.
Louis citizens, who secretly organized a number of Union regiments
recruited largely from the heavy German population; and from these
sources Lyon was enabled to make such a show of available military force
as effectively to deter any mere popular uprising to seize the arsenal.

A State convention, elected to pass a secession ordinance, resulted,
unexpectedly to the conspirators, in the return of a majority of Union
delegates, who voted down the secession program and adjourned to the
following December. Thereupon, the secession governor ordered his State
militia into temporary camps of instruction, with the idea of taking
Missouri out of the Union by a concerted military movement. One of these
encampments, established at St. Louis and named Camp Jackson in honor of
the governor, furnished such unquestionable evidences of intended
treason that Captain Lyon, whom President Lincoln had meanwhile
authorized to enlist ten thousand Union volunteers, and, if necessary,
to proclaim martial law, made a sudden march upon Camp Jackson with his
regulars and six of his newly enlisted regiments, stationed his force in
commanding positions around the camp, and demanded its surrender. The
demand was complied with after but slight hesitation, and the captured
militia regiments were, on the following day, disbanded under parole.
Unfortunately, as the prisoners were being marched away a secession mob
insulted and attacked some of Lyon's regiments and provoked a return
fire, in which about twenty persons, mainly lookers-on, were killed or
wounded; and for a day or two the city was thrown into the panic and
lawlessness of a reign of terror.

Upon this, the legislature, in session at Jefferson City, the capital of
the State, with a three-fourths secession majority, rushed through the
forms of legislation a military bill placing the military and financial
resources of Missouri under the governor's control. For a month longer
various incidents delayed the culmination of the approaching struggle,
each side continuing its preparations, and constantly accentuating the
rising antagonism. The crisis came when, on June 11, Governor Jackson
and Captain Lyon, now made brigadier-general by the President, met in an
interview at St. Louis. In this interview the governor demanded that he
be permitted to exercise sole military command to maintain the
neutrality of Missouri, while Lyon insisted that the Federal military
authority must be left in unrestricted control. It being impossible to
reach any agreement, Governor Jackson hurried back to his capital,
burning railroad bridges behind him as he went, and on the following
day, June 12, issued his proclamation calling out fifty thousand State
militia, and denouncing the Lincoln administration as "an
unconstitutional military despotism."

Lyon was also prepared for this contingency. On the afternoon of June
13, he embarked with a regular battery and several battalions of his
Union volunteers on steamboats, moved rapidly up the Missouri River to
Jefferson City, drove the governor and the secession legislature into
precipitate flight, took possession of the capital, and, continuing his
expedition, scattered, after a slight skirmish, a small rebel military
force which had hastily collected at Boonville. Rapidly following these
events, the loyal members of the Missouri State convention, which had in
February refused to pass a secession ordinance, were called together,
and passed ordinances under which was constituted a loyal State
government that maintained the local civil authority of the United
States throughout the greater part of Missouri during the whole of the
Civil War, only temporarily interrupted by invasions of transient
Confederate armies from Arkansas.

It will be seen from the foregoing outline that the original hope of the
Southern leaders to make the Ohio River the northern boundary of their
slave empire was not realized. They indeed secured the adhesion of
Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas, by which the
territory of the Confederate States government was enlarged nearly one
third and its population and resources nearly doubled. But the northern
tier of slave States--Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, and
Missouri--not only decidedly refused to join the rebellion, but remained
true to the Union; and this reduced the contest to a trial of military
strength between eleven States with 5,115,790 whites, and 3,508,131
slaves, against twenty-four States with 21,611,422 whites and 342,212
slaves, and at least a proportionate difference in all other resources
of war. At the very outset the conditions were prophetic of the result.


Davis's Proclamation for Privateers--Lincoln's Proclamation of
Blockade--The Call for Three Years' Volunteers--Southern Military
Preparations--Rebel Capital Moved to Richmond--Virginia, North Carolina,
Tennessee and Arkansas Admitted to Confederate States--Desertion of Army
and Navy Officers--Union Troops Fortify Virginia Shore of the
Potomac--Concentration at Harper's Ferry--Concentration at Fortress
Monroe and Cairo--English Neutrality--Seward's 21st-of-May
Despatch--Lincoln's Corrections--Preliminary Skirmishes--Forward to
Richmond--Plan of McDowell's Campaign

From the slower political developments in the border slave States we
must return and follow up the primary hostilities of the rebellion. The
bombardment of Sumter, President Lincoln's call for troops, the
Baltimore riot, the burning of Harper's Ferry armory and Norfolk
navy-yard, and the interruption of railroad communication which, for
nearly a week, isolated the capital and threatened it with siege and
possible capture, fully demonstrated the beginning of serious civil war.

Jefferson Davis's proclamation, on April 17, of intention to issue
letters of marque, was met two days later by President Lincoln's
counter-proclamation instituting a blockade of the Southern ports, and
declaring that privateers would be held amenable to the laws against
piracy. His first call for seventy-five thousand three months' militia
was dictated as to numbers by the sudden emergency, and as to form and
term of service by the provisions of the Act of 1795. It needed only a
few days to show that this form of enlistment was both cumbrous and
inadequate; and the creation of a more powerful army was almost
immediately begun. On May 3 a new proclamation was issued, calling into
service 42,034 three years' volunteers, 22,714 enlisted men to add ten
regiments to the regular army, and 18,000 seamen for blockade service: a
total immediate increase of 82,748, swelling the entire military
establishment to an army of 156,861 and a navy of 25,000.

No express authority of law yet existed for these measures; but
President Lincoln took the responsibility of ordering them, trusting
that Congress would legalize his acts. His confidence was entirely
justified. At the special session which met under his proclamation, on
the fourth of July, these acts were declared valid, and he was
authorized, moreover, to raise an army of a million men and $250,000,000
in money to carry on the war to suppress the rebellion; while other
legislation conferred upon him supplementary authority to meet the

Meanwhile, the first effort of the governors of the loyal States was to
furnish their quotas under the first call for militia. This was easy
enough as to men. It required only a few days to fill the regiments and
forward them to the State capitals and principal cities; but to arm and
equip them for the field on the spur of the moment was a difficult task
which involved much confusion and delay, even though existing armories
and foundries pushed their work to the utmost and new ones were
established. Under the militia call, the governors appointed all the
officers required by their respective quotas, from company lieutenant to
major-general of division; while under the new call for three years'
volunteers, their authority was limited to the simple organization of

In the South, war preparation also immediately became active. All the
indications are that up to their attack on Sumter, the Southern leaders
hoped to effect separation through concession and compromise by the
North. That hope, of course, disappeared with South Carolina's opening
guns, and the Confederate government made what haste it could to meet
the ordeal it dreaded even while it had provoked it. The rebel Congress
was hastily called together, and passed acts recognizing war and
regulating privateering; admitting Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee,
and Arkansas to the Confederate States; authorizing a $50,000,000 loan;
practically confiscating debts due from Southern to Northern citizens;
and removing the seat of government from Montgomery, Alabama, to
Richmond, Virginia.

Four different calls for Southern volunteers had been made, aggregating
82,000 men; and Jefferson Davis's message now proposed to further
organize and hold in readiness an army of 100,000. The work of erecting
forts and batteries for defense was being rapidly pushed at all points:
on the Atlantic coast, on the Potomac, and on the Mississippi and other
Western streams. For the present the Confederates were well supplied
with cannon and small arms from the captured navy-yards at Norfolk and
Pensacola and the six or eight arsenals located in the South. The
martial spirit of their people was roused to the highest enthusiasm, and
there was no lack of volunteers to fill the companies and regiments
which the Confederate legislators authorized Davis to accept, either by
regular calls on State executives in accordance with, or singly in
defiance of, their central dogma of States Rights, as he might prefer.

The secession of the Southern States not only strengthened the rebellion
with the arms and supplies stored in the various military and naval
depots within their limits, and the fortifications erected for their
defense: what was of yet greater help to the revolt, a considerable
portion of the officers of the army and navy--perhaps one
third--abandoned the allegiance which they had sworn to the United
States, and, under the false doctrine of State supremacy taught by
Southern leaders, gave their professional skill and experience to the
destruction of the government which had educated and honored them. The
defection of Robert E. Lee was a conspicuous example, and his loss to
the Union and service to the rebel army cannot easily be measured. So,
also, were the similar cases of Adjutant-General Cooper and
Quartermaster-General Johnston. In gratifying contrast stands the
steadfast loyalty and devotion of Lieutenant-General Winfield Scott,
who, though he was a Virginian and loved his native State, never wavered
an instant in his allegiance to the flag he had heroically followed in
the War of 1812, and triumphantly planted over the capital of Mexico in
1847. Though unable to take the field, he as general-in-chief directed
the assembling and first movements of the Union troops.

The largest part of the three months' regiments were ordered to
Washington city as the most important position in a political, and most
exposed in a military point of view. The great machine of war, once
started, moved, as it always does, by its own inherent energy from
arming to concentration, from concentration to skirmish and battle. It
was not long before Washington was a military camp. Gradually the
hesitation to "invade" the "sacred soil" of the South faded out under
the stern necessity to forestall an invasion of the equally sacred soil
of the North; and on May 24 the Union regiments in Washington crossed
the Potomac and planted themselves in a great semicircle of formidable
earthworks eighteen miles long on the Virginia shore, from Chain Bridge
to Hunting Creek, below Alexandria.

Meanwhile, a secondary concentration of force developed itself at
Harper's Ferry, forty-nine miles northwest of Washington. When, on April
20, a Union detachment had burned and abandoned the armory at that
point, it was at once occupied by a handful of rebel militia; and
immediately thereafter Jefferson Davis had hurried his regiments thither
to "sustain" or overawe Baltimore; and when that prospect failed, it
became a rebel camp of instruction. Afterward, as Major-General
Patterson collected his Pennsylvania quota, he turned it toward that
point as a probable field of operations. As a mere town, Harper's Ferry
was unimportant; but, lying on the Potomac, and being at the head of the
great Shenandoah valley, down which not only a good turnpike, but also
an effective railroad ran southeastward to the very heart of the
Confederacy, it was, and remained through the entire war, a strategical
line of the first importance, protected, as the Shenandoah valley was,
by the main chain of the Alleghanies on the west and the Blue Ridge on
the east.

A part of the eastern quotas had also been hurried to Fortress Monroe,
Virginia, lying at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, which became and
continued an important base for naval as well as military operations. In
the West, even more important than St. Louis was the little town of
Cairo, lying at the extreme southern end of the State of Illinois, at
the confluence of the Ohio River with the Mississippi. Commanding, as it
did, thousands of miles of river navigation in three different
directions, and being also the southernmost point of the earliest
military frontier, it had been the first care of General Scott to occupy
it; and, indeed, it proved itself to be the military key of the whole
Mississippi valley.

It was not an easy thing promptly to develop a military policy for the
suppression of the rebellion. The so-called Confederate States of
America covered a military field having more than six times the area of
Great Britain, with a coast-line of over thirty-five hundred miles, and
an interior frontier of over seven thousand miles. Much less was it
possible promptly to plan and set on foot concise military campaigns to
reduce the insurgent States to allegiance. Even the great military
genius of General Scott was unable to do more than suggest a vague
outline for the work. The problem was not only too vast, but as yet too
indefinite, since the political future of West Virginia, Kentucky, and
Missouri still hung in more or less uncertainty.

The passive and negligent attitude which the Buchanan administration had
maintained toward the insurrection during the whole three months between
the presidential election and Mr. Lincoln's inauguration, gave the
rebellion an immense advantage in the courts and cabinets of Europe.
Until within three days of the end of Buchanan's term not a word of
protest or even explanation was sent to counteract the impression that
disunion was likely to become permanent. Indeed, the non-coercion
doctrine of Buchanan's message was, in the eyes of European statesmen,
equivalent to an acknowledgment of such a result; and the formation of
the Confederate government, followed so quickly by the fall of Fort
Sumter, seemed to them a practical realization of their forecast. The
course of events appeared not merely to fulfil their expectations, but
also, in the case of England and France, gratified their eager hopes. To
England it promised cheap cotton and free trade with the South. To
France it appeared to open the way for colonial ambitions which Napoleon
III so soon set on foot on an imperial scale.

Before Charles Francis Adams, whom President Lincoln appointed as the
new minister to England, arrived in London and obtained an interview
with Lord John Russell, Mr. Seward had already received several items of
disagreeable news. One was that, prior to his arrival, the Queen's
proclamation of neutrality had been published, practically raising the
Confederate States to the rank of a belligerent power, and, before they
had a single privateer afloat, giving these an equality in British ports
with United States ships of war. Another was that an understanding had
been reached between England and France which would lead both
governments to take the same course as to recognition, whatever that
course might be. Third, that three diplomatic agents of the Confederate
States were in London, whom the British minister had not yet seen, but
whom he had caused to be informed that he was not unwilling to see

Under the irritation produced by this hasty and equivocal action of the
British government, Mr. Seward wrote a despatch to Mr. Adams under date
of May 21, which, had it been sent in the form of the original draft,
would scarcely have failed to lead to war between the two nations. While
it justly set forth with emphasis and courage what the government of the
United States would endure and what it would not endure from foreign
powers during the Southern insurrection, its phraseology, written in a
heat of indignation, was so blunt and exasperating as to imply
intentional disrespect.

When Mr. Seward read the document to President Lincoln, the latter at
once perceived its objectionable tone, and retained it for further
reflection. A second reading confirmed his first impression. Thereupon,
taking his pen, the frontier lawyer, in a careful revision of the whole
despatch, so amended and changed the work of the trained and experienced
statesman, as entirely to eliminate its offensive crudeness, and bring
it within all the dignity and reserve of the most studied diplomatic
courtesy. If, after Mr. Seward's remarkable memorandum of April 1, the
Secretary of State had needed any further experience to convince him of
the President's mastery in both administrative and diplomatic judgment,
this second incident afforded him the full evidence.

No previous President ever had such a sudden increase of official work
devolve upon him as President Lincoln during the early months of his
administration. The radical change of parties through which he was
elected not only literally filled the White House with applicants for
office, but practically compelled a wholesale substitution of new
appointees for the old, to represent the new thought and will of the
nation. The task of selecting these was greatly complicated by the sharp
competition between the heterogeneous elements of which the Republican
party was composed. This work was not half completed when the Sumter
bombardment initiated active rebellion, and precipitated the new
difficulty of sifting the loyal from the disloyal, and the yet more
pressing labor of scrutinizing the organization of the immense new
volunteer army called into service by the proclamation of May 3. Mr.
Lincoln used often to say at this period, when besieged by claims to
appointment, that he felt like a man letting rooms at one end of his
house, while the other end was on fire. In addition to this merely
routine work was the much more delicate and serious duty of deciding the
hundreds of novel questions affecting the constitutional principles and
theories of administration.

The great departments of government, especially those of war and navy,
could not immediately expedite either the supervision or clerical
details of this sudden expansion, and almost every case of resulting
confusion and delay was brought by impatient governors and State
officials to the President for complaint and correction. Volunteers were
coming rapidly enough to the various rendezvous in the different States,
but where were the rations to feed them, money to pay them, tents to
shelter them, uniforms to clothe them, rifles to arm them, officers to
drill and instruct them, or transportation to carry them? In this
carnival of patriotism, this hurly-burly of organization, the weaknesses
as well as the virtues of human nature quickly developed themselves, and
there was manifest not only the inevitable friction of personal rivalry,
but also the disturbing and baneful effects of occasional falsehood and
dishonesty, which could not always be immediately traced to the
responsible culprit. It happened in many instances that there were
alarming discrepancies between the full paper regiments and brigades
reported as ready to start from State capitals, and the actual number of
recruits that railroad trains brought to the Washington camps; and Mr.
Lincoln several times ironically compared the process to that of a man
trying to shovel a bushel of fleas across a barn floor.

While the month of May insensibly slipped away amid these preparatory
vexations, camps of instruction rapidly grew to small armies at a few
principal points, even under such incidental delay and loss; and during
June the confronting Union and Confederate forces began to produce the
conflicts and casualties of earnest war. As yet they were both few and
unimportant: the assassination of Ellsworth when Alexandria was
occupied; a slight cavalry skirmish at Fairfax Court House; the rout of
a Confederate regiment at Philippi, West Virginia; the blundering
leadership through which two Union detachments fired upon each other in
the dark at Big Bethel, Virginia; the ambush of a Union railroad train
at Vienna Station; and Lyon's skirmish, which scattered the first
collection of rebels at Boonville, Missouri. Comparatively speaking all
these were trivial in numbers of dead and wounded--the first few drops
of blood before the heavy sanguinary showers the future was destined to
bring. But the effect upon the public was irritating and painful to a
degree entirely out of proportion to their real extent and gravity.

The relative loss and gain in these affairs was not greatly unequal. The
victories of Philippi and Boonville easily offset the disasters of Big
Bethel and Vienna. But the public mind was not yet schooled to patience
and to the fluctuating chances of war. The newspapers demanded prompt
progress and ample victory as imperatively as they were wont to demand
party triumph in politics or achievement in commercial enterprise.
"Forward to Richmond," repeated the "New York Tribune," day after day,
and many sheets of lesser note and influence echoed the cry. There
seemed, indeed, a certain reason for this clamor, because the period of
enlistment of the three months' regiments was already two thirds gone,
and they were not yet all armed and equipped for field service.

President Lincoln was fully alive to the need of meeting this popular
demand. The special session of Congress was soon to begin, and to it the
new administration must look, not only to ratify what had been done, but
to authorize a large increase of the military force, and heavy loans for
coming expenses of the war. On June 29, therefore, he called his cabinet
and principal military officers to a council of war at the Executive
Mansion, to discuss a more formidable campaign than had yet been
planned. General Scott was opposed to such an undertaking at that time.
He preferred waiting until autumn, meanwhile organizing and drilling a
large army, with which to move down the Mississippi and end the war with
a final battle at New Orleans. Aside from the obvious military
objections to this course, such a procrastination, in the present
irritation of the public temper, was not to be thought of; and the old
general gracefully waived his preference and contributed his best
judgment to the perfecting of an immediate campaign into Virginia.

The Confederate forces in Virginia had been gathered by the orders of
General Lee into a defensive position at Manassas Junction, where a
railroad from Richmond and another from Harper's Ferry come together.
Here General Beauregard, who had organized and conducted the Sumter
bombardment, had command of a total of about twenty-five thousand men
which he was drilling. The Junction was fortified with some slight
field-works and fifteen heavy guns, supported by a garrison of two
thousand; while the main body was camped in a line of seven miles'
length behind Bull Run, a winding, sluggish stream flowing southeasterly
toward the Potomac. The distance was about thirty-two miles southwest of
Washington. Another Confederate force of about ten thousand, under
General J.E. Johnston, was collected at Winchester and Harper's Ferry
on the Potomac, to guard the entrance to the Shenandoah valley; and an
understanding existed between Johnston and Beauregard, that in case
either were attacked, the other would come to his aid by the quick
railroad transportation between the two places.

The new Union plan contemplated that Brigadier-General McDowell should
march from Washington against Manassas and Bull Run, with a force
sufficient to beat Beauregard, while General Patterson, who had
concentrated the bulk of the Pennsylvania regiments in the neighborhood
of Harper's Ferry, in numbers nearly or quite double that of his
antagonist, should move against Johnston, and either fight or hold him
so that he could not come to the aid of Beauregard. At the council
McDowell emphasized the danger of such a junction; but General Scott
assured him: "If Johnston joins Beauregard, he shall have Patterson on
his heels." With this understanding, McDowell's movement was ordered to
begin on July 9.


Congress--The President's Message--Men and Money Voted--The
Contraband--Dennison Appoints McClellan--Rich Mountain--McDowell--Bull
Run--Patterson's Failure--McClellan at Washington

While these preparations for a Virginia campaign were going on, another
campaign was also slowly shaping itself in Western Virginia; but before
either of them reached any decisive results the Thirty-seventh Congress,
chosen at the presidential election of 1860, met in special session on
the fourth of July, 1861, in pursuance of the President's proclamation
of April 15. There being no members present in either branch from the
seceded States, the number in each house was reduced nearly one third. A
great change in party feeling was also manifest. No more rampant
secession speeches were to be heard. Of the rare instances of men who
were yet to join the rebellion, ex-Vice-President Breckinridge was the
most conspicuous example; and their presence was offset by prominent
Southern Unionists like Andrew Johnson of Tennessee, and John J.
Crittenden of Kentucky. The heated antagonisms which had divided the
previous Congress into four clearly defined factions were so far
restrained or obliterated by the events of the past four months, as to
leave but a feeble opposition to the Republican majority now dominant in
both branches, which was itself rendered moderate and prudent by the new

The message of President Lincoln was temperate in spirit, but positive
and strong in argument. Reciting the secession and rebellion of the
Confederate States, and their unprovoked assault on Fort Sumter, he

"Having said to them in the inaugural address, 'You can have no conflict
without being yourselves the aggressors,' he took pains not only to keep
this declaration good, but also to keep the case so free from the power
of ingenious sophistry that the world should not be able to
misunderstand it. By the affair at Fort Sumter, with its surrounding
circumstances, that point was reached. Then and thereby the assailants
of the government began the conflict of arms, without a gun in sight or
in expectancy to return their fire, save only the few in the fort sent
to that harbor years before for their own protection, and still ready to
give that protection in whatever was lawful.... This issue embraces more
than the fate of these United States. It presents to the whole family of
man the question whether a constitutional republic or democracy--a
government of the people by the same people--can or cannot maintain its
territorial integrity against its own domestic foes."

With his singular felicity of statement, he analyzed and refuted the
sophism that secession was lawful and constitutional.

"This sophism derives much, perhaps the whole, of its currency from the
assumption that there is some omnipotent and sacred supremacy pertaining
to a State--to each State of our Federal Union. Our States have neither
more nor less power than that reserved to them in the Union by the
Constitution--no one of them ever having been a State out of the
Union.... The States have their status in the Union, and they have no
other legal status. If they break from this, they can only do so against
law and by revolution. The Union, and not themselves separately,
procured their independence and their liberty. By conquest or purchase
the Union gave each of them whatever of independence or liberty it has.
The Union is older than any of the States, and, in fact, it created them
as States. Originally some dependent colonies made the Union, and, in
turn, the Union threw off their old dependence for them, and made them
States, such as they are. Not one of them ever had a State constitution
independent of the Union."

A noteworthy point in the message is President Lincoln's expression of
his abiding confidence in the intelligence and virtue of the people of
the United States.

"It may be affirmed," said he, "without extravagance that the free
institutions we enjoy have developed the powers and improved the
condition of our whole people beyond any example in the world. Of this
we now have a striking and an impressive illustration. So large an army
as the government has now on foot was never before known, without a
soldier in it but who has taken his place there of his own free choice.
But more than this, there are many single regiments whose members, one
and another, possess full practical knowledge of all the arts, sciences,
professions and whatever else, whether useful or elegant, is known in
the world; and there is scarcely one from which there could not be
selected a President, a cabinet a congress, and, perhaps, a court,
abundantly competent to administer the government itself.... This is
essentially a people's contest. On the side of the Union it is a
struggle for maintaining in the world that form and substance of
government whose leading object is to elevate the condition of men; to
lift artificial weights from all shoulders; to clear the paths of
laudable pursuit for all; to afford all an unfettered start, and a fair
chance in the race of life.... I am most happy to believe that the plain
people understand and appreciate this. It is worthy of note that while
in this, the government's hour of trial, large numbers of those in the
army and navy who have been favored with the offices have resigned and
proved false to the hand which had pampered them, not one common soldier
or common sailor is known to have deserted his flag."

Hearty applause greeted that portion of the message which asked for
means to make the contest short and decisive; and Congress acted
promptly by authorizing a loan of $250,000,000 and an army not to exceed
one million men. All of President Lincoln's war measures for which no
previous sanction of law existed were duly legalized; additional direct
income and tariff taxes were laid; and the Force Bill of 1795, and
various other laws relating to conspiracy, piracy, unlawful recruiting,
and kindred topics, were amended or passed.

Throughout the whole history of the South, by no means the least of the
evils entailed by the institution of slavery was the dread of slave
insurrections which haunted every master's household; and this vague
terror was at once intensified by the outbreak of civil war. It stands
to the lasting credit of the negro race in the United States that the
wrongs of their long bondage provoked them to no such crime, and that
the Civil War appears not to have even suggested, much less started, any
such organization or attempt. But the John Brown raid had indicated some
possibility of the kind, and when the Union troops began their movements
Generals Butler in Maryland and Patterson in Pennsylvania, moving
toward Harper's Ferry, and McClellan in West Virginia, in order to
reassure non-combatants, severally issued orders that all attempts at
slave insurrection should be suppressed. It was a most pointed and
significant warning to the leaders of the rebellion how much more
vulnerable the peculiar institution was in war than in peace, and that
their ill-considered scheme to protect and perpetuate slavery would
prove the most potent engine for its destruction.

The first effect of opening hostilities was to give adventurous or
discontented slaves the chance to escape into Union camps, where, even
against orders to the contrary, they found practical means of protection
or concealment for the sake of the help they could render as cooks,
servants, or teamsters, or for the information they could give or
obtain, or the invaluable service they could render as guides.
Practically, therefore, at the very beginning, the war created a bond of
mutual sympathy based on mutual helpfulness, between the Southern negro
and the Union volunteer; and as fast as the Union troops advanced, and
secession masters fled, more or less slaves found liberation and refuge
in the Union camps.

At some points, indeed, this tendency created an embarrassment to Union
commanders. A few days after General Butler assumed command of the Union
troops at Fortress Monroe, the agent of a rebel master who had fled from
the neighborhood came to demand, under the provisions of the
fugitive-slave law, three field hands alleged to be in Butler's camp.
Butler responded that as Virginia claimed to be a foreign country the
fugitive-slave law was clearly inoperative, unless the owner would come
and take an oath of allegiance to the United States. In connection with
this incident, the newspaper report stated that as the breastworks and
batteries which had been so rapidly erected for Confederate defense in
every direction on the Virginia peninsula were built by enforced negro
labor under rigorous military impressment, negroes were manifestly
contraband of war under international law. The dictum was so pertinent,
and the equity so plain, that, though it was not officially formulated
by the general until two months later, it sprang at once into popular
acceptance and application; and from that time forward the words "slave"
and "negro" were everywhere within the Union lines replaced by the
familiar, significant term "contraband."

While Butler's happy designation had a more convincing influence on
public thought than a volume of discussion, it did not immediately solve
the whole question. Within a few days he reported that he had slave
property to the value of $60,000 in his hands, and by the end of July
nine hundred "contrabands," men, women, and children, of all ages. What
was their legal status, and how should they be disposed of? It was a
knotty problem, for upon its solution might depend the sensitive public
opinion and balancing, undecided loyalty and political action of the
border slave States of Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri.
In solving the problem, President Lincoln kept in mind the philosophic
maxim of one of his favorite stories, that when the Western Methodist
presiding elder, riding about the circuit during the spring freshets,
was importuned by his young companion how they should ever be able to
get across the swollen waters of Fox River, which they were approaching,
the elder quieted him by saying he had made it the rule of his life
never to cross Fox River till he came to it.

The President did not immediately decide, but left it to be treated as a
question of camp and local police, in the discretion of each commander.
Under this theory, later in the war, some commanders excluded, others
admitted such fugitives to their camps; and the curt formula of General
Orders, "We have nothing to do with slaves. We are neither negro
stealers nor negro catchers," was easily construed by subordinate
officers to justify the practice of either course. _Inter arma silent
leges_. For the present, Butler was instructed not to surrender such
fugitives, but to employ them in suitable labor, and leave the question
of their final disposition for future determination. Congress greatly
advanced the problem, soon after the battle of Bull Run, by adopting an
amendment which confiscated a rebel master's right to his slave when, by
his consent, such slave was employed in service or labor hostile to the
United States. The debates exhibited but little spirit of partizanship,
even on this feature of the slavery question. The border State members
did not attack the justice of such a penalty. They could only urge that
it was unconstitutional and inexpedient. On the general policy of the
war, both houses, with but few dissenting votes, passed the resolution,
offered by Mr. Crittenden, which declared that the war was not waged for
oppression or subjugation, or to interfere with the rights or
institutions of States, "but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the
Constitution, and to preserve the Union with all the dignity, equality,
and rights of the several States unimpaired." The special session
adjourned on August 6, having in a single month completed and enacted a
thorough and comprehensive system of war legislation.

The military events that were transpiring in the meanwhile doubtless had
their effect in hastening the decision and shortening the labors of
Congress. To command the thirteen regiments of militia furnished by the
State of Ohio, Governor Dennison had given a commission of major-general
to George B. McClellan, who had been educated at West Point and served
with distinction in the Mexican War, and who, through unusual
opportunities in travel and special duties in surveys and exploration,
had gained acquirements and qualifications that appeared to fit him for
a brilliant career. Being but thirty-five years old, and having reached
only the grade of captain, he had resigned from the army, and was at the
moment serving as president of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad.
General Scott warmly welcomed his appointment to lead the Ohio
contingent, and so industriously facilitated his promotion that by the
beginning of June McClellan's militia commission as major-general had
been changed to a commission for the same grade in the regular army, and
he found himself assigned to the command of a military department
extending from Western Virginia to Missouri. Though this was a leap in
military title, rank, and power which excels the inventions of romance,
it was necessitated by the sudden exigencies of army expansion over the
vast territory bordering the insurrection, and for a while seemed
justified by the hopeful promise indicated in the young officer's zeal
and activity.

His instructions made it a part of his duty to encourage and support the
Unionists of Western Virginia in their political movement to divide the
State and erect a Union commonwealth out of that portion of it lying
northwest of the Alleghanies. General Lee, not fully informed of the
adverse popular sentiment, sent a few Confederate regiments into that
region to gather recruits and hold the important mountain passes.
McClellan, in turn, advanced a detachment eastward from Wheeling, to
protect the Baltimore and Ohio railroad; and at the beginning of June,
an expedition of two regiments, led by Colonel Kelly, made a spirited
dash upon Philippi, where, by a complete surprise, he routed and
scattered Porterfield's recruiting detachment of one thousand
Confederates. Following up this initial success, McClellan threw
additional forces across the Ohio, and about a month later had the good
fortune, on July 11, by a flank movement under Rosecrans, to drive a
regiment of the enemy out of strong intrenchments on Rich Mountain,
force the surrender of the retreating garrison on the following day,
July 12, and to win a third success on the thirteenth over another
flying detachment at Carrick's Ford, one of the crossings of the Cheat
River, where the Confederate General Garnett was killed in a
skirmish-fire between sharp-shooters.

These incidents, happening on three successive days, and in distance
forty miles apart, made a handsome showing for the young department
commander when gathered into the single, short telegram in which he
reported to Washington that Garnett was killed, his force routed, at
least two hundred of the enemy killed, and seven guns and one thousand
prisoners taken. "Our success is complete, and secession is killed in
this country," concluded the despatch. The result, indeed, largely
overshadowed in importance the means which accomplished it. The Union
loss was only thirteen killed and forty wounded. In subsequent effect,
these two comparatively insignificant skirmishes permanently recovered
the State of West Virginia to the Union. The main credit was, of course,
due to the steadfast loyalty of the people of that region.

This victory afforded welcome relief to the strained and impatient
public opinion of the Northern States, and sharpened the eager
expectation of the authorities at Washington of similar results from
the projected Virginia campaign. The organization and command of that
column were intrusted to Brigadier-General McDowell, advanced to this
grade from his previous rank of major. He was forty-two years old, an
accomplished West Point graduate, and had won distinction in the Mexican
War, though since that time he had been mainly engaged in staff duty. On
the morning of July 16, he began his advance from the fortifications of
Washington, with a marching column of about twenty-eight thousand men
and a total of forty-nine guns, an additional division of about six
thousand being left behind to guard his communications. Owing to the
rawness of his troops, the first few days' march was necessarily
cautious and cumbersome.

The enemy, under Beauregard, had collected about twenty-three thousand
men and thirty-five guns, and was posted behind Bull Run. A preliminary
engagement occurred on Thursday, July 18, at Blackburn's Ford on that
stream, which served to develop the enemy's strong position, but only
delayed the advance until the whole of McDowell's force reached
Centreville Here McDowell halted, spent Friday and Saturday in
reconnoitering, and on Sunday, July 21, began the battle by a circuitous
march across Bull Run and attacking the enemy's left flank.

It proved that the plan was correctly chosen, but, by a confusion in the
march, the attack, intended for day-break, was delayed until nine
o'clock. Nevertheless, the first half of the battle, during the
forenoon, was entirely successful, the Union lines steadily driving the
enemy southward, and enabling additional Union brigades to join the
attacking column by a direct march from Centreville.

At noon, however, the attack came to a halt, partly through the fatigue
of the troops, partly because the advancing line, having swept the field
for nearly a mile, found itself in a valley, from which further progress
had to be made with all the advantage of the ground in favor of the
enemy. In the lull of the conflict which for a while ensued, the
Confederate commander, with little hope except to mitigate a defeat,
hurriedly concentrated his remaining artillery and supporting regiments
into a semicircular line of defense at the top of the hill that the
Federals would be obliged to mount, and kept them well concealed among
the young pines at the edge of the timber, with an open field in their

Against this second position of the enemy, comprising twelve regiments,
twenty-two guns, and two companies of cavalry, McDowell advanced in the
afternoon with an attacking force of fourteen regiments, twenty-four
guns, and a single battalion of cavalry, but with all the advantages of
position against him. A fluctuating and intermitting attack resulted.
The nature of the ground rendered a combined advance impossible. The
Union brigades were sent forward and repulsed by piecemeal. A battery
was lost by mistaking a Confederate for a Union regiment. Even now the
victory seemed to vibrate, when a new flank attack by seven rebel
regiments, from an entirely unexpected direction, suddenly impressed the
Union troops with the belief that Johnston's army from Harper's Ferry
had reached the battle-field; and, demoralized by this belief, the Union
commands, by a common impulse, gave up the fight as lost, and half
marched, half ran from the field. Before reaching Centreville, the
retreat at one point degenerated into a downright panic among army
teamsters and a considerable crowd of miscellaneous camp-followers; and
here a charge or two by the Confederate cavalry companies captured
thirteen Union guns and quite a harvest of army wagons.

When the truth came to be known, it was found that through the want of
skill and courage on the part of General Patterson in his operations at
Harper's Ferry, General Johnston, with his whole Confederate army, had
been allowed to slip away; and so far from coming suddenly into the
battle of Bull Run, the bulk of them were already in Beauregard's camps
on Saturday, and performed the heaviest part of the fighting in Sunday's

The sudden cessation of the battle left the Confederates in doubt
whether their victory was final, or only a prelude to a fresh Union
attack. But as the Union forces not only retreated from the field, but
also from Centreville, it took on, in their eyes, the proportions of a
great triumph; confirming their expectation of achieving ultimate
independence, and, in fact, giving them a standing in the eyes of
foreign nations which they had hardly dared hope for so soon. In numbers
of killed and wounded, the two armies suffered about equally; and
General Johnston writes: "The Confederate army was more disorganized by
victory than that of the United States by defeat." Manassas was turned
into a fortified camp, but the rebel leaders felt themselves unable to
make an aggressive movement during the whole of the following autumn and

The shock of the defeat was deep and painful to the administration and
the people of the North. Up to late Sunday afternoon favorable reports
had come to Washington from the battle-field, and every one believed in
an assured victory. When a telegram came about five o'clock in the
afternoon, that the day was lost, and McDowell's army in full retreat
through Centreville, General Scott refused to credit the news, so
contradictory of everything which had been heard up to that hour. But
the intelligence was quickly confirmed. The impulse of retreat once
started, McDowell's effort to arrest it at Centreville proved useless.
The regiments and brigades not completely disorganized made an
unmolested and comparatively orderly march back to the fortifications of
Washington, while on the following day a horde of stragglers found their
way across the bridges of the Potomac into the city.

President Lincoln received the news quietly and without any visible sign
of perturbation or excitement; but he remained awake and in the
executive office all of Sunday night, listening to the personal
narratives of a number of congressmen and senators who had, with undue
curiosity, followed the army and witnessed some of the sounds and sights
of the battle. By the dawn of Monday morning the President had
substantially made up his judgment of the battle and its probable
results, and the action dictated by the untoward event. This was, in
brief, that the militia regiments enlisted under the three months' call
should be mustered out as soon as practicable; the organization of the
new three years' forces be pushed forward both east and west; Manassas
and Harper's Ferry and the intermediate lines of communication be seized
and held; and a joint movement organized from Cincinnati on East
Tennessee, and from Cairo on Memphis.

Meanwhile, General McClellan was ordered from West Virginia to
Washington, where he arrived on July 26, and assumed command of the
Division of the Potomac, comprising the troops in and around Washington
on both sides of the river. He quickly cleared the city of stragglers,
and displayed a gratifying activity in beginning the organization of the
Army of the Potomac from the new three years' volunteers that were
pouring into Washington by every train. He was received by the
administration and the army with the warmest friendliness and
confidence, and for awhile seemed to reciprocate these feelings with
zeal and gratitude.


General Scott's Plans--Criticized as the "Anaconda"--The Three Fields of
Conflict--Frémont Appointed Major-General--His Military Failures--Battle
of Wilson's Creek--Hunter Ordered to Frémont--Frémont's
Proclamation--President Revokes Frémont's Proclamation--Lincoln's Letter
to Browning--Surrender of Lexington--Frémont Takes the Field--Cameron's
Visit to Frémont--Frémont's Removal

The military genius and experience of General Scott, from the first,
pretty correctly divined the grand outline of military operations which
would become necessary in reducing the revolted Southern States to
renewed allegiance. Long before the battle of Bull Run was planned, he
urged that the first seventy-five regiments of three months' militia
could not be relied on for extensive campaigns, because their term of
service would expire before they could be well organized. His outline
suggestion, therefore, was that the new three years' volunteer army be
placed in ten or fifteen healthy camps and given at least four months of
drill and tactical instruction; and when the navy had, by a rigid
blockade, closed all the harbors along the seaboard of the Southern
States, the fully prepared army should, by invincible columns, move down
the Mississippi River to New Orleans, leaving a strong cordon of
military posts behind it to keep open the stream, join hands with the
blockade, and thus envelop the principal area of rebellion in a
powerful military grasp which would paralyze and effectually kill the
insurrection. Even while suggesting this plan, however, the general
admitted that the great obstacle to its adoption would be the impatience
of the patriotic and loyal Union people and leaders, who would refuse to
wait the necessary length of time.

The general was correct in his apprehension. The newspapers criticized
his plan in caustic editorials and ridiculous cartoons as "Scott's
Anaconda," and public opinion rejected it in an overwhelming demand for
a prompt and energetic advance. Scott was correct in military theory,
while the people and the administration were right in practice, under
existing political conditions. Although Bull Run seemed to justify the
general, West Virginia and Missouri vindicated the President and the

It can now be seen that still a third element--geography--intervened to
give shape and sequence to the main outlines of the Civil War. When, at
the beginning of May, General Scott gave his advice, the seat of
government of the first seven Confederate States was still at
Montgomery, Alabama. By the adhesion of the four interior border States
to the insurrection, and the removal of the archives and administration
of Jefferson Davis to Richmond, Virginia, toward the end of June, as the
capital of the now eleven Confederate States, Washington necessarily
became the center of Union attack, and Richmond the center of
Confederate defense. From the day when McDowell began his march to Bull
Run, to that when Lee evacuated Richmond in his final hopeless flight,
the route between these two opposing capitals remained the principal and
dominating line of military operations, and the region between
Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River on the east, and the chain of the
Alleghanies on the west, the primary field of strategy.

According to geographical features, the second great field of strategy
lay between the Alleghany Mountains and the Mississippi River, and the
third between the Mississippi River, the Rocky Mountains, and the Rio
Grande. Except in Western Virginia, the attitude of neutrality assumed
by Kentucky for a considerable time delayed the definition of the
military frontier and the beginning of active hostilities in the second
field, thus giving greater momentary importance to conditions existing
and events transpiring in Missouri, with the city of St. Louis as the
principal center of the third great military field.

The same necessity which dictated the promotion of General McClellan at
one bound from captain to major-general compelled a similar phenomenal
promotion, not alone of officers of the regular army, but also of
eminent civilians to high command and military responsibility in the
immense volunteer force authorized by Congress. Events, rather than
original purpose, had brought McClellan into prominence and ranking
duty; but now, by design, the President gave John C. Frémont a
commission of major-general, and placed him in command of the third
great military field, with headquarters at St. Louis, with the leading
idea that he should organize the military strength of the Northwest,
first, to hold Missouri to the Union, and, second, by a carefully
prepared military expedition open the Mississippi River. By so doing, he
would sever the Confederate States, reclaim or conquer the region lying
west of the great stream, and thus reduce by more than one half the
territorial area of the insurrection. Though he had been an army
lieutenant, he had no experience in active war; yet the talent and
energy he had displayed in Western military exploration, and the
political prominence he had reached as candidate of the Republican party
for President in 1856, seemed to fit him preëminently for such a duty.

While most of the volunteers from New England and the Middle States were
concentrated at Washington and dependent points, the bulk of the Western
regiments was, for the time being, put under the command of Frémont for
present and prospective duty. But the high hopes which the
administration placed in the general were not realized. The genius which
could lead a few dozen or a few hundred Indian scouts and mountain
trappers over desert plains and through the fastnesses of the Sierra
Nevada, that could defy savage hostilities and outlive starvation amid
imprisoning snows, failed signally before the task of animating and
combining the patriotic enthusiasm of eight or ten great northwestern
States, and organizing and leading an army of one hundred thousand eager
volunteers in a comprehensive and decisive campaign to recover a great
national highway. From the first, Frémont failed in promptness, in
foresight, in intelligent supervision and, above all, in inspiring
confidence and attracting assistance and devotion. His military
administration created serious extravagance and confusion, and his
personal intercourse excited the distrust and resentment of the
governors and civilian officials, whose counsel and coöperation were
essential to his usefulness and success.

While his resources were limited, and while he fortified St. Louis and
reinforced Cairo, a yet more important point needed his attention and
help. Lyon, who had followed Governor Jackson and General Price in their
flight from Boonville to Springfield in southern Missouri, found his
forces diminished beyond his expectation by the expiration of the term
of service of his three months' regiments, and began to be threatened by
a northward concentration of Confederate detachments from the Arkansas
line and the Indian Territory. The neglect of his appeals for help
placed him in the situation where he could neither safely remain
inactive, nor safely retreat. He therefore took the chances of
scattering the enemy before him by a sudden, daring attack with his five
thousand effectives, against nearly treble numbers, in the battle of
Wilson's Creek, at daylight on August 10. The casualties on the two
sides were nearly equal, and the enemy was checked and crippled; but the
Union army sustained a fatal loss in the death of General Lyon, who was
instantly killed while leading a desperate bayonet charge. His skill and
activity had, so far, been the strength of the Union cause in Missouri.
The absence of his counsel and personal example rendered a retreat to
the railroad terminus at Rolla necessary. This discouraging event turned
public criticism sharply upon Frémont. Loath to yield to mere public
clamor, and averse to hasty changes in military command, Mr. Lincoln
sought to improve the situation by sending General David Hunter to take
a place on Frémont's staff.

"General Frémont needs assistance," said his note to Hunter, "which it
is difficult to give him. He is losing the confidence of men near him,
whose support any man in his position must have to be successful. His
cardinal mistake is that he isolates himself, and allows nobody to see
him; and by which he does not know what is going on in the very matter
he is dealing with. He needs to have by his side a man of large
experience. Will you not, for me, take that place? Your rank is one
grade too high to be ordered to it; but will you not serve the country
and oblige me by taking it voluntarily?"

This note indicates, better than pages of description, the kind,
helpful, and forbearing spirit with which the President, through the
long four years' war, treated his military commanders and subordinates;
and which, in several instances, met such ungenerous return. But even
while Mr. Lincoln was attempting to smooth this difficulty, Frémont had
already burdened him with two additional embarrassments. One was a
perplexing personal quarrel the general had begun with the influential
Blair family, represented by Colonel Frank Blair, the indefatigable
Unionist leader in Missouri, and Montgomery Blair, the
postmaster-general in Lincoln's cabinet, who had hitherto been Frémont's
most influential friends and supporters; and, in addition, the father of
these, Francis P. Blair, Sr., a veteran politician whose influence dated
from Jackson's administration, and through whose assistance Frémont had
been nominated as presidential candidate in 1856.

The other embarrassment was of a more serious and far-reaching nature.
Conscious that he was losing the esteem and confidence of both civil and
military leaders in the West, Frémont's adventurous fancy caught at the
idea of rehabilitating himself before the public by a bold political
manoeuver. Day by day the relation of slavery to the Civil War was
becoming a more troublesome question, and exciting impatient and angry
discussion. Without previous consultation with the President or any of
his advisers or friends, Frémont, on August 30, wrote and printed, as
commander of the Department of the West, a proclamation establishing
martial law throughout the State of Missouri, and announcing that:

"All persons who shall be taken with arms in their hands within these
lines shall be tried by court-martial, and if found guilty will be shot.
The property, real and personal, of all persons in the State of
Missouri who shall take up arms against the United States, or who shall
be directly proven to have taken an active part with their enemies in
the field, is declared to be confiscated to the public use; and their
slaves, if any they have, are hereby declared freemen."

The reason given in the proclamation for this drastic and dictatorial
measure was to suppress disorder, maintain the public peace, and protect
persons and property of loyal citizens--all simple police duties. For
issuing his proclamation without consultation with the President, he
could offer only the flimsy excuse that it involved two days of time to
communicate with Washington, while he well knew that no battle was
pending and no invasion in progress. This reckless misuse of power
President Lincoln also corrected with his dispassionate prudence and
habitual courtesy. He immediately wrote to the general:

"MY DEAR SIR: Two points in your proclamation of August 30 give me some

"_First_. Should you shoot a man, according to the proclamation, the
Confederates would very certainly shoot our best men in their hands, in
retaliation; and so, man for man, indefinitely. It is, therefore, my
order that you allow no man to be shot under the proclamation, without
first having my approbation or consent.

"_Second_. I think there is great danger that the closing paragraph, in
relation to the confiscation of property and the liberating slaves of
traitorous owners, will alarm our Southern Union friends and turn them
against us; perhaps ruin our rather fair prospect for Kentucky. Allow
me, therefore, to ask that you will, as of your own motion, modify that
paragraph so as to conform to the first and fourth sections of the act
of Congress entitled, 'An act to confiscate property used for
insurrectionary purposes,' approved August 6, 1861, and a copy of which
act I herewith send you.

"This letter is written in a spirit of caution, and not of censure. I
send it by a special messenger, in order that it may certainly and
speedily reach you."

But the headstrong general was too blind and selfish to accept this mild
redress of a fault that would have justified instant displacement from
command. He preferred that the President should openly direct him to
make the correction. Admitting that he decided in one night upon the
measure, he added: "If I were to retract it of my own accord, it would
imply that I myself thought it wrong, and that I had acted without the
reflection which the gravity of the point demanded." The inference is
plain that Frémont was unwilling to lose the influence of his hasty step
upon public opinion. But by this course he deliberately placed himself
in an attitude of political hostility to the administration.

The incident produced something of the agitation which the general had
evidently counted upon. Radical antislavery men throughout the free
States applauded his act and condemned the President, and military
emancipation at once became a subject of excited discussion. Even strong
conservatives were carried away by the feeling that rebels would be but
properly punished by the loss of their slaves. To Senator Browning, the
President's intimate personal friend, who entertained this feeling, Mr.
Lincoln wrote a searching analysis of Frémont's proclamation and its

"Yours of the seventeenth is just received; and, coming from you, I
confess it astonishes me. That you should object to my adhering to a law
which you had assisted in making and presenting to me, less than a month
before, is odd enough. But this is a very small part. General Frémont's
proclamation as to confiscation of property and the liberation of slaves
is purely political, and not within the range of military law or
necessity. If a commanding general finds a necessity to seize the farm
of a private owner, for a pasture, an encampment, or a fortification, he
has the right to do so, and to so hold it as long as the necessity
lasts; and this is within military law, because within military
necessity. But to say the farm shall no longer belong to the owner or
his heirs forever, and this as well when the farm is not needed for
military purposes as when it is, is purely political, without the savor
of military law about it. And the same is true of slaves. If the general
needs them he can seize them and use them, but when the need is past, it
is not for him to fix their permanent future condition. That must be
settled according to laws made by law-makers, and not by military
proclamations. The proclamation in the point in question is simply
'dictatorship.' It assumes that the general may do anything he
pleases--confiscate the lands and free the slaves of loyal people, as
well as of disloyal ones. And going the whole figure, I have no doubt,
would be more popular, with some thoughtless people, than that which has
been done! But I cannot assume this reckless position, nor allow others
to assume it on my responsibility.

"You speak of it as being the only means of saving the government. On
the contrary, it is itself the surrender of the government. Can it be
pretended that it is any longer the government of the United States--any
government of constitution and laws--wherein a general or a president
may make permanent rules of property by proclamation? I do not say
Congress might not, with propriety, pass a law on the point, just such
as General Frémont proclaimed. I do not say I might not, as a member of
Congress, vote for it. What I object to is, that I, as President, shall
expressly or impliedly seize and exercize the permanent legislative
functions of the government.

"So much as to principle. Now as to policy. No doubt the thing was
popular in some quarters, and would have been more so if it had been a
general declaration of emancipation. The Kentucky legislature would not
budge till that proclamation was modified; and General Anderson
telegraphed me that on the news of General Frémont having actually
issued deeds of manumission, a whole company of our volunteers threw
down their arms and disbanded. I was so assured as to think it probable
that the very arms we had furnished Kentucky would be turned against us.
I think to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game.
Kentucky gone, we cannot hold Missouri, nor, as I think, Maryland. These
all against us, and the job on our hands is too large for us. We would
as well consent to separation at once, including the surrender of this

If it be objected that the President himself decreed military
emancipation a year later, then it must be remembered that Frémont's
proclamation differed in many essential particulars from the President's
edict of January 1, 1863. By that time, also, the entirely changed
conditions justified a complete change of policy; but, above all, the
supreme reason of military necessity, upon which alone Mr. Lincoln based
the constitutionality of his edict of freedom, was entirely wanting in
the case of Frémont.

The harvest of popularity which Frémont evidently hoped to secure by his
proclamation was soon blighted by a new military disaster. The
Confederate forces which had been united in the battle of Wilson's Creek
quickly became disorganized through the disagreement of their leaders
and the want of provisions and other military supplies, and mainly
returned to Arkansas and the Indian Territory, whence they had come. But
General Price, with his Missouri contingent, gradually increased his
followers, and as the Union retreat from Springfield to Rolla left the
way open, began a northward march through the western part of the State
to attack Colonel Mulligan, who, with about twenty-eight hundred Federal
troops, intrenched himself at Lexington on the Missouri River. Secession
sympathy was strong along the line of his march, and Price gained
adherents so rapidly that on September 18 he was able to invest
Mulligan's position with a somewhat irregular army numbering about
twenty thousand. After a two days' siege, the garrison was compelled to
surrender, through the exhaustion of the supply of water in their
cisterns. The victory won, Price again immediately retreated southward,
losing his army almost as fast as he had collected it, made up, as it
was, more in the spirit and quality of a sudden border foray than an
organized campaign.

For this new loss, Frémont was subjected to a shower of fierce
criticism, which this time he sought to disarm by ostentatious
announcements of immediate activity. "I am taking the field myself," he
telegraphed, "and hope to destroy the enemy either before or after the
junction of forces under McCulloch." Four days after the surrender, the
St. Louis newspapers printed his order organizing an army of five
divisions. The document made a respectable show of force on paper,
claiming an aggregate of nearly thirty-nine thousand. In reality,
however, being scattered and totally unprepared for the field, it
possessed no such effective strength. For a month longer extravagant
newspaper reports stimulated the public with the hope of substantial
results from Frémont's intended campaign. Before the end of that time,
however, President Lincoln, under growing apprehension, sent Secretary
of War Cameron and the adjutant-general of the army to Missouri to make
a personal investigation. Reaching Frémont's camp on October 13, they
found the movement to be a mere forced, spasmodic display, without
substantial strength, transportation, or coherent and feasible plan; and
that at least two of the division commanders were without means to
execute the orders they had received, and utterly without confidence in
their leader, or knowledge of his intentions.

To give Frémont yet another chance, the Secretary of War withheld the
President's order to relieve the general from command, which he had
brought with him, on Frémont's insistence that a victory was really
within his reach. When this hope also proved delusive, and suspicion was
aroused that the general might be intending not only to deceive, but to
defy the administration, President Lincoln sent the following letter by
a special friend to General Curtis, commanding at St. Louis:

"DEAR SIR: On receipt of this, with the accompanying inclosures, you
will take safe, certain, and suitable measures to have the inclosure
addressed to Major-General Frémont delivered to him with all reasonable
dispatch, subject to these conditions only, that if, when General
Frémont shall be reached by the messenger--yourself, or any one sent by
you--he shall then have, in personal command, fought and won a battle,
or shall then be actually in a battle, or shall then be in the immediate
presence of the enemy in expectation of a battle, it is not to be
delivered, but held for further orders. After, and not till after, the
delivery to General Frémont, let the inclosure addressed to General
Hunter be delivered to him."

The order of removal was delivered to Frémont on November 2. By that
date he had reached Springfield, but had won no victory, fought no
battle, and was not in the presence of the enemy. Two of his divisions
were not yet even with him. Still laboring under the delusion, perhaps
imposed on him by his scouts, his orders stated that the enemy was only
a day's march distant, and advancing to attack him. The inclosure
mentioned in the President's letter to Curtis was an order to General
David Hunter to relieve Frémont. When he arrived and assumed command the
scouts he sent forward found no enemy within reach, and no such
contingency of battle or hope of victory as had been rumored and

Frémont's personal conduct in these disagreeable circumstances was
entirely commendable. He took leave of the army in a short farewell
order, couched in terms of perfect obedience to authority and courtesy
to his successor, asking for him the same cordial support he had himself
received. Nor did he by word or act justify the suspicions of
insubordination for which some of his indiscreet adherents had given
cause. Under the instructions President Lincoln had outlined in his
order to Hunter, that general gave up the idea of indefinitely pursuing
Price, and divided the army into two corps of observation, which were
drawn back and posted, for the time being, at the two railroad termini
of Rolla and Sedalia, to be recruited and prepared for further service.


Blockade--Hatteras Inlet--Port Royal Captured--The Trent
Affair--Lincoln Suggests Arbitration--Seward's Despatch--McClellan at
Washington--Army of the Potomac--McClellan's Quarrel with
Scott--Retirement of Scott--Lincoln's Memorandum--"All Quiet on the
Potomac"--Conditions in Kentucky--Cameron's Visit to Sherman--East
Tennessee--Instructions to Buell--Buell's Neglect--Halleck in Missouri

Following the fall of Fort Sumter, the navy of the United States was in
no condition to enforce the blockade from Chesapeake Bay to the Rio
Grande declared by Lincoln's proclamation of April 19. Of the forty-two
vessels then in commission nearly all were on foreign stations. Another
serious cause of weakness was that within a few days after the Sumter
attack one hundred and twenty-four officers of the navy resigned, or
were dismissed for disloyalty, and the number of such was doubled before
the fourth of July. Yet by the strenuous efforts of the department in
fitting out ships that had been laid up, in completing those under
construction, and in extensive purchases and arming of all classes of
vessels that could be put to use, from screw and side-wheel merchant
steamers to ferry-boats and tugs, a legally effective blockade was
established within a period of six months. A considerable number of new
war-ships was also immediately placed under construction. The special
session of Congress created a commission to study the subject of
ironclads, and on its recommendation three experimental vessels of this
class were placed under contract. One of these, completed early in the
following year, rendered a momentous service, hereafter to be mentioned,
and completely revolutionized naval warfare.

Meanwhile, as rapidly as vessels could be gathered and prepared, the
Navy Department organized effective expeditions to operate against
points on the Atlantic coast. On August 29 a small fleet, under command
of Flag Officer Stringham, took possession of Hatteras Inlet, after
silencing the forts the insurgents had erected to guard the entrance,
and captured twenty-five guns and seven hundred prisoners. This success,
achieved without the loss of a man to the Union fleet, was of great
importance, opening, as it did, the way for a succession of victories in
the interior waters of North Carolina early in the following year.

A more formidable expedition, and still greater success soon followed.
Early in November, Captain Du-Pont assembled a fleet of fifty sail,
including transports, before Port Royal Sound. Forming a column of nine
war-ships with a total of one hundred and twelve guns, the line steamed
by the mid-channel between Fort Beauregard to the right, and Fort Walker
to the left, the first of twenty and the second of twenty-three guns,
each ship delivering its fire as it passed the forts. Turning at the
proper point, they again gave broadside after broadside while steaming
out, and so repeated their circular movement. The battle was decided
when, on the third round, the forts failed to respond to the fire of the
ships. When Commander Rodgers carried and planted the Stars and Stripes
on the ramparts, he found them utterly deserted, everything having been
abandoned by the flying garrisons. Further reconnaissance proved that
the panic extended itself over the whole network of sea islands between
Charleston and Savannah, permitting the immediate occupation of the
entire region, and affording a military base for both the navy and the
army of incalculable advantage in the further reduction of the coast.

Another naval exploit, however, almost at the same time, absorbed
greater public attention, and for a while created an intense degree of
excitement and suspense. Ex-Senators J.M. Mason and John Slidell, having
been accredited by the Confederate government as envoys to European
courts, had managed to elude the blockade and reach Havana. Captain
Charles Wilkes, commanding the _San Jacinto_, learning that they were to
take passage for England on the British mail steamer _Trent_,
intercepted that vessel on November 8 near the coast of Cuba, took the
rebel emissaries prisoner by the usual show of force, and brought them
to the United States, but allowed the _Trent_ to proceed on her voyage.
The incident and alleged insult produced as great excitement in England
as in the United States, and the British government began instant and
significant preparations for war for what it hastily assumed to be a
violation of international law and an outrage on the British flag.
Instructions were sent to Lord Lyons, the British minister at
Washington, to demand the release of the prisoners and a suitable
apology; and, if this demand were not complied with within a single
week, to close his legation and return to England.

In the Northern States the capture was greeted with great jubilation.
Captain Wilkes was applauded by the press; his act was officially
approved by the Secretary of the Navy, and the House of Representatives
unanimously passed a resolution thanking him for his "brave, adroit, and
patriotic conduct." While the President and cabinet shared the first
impulses of rejoicing, second thoughts impressed them with the grave
nature of the international question involved, and the serious dilemma
of disavowal or war precipitated by the imperative British demand. It
was fortunate that Secretary Seward and Lord Lyons were close personal
friends, and still more that though British public opinion had strongly
favored the rebellion, the Queen of England entertained the kindliest
feelings for the American government. Under her direction, Prince Albert
instructed the British cabinet to formulate and present the demand in
the most courteous diplomatic language, while, on their part, the
American President and cabinet discussed the affair in a temper of
judicious reserve.

President Lincoln's first desire was to refer the difficulty to friendly
arbitration, and his mood is admirably expressed in the autograph
experimental draft of a despatch suggesting this course.

"The President is unwilling to believe," he wrote, "that her Majesty's
government will press for a categorical answer upon what appears to him
to be only a partial record, in the making up of which he has been
allowed no part. He is reluctant to volunteer his view of the case, with
no assurance that her Majesty's government will consent to hear him; yet
this much he directs me to say, that this government has intended no
affront to the British flag, or to the British nation; nor has it
intended to force into discussion an embarrassing question; all which is
evident by the fact hereby asserted, that the act complained of was done
by the officer without orders from, or expectation of, the government.
But, being done, it was no longer left to us to consider whether we
might not, to avoid a controversy, waive an unimportant though a strict
right; because we, too, as well as Great Britain, have a people justly
jealous of their rights, and in whose presence our government could undo
the act complained of only upon a fair showing that it was wrong, or at
least very questionable. The United States government and people are
still willing to make reparation upon such showing.

"Accordingly, I am instructed by the President to inquire whether her
Majesty's government will hear the United States upon the matter in
question. The President desires, among other things, to bring into view,
and have considered, the existing rebellion in the United States; the
position Great Britain has assumed, including her Majesty's proclamation
in relation thereto; the relation the persons whose seizure is the
subject of complaint bore to the United States, and the object of their
voyage at the time they were seized; the knowledge which the master of
the _Trent_ had of their relation to the United States, and of the
object of their voyage, at the time he received them on board for the
voyage; the place of the seizure; and the precedents and respective
positions assumed in analogous cases between Great Britain and the
United States.

"Upon a submission containing the foregoing facts, with those set forth
in the before-mentioned despatch to your lordship, together with all
other facts which either party may deem material, I am instructed to say
the government of the United States will, if agreed to by her Majesty's
government, go to such friendly arbitration as is usual among nations,
and will abide the award."

The most practised diplomatic pen in Europe could not have written a
more dignified, courteous, or succinct presentation of the case; and
yet, under the necessities of the moment, it was impossible to adopt
this procedure. Upon full discussion, it was decided that war with Great
Britain must be avoided, and Mr. Seward wrote a despatch defending the
course of Captain Wilkes up to the point where he permitted the _Trent_
to proceed on her voyage. It was his further duty to have brought her
before a prize court. Failing in this, he had left the capture
incomplete under rules of international law, and the American government
had thereby lost the right and the legal evidence to establish the
contraband character of the vessel and the persons seized. Under the
circumstances, the prisoners were therefore willingly released. Excited
American feeling was grievously disappointed at the result; but American
good sense readily accommodated itself both to the correctness of the
law expounded by the Secretary of State, and to the public policy that
averted a great international danger; particularly as this decision
forced Great Britain to depart from her own and to adopt the American
traditions respecting this class of neutral rights.

It has already been told how Captain George B. McClellan was suddenly
raised in rank, at the very outset of the war, first to a
major-generalship in the three months' militia, then to the command of
the military department of the Ohio; from that to a major-generalship in
the regular army; and after his successful campaign in West Virginia was
called to Washington and placed in command of the Division of the
Potomac, which comprised all the troops in and around Washington, on
both sides of the river. Called thus to the capital of the nation to
guard it against the results of the disastrous battle of Bull Run, and
to organize a new army for extended offensive operations, the
surrounding conditions naturally suggested to him that in all
likelihood he would play a conspicuous part in the great drama of the
Civil War. His ambition rose eagerly to the prospect. On the day on
which he assumed command, July 27, he wrote to his wife:

"I find myself in a new and strange position here; President, cabinet,
General Scott, and all, deferring to me. By some strange operation of
magic I seem to have become the power of the land."

And three days later:

"They give me my way in everything, full swing and unbounded
confidence.... Who would have thought, when we were married, that I
should so soon be called upon to save my country?"

And still a few days afterward:

"I shall carry this thing _en grande_, and crush the rebels in one

From the giddy elevation to which such an imaginary achievement raised
his dreams, there was but one higher step, and his colossal egotism
immediately mounted to occupy it. On August 9, just two weeks after his
arrival in Washington, he wrote:

"I would cheerfully take the dictatorship and agree to lay down my life
when the country is saved;" while in the same letter he adds, with the
most naïve unconsciousness of his hallucination: "I am not spoiled by my
unexpected new position."

Coming to the national capital in the hour of deepest public depression
over the Bull Run defeat, McClellan was welcomed by the President, the
cabinet, and General Scott with sincere friendship, by Congress with a
hopeful eagerness, by the people with enthusiasm, and by Washington
society with adulation. Externally he seemed to justify such a greeting.
He was young, handsome, accomplished, genial and winning in conversation
and manner. He at once manifested great industry and quick decision,
and speedily exhibited a degree of ability in army organization which
was not equaled by any officer during the Civil War. Under his eye the
stream of the new three years' regiments pouring into the city went to
their camps, fell into brigades and divisions, were supplied with
equipments, horses, and batteries, and underwent the routine of drill,
tactics, and reviews, which, without the least apparent noise or
friction, in three months made the Army of the Potomac a perfect
fighting machine of over one hundred and fifty thousand men and more
than two hundred guns.

Recognizing his ability in this work, the government had indeed given
him its full confidence, and permitted him to exercise almost unbounded
authority; which he fully utilized in favoring his personal friends, and
drawing to himself the best resources of the whole country in arms,
supplies, and officers of education and experience. For a while his
outward demeanor indicated respect and gratitude for the promotion and
liberal favors bestowed upon him. But his phenomenal rise was fatal to
his usefulness. The dream that he was to be the sole savior of his
country, announced confidentially to his wife just two weeks after his
arrival in Washington, never again left him so long as he continued in
command. Coupled with this dazzling vision, however, was soon developed
the tormenting twofold hallucination: first, that everybody was
conspiring to thwart him; and, second, that the enemy had from double to
quadruple numbers to defeat him.

For the first month he could not sleep for the nightmare that
Beauregard's demoralized army had by a sudden bound from Manassas seized
the city of Washington. He immediately began a quarrel with General
Scott, which, by the first of November, drove the old hero into
retirement and out of his pathway. The cabinet members who, wittingly or
unwittingly, had encouraged him in this he some weeks later stigmatized
as a set of geese. Seeing that President Lincoln was kind and unassuming
in discussing military questions, McClellan quickly contracted the habit
of expressing contempt for him in his confidential letters; and the
feeling rapidly grew until it reached a mark of open disrespect. The
same trait manifested itself in his making exclusive confidants of only
two or three of his subordinate generals, and ignoring the counsel of
all the others; and when, later on, Congress appointed a standing
committee of leading senators and representatives to examine into the
conduct of the war, he placed himself in a similar attitude respecting
their inquiry and advice.

McClellan's activity and judgment as an army organizer naturally created
great hopes that he would be equally efficient as a commander in the
field. But these hopes were grievously disappointed. To his first great
defect of estimating himself as the sole savior of the country, must at
once be added the second, of his utter inability to form any reasonable
judgment of the strength of the enemy in his front. On September 8, when
the Confederate army at Manassas numbered forty-one thousand, he rated
it at one hundred and thirty thousand. By the end of October that
estimate had risen to one hundred and fifty thousand, to meet which he
asked that his own force should be raised to an aggregate of two hundred
and forty thousand, with a total of effectives of two hundred and eight
thousand, and four hundred and eighty-eight guns. He suggested that to
gather this force all other points should be left on the defensive; that
the Army of the Potomac held the fate of the country in its hands; that
the advance should not be postponed beyond November 25; and that a
single will should direct the plan of accomplishing a crushing defeat of
the rebel army at Manassas.

On the first of November the President, yielding at last to General
Scott's urgent solicitation, issued the orders placing him on the
retired list, and in his stead appointing General McClellan to the
command of all the armies. The administration indulged the expectation
that at last "The Young Napoleon," as the newspapers often called him,
would take advantage of the fine autumn weather, and, by a bold move
with his single will and his immense force, outnumbering the enemy
nearly four to one, would redeem his promise to crush the army at
Manassas and "save the country." But the November days came and went, as
the October days had come and gone. McClellan and his brilliant staff
galloped unceasingly from camp to camp, and review followed review,
while autumn imperceptibly gave place to the cold and storms of winter;
and still there was no sign of forward movement.

Under his own growing impatience, as well as that of the public, the
President, about the first of December, inquired pointedly, in a
memorandum suggesting a plan of campaign, how long it would require to
actually get in motion. McClellan answered: "By December 15,--probably
25"; and put aside the President's suggestion by explaining: "I have now
my mind actively turned toward another plan of campaign that I do not
think at all anticipated by the enemy, nor by many of our own people."

December 25 came, as November 25 had come, and still there was no plan,
no preparation, no movement. Then McClellan fell seriously ill. By a
spontaneous and most natural impulse, the soldiers of the various camps
began the erection of huts to shelter them from snow and storm. In a few
weeks the Army of the Potomac was practically, if not by order, in
winter quarters; and day after day the monotonous telegraphic phrase
"All quiet on the Potomac" was read from Northern newspapers in Northern
homes, until by mere iteration it degenerated from an expression of deep
disappointment to a note of sarcastic criticism.

While so unsatisfactory a condition of affairs existed in the first
great military field east of the Alleghanies, the outlook was quite as
unpromising both in the second--between the Alleghanies and the
Mississippi--and in the third--west of the Mississippi. When the
Confederates, about September 1, 1861, invaded Kentucky, they stationed
General Pillow at the strongly fortified town of Columbus on the
Mississippi River, with about six thousand men; General Buckner at
Bowling Green, on the railroad north of Nashville, with five thousand;
and General Zollicoffer, with six regiments, in eastern Kentucky,
fronting Cumberland Gap. Up to that time there were no Union troops in
Kentucky, except a few regiments of Home Guards. Now, however, the State
legislature called for active help; and General Anderson, exercising
nominal command from Cincinnati, sent Brigadier-General Sherman to
Nashville to confront Buckner, and Brigadier-General Thomas to Camp Dick
Robinson, to confront Zollicoffer.

Neither side was as yet in a condition of force and preparation to take
the aggressive. When, a month later, Anderson, on account of ill health
turned over the command to Sherman, the latter had gathered only about
eighteen thousand men, and was greatly discouraged by the task of
defending three hundred miles of frontier with that small force. In an
interview with Secretary of War Cameron, who called upon him on his
return from Frémont's camp, about the middle of October, he strongly
urged that he needed for immediate defense sixty thousand, and for
ultimate offense "two hundred thousand before we were done." "Great
God!" exclaimed Cameron, "where are they to come from?" Both Sherman's
demand and Cameron's answer were a pertinent comment on McClellan's
policy of collecting the whole military strength of the country at
Washington to fight the one great battle for which he could never get

Sherman was so distressed by the seeming magnitude of his burden that he
soon asked to be relieved; and when Brigadier-General Buell was sent to
succeed him in command of that part of Kentucky lying east of the
Cumberland River, it was the expectation of the President that he would
devote his main attention and energy to the accomplishment of a specific
object which Mr. Lincoln had very much at heart.

Ever since the days in June, when President Lincoln had presided over
the council of war which discussed and decided upon the Bull Run
campaign, he had devoted every spare moment of his time to the study of
such military books and leading principles of the art of war as would
aid him in solving questions that must necessarily come to himself for
final decision. His acute perceptions, retentive memory, and unusual
power of logic enabled him to make rapid progress in the acquisition of
the fixed and accepted rules on which military writers agree. In this,
as in other sciences, the main difficulty, of course, lies in applying
fixed theories to variable conditions. When, however, we remember that
at the outbreak of hostilities all the great commanders of the Civil War
had experience only as captains and lieutenants, it is not strange that
in speculative military problems the President's mature reasoning powers
should have gained almost as rapidly by observation and criticism as
theirs by practice and experiment. The mastery he attained of the
difficult art, and how intuitively correct was his grasp of military
situations, has been attested since in the enthusiastic admiration of
brilliant technical students, amply fitted by training and intellect to
express an opinion, whose comment does not fall short of declaring Mr.
Lincoln "the ablest strategist of the war."

The President had early discerned what must become the dominating and
decisive lines of advance in gaining and holding military control of the
Southern States. Only two days after the battle of Bull Run, he had
written a memorandum suggesting three principal objects for the army
when reorganized: First, to gather a force to menace Richmond; second, a
movement from Cincinnati upon Cumberland Gap and East Tennessee; third,
an expedition from Cairo against Memphis. In his eyes, the second of
these objectives never lost its importance; and it was in fact
substantially adopted by indirection and by necessity in the closing
periods of the war. The eastern third of the State of Tennessee remained
from the first stubbornly and devotedly loyal to the Union. At an
election on June 8, 1861, the people of twenty-nine counties, by more
than two to one, voted against joining the Confederacy; and the most
rigorous military repression by the orders of Jefferson Davis and
Governor Harris was necessary to prevent a general uprising against the

The sympathy of the President, even more than that of the whole North,
went out warmly to these unfortunate Tennesseeans, and he desired to
convert their mountain fastnesses into an impregnable patriotic
stronghold. Had his advice been followed, it would have completely
severed railroad communication, by way of the Shenandoah valley,
Knoxville, and Chattanooga, between Virginia and the Gulf States,
accomplishing in the winter of 1861 what was not attained until two
years later. Mr. Lincoln urged this in a second memorandum, made late in
September; and seeing that the principal objection to it lay in the long
and difficult line of land transportation, his message to Congress of
December 3, 1861, recommended, as a military measure, the construction
of a railroad to connect Cincinnati, by way of Lexington, Kentucky, with
that mountain region.

A few days after the message, he personally went to the President's room
in the Capitol building, and calling around him a number of leading
senators and representatives, and pointing out on a map before them the
East Tennessee region, said to them in substance:

I am thoroughly convinced that the closing struggle of the war will
occur somewhere in this mountain country. By our superior numbers and
strength we will everywhere drive the rebel armies back from the level
districts lying along the coast, from those lying south of the Ohio
River, and from those lying east of the Mississippi River. Yielding to
our superior force, they will gradually retreat to the more defensible
mountain districts, and make their final stand in that part of the South
where the seven States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina,
Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia come together. The
population there is overwhelmingly and devotedly loyal to the Union. The
despatches from Brigadier-General Thomas of October 28 and November 5
show that, with four additional good regiments, he is willing to
undertake the campaign and is confident he can take immediate
possession. Once established, the people will rally to his support, and
by building a railroad, over which to forward him regular supplies and
needed reinforcements from time to time, we can hold it against all
attempts to dislodge us, and at the same time menace the enemy in any
one of the States I have named.

While his hearers listened with interest, it was evident that their
minds were still full of the prospect of a great battle in Virginia, the
capture of Richmond, and an early suppression of the rebellion. Railroad
building appeared to them altogether too slow an operation of war. To
show how sagacious was the President's advice, we may anticipate by
recalling that in the following summer General Buell spent as much time,
money, and military strength in his attempted march from Corinth to East
Tennessee as would have amply sufficed to build the line from Lexington
to Knoxville recommended by Mr. Lincoln--the general's effort resulting
only in his being driven back to Louisville; that in 1863, Burnside,
under greater difficulties, made the march and successfully held
Knoxville, even without a railroad, which Thomas with a few regiments
could have accomplished in 1861; and that in the final collapse of the
rebellion, in the spring of 1865, the beaten armies of both Johnston and
Lee attempted to retreat for a last stand to this same mountain region
which Mr. Lincoln pointed out in December, 1861.

Though the President received no encouragement from senators and
representatives in his plan to take possession of East Tennessee, that
object was specially enjoined in the instructions to General Buell when
he was sent to command in Kentucky.

"It so happens that a large majority of the inhabitants of eastern
Tennessee are in favor of the Union; it therefore seems proper that you
should remain on the defensive on the line from Louisville to Nashville,
while you throw the mass of your forces by rapid marches by Cumberland
Gap or Walker's Gap on Knoxville, in order to occupy the railroad at
that point, and thus enable the loyal citizens of eastern Tennessee to
rise, while you at the same time cut off the railway communication
between eastern Virginia and the Mississippi."

Three times within the same month McClellan repeated this injunction to
Buell with additional emphasis. Senator Andrew Johnson and
Representative Horace Maynard telegraphed him from Washington:

"Our people are oppressed and pursued as beasts of the forest; the
government must come to their relief."

Buell replied, keeping the word of promise to the ear, but, with his
ambition fixed on a different campaign, gradually but doggedly broke it
to the hope. When, a month later, he acknowledged that his preparations
and intent were to move against Nashville, the President wrote him:

"Of the two, I would rather have a point on the railroad south of
Cumberland Gap than Nashville. _First_, because it cuts a great artery
of the enemy's communication which Nashville does not; and, _secondly_,
because it is in the midst of loyal people, who would rally around it,
while Nashville is not.... But my distress is that our friends in East
Tennessee are being hanged and driven to despair, and even now, I fear,
are thinking of taking rebel arms for the sake of personal protection.
In this we lose the most valuable stake we have in the South."

McClellan's comment amounted to a severe censure, and this was quickly
followed by an almost positive command to "advance on eastern Tennessee
at once." Again Buell promised compliance, only, however, again to
report in a few weeks his conviction "that an advance into East
Tennessee is impracticable at this time on any scale which would be
sufficient." It is difficult to speculate upon the advantages lost by
this unwillingness of a commander to obey instructions. To say nothing
of the strategical value of East Tennessee to the Union, the fidelity of
its people is shown in the reports sent to the Confederate government
that "the whole country is now in a state of rebellion"; that "civil war
has broken out in East Tennessee"; and that "they look for the
reëstablishment of the Federal authority in the South with as much
confidence as the Jews look for the coming of the Messiah."

Henry W. Halleck, born in 1815, graduated from West Point in 1839, who,
after distinguished service in the Mexican war, had been brevetted
captain of Engineers, but soon afterward resigned from the army to
pursue the practice of law in San Francisco, was, perhaps, the best
professionally equipped officer among the number of those called by
General Scott in the summer of 1861 to assume important command in the
Union army. It is probable that Scott intended he should succeed himself
as general-in-chief; but when he reached Washington the autumn was
already late, and because of Frémont's conspicuous failure it seemed
necessary to send Halleck to the Department of the Missouri, which, as
reconstituted, was made to include, in addition to several northwestern
States, Missouri and Arkansas, and so much of Kentucky as lay west of
the Cumberland River. This change of department lines indicates the
beginning of what soon became a dominant feature of military operations;
namely, that instead of the vast regions lying west of the Mississippi,
the great river itself, and the country lying immediately adjacent to
it on either side, became the third principal field of strategy and
action, under the necessity of opening and holding it as a great
military and commercial highway.

While the intention of the government to open the Mississippi River by a
powerful expedition received additional emphasis through Halleck's
appointment, that general found no immediate means adequate to the task
when he assumed command at St. Louis. Frémont's régime had left the
whole department in the most deplorable confusion. Halleck reported that
he had no army, but, rather, a military rabble to command and for some
weeks devoted himself with energy and success to bringing order out of
the chaos left him by his predecessor. A large element of his difficulty
lay in the fact that the population of the whole State was tainted with
disloyalty to a degree which rendered Missouri less a factor in the
larger questions of general army operations, than from the beginning to
the end of the war a local district of bitter and relentless factional
hatred and guerrilla or, as the term was constantly employed,
"bushwhacking" warfare, intensified and kept alive by annual roving
Confederate incursions from Arkansas and the Indian Territory in
desultory summer campaigns.


Lincoln Directs Coöperation--Halleck and Buell--Ulysses S.
Grant--Grant's Demonstration--Victory at Mill River--Fort Henry--Fort
Donelson--Buell's Tardiness--Halleck's Activity--Victory of Pea
Ridge--Halleck Receives General Command--Pittsburg Landing--Island No.
10--Halleck's Corinth Campaign--Halleck's Mistakes

Toward the end of December, 1861, the prospects of the administration
became very gloomy. McClellan had indeed organized a formidable army at
Washington, but it had done nothing to efface the memory of the Bull Run
defeat. On the contrary, a practical blockade of the Potomac by rebel
batteries on the Virginia shore, and another small but irritating defeat
at Ball's Bluff, greatly heightened public impatience. The necessary
surrender of Mason and Slidell to England was exceedingly unpalatable.
Government expenditures had risen to $2,000,000 a day, and a financial
crisis was imminent. Buell would not move into East Tennessee, and
Halleck seemed powerless in Missouri. Added to this, McClellan's illness
completed a stagnation of military affairs both east and west. Congress
was clamoring for results, and its joint Committee on the Conduct of the
War was pushing a searching inquiry into the causes of previous defeats.

To remove this inertia, President Lincoln directed specific questions to
the Western commanders. "Are General Buell and yourself in concert?" he
telegraphed Halleck on December 31. And next day he wrote:

"I am very anxious that, in case of General Buell's moving toward
Nashville, the enemy shall not be greatly reinforced, and I think there
is danger he will be from Columbus. It seems to me that a real or
feigned attack on Columbus from up-river at the same time would either
prevent this, or compensate for it by throwing Columbus into our hands."

Similar questions also went to Buell, and their replies showed that no
concert, arrangement, or plans existed, and that Halleck was not ready
to coöperate. The correspondence started by the President's inquiry for
the first time clearly brought out an estimate of the Confederate
strength opposed to a southward movement in the West. Since the
Confederate invasion of Kentucky on September 4, the rebels had so
strongly fortified Columbus on the Mississippi River that it came to be
called the "Gibraltar of the West," and now had a garrison of twenty
thousand to hold it; while General Buckner was supposed to have a force
of forty thousand at Bowling Green on the railroad between Louisville
and Nashville. For more than a month Buell and Halleck had been aware
that a joint river and land expedition southward up the Tennessee or the
Cumberland River, which would outflank both positions and cause their
evacuation, was practicable with but little opposition. Yet neither
Buell nor Halleck had exchanged a word about it, or made the slightest
preparation to begin it; each being busy in his own field, and with his
own plans. Even now, when the President had started the subject, Halleck
replied that it would be bad strategy for himself to move against
Columbus, or Buell against Bowling Green; but he had nothing to say
about a Tennessee River expedition, or coöperation with Buell to effect
it, except by indirectly complaining that to withdraw troops from
Missouri would risk the loss of that State.

The President, however, was no longer satisfied with indecision and
excuses, and telegraphed to Buell on January 7:

"Please name as early a day as you safely can on or before which you can
be ready to move southward in concert with Major-General Halleck. Delay
is ruining us, and it is indispensable for me to have something
definite. I send a like despatch to Major-General Halleck."

To this Buell made no direct reply, while Halleck answered that he had
asked Buell to designate a date for a demonstration, and explained two
days later: "I can make, with the gunboats and available troops, a
pretty formidable demonstration, but no real attack." In point of fact,
Halleck had on the previous day, January 6, written to Brigadier-General
U.S. Grant: "I wish you to make a demonstration in force": and he added
full details, to which Grant responded on January 8: "Your instructions
of the sixth were received this morning, and immediate preparations made
for carrying them out"; also adding details on his part.

Ulysses S. Grant was born on April 27, 1822, was graduated from West
Point in 1843, and brevetted captain for gallant conduct in the Mexican
War; but resigned from the army and was engaged with his father in a
leather store at Galena, Illinois, when the Civil War broke out.
Employed by the governor of Illinois a few weeks at Springfield to
assist in organizing militia regiments under the President's first call,
Grant wrote a letter to the War Department at Washington tendering his
services, and saying: "I feel myself competent to command a regiment, if
the President in his judgment should see fit to intrust one to me." For
some reason, never explained, this letter remained unanswered, though
the department was then and afterward in constant need of educated and
experienced officers. A few weeks later, however, Governor Yates
commissioned him colonel of one of the Illinois three years' regiments.
From that time until the end of 1861, Grant, by constant and specially
meritorious service, rose in rank to brigadier-general and to the
command of the important post of Cairo, Illinois, having meanwhile, on
November 7, won the battle of Belmont on the Missouri shore opposite

The "demonstration'" ordered by Halleck was probably intended only as a
passing show of activity; but it was executed by Grant, though under
strict orders to "avoid a battle," with a degree of promptness and
earnestness that drew after it momentous consequences. He pushed a
strong reconnaissance by eight thousand men within a mile or two of
Columbus, and sent three gunboats up the Tennessee River, which drew the
fire of Fort Henry. The results of the combined expedition convinced
Grant that a real movement in that direction was practicable, and he
hastened to St. Louis to lay his plan personally before Halleck. At
first that general would scarcely listen to it; but, returning to Cairo,
Grant urged it again and again, and the rapidly changing military
conditions soon caused Halleck to realize its importance.

Within a few days, several items of interesting information reached
Halleck: that General Thomas, in eastern Kentucky, had won a victory
over the rebel General Zollicoffer, capturing his fortified camp on
Cumberland River, annihilating his army of over ten regiments, and fully
exposing Cumberland Gap; that the Confederates were about to throw
strong reinforcements into Columbus; that seven formidable Union
ironclad river gunboats were ready for service; and that a rise of
fourteen feet had taken place in the Tennessee River, greatly weakening
the rebel batteries on that stream and the Cumberland. The advantages on
the one hand, and the dangers on the other, which these reports
indicated, moved Halleck to a sudden decision. When Grant, on January
28, telegraphed him: "With permission, I will take Fort Henry on the
Tennessee, and establish and hold a large camp there," Halleck responded
on the thirtieth: "Make your preparations to take and hold Fort Henry."

It would appear that Grant's preparations were already quite complete
when he received written instructions by mail on February 1, for on the
next day he started fifteen thousand men on transports, and on February
4 himself followed with seven gunboats under command of Commodore Foote.
Two days later, Grant had the satisfaction of sending a double message
in return: "Fort Henry is ours.... I shall take and destroy Fort
Donelson on the eighth."

Fort Henry had been an easy victory. The rebel commander, convinced that
he could not defend the place, had early that morning sent away his
garrison of three thousand on a retreat to Fort Donelson, and simply
held out during a two hours' bombardment until they could escape
capture. To take Fort Donelson was a more serious enterprise. That
stronghold, lying twelve miles away on the Cumberland River, was a much
larger work, with a garrison of six thousand, and armed with seventeen
heavy and forty-eight field guns. If Grant could have marched
immediately to an attack of the combined garrisons, there would have
been a chance of quick success. But the high water presented
unlooked-for obstacles, and nearly a week elapsed before his army began
stretching itself cautiously around the three miles of Donelson's
intrenchments. During this delay, the conditions became greatly changed.
When the Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston received news that
Fort Henry had fallen, he held a council at Bowling Green with his
subordinate generals Hardee and Beauregard, and seeing that the Union
success would, if not immediately counteracted, render both Nashville
and Columbus untenable, resolved, to use his own language, "To defend
Nashville at Donelson."

An immediate retreat was begun from Bowling Green to Nashville, and
heavy reinforcements were ordered to the garrison of Fort Donelson. It
happened, therefore, that when Grant was ready to begin his assault the
Confederate garrison with its reinforcements outnumbered his entire
army. To increase the discouragement, the attack by gunboats on the
Cumberland River on the afternoon of February 14 was repulsed, seriously
damaging two of them, and a heavy sortie from the fort threw the right
of Grant's investing line into disorder. Fortunately, General Halleck at
St. Louis strained all his energies to send reinforcements, and these
arrived in time to restore Grant's advantage in numbers.

Serious disagreement among the Confederate commanders also hastened the
fall of the place. On February 16, General Buckner, to whom the senior
officers had turned over the command, proposed an armistice, and the
appointment of commissioners to agree on terms of capitulation. To this
Grant responded with a characteristic spirit of determination: "No terms
except unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose
to move immediately upon your works." Buckner complained that the terms
were ungenerous and unchivalric, but that necessity compelled him to
accept them; and Grant telegraphed Halleck on February 16: "We have
taken Fort Donelson, and from twelve to fifteen thousand prisoners." The
senior Confederate generals, Pillow and Floyd, and a portion of the
garrison had escaped by the Cumberland River during the preceding night.

Since the fall of Fort Henry on February 6, a lively correspondence had
been going on, in which General Halleck besought Buell to come with his
available forces, assist in capturing Donelson, and command the column
up the Cumberland to cut off both Columbus and Nashville. President
Lincoln, scanning the news with intense solicitude, and losing no
opportunity to urge effective coöperation, telegraphed Halleck:

"You have Fort Donelson safe, unless Grant shall be overwhelmed from
outside: to prevent which latter will, I think, require all the
vigilance, energy, and skill of yourself and Buell, acting in full
coöperation. Columbus will not get at Grant, but the force from Bowling
Green will. They hold the railroad from Bowling Green to within a few
miles of Fort Donelson, with the bridge at Clarksville undisturbed. It
is unsafe to rely that they will not dare to expose Nashville to Buell.
A small part of their force can retire slowly toward Nashville, breaking
up the railroad as they go, and keep Buell out of that city twenty days.
Meantime, Nashville will be abundantly defended by forces from all south
and perhaps from here at Manassas. Could not a cavalry force from
General Thomas on the upper Cumberland dash across, almost unresisted,
and cut the railroad at or near Knoxville, Tennessee? In the midst of a
bombardment at Fort Donelson, why could not a gunboat run up and destroy
the bridge at Clarksville? Our success or failure at Fort Donelson is
vastly important, and I beg you to put your soul in the effort. I send a
copy of this to Buell."

This telegram abundantly shows with what minute understanding and
accurate judgment the President comprehended military conditions and
results in the West. Buell, however, was too intent upon his own
separate movement to seize the brilliant opportunity offered him. As he
only in a feeble advance followed up the retreating Confederate column
from Bowling Green to Nashville, Halleck naturally appropriated to
himself the merit of the campaign, and telegraphed to Washington on the
day after the surrender:

"Make Buell, Grant, and Pope major-generals of volunteers, and give me
command in the West. I ask this in return for Forts Henry and Donelson."

The eagerness of General Halleck for superior command in the West was,
to say the least, very pardonable. A vast horizon of possibilities was
opening up to his view. Two other campaigns under his direction were
exciting his liveliest hopes. Late in December he had collected an army
of ten thousand at the railroad terminus at Rolla, Missouri, under
command of Brigadier-General Curtis, for the purpose of scattering the
rebel forces under General Price at Springfield or driving them out of
the State. Despite the hard winter weather, Halleck urged on the
movement with almost peremptory orders, and Curtis executed the
intentions of his chief with such alacrity that Price was forced into a
rapid and damaging retreat from Springfield toward Arkansas. While
forcing this enterprise in the southwest, Halleck had also determined on
an important campaign in southeast Missouri.

Next to Columbus, which the enemy evacuated on March 2, the strongest
Confederate fortifications on the Mississippi River were at Island No.
10, about forty miles farther to the south. To operate against these, he
planned an expedition under Brigadier-General Pope to capture the town
of New Madrid as a preliminary step. Columbus and Nashville were almost
sure to fall as the result of Donelson. If now he could bring his two
Missouri campaigns into a combination with two swift and strong
Tennessee expeditions, while the enemy was in scattered retreat, he
could look forward to the speedy capture of Memphis. But to the
realization of such a project, the hesitation and slowness of Buell were
a serious hindrance. That general had indeed started a division under
Nelson to Grant's assistance, but it was not yet in the Cumberland when
Donelson surrendered. Halleck's demand for enlarged power, therefore,
became almost imperative. He pleaded earnestly with Buell:

"I have asked the President to make you a major-general. Come down to
the Cumberland and take command. The battle of the West is to be fought
in that vicinity.... There will be no battle at Nashville." His
telegrams to McClellan were more urgent. "Give it [the Western Division]
to me, and I will split secession in twain in one month." And again: "I
must have command of the armies in the West. Hesitation and delay are
losing us the golden opportunity. Lay this before the President and
Secretary of War. May I assume the command? Answer quickly."

But McClellan was in no mood to sacrifice the ambition of his intimate
friend and favorite, General Buell, and induced the President to
withhold his consent; and while the generals were debating by telegraph,
Nelson's division of the army of Buell moved up the Cumberland and
occupied Nashville under the orders of Grant. Halleck, however, held
tenaciously to his views and requests, explaining to McClellan that he
himself proposed going to Tennessee:

"That is now the great strategic line of the western campaign, and I am
surprised that General Buell should hesitate to reinforce me. He was too
late at Fort Donelson.... Believe me, General, you make a serious
mistake in having three independent commands in the West. There never
will and never can be any coöperation at the critical moment; all
military history proves it."

This insistence had greater point because of the news received that
Curtis, energetically following Price into Arkansas, had won a great
Union victory at Pea Ridge, between March 5 and 8, over the united
forces of Price and McCulloch, commanded by Van Dorn. At this juncture,
events at Washington, hereafter to be mentioned, caused a reorganization
of military commands and President Lincoln's Special War Order No. 3
consolidated the western departments of Hunter, Halleck, and Buell, as
far east as Knoxville, Tennessee, under the title of the Department of
the Mississippi, and placed General Halleck in command of the whole.
Meanwhile, Halleck had ordered the victorious Union army at Fort
Donelson to move forward to Savannah on the Tennessee River under the
command of Grant; and, now that he had superior command, directed Buell
to march all of his forces not required to defend Nashville "as rapidly
as possible" to the same point. Halleck was still at St. Louis; and
through the indecision of his further orders, through the slowness of
Buell's march, and through the unexplained inattention of Grant, the
Union armies narrowly escaped a serious disaster, which, however, the
determined courage of the troops and subordinate officers turned into a
most important victory.

The "golden opportunity" so earnestly pointed out by Halleck, while not
entirely lost, was nevertheless seriously diminished by the hesitation
and delay of the Union commanders to agree upon some plan of effective
coöperation. When, at the fall of Fort Donelson the Confederates
retreated from Nashville toward Chattanooga, and from Columbus toward
Jackson, a swift advance by the Tennessee River could have kept them
separated; but as that open highway was not promptly followed in force,
the flying Confederate detachments found abundant leisure to form a

Grant reached Savannah, on the east bank of the Tennessee River, about
the middle of March, and in a few days began massing troops at Pittsburg
Landing, six miles farther south, on the west bank of the Tennessee;
still keeping his headquarters at Savannah, to await the arrival of
Buell and his army. During the next two weeks he reported several times
that the enemy was concentrating at Corinth, Mississippi, an important
railroad crossing twenty miles from Pittsburg Landing, the estimate of
their number varying from forty to eighty thousand. All this time his
mind was so filled with an eager intention to begin a march upon
Corinth, and a confidence that he could win a victory by a prompt
attack, that he neglected the essential precaution of providing against
an attack by the enemy, which at the same time was occupying the
thoughts of the Confederate commander General Johnston.

General Grant was therefore greatly surprised on the morning of April 6,
when he proceeded from Savannah to Pittsburg Landing, to learn the cause
of a fierce cannonade. He found that the Confederate army, forty
thousand strong, was making an unexpected and determined attack in force
on the Union camp, whose five divisions numbered a total of about
thirty-three thousand. The Union generals had made no provision against
such an attack. No intrenchments had been thrown up, no plan or
understanding arranged. A few preliminary picket skirmishes had, indeed,
put the Union front on the alert, but the commanders of brigades and
regiments were not prepared for the impetuous rush with which the three
successive Confederate lines began the main battle. On their part, the
enemy did not realize their hope of effecting a complete surprise, and
the nature of the ground was so characterized by a network of local
roads, alternating patches of woods and open fields, miry hollows and
abrupt ravines, that the lines of conflict were quickly broken into
short, disjointed movements that admitted of little or no combined or
systematic direction. The effort of the Union officers was necessarily
limited to a continuous resistance to the advance of the enemy, from
whatever direction it came; that of the Confederate leaders to the
general purpose of forcing the Union lines away from Pittsburg Landing
so that they might destroy the Federal transports and thus cut off all
means of retreat. In this effort, although during the whole of Sunday,
April 6, the Union front had been forced back a mile and a half, the
enemy had not entirely succeeded. About sunset, General Beauregard, who,
by the death of General Johnston during the afternoon, succeeded to the
Confederate command, gave orders to suspend the attack, in the firm
expectation however, that he would be able to complete his victory the
next morning.

But in this hope he was disappointed. During the day the vanguard of
Buell's army had arrived on the opposite bank of the river. Before
nightfall one of his brigades was ferried across and deployed in front
of the exultant enemy. During the night and early Monday morning three
superb divisions of Buell's army, about twenty thousand fresh,
well-drilled troops, were advanced to the front under Buell's own
direction; and by three o'clock of that day the two wings of the Union
army were once more in possession of all the ground that had been lost
on the previous day, while the foiled and disorganized Confederates were
in full retreat upon Corinth. The severity of the battle may be judged
by the losses. In the Union army: killed, 1754; wounded, 8408; missing,
2885. In the Confederate army: killed, 1728; wounded, 8012; missing.

Having comprehended the uncertainty of Buell's successful junction with
Grant, Halleck must have received tidings of the final victory at
Pittsburg Landing with emotions of deep satisfaction. To this was now
joined the further gratifying news that the enemy on that same momentous
April 7 had surrendered Island No. 10, together with six or seven
thousand Confederate troops, including three general officers, to the
combined operations of General Pope and Flag-Officer Foote. Full
particulars of these two important victories did not reach Halleck for
several days. Following previous suggestions, Pope and Foote promptly
moved their gunboats and troops down the river to the next Confederate
stronghold, Fort Pillow, where extensive fortifications, aided by an
overflow of the adjacent river banks, indicated strong resistance and
considerable delay. When all the conditions became more fully known,
Halleck at length adopted the resolution, to which he had been strongly
leaning for some time, to take the field himself. About April 10 he
proceeded from St. Louis to Pittsburg Landing, and on the fifteenth
ordered Pope with his army to join him there, which the latter, having
his troops already on transports succeeded in accomplishing by April 22.
Halleck immediately effected a new organization, combining the armies
of the Tennessee, of the Ohio, and of the Mississippi into respectively
his right wing, center, and left wing. He assumed command of the whole
himself, and nominally made Grant second in command. Practically,
however, he left Grant so little authority or work that the latter felt
himself slighted, and asked leave to proceed to another field of duty.

It required but a few weeks to demonstrate that however high were
Halleck's professional acquirements in other respects, he was totally
unfit for a commander in the field. Grant had undoubtedly been careless
in not providing against the enemy's attack at Pittsburg Landing.
Halleck, on the other extreme, was now doubly over-cautious in his march
upon Corinth. From first to last, his campaign resembled a siege. With
over one hundred thousand men under his hand, he moved at a snail's
pace, building roads and breastworks, and consuming more than a month in
advancing a distance of twenty miles; during which period Beauregard
managed to collect about fifty thousand effective Confederates and
construct defensive fortifications with equal industry around Corinth.
When, on May 29, Halleck was within assaulting distance of the rebel
intrenchments Beauregard had leisurely removed his sick and wounded,
destroyed or carried away his stores, and that night finally evacuated
the place, leaving Halleck to reap, practically, a barren victory.

Nor were the general's plans and actions any more fruitful during the
following six weeks. He wasted the time and energy of his soldiers
multiplying useless fortifications about Corinth. He despatched Buell's
wing of the army on a march toward eastern Tennessee but under such
instructions and limitations that long before reaching its objective it
was met by a Confederate army under General Bragg, and forced into a
retrograde movement which carried it back to Louisville. More
deplorable, however, than either of these errors of judgment was
Halleck's neglect to seize the opportune moment when, by a vigorous
movement in coöperation with the brilliant naval victories under
Flag-Officer Farragut, commanding a formidable fleet of Union war-ships,
he might have completed the over-shadowing military task of opening the
Mississippi River.


The Blockade--Hatteras Inlet--Roanoke Island--Fort Pulaski--Merrimac
and Monitor--The Cumberland Sunk--The Congress Burned--Battle of the
Ironclads--Flag-officer Farragut--Forts Jackson and St. Philip--New
Orleans Captured--Farragut at Vicksburg--Farragut's Second Expedition to
Vicksburg--Return to New Orleans

In addition to its heavy work of maintaining the Atlantic blockade, the
navy of the United States contributed signally toward the suppression of
the rebellion by three brilliant victories which it gained during the
first half of the year 1862. After careful preparation during several
months, a joint expedition under the command of General Ambrose E.
Burnside and Flag-Officer Goldsborough, consisting of more than twelve
thousand men and twenty ships of war, accompanied by numerous
transports, sailed from Fort Monroe on January 11, with the object of
occupying the interior waters of the North Carolina coast. Before the
larger vessels could effect their entrance through Hatteras Inlet,
captured in the previous August, a furious storm set in, which delayed
the expedition nearly a month. By February 7, however, that and other
serious difficulties were overcome, and on the following day the
expedition captured Roanoke Island, and thus completely opened the whole
interior water-system of Albemarle and Pamlico sounds to the easy
approach of the Union fleet and forces.

From Roanoke Island as a base, minor expeditions within a short period
effected the destruction of the not very formidable fleet which the
enemy had been able to organize, and the reduction of Fort Macon and the
rebel defenses of Elizabeth City, New Berne, and other smaller places.
An eventual advance upon Goldsboro' formed part of the original plan;
but, before it could be executed, circumstances intervened effectually
to thwart that object.

While the gradual occupation of the North Carolina coast was going on,
two other expeditions of a similar nature were making steady progress.
One of them, under the direction of General Quincy A. Gillmore, carried
on a remarkable siege operation against Fort Pulaski, standing on an
isolated sea marsh at the mouth of the Savannah River. Here not only the
difficulties of approach, but the apparently insurmountable obstacle of
making the soft, unctuous mud sustain heavy batteries, was overcome, and
the fort compelled to surrender on April 11, after an effective
bombardment. The second was an expedition of nineteen ships, which,
within a few days during the month of March, without serious resistance,
occupied the whole remaining Atlantic coast southward as far as St.

When, at the outbreak of the rebellion, the navy-yard at Norfolk,
Virginia, had to be abandoned to the enemy, the destruction at that time
attempted by Commodore Paulding remained very incomplete. Among the
vessels set on fire, the screw-frigate _Merrimac_, which had been
scuttled, was burned only to the water's edge, leaving her hull and
machinery entirely uninjured. In due time she was raised by the
Confederates, covered with a sloping roof of railroad iron, provided
with a huge wedge-shaped prow of cast iron, and armed with a formidable
battery of ten guns. Secret information came to the Navy Department of
the progress of this work, and such a possibility was kept in mind by
the board of officers that decided upon the construction of the three
experimental ironclads in September, 1861.

The particular one of these three especially intended for this peculiar
emergency was a ship of entirely novel design, made by the celebrated
inventor John Ericsson, a Swede by birth, but American by adoption--a
man who combined great original genius with long scientific study and
experience. His invention may be most quickly described as having a
small, very low hull, covered by a much longer and wider flat deck only
a foot or two above the water-line, upon which was placed a revolving
iron turret twenty feet in diameter, nine feet high, and eight inches
thick, on the inside of which were two eleven-inch guns trained side by
side and revolving with the turret. This unique naval structure was
promptly nicknamed "a cheese-box on a raft," and the designation was not
at all inapt. Naval experts at once recognized that her sea-going
qualities were bad; but compensation was thought to exist in the belief
that her iron turret would resist shot and shell, and that the thin edge
of her flat deck would offer only a minimum mark to an enemy's guns: in
other words, that she was no cruiser, but would prove a formidable
floating battery; and this belief she abundantly justified.

The test of her fighting qualities was attended by what almost suggested
a miraculous coincidence. On Saturday, March 8, 1862, about noon, a
strange-looking craft resembling a huge turtle was seen coming into
Hampton Roads out of the mouth of Elizabeth River, and it quickly became
certain that this was the much talked of rebel ironclad _Merrimac_, or,
as the Confederates had renamed her, the _Virginia_. She steamed
rapidly toward Newport News, three miles to the southwest, where the
Union ships _Congress_ and _Cumberland_ lay at anchor. These saw the
uncouth monster coming and prepared for action. The _Minnesota_, the
_St. Lawrence_, and the _Roanoke_, lying at Fortress Monroe also saw her
and gave chase, but, the water being low, they all soon grounded. The
broadsides of the _Congress_, as the _Merrimac_ passed her at three
hundred yards' distance, seemed to produce absolutely no effect upon her
sloping iron roof. Neither did the broadsides of her intended prey, nor
the fire of the shore batteries, for even an instant arrest her speed
as, rushing on, she struck the _Cumberland_, and with her iron prow
broke a hole as large as a hogshead in her side. Then backing away and
hovering over her victim at convenient distance, she raked her decks
with shot and shell until, after three quarters of an hour's combat, the
_Cumberland_ and her heroic defenders, who had maintained the fight with
unyielding stubbornness, went to the bottom in fifty feet of water with
colors flying.

Having sunk the _Cumberland_, the _Merrimac_ next turned her attention
to the _Congress_, which had meanwhile run into shoal water and grounded
where the rebel vessel could not follow. But the _Merrimac_, being
herself apparently proof against shot and shell by her iron plating,
took up a raking position two cables' length away, and during an hour's
firing deliberately reduced the _Congress_ to helplessness and to
surrender--her commander being killed and the vessel set on fire. The
approach, the manoeuvering, and the two successive combats consumed the
afternoon, and toward nightfall the _Merrimac_ and her three small
consorts that had taken little part in the action withdrew to the rebel
batteries on the Virginia shore: not alone because of the approaching
darkness and the fatigue of the crew, but because the rebel ship had
really suffered considerable damage in ramming the _Cumberland_, as well
as from one or two chance shots that entered her port-holes.

That same night, while the burning _Congress_ yet lighted up the waters
of Hampton Roads, a little ship, as strange-looking and as new to marine
warfare as the rebel turtleback herself, arrived by sea in tow from New
York, and receiving orders to proceed at once to the scene of conflict,
stationed herself near the grounded _Minnesota_. This was Ericsson's
"cheese-box on a raft," named by him the _Monitor_. The Union officers
who had witnessed the day's events with dismay, and were filled with
gloomy forebodings for the morrow, while welcoming this providential
reinforcement, were by no means reassured. The _Monitor_ was only half
the size of her antagonist, and had only two guns to the other's ten.
But this very disparity proved an essential advantage. With only ten
feet draft to the _Merrimac's_ twenty-two, she not only possessed
superior mobility, but might run where the _Merrimac_ could not follow.
When, therefore, at eight o'clock on Sunday, March 9, the _Merrimac_
again came into Hampton Roads to complete her victory, Lieutenant John
L. Worden, commanding the _Monitor_, steamed boldly out to meet her.

Then ensued a three hours' naval conflict which held the breathless
attention of the active participants and the spectators on ship and
shore, and for many weeks excited the wonderment of the reading world.
If the _Monitor's_ solid eleven-inch balls bounded without apparent
effect from the sloping roof of the _Merrimac_, so, in turn, the
_Merrimac's_ broadsides passed harmlessly over the low deck of the
_Monitor_, or rebounded from the round sides of her iron turret. When
the unwieldy rebel turtleback, with her slow, awkward movement, tried
to ram the pointed raft that carried the cheese-box, the little vessel,
obedient to her rudder, easily glided out of the line of direct impact.

Each ship passed through occasional moments of danger, but the long
three hours' encounter ended without other serious damage than an injury
to Lieutenant Worden by the explosion of a rebel shell against a crevice
of the _Monitor's_ pilot-house through which he was looking, which,
temporarily blinding his eye-sight, disabled him from command. At that
point the battle ended by mutual consent. The _Monitor_, unharmed except
by a few unimportant dents in her plating, ran into shoal water to
permit surgical attendance to her wounded officer. On her part, the
_Merrimac_, abandoning any further molestation of the other ships,
steamed away at noon to her retreat in Elizabeth River. The forty-one
rounds fired from the _Monitor's_ guns had so far weakened the
_Merrimac's_ armor that, added to the injuries of the previous day, it
was of the highest prudence to avoid further conflict. A tragic fate
soon ended the careers of both vessels. Owing to other military events,
the _Merrimac_ was abandoned, burned, and blown up by her officers about
two months later; and in the following December, the _Monitor_ foundered
in a gale off Cape Hatteras. But the types of these pioneer ironclads,
which had demonstrated such unprecedented fighting qualities, were
continued. Before the end of the war the Union navy had more than twenty
monitors in service; and the structure of the _Merrimac_ was in a number
of instances repeated by the Confederates.

The most brilliant of all the exploits of the navy during the year 1862
were those carried on under the command of Flag-Officer David G.
Farragut, who, though a born Southerner and residing in Virginia when
the rebellion broke out, remained loyal to the government and true to
the flag he had served for forty-eight years. Various preparations had
been made and various plans discussed for an effective attempt against
some prominent point on the Gulf coast. Very naturally, all examinations
of the subject inevitably pointed to the opening of the Mississippi as
the dominant problem to be solved; and on January 9, Farragut was
appointed to the command of the western Gulf blockading squadron, and
eleven days thereafter received his confidential instructions to attempt
the capture of the city of New Orleans.

Thus far in the war, Farragut had been assigned to no prominent service,
but the patience with which he had awaited his opportunity was now more
than compensated by the energy and thoroughness with which he
superintended the organization of his fleet. By the middle of April he
was in the lower Mississippi with seventeen men-of-war and one hundred
and seventy-seven guns. With him were Commander David D. Porter, in
charge of a mortar flotilla of nineteen schooners and six armed
steamships, and General Benjamin F. Butler, at the head of an army
contingent of six thousand men, soon to be followed by considerable

The first obstacle to be overcome was the fire from the twin forts
Jackson and St. Philip, situated nearly opposite each other at a bend of
the Mississippi twenty-five miles above the mouth of the river, while
the city of New Orleans itself lies seventy-five miles farther up the
stream. These were formidable forts of masonry, with an armament
together of over a hundred guns, and garrisons of about six hundred men
each. They also had auxiliary defenses: first, of a strong river
barrier of log rafts and other obstructions connected by powerful
chains, half a mile below the forts; second, of an improvised fleet of
sixteen rebel gunboats and a formidable floating battery. None of
Farragut's ships were ironclad. He had, from the beginning of the
undertaking, maintained the theory that a wooden fleet, properly
handled, could successfully pass the batteries of the forts. "I would as
soon have a paper ship as an ironclad; only give me _men_ to fight her!"
he said. He might not come back; but New Orleans would be won. In his
hazardous undertaking his faith was based largely on the skill and
courage of his subordinate commanders of ships, and this faith was fully
sustained by their gallantry and devotion.

Porter's flotilla of nineteen schooners carrying two mortars each,
anchored below the forts, maintained a heavy bombardment for five days,
and then Farragut decided to try his ships. On the night of the
twentieth the daring work of two gunboats cut an opening through the
river barrier through which the vessels might pass; and at two o'clock
on the morning of April 24, Farragut gave the signal to advance. The
first division of his fleet, eight vessels, led by Captain Bailey,
successfully passed the barrier. The second division of nine ships was
not quite so fortunate. Three of them failed to pass the barrier, but
the others, led by Farragut himself in his flag-ship, the _Hartford_,
followed the advance.

The starlit night was quickly obscured by the smoke of the general
cannonade from both ships and forts; but the heavy batteries of the
latter had little effect on the passing fleet. Farragut's flag-ship was
for a short while in great danger. At a moment when she slightly
grounded a huge fire-raft, fully ablaze, was pushed against her by a
rebel tug, and the flames caught in the paint on her side, and mounted
into her rigging. But this danger had also been provided against, and by
heroic efforts the _Hartford_ freed herself from her peril. Immediately
above the forts, the fleet of rebel gunboats joined in the battle, which
now resolved itself into a series of conflicts between single vessels or
small groups. But the stronger and better-armed Union ships quickly
destroyed the Confederate flotilla, with the single exception that two
of the enemy's gunboats rammed the _Varuna_ from opposite sides and sank
her. Aside from this, the Union fleet sustained much miscellaneous
damage, but no serious injury in the furious battle of an hour and a

With but a short halt at Quarantine, six miles above the forts, Farragut
and his thirteen ships of war pushed on rapidly over the seventy-five
miles, and on the forenoon of April 25 New Orleans lay helpless under
the guns of the Union fleet. The city was promptly evacuated by the
Confederate General Lovell. Meanwhile, General Butler was busy moving
his transports and troops around outside by sea to Quarantine; and,
having occupied that point in force, Forts Jackson and St. Philip
capitulated on April 28. This last obstruction removed, Butler, after
having garrisoned the forts, brought the bulk of his army up to New
Orleans, and on May 1 Farragut turned over to him the formal possession
of the city, where Butler continued in command of the Department of the
Gulf until the following December.

Farragut immediately despatched an advance section of his fleet up the
Mississippi. None of the important cities on its banks below Vicksburg
had yet been fortified, and, without serious opposition, they
surrendered as the Union ships successively reached them. Farragut
himself, following with the remainder of his fleet, arrived at
Vicksburg on May 20. This city, by reason of the high bluffs on which it
stands, was the most defensible point on the whole length of the great
river within the Southern States; but so confidently had the
Confederates trusted to the strength of their works at Columbus, Island
No. 10, Fort Pillow, and other points, that the fortifications of
Vicksburg had thus far received comparatively little attention. The
recent Union victories, however, both to the north and south, had
awakened them to their danger; and when Lovell evacuated New Orleans, he
shipped heavy guns and sent five Confederate regiments to Vicksburg; and
during the eight days between their arrival on May 12 and the twentieth,
on which day Farragut reached the city, six rebel batteries were put in
readiness to fire on his ships.

General Halleck, while pushing his siege works toward Corinth, was
notified as early as April 27 that Farragut was coming, and the logic of
the situation ought to have induced him to send a coöperating force to
Farragut's assistance, or, at the very least, to have matured plans for
such coöperation. All the events would have favored an expedition of
this kind. When Corinth, at the end of May, fell into Halleck's hands,
Forts Pillow and Randolph on the Mississippi River were hastily
evacuated by the enemy, and on June 6 the Union flotilla of river
gunboats which had rendered such signal service at Henry, Donelson, and
Island No. 10, reinforced by a hastily constructed flotilla of heavy
river tugs converted into rams, gained another brilliant victory in a
most dramatic naval battle at Memphis, during which an opposing
Confederate flotilla of similar rams and gunboats was almost completely
destroyed, and the immediate evacuation of Memphis by the Confederates
thereby forced.

This left Vicksburg as the single barrier to the complete opening of the
Mississippi, and that barrier was defended by only six batteries and a
garrison of six Confederate regiments at the date of Farragut's arrival
before it. But Farragut had with his expedition only two regiments of
troops, and the rebel batteries were situated at such an elevation that
the guns of the Union fleet could not be raised sufficiently to silence
them. Neither help nor promise of help came from Halleck's army, and
Farragut could therefore do nothing but turn his vessels down stream and
return to New Orleans. There, about June 1, he received news from the
Navy Department that the administration was exceedingly anxious to have
the Mississippi opened; and this time, taking with him Porter's mortar
flotilla and three thousand troops, he again proceeded up the river, and
a second time reached Vicksburg on June 25.

The delay, however, had enabled the Confederates greatly to strengthen
the fortifications and the garrison of the city. Neither a bombardment
from Porter's mortar sloops, nor the running of Farragut's ships past
the batteries, where they were joined by the Union gunboat flotilla from
above, sufficed to bring the Confederates to a surrender. Farragut
estimated that a coöperating land force of twelve to fifteen thousand
would have enabled him to take the works; and Halleck, on June 28 and
July 3, partially promised early assistance. But on July 14 he reported
definitely that it would be impossible for him to render the expected
aid. Under these circumstances, the Navy Department ordered Farragut
back to New Orleans, lest his ships of deep draft should be detained in
the river by the rapidly falling water. The capture of Vicksburg was
postponed for a whole year, and the early transfer of Halleck to
Washington changed the current of Western campaigns.


McClellan's Illness--Lincoln Consults McDowell and Franklin--President's
Plan against Manassas--McClellan's Plan against Richmond--Cameron and
Stanton--President's War Order No. 1--Lincoln's Questions to
McClellan--News from the West--Death of Willie Lincoln--The Harper's
Ferry Fiasco--President's War Order No. 3--The News from Hampton
Roads--Manassas Evacuated--Movement to the Peninsular--Yorktown--The
Peninsula Campaign--Seven Days' Battles--Retreat to Harrison's Landing

We have seen how the express orders of President Lincoln in the early
days of January, 1862, stirred the Western commanders to the beginning
of active movements that brought about an important series of victories
during the first half of the year. The results of his determination to
break a similar military stagnation in the East need now to be related.

The gloomy outlook at the beginning of the year has already been
mentioned. Finding on January 10 that General McClellan was still ill
and unable to see him, he called Generals McDowell and Franklin into
conference with himself, Seward, Chase, and the Assistant Secretary of
War; and, explaining to them his dissatisfaction and distress at
existing conditions, said to them that "if something were not soon done,
the bottom would be out of the whole affair; and if General McClellan
did not want to use the army, he would like to borrow it, provided he
could see how it could be made to do something."

The two generals, differing on some other points, agreed, however, in a
memorandum prepared next day at the President's request, that a direct
movement against the Confederate army at Manassas was preferable to a
movement by water against Richmond; that preparations for the former
could be made in a week, while the latter would require a month or six
weeks. Similar discussions were held on the eleventh and twelfth, and
finally, on January 13, by which date General McClellan had sufficiently
recovered to be present. McClellan took no pains to hide his displeasure
at the proceedings, and ventured no explanation when the President asked
what and when anything could be done. Chase repeated the direct
interrogatory to McClellan himself, inquiring what he intended doing
with his army, and when he intended doing it. McClellan stated his
unwillingness to develop his plans, but said he would tell them if he
was ordered to do so. The President then asked him if he had in his own
mind any particular time fixed when a movement could be commenced.
McClellan replied that he had. "Then," rejoined the President, "I will
adjourn this meeting."

While these conferences were going on, a change occurred in the
President's cabinet; Secretary of War Cameron, who had repeatedly
expressed a desire to be relieved from the onerous duties of the War
Department, was made minister to Russia and Edwin M. Stanton appointed
to succeed him. Stanton had been Attorney-General during the last months
of President Buchanan's administration, and, though a lifelong Democrat,
had freely conferred and coöperated with Republican leaders in the
Senate and House of Representatives in thwarting secession schemes. He
was a lawyer of ability and experience, and, possessing organizing
qualities of a high degree combined with a strong will and great
physical endurance, gave his administration of the War Department a
record for efficiency which it will be difficult for any future minister
to equal; and for which service his few mistakes and subordinate faults
of character will be readily forgotten. In his new functions, Stanton
enthusiastically seconded the President's efforts to rouse the Army of
the Potomac to speedy and vigorous action.

In his famous report, McClellan states that very soon after Stanton
became Secretary of War he explained verbally to the latter his plan of
a campaign against Richmond by way of the lower Chesapeake Bay, and at
Stanton's direction also explained it to the President. It is not
strange that neither the President nor the new Secretary approved it.
The reasons which then existed against it in theory, and were afterward
demonstrated in practice, are altogether too evident. As this first plan
was never reduced to writing, it may be fairly inferred that it was one
of those mere suggestions which, like all that had gone before, would
serve only to postpone action.

The patience of the President was at length so far exhausted that on
January 27 he wrote his General War Order No. I, which directed "that
the 22d day of February, 1862, be the day for a general movement of all
the land and naval forces of the United States against the insurgent
forces," and that the Secretaries of War and of the Navy, the
general-in-chief, and all other commanders and subordinates of land and
naval forces "will severally be held to their strict and full
responsibilities for prompt execution of this order." To leave no doubt
of his intention that the Army of the Potomac should make a beginning,
the President, four days later, issued his Special War Order No. I,
directing that after providing safely for the defense of Washington, it
should move against the Confederate army at Manassas Junction, on or
before the date announced.

As McClellan had been allowed to have his way almost without question
for six months past, it was, perhaps, as much through mere habit of
opposition as from any intelligent decision in his own mind that he
again requested permission to present his objections to the President's
plan. Mr. Lincoln, thereupon, to bring the discussion to a practical
point, wrote him the following list of queries on February 3:

"MY DEAR SIR: You and I have distinct and different plans for a movement
of the Army of the Potomac--yours to be down the Chesapeake, up the
Rappahannock to Urbana, and across land to the terminus of the railroad
on the York River; mine, to move directly to a point on the railroad
southwest of Manassas.

"If you will give me satisfactory answers to the following questions, I
shall gladly yield my plan to yours.

"_First_. Does not your plan involve a greatly larger expenditure of
time and money than mine?"

"_Second_. Wherein is a victory more certain by your plan than mine?"

"_Third_. Wherein is a victory more valuable by your plan than mine?"

"_Fourth_. In fact, would it not be less valuable in this, that it would
break no great line of the enemy's communications, while mine would?"

"_Fifth_. In case of disaster, would not a retreat be more difficult by
your plan than mine?"

Instead of specifically answering the President's concise
interrogatories, McClellan, on the following day, presented to the
Secretary of War a long letter, reciting in much detail his statement of
what he had done since coming to Washington, and giving a rambling
outline of what he thought might be accomplished in the future
prosecution of the war. His reasoning in favor of an advance by
Chesapeake Bay upon Richmond, instead of against Manassas Junction,
rests principally upon the assumption that at Manassas the enemy is
prepared to resist, while at Richmond there are no preparations; that to
win Manassas would give us only the field of battle and the moral effect
of a victory, while to win Richmond would give us the rebel capital with
its communications and supplies; that at Manassas we would fight on a
field chosen by the enemy, while at Richmond we would fight on one
chosen by ourselves. If as a preliminary hypothesis these comparisons
looked plausible, succeeding events quickly exposed their fallacy.

The President, in his anxious studies and exhaustive discussion with
military experts in the recent conferences, fully comprehended that
under McClellan's labored strategical theories lay a fundamental error.
It was not the capture of a place, but the destruction of the rebel
armies that was needed to subdue the rebellion. But Mr. Lincoln also saw
the fearful responsibility he would be taking upon himself if he forced
McClellan to fight against his own judgment and protest, even though
that judgment was incorrect. The whole subject, therefore, underwent a
new and yet more elaborate investigation. The delay which this rendered
necessary was soon greatly lengthened by two other causes. It was about
this time that the telegraph brought news from the West of the surrender
of Fort Henry, February 6, the investment of Fort Donelson on the
thirteenth, and its surrender on the sixteenth, incidents which absorbed
the constant attention of the President and the Secretary of War. Almost
simultaneously, a heavy domestic sorrow fell upon Mr. Lincoln in the
serious illness of his son Willie, an interesting and most promising lad
of twelve, and his death in the White House on February 20.

When February 22 came, while there was plainly no full compliance with
the President's War Order No. I, there was, nevertheless, such promise
of a beginning, even at Washington, as justified reasonable expectation.
The authorities looked almost hourly for the announcement of two
preliminary movements which had been preparing for many days: one, to
attack rebel batteries on the Virginia shore of the Potomac; the other
to throw bridges--one of pontoons, the second a permanent bridge of
canal-boats--across the river at Harper's Ferry, and an advance by
Banks's division on Winchester to protect the opening of the Baltimore
and Ohio railroad and reëstablish transportation to and from the West
over that important route.

On the evening of February 27, Secretary Stanton came to the President,
and, after locking the door to prevent interruption, opened and read two
despatches from McClellan, who had gone personally to superintend the
crossing. The first despatch from the general described the fine spirits
of the troops, and the splendid throwing of the pontoon bridge by
Captain Duane and his three lieutenants, for whom he at once recommended
brevets, and the immediate crossing of eighty-five hundred infantry.
This despatch was dated at ten o'clock the previous night. "The next is
not so good," remarked the Secretary of War. It stated that the lift
lock was too small to permit the canal-boats to enter the river, so that
it was impossible to construct the permanent bridge. He would therefore
be obliged to fall back upon the safe and slow plan of merely covering
the reconstruction of the railroad, which would be tedious and make it
impossible to seize Winchester.

"What does this mean?" asked the President, in amazement.

"It means," said the Secretary of War, "that it is a damned fizzle. It
means that he doesn't intend to do anything."

The President's indignation was intense; and when, a little later,
General Marcy, McClellan's father-in-law and chief of staff, came in,
Lincoln's criticism of the affair was in sharper language than was his
usual habit.

"Why, in the name of common sense," said he, excitedly, "couldn't the
general have known whether canal-boats would go through that lock before
he spent a million dollars getting them there? I am almost despairing at
these results. Everything seems to fail. The impression is daily gaining
ground that the general does not intend to do anything. By a failure
like this we lose all the prestige gained by the capture of Fort

The prediction of the Secretary of War proved correct. That same night,
McClellan revoked Hooker's authority to cross the lower Potomac and
demolish the rebel batteries about the Occoquan River. It was doubtless
this Harper's Ferry incident which finally convinced the President that
he could no longer leave McClellan intrusted with the sole and
unrestricted exercise of military affairs. Yet that general had shown
such decided ability in certain lines of his profession, and had plainly
in so large a degree won the confidence of the Army of the Potomac
itself, that he did not wish entirely to lose the benefit of his
services. He still hoped that, once actively started in the field, he
might yet develop valuable qualities of leadership. He had substantially
decided to let him have his own way in his proposed campaign against
Richmond by water, and orders to assemble the necessary vessels had been
given before the Harper's Ferry failure was known.

Early on the morning of March 8, the President made one more effort to
convert McClellan to a direct movement against Manassas, but without
success. On the contrary, the general convened twelve of his division
commanders in a council, who voted eight to four for the water route.
This finally decided the question in the President's mind, but he
carefully qualified the decision by two additional war orders of his
own, written without consultation. President's General War Order No. 2
directed that the Army of the Potomac should be immediately organized
into four army corps, to be respectively commanded by McDowell, Sumner,
Heintzelman, and Keyes, and a fifth under Banks. It is noteworthy that
the first three of these had always earnestly advocated the Manassas
movement. President's General War Order No. 3 directed, in substance:
_First_. An immediate effort to capture the Potomac batteries. _Second_.
That until that was accomplished not more than two army corps should be
started on the Chesapeake campaign toward Richmond _Third_. That any
Chesapeake movement should begin in ten days; and--_Fourth_. That no
such movement should be ordered without leaving Washington entirely

Even while the President was completing the drafting and copying of
these important orders, events were transpiring which once more put a
new face upon the proposed campaign against Richmond. During the
forenoon of the next day, March 9, a despatch was received from Fortress
Monroe, reporting the appearance of the rebel ironclad _Merrimac_, and
the havoc she had wrought the previous afternoon--the _Cumberland_ sunk,
the _Congress_ surrendered and burned, the _Minnesota_ aground and about
to be attacked. There was a quick gathering of officials at the
Executive Mansion--Secretaries Stanton, Seward, Welles, Generals
McClellan, Meigs, Totten, Commodore Smith, and Captain Dahlgren--and a
scene of excitement ensued, unequaled by any other in the President's
office during the war. Stanton walked up and down like a caged lion, and
eager discussion animated cabinet and military officers. Two other
despatches soon came, one from the captain of a vessel at Baltimore, who
had left Fortress Monroe on the evening of the eighth, and a copy of a
telegram to the "New York Tribune," giving more details.

President Lincoln was the coolest man in the whole gathering, carefully
analyzing the language of the telegrams, to give their somewhat confused
statements intelligible coherence. Wild suggestions flew from speaker to
speaker about possible danger to be apprehended from the new marine
terror--whether she might not be able to go to New York or Philadelphia
and levy tribute, to Baltimore or Annapolis to destroy the transports
gathered for McClellan's movement, or even to come up the Potomac and
burn Washington; and all sorts of prudential measures and safeguards
were proposed.

In the afternoon, however, apprehension was greatly quieted. That very
day a cable was laid across the bay, giving direct telegraphic
communication with Fortress Monroe, and Captain Fox, who happened to be
on the spot, concisely reported at about 4 P.M. the dramatic sequel--the
timely arrival of the _Monitor_, the interesting naval battle between
the two ironclads, and that at noon the _Merrimac_ had withdrawn from
the conflict, and with her three small consorts steamed back into
Elizabeth River.

Scarcely had the excitement over the _Monitor_ and _Merrimac_ news begun
to subside, when, on the same afternoon, a new surprise burst upon the
military authorities in a report that the whole Confederate army had
evacuated its stronghold at Manassas and the batteries on the Potomac,
and had retired southward to a new line behind the Rappahannock. General
McClellan hastened across the river, and, finding the news to be
correct, issued orders during the night for a general movement of the
army next morning to the vacated rebel camps. The march was promptly
accomplished, notwithstanding the bad roads, and the troops had the
meager satisfaction of hoisting the Union flag over the deserted rebel

For two weeks the enemy had been preparing for this retreat; and,
beginning their evacuation on the seventh, their whole retrograde
movement was completed by March 11, by which date they were secure in
their new line of defense, "prepared for such an emergency--the south
bank of the Rappahannock strengthened by field-works, and provided with
a depot of food," writes General Johnston. No further comment is needed
to show McClellan's utter incapacity or neglect, than that for full two
months he had commanded an army of one hundred and ninety thousand,
present for duty, within two days' march of the forty-seven thousand
Confederates, present for duty, whom he thus permitted to march away to
their new strongholds without a gun fired or even a meditated attack.

General McClellan had not only lost the chance of an easy and brilliant
victory near Washington, but also the possibility of his favorite plan
to move by water to Urbana on the lower Rappahannock, and from there by
a land march _via_ West Point toward Richmond. On that route the enemy
was now in his way. He therefore, on March 13, hastily called a council
of his corps commanders, who decided that under the new conditions it
would be best to proceed by water to Fortress Monroe, and from there
move up the Peninsula toward Richmond. To this new plan, adopted in the
stress of excitement and haste, the President answered through the
Secretary of War on the same day:

"_First_. Leave such force at Manassas Junction as shall make it
entirely certain that the enemy shall not repossess himself of that
position and line of communication."

"_Second_. Leave Washington entirely secure."

"_Third_. Move the remainder of the force down the Potomac, choosing a
new base at Fort Monroe, or anywhere between here and there; or, at all
events, move such remainder of the army at once in pursuit of the enemy
by some route."

Two days before, the President had also announced a step which he had
doubtless had in contemplation for many days, if not many weeks, namely,

"Major-General McClellan having personally taken the field at the head
of the Army of the Potomac, until otherwise ordered, he is relieved from
the command of the other military departments, he retaining command of
the Department of the Potomac."

This order of March 11 included also the already mentioned consolidation
of the western departments under Halleck; and out of the region lying
between Halleck's command and McClellan's command it created the
Mountain Department, the command of which he gave to General Frémont,
whose reinstatement had been loudly clamored for by many prominent and
enthusiastic followers.

As the preparations for a movement by water had been in progress since
February 27, there was little delay in starting the Army of the Potomac
on its new campaign. The troops began their embarkation on March 17, and
by April 5 over one hundred thousand men, with all their material of
war, had been transported to Fortress Monroe, where General McClellan
himself arrived on the second of the month, and issued orders to begin
his march on the fourth.

Unfortunately, right at the outset of this new campaign, General
McClellan's incapacity and want of candor once more became sharply
evident. In the plan formulated by the four corps commanders, and
approved by himself, as well as emphatically repeated by the President's
instructions, was the essential requirement that Washington should be
left entirely secure. Learning that the general had neglected this
positive injunction, the President ordered McDowell's corps to remain
for the protection of the capital; and when the general complained of
this, Mr. Lincoln wrote him on April 9:

"After you left I ascertained that less than twenty thousand unorganized
men, without a single field-battery, were all you designed to be left
for the defense of Washington and Manassas Junction; and part of this,
even, was to go to General Hooker's old position. General Banks's corps,
once designed for Manassas Junction, was divided and tied up on the line
of Winchester and Strasburg, and could not leave it without again
exposing the upper Potomac and the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. This
presented (or would present when McDowell and Sumner should be gone) a
great temptation to the enemy to turn back from the Rappahannock and
sack Washington. My explicit order that Washington should, by the
judgment of all the commanders of corps, be left entirely secure, had
been neglected. It was precisely this that drove me to detain McDowell.

"I do not forget that I was satisfied with your arrangement to leave
Banks at Manassas Junction; but when that arrangement was broken up and
nothing was substituted for it, of course I was not satisfied. I was
constrained to substitute something for it myself."

"And now allow me to ask, do you really think I should permit the line
from Richmond _via_ Manassas Junction to this city to be entirely open,
except what resistance could be presented by less than twenty thousand
unorganized troops? This is a question which the country will not allow
me to evade...."

"By delay, the enemy will relatively gain upon you--that is, he will
gain faster by fortifications and reinforcements than you can by
reinforcements alone. And once more let me tell you it is indispensable
to you that you strike a blow. I am powerless to help this. You will do
me the justice to remember I always insisted that going down the bay in
search of a field, instead of fighting at or near Manassas, was only
shifting and not surmounting a difficulty; that we would find the same
enemy and the same or equal intrenchments at either place. The country
will not fail to note--is noting now--that the present hesitation to
move upon an intrenched enemy is but the story of Manassas repeated."

General McClellan's expectations in coming to the Peninsula, first, that
he would find few or no rebel intrenchments, and, second, that he would
be able to make rapid movements, at once signally failed. On the
afternoon of the second day's march he came to the first line of the
enemy's defenses, heavy fortifications at Yorktown on the York River,
and a strong line of intrenchments and dams flooding the Warwick River,
extending to an impassable inlet from James River. But the situation was
not yet desperate. Magruder, the Confederate commander, had only eleven
thousand men to defend Yorktown and the thirteen-mile line of the
Warwick. McClellan, on the contrary, had fifty thousand at hand, and as
many more within call, with which to break the Confederate line and
continue his proposed "rapid movements." But now, without any adequate
reconnaissance or other vigorous effort, he at once gave up his thoughts
of rapid movement, one of the main advantages he had always claimed for
the water route, and adopted the slow expedient of a siege of Yorktown.
Not alone was his original plan of campaign demonstrated to be faulty,
but by this change in the method of its execution it became fatal.

It would be weary and exasperating to recount in detail the remaining
principal episodes of McClellan's operations to gain possession of the
Confederate capital. The whole campaign is a record of hesitation,
delay, and mistakes in the chief command, brilliantly relieved by the
heroic fighting and endurance of the troops and subordinate officers,
gathering honor out of defeat, and shedding the luster of renown over a
result of barren failure. McClellan wasted a month raising siege-works
to bombard Yorktown, when he might have turned the place by two or three
days' operations with his superior numbers of four to one. By his
failure to give instructions after Yorktown was evacuated, he allowed a
single division of his advance-guard to be beaten back at Williamsburg,
when thirty thousand of their comrades were within reach, but without
orders. He wrote to the President that he would have to fight double
numbers intrenched, when his own army was actually twice as strong as
that of his antagonist. Placing his army astride the Chickahominy, he
afforded that antagonist, General Johnston, the opportunity, at a sudden
rise of the river, to fall on one portion of his divided forces at Fair
Oaks with overwhelming numbers. Finally, when he was within four miles
of Richmond and was attacked by General Lee, he began a retreat to the
James River, and after his corps commanders held the attacking enemy at
bay by a successful battle on each of six successive days, he day after
day gave up each field won or held by the valor and blood of his heroic
soldiers. On July 1, the collected Union army made a stand at the battle
of Malvern Hill, inflicting a defeat on the enemy which practically
shattered the Confederate army, and in the course of a week caused it to
retire within the fortifications of Richmond. During all this
magnificent fighting, however, McClellan was oppressed by the
apprehension of impending defeat; and even after the brilliant victory
of Malvern Hill, continued his retreat to Harrison's Landing, where the
Union gunboats on the James River assured him of safety and supplies.

It must be borne in mind that this Peninsula campaign, from the landing
at Fortress Monroe to the battle at Malvern Hill, occupied three full
months, and that during the first half of that period the government,
yielding to McClellan's constant faultfinding and clamor for
reinforcements, sent him forty thousand additional men; also that in the
opinion of competent critics, both Union and Confederate, he had, after
the battle of Fair Oaks, and twice during the seven days' battles, a
brilliant opportunity to take advantage of Confederate mistakes, and by
a vigorous offensive to capture Richmond. But constitutional indecision
unfitted him to seize the fleeting chances of war. His hope of victory
was always overawed by his fear of defeat. While he commanded during a
large part of the campaign double, and always superior, numbers to the
enemy, his imagination led him continually to double their strength in
his reports. This delusion so wrought upon him that on the night of June
27 he sent the Secretary of War an almost despairing and insubordinate
despatch, containing these inexcusable phrases:

"Had I twenty thousand or even ten thousand fresh troops to use
to-morrow, I could take Richmond; but I have not a man in reserve, and
shall be glad to cover my retreat and save the material and personnel of
the army.... If I save this army now, I tell you plainly that I owe no
thanks to you or to any other persons in Washington. You have done your
best to sacrifice this army."

Under almost any other ruler such language would have been quickly
followed by trial and dismissal, if not by much severer punishment. But
while Mr. Lincoln was shocked by McClellan's disrespect, he was yet more
startled by the implied portent of the despatch. It indicated a loss of
confidence and a perturbation of mind which rendered possible even a
surrender of the whole army. The President, therefore, with his habitual
freedom from passion, merely sent an unmoved and kind reply:

"Save your army at all events. Will send reinforcements as fast as we
can. Of course they cannot reach you to-day, to-morrow, or next day. I
have not said you were ungenerous for saying you needed reinforcements.
I thought you were ungenerous in assuming that I did not send them as
fast as I could. I feel any misfortune to you and your army quite as
keenly as you feel it yourself. If you have had a drawn battle or a
repulse, it is the price we pay for the enemy not being in Washington."


Jackson's Valley Campaign--Lincoln's Visit to Scott--Pope Assigned to
Command--Lee's Attack on McClellan--Retreat to Harrison's
Landing--Seward Sent to New York--Lincoln's Letter to Seward--Lincoln's
Letter to McClellan--Lincoln's Visit to McClellan--Halleck made
General-in-Chief--Halleck's Visit to McClellan--Withdrawal from
Harrison's Landing--Pope Assumes Command--Second Battle of Bull Run--The
Cabinet Protest--McClellan Ordered to Defend Washington--The Maryland
Campaign--Battle of Antietam--Lincoln Visits Antietam--Lincoln's Letter
to McClellan--McClellan Removed from Command

During the month of May, while General McClellan was slowly working his
way across the Chickahominy by bridge-building and intrenching, there
occurred the episode of Stonewall Jackson's valley campaign, in which
that eccentric and daring Confederate commander made a rapid and
victorious march up the Shenandoah valley nearly to Harper's Ferry. Its
principal effect upon the Richmond campaign was to turn back McDowell,
who had been started on a land march to unite with the right wing of
McClellan's army, under instructions, however, always to be in readiness
to interpose his force against any attempt of the enemy to march upon
Washington. This campaign of Stonewall Jackson's has been much lauded by
military writers; but its temporary success resulted from good luck
rather than military ability. Rationally considered, it was an
imprudent and even reckless adventure that courted and would have
resulted in destruction or capture had the junction of forces under
McDowell, Shields, and Frémont, ordered by President Lincoln, not been
thwarted by the mistake and delay of Frémont. It was an episode that
signally demonstrated the wisdom of the President in having retained
McDowell's corps for the protection of the national capital.

That, however, was not the only precaution to which the President had
devoted his serious attention. During the whole of McClellan's Richmond
campaign he had continually borne in mind the possibility of his defeat,
and the eventualities it might create. Little by little, that general's
hesitation, constant complaints, and exaggerated reports of the enemy's
strength changed the President's apprehensions from possibility to
probability; and he took prompt measures to be prepared as far as
possible, should a new disaster arise. On June 24 he made a hurried
visit to the veteran General Scott at West Point, for consultation on
the existing military conditions, and on his return to Washington called
General Pope from the West, and, by an order dated June 26, specially
assigned him to the command of the combined forces under Frémont, Banks,
and McDowell, to be called the Army of Virginia, whose duty it should be
to guard the Shenandoah valley and Washington city, and, as far as might
be, render aid to McClellan's campaign against Richmond.

The very day on which the President made this order proved to be the
crisis of McClellan's campaign. That was the day he had fixed upon for a
general advance; but so far from realizing this hope, it turned out,
also, to be the day on which General Lee began his attack on the Army of
the Potomac, which formed the beginning of the seven days' battles, and
changed McClellan's intended advance against Richmond to a retreat to
the James River. It was after midnight of the next day that McClellan
sent Stanton his despairing and insubordinate despatch indicating the
possibility of losing his entire army.

Upon the receipt of this alarming piece of news, President Lincoln
instantly took additional measures of safety. He sent a telegram to
General Burnside in North Carolina to come with all the reinforcements
he could spare to McClellan's help. Through the Secretary of War he
instructed General Halleck at Corinth to send twenty-five thousand
infantry to McClellan by way of Baltimore and Washington. His most
important action was to begin the formation of a new army. On the same
day he sent Secretary of State Seward to New York with a letter to be
confidentially shown to such of the governors of States as could be
hurriedly called together, setting forth his view of the present
condition of the war, and his own determination in regard to its
prosecution. After outlining the reverse at Richmond and the new
problems it created, the letter continued:

"What should be done is to hold what we have in the West, open the
Mississippi, and take Chattanooga and East Tennessee without more. A
reasonable force should in every event be kept about Washington for its
protection. Then let the country give us a hundred thousand new troops
in the shortest possible time, which, added to McClellan directly or
indirectly, will take Richmond without endangering any other place which
we now hold, and will substantially end the war. I expect to maintain
this contest until successful, or till I die, or am conquered, or my
term expires, or Congress or the country forsake me; and I would
publicly appeal to the country for this new force were it not that I
fear a general panic and stampede would follow, so hard it is to have a
thing understood as it really is."

Meanwhile, by the news of the victory of Malvern Hill and the secure
position to which McClellan had retired at Harrison's Landing, the
President learned that the condition of the Army of the Potomac was not
as desperate as at first had seemed. The result of Seward's visit to New
York is shown in the President's letter of July 2, answering McClellan's
urgent call for heavy reinforcements:

"The idea of sending you fifty thousand, or any other considerable
force, promptly, is simply absurd. If, in your frequent mention of
responsibility, you have the impression that I blame you for not doing
more than you can, please be relieved of such impression. I only beg
that in like manner you will not ask impossibilities of me. If you think
you are not strong enough to take Richmond just now, I do not ask you to
try just now. Save the army, material and personnel, and I will
strengthen it for the offensive again as fast as I can. The governors of
eighteen States offer me a new levy of three hundred thousand, which I

And in another letter, two days later:

"To reinforce you so as to enable you to resume the offensive within a
month, or even six weeks, is impossible.... Under these circumstances,
the defensive for the present must be your only care. Save the
army--first, where you are, if you can; secondly, by removal, if you

To satisfy himself more fully about the actual situation, the President
made a visit to Harrison's Landing on July 8 and 9, and held personal
interviews with McClellan and his leading generals. While the question
of removing the army underwent considerable discussion, the President
left it undecided for the present; but on July 11, soon after his return
to Washington, he issued an order:

"That Major-General Henry W. Halleck be assigned to command the whole
land forces of the United States, as general-in-chief, and that he
repair to this capital so soon as he can with safety to the positions
and operations within the department now under his charge."

Though General Halleck was loath to leave his command in the West, he
made the necessary dispositions there, and in obedience to the
President's order reached Washington on July 23, and assumed command of
all the armies as general-in-chief. On the day following he proceeded to
General McClellan's headquarters at Harrison's Landing, and after two
days' consultation reached the same conclusion at which the President
had already arrived, that the Army of the Potomac must be withdrawn.
McClellan strongly objected to this course. He wished to be reinforced
so that he might resume his operations against Richmond. To do this he
wanted fifty thousand more men, which number it was impossible to give
him, as he had already been pointedly informed by the President. On
Halleck's return to Washington, it was, on further consultation,
resolved to bring the Army of the Potomac back to Acquia Creek and unite
it with the army of Pope.

On July 30, McClellan received a preliminary order to send away his
sick, and the withdrawal of his entire force was ordered by telegraph on
August 3. With the obstinacy and persistence that characterized his
course from first to last, McClellan still protested against the change,
and when Halleck in a calm letter answered his objections with both the
advantages and the necessity of the order, McClellan's movement of
withdrawal was so delayed that fully eleven days of inestimable time
were unnecessarily lost, and the army of Pope was thereby put in serious

Meanwhile, under President Lincoln's order of June 26, General Pope had
left the West, and about the first of July reached Washington, where for
two weeks, in consultation with the President and the Secretary of War,
he studied the military situation, and on July 14 assumed command of the
Army of Virginia, consisting of the corps of General Frémont, eleven
thousand five hundred strong, and that of General Banks, eight thousand
strong, in the Shenandoah valley, and the corps of General McDowell,
eighteen thousand five hundred strong, with one division at Manassas and
the other at Fredericksburg. It is unnecessary to relate in detail the
campaign which followed. Pope intelligently and faithfully performed the
task imposed on him to concentrate his forces and hold in check the
advance of the enemy, which began as soon as the Confederates learned of
the evacuation of Harrison's Landing.

When the Army of the Potomac was ordered to be withdrawn it was clearly
enough seen that the movement might put the Army of Virginia in
jeopardy; but it was hoped that if the transfer to Acquia Creek and
Alexandria were made as promptly as the order contemplated, the two
armies would be united before the enemy could reach them. McClellan,
however, continued day after day to protest against the change, and made
his preparations and embarkation with such exasperating slowness as
showed that he still hoped to induce the government to change its plans.

Pope, despite the fact that he had managed his retreat with skill and
bravery, was attacked by Lee's army, and fought the second battle of
Bull Run on August 30, under the disadvantage of having one of
McClellan's divisions entirely absent and the other failing to respond
to his order to advance to the attack on the first day. McClellan had
reached Alexandria on August 24; and notwithstanding telegram after
telegram from Halleck, ordering him to push Franklin's division out to
Pope's support, excuse and delay seemed to be his only response, ending
at last in his direct suggestion that Franklin's division be kept to
defend Washington, and Pope be left to "get out of his scrape" as best
he might.

McClellan's conduct and language had awakened the indignation of the
whole cabinet, roused Stanton to fury, and greatly outraged the feelings
of President Lincoln. But even under such irritation the President was,
as ever, the very incarnation of cool, dispassionate judgment, allowing
nothing but the daily and hourly logic of facts to influence his
suggestions or decision. In these moments of crisis and danger he felt
more keenly than ever the awful responsibilities of rulership, and that
the fate of the nation hung upon his words and acts from hour to hour.

His official counselors, equally patriotic and sincere, were not his
equals in calmness of temper. On Friday, August 29, Stanton went to
Chase, and after an excited conference drew up a memorandum of protest,
to be signed by the members of the cabinet, which drew a gloomy picture
of present and apprehended dangers, and recommended the immediate
removal of McClellan from command. Chase and Stanton signed the paper,
as also did Bates, whom they immediately consulted, and somewhat later
Smith added his signature. But when they presented it to Welles, he
firmly refused, stating that though he concurred with them in judgment,
it would be discourteous and unfriendly to the President to adopt such a
course. They did not go to Seward and Blair, apparently believing them
to be friendly to McClellan, and therefore probably unwilling to give
their assent. The refusal of Mr. Welles to sign had evidently caused a
more serious discussion among them about the form and language of the
protest; for on Monday, September 1, it was entirely rewritten by Bates,
cut down to less than half its original length as drafted by Stanton,
and once more signed by the same four members of the cabinet.

Presented for the second time to Mr. Welles, he reiterated his
objection, and again refused his signature. Though in the new form it
bore the signatures of a majority of the cabinet, the paper was never
presented to Mr. Lincoln. The signers may have adopted the feeling of
Mr. Welles that it was discourteous; or they may have thought that with
only four members of the cabinet for it and three against it, it would
be ineffectual; or, more likely than either, the mere progress of events
may have brought them to consider it inexpedient.

The defeat of Pope became final and conclusive on the afternoon of
August 30, and his telegram announcing it conveyed an intimation that he
had lost control of his army. President Lincoln had, therefore, to
confront a most serious crisis and danger. Even without having seen the
written and signed protest, he was well aware of the feelings of the
cabinet against McClellan. With what began to look like a serious
conspiracy among McClellan's officers against Pope, with Pope's army in
a disorganized retreat upon Washington, with the capital in possible
danger of capture by Lee, and with a distracted and half-mutinous
cabinet, the President had need of all his caution and all his wisdom.
Both his patience and his judgment proved equal to the demand.

On Monday, September 1, repressing every feeling of indignation, and
solicitous only to make every expedient contribute to the public safety,
he called McClellan from Alexandria to Washington and asked him to use
his personal influence with the officers who had been under his command
to give a hearty and loyal support to Pope as a personal favor to their
former general, and McClellan at once sent a telegram in this spirit.

That afternoon, also, Mr. Lincoln despatched a member of General
Halleck's staff to the Virginia side of the Potomac, who reported the
disorganization and discouragement among the retreating troops as even
more than had been expected. Worse than all, Halleck, the
general-in-chief, who was much worn out by the labors of the past few
days, seemed either unable or unwilling to act with prompt direction and
command equal to the emergency, though still willing to give his advice
and suggestion.

Under such conditions, Mr. Lincoln saw that it was necessary for him
personally to exercise at the moment his military functions and
authority as commander-in-chief of the army and navy. On the morning of
September 2, therefore, he gave a verbal order, which during the day was
issued in regular form as coming from the general-in-chief, that
Major-General McClellan be placed in command of the fortifications
around Washington and the troops for the defense of the capital. Mr.
Lincoln made no concealment of his belief that McClellan had acted badly
toward Pope and really wanted him to fail; "but there is no one in the
army who can man these fortifications and lick these troops of ours into
shape half as well as he can," he said. "We must use the tools we have;
if he cannot fight himself, he excels in making others ready to fight."

It turned out that the second battle of Bull Run had by no means so
seriously disorganized the Union army as was reported, and that
Washington had been exposed to no real danger. The Confederate army
hovered on its front for a day or two, but made neither attack nor
demonstration. Instead of this, Lee entered upon a campaign into
Maryland, hoping that his presence might stimulate a secession revolt in
that State, and possibly create the opportunity successfully to attack
Baltimore or Philadelphia.

Pope having been relieved and sent to another department, McClellan soon
restored order among the troops, and displayed unwonted energy and
vigilance in watching the movements of the enemy, as Lee gradually moved
his forces northwestward toward Leesburg, thirty miles from Washington,
where he crossed the Potomac and took position at Frederick, ten miles
farther away. McClellan gradually followed the movement of the enemy,
keeping the Army of the Potomac constantly in a position to protect both
Washington and Baltimore against an attack. In this way it happened that
without any order or express intention on the part of either the general
or the President, McClellan's duty became imperceptibly changed from
that of merely defending Washington city to that of an active campaign
into Maryland to follow the Confederate army.

This movement into Maryland was begun by both armies about September 4.
On the thirteenth of that month McClellan had reached Frederick, while
Lee was by that time across the Catoctin range at Boonsboro', but his
army was divided. He had sent a large part of it back across the
Potomac to capture Harper's Ferry and Martinsburg. On that day there
fell into McClellan's hands the copy of an order issued by General Lee
three days before, which, as McClellan himself states in his report,
fully disclosed Lee's plans. The situation was therefore, as follows: It
was splendid September weather, with the roads in fine condition.
McClellan commanded a total moving force of more than eighty thousand;
Lee, a total moving force of forty thousand. The Confederate army was
divided. Each of the separate portions was within twenty miles of the
Union columns; and before half-past six on the evening of September 13,
McClellan had full knowledge of the enemy's plans.

General Palfrey, an intelligent critic friendly to McClellan, distinctly
admits that the Union army, properly commanded, could have absolutely
annihilated the Confederate forces. But the result proved quite
different. Even such advantages in McClellan's hands failed to rouse him
to vigorous and decisive action. As usual, hesitation and tardiness
characterized the orders and movements of the Union forces, and during
the four days succeeding, Lee had captured Harper's Ferry with eleven
thousand prisoners and seventy-three pieces of artillery, reunited his
army, and fought the defensive battle of Antietam on September 17, with
almost every Confederate soldier engaged, while one third of McClellan's
army was not engaged at all and the remainder went into action piecemeal
and successively, under such orders that coöperative movement and mutual
support were practically impossible. Substantially, it was a drawn
battle, with appalling slaughter on both sides.

Even after such a loss of opportunity, there still remained a precious
balance of advantage in McClellan's hands. Because of its smaller total
numbers, the Confederate army was disproportionately weakened by the
losses in battle. The Potomac River was almost immediately behind it,
and had McClellan renewed his attack on the morning of the eighteenth,
as several of his best officers advised, a decisive victory was yet
within his grasp. But with his usual hesitation, notwithstanding the
arrival of two divisions of reinforcements, he waited all day to make up
his mind. He indeed gave orders to renew the attack at daylight on the
nineteenth, but before that time the enemy had retreated across the
Potomac, and McClellan telegraphed, apparently with great satisfaction,
that Maryland was free and Pennsylvania safe.

The President watched the progress of this campaign with an eagerness
born of the lively hope that it might end the war. He sent several
telegrams to the startled Pennsylvania authorities to assure them that
Philadelphia and Harrisburg were in no danger. He ordered a
reinforcement of twenty-one thousand to join McClellan. He sent a
prompting telegram to that general: "Please do not let him [the enemy]
get off without being hurt." He recognized the battle of Antietam as a
substantial, if not a complete victory, and seized the opportunity it
afforded him to issue his preliminary proclamation of emancipation on
September 22.

For two weeks after the battle of Antietam, General McClellan kept his
army camped on various parts of the field, and so far from exhibiting
any disposition of advancing against the enemy in the Shenandoah valley,
showed constant apprehension lest the enemy might come and attack him.
On October 1, the President and several friends made a visit to
Antietam, and during the three succeeding days reviewed the troops and
went over the various battle-grounds in company with the general. The
better insight which the President thus received of the nature and
results of the late battle served only to deepen in his mind the
conviction he had long entertained--how greatly McClellan's defects
overbalanced his merits as a military leader; and his impatience found
vent in a phrase of biting irony. In a morning walk with a friend,
waving his arm toward the white tents of the great army, he asked: "Do
you know what that is?" The friend, not catching the drift of his
thought, said, "It is the Army of the Potomac, I suppose." "So it is
called," responded the President, in a tone of suppressed indignation,
"But that is a mistake. It is only McClellan's body-guard."

At that time General McClellan commanded a total force of one hundred
thousand men present for duty under his immediate eye, and seventy-three
thousand present for duty under General Banks about Washington. It is,
therefore, not to be wondered at that on October 6, the second day after
Mr. Lincoln's return to Washington, the following telegram went to the
general from Halleck:

"I am instructed to telegraph you as follows: The President directs that
you cross the Potomac and give battle to the enemy, or drive him south.
Your army must move now while the roads are good. If you cross the river
between the enemy and Washington, and cover the latter by your
operation, you can be reinforced with thirty thousand men. If you move
up the valley of the Shenandoah, not more than twelve thousand or
fifteen thousand can be sent to you. The President advises the interior
line, between Washington and the enemy, but does not order it. He is
very desirous that your army move as soon as possible. You will
immediately report what line you adopt, and when you intend to cross
the river; also to what point the reinforcements are to be sent. It is
necessary that the plan of your operations be positively determined on
before orders are given for building bridges and repairing railroads. I
am directed to add that the Secretary of War and the general-in-chief
fully concur with the President in these instructions."

This express order was reinforced by a long letter from the President,
dated October 13, specifically pointing out the decided advantages
McClellan possessed over the enemy, and suggesting a plan of campaign
even to details, the importance and value of which was self-evident.

"You remember my speaking to you of what I called your
over-cautiousness. Are you not over-cautious when you assume that you
cannot do what the enemy is constantly doing? Should you not claim to be
at least his equal in prowess, and act upon the claim?... Change
positions with the enemy, and think you not he would break your
communication with Richmond within the next twenty-four hours? You dread
his going into Pennsylvania, but if he does so in full force, he gives
up his communications to you absolutely, and you have nothing to do but
to follow and ruin him. If he does so with less than full force, fall
upon and beat what is left behind all the easier. Exclusive of the
water-line, you are now nearer Richmond than the enemy is by the route
that you can and he must take. Why can you not reach there before him,
unless you admit that he is more than your equal on a march? His route
is the arc of a circle, while yours is the chord. The roads are as good
on yours as on his. You know I desired, but did not order, you to cross
the Potomac below instead of above the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge. My
idea was that this would at once menace the enemy's communications,
which I would seize, if he would permit. If he should move northward I
would follow him closely, holding his communications. If he should
prevent our seizing his communications and move toward Richmond, I would
press closely to him, fight him, if a favorable opportunity should
present, and at least try to beat him to Richmond on the inside track. I
say 'try'; if we never try we shall never succeed. If he makes a stand
at Winchester, moving neither north nor south, I would fight him there,
on the idea that if we cannot beat him when he bears the wastage of
coming to us, we never can when we bear the wastage of going to him."

But advice, expostulation, argument, orders, were all wasted, now as
before, on the unwilling, hesitating general. When he had frittered away
another full month in preparation, in slowly crossing the Potomac, and
in moving east of the Blue Ridge and massing his army about Warrenton, a
short distance south of the battle-field of Bull Run, without a vigorous
offensive, or any discernible intention to make one, the President's
patience was finally exhausted, and on November 5 he sent him an order
removing him from command. And so ended General McClellan's military


Cameron's Report--Lincoln's Letter to Bancroft--Annual Message on
Slavery--The Delaware Experiment--Joint Resolution on Compensated
Abolishment--First Border State Interview--Stevens's Comment--District
of Columbia Abolishment--Committee on Abolishment--Hunter's Order
Revoked--Antislavery Measures of Congress--Second Border State
Interview--Emancipation Proposed and Postponed

The relation of the war to the institution of slavery has been touched
upon in describing several incidents which occurred during 1861, namely,
the designation of fugitive slaves as "contraband," the Crittenden
resolution and the confiscation act of the special session of Congress,
the issuing and revocation of Frémont's proclamation, and various orders
relating to contrabands in Union camps. The already mentioned
resignation of Secretary Cameron had also grown out of a similar
question. In the form in which it was first printed, his report as
Secretary of War to the annual session of Congress which met on December
3, 1861, announced:

"If it shall be found that the men who have been held by the rebels as
slaves are capable of bearing arms and performing efficient military
service, it is the right, and may become the duty, of the government to
arm and equip them, and employ their services against the rebels, under
proper military regulation, discipline, and command."

The President was not prepared to permit a member of his cabinet,
without his consent, to commit the administration to so radical a policy
at that early date. He caused the advance copies of the document to be
recalled and modified to the simple declaration that fugitive and
abandoned slaves, being clearly an important military resource, should
not be returned to rebel masters, but withheld from the enemy to be
disposed of in future as Congress might deem best. Mr. Lincoln saw
clearly enough what a serious political rôle the slavery question was
likely to play during the continuance of the war. Replying to a letter
from the Hon. George Bancroft, in which that accomplished historian
predicted that posterity would not be satisfied with the results of the
war unless it should effect an increase of the free States, the
President wrote:

"The main thought in the closing paragraph of your letter is one which
does not escape my attention, and with which I must deal in all due
caution, and with the best judgment I can bring to it."

This caution was abundantly manifested in his annual message to Congress
of December 3, 1861:

"In considering the policy to be adopted for suppressing the
insurrection," he wrote, "I have been anxious and careful that the
inevitable conflict for this purpose shall not degenerate into a violent
and remorseless revolutionary struggle. I have, therefore, in every
case, thought it proper to keep the integrity of the Union prominent as
the primary object of the contest on our part, leaving all questions
which are not of vital military importance to the more deliberate action
of the legislature.... The Union must be preserved; and hence all
indispensable means must be employed. We should not be in haste to
determine that radical and extreme measures, which may reach the loyal
as well as the disloyal, are indispensable."

The most conservative opinion could not take alarm at phraseology so
guarded and at the same time so decided; and yet it proved broad enough
to include every great exigency which the conflict still had in store.

Mr. Lincoln had indeed already maturely considered and in his own mind
adopted a plan of dealing with the slavery question: the simple plan
which, while a member of Congress, he had proposed for adoption in the
District of Columbia--the plan of voluntary compensated abolishment. At
that time local and national prejudice stood in the way of its
practicability; but to his logical and reasonable mind it seemed now
that the new conditions opened for it a prospect at least of initial

In the late presidential election the little State of Delaware had, by a
fusion between the Bell and the Lincoln vote, chosen a Union member of
Congress, who identified himself in thought and action with the new
administration. While Delaware was a slave State, only the merest
remnant of the institution existed there--seventeen hundred and
ninety-eight slaves all told. Without any public announcement of his
purpose, the President now proposed to the political leaders of
Delaware, through their representative, a scheme for the gradual
emancipation of these seventeen hundred and ninety-eight slaves, on the
payment therefore by the United States at the rate of four hundred
dollars per slave, in annual instalments during thirty-one years to that
State, the sum to be distributed by it to the individual owners. The
President believed that if Delaware could be induced to take this step,
Maryland might follow, and that these examples would create a sentiment
that would lead other States into the same easy and beneficent path. But
the ancient prejudice still had its relentless grip upon some of the
Delaware law-makers. A majority of the Delaware House indeed voted to
entertain the scheme. But five of the nine members of the Delaware
Senate, with hot partizan anathemas, scornfully repelled the "abolition
bribe," as they called it, and the project withered in the bud.

Mr. Lincoln did not stop at the failure of his Delaware experiment, but
at once took an appeal to a broader section of public opinion. On March
6, 1862, he sent a special message to the two houses of Congress
recommending the adoption of the following joint resolution:

"_Resolved_, that the United States ought to coöperate with any State
which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such State
pecuniary aid, to be used by such State, in its discretion, to
compensate for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by such
change of system."

"The point is not," said his explanatory message, "that all the States
tolerating slavery would very soon, if at all, initiate emancipation;
but that while the offer is equally made to all, the more northern
shall, by such initiation, make it certain to the more southern that in
no event will the former ever join the latter in their proposed
Confederacy. I say 'initiation' because, in my judgment, gradual, and
not sudden, emancipation is better for all.... Such a proposition on the
part of the general government sets up no claim of a right by Federal
authority to interfere with slavery within State limits, referring, as
it does, the absolute control of the subject in each case to the State
and its people immediately interested. It is proposed as a matter of
perfectly free choice with them. In the annual message last December I
thought fit to say, 'The Union must be preserved; and hence, all
indispensable means must be employed.' I said this, not hastily, but
deliberately. War has been made, and continues to be, an indispensable
means to this end. A practical reacknowledgment of the national
authority would render the war unnecessary, and it would at once cease.
If, however, resistance continues, the war must also continue; and it is
impossible to foresee all the incidents which may attend and all the
ruin which may follow it. Such as may seem indispensable, or may
obviously promise great efficiency toward ending the struggle, must and
will come."

The Republican journals of the North devoted considerable discussion to
the President's message and plan, which, in the main, were very
favorably received. Objection was made, however, in some quarters that
the proposition would be likely to fail on the score of expense, and
this objection the President conclusively answered in a private letter
to a senator.

"As to the expensiveness of the plan of gradual emancipation, with
compensation, proposed in the late message, please allow me one or two
brief suggestions. Less than one half-day's cost of this war would pay
for all the slaves in Delaware at four hundred dollars per head....
Again, less than eighty-seven days' cost of this war would, at the same
price, pay for all in Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Kentucky
and Missouri.... Do you doubt that taking the initiatory steps on the
part of those States and this District would shorten the war more than
eighty-seven days, and thus be an actual saving of expense?"

Four days after transmitting the message the President called together
the delegations in Congress from the border slave States, and in a long
and earnest personal interview, in which he repeated and enforced the
arguments of his message, urged upon them the expediency of adopting his
plan, which he assured them he had proposed in the most friendly spirit,
and with no intent to injure the interests or wound the sensibilities of
the slave States. On the day following this interview the House of
Representatives adopted the joint resolution by more than a two-thirds
vote; ayes eighty-nine, nays thirty-one. Only a very few of the border
State members had the courage to vote in the affirmative. The Senate
also passed the joint resolution, by about a similar party division, not
quite a month later; the delay occurring through press of business
rather than unwillingness.

As yet, however, the scheme was tolerated rather than heartily indorsed
by the more radical elements in Congress. Stevens, the cynical
Republican leader of the House of Representatives, said:

"I confess I have not been able to see what makes one side so anxious to
pass it, or the other side so anxious to defeat it. I think it is about
the most diluted milk-and-water-gruel proposition that was ever given to
the American nation."

But the bulk of the Republicans, though it proposed no immediate
practical legislation, nevertheless voted for it, as a declaration of
purpose in harmony with a pending measure, and as being, on the one
hand, a tribute to antislavery opinion in the North, and, on the other,
an expression of liberality toward the border States. The concurrent
measure of practical legislation was a bill for the immediate
emancipation of the slaves in the District of Columbia, on the payment
to their loyal owners of an average sum of three hundred dollars for
each slave, and for the appointment of a commission to assess and award
the amount. The bill was introduced early in the session, and its
discussion was much stimulated by the President's special message and
joint resolution. Like other antislavery measures, it was opposed by the
Democrats and supported by the Republicans, with but trifling
exceptions; and by the same majority of two thirds was passed by the
Senate on April 3, and the House on April 11, and became a law by the
President's signature on April 16.

The Republican majority in Congress as well as the President was thus
pledged to the policy of compensated abolishment, both by the promise of
the joint resolution and the fulfilment carried out in the District
bill. If the representatives and senators of the border slave States had
shown a willingness to accept the generosity of the government, they
could have avoided the pecuniary sacrifice which overtook the slave
owners in those States not quite three years later. On April 14, in the
House of Representatives, the subject was taken up by Mr. White of
Indiana, at whose instance a select committee on emancipation,
consisting of nine members, a majority of whom were from border slave
States, was appointed; and this committee on July 16 reported a
comprehensive bill authorizing the President to give compensation at the
rate of three hundred dollars for each slave to any one of the States of
Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri, that
might adopt immediate or gradual emancipation. Some subsequent
proceedings on this subject occurred in Congress in the case of
Missouri; but as to the other States named in the bill, either the
neglect or open opposition of their people and representatives and
senators prevented any further action from the committee.

Meanwhile a new incident once more brought the question of military
emancipation into sharp public discussion. On May 9, General David
Hunter, commanding the Department of the South, which consisted mainly
of some sixty or seventy miles of the South Carolina coast between North
Edisto River and Warsaw Sound, embracing the famous Sea Island cotton
region which fell into Union hands by the capture of Port Royal in 1861,
issued a military order which declared:

"Slavery and martial law in a free country are altogether incompatible;
the persons in these three States--Georgia, Florida, and South
Carolina--heretofore held as slaves are therefore declared forever

The news of this order, coming by the slow course of ocean mails,
greatly surprised Mr. Lincoln, and his first comment upon it was
positive and emphatic. "No commanding general shall do such a thing,
upon my responsibility, without consulting me," he wrote to Secretary
Chase. Three days later, May 19, 1862, he published a proclamation
declaring Hunter's order entirely unauthorized and void, and adding:

"I further make known that whether it be competent for me, as
commander-in-chief of the army and navy, to declare the slaves of any
State or States free, and whether, at any time, in any case, it shall
have become a necessity indispensable to the maintenance of the
government to exercise such supposed power, are questions which, under
my responsibility, I reserve to myself, and which I cannot feel
justified in leaving to the decision of commanders in the field. These
are totally different questions from those of police regulations in
armies and camps."

This distinct reservation of executive power, and equally plain
announcement of the contingency which would justify its exercise, was
coupled with a renewed recital of his plan and offer of compensated
abolishment and reinforced by a powerful appeal to the public opinion of
the border slave States.

"I do not argue," continued the proclamation, "I beseech you to make the
arguments for yourselves. You cannot, if you would, be blind to the
signs of the times. I beg of you a calm and enlarged consideration of
them, ranging, if it may be, far above personal and partizan politics.
This proposal makes common cause for a common object, casting no
reproaches upon any. It acts not the Pharisee. The change it
contemplates would come gently as the dews of heaven, not rending or
wrecking anything. Will you not embrace it? So much good has not been
done, by one effort, in all past time, as in the providence of God it is
now your high privilege to do. May the vast future not have to lament
that you have neglected it."

This proclamation of President Lincoln's naturally created considerable
and very diverse comment, but much less than would have occurred had not
military events intervened which served in a great degree to absorb
public attention. At the date of the proclamation McClellan, with the
Army of the Potomac, was just reaching the Chickahominy in his campaign
toward Richmond; Stonewall Jackson was about beginning his startling
raid into the Shenandoah valley; and Halleck was pursuing his somewhat
leisurely campaign against Corinth. On the day following the
proclamation the victorious fleet of Farragut reached Vicksburg in its
first ascent of the Mississippi. Congress was busy with the multifarious
work that crowded the closing weeks of the long session; and among this
congressional work the debates and proceedings upon several measures of
positive and immediate antislavery legislation were significant "signs
of the times." During the session, and before it ended, acts or
amendments were passed prohibiting the army from returning fugitive
slaves; recognizing the independence and sovereignty of Haiti and
Liberia; providing for carrying into effect the treaty with England to
suppress the African slave trade; restoring the Missouri Compromise and
extending its provisions to all United States Territories; greatly
increasing the scope of the confiscation act in freeing slaves actually
employed in hostile military service; and giving the President
authority, if not in express terms, at least by easy implication, to
organize and arm negro regiments for the war.

But between the President's proclamation and the adjournment of Congress
military affairs underwent a most discouraging change. McClellan's
advance upon Richmond became a retreat to Harrison's Landing Halleck
captured nothing but empty forts at Corinth. Farragut found no
coöperation at Vicksburg, and returned to New Orleans, leaving its
hostile guns still barring the commerce of the great river. Still worse,
the country was plunged into gloomy forebodings by the President's call
for three hundred thousand new troops.

About a week before the adjournment of Congress the President again
called together the delegations from the border slave States, and read
to them, in a carefully prepared paper, a second and most urgent appeal
to adopt his plan of compensated abolishment.

"Let the States which are in rebellion see definitely and certainly that
in no event will the States you represent ever join their proposed
confederacy, and they cannot much longer maintain the contest. But you
cannot divest them of their hope to ultimately have you with them so
long as you show a determination to perpetuate the institution within
your own States. Beat them at elections, as you have overwhelmingly
done, and, nothing daunted, they still claim you as their own. You and I
know what the lever of their power is. Break that lever before their
faces, and they can shake you no more forever.... If the war continues
long, as it must if the object be not sooner attained, the institution
in your States will be extinguished by mere friction and abrasion--by
the mere incidents of the war. It will be gone, and you will have
nothing valuable in lieu of it. Much of its value is gone already. How
much better for you and for your people to take the step which at once
shortens the war and secures substantial compensation for that which is
sure to be wholly lost in any other event. How much better to thus save
the money which else we sink forever in the war.... Our common country
is in great peril, demanding the loftiest views and boldest action to
bring it speedy relief. Once relieved, its form of government is saved
to the world, its beloved history and cherished memories are vindicated,
and its happy future fully assured and rendered inconceivably grand. To
you, more than to any others, the privilege is given to assure that
happiness and swell that grandeur, and to link your own names therewith

Even while the delegations listened, Mr. Lincoln could see that events
had not yet ripened their minds to the acceptance of his proposition. In
their written replies, submitted a few days afterward, two thirds of
them united in a qualified refusal, which, while recognizing the
President's patriotism and reiterating their own loyalty, urged a number
of rather unsubstantial excuses. The minority replies promised to submit
the proposal fairly to the people of their States, but could of course
give no assurance that it would be welcomed by their constituents. The
interview itself only served to confirm the President in an alternative
course of action upon which his mind had doubtless dwelt for a
considerable time with intense solicitude, and which is best presented
in the words of his own recital.

"It had got to be," said he, in a conversation with the artist F.B.
Carpenter, "midsummer, 1862. Things had gone on from bad to worse, until
I felt that we had reached the end of our rope on the plan of operations
we had been pursuing; that we had about played our last card, and must
change our tactics, or lose the game. I now determined upon the adoption
of the emancipation policy; and, without consultation with, or the
knowledge of, the cabinet, I prepared the original draft of the
proclamation, and after much anxious thought called a cabinet meeting
upon the subject.... All were present excepting Mr. Blair, the
Postmaster-General, who was absent at the opening of the discussion, but
came in subsequently. I said to the cabinet that I had resolved upon
this step, and had not called them together to ask their advice, but to
lay the subject-matter of a proclamation before them, suggestions as to
which would be in order after they had heard it read."

It was on July 22 that the President read to his cabinet the draft of
this first emancipation proclamation, which, after a formal warning
against continuing the rebellion, was in the following words:

"And I hereby make known that it is my purpose, upon the next meeting of
Congress, to again recommend the adoption of a practical measure for
tendering pecuniary aid to the free choice or rejection of any and all
States which may then be recognizing and practically sustaining the
authority of the United States, and which may then have voluntarily
adopted, or thereafter may voluntarily adopt, gradual abolishment of
slavery within such State or States; that the object is to practically
restore, thenceforward to be maintained, the constitutional relation
between the general government and each and all the States wherein that
relation is now suspended or disturbed; and that for this object the
war, as it has been, will be prosecuted. And as a fit and necessary
military measure for effecting this object, I, as commander-in-chief of
the army and navy of the United States, do order and declare that on the
first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred
and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or States
wherein the constitutional authority of the United States shall not then
be practically recognized, submitted to, and maintained, shall then,
thenceforward, and forever be free."

Mr. Lincoln had given a confidential intimation of this step to Mr.
Seward and Mr. Welles on the day following the border State interview,
but to all the other members of the cabinet it came as a complete
surprise. Blair thought it would cost the administration the fall
elections. Chase preferred that emancipation should be proclaimed by
commanders in the several military districts. Seward, approving the
measure, suggested that it be postponed until it could be given to the
country supported by military success, instead of issuing it, as would
be the case then, upon the greatest disasters of the war. Mr. Lincoln's
recital continues:

"The wisdom of the view of the Secretary of State struck me with very
great force. It was an aspect of the case that, in all my thought upon
the subject, I had entirely overlooked. The result was that I put the
draft of the proclamation aside, as you do your sketch for a picture,
waiting for a victory."


Criticism of the President for his Action on Slavery--Lincoln's Letters
to Louisiana Friends--Greeley's Open Letter--Mr. Lincoln's
Reply--Chicago Clergymen Urge Emancipation--Lincoln's Answer--Lincoln
Issues Preliminary Proclamation--President Proposes Constitutional
Amendment--Cabinet Considers Final Proclamation--Cabinet Discusses
Admission of West Virginia--Lincoln Signs Edict of Freedom--Lincoln's
Letter to Hodges

The secrets of the government were so well kept that no hint whatever
came to the public that the President had submitted to the cabinet the
draft of an emancipation proclamation. Between that date and the battle
of the second Bull Run intervened the period of a full month, during
which, in the absence of military movements or congressional proceedings
to furnish exciting news, both private individuals and public journals
turned a new and somewhat vindictive fire of criticism upon the
administration. For this they seized upon the ever-ready text of the
ubiquitous slavery question. Upon this issue the conservatives protested
indignantly that the President had been too fast, while, contrarywise,
the radicals clamored loudly that he had been altogether too slow. We
have seen how his decision was unalterably taken and his course
distinctly marked out, but that he was not yet ready publicly to
announce it. Therefore, during this period of waiting for victory, he
underwent the difficult task of restraining the impatience of both
sides, which he did in very positive language. Thus, under date of July
26, 1862, he wrote to a friend in Louisiana:

"Yours of the sixteenth, by the hand of Governor Shepley, is received.
It seems the Union feeling in Louisiana is being crushed out by the
course of General Phelps. Please pardon me for believing that is a false
pretense. The people of Louisiana--all intelligent people
everywhere--know full well that I never had a wish to touch the
foundations of their society, or any right of theirs. With perfect
knowledge of this, they forced a necessity upon me to send armies among
them, and it is their own fault, not mine, that they are annoyed by the
presence of General Phelps. They also know the remedy--know how to be
cured of General Phelps. Remove the necessity of his presence.... I am a
patient man--always willing to forgive on the Christian terms of
repentance, and also to give ample time for repentance. Still, I must
save this government if possible. What I cannot do, of course I will not
do; but it may as well be understood, once for all, that I shall not
surrender this game leaving any available card unplayed."

Two days later he answered another Louisiana critic:

"Mr. Durant complains that, in various ways, the relation of master and
slave is disturbed by the presence of our army, and he considers it
particularly vexatious that this, in part, is done under cover of an act
of Congress, while constitutional guarantees are suspended on the plea
of military necessity. The truth is that what is done and omitted about
slaves is done and omitted on the same military necessity. It is a
military necessity to have men and money; and we can get neither in
sufficient numbers or amounts if we keep from or drive from our lines
slaves coming to them. Mr. Durant cannot be ignorant of the pressure in
this direction, nor of my efforts to hold it within bounds till he and
such as he shall have time to help themselves.... What would you do in
my position? Would you drop the war where it is? Or would you prosecute
it in future with elder-stalk squirts charged with rose-water? Would you
deal lighter blows rather than heavier ones? Would you give up the
contest, leaving any available means unapplied? I am in no boastful
mood. I shall not do more than I can, and I shall do all I can, to save
the government, which is my sworn duty as well as my personal
inclination. I shall do nothing in malice. What I deal with is too vast
for malicious dealing."

The President could afford to overlook the misrepresentations and
invective of the professedly opposition newspapers, but he had also to
meet the over-zeal of influential Republican editors of strong
antislavery bias. Horace Greeley printed, in the New York "Tribune" of
August 20, a long "open letter" ostentatiously addressed to Mr. Lincoln,
full of unjust censure all based on the general accusation that the
President and many army officers as well, were neglecting their duty
under pro-slavery influences and sentiments. The open letter which Mr.
Lincoln wrote in reply is remarkable not alone for the skill with which
it separated the true from the false issue of the moment, but also for
the equipoise and dignity with which it maintained his authority as
moral arbiter between the contending factions.

     August 22, 1862.


"DEAR SIR: I have just read yours of the nineteenth, addressed to myself
through the New York 'Tribune.' If there be in it any statements or
assumptions of fact which I may know to be erroneous, I do not, now and
here, controvert them. If there be in it any inferences which I may
believe to be falsely drawn, I do not, now and here, argue against them.
If there be perceptible in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive
it in deference to an old friend whose heart I have always supposed to
be right.

"As to the policy I 'seem to be pursuing,' as you say, I have not meant
to leave any one in doubt.

"I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the
Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored, the
nearer the Union will be 'the Union as it was.' If there be those who
would not save the Union unless they could at the same time save
slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save
the Union unless they could, at the same time, destroy slavery, I do not
agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the
Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save
the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save
it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by
freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do
about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to
save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe
it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall
believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I
shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct
errors when shown to be errors, and I shall adopt new views so fast as
they shall appear to be true views.

"I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty;
and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all
men everywhere could be free.


     "A. LINCOLN."

It can hardly be doubted that President Lincoln, when he wrote this
letter, intended that it should have a twofold effect upon public
opinion: first, that it should curb extreme antislavery sentiment to
greater patience; secondly, that it should rouse dogged pro-slavery
conservatism, and prepare it for the announcement which he had resolved
to make at the first fitting opportunity. At the date of the letter, he
very well knew that a serious conflict of arms was soon likely to occur
in Virginia; and he had strong reason to hope that the junction of the
armies of McClellan and Pope which had been ordered, and was then in
progress, could be successfully effected, and would result in a decisive
Union victory. This hope, however, was sadly disappointed. The second
battle of Bull Run, which occurred one week after the Greeley letter,
proved a serious defeat, and necessitated a further postponement of his
contemplated action.

As a secondary effect of the new disaster, there came upon him once more
an increased pressure to make reprisal upon what was assumed to be the
really vulnerable side of the rebellion. On September 13, he was visited
by an influential deputation from the religious denominations of
Chicago, urging him to issue at once a proclamation of universal
emancipation. His reply to them, made in the language of the most
perfect courtesy nevertheless has in it a tone of rebuke that indicates
the state of irritation and high sensitiveness under which he was living
from day to day. In the actual condition of things, he could neither
safely satisfy them nor deny them. As any answer he could make would be
liable to misconstruction, he devoted the larger part of it to pointing
out the unreasonableness of their dogmatic insistence:

"I am approached with the most opposite opinions and advice, and that by
religious men, who are equally certain that they represent the divine
will. I am sure that either the one or the other class is mistaken in
that belief, and perhaps, in some respects, both. I hope it will not be
irreverent for me to say that if it is probable that God would reveal
his will to others, on a point so connected with my duty, it might be
supposed he would reveal it directly to me.... What good would a
proclamation of emancipation from me do, especially as we are now
situated? I do not want to issue a document that the whole world will
see must necessarily be inoperative, like the Pope's bull against the
comet.... Understand, I raise no objections against it on legal or
constitutional grounds, for, as commander-in-chief of the army and navy
in time of war, I suppose I have a right to take any measure which may
best subdue the enemy; nor do I urge objections of a moral nature, in
view of possible consequences of insurrection and massacre at the South.
I view this matter as a practical war measure, to be decided on
according to the advantages or disadvantages it may offer to the
suppression of the rebellion.... Do not misunderstand me because I have
mentioned these objections. They indicate the difficulties that have
thus far prevented my action in some such way as you desire. I have not
decided against a proclamation of liberty to the slaves, but hold the
matter under advisement. And I can assure you that the subject is on my
mind, by day and night, more than any other. Whatever shall appear to be
God's will, I will do."

Four days after this interview the battle of Antietam was fought, and
when, after a few days of uncertainty it was ascertained that it could
be reasonably claimed as a Union victory, the President resolved to
carry out his long-matured purpose. The diary of Secretary Chase has
recorded a very full report of the interesting transaction. On this ever
memorable September 22, 1862, after some playful preliminary talk, Mr.
Lincoln said to his cabinet:

"GENTLEMEN: I have, as you are aware, thought a great deal about the
relation of this war to slavery; and you all remember that, several
weeks ago, I read to you an order I had prepared on this subject, which,
on account of objections made by some of you, was not issued. Ever since
then my mind has been much occupied with this subject, and I have
thought, all along, that the time for acting on it might probably come.
I think the time has come now. I wish it was a better time. I wish that
we were in a better condition. The action of the army against the rebels
has not been quite what I should have best liked. But they have been
driven out of Maryland, and Pennsylvania is no longer in danger of
invasion. When the rebel army was at Frederick, I determined, as soon as
it should be driven out of Maryland, to issue a proclamation of
emancipation, such as I thought most likely to be useful. I said nothing
to any one, but I made the promise to myself and [hesitating a little]
to my Maker. The rebel army is now driven out, and I am going to fulfil
that promise. I have got you together to hear what I have written down.
I do not wish your advice about the main matter, for that I have
determined for myself. This I say without intending anything but respect
for any one of you. But I already know the views of each on this
question. They have been heretofore expressed, and I have considered
them as thoroughly and carefully as I can. What I have written is that
which my reflections have determined me to say. If there is anything in
the expressions I use, or in any minor matter which any one of you
thinks had best be changed, I shall be glad to receive the suggestions.
One other observation I will make. I know very well that many others
might, in this matter as in others, do better than I can; and if I was
satisfied that the public confidence was more fully possessed by any one
of them than by me, and knew of any constitutional way in which he could
be put in my place, he should have it. I would gladly yield it to him.
But, though I believe that I have not so much of the confidence of the
people as I had some time since, I do not know that, all things
considered any other person has more; and, however this may be, there is
no way in which I can have any other man put where I am. I am here; I
must do the best I can, and bear the responsibility of taking the course
which I feel I ought to take."

The members of the cabinet all approved the policy of the measure; Mr.
Blair only objecting that he thought the time inopportune, while others
suggested some slight amendments. In the new form in which it was
printed on the following morning, the document announced a renewal of
the plan of compensated abolishment, a continuance of the effort at
voluntary colonization, a promise to recommend ultimate compensation to
loyal owners, and--

"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand
eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any
State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be
in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward,
and forever free; and the executive government of the United States,
including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and
maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to
repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for
their actual freedom."

Pursuant to these announcements, the President's annual message of
December 1, 1862, recommended to Congress the passage of a joint
resolution proposing to the legislatures of the several States a
constitutional amendment consisting of three articles, namely: One
providing compensation in bonds for every State which should abolish
slavery before the year 1900; another securing freedom to all slaves
who, during the rebellion, had enjoyed actual freedom by the chances of
war--also providing compensation to legal owners; the third authorizing
Congress to provide for colonization. The long and practical argument in
which he renewed this plan, "not in exclusion of, but additional to, all
others for restoring and preserving the national authority throughout
the Union," concluded with the following eloquent sentences:

"We can succeed only by concert. It is not, 'Can any of us imagine
better?' but, 'Can we all do better?' Object whatsoever is possible,
still the question recurs, 'Can we do better?' The dogmas of the quiet
past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high
with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new,
so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and
then we shall save our country.

"Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We, of this Congress and
this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No
personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of
us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down, in honor
or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The
world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union.
The world knows we do know how to save it. We--even we here--hold the
power and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we
assure freedom to the free--honorable alike in what we give and what we
preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best hope of
earth. Other means may succeed, this could not fail. The way is plain,
peaceful generous, just--a way which, if followed, the world will
forever applaud, and God must forever bless."

But Mr. Lincoln was not encouraged by any response to this earnest
appeal, either from Congress or by manifestations of public opinion.
Indeed, it may be fairly presumed that he expected none. Perhaps he
considered it already a sufficient gain that it was silently accepted as
another admonition of the consequences which not he nor his
administration, but the Civil War, with its relentless agencies, was
rapidly bringing about. He was becoming more and more conscious of the
silent influence of his official utterances on public sentiment, if not
to convert obstinate opposition, at least to reconcile it to patient

In that faith he steadfastly went on carrying out his well-matured plan,
the next important step of which was the fulfilment of the announcements
made in the preliminary emancipation proclamation of September 22. On
December 30, he presented to each member of his cabinet a copy of the
draft he had carefully made of the new and final proclamation to be
issued on New Year's day. It will be remembered that as early as July
22, he informed the cabinet that the main question involved he had
decided for himself. Now, as twice before it was only upon minor points
that he asked their advice and suggestion, for which object he placed
these drafts in their hands for verbal and collateral criticism.

In addition to the central point of military emancipation in all the
States yet in rebellion, the President's draft for the first time
announced his intention to incorporate a portion of the newly liberated
slaves into the armies of the Union. This policy had also been under
discussion at the first consideration of the subject in July. Mr.
Lincoln had then already seriously considered it, but thought it
inexpedient and productive of more evil than good at that date. In his
judgment, the time had now arrived for energetically adopting it.

On the following day, December 31, the members brought back to the
cabinet meeting their several criticisms and suggestions on the draft he
had given them. Perhaps the most important one was that earnestly
pressed by Secretary Chase, that the new proclamation should make no
exceptions of fractional parts of States controlled by the Union armies,
as in Louisiana and Virginia, save the forty-eight counties of the
latter designated as West Virginia, then in process of formation and
admission as a new State; the constitutionality of which, on this same
December 31, was elaborately discussed in writing by the members of the
cabinet, and affirmatively decided by the President.

On the afternoon of December 31, the cabinet meeting being over, Mr.
Lincoln once more carefully rewrote the proclamation, embodying in it
the suggestions which had been made as to mere verbal improvements; but
he rigidly adhered to his own draft in retaining the exceptions as to
fractional parts of States and the forty-eight counties of West
Virginia; and also his announcement of intention to enlist the freedmen
in military service. Secretary Chase had submitted the form of a closing
paragraph. This the President also adopted, but added to it, after the
words "warranted by the Constitution," his own important qualifying
correction, "upon military necessity."

The full text of the weighty document will be found in a foot-note.[5]

  [Footnote 5:


 Whereas on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our
 Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was
 issued by the President of the United States, containing, among
 other things, the following, to wit:

 "That on the first day of January in the year of our Lord one
 thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves
 within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof
 shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be
 then, thenceforward and forever free; and the executive government
 of the United States, including the military and naval authority
 thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons,
 and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them,
 in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

 "That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by
 proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in
 which the people thereof respectively shall then be in rebellion
 against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the
 people thereof, shall on that day be in good faith represented in
 the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at
 elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State
 shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong
 counter-vailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such
 State and the people thereof are not then in rebellion against the
 United States."

 Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States,
 by virtue of the power in me vested as commander-in-chief of the
 army and navy of the United States, in time of actual armed
 rebellion against the authority and government of the United
 States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said
 rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our
 Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance
 with my purpose so to do, publicly proclaimed for the full period
 of one hundred days from the day first above mentioned, order and
 designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people
 thereof, respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United
 States, the following, to wit:

 Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St. Bernard,
 Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James,
 Ascension, Assumption, Terre Bonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St.
 Martin, and Orleans, including the city of New Orleans),
 Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North
 Carolina, and Virginia (except the forty-eight counties designated
 as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkeley, Accomac,
 Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Anne, and Norfolk,
 including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which excepted
 parts are for the present left precisely as if this proclamation
 were not issued.

 And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do
 order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said
 designated States and parts of States are, and henceforward shall
 be, free; and that the executive government of the United States,
 including the military and naval authorities thereof will recognize
 and maintain the freedom of said persons.

 And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to
 abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defense; and I
 recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor
 faithfully for reasonable wages.

 And I further declare and make known that such persons of suitable
 condition will be received into the armed service of the United
 States to garrison forts, positions, stations and other places, and
 to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

 And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice,
 warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the
 considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty

 In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the
 seal of the United States to be affixed.

 Done at the city of Washington, this first day of January, in the
 year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of
 the independence of the United States of America the


 BY THE PRESIDENT: WILLIAM H. SEWARD, _Secretary of State_.]

It recited the announcement of the September proclamation; defined its
character and authority as a military decree; designated the States and
parts of States that day in rebellion against the government; ordered
and declared that all persons held as slaves therein "are and
henceforward shall be free"; and that such persons of suitable condition
would be received into the military service. "And upon this act,
sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the
Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment
of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God."

The conclusion of the momentous transaction was as deliberate and
simple as had been its various stages of preparation. The morning and
midday of January 1, 1863, were occupied by the half-social,
half-official ceremonial of the usual New Year's day reception at the
Executive Mansion, established by long custom. At about three o'clock in
the afternoon, after full three hours of greetings and handshakings, Mr.
Lincoln and perhaps a dozen persons assembled in the executive office,
and, without any prearranged ceremony the President affixed his
signature to the great Edict of Freedom. No better commentary will ever
be written upon this far-reaching act than that which he himself
embodied in a letter written to a friend a little more than a year

"I am naturally antislavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.
I cannot remember when I did not so think and feel, and yet I have never
understood that the Presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right
to act officially upon this judgment and feeling. It was in the oath I
took that I would, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and
defend the Constitution of the United States. I could not take the
office without taking the oath. Nor was it my view that I might take an
oath to get power, and break the oath in using the power. I understood,
too, that in ordinary civil administration this oath even forbade me to
practically indulge my primary abstract judgment on the moral question
of slavery. I had publicly declared this many times, and in many ways.
And I aver that, to this day, I have done no official act in mere
deference to my abstract judgment and feeling on slavery. I did
understand, however, that my oath to preserve the Constitution to the
best of my ability imposed upon me the duty of preserving, by every
indispensable means, that government, that nation, of which that
Constitution was the organic law. Was it possible to lose the nation and
yet preserve the Constitution? By general law, life and limb must be
protected, yet often a limb must be amputated to save a life; but a life
is never wisely given to save a limb. I felt that measures otherwise
unconstitutional might become lawful by becoming indispensable to the
preservation of the Constitution, through the preservation of the
nation. Right or wrong, I assumed this ground, and now avow it. I could
not feel that, to the best of my ability, I had even tried to preserve
the Constitution if, to save slavery or any minor matter, I should
permit the wreck of government, country, and Constitution all together.
When, early in the war, General Frémont attempted military emancipation,
I forbade it, because I did not then think it an indispensable
necessity. When, a little later, General Cameron, then Secretary of War,
suggested the arming of the blacks, I objected because I did not yet
think it an indispensable necessity. When, still later, General Hunter
attempted military emancipation, I again forbade it, because I did not
yet think the indispensable necessity had come. When in March and May
and July, 1862, I made earnest and successive appeals to the border
States to favor compensated emancipation, I believed the indispensable
necessity for military emancipation and arming the blacks would come
unless averted by that measure. They declined the proposition, and I
was, in my best judgment, driven to the alternative of either
surrendering the Union, and with it the Constitution, or of laying
strong hand upon the colored element. I chose the latter."


Negro Soldiers--Fort Pillow--Retaliation--Draft--Northern
Democrats--Governor Seymour's Attitude--Draft Riots in New
York--Vallandigham--Lincoln on his Authority to Suspend Writ of Habeas
Corpus--Knights of the Golden Circle--Jacob Thompson in Canada

On the subject of negro soldiers, as on many other topics, the period of
active rebellion and civil war had wrought a profound change in public
opinion. From the foundation of the government to the Rebellion, the
horrible nightmare of a possible slave insurrection had brooded over the
entire South. This feeling naturally had a sympathetic reflection in the
North, and at first produced an instinctive shrinking from any thought
of placing arms in the hands of the blacks whom the chances of war had
given practical or legal freedom. During the year 1862, a few sporadic
efforts were made by zealous individuals, under apparently favoring
conditions, to begin the formation of colored regiments. The eccentric
Senator Lane tried it in Kansas, or, rather, along the Missouri border
without success. General Hunter made an experiment in South Carolina,
but found the freedmen too unwilling to enlist, and the white officers
too prejudiced to instruct them. General Butler, at New Orleans, infused
his wonted energy into a similar attempt, with somewhat better results.
He found that before the capture of the city, Governor Moore of
Louisiana had begun the organization of a regiment of free colored men
for local defense. Butler resuscitated this organization for which he
thus had the advantage of Confederate example and precedent, and against
which the accusation of arming slaves could not be urged. Early in
September, Butler reported, with his usual biting sarcasm:

"I shall also have within ten days a regiment, one thousand strong, of
native guards (colored), the darkest of whom will be about the
complexion of the late Mr. Webster."

All these efforts were made under implied, rather than expressed
provisions of law, and encountered more or less embarrassment in
obtaining pay and supplies, because they were not distinctly recognized
in the army regulations. This could not well be done so long as the
President considered the policy premature. His spirit of caution in this
regard was set forth by the Secretary of War in a letter of instruction
dated July 3, 1862:

"He is of opinion," wrote Mr. Stanton, "that under the laws of Congress,
they [the former slaves] cannot be sent back to their masters; that in
common humanity they must not be permitted to suffer for want of food,
shelter, or other necessaries of life; that to this end they should be
provided for by the quartermaster's and commissary's departments, and
that those who are capable of labor should be set to work and paid
reasonable wages. In directing this to be done, the President does not
mean, at present, to settle any general rule in respect to slaves or
slavery, but simply to provide for the particular case under the
circumstances in which it is now presented."

All this was changed by the final proclamation of emancipation, which
authoritatively announced that persons of suitable condition, whom it
declared free, would be received into the armed service of the United
States. During the next few months, the President wrote several personal
letters to General Dix, commanding at Fortress Monroe; to Andrew
Johnson, military governor of Tennessee; to General Banks, commanding at
New Orleans; and to General Hunter, in the Department of the South,
urging their attention to promoting the new policy; and, what was yet
more to the purpose, a bureau was created in the War Department having
special charge of the duty, and the adjutant-general of the army was
personally sent to the Union camps on the Mississippi River to
superintend the recruitment and enlistment of the negroes, where, with
the hearty coöperation of General Grant and other Union commanders, he
met most encouraging and gratifying success.

The Confederate authorities made a great outcry over the new departure.
They could not fail to see the immense effect it was destined to have in
the severe military struggle, and their prejudice of generations greatly
intensified the gloomy apprehensions they no doubt honestly felt. Yet
even allowing for this, the exaggerated language in which they described
it became absolutely ludicrous. The Confederate War Department early
declared Generals Hunter and Phelps to be outlaws, because they were
drilling and organizing slaves; and the sensational proclamation issued
by Jefferson Davis on December 23, 1862, ordered that Butler and his
commissioned officers, "robbers and criminals deserving death, ... be,
whenever captured, reserved for execution."

Mr. Lincoln's final emancipation proclamation excited them to a still
higher frenzy. The Confederate Senate talked of raising the black flag;
Jefferson Davis's message stigmatized it as "the most execrable measure
recorded in the history of guilty man"; and a joint resolution of the
Confederate Congress prescribed that white officers of negro Union
soldiers "shall, if captured, be put to death, or be otherwise punished
at the discretion of the court." The general orders of some subordinate
Confederate commanders repeated or rivaled such denunciations and

Fortunately, the records of the war are not stained with either excesses
by the colored troops or even a single instance of such proclaimed
barbarity upon white Union officers; and the visitation of vengeance
upon negro soldiers is confined, so far as known, to the single instance
of the massacre at Fort Pillow. In that deplorable affair, the
Confederate commander reported, by telegraph, that in thirty minutes he
stormed a fort manned by seven hundred, and captured the entire garrison
killing five hundred and taking one hundred prisoners while he sustained
a loss of only twenty killed and sixty wounded. It is unnecessary to
explain that the bulk of the slain were colored soldiers. Making due
allowance for the heat of battle, history can considerately veil closer
scrutiny into the realities wrapped in the exaggerated boast of such a

The Fort Pillow incident, which occurred in the spring of 1864, brought
upon President Lincoln the very serious question of enforcing an order
of retaliation which had been issued on July 30, 1863, as an answer to
the Confederate joint resolution of May 1. Mr. Lincoln's freedom from
every trace of passion was as conspicuous in this as in all his official
acts. In a little address at Baltimore, while referring to the rumor of
the massacre which had just been received, Mr. Lincoln said:

"We do not to-day know that a colored soldier, or white officer
commanding colored soldiers, has been massacred by the rebels when made
a prisoner. We fear it, believe it, I may say, but we do not know it. To
take the life of one of their prisoners on the assumption that they
murder ours, when it is short of certainty that they do murder ours,
might be too serious, too cruel, a mistake."

When more authentic information arrived, the matter was very earnestly
debated by the assembled cabinet; but the discussion only served to
bring out in stronger light the inherent dangers of either course. In
this nice balancing of weighty reasons, two influences decided the
course of the government against retaliation. One was that General Grant
was about to begin his memorable campaign against Richmond, and that it
would be most impolitic to preface a great battle by the tragic
spectacle of a military punishment, however justifiable. The second was
the tender-hearted humanity of the ever merciful President. Frederick
Douglass has related the answer Mr. Lincoln made to him in a
conversation nearly a year earlier:

"I shall never forget the benignant expression of his face, the tearful
look of his eye, and the quiver in his voice when he deprecated a resort
to retaliatory measures. 'Once begun,' said he, 'I do not know where
such a measure would stop.' He said he could not take men out and kill
them in cold blood for what was done by others. If he could get hold of
the persons who were guilty of killing the colored prisoners in cold
blood, the case would be different, but he could not kill the innocent
for the guilty."

Amid the sanguinary reports and crowding events that held public
attention for a year, from the Wilderness to Appomattox, the Fort Pillow
affair was forgotten, not only by the cabinet, but by the country.

The related subjects of emancipation and negro soldiers would doubtless
have been discussed with much more passion and friction, had not public
thought been largely occupied during the year 1863 by the enactment of
the conscription law and the enforcement of the draft. In the hard
stress of politics and war during the years 1861 and 1862, the popular
enthusiasm with which the free States responded to the President's call
to put down the rebellion by force of arms had become measurably
exhausted. The heavy military reverses which attended the failure of
McClellan's campaign against Richmond, Pope's defeat at the second Bull
Run, McClellan's neglect to follow up the drawn battle of Antietam with
energetic operations, the gradual change of early Western victories to a
cessation of all effort to open the Mississippi, and the scattering of
the Western forces to the spiritless routine of repairing and guarding
long railroad lines, all operated together practically to stop
volunteering and enlistment by the end of 1862.

Thus far, the patriotic record was a glorious one. Almost one hundred
thousand three months' militia had shouldered muskets to redress the
fall of Fort Sumter; over half a million three years' volunteers
promptly enlisted to form the first national army under the laws of
Congress passed in August, 1861; nearly half a million more volunteers
came forward under the tender of the governors of free States and the
President's call of July, 1862, to repair the failure of McClellan's
Peninsula campaign. Several minor calls for shorter terms of enlistment,
aggregating more than forty thousand, are here omitted for brevity's
sake. Had the Western victories continued, had the Mississippi been
opened, had the Army of the Potomac been more fortunate, volunteering
would doubtless have continued at quite or nearly the same rate. But
with success delayed, with campaigns thwarted, with public sentiment
despondent, armies ceased to fill. An emergency call for three hundred
thousand nine months' men, issued on August 4, 1862, produced a total of
only eighty-six thousand eight hundred and sixty; and an attempt to
supply these in some of the States by a draft under State laws
demonstrated that mere local statutes and machinery for that form of
military recruitment were defective and totally inadequate.

With the beginning of the third year of the war, more energetic measures
to fill the armies were seen to be necessary; and after very hot and
acrimonious debate for about a month, Congress, on March 3, 1863, passed
a national conscription law, under which all male citizens between the
ages of twenty and forty-five were enrolled to constitute the national
forces, and the President was authorized to call them into service by
draft as occasion might require. The law authorized the appointment of a
provost-marshal-general, and under him a provost-marshal, a
commissioner, and a surgeon, to constitute a board of enrollment in each
congressional district; who, with necessary deputies, were required to
carry out the law by national authority, under the supervision of the

For more than a year past, the Democratic leaders in the Northern States
had assumed an attitude of violent partizanship against the
administration, their hostility taking mainly the form of stubborn
opposition to the antislavery enactments of Congress and the
emancipation measures of the President. They charged with loud
denunciation that he was converting the maintenance of the Union into a
war for abolition, and with this and other clamors had gained
considerable successes in the autumn congressional elections of 1862,
though not enough to break the Republican majority in the House of
Representatives. General McClellan was a Democrat, and, since his
removal from command, they proclaimed him a martyr to this policy, and
were grooming him to be their coming presidential candidate.

The passage of the conscription law afforded them a new pretext to
assail the administration; and Democratic members of both Houses of
Congress denounced it with extravagant partizan bitterness as a
violation of the Constitution, and subversive of popular liberty. In the
mouths of vindictive cross-roads demagogues, and in the columns of
irresponsible newspapers that supply the political reading among the
more reckless elements of city populations, the extravagant language of
Democratic leaders degenerated in many instances into unrestrained abuse
and accusation. Yet, considering that this was the first conscription
law ever enacted in the United States, considering the multitude of
questions and difficulties attending its application, considering that
the necessity of its enforcement was, in the nature of things, unwelcome
to the friends of the government, and, as naturally, excited all the
enmity and cunning of its foes to impede, thwart, and evade it, the law
was carried out with a remarkably small proportion of delay,
obstruction, or resulting violence.

Among a considerable number of individual violations of the act, in
which prompt punishment prevented a repetition, only two prominent
incidents arose which had what may be called a national significance. In
the State of New York the partial political reaction of 1862 had caused
the election of Horatio Seymour, a Democrat, as governor. A man of high
character and great ability, he, nevertheless, permitted his partizan
feeling to warp and color his executive functions to a dangerous
extent. The spirit of his antagonism is shown in a phrase of his
fourth-of-July oration:

"The Democratic organization look upon this administration as hostile to
their rights and liberties; they look upon their opponents as men who
would do them wrong in regard to their most sacred franchises."

Believing--perhaps honestly--the conscription law to be
unconstitutional, he endeavored, by protest, argument and administrative
non-compliance, to impede its execution on the plea of first demanding a
Supreme Court decision as to its legality. To this President Lincoln

"I cannot consent to suspend the draft in New York, as you request,
because, among other reasons, time is too important.... I do not object
to abide a decision of the United States Supreme Court, or of the judges
thereof, on the constitutionality of the draft law. In fact, I should be
willing to facilitate the obtaining of it; but I cannot consent to lose
the time while it is being obtained. We are contending with an enemy
who, as I understand, drives every able-bodied man he can reach into his
ranks, very much as a butcher drives bullocks into a slaughter-pen. No
time is wasted, no argument is used. This produces an army which will
soon turn upon our now victorious soldiers already in the field, if they
shall not be sustained by recruits as they should be."

Notwithstanding Governor Seymour's neglect to give the enrolling
officers any coöperation, preparations for the draft went on in New York
city without prospect of serious disturbance, except the incendiary
language of low newspapers and handbills. But scarcely had the wheel
begun to turn, and the drawing commenced on July 13, when a sudden riot
broke out. First demolishing the enrolling-office, the crowd next
attacked an adjoining block of stores, which they plundered and set on
fire, refusing to let the firemen put out the flames. From this point
the excitement and disorder spread over the city, which for three days
was at many points subjected to the uncontrolled fury of the mob. Loud
threats to destroy the New York "Tribune" office, which the inmates as
vigorously prepared to defend, were made. The most savage brutality was
wreaked upon colored people. The fine building of the colored Orphan
Asylum, where several hundred children barely found means of escape, was
plundered and set on fire. It was notable that foreigners of recent
importation were the principal leaders and actors in this lawlessness in
which two million dollars worth of property was destroyed, and several
hundred persons lost their lives.

The disturbance came to an end on the night of the fourth day, when a
small detachment of soldiers met a body of rioters, and firing into
them, killed thirteen, and wounded eighteen more. Governor Seymour gave
but little help in the disorder, and left a stain on the record of his
courage by addressing a portion of the mob as "my friends." The
opportune arrival of national troops restored, and thereafter
maintained, quiet and safety.

Some temporary disturbance occurred in Boston, but was promptly put
down, and loud appeals came from Philadelphia and Chicago to stop the
draft. The final effect of the conscription law was not so much to
obtain recruits for the service, as to stimulate local effort throughout
the country to promote volunteering, whereby the number drafted was
either greatly lessened or, in many localities, entirely avoided by
filling the State quotas.

The military arrest of Clement L. Vallandigham, a Democratic member of
Congress from Ohio, for incendiary language denouncing the draft, also
grew to an important incident. Arrested and tried under the orders of
General Burnside, a military commission found him guilty of having
violated General Order No. 38, by "declaring disloyal sentiments and
opinions with the object and purpose of weakening the power of the
government in its efforts to suppress an unlawful rebellion"; and
sentenced him to military confinement during the war. Judge Leavitt of
the United States Circuit Court denied a writ of _habeas corpus_ in the
case. President Lincoln regretted the arrest, but felt it imprudent to
annul the action of the general and the military tribunal. Conforming to
a clause of Burnside's order, he modified the sentence by sending
Vallandigham south beyond the Union military lines. The affair created a
great sensation, and, in a spirit of party protest, the Ohio Democrats
unanimously nominated Vallandigham for governor. Vallandigham went to
Richmond, held a conference with the Confederate authorities, and, by
way of Bermuda, went to Canada, from whence he issued a political
address. The Democrats of both Ohio and New York took up the political
and legal discussion with great heat, and sent imposing committees to
present long addresses to the President on the affair.

Mr. Lincoln made long written replies to both addresses of which only so
much needs quoting here as concisely states his interpretation of his
authority to suspend the privilege of the writ of _habeas corpus_:

"You ask, in substance, whether I really claim that I may override all
the guaranteed rights of individuals, on the plea of conserving the
public safety--when I may choose to say the public safety requires it.
This question, divested of the phraseology calculated to represent me
as struggling for an arbitrary personal prerogative, is either simply a
question who shall decide or an affirmation that nobody shall decide,
what the public safety does require in cases of rebellion or invasion.
The Constitution contemplates the question as likely to occur for
decision, but it does not expressly declare who is to decide it. By
necessary implication, when rebellion or invasion comes, the decision is
to be made from time to time; and I think the man whom, for the time,
the people have, under the Constitution, made the commander-in-chief of
their army and navy, is the man who holds the power and bears the
responsibility of making it. If he uses the power justly, the same
people will probably justify him; if he abuses it, he is in their hands,
to be dealt with by all the modes they have reserved to themselves in
the Constitution."

Forcible and convincing as was this legal analysis, a single sympathetic
phrase of the President's reply had a much greater popular effect:

"Must I shoot a simple-minded soldier boy who deserts while I must not
touch a hair of a wily agitator who induces him to desert?"

The term so accurately described the character of Vallandigham, and the
pointed query so touched the hearts of the Union people throughout the
land whose favorite "soldier boys" had volunteered to fill the Union
armies, that it rendered powerless the crafty criticism of party
diatribes. The response of the people of Ohio was emphatic. At the
October election Vallandigham was defeated by more than one hundred
thousand majority.

In sustaining the arrest of Vallandigham, President Lincoln had acted
not only within his constitutional, but also strictly within his legal,
authority. In the preceding March, Congress had passed an act
legalizing all orders of this character made by the President at any
time during the rebellion, and accorded him full indemnity for all
searches, seizures, and arrests or imprisonments made under his orders.
The act also provided:

"That, during the present rebellion, the President of the United States,
whenever in his judgment the public safety may require it, is authorized
to suspend the privilege of the writ of _habeas corpus_ in any case,
throughout the United States or any part thereof."

About the middle of September, Mr. Lincoln's proclamation formally put
the law in force, to obviate any hindering or delaying the prompt
execution of the draft law.

Though Vallandigham and the Democrats of his type were unable to prevent
or even delay the draft, they yet managed to enlist the sympathies and
secure the adhesion of many uneducated and unthinking men by means of
secret societies, known as "Knights of the Golden Circle," "The Order of
American Knights," "Order of the Star," "Sons of Liberty," and by other
equally high-sounding names, which they adopted and discarded in turn,
as one after the other was discovered and brought into undesired
prominence. The titles and grips and passwords of these secret military
organizations, the turgid eloquence of their meetings, and the
clandestine drill of their oath-bound members, doubtless exercised quite
as much fascination on such followers as their unlawful object of aiding
and abetting the Southern cause. The number of men thus enlisted in the
work of inducing desertion among Union soldiers, fomenting resistance to
the draft, furnishing the Confederates with arms, and conspiring to
establish a Northwestern Confederacy in full accord with the South,
which formed the ultimate dream of their leaders, is hard to determine.
Vallandigham, the real head of the movement, claimed five hundred
thousand, and Judge Holt, in an official report, adopted that as being
somewhere near the truth, though others counted them at a full million.

The government, cognizant of their existence, and able to produce
abundant evidence against the ring-leaders whenever it chose to do so,
wisely paid little heed to these dark-lantern proceedings, though, as
was perhaps natural, military officers commanding the departments in
which they were most numerous were inclined to look upon them more
seriously; and Governor Morton of Indiana was much disquieted by their
work in his State.

Mr. Lincoln's attitude toward them was one of good-humored contempt.
"Nothing can make me believe that one hundred thousand Indiana Democrats
are disloyal," he said; and maintained that there was more folly than
crime in their acts. Indeed, though prolific enough of oaths and
treasonable utterances, these organizations were singularly lacking in
energy and initiative. Most of the attempts made against the public
peace in the free States and along the northern border came, not from
resident conspirators, but from Southern emissaries and their Canadian
sympathizers; and even these rarely rose above the level of ordinary
arson and highway robbery.

Jacob Thompson, who had been Secretary of the Interior under President
Buchanan, was the principal agent of the Confederate government in
Canada, where he carried on operations as remarkable for their
impracticability as for their malignity. One plan during the summer of
1864 contemplated nothing less than seizing and holding the three great
States of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, with the aid of disloyal
Democrats, whereupon it was supposed Missouri and Kentucky would
quickly join them and make an end of the war.

Becoming convinced, when this project fell through, that nothing could
be expected from Northern Democrats he placed his reliance on Canadian
sympathizers, and turned his attention to liberating the Confederate
prisoners confined on Johnson's Island in Sandusky Bay and at Camp
Douglas near Chicago. But both these elaborate schemes, which embraced
such magnificent details as capturing the war steamer _Michigan_ on Lake
Erie, came to naught. Nor did the plans to burn St. Louis and New York,
and to destroy steamboats on the Mississippi River, to which he also
gave his sanction, succeed much better. A very few men were tried and
punished for these and similar crimes, despite the voluble protest of
the Confederate government but the injuries he and his agents were able
to inflict, like the acts of the Knights of the Golden Circle on the
American side of the border, amounted merely to a petty annoyance, and
never reached the dignity of real menace to the government.


Burnside--Fredericksburg--A Tangle of Cross-Purposes--Hooker Succeeds
Burnside--Lincoln to Hooker--Chancellorsville--Lee's Second
Invasion--Lincoln's Criticisms of Hooker's Plans--Hooker
Relieved--Meade--Gettysburg--Lee's Retreat--Lincoln's Letter to
Meade--Lincoln's Gettysburg Address--Autumn Strategy--The Armies go into
Winter Quarters

It was not without well-meditated reasons that Mr. Lincoln had so long
kept McClellan in command of the Army of the Potomac. He perfectly
understood that general's defects, his want of initiative, his
hesitations, his delays, his never-ending complaints. But he had long
foreseen the difficulty which would and did immediately arise when, on
November 5, 1862, he removed him from command. Whom should he appoint as
McClellan's successor? What officer would be willing and competent to
play a better part? That important question had also long been
considered; several promising generals had been consulted, who, as
gracefully as they could, shrank from the responsibility even before it
was formally offered them.

The President finally appointed General Ambrose E. Burnside to the
command. He was a West Point graduate, thirty-eight years old, of
handsome presence, brave and generous to a fault, and McClellan's
intimate friend. He had won a favorable reputation in leading the
expedition against Roanoke Island and the North Carolina coast; and,
called to reinforce McClellan after the Peninsula disaster, commanded
the left wing of the Army of the Potomac at Antietam. He was not
covetous of the honor now given him. He had already twice declined it,
and only now accepted the command as a duty under the urgent advice of
members of his staff. His instincts were better than the judgment of his
friends. A few brief weeks sufficed to demonstrate what he had told
them--that he "was not competent to command such a large army."

The very beginning of his work proved the truth of his self-criticism.
Rejecting all the plans of campaign which were suggested to him, he
found himself incapable of forming any very plausible or consistent one
of his own. As a first move he concentrated his army opposite the town
of Fredericksburg on the lower Rappahannock, but with such delays that
General Lee had time to seize and strongly fortify the town and the
important adjacent heights on the south bank; and when Burnside's army
crossed on December 11, and made its main and direct attack on the
formidable and practically impregnable Confederate intrenchments on the
thirteenth, a crushing repulse and defeat of the Union forces, with a
loss of over ten thousand killed and wounded, was the quick and direful

It was in a spirit of stubborn determination rather than clear,
calculating courage that he renewed his orders for an attack on the
fourteenth; but, dissuaded by his division and corps commanders from the
rash experiment, succeeded without further damage in withdrawing his
forces on the night of the fifteenth to their old camps north of the
river. In manly words his report of the unfortunate battle gave generous
praise to his officers and men, and assumed for himself all the
responsibility for the attack and its failure. But its secondary
consequences soon became irremediable. By that gloomy disaster Burnside
almost completely lost the confidence of his officers and men, and
rumors soon came to the President that a spirit akin to mutiny pervaded
the army. When information came that, on the day after Christmas,
Burnside was preparing for a new campaign, the President telegraphed

"I have good reason for saying you must not make a general movement of
the army without letting me know."

This, naturally, brought Burnside to the President for explanation, and,
after a frank and full discussion between them, Mr. Lincoln, on New
Year's day, wrote the following letter to General Halleck:

"General Burnside wishes to cross the Rappahannock with his army, but
his grand division commanders all oppose the movement. If in such a
difficulty as this you do not help, you fail me precisely in the point
for which I sought your assistance. You know what General Burnside's
plan is, and it is my wish that you go with him to the ground, examine
it as far as practicable, confer with the officers, getting their
judgment and ascertaining their temper; in a word, gather all the
elements for forming a judgment of your own, and then tell General
Burnside that you do approve, or that you do not approve, his plan. Your
military skill is useless to me if you will not do this."

Halleck's moral and official courage, however, failed the President in
this emergency. He declined to give his military opinion, and asked to
be relieved from further duties as general-in-chief. This left Mr.
Lincoln no option, and still having need of the advice of his
general-in-chief on other questions, he indorsed on his own letter,
"withdrawn because considered harsh by General Halleck." The
complication, however, continued to grow worse, and the correspondence
more strained. Burnside declared that the country had lost confidence in
both the Secretary of War and the general-in-chief; also, that his own
generals were unanimously opposed to again crossing the Rappahannock.
Halleck, on the contrary, urged another crossing, but that it must be
made on Burnside's own decision, plan, and responsibility. Upon this the
President, on January 8, 1863, again wrote Burnside:

"I understand General Halleck has sent you a letter of which this is a
copy. I approve this letter. I deplore the want of concurrence with you
in opinion by your general officers, but I do not see the remedy. Be
cautious, and do not understand that the government or country is
driving you. I do not yet see how I could profit by changing the command
of the Army of the Potomac; and if I did, I should not wish to do it by
accepting the resignation of your commission."

Once more Burnside issued orders against which his generals protested,
and which a storm turned into the fruitless and impossible "mud march"
before he reached the intended crossings of the Rappahannock. Finally,
on January 23, Burnside presented to the President the alternative of
either approving an order dismissing about a dozen generals, or
accepting his own resignation, and Mr. Lincoln once more had before him
the difficult task of finding a new commander for the Army of the
Potomac. On January 25, 1863, the President relieved Burnside and
assigned Major-General Joseph Hooker to duty as his successor; and in
explanation of his action wrote him the following characteristic letter:

"I have placed you at the head of the Army of the Potomac. Of course I
have done this upon what appear to me to be sufficient reasons, and yet
I think it best for you to know that there are some things in regard to
which I am not quite satisfied with you. I believe you to be a brave and
skilful soldier, which, of course, I like. I also believe you do not mix
politics with your profession, in which you are right. You have
confidence in yourself, which is a valuable, if not an indispensable
quality. You are ambitious, which, within reasonable bounds, does good
rather than harm; but I think that during General Burnside's command of
the army you have taken counsel of your ambition and thwarted him as
much as you could, in which you did a great wrong to the country, and to
a most meritorious and honorable brother officer. I have heard, in such
a way as to believe it, of your recently saying that both the army and
the government needed a dictator. Of course it was not for this, but in
spite of it, that I have given you the command. Only those generals who
gain successes can set up dictators. What I now ask of you is military
success, and I will risk the dictatorship. The government will support
you to the utmost of its ability, which is neither more nor less than it
has done and will do for all commanders. I much fear that the spirit
which you have aided to infuse into the army, of criticizing their
commander and withholding confidence from him, will now turn upon you. I
shall assist you as far as I can to put it down. Neither you nor
Napoleon, if he were alive again, could get any good out of an army
while such a spirit prevails in it; and now beware of rashness. Beware
of rashness, but with energy and sleepless vigilance go forward and give
us victories."

Perhaps the most remarkable thing in this letter is the evidence it
gives how completely the genius of President Lincoln had by this, the
middle of his presidential term, risen to the full height of his great
national duties and responsibilities. From beginning to end it speaks
the language and breathes the spirit of the great ruler, secure in
popular confidence and official authority, equal to the great
emergencies that successively rose before him. Upon General Hooker its
courteous praise and frank rebuke, its generous trust and distinct note
of fatherly warning, made a profound impression. He strove worthily to
redeem his past indiscretions by devoting himself with great zeal and
energy to improving the discipline and morale of his army, recalling its
absentees, and restoring its spirit by increased drill and renewed
activity. He kept the President well informed of what he was doing, and
early in April submitted a plan of campaign on which Mr. Lincoln
indorsed, on the eleventh of that month:

"My opinion is that just now, with the enemy directly ahead of us, there
is no eligible route for us into Richmond; and consequently a question
of preference between the Rappahannock route and the James River route
is a contest about nothing. Hence, our prime object is the enemy's army
in front of us, and is not with or about Richmond at all, unless it be
incidental to the main object."

Having raised his effective force to about one hundred and thirty
thousand men, and learning that Lee's army was weakened by detachments
to perhaps half that number, Hooker, near the end of the month, prepared
and executed a bold movement which for a while was attended with
encouraging progress. Sending General Sedgwick with three army corps to
make a strong demonstration and crossing below Fredericksburg, Hooker
with his remaining four corps made a somewhat long and circuitous march
by which he crossed both the Rappahannock and the Rapidan above the
town without serious opposition, and on the evening of April 30 had his
four corps at Chancellorsville, south of the Rappahannock, from whence
he could advance against the rear of the enemy. But his advantage of
position was neutralized by the difficulties of the ground. He was in
the dense and tangled forest known as the Wilderness, and the decision
and energy of his brilliant and successful advance were suddenly
succeeded by a spirit of hesitation and delay in which the evident and
acknowledged chances of victory were gradually lost. The enemy found
time to rally from his surprise and astonishment, to gather a strong
line of defense, and finally, to organize a counter flank movement under
Stonewall Jackson, which fell upon the rear of the Union right and
created a panic in the Eleventh Corps. Sedgwick's force had crossed
below and taken Fredericksburg; but the divided Union army could not
effect a junction; and the fighting from May 1 to May 4 finally ended by
the withdrawal of both sections of the Union army north of the
Rappahannock. The losses suffered by the Union and the Confederate
forces were about equal, but the prestige of another brilliant victory
fell to General Lee, seriously balanced, however, by the death of
Stonewall Jackson, who was accidentally killed by the fire of his own

In addition to his evident very unusual diminution of vigor and will,
Hooker had received a personal injury on the third, which for some hours
rendered him incapable of command; and he said in his testimony before
the Committee on the Conduct of the War:

"When I returned from Chancellorsville I felt that I had fought no
battle; in fact, I had more men than I could use, and I fought no
general battle for the reason that I could not get my men in position to
do so probably not more than three or three and a half corps on the
right were engaged in the fight."

Hooker's defeat at Chancellorsville had not been so great a disaster as
that of Burnside at Fredericksburg; and while his influence was greatly
impaired, his usefulness did not immediately cease. The President and
the Secretary of War still had faith in him. The average opinion of his
qualities has been tersely expressed by one of his critics, who wrote:
"As an inferior he planned badly and fought well; as a chief he planned
well and fought badly." The course of war soon changed, so that he was
obliged to follow rather than permitted to lead the developments of a
new campaign.

The brilliant victories gained by Lee inspired the Confederate
authorities and leaders with a greatly exaggerated hope of the ultimate
success of the rebellion. It was during the summer of 1863 that the
Confederate armies reached, perhaps, their highest numerical strength
and greatest degree of efficiency. Both the long dreamed of possibility
of achieving Southern independence and the newly flushed military ardor
of officers and men, elated by what seemed to them an unbroken record of
successes on the Virginia battle-fields moved General Lee to the bold
hazard of a second invasion of the North. Early in June, Hooker gave it
as his opinion that Lee intended to move against Washington, and asked
whether in that case he should attack the Confederate rear. To this
Lincoln answered on the fifth of that month:

"In case you find Lee coming to the north of the Rappahannock, I would
by no means cross to the south of it. If he should leave a rear force at
Fredericksburg tempting you to fall upon it, it would fight in
intrenchments and have you at disadvantage, and so, man for man, worst
you at that point, while his main force would in some way be getting an
advantage of you northward. In one word, I would not take any risk of
being entangled upon the river, like an ox jumped half over a fence and
liable to be torn by dogs front and rear, without a fair chance to gore
one way or kick the other."

Five days later, Hooker, having become convinced that a large part of
Lee's army was in motion toward the Shenandoah valley, proposed the
daring plan of a quick and direct march to capture Richmond. But the
President immediately telegraphed him a convincing objection:

"If left to me, I would not go south of the Rappahannock upon Lee's
moving north of it. If you had Richmond invested to-day, you would not
be able to take it in twenty days; meanwhile, your communications, and
with them your army, would be ruined. I think Lee's army, and not
Richmond, is your true objective point. If he comes toward the upper
Potomac, follow on his flank and on his inside track, shortening your
lines while he lengthens his. Fight him, too, when opportunity offers.
If he stays where he is, fret him and fret him."

The movement northward of Lee's army, effectually masked for some days
by frequent cavalry skirmishes, now became evident to the Washington
authorities. On June 14, Lincoln telegraphed Hooker:

"So far as we can make out here, the enemy have Milroy surrounded at
Winchester, and Tyler at Martinsburg If they could hold out a few days,
could you help them? If the head of Lee's army is at Martinsburg, and
the tail of it on the plank road between Fredericksburg and
Chancellorsville, the animal must be very slim somewhere. Could you not
break him?"

While Lee, without halting, crossed the Potomac above Harper's Ferry,
and continued his northward march into Maryland and Pennsylvania, Hooker
prudently followed on the "inside track" as Mr. Lincoln had suggested,
interposing the Union army effectually to guard Washington and
Baltimore. But at this point a long-standing irritation and jealousy
between Hooker and Halleck became so acute that on the
general-in-chief's refusing a comparatively minor request, Hooker asked
to be relieved from command. The President, deeming divided counsel at
so critical a juncture more hazardous than a change of command, took
Hooker at his word, and appointed General George G. Meade as his

Meade had, since Chancellorsville, been as caustic a critic of Hooker as
Hooker was of Burnside at and after Fredericksburg. But all spirit of
insubordination vanished in the exciting stress of a pursuing campaign
and the new and retiring leaders of the Army of the Potomac exchanged
compliments in General Orders with high chivalric courtesy, while the
army continued its northward march with undiminished ardor and unbroken
step. When Meade crossed the Pennsylvania line, Lee was already far
ahead, threatening Harrisburg. The Confederate invasion spread terror
and loss among farms and villages, and created almost a panic in the
great cities. Under the President's call for one hundred thousand six
months' militia six of the adjoining States were sending hurried and
improvised forces to the banks of the Susquehanna, under the command of
General Couch. Lee, finding that stream too well guarded, turned his
course directly east, which, with Meade marching to the north, brought
the opposing armies into inevitable contact and collision at the town of

Meade had both expected and carefully prepared to receive the attack
and fight a defensive battle on the line of Pipe Creek. But when, on the
afternoon of July 1, 1863, the advance detachments of each army met and
engaged in a fierce conflict for the possession of the town, Meade, on
learning the nature of the fight, and the situation of the ground,
instantly decided to accept it, and ordering forward his whole force,
made it the principal and most decisive battle-field of the whole war.

The Union troops made a violent and stubborn effort to hold the town of
Gettysburg; but the early Confederate arrivals, taking position in a
half-circle on the west, north, and east, drove them through and out of
it. The seeming reverse proved an advantage. Half a mile to the south it
enabled the Union detachments to seize and establish themselves on
Cemetery Ridge and Hill. This, with several rocky elevations, and a
crest of boulders making a curve to the east at the northern end, was in
itself almost a natural fortress, and with the intrenchments thrown up
by the expert veterans, soon became nearly impregnable. Beyond a wide
valley to the west, and parallel with it, lay Seminary Ridge, on which
the Confederate army established itself with equal rapidity. Lee had
also hoped to fight a defensive battle; but thus suddenly arrested in
his eastward march in a hostile country, could not afford to stand still
and wait.

On the morning of July 2, both commanding generals were in the field.
After careful studies and consultations Lee ordered an attack on both
the extreme right and extreme left of the Union position, meeting some
success in the former, but a complete repulse in the latter. That night,
Meade's council of war, coinciding with his own judgment, resolved to
stand and fight it out; while Lee, against the advice of Longstreet,
his ablest general, with equal decision determined to risk the chance of
a final and determined attack.

It was Meade who began the conflict at dawn on the morning of July 3,
but only long enough to retake and hold the intrenchments on his extreme
right, which he had lost the evening before; then for some hours an
ominous lull and silence fell over the whole battle-field. But these
were hours of stern preparation At midday a furious cannonade began from
one hundred and thirty Confederate guns on Seminary Ridge, which was
answered with promptness and spirit by about seventy Union guns from the
crests and among the boulders of Cemetery Ridge; and the deafening roar
of artillery lasted for about an hour, at the end of which time the
Union guns ceased firing and were allowed to cool, and to be made ready
to meet the assault that was sure to come. There followed a period of
waiting almost painful to officers and men, in its intense expectancy;
and then across the broad, undulating, and highly cultivated valley
swept the long attacking line of seventeen thousand rebel infantry, the
very flower of the Confederate army. But it was a hopeless charge.
Thinned, almost mowed down by the grape-shot of the Union batteries and
the deadly aim of the Union riflemen behind their rocks and
intrenchments the Confederate assault wavered, hesitated, struggled on,
and finally melted away before the destructive fire. A few rebel
battle-flags reached the crest, only, however, to fall, and their
bearers and supporters to be made prisoners. The Confederate dream of
taking Philadelphia and dictating peace and separation in Independence
Hall was over forever.

It is doubtful whether Lee immediately realized the full measure of his
defeat, or Meade the magnitude of his victory. The terrible losses of
the battle of Gettysburg--over three thousand killed, fourteen thousand
wounded, and five thousand captured or missing of the Union army; and
twenty-six hundred killed, twelve thousand wounded, and five thousand
missing of the Confederates--largely occupied the thoughts and labors of
both sides during the national holiday which followed. It was a surprise
to Meade that on the morning of July 5 the Confederate army had
disappeared, retreating as rapidly as might be to the neighborhood of
Harper's Ferry. Unable immediately to cross because the Potomac was
swollen by heavy rains, and Meade having followed and arrived in Lee's
front on July 10, President Lincoln had the liveliest hopes that Meade
would again attack and capture or destroy the Confederate army. Generous
praise for his victory, and repeated and urgent suggestions to renew his
attack and end the rebellion, had gone to Meade from the President and
General Halleck. But Meade hesitated, and his council of war objected;
and on the night of July 13 Lee recrossed the Potomac in retreat. When
he heard the news, Mr. Lincoln sat down and wrote a letter of criticism
and disappointment which reflects the intensity of his feeling at the
escape of Lee:

"The case, summarily stated, is this: You fought and beat the enemy at
Gettysburg, and, of course, to say the least, his loss was as great as
yours. He retreated and you did not, as it seemed to me, pressingly
pursue him; but a flood in the river detained him till, by slow degrees,
you were again upon him. You had at least twenty thousand veteran troops
directly with you, and as many more raw ones within supporting distance,
all in addition to those who fought with you at Gettysburg, while it was
not possible that he had received a single recruit, and yet you stood
and let the flood run down, bridges be built, and the enemy move away
at his leisure, without attacking him.... Again, my dear general, I do
not believe you appreciate the magnitude of the misfortune involved in
Lee's escape. He was within your easy grasp, and to have closed upon him
would, in connection with our other late successes, have ended the war.
As it is, the war will be prolonged indefinitely. If you could not
safely attack Lee last Monday, how can you possibly do so south of the
river, when you can take with you very few more than two thirds of the
force you then had in hand? It would be unreasonable to expect, and I do
not expect [that] you can now effect much. Your golden opportunity is
gone, and I am distressed immeasurably because of it."

Clearly as Mr. Lincoln had sketched and deeply as he felt Meade's fault
of omission, so quick was the President's spirit of forgiveness, and so
thankful was he for the measure of success which had been gained, that
he never signed or sent the letter.

Two memorable events are forever linked with the Gettysburg victory: the
surrender of Vicksburg to Grant on the same fourth of July, described in
the next chapter, and the dedication of the Gettysburg battle-field as a
national cemetery for Union soldiers, on November 19, 1863, on which
occasion President Lincoln crowned that imposing ceremonial with an
address of such literary force, brevity, and beauty, that critics have
assigned it a high rank among the world's historic orations. He said:

"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this
continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal.

"Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation,
or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met
on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion
of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their
lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper
that we should do this.

"But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate--we cannot consecrate--we
cannot hallow--this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who
struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or
detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here,
but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living,
rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who
fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be
here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these
honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they
gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that
these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God,
shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by
the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Having safely crossed the Potomac, the Confederate army continued its
retreat without halting to the familiar camps in central Virginia it had
so long and valiantly defended. Meade followed with alert but prudent
vigilance, but did not again find such chances as he lost on the fourth
of July, or while the swollen waters of the Potomac held his enemy as in
a trap. During the ensuing autumn months there went on between the
opposing generals an unceasing game of strategy, a succession of moves
and counter-moves in which the opposing commanders handled their great
armies with the same consumate skill with which the expert
fencing-master uses his foil, but in which neither could break through
the other's guard. Repeated minor encounters took place which, in other
wars, would have rated as heavy battles; but the weeks lengthened into
months without decisive results, and when the opposing armies finally
went into winter quarters in December, 1863, they again confronted each
other across the Rapidan in Virginia, not very far south of where they
lay in the winter of 1861.


Buell and Bragg--Perryville--Rosecrans and Murfreesboro--Grant's
Vicksburg Experiments--Grant's May Battles--Siege and Surrender of
Vicksburg--Lincoln to Grant--Rosecrans's March to Chattanooga--Battle of
Chickamauga--Grant at Chattanooga--Battle of Chattanooga--Burnside at
Knoxville--Burnside Repulses Longstreet

From the Virginia campaigns of 1863 we must return to the Western
campaigns of the same year, or, to be more precise, beginning with the
middle of 1862. When, in July of that year, Halleck was called to
Washington to become general-in-chief, the principal plan he left behind
was that Buell, with the bulk of the forces which had captured Corinth,
should move from that place eastward to occupy eastern Tennessee. Buell,
however, progressed so leisurely that before he reached Chattanooga the
Confederate General Bragg, by a swift northward movement, advanced into
eastern Kentucky, enacted the farce of appointing a Confederate governor
for that State, and so threatened Louisville that Buell was compelled
abruptly to abandon his eastward march and, turning to the north, run a
neck-and-neck race to save Louisville from rebel occupation. Successful
in this, Buell immediately turned and, pursuing the now retreating
forces of Bragg, brought them to bay at Perryville, where, on October 8,
was fought a considerable battle from which Bragg immediately retreated
out of Kentucky.

While on one hand Bragg had suffered defeat, he had on the other caused
Buell to give up all idea of moving into East Tennessee, an object on
which the President had specially and repeatedly insisted. When Halleck
specifically ordered Buell to resume and execute that plan, Buell urged
such objections, and intimated such unwillingness, that on October 24,
1862, he was relieved from command, and General Rosecrans was appointed
to succeed him. Rosecrans neglected the East Tennessee orders as
heedlessly as Buell had done; but, reorganizing the Army of the
Cumberland and strengthening his communications, marched against Bragg,
who had gone into winter quarters at Murfreesboro. The severe engagement
of that name, fought on December 31, 1862, and the three succeeding days
of the new year, between forces numbering about forty-three thousand on
each side, was tactically a drawn battle, but its results rendered it an
important Union victory, compelling Bragg to retreat; though, for
reasons which he never satisfactorily explained, Rosecrans failed for
six months to follow up his evident advantages.

The transfer of Halleck from the West to Washington in the summer of
1862, left Grant in command of the district of West Tennessee. But
Buell's eastward expedition left him so few movable troops that during
the summer and most of the autumn he was able to accomplish little
except to defend his department by the repulse of the enemy at Iuka in
September, and at Corinth early in October, Rosecrans being in local
command at both places. It was for these successes that Rosecrans was
chosen to succeed Buell.

Grant had doubtless given much of his enforced leisure to studying the
great problem of opening the Mississippi, a task which was thus left in
his own hands, but for which, as yet, he found neither a theoretical
solution, nor possessed an army sufficiently strong to begin practical
work. Under the most favorable aspects, it was a formidable undertaking.
Union gunboats had full control of the great river from Cairo as far
south as Vicksburg; and Farragut's fleet commanded it from New Orleans
as far north as Port Hudson. But the intervening link of two hundred
miles between these places was in as complete possession of the
Confederates, giving the rebellion uninterrupted access to the immense
resources in men and supplies of the trans-Mississippi country, and
effectually barring the free navigation of the river. Both the cities
named were strongly fortified, but Vicksburg, on the east bank, by its
natural situation on a bluff two hundred feet high, rising almost out of
the stream, was unassailable from the river front. Farragut had, indeed,
in midsummer passed up and down before it with little damage from its
fire; but, in return, his own guns could no more do harm to its
batteries than they could have bombarded a fortress in the clouds.

When, by the middle of November, 1862, Grant was able to reunite
sufficient reinforcements, he started on a campaign directly southward
toward Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, and sent Sherman, with an
expedition from Memphis, down the river to the mouth of the Yazoo,
hoping to unite these forces against Vicksburg. But before Grant reached
Grenada his railroad communications were cut by a Confederate raid, and
his great depot of supplies at Holly Springs captured and burned,
leaving him for two weeks without other provisions than such as he could
gather by foraging. The costly lesson proved a valuable experience to
him, which he soon put to use. Sherman's expedition also met disaster.
Landing at Milliken's Bend, on the west bank of the Mississippi, he
ventured a daring storming assault from the east bank of the Yazoo at
Haines's Bluff, ten miles north of Vicksburg, but met a bloody repulse.

Having abandoned his railroad advance, Grant next joined Sherman at
Milliken's Bend in January, 1863, where also Admiral Porter, with a
river squadron of seventy vessels, eleven of them ironclads, was added
to his force. For the next three months Grant kept his large army and
flotilla busy with four different experiments to gain a practicable
advance toward Vicksburg, until his fifth highly novel and, to other
minds, seemingly reckless and impossible plan secured him a brilliant
success and results of immense military advantage. One experiment was to
cut a canal across the tongue of land opposite Vicksburg, through which
the flotilla might pass out of range of the Vicksburg guns. A second was
to force the gunboats and transports up the tortuous and swampy Yazoo to
find a landing far north of Haines's Bluff. A third was for the flotilla
to enter through Yazoo Pass and Cold Water River, two hundred miles
above, and descend the Yazoo to a hoped-for landing. Still a fourth
project was to cut a canal into Lake Providence west of the Mississippi,
seventy miles above, find a practicable waterway through two hundred
miles of bayous and rivers, and establish communication with Banks and
Farragut, who were engaged in an effort to capture Port Hudson.

The time, the patience, the infinite labor, and enormous expense of
these several projects were utterly wasted. Early in April, Grant began
an entirely new plan, which was opposed by all his ablest generals, and,
tested by the accepted rules of military science, looked like a headlong
venture of rash desperation. During the month of April he caused Admiral
Porter to prepare fifteen or twenty vessels--ironclads, steam
transports, and provision barges--and run them boldly by night past the
Vicksburg and, later, past the Grand Gulf batteries, which the admiral
happily accomplished with very little loss. Meanwhile, the general, by a
very circuitous route of seventy miles, marched an army of thirty-five
thousand down the west bank of the Mississippi and, with Porter's
vessels and transports, crossed them to the east side of the river at
Bruinsburg. From this point, with an improvised train of country
vehicles to carry his ammunition, and living meanwhile entirely upon the
country, as he had learned to do in his baffled Grenada expedition, he
made one of the most rapid and brilliant campaigns in military history.
In the first twenty days of May he marched one hundred and eighty miles,
and fought five winning battles--respectively Port Gibson, Raymond,
Jackson, Champion's Hill, and Big Black River--in each of which he
brought his practically united force against the enemy's separated
detachments, capturing altogether eighty-eight guns and over six
thousand prisoners, and shutting up the Confederate General Pemberton in
Vicksburg. By a rigorous siege of six weeks he then compelled his
antagonist to surrender the strongly fortified city with one hundred and
seventy-two cannon, and his army of nearly thirty thousand men. On the
fourth of July, 1863, the day after Meade's crushing defeat of Lee at
Gettysburg, the surrender took place, citizens and Confederate soldiers
doubtless rejoicing that the old national holiday gave them escape from
their caves and bomb-proofs, and full Yankee rations to still their
long-endured hunger.

The splendid victory of Grant brought about a quick and important echo.
About the time that the Union army closed around Vicksburg, General
Banks, on the lower Mississippi, began a close investment and siege of
Port Hudson, which he pushed with determined tenacity. When the rebel
garrison heard the artillery salutes which were fired by order of Banks
to celebrate the surrender of Vicksburg, and the rebel commander was
informed of Pemberton's disaster, he also gave up the defense, and on
July 9 surrendered Port Hudson with six thousand prisoners and fifty-one

Great national rejoicing followed this double success of the Union arms
on the Mississippi, which, added to Gettysburg, formed the turning tide
in the war of the rebellion; and no one was more elated over these
Western victories, which fully restored the free navigation of the
Mississippi, than President Lincoln. Like that of the whole country, his
patience had been severely tried by the long and ineffectual experiments
of Grant. But from first to last Mr. Lincoln had given him firm and
undeviating confidence and support. He not only gave the general quick
promotion, but crowned the official reward with the following generous

"My Dear General: I do not remember that you and I ever met personally.
I write this now as a grateful acknowledgment for the almost inestimable
service you have done the country. I wish to say a word further. When
you first reached the vicinity of Vicksburg, I thought you should do
what you finally did--march the troops across the neck, run the
batteries with the transports, and thus go below; and I never had any
faith, except a general hope that you knew better than I, that the Yazoo
Pass expedition and the like could succeed. When you got below and took
Port Gibson, Grand Gulf, and vicinity, I thought you should go down the
river and join General Banks, and when you turned northward, east of the
Big Black, I feared it was a mistake. I now wish to make the personal
acknowledgment that you were right and I was wrong."

It has already been mentioned that General Rosecrans after winning the
battle of Murfreesboro at the beginning of 1863, remained inactive at
that place nearly six months, though, of course, constantly busy
recruiting his army, gathering supplies, and warding off several
troublesome Confederate cavalry raids. The defeated General Bragg
retreated only to Shelbyville, ten miles south of the battle-field he
had been obliged to give up, and the military frontier thus divided
Tennessee between the contestants. Against repeated prompting and urging
from Washington, Rosecrans continued to find real or imaginary excuses
for delay until midsummer, when, as if suddenly awaking from a long
lethargy, he made a bold advance and, by a nine days' campaign of
skilful strategy, forced Bragg into a retreat that stopped only at
Chattanooga, south of the Tennessee River, which, with the surrounding
mountains, made it the strategical center and military key to the heart
of Georgia and the South. This march of Rosecrans, ending the day before
the Vicksburg surrender, again gave the Union forces full possession of
middle Tennessee down to its southern boundary.

The march completed, and the enemy thus successfully manoeuvered out of
the State, Rosecrans once more came to a halt, and made no further
movement for six weeks. The President and General Halleck were already
out of patience with Rosecrans for his long previous delay. Bragg's
retreat to Chattanooga was such a gratifying and encouraging supplement
to the victories of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, that they felt the
Confederate army should not be allowed to rest, recruit, and fortify the
important gateway to the heart of the Southern Confederacy, and early
in August sent Rosecrans peremptory orders to advance. This direction
seemed the more opportune and necessary, since Burnside had organized a
special Union force in eastern Kentucky, and was about starting on a
direct campaign into East Tennessee.

Finally, obeying this explicit injunction, Rosecrans took the initiative
in the middle of August by a vigorous southward movement. Threatening
Chattanooga from the north, he marched instead around the left flank of
Bragg's army, boldly crossing the Cumberland Mountains, the Tennessee
River, and two mountain ranges beyond. Bragg, seriously alarmed lest
Rosecrans should seize the railroad communications behind him, hastily
evacuated Chattanooga, but not with the intention of flight, as
Rosecrans erroneously believed and reported. When, on September 9, the
left of Rosecrans's army marched into Chattanooga without firing a shot,
the Union detachments were so widely scattered in separating mountain
valleys, in pursuit of Bragg's imaginary retreat, that Bragg believed he
saw his chance to crush them in detail before they could unite.

With this resolve, Bragg turned upon his antagonist but his effort at
quick concentration was delayed by the natural difficulties of the
ground. By September 19, both armies were well gathered on opposite
sides of Chickamauga Creek, eight miles southeast of Chattanooga; each
commander being as yet, however, little informed of the other's position
and strength. Bragg had over seventy-one thousand men; Rosecrans,
fifty-seven thousand. The conflict was finally begun, rather by accident
than design, and on that day and the twentieth was fought the battle of
Chickamauga, one of the severest encounters of the whole war. Developing
itself without clear knowledge on either side, it became a moving
conflict, Bragg constantly extending his attack toward his right, and
Rosecrans meeting the onset with prompt shifting toward his left.

In this changing contest Rosecrans's army underwent an alarming crisis
on the second day of the battle. A mistake or miscarriage of orders
opened a gap of two brigades in his line, which the enemy quickly found,
and through which the Confederate battalions rushed with an energy that
swept away the whole Union right in a disorderly retreat. Rosecrans
himself was caught in the panic, and, believing the day irretrievably
lost, hastened back to Chattanooga to report the disaster and collect
what he might of his flying army. The hopeless prospect, however, soon
changed. General Thomas, second in command, and originally in charge of
the center, had been sent by Rosecrans to the extreme left, and had,
while the right was giving way, successfully repulsed the enemy in his
front. He had been so fortunate as to secure a strong position on the
head of a ridge, around which he gathered such remnants of the beaten
detachments as he could collect, amounting to about half the Union army,
and here, from two o'clock in the afternoon until dark, he held his
semicircular line against repeated assaults of the enemy, with a heroic
valor that earned him the sobriquet of "The Rock of Chickamauga." At
night, Thomas retired, under orders, to Rossville, half way to

The President was of course greatly disappointed when Rosecrans
telegraphed that he had met a serious disaster, but this disappointment
was mitigated by the quickly following news of the magnificent defense
and the successful stand made by General Thomas at the close of the
battle. Mr. Lincoln immediately wrote in a note to Halleck:

"I think it very important for General Rosecrans to hold his position at
or about Chattanooga, because, if held, from that place to Cleveland,
both inclusive, it keeps all Tennessee clear of the enemy, and also
breaks one of his most important railroad lines.... If he can only
maintain this position, without more, this rebellion can only eke out a
short and feeble existence, as an animal sometimes may with a thorn in
its vitals."

And to Rosecrans he telegraphed directly, bidding him be of good cheer,
and adding: "We shall do our utmost to assist you." To this end the
administration took instant and energetic measures. On the night of
September 23, the President, General Halleck, several members of the
cabinet, and leading army and railroad officials met in an improvised
council at the War Department, and issued emergency orders under which
two army corps from the Army of the Potomac, numbering twenty thousand
men in all, with their arms and equipments ready for the field, the
whole under command of General Hooker, were transported from their camps
on the Rapidan by railway to Nashville and the Tennessee River in the
next eight days. Burnside, who had arrived at Knoxville early in
September, was urged by repeated messages to join Rosecrans, and other
reinforcements were already on the way from Memphis and Vicksburg.

All this help, however, was not instantly available. Before it could
arrive Rosecrans felt obliged to draw together within the fortifications
of Chattanooga, while Bragg quickly closed about him, and, by
practically blockading Rosecrans's river communication, placed him in a
state of siege. In a few weeks the limited supplies brought the Union
army face to face with famine. It having become evident that Rosecrans
was incapable of extricating it from its peril, he was relieved and the
command given to Thomas, while the three western departments were
consolidated under General Grant, and he was ordered personally to
proceed to Chattanooga, which place he reached on October 22.

Before his arrival, General W.F. Smith had devised and prepared an
ingenious plan to regain control of river communication. Under the
orders of Grant, Smith successfully executed it, and full rations soon
restored vigor and confidence to the Union troops. The considerable
reinforcements under Hooker and Sherman coming up, put the besieging
enemy on the defensive, and active preparations were begun, which
resulted in the famous battle and overwhelming Union victory of
Chattanooga on November 23, 24, and 25, 1863.

The city of Chattanooga lies on the southeastern bank of the Tennessee
River. Back of the city, Chattanooga valley forms a level plain about
two miles in width to Missionary Ridge, a narrow mountain range five
hundred feet high, generally parallel to the course of the Tennessee,
extending far to the southwest. The Confederates had fortified the upper
end of Missionary Ridge to a length of five to seven miles opposite the
city, lining its long crest with about thirty guns, amply supported by
infantry. This formidable barrier was still further strengthened by two
lines of rifle-pits, one at the base of Missionary Ridge next to the
city, and another with advanced pickets still nearer Chattanooga
Northward, the enemy strongly held the end of Missionary Ridge where the
railroad tunnel passes through it; southward, they held the yet stronger
point of Lookout Mountain, whose rocky base turns the course of the
Tennessee River in a short bend to the north.

Grant's plan in rough outline was, that Sherman, with the Army of the
Tennessee, should storm the northern end of Missionary Ridge at the
railroad tunnel; Hooker, stationed at Wauhatchie, thirteen miles to the
southwest with his two corps from the Army of the Potomac, should
advance toward the city, storming the point of Lookout Mountain on his
way; and Thomas, in the city, attack the direct front of Missionary
Ridge. The actual beginning slightly varied this program, with a change
of corps and divisions, but the detail is not worth noting.

Beginning on the night of November 23, Sherman crossed his command over
the Tennessee, and on the afternoon of the twenty-fourth gained the
northern end of Missionary Ridge, driving the enemy before him as far as
the railroad tunnel. Here, however, he found a deep gap in the ridge,
previously unknown to him, which barred his further progress. That same
afternoon Hooker's troops worked their way through mist and fog up the
rugged sides of Lookout Mountain, winning the brilliant success which
has become famous as the "battle above the clouds." That same afternoon,
also, two divisions of the center, under the eyes of Grant and Thomas,
pushed forward the Union line about a mile, seizing and fortifying a
hill called Orchard Knob, capturing Bragg's first line of rifle-pits and
several hundred prisoners.

So far, everything had occurred to inspirit the Union troops and
discourage the enemy. But the main incident was yet to come, on the
afternoon of November 25. All the forenoon of that day Grant waited
eagerly to see Sherman making progress along the north end of Missionary
Ridge, not knowing that he had met an impassable valley. Grant's
patience was equally tried at hearing no news from Hooker, though that
general had successfully reached Missionary Ridge, and was ascending
the gap near Rossville.

At three o'clock in the afternoon Grant at length gave Thomas the order
to advance. Eleven Union brigades rushed forward with orders to take the
enemy's rifle-pits at the base of Missionary Ridge, and then halt to
reform. But such was the ease of this first capture, such the eagerness
of the men who had been waiting all day for the moment of action, that,
after but a slight pause, without orders, and moved by a common impulse,
they swept on and up the steep and rocky face of Missionary Ridge,
heedless of the enemy's fire from rifle and cannon at the top, until in
fifty-five minutes after leaving their positions they almost
simultaneously broke over the crest of the ridge in six different
places, capturing the batteries and making prisoners of the supporting
infantry, who, surprised and bewildered by the daring escalade, made
little or no further resistance. Bragg's official report soundly berates
the conduct of his men, apparently forgetting the heavy loss they had
inflicted on their assailants but regardless of which the Union veterans
mounted to victory in an almost miraculous exaltation of patriotic

Bragg's Confederate army was not only beaten, but hopelessly demoralized
by the fiery Union assault, and fled in panic and retreat. Grant kept up
a vigorous pursuit to a distance of twenty miles, which he ceased in
order to send an immediate strong reinforcement under Sherman to relieve
Burnside, besieged by the Confederate General Longstreet at Knoxville.
But before this help arrived, Burnside had repulsed Longstreet who,
promptly informed of the Chattanooga disaster, retreated in the
direction of Virginia. Not being pursued, however, this general again
wintered in East Tennessee; and for the same reason, the beaten army of
Bragg halted in its retreat from Missionary Ridge at Dalton, where it
also went into winter quarters. The battle of Chattanooga had opened the
great central gateway to the south, but the rebel army, still determined
and formidable, yet lay in its path, only twenty-eight miles away.


Grant Lieutenant-General--Interview with Lincoln--Grant Visits
Sherman--Plan of Campaigns--Lincoln to Grant--From the Wilderness to Cold
Harbor--The Move to City Point--Siege of Petersburg--Early Menaces
Washington--Lincoln under Fire--Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley

The army rank of lieutenant-general had, before the Civil War, been
conferred only twice on American commanders; on Washington, for service
in the War of Independence, and on Scott, for his conquest of Mexico. As
a reward for the victories of Donelson, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga,
Congress passed, and the President signed in February, 1864, an act to
revive that grade. Calling Grant to Washington, the President met him
for the first time at a public reception at the Executive Mansion on
March 8, when the famous general was received with all the
manifestations of interest and enthusiasm possible in a social state
ceremonial. On the following day, at one o'clock, the general's formal
investiture with his new rank and authority took place in the presence
of Mr. Lincoln, the cabinet, and a few other officials.

"General Grant," said the President, "the nation's appreciation of what
you have done, and its reliance upon you for what remains to do in the
existing great struggle, are now presented, with this commission
constituting you Lieutenant-General in the Army of the United States.
With this high honor devolves upon you, also, a corresponding
responsibility. As the country herein trusts you, so, under God, it will
sustain you. I scarcely need to add that with what I here speak for the
nation, goes my own hearty personal concurrence."

General Grant's reply was modest and also very brief:

"Mr. President, I accept this commission with gratitude for the high
honor conferred. With the aid of the noble armies that have fought on so
many fields for our common country, it will be my earnest endeavor not
to disappoint your expectations. I feel the full weight of the
responsibilities now devolving on me; and I know that if they are met,
it will be due to those armies, and above all to the favor of that
Providence which leads both nations and men."

In the informal conversation which followed, General Grant inquired what
special service was expected of him; to which the President replied that
the country wanted him to take Richmond; and being asked if he could do
so, replied that he could if he had the troops, which he was assured
would be furnished him. On the following day, Grant went to the Army of
the Potomac, where Meade received him with frank courtesy, generously
suggesting that he was ready to yield the command to any one Grant might
prefer. Grant, however, informed Meade that he desired to make no
change; and, returning to Washington, started west without a moment's
loss of time. On March 12, 1864, formal orders of the War Department
placed Grant in command of all the armies of the United States, while
Halleck, relieved from that duty, was retained at Washington as the
President's chief of staff.

Grant frankly confesses in his "Memoirs" that when he started east it
was with a firm determination to accept no appointment requiring him to
leave the West; but "when I got to Washington and saw the situation, it
was plain that here was the point for the commanding general to be." His
short visit had removed several false impressions, and future experience
was to cure him of many more.

When Grant again met Sherman in the West, he outlined to that general,
who had become his most intimate and trusted brother officer, the very
simple and definite military policy which was to be followed during the
year 1864. There were to be but two leading campaigns. Sherman, starting
from Chattanooga, full master of his own movements, was to lead the
combined western forces against the Confederate army under Johnston, the
successor of Bragg. Grant would personally conduct the campaign in the
East against Richmond, or rather against the rebel army under Lee. Meade
would be left in immediate command of the Army of the Potomac, to
execute the personal daily directions of Grant. The two Confederate
armies were eight hundred miles apart, and should either give way, it
was to be followed without halt or delay to battle or surrender, to
prevent its junction with the other. Scattered as a large portion of the
Union forces were in garrisons and detachments at widely separated
points, there were, of course, many details to be arranged, and a few
expeditions already in progress; but these were of minor importance, and
for contributory, rather than main objects, and need not here be

Returning promptly to Washington, Grant established his headquarters
with the Army of the Potomac, at Culpepper, and for about a month
actively pushed his military preparations. He seems at first to have
been impressed with a dread that the President might wish to influence
or control his plans. But the few interviews between them removed the
suspicion which reckless newspaper accusation had raised; and all doubt
on this point vanished, when, on the last day of April, Mr. Lincoln sent
him the following explicit letter:

"Not expecting to see you again before the spring campaign opens, I wish
to express in this way my entire satisfaction with what you have done up
to this time, so far as I understand it. The particulars of your plan I
neither know nor seek to know. You are vigilant and self-reliant; and,
pleased with this, I wish not to obtrude any constraints or restraints
upon you. While I am very anxious that any great disaster or capture of
our men in great numbers shall be avoided, I know these points are less
likely to escape your attention than they would be mine. If there is
anything wanting which is within my power to give, do not fail to let me
know it. And now, with a brave army and a just cause, may God sustain

Grant's immediate reply confessed the groundlessness of his

"From my first entrance into the volunteer service of the country to the
present day, I have never had cause of complaint--have never expressed
or implied a complaint against the administration, or the Secretary of
War, for throwing any embarrassment in the way of my vigorously
prosecuting what appeared to me my duty. Indeed, since the promotion
which placed me in command of all the armies, and in view of the great
responsibility and importance of success, I have been astonished at the
readiness with which everything asked for has been yielded, without even
an explanation being asked. Should my success be less than I desire and
expect, the least I can say is, the fault is not with you."

The Union army under Grant, one hundred and twenty-two thousand strong,
on April 30, was encamped north of the Rapidan River. The Confederate
army under Lee, numbering sixty-two thousand, lay south of that stream.
Nearly three years before, these opposing armies had fought their first
battle of Bull Run, only a comparatively short distance north of where
they now confronted each other. Campaign and battle between them had
surged far to the north and to the south, but neither could as yet claim
over the other any considerable gain of ground or of final advantage in
the conflict. Broadly speaking, relative advance and retreat, as well as
relative loss and gain of battle-fields substantially balanced each
other. Severe as had been their struggles in the past, a more arduous
trial of strength was before them. Grant had two to one in numbers; Lee
the advantage of a defensive campaign. He could retire toward cumulative
reserves, and into prepared fortifications; knew almost by heart every
road, hill, and forest of Virginia; had for his friendly scout every
white inhabitant. Perhaps his greatest element of strength lay in the
conscious pride of the Confederate army that through all fluctuations of
success and failure, it had for three years effectually barred the way
of the Army of the Potomac to Richmond. But to offset this there now
menaced it what was before absent in every encounter, the grim,
unflinching will of the new Union commander.

General Grant devised no plan of complicated strategy for the problem
before him, but proposed to solve it by plain, hard, persistent
fighting. He would endeavor to crush the army of Lee before it could
reach Richmond or unite with the army of Johnston; or, failing in that,
he would shut it up in that stronghold and reduce it by a siege. With
this in view, he instructed Meade at the very outset: "Lee's army will
be your objective point. Where Lee goes, there you will go, also."
Everything being ready, on the night of May 4, Meade threw five bridges
across the Rapidan, and before the following night the whole Union army,
with its trains, was across the stream moving southward by the left
flank, past the right flank of the Confederates.

Sudden as was the advance, it did not escape the vigilant observation of
Lee, who instantly threw his force against the flanks of the Union
columns, and for two days there raged in that difficult, broken, and
tangled region known as the Wilderness, a furious battle of detachments
along a line five miles in length. Thickets, swamps, and ravines,
rendered intelligent direction and concerted manoeuvering impossible,
and furious and bloody as was the conflict, its results were indecisive.
No enemy appearing on the seventh, Grant boldly started to Spottsylvania
Court House, only, however, to find the Confederates ahead of him; and
on the eighth and ninth these turned their position, already strong by
nature, into an impregnable intrenched camp. Grant assaulted their works
on the tenth, fiercely, but unsuccessfully. There followed one day of
inactivity, during which Grant wrote his report, only claiming that
after six days of hard fighting and heavy losses "the result up to this
time is much in our favor"; but expressing, in the phrase which
immediately became celebrated, his firm resolution to "fight it out on
this line if it takes all summer."

On May 12, 1864, Grant ordered a yet more determined attack, in which,
with fearful carnage on both sides, the Union forces finally stormed the
earthworks which have become known as the "bloody angle." But finding
that other and more formidable intrenchments still resisted his entrance
to the Confederate camp, Grant once more moved by the left flank past
his enemy toward Richmond. Lee followed with equal swiftness along the
interior lines. Days passed in an intermitting, and about equally
matched contest of strategy and fighting. The difference was that Grant
was always advancing and Lee always retiring. On May 26, Grant reported
to Washington:

"Lee's army is really whipped. The prisoners we now take show it, and
the action of his army shows it unmistakably. A battle with them outside
of intrenchments cannot be had. Our men feel that they have gained the
_morale_ over the enemy, and attack him with confidence. I may be
mistaken, but I feel that our success over Lee's army is already

That same night, Grant's advance crossed the Pamunkey River at Hanover
Town, and during another week, with a succession of marching, flanking,
and fighting. Grant pushed the Union army forward to Cold Harbor. Here
Lee's intrenched army was again between him and Richmond, and on June 3,
Grant ordered another determined attack in front, to break through that
constantly resisting barrier. But a disastrous repulse was the
consequence. Its effect upon the campaign is best given in Grant's own
letter, written to Washington on June 5:

"My idea from the start has been to beat Lee's army, if possible, north
of Richmond; then, after destroying his lines of communication on the
north side of the James River, to transfer the army to the south side
and besiege Lee in Richmond, or follow him south if he should retreat. I
now find, after over thirty days of trial, the enemy deems it of the
first importance to run no risks with the armies they now have. They act
purely on the defensive behind breastworks, or feebly on the offensive
immediately in front of them, and where, in case of repulse, they can
instantly retire behind them. Without a greater sacrifice of human life
than I am willing to make, all cannot be accomplished that I had
designed outside of the city."

During the week succeeding the severe repulse at Cold Harbor, which
closed what may be summed up as Grant's campaign against Richmond, he
made his preparations to enter upon the second element of his general
plan, which may be most distinctively denominated the siege of
Petersburg, though, in fuller phraseology, it might be called the siege
of Petersburg and Richmond combined. But the amplification is not
essential; for though the operation and the siege-works embraced both
cities, Petersburg was the vital and vulnerable point. When Petersburg
fell, Richmond fell of necessity. The reason was, that Lee's army,
inclosed within the combined fortifications, could only be fed by the
use of three railroads centering at Petersburg; one from the southeast,
one from the south, and one with general access from the southwest.
Between these, two plank roads added a partial means of supply. Thus
far, Grant's active campaign, though failing to destroy Lee's army, had
nevertheless driven it into Richmond, and obviously his next step was
either to dislodge it, or compel it to surrender.

Cold Harbor was about ten miles from Richmond, and that city was
inclosed on the Washington side by two circles of fortifications devised
with the best engineering skill. On June 13, Grant threw forward an army
corps across the Chickahominy, deceiving Lee into the belief that he was
making a real direct advance upon the city; and so skilfully concealed
his intention that by midnight of the sixteenth he had moved the whole
Union army with its artillery and trains about twenty miles directly
south and across the James River, on a pontoon bridge over two thousand
feet long, to City Point. General Butler, with an expedition from
Fortress Monroe, moving early in May, had been ordered to capture
Petersburg; and though he failed in this, he had nevertheless seized and
held City Point, and Grant thus effected an immediate junction with
Butler's force of thirty-two thousand. Butler's second attempt to seize
Petersburg while Grant was marching to join him also failed, and Grant,
unwilling to make any needless sacrifice, now limited his operations to
the processes of a regular siege.

This involved a complete change of method. The campaign against
Richmond, from the crossing of the Rapidan and battle of the Wilderness,
to Cold Harbor, and the change of base to City Point, occupied a period
of about six weeks of almost constant swift marching and hard fighting.
The siege of Petersburg was destined to involve more than nine months of
mingled engineering and fighting. The Confederate army forming the
combined garrisons of Richmond and Petersburg numbered about seventy
thousand. The army under Grant, though in its six weeks' campaign it had
lost over sixty thousand in killed, wounded, and missing, was again
raised by the reinforcements sent to it, and by its junction with
Butler, to a total of about one hundred and fifty thousand. With this
superiority of numbers, Grant pursued the policy of alternately
threatening the defenses of Lee, sometimes south, sometimes north of the
James River, and at every favorable opportunity pushing his siege-works
westward in order to gradually gain and command the three railroads and
two plank roads that brought the bulk of absolutely necessary food and
supplies to the Confederate armies and the inhabitants of Petersburg and
Richmond. It is estimated that this gradual westward extension of
Grant's lines, redoubts, and trenches, when added to those threatening
Richmond and Petersburg on the east, finally reached a total development
of about forty miles. The catastrophe came when Lee's army grew
insufficient to man his defensive line along this entire length, and
Grant, finding the weakened places, eventually broke through it,
compelling the Confederate general and army to evacuate and abandon both
cities and seek safety in flight.

The central military drama, the first two distinctive acts of which are
outlined above, had during this long period a running accompaniment of
constant under-plot and shifting and exciting episodes. The Shenandoah
River, rising northwest of Richmond, but flowing in a general northeast
course to join the Potomac at Harper's Ferry, gives its name to a valley
twenty to thirty miles wide, highly fertile and cultivated, and having
throughout its length a fine turnpike, which in ante-railroad days was
an active commercial highway between North and South. Bordered on the
west by the rugged Alleghany Mountains, and on the east by the single
outlying range called the Blue Ridge, it formed a protected military
lane or avenue, having vital relation to the strategy of campaigns on
the open Atlantic slopes of central Virginia. The Shenandoah valley had
thus played a not unimportant part in almost every military operation of
the war, from the first battle of Bull Run to the final defense of

The plans of General Grant did not neglect so essential a feature of his
task. While he was fighting his way toward the Confederate capital, his
instructions contemplated the possession and occupation of the
Shenandoah valley as part of the system which should isolate and
eventually besiege Richmond. But this part of his plan underwent many
fluctuations. He had scarcely reached City Point when he became aware
that General Lee, equally alive to the advantages of the Shenandoah
valley, had dispatched General Early with seventeen thousand men on a
flying expedition up that convenient natural sally-port, which was for
the moment undefended.

Early made such speed that he crossed the Potomac during the first week
of July, made a devastating raid through Maryland and southern
Pennsylvania, threatened Baltimore, and turning sharply to the south,
was, on the eleventh of the month, actually at the outskirts of
Washington city, meditating its assault and capture. Only the opportune
arrival of the Sixth Army Corps under General Wright, on the afternoon
of that day, sent hurriedly by Grant from City Point, saved the Federal
capital from occupation and perhaps destruction by the enemy.

Certain writers have represented the government as panic-stricken during
the two days that this menace lasted; but neither Mr. Lincoln, nor
Secretary Stanton, nor General Halleck, whom it has been even more the
fashion to abuse, lacked coolness or energy in the emergency. Indeed,
the President's personal unconcern was such as to give his associates
much uneasiness. On the tenth, he rode out as was his usual custom
during the summer months, to spend the night at the Soldiers' Home, in
the suburbs; but Secretary Stanton, learning that Early was advancing in
heavy force, sent after him to compel his return to the city; and twice
afterward, intent on watching the fighting which took place near Fort
Stevens, he exposed his tall form to the gaze and bullets of the enemy
in a manner to call forth earnest remonstrance from those near him.

The succeeding military events in the Shenandoah valley must here be
summed up in the brief statement that General Sheridan, being placed in
command of the Middle Military Division and given an army of thirty or
forty thousand men, finally drove back the Confederate detachments upon
Richmond, in a series of brilliant victories, and so devastated the
southern end of the valley as to render it untenable for either army;
and by the destruction of the James River Canal and the Virginia Central
Railroad, succeeded in practically carrying out Grant's intention of
effectually closing the avenue of supplies to Richmond from the


Sherman's Meridian Expedition--Capture of Atlanta--Hood Supersedes
Johnston--Hood's Invasion of Tennessee--Franklin and
Nashville--Sherman's March to the Sea--Capture of Savannah--Sherman to
Lincoln--Lincoln to Sherman--Sherman's March through the Carolinas--The
Burning of Charleston and Columbia--Arrival at Goldsboro--Junction with
Schofield--Visit to Grant

While Grant was making his marches, fighting his battles, and carrying
on his siege operations in Virginia, Sherman in the West was performing
the task assigned to him by his chief, to pursue, destroy, or capture
the principal western Confederate army, now commanded by General
Johnston. The forces which under Bragg had been defeated in the previous
autumn at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, had halted as soon as
pursuit ceased, and remained in winter quarters at and about Dalton,
only twenty-eight or thirty miles on the railroad southeast of
Chattanooga where their new commander, Johnston, had, in the spring of
1864, about sixty-eight thousand men with which to oppose the Union

A few preliminary campaigns and expeditions in the West need not here be
detailed, as they were not decisive. One, however, led by Sherman
himself from Vicksburg to Meridian, must be mentioned, since, during the
month of February, it destroyed about one hundred miles of the several
railroads centering at the latter place, and rendered the whole railroad
system of Mississippi practically useless to the Confederates, thus
contributing essentially to the success of his future operations.

Sherman prepared himself by uniting at Chattanooga the best material of
the three Union armies, that of the Cumberland, that of the Tennessee,
and that of the Ohio, forming a force of nearly one hundred thousand men
with two hundred and fifty-four guns. They were seasoned veterans, whom
three years of campaigning had taught how to endure every privation, and
avail themselves of every resource. They were provided with every
essential supply, but carried with them not a pound of useless baggage
or impedimenta that could retard the rapidity of their movements.

Sherman had received no specific instructions from Grant, except to
fight the enemy and damage the war resources of the South; but the
situation before him clearly indicated the city of Atlanta, Georgia, as
his first objective, and as his necessary route, the railroad leading
thither from Chattanooga. It was obviously a difficult line of approach,
for it traversed a belt of the Alleghanies forty miles in width, and in
addition to the natural obstacles they presented, the Confederate
commander, anticipating his movement, had prepared elaborate defensive
works at the several most available points.

As agreed upon with Grant, Sherman began his march on May 5, 1864, the
day following that on which Grant entered upon his Wilderness campaign
in Virginia. These pages do not afford space to describe his progress.
It is enough to say that with his double numbers he pursued the policy
of making strong demonstrations in front, with effective flank movements
to threaten the railroad in the Confederate rear, by which means he
forced back the enemy successively from point to point, until by the
middle of July he was in the vicinity of Atlanta, having during his
advance made only one serious front attack, in which he met a costly
repulse. His progress was by no means one of mere strategical manoeuver.
Sherman says that during the month of May, across nearly one hundred
miles of as difficult country as was ever fought over by civilized
armies, the fighting was continuous, almost daily, among trees and
bushes, on ground where one could rarely see one hundred yards ahead.

However skilful and meritorious may have been the retreat into which
Johnston had been forced, it was so unwelcome to the Richmond
authorities, and damaging to the Confederate cause, that about the
middle of July, Jefferson Davis relieved him, and appointed one of his
corps commanders, General J.B. Hood, in his place; whose personal
qualities and free criticism of his superior led them to expect a change
from a defensive to an aggressive campaign. Responding to this
expectation, Hood almost immediately took the offensive, and made
vigorous attacks on the Union positions, but met disastrous repulse, and
found himself fully occupied in guarding the defenses of Atlanta. For
some weeks each army tried ineffectual methods to seize the other's
railroad communications. But toward the end of August, Sherman's flank
movements gained such a hold of the Macon railroad at Jonesboro,
twenty-five miles south of Atlanta, as to endanger Hood's security; and
when, in addition, a detachment sent to dislodge Sherman was defeated,
Hood had no alternative but to order an evacuation. On September 3,
Sherman telegraphed to Washington:

"Atlanta is ours, and fairly won.... Since May 5 we have been in one
constant battle or skirmish, and need rest."

The fall of Atlanta was a heavy blow to the Confederates. They had,
during the war, transformed it into a city of mills, foundries, and
workshops, from which they drew supplies, ammunition, and equipments,
and upon which they depended largely for the manufacture and repair of
arms. But perhaps even more important than the military damage to the
South resulting from its capture, was its effect upon Northern politics.
Until then the presidential campaign in progress throughout the free
States was thought by many to involve fluctuating chances under the
heavy losses and apparently slow progress of both eastern and western
armies. But the capture of Atlanta instantly infused new zeal and
confidence among the Union voters, and from that time onward, the
reëlection of Mr. Lincoln was placed beyond reasonable doubt.

Sherman personally entered the city on September 8, and took prompt
measures to turn it into a purely military post. He occupied only the
inner line of its formidable defenses, but so strengthened them as to
make the place practically impregnable. He proceeded at once to remove
all its non-combatant inhabitants with their effects, arranging a truce
with Hood under which he furnished transportation to the south for all
those whose sympathies were with the Confederate cause, and sent to the
north those who preferred that destination. Hood raised a great outcry
against what he called such barbarity and cruelty, but Sherman replied
that war is war, and if the rebel families wanted peace they and their
relatives must stop fighting.

"God will judge us in due time, and he will pronounce whether it be more
humane to fight with a town full of women, and the families of a brave
people at our back, or to remove them in time to places of safety among
their own friends and people."

Up to his occupation of Atlanta, Sherman's further plans had neither
been arranged by Grant nor determined by himself, and for a while
remained somewhat undecided. For the time being, he was perfectly secure
in the new stronghold he had captured and completed. But his supplies
depended upon a line of about one hundred and twenty miles of railroad
from Atlanta to Chattanooga, and very near one hundred and fifty miles
more from Chattanooga to Nashville. Hood, held at bay at Lovejoy's
Station, was not strong enough to venture a direct attack or undertake a
siege, but chose the more feasible policy of operating systematically
against Sherman's long line of communications. In the course of some
weeks both sides grew weary of the mere waste of time and military
strength consumed in attacking and defending railroad stations, and
interrupting and reëstablishing the regularities of provision trains.
Toward the end of September, Jefferson Davis visited Hood, and in
rearranging some army assignments, united Hood's and an adjoining
Confederate department under the command of Beauregard; partly with a
view to adding the counsels of the latter to the always energetic and
bold, but sometimes rash, military judgment of Hood.

Between these two Hood's eccentric and futile operations against
Sherman's communications were gradually shaded off into a plan for a
Confederate invasion of Tennessee. Sherman, on his part, finally matured
his judgment that instead of losing a thousand men a month merely
defending the railroad, without other advantage, he would divide his
army, send back a portion of it under the command of General Thomas to
defend the State of Tennessee against the impending invasion; and,
abandoning the whole line of railroad from Chattanooga to Atlanta, and
cutting entirely loose from his base of supplies, march with the
remainder to the sea; living upon the country, and "making the interior
of Georgia feel the weight of war." Grant did not immediately fall in
with Sherman's suggestion; and Sherman prudently waited until the
Confederate plan of invading Tennessee became further developed. It
turned out as he hoped and expected. Having gradually ceased his raids
upon the railroad, Hood, by the end of October, moved westward to
Tuscumbia on the Tennessee River, where he gathered an army of about
thirty-five thousand, to which a cavalry force under Forrest of ten
thousand more was soon added.

Under Beauregard's orders to assume the offensive, he began a rapid
march northward, and for a time with a promise of cutting off some
advanced Union detachments. We need not follow the fortunes of this
campaign further than to state that the Confederate invasion of
Tennessee ended in disastrous failure. It was severely checked at the
battle of Franklin on November 30; and when, in spite of this reverse,
Hood pushed forward and set his army down before Nashville as if for
attack or siege, the Union army, concentrated and reinforced to about
fifty-five thousand, was ready. A severe storm of rain and sleet held
the confronting armies in forced immobility for a week; but on the
morning of December 15, 1864, General Thomas moved forward to an attack
in which on that and the following day he inflicted so terrible a defeat
upon his adversary, that the Confederate army not only retreated in rout
and panic, but soon literally went to pieces in disorganization, and
disappeared as a military entity from the western conflict.

Long before this, Sherman had started on his famous march to the sea.
His explanations to Grant were so convincing, that the general-in-chief,
on November 2, telegraphed him: "Go on as you propose." In anticipation
of this permission, he had been preparing himself ever since Hood left
him a clear path by starting westward on his campaign of invasion. From
Atlanta, he sent back his sick and wounded and surplus stores to
Chattanooga, withdrew the garrisons, burned the bridges, broke up the
railroad, and destroyed the mills, foundries, shops and public buildings
in Atlanta. With sixty thousand of his best soldiers, and sixty-five
guns, he started on November 15 on his march of three hundred miles to
the Atlantic. They carried with them twenty days' supplies of
provisions, five days' supply of forage, and two hundred rounds of
ammunition, of which each man carried forty rounds.

With perfect confidence in their leader, with perfect trust in each
others' valor, endurance and good comradeship, in the fine weather of
the Southern autumn, and singing the inspiring melody of "John Brown's
Body," Sherman's army began its "marching through Georgia" as gaily as
if it were starting on a holiday. And, indeed, it may almost be said
such was their experience in comparison with the hardships of war which
many of these veterans had seen in their varied campaigning. They
marched as nearly as might be in four parallel columns abreast, making
an average of about fifteen miles a day. Kilpatrick's admirable cavalry
kept their front and flanks free from the improvised militia and
irregular troopers of the enemy. Carefully organized foraging parties
brought in their daily supply of miscellaneous provisions--corn, meat,
poultry, and sweet potatoes, of which the season had yielded an abundant
harvest along their route.

The Confederate authorities issued excited proclamations and orders,
calling on the people to "fly to arms," and to "assail the invader in
front, flank, and rear, by night and by day." But no rising occurred
that in any way checked the constant progress of the march. The Southern
whites were, of course, silent and sullen, but the negroes received the
Yankees with demonstrations of welcome and good will, and in spite of
Sherman's efforts, followed in such numbers as to embarrass his
progress. As he proceeded, he destroyed the railroads by filling up
cuts, burning ties, heating the rails red hot and twisting them around
trees and into irreparable spirals. Threatening the principal cities to
the right and left, he marched skilfully between and past them.

He reached the outer defenses of Savannah on December 10, easily driving
before him about ten thousand of the enemy. On December 13, he stormed
Fort McAllister, and communicated with the Union fleet through Ossabaw
Sound, reporting to Washington that his march had been most agreeable,
that he had not lost a wagon on the trip, that he had utterly destroyed
over two hundred miles of rails, and consumed stores and provisions that
were essential to Lee's and Hood's armies. With pardonable exultation
General Sherman telegraphed to President Lincoln on December 22:

"I beg to present to you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah, with
one hundred and fifty heavy guns and plenty of ammunition. Also about
twenty-five thousand bales of cotton."

He had reason to be gratified with the warm acknowledgment which
President Lincoln wrote him in the following letter:

"MY DEAR GENERAL SHERMAN: Many, many thanks for your Christmas gift, the
capture of Savannah. When you were about leaving Atlanta for the
Atlantic coast I was anxious, if not fearful; but feeling that you were
the better judge, and remembering that 'nothing risked, nothing gained,'
I did not interfere. Now, the undertaking being a success, the honor is
all yours, for I believe none of us went farther than to acquiesce. And
taking the work of General Thomas into the count, as it should be taken,
it is, indeed, a great success. Not only does it afford the obvious and
immediate military advantages, but in showing to the world that your
army could be divided, putting the stronger part to an important new
service, and yet leaving enough to vanquish the old opposing force of
the whole--Hood's army--it brings those who sat in darkness to see a
great light. But what next? I suppose it will be safe if I leave General
Grant and yourself to decide. Please make my grateful acknowledgments to
your whole army, officers and men."

It was again General Sherman who planned and decided the next step of
the campaign. Grant sent him orders to fortify a strong post, leave his
artillery and cavalry, and bring his infantry by sea to unite with the
Army of the Potomac before Petersburg. Greatly to Sherman's
satisfaction, this order was soon revoked, and he was informed that
Grant wished "the whole matter of your future actions should be left
entirely to your own discretion." In Sherman's mind, the next steps to
be taken were "as clear as daylight." The progress of the war in the
West could now be described step by step, and its condition and probable
course be estimated with sound judgment. The opening of the Mississippi
River in the previous year had cut off from the rebellion the vast
resources west of the great river. Sherman's Meridian campaign in
February had rendered useless the railroads of the State of Mississippi.
The capture of Atlanta and the march to the sea had ruined the railroads
of Georgia, cutting off another huge slice of Confederate resources.
The battles of Franklin and Nashville had practically annihilated the
principal Confederate army in the West. Sherman now proposed to Grant
that he would subject the two Carolinas to the same process, by marching
his army through the heart of them from Savannah to Raleigh.

"The game is then up with Lee," he confidently added, "unless he comes
out of Richmond, avoids you, and fights me, in which case I should
reckon on your being on his heels.... If you feel confident that you can
whip Lee outside of his intrenchments, I feel equally confident that I
can handle him in the open country."

Grant promptly adopted the plan, and by formal orders directed Sherman
to execute it. Several minor western expeditions were organized to
contribute to its success. The Union fleet on the coast was held in
readiness to coöperate as far as possible with Sherman's advance, and to
afford him a new base of supply, if, at some suitable point he should
desire to establish communications with it. When, in the middle of
January, 1865, a naval expedition captured Fort Fisher at the mouth of
Cape Fear River, an army corps under General Schofield was brought east
from Thomas's Army of the Tennessee, and sent by sea to the North
Carolina coast to penetrate into the interior and form a junction with
Sherman when he should arrive.

Having had five weeks for rest and preparation, Sherman began the third
stage of his campaign on February 1, with a total of sixty thousand men,
provisions for twenty days, forage for seven, and a full supply of
ammunition for a great battle. This new undertaking proved a task of
much greater difficulty and severer hardship than his march to the sea.
Instead of the genial autumn weather, the army had now to face the
wintry storms that blew in from the neighboring coast. Instead of the
dry Georgia uplands, his route lay across a low sandy country cut by
rivers with branches at right angles to his line of march, and bordered
by broad and miry swamps. But this was an extraordinary army, which
faced exposure, labor and peril with a determination akin to contempt.
Here were swamps and water-courses to be waded waist deep; endless miles
of corduroy road to be laid and relaid as course after course sank into
the mud under the heavy army wagons; frequent head-water channels of
rivers to be bridged; the lines of railroad along their route to be torn
up and rendered incapable of repair; food to be gathered by foraging;
keeping up, meanwhile a daily average of ten or twelve miles of
marching. Under such conditions, Sherman's army made a mid-winter march
of four hundred and twenty-five miles in fifty days, crossing five
navigable rivers, occupying three important cities, and rendering the
whole railroad system of South Carolina useless to the enemy.

The ten to fifteen thousand Confederates with which General Hardee had
evacuated Savannah and retreated to Charleston could, of course, oppose
no serious opposition to Sherman's march. On the contrary, when Sherman
reached Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, on February 16, Hardee
evacuated Charleston, which had been defended for four long years
against every attack of a most powerful Union fleet, and where the most
ingenious siege-works and desperate storming assault had failed to wrest
Fort Wagner from the enemy. But though Charleston fell without a battle,
and was occupied by the Union troops on the eighteenth, the destructive
hand of war was at last heavily laid upon her. The Confederate
government pertinaciously adhered to the policy of burning accumulations
of cotton to prevent it falling into Union hands; and the supply
gathered in Charleston to be sent abroad by blockade runners, having
been set on fire by the evacuating Confederate officials, the flames not
only spread to the adjoining buildings, but grew into a great
conflagration that left the heart of the city a waste of blackened walls
to illustrate the folly of the first secession ordinance. Columbia, the
capital, underwent the same fate, to even a broader extent. Here the
cotton had been piled in a narrow street, and when the torch was applied
by similar Confederate orders, the rising wind easily floated the
blazing flakes to the near roofs of buildings. On the night following
Sherman's entrance the wind rose to a gale, and neither the efforts of
the citizens, nor the ready help of Sherman's soldiers were able to
check the destruction. Confederate writers long nursed the accusation
that it was the Union army which burned the city as a deliberate act of
vengeance. Contrary proof is furnished by the orders of Sherman, leaving
for the sufferers a generous supply of food, as well as by the careful
investigation by the mixed commission on American and British claims,
under the treaty of Washington.

Still pursuing his march, Sherman arrived at Cheraw March 3, and opened
communication with General Terry, who had advanced from Fort Fisher to
Wilmington. Hitherto, his advance had been practically unopposed. But
now he learned that General Johnston had once more been placed in
command of the Confederate forces, and was collecting an army near
Raleigh, North Carolina. Well knowing the ability of this general,
Sherman became more prudent in his movements. But Johnston was able to
gather a force of only twenty-five or thirty thousand men, of which the
troops Hardee brought from Charleston formed the nucleus; and the two
minor engagements on March 16 and 19 did little to impede Sherman's
advance to Goldsboro, where he arrived on March 23, forming a junction
with the Union army sent by sea under Schofield, that had reached the
same point the previous day.

The third giant stride of Sherman's great campaign was thus happily
accomplished. His capture of Atlanta, his march to the sea and capture
of Savannah, his progress through the Carolinas, and the fall of
Charleston, formed an aggregate expedition covering nearly a thousand
miles, with military results that rendered rebellion powerless in the
central States of the Southern Confederacy. Several Union cavalry raids
had accomplished similar destruction of Confederate resources in Alabama
and the country bordering on East Tennessee. Military affairs were
plainly in a condition which justified Sherman in temporarily devolving
his command on General Schofield and hurrying by sea to make a brief
visit for urgent consultation with General Grant at his headquarters
before Richmond and Petersburg.


Military Governors--Lincoln's Theory of Reconstruction--Congressional
Election in Louisiana--Letter to Military Governors--Letter to
Shepley--Amnesty Proclamation, December 8, 1863--Instructions to
Banks--Banks's Action in Louisiana--Louisiana Abolishes
Slavery--Arkansas Abolishes Slavery--Reconstruction in
Tennessee--Missouri Emancipation--Lincoln's Letter to Drake--Missouri
Abolishes Slavery--Emancipation in Maryland--Maryland Abolishes Slavery

To subdue the Confederate armies and establish order under martial law
was not the only task before President Lincoln. As rapidly as rebel
States or portions of States were occupied by Federal troops, it became
necessary to displace usurping Confederate officials and appoint in
their stead loyal State, county, and subordinate officers to restore the
administration of local civil law under the authority of the United
States. In western Virginia the people had spontaneously effected this
reform, first by repudiating the Richmond secession ordinance and
organizing a provisional State government, and, second, by adopting a
new constitution and obtaining admission to the Union as the new State
of West Virginia. In Missouri the State convention which refused to pass
a secession ordinance effected the same object by establishing a
provisional State government. In both these States the whole process of
what in subsequent years was comprehensively designated "reconstruction"
was carried on by popular local action, without any Federal initiative
or interference other than prompt Federal recognition and substantial
military support and protection.

But in other seceded States there was no such groundwork of loyal
popular authority upon which to rebuild the structure of civil
government. Therefore, when portions of Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas,
and North Carolina came under Federal control, President Lincoln, during
the first half of 1862, appointed military governors to begin the work
of temporary civil administration. He had a clear and consistent
constitutional theory under which this could be done. In his first
inaugural he announced the doctrine that "the union of these States is
perpetual" and "unbroken." His special message to Congress on July 4,
1861, added the supplementary declaration that "the States have their
status in the Union, and they have no other legal status." The same
message contained the further definition:

"The people of Virginia have thus allowed this giant insurrection to
make its nest within her borders; and this government has no choice left
but to deal with it where it finds it. And it has the less regret, as
the loyal citizens have, in due form, claimed its protection. Those
loyal citizens this government is bound to recognize and protect, as
being Virginia."

The action of Congress entirely conformed to this theory. That body
admitted to seats senators and representatives from the provisional
State governments of West Virginia and Missouri; and also allowed
Senator Andrew Johnson of Tennessee to retain his seat, and admitted
Horace Maynard and Andrew J. Clements as representatives from the same
State, though since their election Tennessee had undergone the usual
secession usurpation, and had as yet organized no loyal provisional

The progress of the Union armies was so far checked during the second
half of 1862, that Military Governor Phelps, appointed for Arkansas, did
not assume his functions; and Military Governor Stanley wielded but
slight authority in North Carolina. Senator Andrew Johnson, appointed
military governor of Tennessee, established himself at Nashville, the
capital, and, though Union control of Tennessee fluctuated greatly, he
was able, by appointing loyal State and county officers, to control the
administration of civil government in considerable districts, under
substantial Federal jurisdiction.

In the State of Louisiana the process of restoring Federal authority was
carried on a step farther, owing largely to the fact that the territory
occupied by the Union army, though quite limited, comprising only the
city of New Orleans and a few adjacent parishes, was more securely held,
and its hostile frontier less disturbed. It soon became evident that
considerable Union sentiment yet existed in the captured city and
surrounding districts, and when some of the loyal citizens began to
manifest impatience at the restraints of martial law, President Lincoln
in a frank letter pointed the way to a remedy:

"The people of Louisiana," he wrote under date of July 28, 1862, "who
wish protection to person and property, have but to reach forth their
hands and take it. Let them in good faith reinaugurate the national
authority and set up a State government conforming thereto under the
Constitution. They know how to do it, and can have the protection of the
army while doing it. The army will be withdrawn so soon as such State
government can dispense with its presence, and the people of the State
can then, upon the old constitutional terms, govern themselves to their
own liking."

At about this date there occurred the serious military crisis in
Virginia; and the battles of the Peninsula, of the second Bull Run, and
of Antietam necessarily compelled the postponement of minor questions.
But during this period the President's policy on the slavery question
reached its development and solution, and when, on September 22, he
issued his preliminary proclamation of emancipation, it also paved the
way for a further defining of his policy of reconstruction.

That proclamation announced the penalty of military emancipation against
all States in rebellion on the succeeding first day of January; but also
provided that if the people thereof were represented in Congress by
properly elected members, they should be deemed not in rebellion, and
thereby escape the penalty. Wishing now to prove the sincerity of what
he said in the Greeley letter, that his paramount object was to save the
Union, and not either to save or destroy slavery, he wrote a circular
letter to the military governors and commanders in Louisiana, Tennessee,
and Arkansas, instructing them to permit and aid the people within the
districts held by them to hold elections for members of Congress, and
perhaps a legislature, State officers, and United States senators.

"In all available ways," he wrote, "give the people a chance to express
their wishes at these elections. Follow forms of law as far as
convenient, but at all events get the expression of the largest number
of the people possible. All see how such action will connect with and
affect the proclamation of September 22. Of course the men elected
should be gentlemen of character, willing to swear support to the
Constitution as of old, and known to be above reasonable suspicion of

But the President wished this to be a real and not a sham proceeding, as
he explained a month later in a letter to Governor Shepley:

"We do not particularly need members of Congress from there to enable us
to get along with legislation here. What we do want is the conclusive
evidence that respectable citizens of Louisiana are willing to be
members of Congress and to swear support to the Constitution, and that
other respectable citizens there are willing to vote for them and send
them. To send a parcel of Northern men here as representatives, elected,
as would be understood (and perhaps really so), at the point of the
bayonet, would be disgraceful and outrageous; and were I a member of
Congress here, I would vote against admitting any such man to a seat."

Thus instructed, Governor Shepley caused an election to be held in the
first and second congressional districts of Louisiana on December 3,
1862, at which members of Congress were chosen. No Federal office-holder
was a candidate, and about one half the usual vote was polled. The House
of Representatives admitted them to seats after full scrutiny, the
chairman of the committee declaring this "had every essential of a
regular election in a time of most profound peace, with the exception of
the fact that the proclamation was issued by the military instead of the
civil governor of Louisiana."

Military affairs were of such importance and absorbed so much attention
during the year 1863, both at Washington and at the headquarters of the
various armies, that the subject of reconstruction was of necessity
somewhat neglected. The military governor of Louisiana indeed ordered a
registration of loyal voters, about the middle of June, for the purpose
of organizing a loyal State government; but its only result was to
develop an inevitable antagonism and contest between conservatives who
desired that the old constitution of Louisiana prior to the rebellion
should be revived, by which the institution of slavery as then existing
would be maintained, and the free-State party which demanded that an
entirely new constitution be framed and adopted, in which slavery should
be summarily abolished. The conservatives asked President Lincoln to
adopt their plan. While the President refused this, he in a letter to
General Banks dated August 5, 1863, suggested the middle course of
gradual emancipation.

"For my own part," he wrote, "I think I shall not, in any event, retract
the emancipation proclamation; nor, as Executive, ever return to slavery
any person who is freed by the terms of that proclamation, or by any of
the acts of Congress. If Louisiana shall send members to Congress, their
admission to seats will depend, as you know, upon the respective houses
and not upon the President."

"I would be glad for her to make a new constitution recognizing the
emancipation proclamation and adopting emancipation in those parts of
the State to which the proclamation does not apply. And while she is at
it, I think it would not be objectionable for her to adopt some
practical system by which the two races could gradually live themselves
out of their old relation to each other, and both come out better
prepared for the new. Education for young blacks should be included in
the plan. After all, the power or element of 'contract' may be
sufficient for this probationary period, and by its simplicity and
flexibility may be the better."

During the autumn months the President's mind dwelt more and more on
the subject of reconstruction, and he matured a general plan which he
laid before Congress in his annual message to that body on December 8,
1863. He issued on the same day a proclamation of amnesty, on certain
conditions, to all persons in rebellion except certain specified
classes, who should take a prescribed oath of allegiance. The
proclamation further provided that whenever a number of persons so
amnestied in any rebel State, equal to one tenth the vote cast at the
presidential election of 1860, should "reëstablish a State government
which shall be republican, and in no wise contravening said oath," such
would be recognized as the true government of the State. The annual
message discussed and advocated the plan at length, but also added:
"Saying that reconstruction will be accepted if presented in a specified
way, it is not said it will never be accepted in any other way."

This plan of reconstructing what came to be called "ten percent States,"
met much opposition in Congress, and that body, reversing its action in
former instances, long refused admission to members and senators from
States similarly organized; but the point needs no further mention here.

A month before the amnesty proclamation the President had written to
General Banks, expressing his great disappointment that the
reconstruction in Louisiana had been permitted to fall in abeyance by
the leading Union officials there, civil and military.

"I do, however," he wrote, "urge both you and them to lose no more time.
Governor Shepley has special instructions from the War Department. I
wish him--these gentlemen and others coöperating--without waiting for
more territory, to go to work and give me a tangible nucleus which the
remainder of the State may rally around as fast as it can, and which I
can at once recognize and sustain as the true State government."

He urged that such reconstruction should have in view a new free-State
constitution, for, said he:

"If a few professedly loyal men shall draw the disloyal about them, and
colorably set up a State government repudiating the emancipation
proclamation and reëstablishing slavery, I cannot recognize or sustain
their work.... I have said, and say again, that if a new State
government, acting in harmony with this government and consistently with
general freedom, shall think best to adopt a reasonable temporary
arrangement in relation to the landless and houseless freed people, I do
not object; but my word is out to be for and not against them on the
question of their permanent freedom."

General Banks in reply excused his inaction by explaining that the
military governor and others had given him to understand that they were
exclusively charged with the work of reconstruction in Louisiana. To
this the President rejoined under date of December 24, 1863:

"I have all the while intended you to be master, as well in regard to
reorganizing a State government for Louisiana as in regard to the
military matters of the department, and hence my letters on
reconstruction have nearly, if not quite, all been addressed to you. My
error has been that it did not occur to me that Governor Shepley or any
one else would set up a claim to act independently of you.... I now
distinctly tell you that you are master of all, and that I wish you to
take the case as you find it, and give us a free-State reorganization of
Louisiana in the shortest possible time."

Under this explicit direction of the President, and basing his action
on martial law as the fundamental law of the State, the general caused a
governor and State officials to be elected on February 22, 1864. To
override the jealousy and quarrels of both the conservative and
free-State parties, he set out in his proclamation that the officials to
be chosen should--

"Until others are appointed by competent authority, constitute the civil
government of the State, under the constitution and laws of Louisiana,
except so much of the said constitution and laws as recognize, regulate,
or relate to slavery; which, being inconsistent with the present
condition of public affairs, and plainly inapplicable to any class of
persons now existing within its limits, must be suspended, and they are
therefore and hereby declared to be inoperative and void."

The newly elected governor was inaugurated on March 4, with imposing
public ceremonies, and the President also invested him "with the powers
exercised hitherto by the military governor of Louisiana." General Banks
further caused delegates to a State convention to be chosen, who, in a
session extending from April 6 to July 25, perfected and adopted a new
constitution, which was again adopted by popular vote on September 5
following. General Banks reported the constitution to be "one of the
best ever penned.... It abolishes slavery in the State, and forbids the
legislature to enact any law recognizing property in man. The
emancipation is instantaneous and absolute, without condition or
compensation, and nearly unanimous."

The State of Arkansas had been forced into rebellion by military
terrorism, and remained under Confederate domination only because the
Union armies could afford the latent loyal sentiment of the State no
effective support until the fall of Vicksburg and the opening of the
Mississippi. After that decisive victory, General Steele marched a
Union column of about thirteen thousand from Helena to Little Rock, the
capital, which surrendered to him on the evening of September 10, 1863.
By December, eight regiments of Arkansas citizens had been formed for
service in the Union army; and, following the amnesty proclamation of
December 8, the reorganization of a loyal State government was speedily
brought about, mainly by spontaneous popular action, of course under the
direction and with the assistance of General Steele.

In response to a petition, President Lincoln sent General Steele on
January 20, 1864, a letter repeating substantially the instructions he
had given General Banks for Louisiana. Before these could be carried
out, popular action had assembled at Little Rock on January 8, 1864, a
formal delegate convention, composed of forty-four delegates who claimed
to represent twenty-two out of the fifty-four counties of the State. On
January 22 this convention adopted an amended constitution which
declared the act of secession null and void, abolished slavery
immediately and unconditionally, and wholly repudiated the Confederate
debt. The convention appointed a provisional State government, and under
its schedule an election was held on March 14, 1864. During the three
days on which the polls were kept open, under the orders of General
Steele, who by the President's suggestion adopted the convention
program, a total vote of 12,179 was cast for the constitution, and only
226 against it; while the provisional governor was also elected for a
new term, together with members of Congress and a legislature which in
due time chose United States senators. By this time Congress had
manifested its opposition to the President's plan, but Mr. Lincoln stood
firm, and on June 29 wrote to General Steele:

"I understand that Congress declines to admit to seats the persons sent
as senators and representatives from Arkansas. These persons apprehend
that in consequence you may not support the new State government there
as you otherwise would. My wish is that you give that government and the
people there the same support and protection that you would if the
members had been admitted, because in no event, nor in any view of the
case, can this do any harm, while it will be the best you can do toward
suppressing the rebellion."

While Military Governor Andrew Johnson had been the earliest to begin
the restoration of loyal Federal authority in the State of Tennessee,
the course of campaign and battle in that State delayed its completion
to a later period than in the others. The invasion of Tennessee by the
Confederate General Bragg in the summer of 1862, and the long delay of
the Union General Rosecrans to begin an active campaign against him
during the summer of 1863, kept civil reorganization in a very uncertain
and chaotic condition. When at length Rosecrans advanced and occupied
Chattanooga, President Lincoln deemed it a propitious time to vigorously
begin reorganization, and under date of September 11, 1863, he wrote the
military governor emphatic suggestions that:

"The reinauguration must not be such as to give control of the State and
its representation in Congress to the enemies of the Union, driving its
friends there into political exile.... You must have it otherwise. Let
the reconstruction be the work of such men only as can be trusted for
the Union. Exclude all others; and trust that your government so
organized will be recognized here as being the one of republican form to
be guaranteed to the State, and to be protected against invasion and
domestic violence. It is something on the question of time to remember
that it cannot be known who is next to occupy the position I now hold,
nor what he will do. I see that you have declared in favor of
emancipation in Tennessee, for which, may God bless you. Get
emancipation into your new State government--constitution--and there
will be no such word as fail for your case."

In another letter of September 19, the President sent the governor
specific authority to execute the scheme outlined in his letter of
advice; but no substantial success had yet been reached in the process
of reconstruction in Tennessee during the year 1864, when the
Confederate army under Hood turned northward from Atlanta to begin its
third and final invasion of the State. This once more delayed all work
of reconstruction until the Confederate army was routed and dispersed by
the battle of Nashville on December 15, 1864. Previous popular action
had called a State convention, which, taking immediate advantage of the
expulsion of the enemy, met in Nashville on January 9, 1865, in which
fifty-eight counties and some regiments were represented by about four
hundred and sixty-seven delegates. After six days of deliberation the
convention adopted a series of amendments to the constitution, the main
ordinance of which provided:

"That slavery and involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for
crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, are hereby
forever abolished and prohibited throughout the State."

These amendments were duly adopted at a popular election held on
February 22, and the complete organization of a loyal State government
under them followed in due course.

The State of Missouri needed no reconstruction. It has already been said
that her local affairs were administered by a provisional State
government instituted by the State convention chosen by popular election
before rebellion broke out. In this State, therefore, the institution of
slavery was suppressed by the direct action of the people, but not
without a long and bitter conflict of party factions and military
strife. There existed here two hostile currents of public opinion, one,
the intolerant pro-slavery prejudices of its rural population; the
other, the progressive and liberal spirit dominant in the city of St.
Louis, with its heavy German population, which, as far back as 1856, had
elected to Congress a candidate who boldly advocated gradual
emancipation: St. Louis, with outlying cities and towns, supplying
during the whole rebellion the dominating influence that held the State
in the Union, and at length transformed her from a slave to a free

Missouri suffered severely in the war, but not through important
campaigns or great battles. Persistent secession conspiracy, the Kansas
episodes of border strife, and secret orders of Confederate agents from
Arkansas instigating unlawful warfare, made Missouri a hotbed of
guerrilla uprisings and of relentless neighborhood feuds, in which armed
partizan conflict often degenerated into shocking barbarity, and the
pretense of war into the malicious execution of private vengeance.
President Lincoln drew a vivid picture of the chronic disorders in
Missouri in reply to complaints demanding the removal of General
Schofield from local military command:

"We are in civil war. In such cases there always is a main question; but
in this case that question is a perplexing compound--Union and slavery.
It thus becomes a question not of two sides merely, but of at least four
sides, even among those who are for the Union, saying nothing of those
who are against it. Thus, those who are for the Union _with_, but not
_without_, slavery--those for it _without_, but not _with_--those for it
_with_ or _without_, but prefer it _with_--and those for it _with or
without_, but prefer it _without_. Among these again is a subdivision of
those who are for _gradual_ but not for _immediate_, and those who are
for _immediate_, but not for _gradual_ extinction of slavery. It is easy
to conceive that all these shades of opinion, and even more, may be
sincerely entertained by honest and truthful men. Yet, all being for the
Union, by reason of these differences each will prefer a different way
of sustaining the Union. At once sincerity is questioned, and motives
are assailed. Actual war coming, blood grows hot, and blood is spilled.
Thought is forced from old channels into confusion. Deception breeds and
thrives. Confidence dies and universal suspicion reigns. Each man feels
an impulse to kill his neighbor, lest he be first killed by him. Revenge
and retaliation follow. And all this, as before said, may be among
honest men only. But this is not all. Every foul bird comes abroad and
every dirty reptile rises up. These add crime to confusion. Strong
measures deemed indispensable, but harsh at best, such men make worse by
maladministration. Murders for old grudges, and murders for pelf,
proceed under any cloak that will best cover for the occasion. These
causes amply account for what has occurred in Missouri, without
ascribing it to the weakness or wickedness of any general. The newspaper
files, those chroniclers of current events, will show that the evils now
complained of were quite as prevalent under Frémont, Hunter, Halleck,
and Curtis, as under Schofield.... I do not feel justified to enter
upon the broad field you present in regard to the political differences
between radicals and conservatives. From time to time I have done and
said what appeared to me proper to do and say. The public knows it all.
It obliges nobody to follow me, and I trust it obliges me to follow
nobody. The radicals and conservatives each agree with me in some things
and disagree in others. I could wish both to agree with me in all
things; for then they would agree with each other, and would be too
strong for any foe from any quarter. They, however, choose to do
otherwise, and I do not question their right. I, too, shall do what
seems to be my duty. I hold whoever commands in Missouri, or elsewhere,
responsible to me, and not to either radicals or conservatives. It is my
duty to hear all; but at last I must, within my sphere, judge what to do
and what to forbear."

It is some consolation to history, that out of this blood and travail
grew the political regeneration of the State. Slavery and emancipation
never gave each other a moment's truce. The issue was raised to an acute
stage by Frémont's proclamation in August, 1861. Though that ill-advised
measure was revoked by President Lincoln, the friction and irritation of
war kept it alive, and in the following year a member of the Missouri
State convention offered a bill to accept and apply President Lincoln's
plan of compensated abolishment. Further effort was made in this
direction in Congress, where in January, 1863, the House passed a bill
appropriating ten million dollars, and in February, the Senate another
bill appropriating fifteen million dollars to aid compensated
abolishment in Missouri. But the stubborn opposition of three
pro-slavery Missouri members of the House prevented action on the latter
bill or any compromise.

The question, however, continually grew among the people of Missouri,
and made such advance that parties, accepting the main point as already
practically decided at length only divided upon the mode of procedure
The conservatives wanted the work to be done by the old State
convention, the radicals desired to submit it to a new convention fresh
from the people. Legislative agreement having failed, the provisional
governor called the old State convention together. The convention
leaders who controlled that body inquired of the President whether he
would sustain their action. To this he made answer in a letter to
Schofield dated June 22, 1863:

"Your despatch, asking in substance whether, in case Missouri shall
adopt gradual emancipation, the general government will protect
slave-owners in that species of property during the short time it shall
be permitted by the State to exist within it, has been received.
Desirous as I am that emancipation shall be adopted by Missouri, and
believing as I do that gradual can be made better than immediate for
both black and white, except when military necessity changes the case,
my impulse is to say that such protection would be given. I cannot know
exactly what shape an act of emancipation may take. If the period from
the initiation to the final end should be comparatively short, and the
act should prevent persons being sold during that period into more
lasting slavery, the whole would be easier. I do not wish to pledge the
general government to the affirmative support of even temporary slavery
beyond what can be fairly claimed under the Constitution. I suppose,
however, this is not desired, but that it is desired for the military
force of the United States, while in Missouri, to not be used in
subverting the temporarily reserved legal rights in slaves during the
progress of emancipation. This I would desire also."

Proceeding with its work, the old State convention, which had hitherto
made a most honorable record, neglected a great opportunity. It indeed
adopted an ordinance of gradual emancipation on July 1, 1863, but of
such an uncertain and dilatory character, that public opinion in the
State promptly rejected it. By the death of the provisional governor on
January 31, 1864, the conservative party of Missouri lost its most
trusted leader, and thereafter the radicals succeeded to the political
power of the State. At the presidential election of 1864, that party
chose a new State convention, which met in St. Louis on January 6, 1865,
and on the sixth day of its session (January 11) formally adopted an
ordinance of immediate emancipation.

Maryland, like Missouri, had no need of reconstruction. Except for the
Baltimore riot and the arrest of her secession legislature during the
first year of the war, her State government continued its regular
functions. But a strong popular undercurrent of virulent secession
sympathy among a considerable minority of her inhabitants was only held
in check by the military power of the Union, and for two years
emancipation found no favor in the public opinion of the State. Her
representatives, like those of most other border States, coldly refused
President Lincoln's earnest plea to accept compensated abolishment; and
a bill in Congress to give Maryland ten million dollars for that object
was at once blighted by the declaration of one of her leading
representatives that Maryland did not ask for it. Nevertheless, the
subject could no more be ignored there than in other States; and after
the President's emancipation proclamation an emancipation party
developed itself in Maryland.

There was no longer any evading the practical issue, when, by the
President's direction, the Secretary of War issued a military order,
early in October, 1863, regulating the raising of colored troops in
certain border States, which decreed that slaves might be enlisted
without consent of their owners, but provided compensation in such
cases. At the November election of that year the emancipation party of
Maryland elected its ticket by an overwhelming majority, and a
legislature that enacted laws under which a State convention was chosen
to amend the constitution. Of the delegates elected on April 6, 1864,
sixty-one were emancipationists, and only thirty-five opposed.

After two months' debate this convention by nearly two thirds adopted an

"That hereafter in this State there shall be neither slavery nor
involuntary servitude except in punishment of crime whereof the party
shall have been duly convicted; and all persons held to service or labor
as slaves are hereby declared free."

The decisive test of a popular vote accepting the amended constitution
as a whole, remained, however, yet to be undergone. President Lincoln
willingly complied with a request to throw his official voice and
influence in favor of the measure, and wrote, on October 10, 1864:

"A convention of Maryland has framed a new constitution for the State; a
public meeting is called for this evening at Baltimore to aid in
securing its ratification by the people; and you ask a word from me for
the occasion. I presume the only feature of the instrument about which
there is serious controversy is that which provides for the extinction
of slavery. It needs not to be a secret, and I presume it is no secret,
that I wish success to this provision. I desire it on every
consideration. I wish all men to be free. I wish the material prosperity
of the already free, which I feel sure the extinction of slavery would
bring. I wish to see in process of disappearing that only thing which
ever could bring this nation to civil war. I attempt no argument.
Argument upon the question is already exhausted by the abler, better
informed, and more immediately interested sons of Maryland herself. I
only add that I shall be gratified exceedingly if the good people of the
State shall, by their votes, ratify the new constitution."

At the election which was held on October 12 and 13, stubborn Maryland
conservatism, whose roots reached far back to the colonial days, made
its last desperate stand, and the constitution was ratified by a
majority of only three hundred and seventy-five votes out of a total of
nearly sixty thousand. But the result was accepted as decisive, and in
due time the governor issued his proclamation, declaring the new
constitution legally adopted.


Shaping of the Presidential Campaign--Criticisms of Mr. Lincoln--Chase's
Presidential Ambitions--The Pomeroy Circular--Cleveland
Convention--Attempt to Nominate Grant--Meeting of Baltimore
Convention--Lincoln's Letter to Schurz--Platform of Republican
Convention--Lincoln Renominated--Refuses to Indicate Preference for
Vice-President--Johnson Nominated for Vice-President--Lincoln's Speech
to Committee of Notification--Reference to Mexico in his Letter of
Acceptance--The French in Mexico

The final shaping of the campaign, the definition of the issues, the
wording of the platforms, and selection of the candidates, had grown
much more out of national politics than out of mere party combination or
personal intrigues. The success of the war, and fate of the Union, of
course dominated every other consideration; and next to this the
treatment of the slavery question became in a hundred forms almost a
direct personal interest. Mere party feeling, which had utterly vanished
for a few months in the first grand uprising of the North, had been once
more awakened by the first Bull Run defeat, and from that time onward
was heard in loud and constant criticism of Mr. Lincoln and the acts of
his supporters wherever they touched the institution of slavery. The
Democratic party, which had been allied with the Southern politicians in
the interests of that institution through so many decades, quite
naturally took up its habitual rôle of protest that slavery should
receive no hurt or damage from the incidents of war, where, in the
border States, it still had constitutional existence among loyal Union

On the other hand, among Republicans who had elected Mr. Lincoln, and
who, as a partizan duty, indorsed and sustained his measures, Frémont's
proclamation of military emancipation in the first year of the war
excited the over-hasty zeal of antislavery extremists, and developed a
small but very active faction which harshly denounced the President when
Mr. Lincoln revoked that premature and ill-considered measure. No matter
what the President subsequently did about slavery, the Democratic press
and partizans always assailed him for doing too much, while the Frémont
press and partizans accused him of doing too little.

Meanwhile, personal considerations were playing their minor, but not
unimportant parts. When McClellan was called to Washington, and during
all the hopeful promise of the great victories he was expected to win, a
few shrewd New York Democratic politicians grouped themselves about him,
and put him in training as the future Democratic candidate for
President; and the general fell easily into their plans and ambitions.
Even after he had demonstrated his military incapacity, when he had
reaped defeat instead of victory, and earned humiliation instead of
triumph, his partizan adherents clung to the desperate hope that though
they could not win applause for him as a conqueror, they might yet
create public sympathy in his behalf as a neglected and persecuted

The cabinets of Presidents frequently develop rival presidential
aspirants, and that of Mr. Lincoln was no exception. Considering the
strong men who composed it, the only wonder is that there was so little
friction among them. They disagreed constantly and heartily on minor
questions, both with Mr. Lincoln and with each other, but their great
devotion to the Union, coupled with his kindly forbearance, and the
clear vision which assured him mastery over himself and others, kept
peace and even personal affection in his strangely assorted official

The man who developed the most serious presidential aspirations was
Salmon P. Chase, his Secretary of the Treasury, who listened to and
actively encouraged the overtures of a small faction of the Republican
party which rallied about him at the end of the year 1863. Pure and
disinterested, and devoted with all his energies and powers to the cause
of the Union, he was yet singularly ignorant of current public thought,
and absolutely incapable of judging men in their true relations He
regarded himself as the friend of Mr. Lincoln and made strong
protestations to him and to others of this friendship, but he held so
poor an opinion of the President's intellect and character, compared
with his own, that he could not believe the people blind enough to
prefer the President to himself. He imagined that he did not covet
advancement, and was anxious only for the public good; yet, in the midst
of his enormous labors found time to write letters to every part of the
country, protesting his indifference to the presidency, but indicating
his willingness to accept it, and painting pictures so dark of the
chaotic state of affairs in the government, that the irresistible
inference was that only he could save the country. From the beginning
Mr. Lincoln had been aware of this quasi-candidacy, which continued all
through the winter Indeed, it was impossible to remain unconscious of
it, although he discouraged all conversation on the subject, and
refused to read letters relating to it. He had his own opinion of the
taste and judgment displayed by Mr. Chase in his criticisms of the
President and his colleagues in the cabinet, but he took no note of

"I have determined," he said, "to shut my eyes, so far as possible, to
everything of the sort. Mr. Chase makes a good secretary, and I shall
keep him where he is. If he becomes President, all right. I hope we may
never have a worse man."

And he went on appointing Mr. Chase's partizans and adherents to places
in the government. Although his own renomination was a matter in regard
to which he refused to talk much, even with intimate friends, he was
perfectly aware of the true drift of things. In capacity of appreciating
popular currents Chase was as a child beside him; and he allowed the
opposition to himself in his own cabinet to continue, without question
or remark, all the more patiently, because he knew how feeble it really

The movement in favor of Mr. Chase culminated in the month of February,
1864, in a secret circular signed by Senator Pomeroy of Kansas, and
widely circulated through the Union; which criticised Mr. Lincoln's
"tendency toward compromises and temporary expedients"; explained that
even if his reëlection were desirable, it was practically impossible in
the face of the opposition that had developed; and lauded Chase as the
statesman best fitted to rescue the country from present perils and
guard it against future ills. Of course copies of this circular soon
reached the White House, but Mr. Lincoln refused to look at them, and
they accumulated unread in the desk of his secretary. Finally, it got
into print, whereupon Mr. Chase wrote to the President to assure him he
had no knowledge of the letter before seeing it in the papers. To this
Mr. Lincoln replied:

"I was not shocked or surprised by the appearance of the letter, because
I had had knowledge of Mr. Pomeroy's committee, and of secret issues
which I supposed came from it, ... for several weeks. I have known just
as little of these things as my friends have allowed me to know.... I
fully concur with you that neither of us can be justly held responsible
for what our respective friends may do without our instigation or
countenance.... Whether you shall remain at the head of the Treasury
Department is a question which I will not allow myself to consider from
any standpoint other than my judgment of the public service, and, in
that view, I do not perceive occasion for a change."

Even before the President wrote this letter, Mr. Chase's candidacy had
passed out of sight. In fact, it never really existed save in the
imagination of the Secretary of the Treasury and a narrow circle of his
adherents. He was by no means the choice of the body of radicals who
were discontented with Mr. Lincoln because of his deliberation in
dealing with the slavery question, or of those others who thought he was
going entirely too fast and too far.

Both these factions, alarmed at the multiplying signs which foretold his
triumphant renomination, issued calls for a mass convention of the
people, to meet at Cleveland, Ohio, on May 31, a week before the
assembling of the Republican national convention at Baltimore, to unite
in a last attempt to stem the tide in his favor. Democratic newspapers
naturally made much of this, heralding it as a hopeless split in the
Republican ranks, and printing fictitious despatches from Cleveland
reporting that city thronged with influential and earnest delegates.
Far from this being the case, there was no crowd and still less
enthusiasm. Up to the very day of its meeting no place was provided for
the sessions of the convention, which finally came together in a small
hall whose limited capacity proved more than ample for both delegates
and spectators. Though organization was delayed nearly two hours in the
vain hope that more delegates would arrive, the men who had been counted
upon to give character to the gathering remained notably absent. The
delegates prudently refrained from counting their meager number, and
after preliminaries of a more or less farcical nature, voted for a
platform differing little from that afterward adopted at Baltimore,
listened to the reading of a vehement letter from Wendell Phillips
denouncing Mr. Lincoln's administration and counseling the choice of
Frémont for President, nominated that general by acclamation, with
General John Cochrane of New York for his running-mate, christened
themselves the "Radical Democracy," and adjourned.

The press generally greeted the convention and its work with a chorus of
ridicule, though certain Democratic newspapers, from motives harmlessly
transparent, gave it solemn and unmeasured praise. General Frémont,
taking his candidacy seriously, accepted the nomination, but three
months later, finding no response from the public, withdrew from the

At this fore-doomed Cleveland meeting a feeble attempt had been made by
the men who considered Mr. Lincoln too radical, to nominate General
Grant for President, instead of Frémont; but he had been denounced as a
Lincoln hireling, and his name unceremoniously swept aside. During the
same week another effort in the same direction was made in New York,
though the committee having the matter in charge made no public avowal
of its intention beforehand, merely calling a meeting to express the
gratitude of the country to the general for his signal services; and
even inviting Mr. Lincoln to take part in the proceedings. This he
declined to do, but wrote:

"I approve, nevertheless, whatever may tend to strengthen and sustain
General Grant and the noble armies now under his direction. My previous
high estimate of General Grant has been maintained and heightened by
what has occurred in the remarkable campaign he is now conducting, while
the magnitude and difficulty of the task before him do not prove less
than I expected. He and his brave soldiers are now in the midst of their
great trial, and I trust that at your meeting you will so shape your
good words that they may turn to men and guns, moving to his and their

With such gracious approval of the movement the meeting naturally fell
into the hands of the Lincoln men. General Grant neither at this time
nor at any other, gave the least countenance to the efforts which were
made to array him in political opposition to the President.

These various attempts to discredit the name of Mr. Lincoln and nominate
some one else in his place caused hardly a ripple on the great current
of public opinion. Death alone could have prevented his choice by the
Union convention. So absolute and universal was the tendency that most
of the politicians made no effort to direct or guide it; they simply
exerted themselves to keep in the van and not be overwhelmed. The
convention met on June 7, but irregular nominations of Mr. Lincoln for
President had begun as early as January 6, when the first State
convention of the year was held in New Hampshire.

From one end of the country to the other such spontaneous nominations
had joyously echoed his name. Only in Missouri did it fail of
overwhelming adhesion, and even in the Missouri Assembly the resolution
in favor of his renomination was laid upon the table by a majority of
only eight. The current swept on irresistibly throughout the spring. A
few opponents of Mr. Lincoln endeavored to postpone the meeting of the
national convention until September, knowing that their only hope lay in
some possible accident of the summer. But though supported by so
powerful an influence as the New York "Tribune," the National Committee
paid no attention to this appeal. Indeed, they might as well have
considered the request of a committee of prominent citizens to check an
impending thunderstorm.

Mr. Lincoln took no measures whatever to promote his own candidacy.
While not assuming airs of reluctance or bashfulness, he discouraged on
the part of strangers any suggestion as to his reëlection. Among his
friends he made no secret of his readiness to continue the work he was
engaged in, if such should be the general wish. "A second term would be
a great honor and a great labor, which together, perhaps, I would not
decline if tendered," he wrote Elihu B. Washburne. He not only opposed
no obstacle to the ambitions of Chase, but received warnings to beware
of Grant in the same serene manner, answering tranquilly, "If he takes
Richmond, let him have it." And he discouraged office-holders, civil or
military, who showed any special zeal in his behalf. To General Schurz,
who wrote asking permission to take an active part in the presidential
campaign, he replied:

"Allow me to suggest that if you wish to remain in the military service,
it is very dangerous for you to get temporarily out of it; because,
with a major-general once out, it is next to impossible for even the
President to get him in again.... Of course I would be very glad to have
your service for the country in the approaching political canvass; but I
fear we cannot properly have it without separating you from the
military." And in a later letter he added: "I perceive no objection to
your making a political speech when you are where one is to be made; but
quite surely, speaking in the North and fighting in the South at the
same time are not possible; nor could I be justified to detail any
officer to the political campaign during its continuance and then return
him to the army."

Not only did he firmly take this stand as to his own nomination, but
enforced it even more rigidly in cases where he learned that Federal
office-holders were working to defeat the return of certain Republican
congressmen. In several such instances he wrote instructions of which
the following is a type:

"Complaint is made to me that you are using your official power to
defeat Judge Kelley's renomination to Congress.... The correct
principle, I think, is that all our friends should have absolute freedom
of choice among our friends. My wish, therefore, is that you will do
just as you think fit with your own suffrage in the case, and not
constrain any of your subordinates to do other than as he thinks fit
with his."

He made, of course, no long speeches during the campaign, and in his
short addresses, at Sanitary Fairs, in response to visiting delegations,
or on similar occasions where custom and courtesy decreed that he must
say something, preserved his mental balance undisturbed, speaking
heartily and to the point, but skilfully avoiding the perils that beset
the candidate who talks.

When at last the Republican convention came together on June 7, 1864, it
had less to do than any other convention in our political history; for
its delegates were bound by a peremptory mandate. It was opened by brief
remarks from Senator Morgan of New York, whose significant statement
that the convention would fall far short of accomplishing its great
mission unless it declared for a Constitutional amendment prohibiting
African slavery, was loudly cheered. In their speeches on taking the
chair, both the temporary chairman, Rev. Robert J. Breckinridge of
Kentucky, and the permanent chairman, William Dennison of Ohio, treated
Mr. Lincoln's nomination as a foregone conclusion, and the applause
which greeted his name showed that the delegates did not resent this
disregard of customary etiquette. There were, in fact, but three tasks
before the convention--to settle the status of contesting delegations,
to agree upon a platform, and to nominate a candidate for

The platform declared in favor of crushing rebellion and maintaining the
integrity of the Union, commending the government's determination to
enter into no compromise with the rebels. It applauded President
Lincoln's patriotism and fidelity in the discharge of his duties, and
stated that only those in harmony with "these resolutions" ought to have
a voice in the administration of the government. This, while intended to
win support of radicals throughout the Union, was aimed particularly at
Postmaster General Blair, who had made many enemies. It approved all
acts directed against slavery; declared in favor of a constitutional
amendment forever abolishing it; claimed full protection of the laws of
war for colored troops; expressed gratitude to the soldiers and sailors
of the Union; pronounced in favor of encouraging foreign immigration;
of building a Pacific railway; of keeping inviolate the faith of the
nation, pledged to redeem the national debt; and vigorously reaffirmed
the Monroe Doctrine.

Then came the nominations. The only delay in registering the will of the
convention occurred as a consequence of the attempt of members to do it
by irregular and summary methods. When Mr. Delano of Ohio made the
customary motion to proceed to the nomination, Simon Cameron moved as a
substitute the renomination of Lincoln and Hamlin by acclamation. A long
wrangle ensued on the motion to lay this substitute on the table, which
was finally brought to an end by the cooler heads, who desired that
whatever opposition to Mr. Lincoln there might be in the convention
should have fullest opportunity of expression. The nominations,
therefore, proceeded by call of States in the usual way. The
interminable nominating speeches of recent years had not yet come into
fashion. B.C. Cook, the chairman of the Illinois delegation, merely

"The State of Illinois again presents to the loyal people of this nation
for President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln--God bless him!"

Others, who seconded the nomination, were equally brief. Every State
gave its undivided vote for Lincoln, with the exception of Missouri,
which cast its vote, under positive instructions, as the chairman
stated, for Grant. But before the result was announced, John F. Hume of
Missouri moved that Mr. Lincoln's nomination be declared unanimous. This
could not be done until the result of the balloting was made known--four
hundred and eighty-four for Lincoln, twenty-two for Grant. Missouri then
changed its vote, and the secretary read the grand total of five hundred
and six for Lincoln; the announcement being greeted with a storm of
cheering which lasted many minutes.

The principal names mentioned for the vice-presidency were Hannibal
Hamlin, the actual incumbent; Andrew Johnson of Tennessee; and Daniel S.
Dickinson of New York. Besides these, General L.H. Rousseau had the vote
of his own State--Kentucky. The radicals of Missouri favored General
B.F. Butler, who had a few scattered votes also from New England. Among
the principal candidates, however, the voters were equally enough
divided to make the contest exceedingly spirited and interesting.

For several days before the convention met Mr. Lincoln had been besieged
by inquiries as to his personal wishes in regard to his associate on the
ticket. He had persistently refused to give the slightest intimation of
such wish. His private secretary, Mr. Nicolay, who was at Baltimore in
attendance at the convention, was well acquainted with this attitude;
but at last, over-borne by the solicitations of the chairman of the
Illinois delegation, who had been perplexed at the advocacy of Joseph
Holt by Leonard Swett, one of the President's most intimate friends, Mr.
Nicolay wrote to Mr. Hay, who had been left in charge of the executive
office in his absence:

"Cook wants to know, confidentially, whether Swett is all right; whether
in urging Holt for Vice-President he reflects the President's wishes;
whether the President has any preference, either personal or on the
score of policy; or whether he wishes not even to interfere by a
confidential intimation.... Please get this information for me, if

The letter was shown to the President, who indorsed upon it:

"Swett is unquestionably all right. Mr. Holt is a good man, but I had
not heard or thought of him for V.P. Wish not to interfere about V.P.
Cannot interfere about platform. Convention must judge for itself."

This positive and final instruction was sent at once to Mr. Nicolay, and
by him communicated to the President's most intimate friends in the
convention. It was therefore with minds absolutely untrammeled by even
any knowledge of the President's wishes that the convention went about
its work of selecting his associate on the ticket. It is altogether
probable that the ticket of 1860 would have been nominated without a
contest had it not been for the general impression, in and out of the
convention, that it would be advisable to select as a candidate for the
vice-presidency a war Democrat. Mr. Dickinson, while not putting himself
forward as a candidate, had sanctioned the use of his name on the
special ground that his candidacy might attract to the support of the
Union party many Democrats who would have been unwilling to support a
ticket avowedly Republican; but these considerations weighed with still
greater force in favor of Mr. Johnson, who was not only a Democrat, but
also a citizen of a slave State. The first ballot showed that Mr.
Johnson had received two hundred votes, Mr. Hamlin one hundred and
fifty, and Mr. Dickinson one hundred and eight; and before the result
was announced almost the whole convention turned their votes to Johnson;
whereupon his nomination was declared unanimous. The work was so quickly
done that Mr. Lincoln received notice of the action of the convention
only a few minutes after the telegram announcing his own renomination
had reached him.

Replying next day to a committee of notification, he said in part:

"I will neither conceal my gratification nor restrain the expression of
my gratitude that the Union people, through their convention, in the
continued effort to save and advance the nation, have deemed me not
unworthy to remain in my present position. I know no reason to doubt
that I shall accept the nomination tendered and yet, perhaps I should
not declare definitely before reading and considering what is called the
platform. I will say now, however, I approve the declaration in favor of
so amending the Constitution as to prohibit slavery throughout the
nation. When the people in revolt, with a hundred days of explicit
notice that they could within those days resume their allegiance without
the overthrow of their institutions, and that they could not resume it
afterward, elected to stand out, such amendment to the Constitution as
is now proposed became a fitting and necessary conclusion to the final
success of the Union cause.... In the joint names of Liberty and Union,
let us labor to give it legal form and practical effect."

In his letter of June 29, formally accepting the nomination, the
President observed the same wise rule of brevity which he had followed
four years before. He made but one specific reference to any subject of
discussion. While he accepted the convention's resolution reaffirming
the Monroe Doctrine, he gave the convention and the country distinctly
to understand that he stood by the action already adopted by himself and
the Secretary of State. He said:

"There might be misunderstanding were I not to say that the position of
the government in relation to the action of France in Mexico, as assumed
through the State Department and approved and indorsed by the convention
among the measures and acts of the Executive will be faithfully
maintained so long as the state of facts shall leave that position
pertinent and applicable."

This resolution, which was, in truth, a more vigorous assertion of the
Monroe Doctrine than the author of that famous tenet ever dreamed of
making, had been introduced in the convention by the radicals as a
covert censure of Mr. Lincoln's attitude toward the French invasion of
our sister republic; but through skilful wording of the platform had
been turned by his friends into an indorsement of the administration.

And, indeed, this was most just, since from the beginning President
Lincoln and Mr. Seward had done all in their power to discourage the
presence of foreign troops on Mexican territory. When a joint expedition
by England, France, and Spain had been agreed upon to seize certain
Mexican ports in default of a money indemnity demanded by those
countries for outrages against their subjects, England had invited the
United States to be a party to the convention. Instead, Mr. Lincoln and
Mr. Seward attempted to aid Mexico with a sufficient sum to meet these
demands, and notified Great Britain of their intention to do so, and the
motives which prompted them. The friendly assistance came to naught; but
as the three powers vigorously disclaimed any designs against Mexico's
territory or her form of government, the United States saw no necessity
for further action, beyond a clear definition of its own attitude for
the benefit of all the parties.

This it continued to repeat after England withdrew from the expedition,
and Spain, soon recalling her troops, left Napoleon III to set the
Archduke Maximilian on his shadowy throne, and to develop in the heart
of America his scheme of an empire friendly to the South. At the moment
the government was unable to do more, though recognizing the veiled
hostility of Europe which thus manifested itself in a movement on what
may be called the right flank of the republic. While giving utterance to
no expressions of indignation at the aggressions, or of gratification at
disaster which met the aggressor, the President and Mr. Seward continued
to assert, at every proper opportunity the adherence of the American
government to its traditional policy of discouraging European
intervention in the affairs of the New World.


The Bogus Proclamation--The Wade-Davis Manifesto--Resignation
of Mr. Chase--Fessenden Succeeds Him--The Greeley Peace
Conference--Jaquess-Gilmore Mission--Letter of Raymond--Bad Outlook for
the Election--Mr. Lincoln on the Issues of the Campaign--President's
Secret Memorandum--Meeting of Democratic National Convention--McClellan
Nominated--His Letter of Acceptance--Lincoln Reëlected--His Speech on
Night of Election--The Electoral Vote--Annual Message of December 6,
1864--Resignation of McClellan from the Army

The seizure of the New York "Journal of Commerce" and New York "World,"
in May, 1864, for publishing a forged proclamation calling for four
hundred thousand more troops, had caused great excitement among the
critics of Mr. Lincoln's administration. The terrible slaughter of
Grant's opening campaign against Richmond rendered the country painfully
sensitive to such news at the moment; and the forgery, which proved to
be the work of two young Bohemians of the press, accomplished its
purpose of raising the price of gold, and throwing the Stock Exchange
into a temporary fever. Telegraphic announcement of the imposture soon
quieted the flurry, and the quick detection of the guilty parties
reduced the incident to its true rank; but the fact that the fiery
Secretary of War had meanwhile issued orders for the suppression of both
newspapers and the arrest of their editors was neither forgiven nor
forgotten. The editors were never incarcerated, and the journals resumed
publication after an interval of only two days, but the incident was
vigorously employed during the entire summer as a means of attack upon
the administration.

Violent opposition to Mr. Lincoln came also from those members of both
Houses of Congress who disapproved his attitude on reconstruction.
Though that part of his message of December 8, 1863, relating to the
formation of loyal State governments in districts which had been in
rebellion at first received enthusiastic commendation from both
conservatives and radicals, it was soon evident that the millennium had
not yet arrived, and that in a Congress composed of men of such positive
convictions and vehement character, there were many who would not submit
permanently to the leadership of any man, least of all to that of one so
reasonable, so devoid of malice, as the President.

Henry Winter Davis at once moved that that part of the message be
referred to a special committee of which he was chairman, and on
February 15 reported a bill whose preamble declared the Confederate
States completely out of the Union; prescribing a totally different
method of reëstablishing loyal State governments, one of the essentials
being the prohibition of slavery. Congress rejected the preamble, but
after extensive debate accepted the bill, which breathed the same spirit
throughout. The measure was also finally acceded to in the Senate, and
came to Mr. Lincoln for signature in the closing hours of the session.
He laid it aside and went on with other business, despite the evident
anxiety of several friends, who feared his failure to indorse it would
lose the Republicans many votes in the Northwest. In stating his
attitude to his cabinet he said:

"This bill and the position of these gentlemen seem to me, in asserting
that the insurrectionary States are no longer in the Union, to make the
fatal admission that States, whenever they please, may of their own
motion dissolve their connection with the Union. Now we cannot survive
that admission, I am convinced. If that be true, I am not President;
these gentlemen are not Congress. I have laboriously endeavored to avoid
that question ever since it first began to be mooted, and thus to avoid
confusion and disturbance in our own councils. It was to obviate this
question that I earnestly favored the movement for an amendment to the
Constitution abolishing slavery, which passed the Senate and failed in
the House. I thought it much better, if it were possible, to restore the
Union without the necessity of a violent quarrel among its friends as to
whether certain States have been in or out of the Union during the
war--a merely metaphysical question and one unnecessary to be forced
into discussion."

But though every member of the cabinet agreed with him, he foresaw the
importance of the step he had resolved to take, and its possible
disastrous consequences to himself. When some one said that the threats
of the radicals were without foundation, and that the people would not
bolt their ticket on a question of metaphysics, he answered:

"If they choose to make a point upon this, I do not doubt that they can
do harm. They have never been friendly to me. At all events, I must keep
some consciousness of being somewhere near right. I must keep some
standard or principle fixed within myself."

Convinced, after fullest deliberation, that the bill was too restrictive
in its provisions, and yet unwilling to reject whatever of practical
good might be accomplished by it, he disregarded precedents, and acting
on his lifelong rule of taking the people into his confidence, issued a
proclamation on July 8, giving a copy of the bill of Congress, reciting
the circumstances under which it was passed, and announcing that while
he was unprepared by formal approval of the bill to be inflexibly
committed to any single plan of restoration, or to set aside the
free-State governments already adopted in Arkansas and Louisiana, or to
declare that Congress was competent to decree the abolishment of
slavery; yet he was fully satisfied with the plan as one very proper
method of reconstruction, and promised executive aid to any State that
might see fit to adopt it.

The great mass of Republican voters, who cared little for the
"metaphysics" of the case, accepted this proclamation, as they had
accepted that issued six months before, as the wisest and most
practicable method of handling the question; but among those already
hostile to the President, and those whose devotion to the cause of
freedom was so ardent as to make them look upon him as lukewarm, the
exasperation which was already excited increased. The indignation of Mr.
Davis and of Mr. Wade, who had called the bill up in the Senate, at
seeing their work thus brought to nothing, could not be restrained; and
together they signed and published in the New York "Tribune" of August 5
the most vigorous attack ever directed against the President from his
own party; insinuating that only the lowest motives dictated his action,
since by refusing to sign the bill he held the electoral votes of the
rebel States at his personal dictation; calling his approval of the bill
of Congress as a very proper plan for any State choosing to adopt it, a
"studied outrage"; and admonishing the people to "consider the remedy of
these usurpations, and, having found it," to "fearlessly execute it."

Congress had already repealed the fugitive-slave law, and to the voters
at large, who joyfully accepted the emancipation proclamation, it
mattered very little whether the "institution" came to its inevitable
end, in the fragments of territory where it yet remained, by virtue of
congressional act or executive decree. This tempest over the method of
reconstruction had, therefore, little bearing on the presidential
campaign, and appealed more to individual critics of the President than
to the mass of the people.

Mr. Chase entered in his diary: "The President pocketed the great
bill.... He did not venture to veto, and so put it in his pocket. It was
a condemnation of his amnesty proclamation and of his general policy of
reconstruction, rejecting the idea of possible reconstruction with
slavery, which neither the President nor his chief advisers have, in my
opinion, abandoned." Mr. Chase was no longer one of the chief advisers.
After his withdrawal from his hopeless contest for the presidency, his
sentiments toward Mr. Lincoln took on a tinge of bitterness which
increased until their friendly association in the public service became
no longer possible; and on June 30 he sent the President his
resignation, which was accepted. There is reason to believe that he did
not expect such a prompt severing of their official relations, since
more than once, in the months of friction which preceded this
culmination, he had used a threat to resign as means to carry some point
in controversy.

Mr. Lincoln, on accepting his resignation, sent the name of David Tod of
Ohio to the Senate as his successor; but, receiving a telegram from Mr.
Tod declining on the plea of ill health, substituted that of William
Pitt Fessenden, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, whose
nomination was instantly confirmed and commanded general approval.

Horace Greeley, editor of the powerful New York "Tribune," had become
one of those patriots whose discouragement and discontent led them,
during the summer of 1864, to give ready hospitality to any suggestions
to end the war. In July he wrote to the President, forwarding the letter
of one "Wm. Cornell Jewett of Colorado," which announced the arrival in
Canada of two ambassadors from Jefferson Davis with full powers to
negotiate a peace. Mr. Greeley urged, in his over-fervid letter of
transmittal, that the President make overtures on the following plan of
adjustment: First. The Union to be restored and declared perpetual.
Second. Slavery to be utterly and forever abolished. Third. A complete
amnesty for all political offenses. Fourth. Payment of four hundred
million dollars to the slave States, pro rata, for their slaves. Fifth.
Slave States to be represented in proportion to their total population.
Sixth. A national convention to be called at once.

Though Mr. Lincoln had no faith in Jewett's story, and doubted whether
the embassy had any existence, he determined to take immediate action on
this proposition. He felt the unreasonableness and injustice of Mr.
Greeley's letter, which in effect charged his administration with a
cruel disinclination to treat with the rebels, and resolved to convince
him at least, and perhaps others, that there was no foundation for these
reproaches. So he arranged that the witness of his willingness to listen
to any overtures that might come from the South should be Mr. Greeley
himself, and answering his letter at once on July 9, said:

"If you can find any person, anywhere, professing to have any
proposition of Jefferson Davis in writing, for peace, embracing the
restoration of the Union and abandonment of slavery, whatever else it
embraces, say to him he may come to me with you, and that if he really
brings such proposition he shall at the least have safe conduct with the
paper (and without publicity, if he chooses) to the point where you
shall have met him. The same if there be two or more persons."

This ready acquiescence evidently surprised and somewhat embarrassed Mr.
Greeley, who replied by several letters of different dates, but made no
motion to produce his commissioners. At last, on the fifteenth, to end a
correspondence which promised to be indefinitely prolonged, the
President telegraphed him: "I was not expecting you to send me a letter,
but to bring me a man or men." Mr. Greeley then went to Niagara, and
wrote from there to the alleged commissioners, Clement C. Clay and James
P. Holcombe, offering to conduct them to Washington, but neglecting to
mention the two conditions--restoration of the Union and abandonment of
slavery--laid down in Mr. Lincoln's note of the ninth and repeated by
him on the fifteenth. Even with this great advantage, Clay and Holcombe
felt themselves too devoid of credentials to accept Mr. Greeley's offer,
but replied that they could easily get credentials, or that other agents
could be accredited, if they could be sent to Richmond armed with "the
circumstances disclosed in this correspondence."

This, of course, meant that Mr. Lincoln should take the initiative in
suing the Richmond authorities for peace on terms proposed by them. The
essential impossibility of these terms was not, however, apparent to Mr.
Greeley, who sent them on to Washington, soliciting fresh instructions.
With unwearied patience, Mr. Lincoln drew up a final paper, "To Whom it
may Concern," formally restating his position, and despatched Major Hay
with it to Niagara. This ended the conference; the Confederates charging
the President through the newspapers with a "sudden and entire change of
views"; while Mr. Greeley, being attacked by his colleagues of the press
for his action, could defend himself only by implied censure of the
President, utterly overlooking the fact that his own original letter had
contained the identical propositions Mr. Lincoln insisted upon.

The discussion grew so warm that both he and his assailants at last
joined in a request to Mr. Lincoln to permit the publication of the
correspondence. This was, of course, an excellent opportunity for the
President to vindicate his own proceeding. But he rarely looked at such
matters from the point of view of personal advantage, and he feared that
the passionate, almost despairing appeals of the most prominent
Republican editor of the North for peace at any cost, disclosed in the
correspondence, would deepen the gloom in the public mind and have an
injurious effect upon the Union cause. The spectacle of the veteran
journalist, who was justly regarded as the leading controversial writer
on the antislavery side, ready to sacrifice everything for peace, and
frantically denouncing the government for refusing to surrender the
contest, would have been, in its effect upon public opinion, a disaster
equal to the loss of a great battle. He therefore proposed to Mr.
Greeley, in case the letters were published, to omit some of the most
vehement passages; and took Mr. Greeley's refusal to assent to this as a
veto on their publication.

It was characteristic of him that, seeing the temper in which Mr.
Greeley regarded the transaction, he dropped the matter and submitted
in silence to the misrepresentations to which he was subjected by reason
of it. Some thought he erred in giving any hearing to the rebels; some
criticized his choice of a commissioner; and the opposition naturally
made the most of his conditions of negotiation, and accused him of
embarking in a war of extermination in the interests of the negro.
Though making no public effort to set himself right, he was keenly alive
to their attitude. To a friend he wrote:

"Saying reunion and abandonment of slavery would be considered, if
offered, is not saying that nothing else or less would be considered, if
offered.... Allow me to remind you that no one, having control of the
rebel armies, or, in fact, having any influence whatever in the
rebellion, has offered, or intimated, a willingness to a restoration of
the Union, in any event, or on any condition whatever.... If Jefferson
Davis wishes for himself, or for the benefit of his friends at the
North, to know what I would do if he were to offer peace and reunion,
saying nothing about slavery, let him try me."

If the result of Mr. Greeley's Niagara efforts left any doubt that peace
was at present unattainable, the fact was demonstrated beyond question
by the published report of another unofficial and volunteer negotiation
which was proceeding at the same time. In May, 1863, James F. Jaquess,
D.D., a Methodist clergyman of piety and religious enthusiasm, who had
been appointed by Governor Yates colonel of an Illinois regiment,
applied for permission to go South, urging that by virtue of his church
relations he could, within ninety days, obtain acceptable terms of peace
from the Confederates. The military superiors to whom he submitted the
request forwarded it to Mr. Lincoln with a favorable indorsement; and
the President replied, consenting that they grant him a furlough, if
they saw fit, but saying:

"He cannot go with any government authority whatever. This is absolute
and imperative."

Eleven days later he was back again within Union lines, claiming to have
valuable "unofficial" proposals for peace. President Lincoln paid no
attention to his request for an interview, and in course of time he
returned to his regiment. Nothing daunted, however, a year later he
applied for and received permission to repeat his visit, this time in
company with J.R. Gilmore, a lecturer and writer, but, as before,
expressly without instruction or authority from Mr. Lincoln. They went
to Richmond, and had an extended interview with Mr. Davis, during which
they proposed to him a plan of adjustment as visionary as it was
unauthorized, its central feature being a general election to be held
over the whole country, North and South, within sixty days, on the two
propositions,--peace with disunion and Southern independence, or peace
with Union, emancipation, no confiscation, and universal amnesty,--the
majority vote to decide, and the governments at Washington and Richmond
to be finally bound by the decision.

The interview resulted in nothing but a renewed declaration from Mr.
Davis that he would fight for separation to the bitter end--a
declaration which, on the whole, was of service to the Union cause,
since, to a great extent, it stopped the clamor of the peace factionists
during the presidential campaign. Not entirely, however. There was still
criticism enough to induce Henry J. Raymond, chairman of the executive
committee of the Republican party, to write a letter on August 22,
suggesting to Mr. Lincoln that he ought to appoint a commission in due
form to make proffers of peace to Davis on the sole condition of
acknowledging the supremacy of the Constitution; all other questions to
be settled in a convention of the people of all the States.

Mr. Lincoln answered this patiently and courteously, framing, to give
point to his argument, an experimental draft of instructions with which
he proposed, in case such proffers were made, to send Mr. Raymond
himself to the rebel authorities. On seeing these in black and white,
Raymond, who had come to Washington to urge his project, readily agreed
with the President and Secretaries Seward, Stanton, and Fessenden, that
to carry it out would be worse than losing the presidential contest: it
would be ignominiously surrendering it in advance.

"Nevertheless," wrote an inmate of the White House, "the visit of
himself and committee here did great good. They found the President and
cabinet much better informed than themselves, and went home encouraged
and cheered."

The Democratic managers had called the national convention of their
party to meet on the fourth of July, 1864; but after the nomination of
Frémont at Cleveland, and of Lincoln at Baltimore, it was thought
prudent to postpone it to a later date, in the hope that something in
the chapter of accidents might arise to the advantage of the opposition.
It appeared for a while as if this manoeuver were to be successful. The
military situation was far from satisfactory. The terrible fighting of
Grant's army in Virginia had profoundly shocked and depressed the
country; and its movement upon Petersburg, so far without decisive
results, had contributed little hope or encouragement. The campaign of
Sherman in Georgia gave as yet no positive assurance of the brilliant
results it afterward attained. The Confederate raid into Maryland and
Pennsylvania in July was the cause of great annoyance and exasperation.

This untoward state of things in the field of military operations found
its exact counterpart in the political campaign. Several circumstances
contributed to divide and discourage the administration party. The
resignation of Mr. Chase had seemed to not a few leading Republicans a
presage of disintegration in the government. Mr. Greeley's mission at
Niagara Falls had unsettled and troubled the minds of many. The
Democrats, not having as yet appointed a candidate or formulated a
platform, were free to devote all their leisure to attacks upon the
administration. The rebel emissaries in Canada, being in thorough
concert with the leading peace men of the North, redoubled their efforts
to disturb the public tranquility, and not without success. In the
midst of these discouraging circumstances the manifesto of Wade and
Davis had appeared to add its depressing influence to the general gloom.

Mr. Lincoln realized to the full the tremendous issues of the campaign.
Asked in August by a friend who noted his worn looks, if he could not go
away for a fortnight's rest, he replied:

"I cannot fly from my thoughts--my solicitude for this great country
follows me wherever I go. I do not think it is personal vanity or
ambition, though I am not free from these infirmities, but I cannot but
feel that the weal or woe of this great nation will be decided in
November. There is no program offered by any wing of the Democratic
party, but that must result in the permanent destruction of the Union."

"But, Mr. President," his friend objected, "General McClellan is in
favor of crushing out this rebellion by force. He will be the Chicago

"Sir, the slightest knowledge of arithmetic will prove to any man that
the rebel armies cannot be destroyed by Democratic strategy. It would
sacrifice all the white men of the North to do it. There are now in the
service of the United States nearly one hundred and fifty thousand
able-bodied colored men, most of them under arms, defending and
acquiring Union territory. The Democratic strategy demands that these
forces be disbanded, and that the masters be conciliated by restoring
them to slavery.... You cannot conciliate the South if you guarantee to
them ultimate success; and the experience of the present war proves
their successes inevitable if you fling the compulsory labor of millions
of black men into their side of the scale.... Abandon all the posts now
garrisoned by black men, take one hundred and fifty thousand men from
our side and put them in the battle-field or corn-field against us, and
we would be compelled to abandon the war in three weeks.... My enemies
pretend I am now carrying on this war for the sole purpose of abolition.
So long as I am President it shall be carried on for the sole purpose of
restoring the Union. But no human power can subdue this rebellion
without the use of the emancipation policy and every other policy
calculated to weaken the moral and physical forces of the rebellion....
Let my enemies prove to the country that the destruction of slavery is
not necessary to a restoration of the Union. I will abide the issue."

The political situation grew still darker. When at last, toward the end
of August, the general gloom had enveloped even the President himself,
his action was most original and characteristic. Feeling that the
campaign was going against him, he made up his mind deliberately as to
the course he should pursue, and laid down for himself the action
demanded by his conviction of duty. He wrote on August 23 the following

"This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that
this administration will not be reëlected. Then it will be my duty to so
coöperate with the President-elect as to save the Union between the
election and the inauguration, as he will have secured his election on
such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterwards."

He then folded and pasted the sheet in such manner that its contents
could not be read, and as the cabinet came together he handed this paper
to each member successively, requesting them to write their names across
the back of it. In this peculiar fashion he pledged himself and the
administration to accept loyally the anticipated verdict of the people
against him, and to do their utmost to save the Union in the brief
remainder of his term of office. He gave no intimation to any member of
his cabinet of the nature of the paper they had signed until after his

The Democratic convention was finally called to meet in Chicago on
August 29. Much had been expected by the peace party from the strength
and audacity of its adherents in the Northwest; and, indeed, the day of
the meeting of the convention was actually the date appointed by rebel
emissaries in Canada for an outbreak which should effect that revolution
in the northwestern States which had long been their chimerical dream.
This scheme of the American Knights, however, was discovered and guarded
against through the usual treachery of some of their members; and it is
doubtful if the Democrats reaped any real, permanent advantage from the
delay of their convention.

On coming together, the only manner in which the peace men and war
Democrats could arrive at an agreement was by mutual deception. The war
Democrats, led by the delegation from New York, were working for a
military candidate; while the peace Democrats, under the leadership of
Vallandigham, who had returned from Canada and was allowed to remain at
large through the half-contemptuous and half-calculated leniency of the
government he defied, bent all their energies to a clear statement of
their principles in the platform.

Both got what they desired. General McClellan was nominated on the first
ballot, and Vallandigham wrote the only plank worth quoting in the
platform. It asserted: "That after four years of failure to restore the
Union by the experiment of war, during which ... the Constitution itself
has been disregarded in every part," public welfare demands "that
immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities." It is
altogether probable that this distinct proposition of surrender to the
Confederates might have been modified or defeated in full convention if
the war Democrats had had the courage of their convictions; but they
were so intent upon the nomination of McClellan, that they considered
the platform of secondary importance, and the fatal resolutions were
adopted without debate.

Mr. Vallandigham, having thus taken possession of the convention, next
adopted the candidate, and put the seal of his sinister approval on
General McClellan by moving that his nomination be made unanimous, which
was done amid great cheering. George H. Pendleton was nominated for
Vice-President, and the convention adjourned--not _sine die_, as is
customary, but "subject to be called at any time and place the executive
national committee shall designate." The motives of this action were not
avowed, but it was taken as a significant warning that the leaders of
the Democratic party held themselves ready for any extraordinary
measures which the exigencies of the time might provoke or invite.

The New-Yorkers, however, had the last word, for Governor Seymour, in
his letter as chairman of the committee to inform McClellan of his
nomination, assured him that "those for whom we speak were animated with
the most earnest, devoted, and prayerful desire for the salvation of the
American Union"; and the general, knowing that the poison of death was
in the platform, took occasion in his letter of acceptance to renew his
assurances of devotion to the Union, the Constitution, the laws, and the
flag of his country. After having thus absolutely repudiated the
platform upon which he was nominated, he coolly concluded:

"Believing that the views here expressed are those of the convention and
the people you represent, I accept the nomination."

His only possible chance of success lay, of course, in his war record.
His position as a candidate on a platform of dishonorable peace would
have been no less desperate than ridiculous. But the stars in their
courses fought against the Democratic candidates. Even before the
convention that nominated them, Farragut had won the splendid victory of
Mobile Bay; during the very hours when the streets of Chicago were
blazing with Democratic torches, Hood was preparing to evacuate Atlanta;
and the same newspaper that printed Vallandigham's peace platform
announced Sherman's entrance into the manufacturing metropolis of
Georgia. The darkest hour had passed; dawn was at hand, and amid the
thanksgivings of a grateful people, and the joyful salutes of great
guns, the presidential campaign began.

When the country awoke to the true significance of the Chicago platform,
the successes of Sherman excited the enthusiasm of the people, and the
Unionists, arousing from their midsummer languor, began to show their
confidence in the Republican candidate, the hopelessness of all efforts
to undermine him became evident.

The electoral contest began with the picket firing in Vermont and Maine
in September, was continued in what might be called the grand guard
fighting in October in the great States of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and
Indiana, and the final battle took place all along the line on November
8. To Mr. Lincoln this was one of the most solemn days of his life.
Assured of his personal success, and made devoutly confident by the
military successes of the last few weeks that the day of peace and the
reëstablishment of the Union was at hand, he felt no elation, and no
sense of triumph over his opponents. The thoughts that filled his mind
were expressed in the closing sentences of the little speech he made in
response to a group of serenaders that greeted him when, in the early
morning hours, he left the War Department, where he had gone on the
evening of election to receive the returns:

"I am thankful to God for this approval of the people; but, while deeply
grateful for this mark of their confidence in me, if I know my heart, my
gratitude is free from any taint of personal triumph. I do not impugn
the motives of any one opposed to me. It is no pleasure to me to triumph
over any one, but I give thanks to the Almighty for this evidence of the
people's resolution to stand by free government and the rights of

Lincoln and Johnson received a popular majority of 411,281, and two
hundred and twelve out of two hundred and thirty-three electoral votes,
only those of New Jersey, Delaware, and Kentucky, twenty-one in all,
being cast for McClellan. In his annual message to Congress, which met
on December 5, President Lincoln gave the best summing up of the results
of the election that has ever been written:

"The purpose of the people within the loyal States to maintain the
integrity of the Union was never more firm nor more nearly unanimous
than now.... No candidate for any office whatever, high or low, has
ventured to seek votes on the avowal that he was for giving up the
Union. There have been much impugning of motives and much heated
controversy as to the proper means and best mode of advancing the Union
cause; but on the distinct issue of Union or no Union the politicians
have shown their instinctive knowledge that there is no diversity among
the people. In affording the people the fair opportunity of showing one
to another and to the world this firmness and unanimity of purpose, the
election has been of vast value to the national cause."

On the day of election General McClellan resigned his commission in the
army, and the place thus made vacant was filled by the appointment of
General Philip H. Sheridan, a fit type and illustration of the turn in
the tide of affairs, which was to sweep from that time rapidly onward to
the great decisive national triumph.


The Thirteenth Amendment--The President's Speech on its Adoption--The
Two Constitutional Amendments of Lincoln's Term--Lincoln on Peace and
Slavery in his Annual Message of December 6, 1864--Blair's Mexican
Project--The Hampton Roads Conference

A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution
prohibiting slavery throughout the United States had passed the Senate
on April 8, 1864, but had failed of the necessary two-thirds vote in the
House. The two most vital thoughts which animated the Baltimore
convention when it met in June had been the renomination of Mr. Lincoln
and the success of this constitutional amendment. The first was
recognized as a popular decision needing only the formality of an
announcement by the convention; and the full emphasis of speech and
resolution had therefore been centered on the latter as the dominant and
aggressive reform upon which the party would stake its political
fortunes in the presidential campaign. Mr. Lincoln had himself suggested
to Mr. Morgan the wisdom of sounding that key-note in his opening speech
before the convention; and the great victory gained at the polls in
November not only demonstrated his sagacity, but enabled him to take up
the question with confidence among his recommendations to Congress in
the annual message of December 6, 1864. Relating the fate of the measure
at the preceding session, he said:

"Without questioning the wisdom or patriotism of those who stood in
opposition, I venture to recommend the reconsideration and passage of
the measure at the present session. Of course the abstract question is
not changed, but an intervening election shows, almost certainly, that
the next Congress will pass the measure if this does not. Hence there is
only a question of time as to when the proposed amendment will go to the
States for their action. And as it is to so go at all events, may we not
agree that the sooner the better? It is not claimed that the election
has imposed a duty on members to change their views or their votes any
further than, as an additional element to be considered, their judgment
may be affected by it. It is the voice of the people, now for the first
time heard upon the question. In a great national crisis like ours,
unanimity of action among those seeking a common end is very
desirable--almost indispensable. And yet no approach to such unanimity
is attainable unless some deference shall be paid to the will of the
majority, simply because it is the will of the majority. In this case
the common end is the maintenance of the Union; and among the means to
secure that end, such will, through the election, is most clearly
declared in favor of such constitutional amendment."

The joint resolution was called up in the House on January 6, 1865, and
general discussion followed from time to time, occupying perhaps half
the days of that month. As at the previous session, the Republicans all
favored, while the Democrats mainly opposed it; but important exceptions
among the latter showed what immense gains the proposition had made in
popular opinion and in congressional willingness to recognize and embody
it. The logic of events had become more powerful than party creed or
strategy. For fifteen years the Democratic party had stood as sentinel
and bulwark to slavery, and yet, despite its alliance and championship,
the "peculiar institution" was being consumed in the fire of war. It had
withered in popular elections, been paralyzed by confiscation laws,
crushed by executive decrees, trampled upon by marching Union armies.
More notable than all, the agony of dissolution had come upon it in its
final stronghold--the constitutions of the slave States. Local public
opinion had throttled it in West Virginia, in Missouri, in Arkansas, in
Louisiana, in Maryland, and the same spirit of change was upon
Tennessee, and even showing itself in Kentucky. The Democratic party did
not, and could not, shut its eyes to the accomplished facts.

The issue was decided on the afternoon of January 31, 1865. The scene
was one of unusual interest. The galleries were filled to overflowing,
and members watched the proceedings with unconcealed solicitude. "Up to
noon," said a contemporaneous report, "the pro-slavery party are said to
have been confident of defeating the amendment; and after that time had
passed, one of the most earnest advocates of the measure said: "'Tis the
toss of a copper." At four o'clock the House came to a final vote, and
the roll-call showed: yeas, one hundred and nineteen; nays, fifty-six;
not voting, eight. Scattering murmurs of applause followed affirmative
votes from several Democratic members; but when the Speaker finally
announced the result, members on the Republican side of the House sprang
to their feet, and, regardless of parliamentary rules, applauded with
cheers and hand-clappings--an exhibition of enthusiasm quickly echoed by
the spectators in the crowded galleries, where waving of hats and
handkerchiefs and similar demonstrations of joy lasted for several

A salute of one hundred guns soon made the occasion the subject of
comment and congratulation throughout the city. On the following night a
considerable procession marched with music to the Executive Mansion to
carry popular greetings to the President. In response to their calls he
appeared at a window and made a brief speech, of which only an abstract
report was preserved, but which is nevertheless important as showing the
searching analysis of cause and effect this question had undergone in
his mind, the deep interest he felt in it, and the far-reaching
consequences he attached to the measure and its success:

"The occasion was one of congratulation to the country and to the whole
world. But there is a task yet before us--to go forward and have
consummated by the votes of the States that which Congress had so nobly
begun yesterday. He had the honor to inform those present that Illinois
had already to-day done the work. Maryland was about half through, but
he felt proud that Illinois was a little ahead. He thought this measure
was a very fitting, if not an indispensable, adjunct to the winding up
of the great difficulty. He wished the reunion of all the States
perfected, and so effected as to remove all causes of disturbance in the
future; and to attain this end it was necessary that the original
disturbing cause should, if possible, be rooted out. He thought all
would bear him witness that he had never shrunk from doing all that he
could to eradicate slavery, by issuing an emancipation proclamation. But
that proclamation falls far short of what the amendment will be when
fully consummated. A question might be raised whether the proclamation
was legally valid. It might be urged that it only aided those that came
into our lines, and that it was inoperative as to those who did not give
themselves up; or that it would have no effect upon the children of
slaves born hereafter; in fact, it would be urged that it did not meet
the evil. But this amendment is a king's cure-all for all the evils. It
winds the whole thing up. He would repeat that it was the fitting, if
not the indispensable, adjunct to the consummation of the great game we
are playing."

Widely divergent views were expressed by able constitutional lawyers as
to what would constitute a valid ratification of the Thirteenth
Amendment; some contending that ratification by three fourths of the
loyal States would be sufficient, others that three fourths of all the
States, whether loyal or insurrectionary, was necessary. Mr. Lincoln, in
a speech on Louisiana reconstruction, while expressing no opinion
against the first proposition, nevertheless declared with great
argumentative force that the latter "would be unquestioned and
unquestionable"; and this view appears to have governed the action of
his successor.

As Mr. Lincoln mentioned with just pride, Illinois was the first State
to ratify the amendment. On December 18, 1865, Mr. Seward, who remained
as Secretary of State in the cabinet of President Johnson, made official
proclamation that the legislatures of twenty-seven States, constituting
three fourths of the thirty-six States of the Union, had ratified the
amendment, and that it had become valid as a part of the Constitution.
Four of the States constituting this number--Virginia, Louisiana,
Tennessee, and Arkansas--were those whose reconstruction had been
effected under the direction of President Lincoln. Six more States
subsequently ratified the amendment, Texas ending the list in February,

The profound political transformation which the American Republic had
undergone can perhaps best be measured by contrasting the two
constitutional amendments which Congress made it the duty of the Lincoln
administration to submit officially to the States. The first, signed by
President Buchanan as one of his last official acts, and accepted and
indorsed by Lincoln in his inaugural address, was in these words:

"No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or
give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere within any State with
the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to
labor or service by the laws of said State."

Between Lincoln's inauguration and the outbreak of war, the Department
of State transmitted this amendment to the several States for their
action; and had the South shown a willingness to desist from secession
and accept it as a peace offering, there is little doubt that it would
have become a part of the Constitution. But the thunder of Beauregard's
guns drove away all possibility of such a ratification, and within four
years the Lincoln administration sent forth the amendment of 1865,
sweeping out of existence by one sentence the institution to which it
had in its first proposal offered a virtual claim to perpetual
recognition and tolerance. The "new birth of freedom" which Lincoln
invoked for the nation in his Gettysburg address, was accomplished.

The closing paragraphs of President Lincoln's message to Congress of
December 6, 1864, were devoted to a summing up of the existing
situation. The verdict of the ballot-box had not only decided the
continuance of a war administration and war policy, but renewed the
assurance of a public sentiment to sustain its prosecution. Inspired by
this majestic manifestation of the popular will, he was able to speak of
the future with hope and confidence. But with characteristic prudence
and good taste, he uttered no word of boasting, and indulged in no
syllable of acrimony; on the contrary, in terms of fatherly kindness he
again offered the rebellious States the generous conditions he had
previously tendered them.

"The national resources, then, are unexhausted, and, as we believe,
inexhaustible. The public purpose to reëstablish and maintain the
national authority is unchanged and, as we believe, unchangeable. The
manner of continuing the effort remains to choose. On careful
consideration of all the evidence accessible, it seems to me that no
attempt at negotiation with the insurgent leader could result in any
good. He would accept nothing short of severance of the Union--precisely
what we will not and cannot give. His declarations to this effect are
explicit and oft-repeated.... What is true, however, of him who heads
the insurgent cause is not necessarily true of those who follow.
Although he cannot reaccept the Union, they can. Some of them, we know,
already desire peace and reunion. The number of such may increase. They
can, at any moment, have peace simply by laying down their arms and
submitting to the national authority under the Constitution. After so
much, the government could not, if it would, maintain war against them.
The loyal people would not sustain or allow it. If questions should
remain, we would adjust them by the peaceful means of legislation,
conference, courts, and votes, operating only in constitutional and
lawful channels.... In presenting the abandonment of armed resistance to
the national authority, on the part of the insurgents, as the only
indispensable condition to ending the war on the part of the government,
I retract nothing heretofore said as to slavery. I repeat the
declaration made a year ago, that 'While I remain in my present
position I shall not attempt to retract or modify the emancipation
proclamation, nor shall I return to slavery any person who is free by
the terms of that proclamation, or by any of the acts of Congress.' If
the people should, by whatever mode or means, make it an executive duty
to reënslave such persons, another, and not I, must be their instrument
to perform it. In stating a single condition of peace, I mean simply to
say that the war will cease on the part of the government whenever it
shall have ceased on the part of those who began it." The country was
about to enter upon the fifth year of actual war; but all indications
were pointing to a speedy collapse of the rebellion. This foreshadowed
disaster to the Confederate armies gave rise to another volunteer peace
negotiation, which, from the boldness of its animating thought and the
prominence of its actors, assumes a special importance. The veteran
politician Francis P. Blair, Sr., who, from his long political and
personal experience in Washington, knew, perhaps better than almost any
one else, the individual characters and tempers of Southern leaders,
conceived that the time had come when he might take up the rôle of
successful mediator between the North and the South. He gave various
hints of his desire to President Lincoln, but received neither
encouragement nor opportunity to unfold his plans. "Come to me after
Savannah falls," was Lincoln's evasive reply. On the surrender of that
city, Mr. Blair hastened to put his design into execution, and with a
simple card from Mr. Lincoln, dated December 28, saying, "Allow the
bearer, F.P. Blair, Sr., to pass our lines, go south and return," as his
only credential, set out for Richmond. From General Grant's camp he
forwarded two letters to Jefferson Davis: one, a brief request to be
allowed to go to Richmond in search of missing title papers presumably
taken from his Maryland home during Early's raid; the other, a longer
letter, explaining the real object of his visit, but stating with the
utmost candor that he came wholly unaccredited, save for permission to
pass the lines, and that he had not offered the suggestions he wished to
submit in person to Mr. Davis to any one in authority at Washington.

After some delay, he found himself in Richmond, and was accorded a
confidential interview by the rebel President on January 12, 1865, when
he unfolded his project, which proved to be nothing less than a
proposition that the Union and Confederate armies cease fighting each
other and unite to drive the French from Mexico. He supported this
daring idea in a paper of some length, pointing out that as slavery, the
real cause of the war, was hopelessly doomed, nothing now remained to
keep the two sections of the country apart except the possible
intervention of foreign soldiery. Hence, all considerations pointed to
the wisdom of dislodging the French invaders from American soil, and
thus baffling "the designs of Napoleon to subject our Southern people to
the 'Latin race.'"

"He who expels the Bonaparte-Hapsburg dynasty from our southern flank,"
the paper said further, "will ally his name with those of Washington and
Jackson as a defender of the liberty of the country. If in delivering
Mexico he should model its States in form and principle to adapt them to
our Union, and add a new southern constellation to its benignant sky
while rounding off our possessions on the continent at the Isthmus, ...
he would complete the work of Jefferson, who first set one foot of our
colossal government on the Pacific by a stride from the Gulf of

"I then said to him, 'There is my problem, Mr. Davis; do you think it
possible to be solved?' After consideration, he said: 'I think so.' I
then said, 'You see that I make the great point of this matter that the
war is no longer made for slavery, but monarchy. You know that if the
war is kept up and the Union kept divided, armies must be kept afoot on
both sides, and this state of things has never continued long without
resulting in monarchy on one side or the other, and on both generally.'
He assented to this."

The substantial accuracy of Mr. Blair's report is confirmed by the
memorandum of the same interview which Jefferson Davis wrote at the
time. In this conversation, the rebel leader took little pains to
disguise his entire willingness to enter upon the wild scheme of
military conquest and annexation which could easily be read between the
lines of a political crusade to rescue the Monroe Doctrine from its
present peril. If Mr. Blair felt elated at having so quickly made a
convert of the Confederate President, he was further gratified at
discovering yet more favorable symptoms in his official surroundings at
Richmond. In the three or four days he spent at the rebel capital he
found nearly every prominent personage convinced of the hopeless
condition of the rebellion, and even eager to seize upon any contrivance
to help them out of their direful prospects.

But the government councils at Washington were not ruled by the spirit
of political adventure. Abraham Lincoln had a loftier conception of
patriotic duty, and a higher ideal of national ethics. His whole
interest in Mr. Blair's mission lay in the rebel despondency it
disclosed, and the possibility it showed of bringing the Confederates to
an abandonment of their resistance. Mr. Davis had, indeed, given Mr.
Blair a letter, to be shown to President Lincoln, stating his
willingness, "notwithstanding the rejection of our former offers," to
appoint a commissioner to enter into negotiations "with a view to secure
peace to the two countries." This was, of course, the old impossible
attitude. In reply the President wrote Mr. Blair on January 18 the
following note:

"SIR: You having shown me Mr. Davis's letter to you of the twelfth
instant, you may say to him that I have constantly been, am now, and
shall continue ready to receive any agent whom he, or any other
influential person now resisting the national authority, may informally
send to me, with the view of securing peace to the people of our one
common country."

With this, Mr. Blair returned to Richmond, giving Mr. Davis such excuses
as he could hastily frame why the President had rejected his plan for a
joint invasion of Mexico. Jefferson Davis therefore had only two
alternatives before him--either to repeat his stubborn ultimatum of
separation and independence, or frankly to accept Lincoln's ultimatum of
reunion. The principal Richmond authorities knew, and some of them
admitted, that their Confederacy was nearly in collapse. Lee sent a
despatch saying he had not two days' rations for his army. Richmond was
already in a panic at rumors of evacuation. Flour was selling at a
thousand dollars a barrel in Confederate currency. The recent fall of
Fort Fisher had closed the last avenue through which blockade-runners
could bring in foreign supplies. Governor Brown of Georgia was refusing
to obey orders from Richmond, and characterizing them as "despotic."
Under such circumstances a defiant cry of independence would not
reassure anybody; nor, on the other hand, was it longer possible to
remain silent. Mr. Blair's first visit had created general interest;
when he came a second time, wonder and rumor rose to fever heat.

Impelled to take action, Mr. Davis had not the courage to be frank.
After consultation with his cabinet, a peace commission of three was
appointed, consisting of Alexander H. Stephens, Vice-President; R.M.T.
Hunter, senator and ex-Secretary of State; and John A. Campbell,
Assistant Secretary of War--all of them convinced that the rebellion was
hopeless, but unwilling to admit the logical consequences and
necessities. The drafting of instructions for their guidance was a
difficult problem, since the explicit condition prescribed by Mr.
Lincoln's note was that he would receive only an agent sent him "with
the view of securing peace to the people of our one common country." The
rebel Secretary of State proposed, in order to make the instructions "as
vague and general as possible," the simple direction to confer "upon the
subject to which it relates"; but his chief refused the suggestion, and
wrote the following instruction, which carried a palpable contradiction
on its face:

"In conformity with the letter of Mr. Lincoln, of which the foregoing is
a copy, you are requested to proceed to Washington City for informal
conference with him upon the issues involved in the existing war, and
for the purpose of securing peace to the two countries."

With this the commissioners presented themselves at the Union lines on
the evening of January 29, but instead of showing their double-meaning
credential, asked admission, "in accordance with an understanding
claimed to exist with Lieutenant-General Grant." Mr. Lincoln, being
apprised of the application, promptly despatched Major Thomas T. Eckert,
of the War Department, with written directions to admit them under
safe-conduct, if they would say in writing that they came for the
purpose of an informal conference on the basis of his note of January 18
to Mr. Blair. The commissioners having meantime reconsidered the form of
their application and addressed a new one to General Grant which met the
requirements, were provisionally conveyed to Grant's headquarters; and
on January 31 the President commissioned Secretary Seward to meet them,
saying in his written instructions:

"You will make known to them that three things are indispensable, to
wit: First. The restoration of the national authority throughout all the
States. Second. No receding by the Executive of the United States on the
slavery question from the position assumed thereon in the late annual
message to Congress, and in preceding documents. Third. No cessation of
hostilities short of an end of the war, and the disbanding of all forces
hostile to the government. You will inform them that all propositions of
theirs, not inconsistent with the above, will be considered and passed
upon in a spirit of sincere liberality. You will hear all they may
choose to say, and report it to me. You will not assume to definitely
consummate anything."

Mr. Seward started on the morning of February 1, and simultaneously with
his departure the President repeated to General Grant the monition
already sent him two days before: "Let nothing which is transpiring
change, hinder, or delay your military movements or plans." Major Eckert
had arrived while Mr. Seward was yet on the way, and on seeing Jefferson
Davis's instructions, promptly notified the commissioners that they
could not proceed further without complying strictly with President
Lincoln's terms. Thus, at half-past nine on the night of February 1,
their mission was practically at an end, though next day they again
recanted and accepted the President's conditions in writing. Mr.
Lincoln, on reading Major Eckert's report on the morning of February 2,
was about to recall Secretary Seward by telegraph, when he was shown a
confidential despatch from General Grant to the Secretary of War,
stating his belief that the intention of the commissioners was good, and
their desire for peace sincere, and regretting that Mr. Lincoln could
not have an interview with them. This communication served to change his
purpose. Resolving not to neglect the indications of sincerity here
described, he telegraphed at once, "Say to the gentlemen I will meet
them personally at Fortress Monroe as soon as I can get there," and
joined Secretary Seward that same night.

On the morning of February 3, 1865, the rebel commissioners were
conducted on board the _River Queen_, lying at anchor near Fort Monroe,
where President Lincoln and Secretary Seward awaited them. It was agreed
beforehand that no writing or memorandum should be made at the time, so
the record of the interview remains only in the separate accounts which
the rebel commissioners wrote out afterward from memory, neither Mr.
Seward nor President Lincoln ever having made any report in detail. In a
careful analysis of these reports, the first striking feature is the
difference of intention between the parties. It is apparent that Mr.
Lincoln went honestly and frankly to offer them the best terms he could
to, secure peace and reunion, but to abate no jot of official duty or
personal dignity; while the main thought of the commissioners was to
evade the express condition on which they had been admitted to
conference, to seek to postpone the vital issue, and to propose an
armistice by debating a mere juggling expedient against which they had
in a private agreement with one another already committed themselves.

At the first hint of Blair's Mexican project, however, Mr. Lincoln
firmly disclaimed any responsibility for the suggestion, or any
intention of adopting it, and during the four hours' talk led the
conversation continually back to the original object of the conference.
But though he patiently answered the many questions addressed him by the
commissioners, as to what would probably be done on various important
subjects that must arise at once if the Confederate States consented,
carefully discriminating in his answers between what he was authorized
under the Constitution to do as Executive, and what would devolve upon
coördinate branches of the government, the interview came to nothing.
The commissioners returned to Richmond in great disappointment, and
communicated the failure of their efforts to Jefferson Davis, whose
chagrin was equal to their own. They had all caught eagerly at the hope
that this negotiation would somehow extricate them from the dilemmas and
dangers of their situation. Davis took the only course open to him after
refusing the honorable peace Mr. Lincoln had tendered. He transmitted
the commissioners' report to the rebel Congress, with a brief and dry
message stating that the enemy refused any terms except those the
conqueror might grant; and then arranged as vigorous an effort as
circumstances permitted once more to "fire the Southern heart." A public
meeting was called, where the speeches, judging from the meager reports
printed, were as denunciatory and bellicose as the bitterest Confederate
could desire. Davis particularly is represented to have excelled himself
in defiant heroics. "Sooner than we should ever be united again," he
said, "he would be willing to yield up everything he had on earth--if it
were possible, he would sacrifice a thousand lives"; and he further
announced his confidence that they would yet "compel the Yankees, in
less than twelve months, to petition us for peace on our own terms."

This extravagant rhetoric would seem merely grotesque, were it not
embittered by the reflection that it was the signal which carried many
additional thousands of brave soldiers to death, in continuing a
palpably hopeless military struggle.


Blair--Chase Chief Justice--Speed Succeeds Bates--McCulloch Succeeds
Fessenden--Resignation of Mr. Usher--Lincoln's Offer of
$400,000,000--The Second Inaugural--Lincoln's Literary Rank--His Last

The principal concession in the Baltimore platform made by the friends
of the administration to their opponents, the radicals, was the
resolution which called for harmony in the cabinet. The President at
first took no notice, either publicly or privately, of this resolution,
which was in effect a recommendation that he dismiss those members of
his council who were stigmatized as conservatives; and the first cabinet
change which actually took place after the adjournment of the convention
filled the radical body of his supporters with dismay, since they had
looked upon Mr. Chase as their special representative in the government.
The publication of the Wade-Davis manifesto still further increased
their restlessness, and brought upon Mr. Lincoln a powerful pressure
from every quarter to satisfy radical demands by dismissing Montgomery
Blair, his Postmaster-General. Mr. Blair had been one of the founders of
the Republican party, and in the very forefront of opposition to slavery
extension, but had gradually attracted to himself the hostility of all
the radical Republicans in the country. The immediate cause of this
estrangement was the bitter quarrel that developed between his family
and General Frémont in Missouri: a quarrel in which the Blairs were
undoubtedly right in the beginning, but which broadened and extended
until it landed them finally in the Democratic party.

The President considered the dispute one of form rather than substance,
and having a deep regard, not only for the Postmaster-General, but for
his brother, General Frank Blair, and for his distinguished father, was
most reluctant to take action against him. Even in the bosom of the
government, however, a strong hostility to Mr. Blair manifested itself.
As long as Chase remained in the cabinet there was smoldering hostility
between them, and his attitude toward Seward and Stanton was one of
increasing enmity. General Halleck, incensed at some caustic remarks
Blair was reported to have made about the defenders of the capital after
Early's raid, during which the family estate near Washington had
suffered, sent an angry note to the War Department, wishing to know if
such "wholesale denouncement" had the President's sanction; adding that
either the names of the officers accused should be stricken from the
rolls, or the "slanderer dismissed from the cabinet." Mr. Stanton sent
the letter to the President without comment. This was too much; and the
Secretary received an answer on the very same day, written in Mr.
Lincoln's most masterful manner:

"Whether the remarks were really made I do not know, nor do I suppose
such knowledge is necessary to a correct response. If they were made, I
do not approve them; and yet, under the circumstances, I would not
dismiss a member of the cabinet therefore. I do not consider what may
have been hastily said in a moment of vexation at so severe a loss is
sufficient ground for so grave a step.... I propose continuing to be
myself the judge as to when a member of the cabinet shall be

Not content with this, the President, when the cabinet came together,
read them this impressive little lecture:

"I must myself be the judge how long to retain in and when to remove any
of you from his position. It would greatly pain me to discover any of
you endeavoring to procure another's removal, or in any way to prejudice
him before the public. Such endeavor would be a wrong to me, and, much
worse, a wrong to the country. My wish is that on this subject no remark
be made nor question asked by any of you, here or elsewhere, now or

This is one of the most remarkable speeches ever made by a President.
The tone of authority is unmistakable. Washington was never more
dignified; Jackson was never more peremptory.

The feeling against Mr. Blair and the pressure upon the President for
his removal increased throughout the summer. All through the period of
gloom and discouragement he refused to act, even when he believed the
verdict of the country likely to go against him, and was assured on
every side that such a concession to the radical spirit might be greatly
to his advantage. But after the turn had come, and the prospective
triumph of the Union cause became evident, he felt that he ought no
longer to retain in his cabinet a member who, whatever his personal
merits, had lost the confidence of the great body of Republicans; and on
September 9 wrote him a kindly note, requesting his resignation.

Mr. Blair accepted his dismissal in a manner to be expected from his
manly and generous character, not pretending to be pleased, but assuming
that the President had good reason for his action; and, on turning over
his office to his successor, ex-Governor William Dennison of Ohio, went
at once to Maryland and entered into the campaign, working heartily for
Mr. Lincoln's reëlection.

After the death of Judge Taney in October, Mr. Blair for a while
indulged the hope that he might be appointed chief justice, a position
for which his natural abilities and legal acquirements eminently fitted
him. But Mr. Chase was chosen, to the bitter disappointment of Mr.
Blair's family, though even this did not shake their steadfast loyalty
to the Union cause or their personal friendship for the President.
Immediately after his second inauguration, Mr. Lincoln offered
Montgomery Blair his choice of the Spanish or the Austrian mission, an
offer which he peremptorily though respectfully declined.

The appointment of Mr. Chase as chief justice had probably been decided
on in Mr. Lincoln's own mind from the first, though he gave no public
intimation of his decision before sending the nomination to the Senate
on December 6. Mr. Chase's partizans claimed that the President had
already virtually promised him the place; his opponents counted upon the
ex-secretary's attitude of criticism to work against his appointment.
But Mr. Lincoln sternly checked all presentations of this personal
argument; nor were the prayers of those who urged him to overlook the
harsh and indecorous things Mr. Chase had said of him at all necessary.
To one who spoke in this latter strain the President replied:

"Oh, as to that I care nothing. Of Mr. Chase's ability, and of his
soundness on the general issues of the war, there is, of course, no
question. I have only one doubt about his appointment. He is a man of
unbounded ambition, and has been working all his life to become
President. That he can never be; and I fear that if I make him chief
justice he will simply become more restless and uneasy and neglect the
place in his strife and intrigue to make himself President. If I were
sure that he would go on the bench and give up his aspirations, and do
nothing but make himself a great judge, I would not hesitate a moment."

He wrote out Mr. Chase's nomination with his own hand, and sent it to
the Senate the day after Congress came together. It was confirmed at
once, without reference to a committee, and Mr. Chase, on learning of
his new dignity, sent the President a cordial note, thanking him for the
manner of his appointment, and adding: "I prize your confidence and good
will more than any nomination to office." But Mr. Lincoln's fears were
better founded than his hopes. Though Mr. Chase took his place on the
bench with a conscientious desire to do his whole duty in his great
office, he could not dismiss the political affairs of the country from
his mind, and still considered himself called upon to counteract the
mischievous tendencies of the President toward conciliation and hasty

The reorganization of the cabinet went on by gradual disintegration
rather than by any brusque or even voluntary action on the part of Mr.
Lincoln. Mr. Bates, the attorney-general, growing weary of the labors of
his official position, resigned toward the end of November. Mr. Lincoln,
on whom the claim of localities always had great weight, unable to
decide upon another Missourian fitted for the place, offered it to
Joseph Holt of Kentucky, who declined, and then to James Speed, also a
Kentuckian of high professional and social standing, the brother of his
early friend Joshua F. Speed. Soon after the opening of the new year,
Mr. Fessenden, having been again elected to the Senate from Maine,
resigned his office as Secretary of the Treasury. The place thus
vacated instantly excited a wide and spirited competition of
recommendations. The President wished to appoint Governor Morgan of New
York, who declined, and the choice finally fell upon Hugh McCulloch of
Indiana, who had made a favorable record as comptroller of the currency.
Thus only two of Mr. Lincoln's original cabinet, Mr. Seward and Mr.
Welles, were in office at the date of his second inauguration; and still
another change was in contemplation. Mr. Usher of Indiana, who had for
some time discharged the duties of Secretary of the Interior, desiring,
as he said, to relieve the President from any possible embarrassment
which might arise from the fact that two of his cabinet were from the
same State, sent in his resignation, which Mr. Lincoln indorsed "To take
effect May 15, 1865."

The tragic events of the future were mercifully hidden. Mr. Lincoln,
looking forward to four years more of personal leadership, was planning
yet another generous offer to shorten the period of conflict. His talk
with the commissioners at Hampton Roads had probably revealed to him the
undercurrent of their hopelessness and anxiety; and he had told them
that personally he would be in favor of the government paying a liberal
indemnity for the loss of slave property, on absolute cessation of the
war and the voluntary abolition of slavery by the Southern States.

This was indeed going to the extreme of magnanimity; but Mr. Lincoln
remembered that the rebels, notwithstanding all their offenses and
errors, were yet American citizens, members of the same nation, brothers
of the same blood. He remembered, too, that the object of the war,
equally with peace and freedom, was the maintenance of one government
and the perpetuation of one Union. Not only must hostilities cease, but
dissension, suspicion, and estrangement be eradicated. Filled with such
thoughts and purposes, he spent the day after his return from Hampton
Roads in considering and perfecting a new proposal, designed as a peace
offering to the States in rebellion. On the evening of February 5, 1865,
he called his cabinet together, and read to them the draft of a joint
resolution and proclamation embodying this idea, offering the Southern
States four hundred million dollars, or a sum equal to the cost of the
war for two hundred days, on condition that hostilities cease by the
first of April, 1865; to be paid in six per cent. government bonds, pro
rata on their slave populations as shown by the census of 1860--one half
on April 1, the other half only upon condition that the Thirteenth
Amendment be ratified by a requisite number of States before July 1,

It turned out that he was more humane and liberal than his
constitutional advisers. The indorsement in his own handwriting on the
manuscript draft records the result of his appeal and suggestion:

     "February 5, 1865. To-day, these papers, which explain themselves,
     were drawn up and submitted to the cabinet, and unanimously
     disapproved by them.

     "A. LINCOLN."

With the words, "You are all opposed to me," sadly uttered, the
President folded up the paper and ceased the discussion.

The formal inauguration of Mr. Lincoln for his second presidential term
took place at the appointed time, March 4, 1865. There is little
variation in the simple but impressive pageantry with which the official
ceremony is celebrated. The principal novelty commented upon by the
newspapers was the share which the hitherto enslaved race had for the
first time in this public and political drama. Civic associations of
negro citizens joined in the procession, and a battalion of negro
soldiers formed part of the military escort. The weather was
sufficiently favorable to allow the ceremonies to take place on the
eastern portico of the Capitol, in view of a vast throng of spectators.
The central act of the occasion was President Lincoln's second inaugural
address, which enriched the political literature of the Union with
another masterpiece, and deserves to be quoted in full. He said:

     "FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN: At this second appearing to take the oath of
     the presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended
     address than there was at the first. Then, a statement, somewhat in
     detail, of a course to be pursued, seemed fitting and proper. Now,
     at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations
     have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the
     great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the
     energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The
     progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as
     well known to the public as to myself; and it is, I trust,
     reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for
     the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

     "On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts
     were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded
     it--all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being
     delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union
     without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy
     it without war--seeking to dissolve the Union, and divide effects,
     by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would
     make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would
     accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.

     "One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not
     distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern
     part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful
     interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of
     the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was
     the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by
     war; while the government claimed no right to do more than to
     restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected
     for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already
     attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might
     cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each
     looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and
     astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and
     each invokes his aid against the other. It may seem strange that
     any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing
     their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge
     not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be
     answered--that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has
     his own purposes. 'Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it
     must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the
     offense cometh.' If we shall suppose that American slavery is one
     of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come,
     but which, having continued through his appointed time, he now
     wills to remove, and that he gives to both North and South this
     terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offense came,
     shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes
     which the believers in a living God always ascribe to him? Fondly
     do we hope--fervently do we pray--that this mighty scourge of war
     may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until
     all the wealth piled by the bondman's two hundred and fifty years
     of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood
     drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword,
     as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said,
     'The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'

     "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in
     the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to
     finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds, to care
     for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his
     orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting
     peace among ourselves, and with all nations."

The address being concluded, Chief Justice Chase administered the oath
of office; and listeners who heard Abraham Lincoln for the second time
repeat, "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office
of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability,
preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,"
went from the impressive scene to their several homes with thankfulness
and with confidence that the destiny of the country and the liberty of
the citizen were in safe keeping. "The fiery trial" through which he had
hitherto walked showed him possessed of the capacity, the courage, and
the will to keep the promise of his oath.

Among the many criticisms passed by writers and thinkers upon the second
inaugural, none will so interest the reader as that of Mr. Lincoln
himself, written about ten days after its delivery, in the following
letter to a friend:

     "DEAR MR. WEED: Every one likes a compliment. Thank you for yours
     on my little notification speech, and on the recent inaugural
     address. I expect the latter to wear as well as, perhaps better
     than, anything I have produced; but I believe it is not immediately
     popular. Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a
     difference of purpose between the Almighty and them. To deny it,
     however, in this case, is to deny that there is a God governing the
     world. It is a truth which I thought needed to be told, and, as
     whatever of humiliation there is in it falls most directly on
     myself, I thought others might afford for me to tell it."

Nothing would have more amazed Mr. Lincoln than to hear himself called a
man of letters; but this age has produced few greater writers. Emerson
ranks him with Aesop; Montalembert commends his style as a model for the
imitation of princes. It is true that in his writings the range of
subjects is not great. He was chiefly concerned with the political
problems of the time, and the moral considerations involved in them. But
the range of treatment is remarkably wide, running from the wit, the gay
humor, the florid eloquence of his stump speeches, to the marvelous
sententiousness and brevity of the address at Gettysburg, and the
sustained and lofty grandeur of his second inaugural; while many of his
phrases have already passed into the daily speech of mankind.

A careful student of Mr. Lincoln's character will find this inaugural
address instinct with another meaning, which, very naturally, the
President's own comment did not touch. The eternal law of compensation,
which it declares and applies to the sin and fall of American slavery,
in a diction rivaling the fire and dignity of the old Hebrew prophecies,
may, without violent inference, be interpreted to foreshadow an
intention to renew at a fitting moment the brotherly goodwill gift to
the South which has already been treated of. Such an inference finds
strong corroboration in the sentences which closed the last public
address he ever made. On Tuesday evening, April 11, a considerable
assemblage of citizens of Washington gathered at the Executive Mansion
to celebrate the victory of Grant over Lee. The rather long and careful
speech which Mr. Lincoln made on that occasion was, however, less about
the past than the future. It discussed the subject of reconstruction as
illustrated in the case of Louisiana, showing also how that issue was
related to the questions of emancipation, the condition of the freedmen,
the welfare of the South, and the ratification of the constitutional

"So new and unprecedented is the whole case," he concluded, "that no
exclusive and inflexible plan can safely be prescribed as to details and
collaterals. Such exclusive and inflexible plan would surely become a
new entanglement. Important principles may and must be inflexible. In
the present situation, as the phrase goes, it may be my duty to make
some new announcement to the people of the South. I am considering, and
shall not fail to act when satisfied that action will be proper."

Can any one doubt that this "new announcement" which was taking shape in
his mind would again have embraced and combined justice to the blacks
and generosity to the whites of the South, with Union and liberty for
the whole country?


Depreciation of Confederate Currency--Rigor of
Conscription--Dissatisfaction with the Confederate Government--Lee
General-in-Chief--J.E. Johnston Reappointed to Oppose Sherman's
March--Value of Slave Property Gone in Richmond--Davis's Recommendation
of Emancipation--Benjamin's Last Despatch to Slidell--Condition of the
Army when Lee took Command--Lee Attempts Negotiations with
Grant--Lincoln's Directions--Lee and Davis Agree upon Line of
Retreat--Assault on Fort Stedman--Five Forks--Evacuation of
Petersburg--Surrender of Richmond--Pursuit of Lee--Surrender of
Lee--Burning of Richmond--Lincoln in Richmond

From the hour of Mr. Lincoln's reëlection the Confederate cause was
doomed. The cheering of the troops which greeted the news from the North
was heard within the lines at Richmond and at Petersburg; and although
the leaders maintained their attitude of defiance, the impression
rapidly gained ground among the people that the end was not far off. The
stimulus of hope being gone, they began to feel the pinch of increasing
want. Their currency had become almost worthless. In October, a dollar
in gold was worth thirty-five dollars in Confederate money. With the
opening of the new year the price rose to sixty dollars, and, despite
the efforts of the Confederate treasury, which would occasionally rush
into the market and beat down the price of gold ten or twenty per cent.
a day, the currency gradually depreciated until a hundred for one was
offered and not taken. It was natural for the citizens of Richmond to
think that monstrous prices were being extorted for food, clothing, and
supplies, when in fact they were paying no more than was reasonable. To
pay a thousand dollars for a barrel of flour was enough to strike a
householder with terror but ten dollars is not a famine price. High
prices, however, even if paid in dry leaves, are a hardship when dry
leaves are not plentiful; and there was scarcity even of Confederate
money in the South.

At every advance of Grant's lines a new alarm was manifested in
Richmond, the first proof of which was always a fresh rigor in enforcing
the conscription laws and the arbitrary orders of the frightened
authorities. After the capture of Fort Harrison, north of the James,
squads of guards were sent into the streets with directions to arrest
every able-bodied man they met. It is said that the medical boards were
ordered to exempt no one capable of bearing arms for ten days. Human
nature will not endure such a strain as this, and desertion grew too
common to punish.

As disaster increased, the Confederate government steadily lost ground
in the confidence and respect of the Southern people. Mr. Davis and his
councilors were doing their best, but they no longer got any credit for
it. From every part of the Confederacy came complaints of what was done,
demands for what was impossible to do. Some of the States were in a
condition near to counter-revolution. A slow paralysis was benumbing the
limbs of the insurrection, and even at the heart its vitality was
plainly declining. The Confederate Congress, which had hitherto been the
mere register of the President's will, now turned upon him. On January
19 it passed a resolution making Lee general-in-chief of the army. This
Mr. Davis might have borne with patience, although it was intended as a
notification that his meddling with military affairs must come to an
end. But far worse was the bitter necessity put upon him as a sequel to
this act, of reappointing General Joseph E. Johnston to the command of
the army which was to resist Sherman's victorious march to the north.
Mr. Seddon, rebel Secretary of War, thinking his honor impugned by a
vote of the Virginia delegation in Congress, resigned. Warnings of
serious demoralization came daily from the army, and disaffection was so
rife in official circles in Richmond that it was not thought politic to
call public attention to it by measures of repression.

It is curious and instructive to note how the act of emancipation had by
this time virtually enforced itself in Richmond. The value of slave
property was gone. It is true that a slave was still occasionally sold,
at a price less than one tenth of what he would have brought before the
war, but servants could be hired of their nominal owners for almost
nothing--merely enough to keep up a show of vassalage. In effect, any
one could hire a negro for his keeping--which was all that anybody in
Richmond, black or white, got for his work. Even Mr. Davis had at last
become docile to the stern teaching of events. In his message of
November he had recommended the employment of forty thousand slaves in
the army--not as soldiers, it is true, save in the last extremity--with
emancipation to come.

On December 27, Mr. Benjamin wrote his last important instruction to
John Slidell, the Confederate commissioner in Europe. It is nothing less
than a cry of despair. Complaining bitterly of the attitude of foreign
nations while the South is fighting the battles of England and France
against the North, he asks: "Are they determined never to recognize the
Southern Confederacy until the United States assent to such action on
their part?" And with a frantic offer to submit to any terms which
Europe might impose as the price of recognition, and a scarcely veiled
threat of making peace with the North unless Europe should act speedily,
the Confederate Department of State closed its four years of fruitless

Lee assumed command of all the Confederate armies on February 9. His
situation was one of unprecedented gloom. The day before he had reported
that his troops, who had been in line of battle for two days at
Hatcher's Run, exposed to the bad winter weather, had been without meat
for three days. A prodigious effort was made, and the danger of
starvation for the moment averted, but no permanent improvement
resulted. The armies of the Union were closing in from every point of
the compass. Grant was every day pushing his formidable left wing nearer
the only roads by which Lee could escape; Thomas was threatening the
Confederate communications from Tennessee; Sheridan was riding for the
last time up the Shenandoah valley to abolish Early; while from the
south the redoubtable columns of Sherman were moving northward with the
steady pace and irresistible progress of a tragic fate.

A singular and significant attempt at negotiation was made at this time
by General Lee. He was so strong in the confidence of the people of the
South, and the government at Richmond was so rapidly becoming
discredited, that he could doubtless have obtained the popular support
and compelled the assent of the Executive to any measures he thought
proper for the attainment of peace. From this it was easy for him and
for others to come to the wholly erroneous conclusion that General Grant
held a similar relation to the government and people of the United
States. General Lee seized upon the pretext of a conversation reported
to him by General Longstreet as having been held with General E.O.C. Ord
under an ordinary flag of truce for the exchange of prisoners, to
address a letter to Grant, sanctioned by Mr. Davis, saying he had been
informed that General Ord had said General Grant would not decline an
interview with a view "to a satisfactory adjustment of the present
unhappy difficulties by means of a military convention," provided Lee
had authority to act. He therefore proposed to meet General Grant "with
the hope that ... it may be found practicable to submit the subjects of
controversy ... to a convention of the kind mentioned"; professing
himself "authorized to do whatever the result of the proposed interview
may render necessary."

Grant at once telegraphed these overtures to Washington. Stanton
received the despatch at the Capitol, where the President was, according
to his custom, passing the last night of the session of Congress, for
the convenience of signing bills. The Secretary handed the telegram to
Mr. Lincoln, who read it in silence. He asked no advice or suggestion
from any one about him, but, taking up a pen, wrote with his usual
slowness and precision a despatch in Stanton's name, which he showed to
Seward, and then handed to Stanton to be signed and sent. The language
is that of an experienced ruler, perfectly sure of himself and of his

"The President directs me to say that he wishes you to have no
conference with General Lee, unless it be for capitulation of General
Lee's army, or on some minor or purely military matter. He instructs me
to say that you are not to decide, discuss, or confer upon any political
questions. Such questions the President holds in his own hands, and
will submit them to no military conferences or conventions. Meanwhile,
you are to press to the utmost your military advantages."

Grant answered Lee that he had no authority to accede to his
proposition, and explained that General Ord's language must have been
misunderstood. This closed to the Confederate authorities the last
avenue of hope of any compromise by which the alternative of utter
defeat or unconditional surrender might be avoided.

Early in March, General Lee visited Richmond for conference with Mr.
Davis on the measures to be adopted in the crisis which he saw was
imminent. He had never sympathized with the slight Congress had intended
to put upon Mr. Davis when it gave him supreme military authority, and
continued to the end to treat his President as commander-in-chief of the
forces. There is direct contradiction between Mr. Davis and General Lee
as to how Davis received this statement of the necessities of the
situation. Mr. Davis says he suggested immediate withdrawal from
Richmond, but that Lee said his horses were too weak for the roads in
their present condition, and that he must wait. General Lee, on the
other hand, is quoted as saying that he wished to retire behind the
Staunton River, from which point he might have indefinitely protracted
the war, but that the President overruled him. Both agreed, however,
that sooner or later Richmond must be abandoned, and that the next move
should be to Danville.

But before he turned his back forever upon the lines he had so stoutly
defended, Lee resolved to dash once more at the toils by which he was
surrounded. He placed half his army under the command of General John B.
Gordon, with orders to break through the Union lines at Fort Stedman
and take possession of the high ground behind them. A month earlier
Grant had foreseen some such move on Lee's part, and had ordered General
Parke to be prepared to meet an assault on his center, and to have his
commanders ready to bring all their resources to bear on the point in
danger, adding: "With proper alacrity in this respect I would have no
objection to seeing the enemy get through." This characteristic phrase
throws the strongest light both on Grant's temperament, and on the
mastery of his business at which he had arrived. Under such generalship,
an army's lines are a trap into which entrance is suicide.

The assault was made with great spirit at half-past four on the morning
of March 25. Its initial success was due to a singular cause. The spot
chosen was a favorite point for deserters to pass into the Union lines,
which they had of late been doing in large numbers. When Gordon's
skirmishers, therefore, came stealing through the darkness, they were
mistaken for an unusually large party of deserters, and they
over-powered several picket-posts without firing a shot. The storming
party, following at once, took the trenches with a rush, and in a few
minutes had possession of the main line on the right of the fort, and,
next, of the fort itself. It was hard in the semi-darkness to
distinguish friends from foes, and for a time General Parke was unable
to make headway; but with the growing light his troops advanced from
every direction to mend the breach, and, making short work of the
Confederate detachments, recaptured the fort, opening a cross-fire of
artillery so withering that few of the Confederates could get back to
their own lines. This was, moreover, not the only damage the
Confederates suffered. Humphreys and Wright, on the Union left, rightly
assuming that Parke could take care of himself, instantly searched the
lines in their front to see if they had been essentially weakened to
support Gordon's attack. They found they had not, but in gaining this
knowledge captured the enemy's intrenched picket-lines in front of them,
which, being held, gave inestimable advantage to the Union army in the
struggle of the next week.

Grant's chief anxiety for some time had been lest Lee should abandon his
lines; but though burning to attack, he was delayed by the same bad
roads which kept Lee in Richmond, and by another cause. He did not wish
to move until Sheridan had completed the work assigned him in the
Shenandoah valley and joined either Sherman or the army at Petersburg.
On March 24, however, at the very moment Gordon was making his plans for
next day's sortie, Grant issued his order for the great movement to the
left which was to finish the war. He intended to begin on the
twenty-ninth, but Lee's desperate dash of the twenty-fifth convinced him
that not a moment was to be lost. Sheridan reached City Point on the
twenty-sixth. Sherman came up from North Carolina for a brief visit next
day. The President was also there, and an interesting meeting took place
between these famous brothers in arms and Mr. Lincoln; after which
Sherman went back to Goldsboro, and Grant began pushing his army to the
left with even more than his usual iron energy.

It was a great army--the result of all the power and wisdom of the
government, all the devotion of the people, all the intelligence and
teachableness of the soldiers themselves, and all the ability which a
mighty war had developed in the officers. In command of all was Grant,
the most extraordinary military temperament this country has ever seen.
The numbers of the respective armies in this last grapple have been the
occasion of endless controversy. As nearly as can be ascertained, the
grand total of all arms on the Union side was 124,700; on the
Confederate side, 57,000.

Grant's plan, as announced in his instructions of March 24, was at first
to despatch Sheridan to destroy the South Side and Danville railroads,
at the same time moving a heavy force to the left to insure the success
of this raid, and then to turn Lee's position. But his purpose developed
from hour to hour, and before he had been away from his winter
headquarters one day, he gave up this comparatively narrow scheme, and
adopted the far bolder plan which he carried out to his immortal honor.
He ordered Sheridan not to go after the railroads, but to push for the
enemy's right rear, writing him: "I now feel like ending the matter....
We will act all together as one army here, until it is seen what can be
done with the enemy."

On the thirtieth, Sheridan advanced to Five Forks, where he found a
heavy force of the enemy. Lee, justly alarmed by Grant's movements, had
despatched a sufficient detachment to hold that important cross-roads,
and taken personal command of the remainder on White Oak Ridge. A heavy
rain-storm, beginning on the night of the twenty-ninth and continuing
more than twenty-four hours, greatly impeded the march of the troops. On
the thirty-first, Warren, working his way toward the White Oak road, was
attacked by Lee and driven back on the main line, but rallied, and in
the afternoon drove the enemy again into his works. Sheridan, opposed by
Pickett with a large force of infantry and cavalry, was also forced
back, fighting obstinately, as far as Dinwiddie Court House, from which
point he hopefully reported his situation to Grant at dark. Grant, more
disturbed than Sheridan himself, rained orders and suggestions all
night to effect a concentration at daylight on that portion of the enemy
in front of Sheridan; but Pickett, finding himself out of position,
silently withdrew during the night, and resumed his strongly intrenched
post at Five Forks. Here Sheridan followed him on April 1, and repeated
the successful tactics of his Shenandoah valley exploits so brilliantly
that Lee's right was entirely shattered.

This battle of Five Forks should have ended the war. Lee's right was
routed; his line had been stretched westward until it broke; there was
no longer any hope of saving Richmond, or even of materially delaying
its fall. But Lee apparently thought that even the gain of a day was of
value to the Richmond government, and what was left of his Army of
Northern Virginia was still so perfect in discipline that it answered
with unabated spirit every demand made upon it. Grant, who feared Lee
might get away from Petersburg and overwhelm Sheridan on the White Oak
road, directed that an assault be made all along the line at four
o'clock on the morning of the second. His officers responded with
enthusiasm; and Lee, far from dreaming of attacking any one after the
stunning blow he had received the day before, made what hasty
preparations he could to resist them.

It is painful to record the hard fighting which followed. Wright, in his
assault in front of Forts Fisher and Walsh, lost eleven hundred men in
fifteen minutes of murderous conflict that made them his own; and other
commands fared scarcely better, Union and Confederate troops alike
displaying a gallantry distressing to contemplate when one reflects
that, the war being already decided, all this heroic blood was shed in
vain. The Confederates, from the Appomattox to the Weldon road, fell
slowly back to their inner line of works; and Lee, watching the
formidable advance before which his weakened troops gave way, sent a
message to Richmond announcing his purpose of concentrating on the
Danville road, and made preparations for the evacuation which was now
the only resort left him.

Some Confederate writers express surprise that General Grant did not
attack and destroy Lee's army on April 2; but this is a view, after the
fact, easy to express. The troops on the Union left had been on foot for
eighteen hours, had fought an important battle, marched and
countermarched many miles, and were now confronted by Longstreet's fresh
corps behind formidable works, while the attitude of the force under
Gordon on the south side of the town was such as to require the close
attention of Parke. Grant, anticipating an early retirement of Lee from
his citadel, wisely resolved to avoid the waste and bloodshed of an
immediate assault on the inner lines of Petersburg. He ordered Sheridan
to get upon Lee's line of retreat; sent Humphreys to strengthen him;
then, directing a general bombardment for five o'clock next morning, and
an assault at six, gave himself and his soldiers a little of the rest
they had so richly earned and so seriously needed.

He had telegraphed during the day to President Lincoln, who was still at
City Point, the news as it developed from hour to hour. Prisoners he
regarded as so much net gain: he was weary of slaughter, and wanted the
war ended with as little bloodshed as possible; and it was with delight
that he summed up on Sunday afternoon: "The whole captures since the
army started out gunning will not amount to less than twelve thousand
men, and probably fifty pieces of artillery."

Lee bent all his energies to saving his army and leading it out of its
untenable position on the James to a point from which he could effect a
junction with Johnston in North Carolina. The place selected for this
purpose was Burkeville, at the crossing of the South Side and Danville
roads, fifty miles southwest from Richmond, whence a short distance
would bring him to Danville, where the desired junction could be made.
Even yet he was able to cradle himself in the illusion that it was only
a campaign that had failed, and that he might continue the war
indefinitely in another field. At nightfall all his preparations were
completed, and dismounting at the mouth of the road leading to Amelia
Court House, the first point of rendezvous, where he had directed
supplies to be sent, he watched his troops file noiselessly by in the
darkness. By three o'clock the town was abandoned; at half-past four it
was formally surrendered. Meade, reporting the news to Grant, received
orders to march his army immediately up the Appomattox; and divining
Lee's intentions, Grant also sent word to Sheridan to push with all
speed to the Danville road.

Thus flight and pursuit began almost at the same moment. The
swift-footed Army of Northern Virginia was racing for its life, and
Grant, inspired with more than his habitual tenacity and energy, not
only pressed his enemy in the rear, but hung upon his flank, and
strained every nerve to get in his front. He did not even allow himself
the pleasure of entering Richmond, which surrendered to Weitzel early on
the morning of the third.

All that day Lee pushed forward toward Amelia Court House. There was
little fighting except among the cavalry. A terrible disappointment
awaited Lee on his arrival at Amelia Court House on the fourth. He had
ordered supplies to be forwarded there, but his half-starved troops
found no food awaiting them, and nearly twenty-four hours were lost in
collecting subsistence for men and horses. When he started again on the
night of the fifth, the whole pursuing force was south and stretching
out to the west of him. Burkeville was in Grant's possession; the way to
Danville was barred; the supply of provisions to the south cut off. He
was compelled to change his route to the west, and started for
Lynchburg, which he was destined never to reach.

It had been the intention to attack Lee at Amelia Court House on the
morning of April 6, but learning of his turn to the west, Meade, who was
immediately in pursuit, quickly faced his army about and followed. A
running fight ensued for fourteen miles, the enemy, with remarkable
quickness and dexterity, halting and partly intrenching themselves from
time to time, and the national forces driving them out of every
position; the Union cavalry, meanwhile, harassing the moving left flank
of the Confederates, and working havoc on the trains. They also caused a
grievous loss to history by burning Lee's headquarters baggage, with all
its wealth of returns and reports. At Sailor's Creek, a rivulet running
north into the Appomattox, Ewell's corps was brought to bay, and
important fighting occurred; the day's loss to Lee, there and elsewhere,
amounting to eight thousand in all, with several of his generals among
the prisoners. This day's work was of incalculable value to the national
arms. Sheridan's unerring eye appreciated the full importance of it, his
hasty report ending with the words: "If the thing is pressed, I think
that Lee will surrender." Grant sent the despatch to President Lincoln,
who instantly replied:

"Let the thing be pressed."

In fact, after nightfall of the sixth, Lee's army could only flutter
like a wounded bird with one wing shattered. There was no longer any
possibility of escape; but Lee found it hard to relinquish the illusion
of years, and as soon as night came down he again began his weary march
westward. A slight success on the next day once more raised his hopes;
but his optimism was not shared by his subordinates, and a number of his
principal officers, selecting General Pendleton as their spokesman, made
known to him on the seventh their belief that further resistance was
useless, and advised surrender. Lee told them that they had yet too many
men to think of laying down their arms, but in answer to a courteous
summons from Grant sent that same day, inquired what terms he would be
willing to offer. Without waiting for a reply, he again put his men in
motion, and during all of the eighth the chase and pursuit continued
through a part of Virginia green with spring, and until then unvisited
by hostile armies.

Sheridan, by unheard-of exertions, at last accomplished the important
task of placing himself squarely on Lee's line of retreat. About sunset
of the eighth, his advance captured Appomattox Station and four trains
of provisions. Shortly after, a reconnaissance revealed the fact that
Lee's entire army was coming up the road. Though he had nothing but
cavalry, Sheridan resolved to hold the inestimable advantage he had
gained, and sent a request to Grant to hurry up the required infantry
support; saying that if it reached him that night, they "might perhaps
finish the job in the morning." He added, with singular prescience,
referring to the negotiations which had been opened: "I do not think Lee
means to surrender until compelled to do so."

This was strictly true. When Grant replied to Lee's question about
terms, saying that the only condition he insisted upon was that the
officers and men surrendered should be disqualified from taking up arms
again until properly exchanged, Lee disclaimed any intention to
surrender his army, but proposed to meet Grant to discuss the
restoration of peace. It appears from his own report that even on the
night of the eighth he had no intention of giving up the fight. He
expected to find only cavalry before him next morning, and thought his
remnant of infantry could break through while he himself was amusing
Grant with platonic discussions in the rear. But on arriving at the
rendezvous he had suggested, he received Grant's courteous but decided
refusal to enter into a political negotiation, and also the news that a
formidable force of infantry barred the way and covered the adjacent
hills and valley. The marching of the Confederate army was over forever,
and Lee, suddenly brought to a sense of his real situation, sent orders
to cease hostilities, and wrote another note to Grant, asking an
interview for the purpose of surrendering his army.

The meeting took place at the house of Wilmer McLean, in the edge of the
village of Appomattox, on April 9, 1865. Lee met Grant at the threshold,
and ushered him into a small and barely furnished parlor, where were
soon assembled the leading officers of the national army. General Lee
was accompanied only by his secretary, Colonel Charles Marshall. A short
conversation led up to a request from Lee for the terms on which the
surrender of his army would be received. Grant briefly stated them, and
then wrote them out. Men and officers were to be paroled, and the arms,
artillery, and public property turned over to the officer appointed to
receive them.

"This," he added, "will not embrace the side-arms of the officers, nor
their private horses or baggage. This done, each officer and man will
be allowed to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United
States authority so long as they observe their parole and the laws in
force where they may reside."

General Grant says in his "Memoirs" that up to the moment when he put
pen to paper he had not thought of a word that he should write. The
terms he had verbally proposed were soon put in writing, and there he
might have stopped. But as he wrote a feeling of sympathy for his
gallant antagonist came over him, and he added the extremely liberal
terms with which his letter closed. The sight of Lee's fine sword
suggested the paragraph allowing officers to retain their side-arms; and
he ended with a phrase he evidently had not thought of, and for which he
had no authority, which practically pardoned and amnestied every man in
Lee's army--a thing he had refused to consider the day before, and which
had been expressly forbidden him in the President's order of March 3.
Yet so great was the joy over the crowning victory, and so deep the
gratitude of the government and people to Grant and his heroic army,
that his terms were accepted as he wrote them, and his exercise of the
Executive prerogative of pardon entirely overlooked. It must be noticed
here, however, that a few days later it led the greatest of Grant's
generals into a serious error.

Lee must have read the memorandum with as much surprise as
gratification. He suggested and gained another important
concession--that those of the cavalry and artillery who owned their own
horses should be allowed to take them home to put in their crops; and
wrote a brief reply accepting the terms. He then remarked that his army
was in a starving condition, and asked Grant to provide them with
subsistence and forage; to which he at once assented, inquiring for how
many men the rations would be wanted. Lee answered, "About twenty-five
thousand"; and orders were given to issue them. The number turned out to
be even greater, the paroles signed amounting to twenty-eight thousand
two hundred and thirty-one. If we add to this the captures made during
the preceding week, and the thousands who deserted the failing cause at
every by-road leading to their homes, we see how considerable an army
Lee commanded when Grant "started out gunning."

With these brief and simple formalities, one of the most momentous
transactions of modern times was concluded. The Union gunners prepared
to fire a national salute, but Grant forbade any rejoicing over a fallen
enemy, who, he hoped, would be an enemy no longer. The next day he rode
to the Confederate lines to make a visit of farewell to General Lee.
They parted with courteous good wishes, and Grant, without pausing to
look at the city he had taken, or the enormous system of works which had
so long held him at bay, hurried away to Washington, intent only upon
putting an end to the waste and burden of war.

A very carnival of fire and destruction had attended the flight of the
Confederate authorities from Richmond. On Sunday night, April 2,
Jefferson Davis, with his cabinet and their more important papers,
hurriedly left the doomed city on one of the crowded and overloaded
railroad trains. The legislature of Virginia and the governor of the
State departed in a canal-boat toward Lynchburg; and every available
vehicle was pressed into service by the frantic inhabitants, all anxious
to get away before their capital was desecrated by the presence of
"Yankee invaders." By the time the military left, early next morning, a
conflagration was already under way. The rebel Congress had passed a
law ordering government tobacco and other public property to be burned.
General Ewell, the military commander, asserts that he took the
responsibility of disobeying the law, and that they were not fired by
his orders. However that may be, flames broke out in various parts of
the city, while a miscellaneous mob, inflamed by excitement and by the
alcohol which had run freely in the gutters the night before, rushed
from store to store, smashing in the doors and indulging all the
wantonness of pillage and greed. Public spirit was paralyzed, and the
whole fabric of society seemed crumbling to pieces, when the convicts
from the penitentiary, a shouting, leaping crowd of party-colored
demons, overcoming their guard, and drunk with liberty, appeared upon
the streets, adding their final dramatic horror to the pandemonium.

It is quite probable that the very magnitude and rapidity of the
disaster served in a measure to mitigate its evil results. The burning
of seven hundred buildings, comprising the entire business portion of
Richmond warehouses, manufactories, mills, depots, and stores, all
within the brief space of a day, was a visitation so sudden, so
unexpected, so stupefying, as to overawe and terrorize even wrong-doers,
and made the harvest of plunder so abundant as to serve to scatter the
mob and satisfy its rapacity to quick repletion.

Before a new hunger could arise, assistance was at hand. General
Weitzel, to whom the city was surrendered, taking up his headquarters in
the house lately occupied by Jefferson Davis, promptly set about the
work of relief; organizing efficient resistance to the fire, which, up
to this time, seems scarcely to have been attempted; issuing rations to
the poor, who had been relentlessly exposed to starvation by the action
of the rebel Congress; and restoring order and personal authority. That
a regiment of black soldiers assisted in this noble work must have
seemed to the white inhabitants of Richmond the final drop in their cup
of misery.

Into the capital, thus stricken and laid waste, came President Lincoln
on the morning of April 4. Never in the history of the world did the
head of a mighty nation and the conqueror of a great rebellion enter the
captured chief city of the insurgents in such humbleness and simplicity.
He had gone two weeks before to City Point for a visit to General Grant,
and to his son, Captain Robert Lincoln, who was serving on Grant's
staff. Making his home on the steamer which brought him, and enjoying
what was probably the most satisfactory relaxation in which he had been
able to indulge during his whole presidential service, he had visited
the various camps of the great army in company with the general, cheered
everywhere by the loving greetings of the soldiers. He had met Sherman
when that commander hurried up fresh from his victorious march, and
after Grant started on his final pursuit of Lee the President still
lingered; and it was at City Point that he received the news of the fall
of Richmond.

Between the receipt of this news and the following forenoon, but before
any information of the great fire had reached them, a visit was arranged
for the President and Rear-Admiral Porter. Ample precautions were taken
at the start. The President went in his own steamer, the _River Queen_,
with her escort, the _Bat_, and a tug used at City Point in landing from
the steamer. Admiral Porter went in his flag-ship, the _Malvern_, and a
transport carried a small cavalry escort and ambulances for the party.
But the obstructions in the river soon made it impossible to proceed in
this fashion. One unforeseen accident after another rendered it
necessary to leave behind even the smaller boats, until finally the
party went on in Admiral Porter's barge, rowed by twelve sailors, and
without escort of any kind. In this manner the President made his advent
into Richmond, landing near Libby Prison. As the party stepped ashore
they found a guide among the contrabands who quickly crowded the
streets, for the possible coming of the President had been circulated
through the city. Ten of the sailors, armed with carbines, were formed
as a guard, six in front and four in rear, and between them the
President, Admiral Porter, and the three officers who accompanied them
walked the long distance, perhaps a mile and a half, to the center of
the town.

The imagination can easily fill up the picture of a gradually increasing
crowd, principally of negroes, following the little group of marines and
officers, with the tall form of the President in its center; and, having
learned that it was indeed Mr. Lincoln, giving expression to joy and
gratitude in the picturesque emotional ejaculations of the colored race.
It is easy also to imagine the sharp anxiety of those who had the
President's safety in charge during this tiresome and even foolhardy
march through a city still in flames, whose white inhabitants were
sullenly resentful at best, and whose grief and anger might at any
moment culminate against the man they looked upon as the incarnation of
their misfortunes. But no accident befell him. Reaching General
Weitzel's headquarters, Mr. Lincoln rested in the mansion Jefferson
Davis had occupied as President of the Confederacy, and after a day of
sight-seeing returned to his steamer and to Washington, to be stricken
down by an assassin's bullet, literally "in the house of his friends."


Lincoln's Interviews with Campbell--Withdraws Authority for Meeting of
Virginia Legislature--Conference of Davis and Johnston at
Greensboro--Johnston Asks for an Armistice--Meeting of Sherman and
Johnston--Their Agreement--Rejected at Washington--Surrender of
Johnston--Surrender of other Confederate Forces--End of the Rebel
Navy--Capture of Jefferson Davis--Surrender of E. Kirby Smith--Number of
Confederates Surrendered and Exchanged--Reduction of Federal Army to a
Peace Footing--Grand Review of the Army

While in Richmond, Mr. Lincoln had two interviews with John A. Campbell,
rebel Secretary of War, who had not accompanied the other fleeing
officials, preferring instead to submit to Federal authority. Mr.
Campbell had been one of the commissioners at the Hampton Roads
conference, and Mr. Lincoln now gave him a written memorandum repeating
in substance the terms he had then offered the Confederates. On
Campbell's suggestion that the Virginia legislature, if allowed to come
together, would at once repeal its ordinance of secession and withdraw
all Virginia troops from the field, he also gave permission for its
members to assemble for that purpose. But this, being distorted into
authority to sit in judgment on the political consequences of the war,
was soon withdrawn.

Jefferson Davis and his cabinet proceeded to Danville, where, two days
after his arrival, the rebel President made still another effort to fire
the Southern heart, announcing, "We have now entered upon a new phase
of the struggle. Relieved from the necessity of guarding particular
points, our army will be free to move from point to point to strike the
enemy in detail far from his base. Let us but will it and we are free";
and declaring in sonorous periods his purpose never to abandon one foot
of ground to the invader.

The ink was hardly dry on the document when news came of the surrender
of Lee's army, and that the Federal cavalry was pushing southward west
of Danville. So the Confederate government again hastily packed its
archives and moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, where its headquarters
were prudently kept on the train at the depot. Here Mr. Davis sent for
Generals Johnston and Beauregard, and a conference took place between
them and the members of the fleeing government--a conference not unmixed
with embarrassment, since Mr. Davis still "willed" the success of the
Confederacy too strongly to see the true hopelessness of the situation,
while the generals and most of his cabinet were agreed that their cause
was lost. The council of war over, General Johnston returned to his army
to begin negotiations with Sherman; and on the following day, April 14,
Davis and his party left Greensboro to continue their journey southward.

Sherman had returned to Goldsboro from his visit to City Point, and set
himself at once to the reorganization of his army and the replenishment
of his stores. He still thought there was a hard campaign with desperate
fighting ahead of him. Even on April 6, when he received news of the
fall of Richmond and the flight of Lee and the Confederate government,
he was unable to understand the full extent of the national triumph. He
admired Grant so far as a man might, short of idolatry, yet the long
habit of respect for Lee led him to think he would somehow get away and
join Johnston in his front with at least a portion of the Army of
Northern Virginia. He had already begun his march upon Johnston when he
learned of Lee's surrender at Appomattox.

Definitely relieved from apprehension of a junction of the two
Confederate armies, he now had no fear except of a flight and dispersal
of Johnston's forces into guerrilla bands. If they ran away, he felt he
could not catch them; the country was too open. They could scatter and
meet again, and so continue a partizan warfare indefinitely. He could
not be expected to know that this resolute enemy was sick to the heart
of war, and that the desire for more fighting survived only in a group
of fugitive politicians flying through the pine forests of the Carolinas
from a danger which did not exist.

Entering Raleigh on the morning of the thirteenth, he turned his heads
of column southwest, hoping to cut off Johnston's southward march, but
made no great haste, thinking Johnston's cavalry superior to his own,
and desiring Sheridan to join him before he pushed the Confederates to
extremities. While here, however, he received a communication from
General Johnston, dated the thirteenth, proposing an armistice to enable
the National and Confederate governments to negotiate on equal terms. It
had been dictated by Jefferson Davis during the conference at
Greensboro, written down by S.R. Mallory, and merely signed by Johnston,
and was inadmissible and even offensive in its terms; but Sherman,
anxious for peace, and himself incapable of discourtesy to a brave
enemy, took no notice of its language, and answered so cordially that
the Confederates were probably encouraged to ask for better conditions
of surrender than they had expected to receive.

The two great antagonists met on April 17, when Sherman offered
Johnston the same terms that had been accorded Lee, and also
communicated the news he had that morning received of the murder of Mr.
Lincoln. The Confederate general expressed his unfeigned sorrow at this
calamity, which smote the South, he said, as deeply as the North; and in
this mood of sympathy the discussion began. Johnston asserted that he
would not be justified in such a capitulation as Sherman proposed, but
suggested that together they might arrange the terms of a permanent
peace. This idea pleased Sherman, to whom the prospect of ending the war
without shedding another drop of blood was so tempting that he did not
sufficiently consider the limits of his authority in the matter. It can
be said, moreover, in extenuation of his course, that President
Lincoln's despatch to Grant of March 3, which expressly forbade Grant to
"decide, discuss, or to confer upon any political question," had never
been communicated to Sherman; while the very liberality of Grant's terms
led him to believe that he was acting in accordance with the views of
the administration.

But the wisdom of Lincoln's peremptory order was completely vindicated.
With the best intentions in the world, Sherman, beginning very properly
by offering his antagonist the same terms accorded Lee, ended, after two
days' negotiation, by making a treaty of peace with the Confederate
States, including a preliminary armistice, the disbandment of the
Confederate armies, recognition by the United States Executive of the
several State governments, reëstablishment of the Federal courts, and a
general amnesty. "Not being fully empowered by our respective principals
to fulfil these terms," the agreement truthfully concluded, "we
individually and officially pledge ourselves to promptly obtain the
necessary authority."

The rebel President, with unnecessary formality, required a report from
General Breckinridge, his Secretary of War, on the desirability of
ratifying this most favorable convention. Scarcely had he given it his
indorsement when news came that it had been disapproved at Washington,
and that Sherman had been directed to continue his military operations;
and the peripatetic government once more took up its southward flight.

The moment General Grant read the agreement he saw it was entirely
inadmissible. The new President called his cabinet together, and Mr.
Lincoln's instructions of March 3 to Grant were repeated to
Sherman--somewhat tardily, it must be confessed--as his rule of action.
All this was a matter of course, and General Sherman could not properly,
and perhaps would not, have objected to it. But the calm spirit of
Lincoln was now absent from the councils of the government; and it was
not in Andrew Johnson and Mr. Stanton to pass over a mistake like this,
even in the case of one of the most illustrious captains of the age.
They ordered Grant to proceed at once to Sherman's headquarters, and to
direct operations against the enemy; and, what was worse, Mr. Stanton
printed in the newspapers the reasons of the government for disapproving
the agreement in terms of sharpest censure of General Sherman. This,
when it came to his notice some weeks later, filled him with hot
indignation, and, coupled with some orders Halleck, who had been made
commander of the armies of the Potomac and the James, issued to Meade,
to disregard Sherman's truce and push forward against Johnston, roused
him to open defiance of the authorities he thought were persecuting him,
and made him declare in a report to Grant, that he would have maintained
his truce at any cost of life. Halleck's order, however, had been
nullified by Johnston's surrender, and Grant, suggesting that this
outburst was uncalled for, offered Sherman the opportunity to correct
the statement. This he refused, insisting that his record stand as
written, although avowing his readiness to obey all future orders of
Grant and the President.

So far as Johnston was concerned, the war was indeed over. He was unable
longer to hold his men together. Eight thousand of them left their camps
and went home in the week of the truce, many riding away on the
artillery horses and train mules. On notice of Federal disapproval of
his negotiations with Sherman, he disregarded Jefferson Davis's
instructions to disband the infantry and try to escape with the cavalry
and light guns, and answered Sherman's summons by inviting another
conference, at which, on April 26, he surrendered all the forces in his
command on the same terms granted Lee at Appomattox; Sherman supplying,
as did Grant, rations for the beaten army. Thirty-seven thousand men and
officers were paroled in North Carolina--exclusive, of course, of the
thousands who had slipped away to their homes during the suspension of

After Appomattox the rebellion fell to pieces all at once. Lee
surrendered less than one sixth of the Confederates in arms on April 9.
The armies that still remained, though inconsiderable when compared with
the mighty host under the national colors, were yet infinitely larger
than any Washington ever commanded, and capable of strenuous resistance
and of incalculable mischief. But the march of Sherman from Atlanta to
the sea, and his northward progress through the Carolinas, had
predisposed the great interior region to make an end of strife: a
tendency which was greatly promoted by the masterly raid of General J.H.
Wilson's cavalry through Alabama, and his defeat of Forrest at Selma.
An officer of Taylor's staff came to Canby's headquarters on April 19 to
make arrangements for the surrender of all the Confederate forces east
of the Mississippi not already paroled by Sherman and Wilson, embracing
some forty-two thousand men. The terms were agreed upon and signed on
May 4, at the village of Citronelle in Alabama. At the same time and
place the Confederate Commodore Farrand surrendered to Rear-Admiral
Thatcher all the naval forces Of the Confederacy in the neighborhood of
Mobile--a dozen vessels and some hundreds of officers.

The rebel navy had practically ceased to exist some months before. The
splendid fight in Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864, between Farragut's fleet
and the rebel ram _Tennessee_, with her three attendant gunboats, and
Cushing's daring destruction of the powerful _Albemarle_ in Albemarle
Sound on October 27, marked its end in Confederate waters. The duel
between the _Kearsarge_ and the _Alabama_ off Cherbourg had already
taken place; a few more encounters, at or near foreign ports, furnished
occasion for personal bravery and subsequent lively diplomatic
correspondence; and rebel vessels, fitted out under the unduly lenient
"neutrality" of France and England, continued for a time to work havoc
with American shipping in various parts of the world. But these two
Union successes, and the final capture of Fort Fisher and of Wilmington
early in 1865, which closed the last haven for daring blockade-runners,
practically silenced the Confederate navy.

General E. Kirby Smith commanded all the insurgent forces west of the
Mississippi. On him the desperate hopes of Mr. Davis and his flying
cabinet were fixed, after the successive surrenders of Lee and Johnston
had left them no prospect in the east. They imagined they could move
westward, gathering up stragglers as they fled, and, crossing the river,
join Smith's forces, and there continue the war. But after a time even
this hope failed them. Their escort melted away; members of the cabinet
dropped off on various pretexts, and Mr. Davis, abandoning the attempt
to reach the Mississippi River, turned again toward the east in an
effort to gain the Florida coast and escape by means of a sailing vessel
to Texas.

The two expeditions sent in pursuit of him by General Wilson did not
allow this consummation, which the government at Washington might
possibly have viewed with equanimity. His camp near Irwinville, Georgia,
was surrounded by Lieutenant-Colonel Pritchard's command at dawn on May
10, and he was captured as he was about to mount horse with a few
companions and ride for the coast, leaving his family to follow more
slowly. The tradition that he was captured in disguise, having donned
female dress in a last desperate attempt to escape, has only this
foundation, that Mrs. Davis threw a cloak over her husband's shoulders,
and a shawl over his head, on the approach of the Federal soldiers. He
was taken to Fortress Monroe, and there kept in confinement for about
two years; was arraigned before the United States Circuit Court for the
District of Virginia for the crime of treason, and released on bail; and
was finally restored to all the duties and privileges of citizenship,
except the right to hold office, by President Johnson's proclamation of
amnesty of December 25, 1868.

General E. Kirby Smith, on whom Davis's last hopes of success had
centered, kept up so threatening an attitude that Sherman was sent from
Washington to bring him to reason. But he did not long hold his position
of solitary defiance. One more needless skirmish took place near
Brazos, Texas, and then Smith followed the example of Taylor and
surrendered his entire force, some eighteen thousand, to General Canby,
on May 26. One hundred and seventy-five thousand men in all were
surrendered by the different Confederate commanders, and there were, in
addition to these, about ninety-nine thousand prisoners in national
custody during the year. One third of these were exchanged, and two
thirds released. This was done as rapidly as possible by successive
orders of the War Department, beginning on May 9 and continuing through
the summer.

The first object of the government was to stop the waste of war.
Recruiting ceased immediately after Lee's surrender, and measures were
taken to reduce as promptly as possible the vast military establishment.
Every chief of bureau was ordered, on April 28, to proceed at once to
the reduction of expenses in his department to a peace footing; and this
before Taylor or Smith had surrendered, and while Jefferson Davis was
still at large. The army of a million men was brought down, with
incredible ease and celerity, to one of twenty-five thousand.

Before the great army melted away into the greater body of citizens, the
soldiers enjoyed one final triumph, a march through the capital,
undisturbed by death or danger, under the eyes of their highest
commanders, military and civilian, and the representatives of the people
whose nationality they had saved. Those who witnessed this solemn yet
joyous pageant will never forget it, and will pray that their children
may never witness anything like it. For two days this formidable host
marched the long stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue, starting from the
shadow of the dome of the Capitol, and filling that wide thoroughfare to
Georgetown with a serried mass, moving with the easy yet rapid pace of
veterans in cadence step. As a mere spectacle this march of the
mightiest host the continent has ever seen gathered together was grand
and imposing; but it was not as a spectacle alone that it affected the
beholder most deeply. It was not a mere holiday parade; it was an army
of citizens on their way home after a long and terrible war. Their
clothes were worn and pierced with bullets; their banners had been torn
with shot and shell, and lashed in the winds of a thousand battles; the
very drums and fifes had called out the troops to numberless night
alarms, and sounded the onset on historic fields. The whole country
claimed these heroes as a part of themselves. And now, done with
fighting, they were going joyously and peaceably to their homes, to take
up again the tasks they had willingly laid down in the hour of their
country's peril.

The world had many lessons to learn from this great conflict, which
liberated a subject people and changed the tactics of modern warfare;
but the greatest lesson it taught the nations of waiting Europe was the
conservative power of democracy--that a million men, flushed with
victory, and with arms in their hands, could be trusted to disband the
moment the need for their services was over, and take up again the
soberer labors of peace.

Friends loaded these veterans with flowers as they swung down the
Avenue, both men and officers, until some were fairly hidden under their
fragrant burden. There was laughter and applause; grotesque figures were
not absent as Sherman's legions passed, with their "bummers" and their
regimental pets; but with all the shouting and the laughter and the joy
of this unprecedented ceremony, there was one sad and dominant thought
which could not be driven from the minds of those who saw it--that of
the men who were absent, and who had, nevertheless, richly earned the
right to be there. The soldiers in their shrunken companies were
conscious of the ever-present memories of the brave comrades who had
fallen by the way; and in the whole army there was the passionate and
unavailing regret for their wise, gentle, and powerful friend, Abraham
Lincoln, gone forever from the house by the Avenue, who had called the
great host into being, directed the course of the nation during the four
years they had been fighting for its preservation, and for whom, more
than for any other, this crowning peaceful pageant would have been
fraught with deep and happy meaning.


The 14th of April--Celebration at Fort Sumter--Last Cabinet
Meeting--Lincoln's Attitude toward Threats of Assassination--Booth's
Plot--Ford's Theater--Fate of the Assassins--The Mourning Pageant

Mr. Lincoln had returned to Washington, refreshed by his visit to City
Point, and cheered by the unmistakable signs that the war was almost
over. With that ever-present sense of responsibility which distinguished
him, he gave his thoughts to the momentous question of the restoration
of the Union and of harmony between the lately warring sections. His
whole heart was now enlisted in the work of "binding up the nation's
wounds," and of doing all which might "achieve and cherish a just and
lasting peace."

April 14 was a day of deep and tranquil happiness throughout the United
States. It was Good Friday, observed by a portion of the people as an
occasion of fasting and religious meditation; though even among the most
devout the great tidings of the preceding week exerted their joyous
influence, and changed this period of traditional mourning into an
occasion of general thanksgiving. But though the Misereres turned of
themselves to Te Deums, the date was not to lose its awful significance
in the calendar: at night it was claimed once more by a world-wide

The thanksgiving of the nation found its principal expression at
Charleston Harbor, where the flag of the Union received that day a
conspicuous reparation on the spot where it had first been outraged. At
noon General Robert Anderson raised over Fort Sumter the identical flag
lowered and saluted by him four years before; the surrender of Lee
giving a more transcendent importance to this ceremony, made stately
with orations, music, and military display.

In Washington it was a day of deep peace and thankfulness. Grant had
arrived that morning, and, going to the Executive Mansion, had met the
cabinet, Friday being their regular day for assembling. He expressed
some anxiety as to the news from Sherman which he was expecting hourly.
The President answered him in that singular vein of poetic mysticism
which, though constantly held in check by his strong common sense,
formed such a remarkable element in his character. He assured Grant that
the news would come soon and come favorably, for he had last night had
his usual dream which preceded great events. He seemed to be, he said,
in a singular and indescribable vessel, but always the same, moving with
great rapidity toward a dark and indefinite shore; he had had this dream
before Antietam, Murfreesboro, Gettysburg, and Vicksburg. The cabinet
were greatly impressed by this story; but Grant, most matter-of-fact of
created beings, made the characteristic response that "Murfreesboro was
no victory, and had no important results." The President did not argue
this point with him, but repeated that Sherman would beat or had beaten
Johnston; that his dream must relate to that, since he knew of no other
important event likely at present to occur.

Questions of trade between the States, and of various phases of
reconstruction, occupied the cabinet on this last day of Lincoln's firm
and tolerant rule. The President spoke at some length, disclosing his
hope that much could be done to reanimate the States and get their
governments in successful operation before Congress came together. He
was anxious to close the period of strife without over-much discussion.
Particularly did he desire to avoid the shedding of blood, or any
vindictiveness of punishment. "No one need expect that he would take any
part in hanging or killing these men, even the worst of them." "Enough
lives have been sacrificed," he exclaimed; "we must extinguish our
resentments if we expect harmony and union." He did not wish the
autonomy nor the individuality of the States disturbed; and he closed
the session by commending the whole subject to the most careful
consideration of his advisers. It was, he said, the great question
pending--they must now begin to act in the interest of peace. Such were
the last words that Lincoln spoke to his cabinet. They dispersed with
these sentences of clemency and good will in their ears, never again to
meet under his wise and benignant chairmanship. He had told them that
morning a strange story, which made some demand upon their faith, but
the circumstances under which they were next to come together were
beyond the scope of the wildest fancy.

The day was one of unusual enjoyment to Mr. Lincoln. His son Robert had
returned from the field with General Grant, and the President spent an
hour with the young captain in delighted conversation over the campaign.
He denied himself generally to the throng of visitors, admitting only a
few friends. In the afternoon he went for a long drive with Mrs.
Lincoln. His mood, as it had been all day, was singularly happy and
tender. He talked much of the past and future; after four years of
trouble and tumult he looked forward to four years of comparative quiet
and normal work; after that he expected to go back to Illinois and
practise law again. He was never simpler or gentler than on this day of
unprecedented triumph; his heart overflowed with sentiments of gratitude
to Heaven, which took the shape, usual to generous natures, of love and
kindness to all men.

From the very beginning of his presidency, Mr. Lincoln had been
constantly subject to the threats of his enemies. His mail was infested
with brutal and vulgar menace, and warnings of all sorts came to him
from zealous or nervous friends. Most of these communications received
no notice. In cases where there seemed a ground for inquiry, it was
made, as carefully as possible, by the President's private secretary, or
by the War Department; but always without substantial result. Warnings
that appeared most definite, when examined, proved too vague and
confused for further attention. The President was too intelligent not to
know that he was in some danger. Madmen frequently made their way to the
very door of the executive office, and sometimes into Mr. Lincoln's
presence. But he had himself so sane a mind, and a heart so kindly, even
to his enemies, that it was hard for him to believe in political hatred
so deadly as to lead to murder.

He knew, indeed, that incitements to murder him were not uncommon in the
South, but as is the habit of men constitutionally brave, he considered
the possibilities of danger remote, and positively refused to torment
himself with precautions for his own safety; summing the matter up by
saying that both friends and strangers must have daily access to him;
that his life was therefore in reach of any one, sane or mad, who was
ready to murder and be hanged for it; and that he could not possibly
guard against all danger unless he shut himself up in an iron box, in
which condition he could scarcely perform the duties of a President. He
therefore went in and out before the people, always unarmed, generally
unattended. He received hundreds of visitors in a day, his breast bare
to pistol or knife. He walked at midnight, with a single secretary, or
alone, from the Executive Mansion to the War Department and back. He
rode through the lonely roads of an uninhabited suburb from the White
House to the Soldiers' Home in the dusk of the evening, and returned to
his work in the morning before the town was astir. He was greatly
annoyed when it was decided that there must be a guard at the Executive
Mansion, and that a squad of cavalry must accompany him on his daily
drive; but he was always reasonable, and yielded to the best judgment of

Four years of threats and boastings that were unfounded, and of plots
that came to nothing, thus passed away; but precisely at the time when
the triumph of the nation seemed assured, and a feeling of peace and
security was diffused over the country, one of the conspiracies,
apparently no more important than the others, ripened in the sudden heat
of hatred and despair. A little band of malignant secessionists,
consisting of John Wilkes Booth, an actor of a family of famous players;
Lewis Powell, alias Payne, a disbanded rebel soldier from Florida;
George Atzerodt, formerly a coachmaker, but more recently a spy and
blockade-runner of the Potomac; David E. Herold, a young druggist's
clerk; Samuel Arnold and Michael O'Laughlin, Maryland secessionists and
Confederate soldiers; and John H. Surratt, had their ordinary rendezvous
at the house of Mrs. Mary E. Surratt, the widowed mother of the last
named, formerly a woman of some property in Maryland, but reduced by
reverses to keeping a small boarding-house in Washington.

Booth was the leader of the little coterie. He was a young man of
twenty-six, strikingly handsome, with that ease and grace of manner
which came to him of right from his theatrical ancestors. He had played
for several seasons with only indifferent success, his value as an actor
lying rather in his romantic beauty of person than in any talent or
industry he possessed. He was a fanatical secessionist, and had imbibed
at Richmond and other Southern cities where he played a furious spirit
of partizanship against Lincoln and the Union party. After the
reëlection of Mr. Lincoln, he visited Canada, consorted with the rebel
emissaries there, and--whether or not at their instigation cannot
certainly be said--conceived a scheme to capture the President and take
him to Richmond. He passed a great part of the autumn and winter
pursuing this fantastic enterprise, seeming to be always well supplied
with money; but the winter wore away, and nothing was accomplished. On
March 4 he was at the Capitol, and created a disturbance by trying to
force his way through the line of policemen who guarded the passage
through which the President walked to the east front of the building.
His intentions at this time are not known; he afterward said he lost an
excellent chance of killing the President that day.

His ascendancy over his fellow-conspirators seems to have been complete.
After the surrender of Lee, in an access of malice and rage akin to
madness he called them together and assigned each his part in the new
crime which had risen in his mind out of the abandoned abduction scheme.
This plan was as brief and simple as it was horrible. Powell, alias
Payne, the stalwart, brutal, simple-minded boy from Florida, was to
murder Seward; Atzerodt, the comic villain of the drama, was assigned to
remove Andrew Johnson; Booth reserved for himself the most conspicuous
rôle of the tragedy. It was Herold's duty to attend him as page and aid
him in his escape. Minor parts were given to stage-carpenters and other
hangers-on, who probably did not understand what it all meant. Herold,
Atzerodt, and Surratt had previously deposited at a tavern at
Surrattsville, Maryland, owned by Mrs. Surratt, but kept by a man named
Lloyd, a quantity of arms and materials to be used in the abduction
scheme. Mrs. Surratt, being at the tavern on the eleventh, warned Lloyd
to have the "shooting-irons" in readiness, and, visiting the place again
on the fourteenth, told him they would probably be called for that

The preparations for the final blow were made with feverish haste. It
was only about noon of the fourteenth that Booth learned that the
President was to go to Ford's Theater that night to see the play "Our
American Cousin." It has always been a matter of surprise in Europe that
he should have been at a place of amusement on Good Friday; but the day
was not kept sacred in America, except by the members of certain
churches. The President was fond of the theater. It was one of his few
means of recreation. Besides, the town was thronged with soldiers and
officers, all eager to see him; by appearing in public he would gratify
many people whom he could not otherwise meet. Mrs. Lincoln had asked
General and Mrs. Grant to accompany her; they had accepted, and the
announcement that they would be present had been made in the evening
papers; but they changed their plans, and went north by an afternoon
train. Mrs. Lincoln then invited in their stead Miss Harris and Major
Rathbone, the daughter and the stepson of Senator Ira Harris. Being
detained by visitors, the play had made some progress when the President
appeared. The band struck up "Hail to the Chief," the actors ceased
playing, the audience rose, cheering tumultuously, the President bowed
in acknowledgment, and the play went on.

From the moment he learned of the President's intention, Booth's every
action was alert and energetic. He and his confederates were seen on
horseback in every part of the city. He had a hurried conference with
Mrs. Surratt before she started for Lloyd's tavern. He intrusted to an
actor named Matthews a carefully prepared statement of his reasons for
committing the murder, which he charged him to give to the publisher of
the "National Intelligencer," but which Matthews, in the terror and
dismay of the night, burned without showing to any one. Booth was
perfectly at home in Ford's Theater. Either by himself, or with the aid
of friends, he arranged his whole plan of attack and escape during the
afternoon. He counted upon address and audacity to gain access to the
small passage behind the President's box. Once there, he guarded against
interference by an arrangement of a wooden bar to be fastened by a
simple mortise in the angle of the wall and the door by which he had
entered, so that the door could not be opened from without. He even
provided for the contingency of not gaining entrance to the box by
boring a hole in its door, through which he might either observe the
occupants, or take aim and shoot. He hired at a livery-stable a small,
fleet horse.

A few minutes before ten o'clock, leaving his horse at the rear of the
theater in charge of a call-boy, he went into a neighboring saloon, took
a drink of brandy, and, entering the theater, passed rapidly to the
little hallway leading to the President's box. Showing a card to the
servant in attendance, he was allowed to enter, closed the door
noiselessly, and secured it with the wooden bar he had previously made
ready, without disturbing any of the occupants of the box, between whom
and himself yet remained the partition and the door through which he had
made the hole.

No one, not even the comedian who uttered them, could ever remember the
last words of the piece that were spoken that night--the last Abraham
Lincoln heard upon earth. The tragedy in the box turned play and players
to the most unsubstantial of phantoms. Here were five human beings in a
narrow space--the greatest man of his time, in the glory of the most
stupendous success of our history; his wife, proud and happy; a pair of
betrothed lovers, with all the promise of felicity that youth, social
position, and wealth could give them; and this handsome young actor, the
pet of his little world. The glitter of fame, happiness, and ease was
upon the entire group; yet in an instant everything was to be changed.
Quick death was to come to the central figure--the central figure of the
century's great and famous men. Over the rest hovered fates from which a
mother might pray kindly death to save her children in their infancy.
One was to wander with the stain of murder upon his soul, in frightful
physical pain, with a price upon his head and the curse of a world upon
his name, until he died a dog's death in a burning barn; the wife was to
pass the rest of her days in melancholy and madness; and one of the
lovers was to slay the other, and end his life a raving maniac.

The murderer seemed to himself to be taking part in a play. Hate and
brandy had for weeks kept his brain in a morbid state. Holding a pistol
in one hand and a knife in the other, he opened the box door, put the
pistol to the President's head, and fired. Major Rathbone sprang to
grapple with him, and received a savage knife wound in the arm. Then,
rushing forward, Booth placed his hand on the railing of the box and
vaulted to the stage. It was a high leap, but nothing to such an
athlete. He would have got safely away but for his spur catching in the
flag that draped the front of the box. He fell, the torn flag trailing
on his spur; but, though the fall had broken his leg, he rose instantly
and brandishing his knife and shouting, "Sic Semper Tyrannis!" fled
rapidly across the stage and out of sight. Major Rathbone called, "Stop
him!" The cry rang out, "He has shot the President!" and from the
audience, stupid at first with surprise, and wild afterward with
excitement and horror, two or three men jumped upon the stage in pursuit
of the assassin. But he ran through the familiar passages, leaped upon
his horse, rewarding with a kick and a curse the boy who held him, and
escaped into the night.

The President scarcely moved; his head drooped forward slightly, his
eyes closed. Major Rathbone, not regarding his own grievous hurt, rushed
to the door of the box to summon aid. He found it barred, and some one
on the outside beating and clamoring for admittance. It was at once seen
that the President's wound was mortal. A large derringer bullet had
entered the back of the head, on the left side, and, passing through the
brain, lodged just behind the left eye. He was carried to a house across
the street, and laid upon a bed in a small room at the rear of the hall
on the ground floor. Mrs. Lincoln followed, tenderly cared for by Miss
Harris. Rathbone, exhausted by loss of blood, fainted, and was taken
home. Messengers were sent for the cabinet, for the surgeon-general, for
Dr. Stone, Mr. Lincoln's family physician, and for others whose official
or private relations to the President gave them the right to be there. A
crowd of people rushed instinctively to the White House, and, bursting
through the doors, shouted the dreadful news to Robert Lincoln and Major
Hay, who sat together in an upper room. They ran down-stairs, and as
they were entering a carriage to drive to Tenth Street, a friend came up
and told them that Mr. Seward and most of the cabinet had been murdered.
The news seemed so improbable that they hoped it was all untrue; but, on
reaching Tenth Street, the excitement and the gathering crowds prepared
them for the worst. In a few moments those who had been sent for and
many others were assembled in the little chamber where the chief of the
state lay in his agony. His son was met at the door by Dr. Stone, who
with grave tenderness informed him that there was no hope.

The President had been shot a few minutes after ten. The wound would
have brought instant death to most men, but his vital tenacity was
remarkable. He was, of course, unconscious from the first moment; but he
breathed with slow and regular respiration throughout the night. As the
dawn came and the lamplight grew pale, his pulse began to fail; but his
face, even then, was scarcely more haggard than those of the sorrowing
men around him. His automatic moaning ceased, a look of unspeakable
peace came upon his worn features, and at twenty-two minutes after seven
he died. Stanton broke the silence by saying:

"Now he belongs to the ages."

Booth had done his work efficiently. His principal subordinate, Payne,
had acted with equal audacity and cruelty, but not with equally fatal
result. Going to the home of the Secretary of State, who lay ill in bed,
he had forced his way to Mr. Seward's room, on the pretext of being a
messenger from the physician with a packet of medicine to deliver. The
servant at the door tried to prevent him from going up-stairs; the
Secretary's son, Frederick W. Seward, hearing the noise, stepped out
into the hall to check the intruders. Payne rushed upon him with a
pistol which missed fire, then rained blows with it upon his head, and,
grappling and struggling, the two came to the Secretary's room and fell
together through the door. Frederick Seward soon became unconscious, and
remained so for several weeks, being, perhaps, the last man in the
civilized world to learn the strange story of the night. The Secretary's
daughter and a soldier nurse were in the room. Payne struck them right
and left, wounding the nurse with his knife, and then, rushing to the
bed, began striking at the throat of the crippled statesman, inflicting
three terrible wounds on his neck and cheek. The nurse recovered himself
and seized the assassin from behind, while another son, roused by his
sister's screams, came into the room and managed at last to force him
outside the door--not, however, until he and the nurse had been stabbed
repeatedly. Payne broke away at last, and ran down-stairs, seriously
wounding an attendant on the way, reached the door unhurt, sprang upon
his horse, and rode leisurely away. When surgical aid arrived, the
Secretary's house looked like a field hospital. Five of its inmates were
bleeding from ghastly wounds, and two of them, among the highest
officials of the nation, it was thought might never see the light of
another day; though all providentially recovered.

The assassin left behind him his hat, which apparently trivial loss cost
him and one of his fellow conspirators their lives. Fearing that the
lack of it would arouse suspicion, he abandoned his horse, instead of
making good his escape, and hid himself in the woods east of Washington
for two days. Driven at last by hunger, he returned to the city and
presented himself at Mrs. Surratt's house at the very moment when all
its inmates had been arrested and were about to be taken to the office
of the provost-marshal. Payne thus fell into the hands of justice, and
the utterance of half a dozen words by him and the unhappy woman whose
shelter he sought proved the death-warrant of them both.

Booth had been recognized by dozens of people as he stood before the
footlights and brandished his dagger; but his swift horse quickly
carried him beyond any haphazard pursuit. He crossed the Navy-Yard
bridge and rode into Maryland, being joined very soon by Herold. The
assassin and his wretched acolyte came at midnight to Mrs. Surratt's
tavern, and afterward pushed on through the moonlight to the house of an
acquaintance of Booth, a surgeon named Mudd, who set Booth's leg and
gave him a room, where he rested until evening, when Mudd sent them on
their desolate way south. After parting with him they went to the
residence of Samuel Cox near Port Tobacco, and were by him given into
the charge of Thomas Jones, a contraband trader between Maryland and
Richmond, a man so devoted to the interests of the Confederacy that
treason and murder seemed every-day incidents to be accepted as natural
and necessary. He kept Booth and Herold in hiding at the peril of his
life for a week, feeding and caring for them in the woods near his
house, watching for an opportunity to ferry them across the Potomac;
doing this while every wood-path was haunted by government detectives,
well knowing that death would promptly follow his detection, and that a
reward was offered for the capture of his helpless charge that would
make a rich man of any one who gave him up.

With such devoted aid Booth might have wandered a long way; but there
is no final escape but suicide for an assassin with a broken leg. At
each painful move the chances of discovery increased. Jones was able,
after repeated failures, to row his fated guests across the Potomac.
Arriving on the Virginia side, they lived the lives of hunted animals
for two or three days longer, finding to their horror that they were
received by the strongest Confederates with more of annoyance than
enthusiasm, though none, indeed, offered to betray them. Booth had by
this time seen the comments of the newspapers on his work, and bitterer
than death or bodily suffering was the blow to his vanity. He confided
his feelings of wrong to his diary, comparing himself favorably with
Brutus and Tell, and complaining: "I am abandoned, with the curse of
Cain upon me, when, if the world knew my heart, that one blow would have
made me great."

On the night of April 25, he and Herold were surrounded by a party under
Lieutenant E.P. Doherty, as they lay sleeping in a barn belonging to one
Garrett, in Caroline County, Virginia, on the road to Bowling Green.
When called upon to surrender, Booth refused. A parley took place, after
which Doherty told him he would fire the barn. At this Herold came out
and surrendered. The barn was fired, and while it was burning, Booth,
clearly visible through the cracks in the building, was shot by Boston
Corbett, a sergeant of cavalry. He was hit in the back of the neck, not
far from the place where he had shot the President, lingered about three
hours in great pain, and died at seven in the morning.

The surviving conspirators, with the exception of John H. Surratt, were
tried by military commission sitting in Washington in the months of May
and June. The charges against them specified that they were "incited
and encouraged" to treason and murder by Jefferson Davis and the
Confederate emissaries in Canada. This was not proved on the trial;
though the evidence bearing on the case showed frequent communications
between Canada and Richmond and the Booth coterie in Washington, and
some transactions in drafts at the Montreal Bank, where Jacob Thompson
and Booth both kept accounts. Mrs. Surratt, Payne, Herold, and Atzerodt
were hanged on July 7; Mudd, Arnold, and O'Laughlin were imprisoned for
life at the Tortugas, the term being afterward shortened; and Spangler,
the scene-shifter at the theater, was sentenced to six years in jail.
John H. Surratt escaped to Canada, and from there to England. He
wandered over Europe, and finally was detected in Egypt and brought back
to Washington in 1867, where his trial lasted two months, and ended in a
disagreement of the jury.

Upon the hearts of a people glowing with the joy of victory, the news of
the President's assassination fell as a great shock. It was the first
time the telegraph had been called upon to spread over the world tidings
of such deep and mournful significance. In the stunning effect of the
unspeakable calamity the country lost sight of the national success of
the past week, and it thus came to pass that there was never any
organized expression of the general exultation or rejoicing in the North
over the downfall of the rebellion. It was unquestionably best that it
should be so; and Lincoln himself would not have had it otherwise. He
hated the arrogance of triumph; and even in his cruel death he would
have been glad to know that his passage to eternity would prevent too
loud an exultation over the vanquished. As it was, the South could take
no umbrage at a grief so genuine and so legitimate; the people of that
section even shared, to a certain degree, in the lamentations over the
bier of one whom in their inmost hearts they knew to have wished them

There was one exception to the general grief too remarkable to be passed
over in silence. Among the extreme radicals in Congress, Mr. Lincoln's
determined clemency and liberality toward the Southern people had made
an impression so unfavorable that, though they were naturally shocked at
his murder, they did not, among themselves, conceal their gratification
that he was no longer in the way. In a political caucus, held a few
hours after the President's death, "the feeling was nearly universal,"
to quote the language of one of their most prominent representatives,
"that the accession of Johnson to the presidency would prove a godsend
to the country."

In Washington, with this singular exception, the manifestation of public
grief was immediate and demonstrative. Within an hour after the body was
taken to the White House, the town was shrouded in black. Not only the
public buildings, the shops, and the better residences were draped in
funeral decorations, but still more touching proof of affection was seen
in the poorest class of houses, where laboring men of both colors found
means in their penury to afford some scanty show of mourning. The
interest and veneration of the people still centered in the White House,
where, under a tall catafalque in the East Room, the late chief lay in
the majesty of death, and not at the modest tavern on Pennsylvania
Avenue, where the new President had his lodging, and where Chief-Justice
Chase administered the oath of office to him at eleven o'clock on the
morning of April 15.

It was determined that the funeral ceremonies in Washington should be
celebrated on Wednesday, April 19, and all the churches throughout the
country were invited to join at the same time in appropriate
observances. The ceremonies in the East Room were brief and simple--the
burial service, a prayer, and a short address; while all the pomp and
circumstance which the government could command was employed to give a
fitting escort from the White House to the Capitol, where the body of
the President was to lie in state. The vast procession moved amid the
booming of minute-guns, and the tolling of all the bells in Washington
Georgetown, and Alexandria; and to associate the pomp of the day with
the greatest work of Lincoln's life, a detachment of colored troops
marched at the head of the line.

As soon as it was announced that Mr. Lincoln was to be buried at
Springfield, Illinois, every town and city on the route begged that the
train might halt within its limits and give its people the opportunity
of testifying their grief and reverence. It was finally arranged that
the funeral cortege should follow substantially the same route over
which he had come in 1861 to take possession of the office to which he
had given a new dignity and value for all time. On April 21, accompanied
by a guard of honor, and in a train decked with somber trappings, the
journey was begun. At Baltimore through which, four years before, it was
a question whether the President-elect could pass with safety to his
life, the coffin was taken with reverent care to the great dome of the
Exchange, where, surrounded with evergreens and lilies, it lay for
several hours, the people passing by in mournful throngs. The same
demonstration was repeated, gaining continually in intensity of feeling
and solemn splendor of display, in every city through which the
procession passed. The reception in New York was worthy alike of the
great city and of the memory of the man they honored. The body lay in
state in the City Hall, and a half-million people passed in deep silence
before it. Here General Scott came, pale and feeble, but resolute, to
pay his tribute of respect to his departed friend and commander.

The train went up the Hudson River by night, and at every town and
village on the way vast waiting crowds were revealed by the fitful glare
of torches, and dirges and hymns were sung. As the train passed into
Ohio, the crowds increased in density, and the public grief seemed
intensified at every step westward. The people of the great central
basin were claiming their own. The day spent at Cleveland was unexampled
in the depth of emotion it brought to life. Some of the guard of honor
have said that it was at this point they began to appreciate the place
which Lincoln was to hold in history.

The last stage of this extraordinary progress was completed, and
Springfield reached at nine o'clock on the morning of May 3. Nothing had
been done or thought of for two weeks in Springfield but the
preparations for this day, and they had been made with a thoroughness
which surprised the visitors from the East. The body lay in state in the
Capitol, which was richly draped from roof to basement in black velvet
and silver fringe. Within it was a bower of bloom and fragrance. For
twenty-four hours an unbroken stream of people passed through, bidding
their friend and neighbor welcome home and farewell; and at ten o'clock
on May 4, the coffin lid was closed, and a vast procession moved out to
Oak Ridge, where the town had set apart a lovely spot for his grave, and
where the dead President was committed to the soil of the State which
had so loved and honored him. The ceremonies at the grave were simple
and touching. Bishop Simpson delivered a pathetic oration; prayers were
offered and hymns were sung; but the weightiest and most eloquent words
uttered anywhere that day were those of the second inaugural, which the
committee had wisely ordained to be read over his grave, as the friends
of Raphael chose the incomparable canvas of the Transfiguration to be
the chief ornament of his funeral.


Lincoln's Early Environment--Its Effect on his Character--His Attitude
toward Slavery and the Slaveholder--His Schooling in Disappointment--His
Seeming Failures--His Real Successes--The Final Trial--His
Achievements--His Place in History

A child born to an inheritance of want; a boy growing into a narrow
world of ignorance; a youth taking up the burden of coarse manual labor;
a man entering on the doubtful struggle of a local backwoods
career--these were the beginnings of Abraham Lincoln, if we analyze them
under the hard practical cynical philosophy which takes for its motto
that "nothing succeeds but success." If, however, we adopt a broader
philosophy, and apply the more generous and more universal principle
that "everything succeeds which attacks favorable opportunity with
fitting endeavor," then we see that it was the strong vitality, the
active intelligence, and the indefinable psychological law of moral
growth that assimilates the good and rejects the bad, which Nature gave
this obscure child, that carried him to the service of mankind and to
the admiration of the centuries with the same certainty with which the
acorn grows to be the oak.

We see how even the limitations of his environment helped the end.
Self-reliance, that most vital characteristic of the pioneer, was his by
blood and birth and training; and developed through the privations of
his lot and the genius that was in him to the mighty strength needed to
guide our great country through the titanic struggle of the Civil War.

The sense of equality was his, also by virtue of his pioneer training--a
consciousness fostered by life from childhood to manhood in a state of
society where there were neither rich to envy nor poor to despise, where
the gifts and hardships of the forest were distributed impartially to
each, and where men stood indeed equal before the forces of unsubdued

The same great forces taught liberality, modesty, charity, sympathy--in
a word, neighborliness. In that hard life, far removed from the
artificial aids and comforts of civilization, where all the wealth of
Croesus, had a man possessed it, would not have sufficed to purchase
relief from danger, or help in time of need, neighborliness became of
prime importance. A good neighbor doubled his safety and his resources,
a group of good neighbors increased his comfort and his prospects in a
ratio that grew like the cube root. Here was opportunity to practise
that virtue that Christ declared to be next to the love of God--the
fruitful injunction to "love thy neighbor as thyself."

Here, too, in communities far from the customary restraints of organized
law, the common native intelligence of the pioneer was brought face to
face with primary and practical questions of natural right. These men
not only understood but appreciated the American doctrine of
self-government. It was this understanding, this feeling, which taught
Lincoln to write: "When the white man governs himself, that is
self-government; but when he governs himself and also governs another
man, that is more than self-government--that is despotism"; and its
philosophic corollary: "He who would be no slave must consent to have no

Abraham Lincoln sprang from exceptional conditions--was in truth, in
the language of Lowell, a "new birth of our new soil." But this
distinction was not due alone to mere environment. The ordinary man,
with ordinary natural gifts, found in Western pioneer communities a
development essentially the same as he would have found under colonial
Virginia or Puritan New England: a commonplace life, varying only with
the changing ideas and customs of time and locality. But for the man
with extraordinary powers of body and mind; for the individual gifted by
nature with the genius which Abraham Lincoln possessed; the pioneer
condition, with its severe training in self-denial, patience, and
industry, was favorable to a development of character that helped in a
preëminent degree to qualify him for the duties and responsibilities of
leadership and government. He escaped the formal conventionalities which
beget insincerity and dissimulation. He grew up without being warped by
erroneous ideas or false principles; without being dwarfed by vanity, or
tempted by self-interest.

Some pioneer communities carried with them the institution of slavery;
and in the slave State of Kentucky Lincoln was born. He remained there
only a short time, and we have every reason to suppose that wherever he
might have grown to maturity his very mental and moral fiber would have
spurned the doctrine and practice of human slavery. And yet so subtle is
the influence of birth and custom, that we can trace one lasting effect
of this early and brief environment. Though he ever hated slavery, he
never hated the slaveholder. This ineradicable feeling of pardon and
sympathy for Kentucky and the South played no insignificant part in his
dealings with grave problems of statesmanship. He struck slavery its
death-blow with the hand of war, but he tendered the slaveholder a
golden equivalent with the hand of friendship and peace.

His advancement in the astonishing career which carried him from
obscurity to world-wide fame; from postmaster of New Salem village to
President of the United States; from captain of a backwoods volunteer
company to commander-in-chief of the army and navy, was neither sudden,
nor accidental, nor easy. He was both ambitious and successful, but his
ambition was moderate and his success was slow. And because his success
was slow, his ambition never outgrew either his judgment or his powers.
From the day when he left the paternal roof and launched his canoe on
the head waters of the Sangamon River to begin life on his own account,
to the day of his first inauguration, there intervened full thirty years
of toil, of study, self-denial, patience; often of effort baffled, of
hope deferred; sometimes of bitter disappointment. Given the natural
gift of great genius, given the condition of favorable environment, it
yet required an average lifetime and faithful unrelaxing effort to
transform the raw country stripling into a competent ruler for this
great nation.

Almost every success was balanced--sometimes overbalanced by a seeming
failure. Reversing the usual promotion, he went into the Black Hawk War
a captain and, through no fault of his own, came out a private. He rode
to the hostile frontier on horseback, and trudged home on foot. His
store "winked out." His surveyor's compass and chain, with which he was
earning a scanty living, were sold for debt. He was defeated in his
first campaign for the legislature; defeated in his first attempt to be
nominated for Congress; defeated in his application to be appointed
commissioner of the General Land Office; defeated for the Senate in the
Illinois legislature of 1854, when he had forty-five votes to begin
with, by Trumbull, who had only five votes to begin with; defeated in
the legislature of 1858, by an antiquated apportionment, when his joint
debates with Douglas had won him a popular plurality of nearly four
thousand in a Democratic State; defeated in the nomination for
Vice-President on the Frémont ticket in 1856, when a favorable nod from
half a dozen wire-workers would have brought him success.

Failures? Not so. Every seeming defeat was a slow success. His was the
growth of the oak, and not of Jonah's gourd. Every scaffolding of
temporary elevation he pulled down, every ladder of transient
expectation which broke under his feet accumulated his strength, and
piled up a solid mound which raised him to wider usefulness and clearer
vision. He could not become a master workman until he had served a
tedious apprenticeship. It was the quarter of a century of reading
thinking, speech-making and legislating which qualified him for
selection as the chosen champion of the Illinois Republicans in the
great Lincoln-Douglas joint debates of 1858. It was the great
intellectual victory won in these debates, plus the title "Honest old
Abe," won by truth and manhood among his neighbors during a whole
generation, that led the people of the United States to confide to his
hands the duties and powers of President.

And when, after thirty years of endeavor, success had beaten down
defeat; when Lincoln had been nominated elected, and inaugurated, came
the crowning trial of his faith and constancy. When the people, by free
and lawful choice, had placed honor and power in his hands; when his
signature could convene Congress, approve laws, make ministers, cause
ships to sail and armies to move; when he could speak with potential
voice to other rulers of other lands, there suddenly came upon the
government and the nation the symptoms of a fatal paralysis; honor
seemed to dwindle and power to vanish. Was he then, after all, not to be
President? Was patriotism dead? Was the Constitution waste paper? Was
the Union gone?

The indications were, indeed, ominous. Seven States were in rebellion.
There was treason in Congress, treason in the Supreme Court, treason in
the army and navy. Confusion and discord rent public opinion. To use
Lincoln's own forcible simile, sinners were calling the righteous to
repentance. Finally, the flag, insulted on the _Star of the West_,
trailed in capitulation at Sumter and then came the humiliation of the
Baltimore riot, and the President practically for a few days a prisoner
in the capital of the nation.

But his apprenticeship had been served, and there was no more failure.
With faith and justice and generosity he conducted for four long years a
civil war whose frontiers stretched from the Potomac to the Rio Grande;
whose soldiers numbered a million men on each side; in which, counting
skirmishes and battles small and great, was fought an average of two
engagements every day; and during which every twenty-four hours saw an
expenditure of two millions of money. The labor, the thought, the
responsibility, the strain of intellect and anguish of soul that he gave
to this great task, who can measure?

The sincerity of the fathers of the Republic was impugned he justified
them. The Declaration of Independence was called a "string of glittering
generalities" and a "self-evident lie"; he refuted the aspersion. The
Constitution was perverted; he corrected the error. The flag was
insulted; he redressed the offense. The government was assailed? he
restored its authority. Slavery thrust the sword of civil war at the
heart of the nation? he crushed slavery, and cemented the purified Union
in new and stronger bonds.

And all the while conciliation was as active as vindication was stern.
He reasoned and pleaded with the anger of the South; he gave
insurrection time to repent; he forbore to execute retaliation; he
offered recompense to slaveholders; he pardoned treason.

What but lifetime schooling in disappointment; what but the pioneer's
self-reliance and freedom from prejudice; what but the patient faith,
the clear perceptions of natural right, the unwarped sympathy and
unbounding charity of this man with spirit so humble and soul so great,
could have carried him through the labors he wrought to the victory he

As the territory may be said to be its body, and its material activities
its blood, so patriotism may be said to be the vital breath of a nation.
When patriotism dies, the nation dies, and its resources as well as its
territory go to other peoples with stronger vitality.

Patriotism can in no way be more effectively cultivated than by studying
and commemorating the achievements and virtues of our great men--the men
who have lived and died for the nation, who have advanced its prosperity,
increased its power, added to its glory. In our brief history the United
States can boast of many great men, and the achievement by its sons of
many great deeds; and if we accord the first rank to Washington as
founder, so we must unhesitatingly give to Lincoln the second place as
preserver and regenerator of American liberty. So far, however from being
opposed or subordinated either to the other, the popular heart has
already canonized these two as twin heroes in our national pantheon, as
twin stars in the firmament of our national fame.


=Able, Mrs.=, sister of Mary Owens, 55, 60

=Adams, Charles Francis=, member of Congress, United States minister
  to England, sent to England, 211

=Alabama=, State of, admitted as State, 1819, 19

=Alabama=, the, Confederate cruiser, sunk by the _Kearsarge_, 525

=Albemarle=, the, Confederate ironclad, destruction of,
  October 27, 1864, 525

=Albert=, Prince Consort, drafts note to Lord Russell about _Trent_
  affair, 247

=Alexander II=, Czar of Russia, emancipates Russian serfs, 101

=Alexandria=, Virginia, occupation of, 214

=American Party=, principles of, 101, 102;
  nominates Millard Fillmore for President, 1856, 102

=Anderson, Robert=, brevet major-general United States army,
  transfers his command to Fort Sumter, 177, 178;
  reports condition of Fort Sumter, 182;
  notified of coming relief, 188;
  defense and surrender of Fort Sumter, 189, 190;
  telegram about Frémont's proclamation, 240;
  sends Sherman to Nashville, 254;
  turns over command to Sherman, 254;
  raises flag over Fort Sumter, 531

=Antietam=, Maryland, battle of, September 17, 1862, 31

=Arkansas=, State of, joins Confederacy, 200, 204;
  military governor appointed for, 419;
  reconstruction in, 426, 427;
  slavery abolished in, 427;
  slavery in, throttled by public opinion, 473;
  ratifies Thirteenth Amendment, 475

=Armies of the United States=,
  enlistment in, since beginning of the war, 353, 354;
  numbers under Grant's command, March, 1865, 507;
  reduction of, to peace footing, 527;
  grand review of, 527-529

=Armstrong, Jack=, wrestles with Lincoln, 25

=Arnold, Samuel=, in conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln, 534;
  imprisoned, 544

=Atlanta=, Georgia, siege of, July 22 to September 1, 1864, 407

=Atzerodt, George=, in conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln, 534;
  assigned to murder Andrew Johnson, 535;
  deposits arms in tavern at Surrattsville, 536;
  execution of, 544

=Bailey, Theodorus=, rear-admiral United States navy,
  in expedition against New Orleans, 284

=Bailhache, William H.=, prints Lincoln's first inaugural, 168

=Baker, Edward D.=, member of Congress, United States senator,
  brevet major-general United States Volunteers, at Springfield,
  Illinois, 52;
  nominated for Congress, 73;
  in Mexican War, 75

=Ball's Bluff=, Virginia, battle of, October, 21, 1861, 262

=Baltimore=, Maryland, Massachusetts Sixth mobbed in, 193;
  occupied by General Butler, 199;
  threatened by Early, 403;
  funeral honors to Lincoln in, 546

=Bancroft, George=, Secretary of the Navy, historian,
  minister to Prussia, letter to Lincoln, 321

=Banks, Nathaniel P.=, Speaker of the House of Representatives,
  major-general United States Volunteers, in Army of Virginia, 310;
  forces under, for defense of Washington, 317;
  operations against Port Hudson, 382;
  captures Port Hudson, 383, 384;
  reply to Lincoln, 425;
  causes election of State officers in Louisiana, 425, 426;
  opinion of new Louisiana constitution, 426

=Barton, William=, governor of Delaware,
  reply to Lincoln's call for volunteers, 193

=Bates, Edward=, member of Congress, Attorney-General,
  candidate for presidential nomination, 1860, 144;
  vote for, in Chicago convention, 149;
  tendered cabinet appointment, 163;
  appointed Attorney-General, 182;
  signs cabinet protest, 311;
  rewrites cabinet protest, 312;
  resigns from cabinet, 491

=Beauregard, G.T.=, Confederate general, reduces Fort Sumter, 188-190;
  in command at Manassas Junction, 215;
  understanding with Johnston, 216;
  battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861, 226-229;
  council with Johnston and Hardee, 267;
  succeeds to command at Pittsburg Landing, 273;
  losses at Pittsburg Landing, 274;
  evacuates Corinth, 275;
  united with Hood, 409;
  orders Hood to assume offensive, 410;
  interview with Davis and Johnston, 520

=Bell, John=, member of Congress, Secretary of War,
  United States senator, nominated for President, 1860, 143;
  vote for, 160

=Benjamin, Judah P.=, United States senator,
  Confederate Secretary of State, suggestions about instructions
  to peace commissioners, 482;
  last instructions to Slidell, 501, 502

=Berry, William F.=, partner of Lincoln in a store, 35;
  death of, 36

=Big Bethel=, Virginia, disaster at, 214

=Blackburn's Ford=, Virginia, engagement at, July 18, 1861, 226

=Black Hawk=, chief of the Sac Indians,
  crosses Mississippi into Illinois, 32

=Black, Jeremiah S.=, Attorney-General, Secretary of State,
  war of pamphlets with Douglas, 134

=Blair, Francis P.=, Sr., quarrel with Frémont, 236, 487;
  asks permission to go South, 478;
  interviews with Jefferson Davis, 479-482;
  his Mexican project, 479

=Blair, Francis P.=, Jr., member of Congress major-general
  United States Volunteers quarrel with Frémont, 236, 487, 488

=Blair, Montgomery=, Postmaster-General,
  appointed Postmaster-General, 182;
  quarrel with Frémont, 236, 487, 488;
  at cabinet meeting, July 22, 1862, 331, 332;
  objects to time for issuing emancipation proclamation, 340;
  resolution in Republican platform aimed at, 446, 487;
  relations with members of the cabinet, 488;
  remarks after Early's raid, 488;
  retires from cabinet, 489;
  works for Lincoln's reëlection, 489, 490;
  wishes to be chief justice, 490;
  declines foreign mission, 490

=Bogue, Captain Vincent=, navigates Sangamon River in
  steamer _Talisman_, 27, 28

=Boonville=, Missouri, battle of, June 17, 1861, 214

=Booth, John Wilkes=, personal description of, 534, 535;
  scheme to abduct Lincoln, 535;
  creates disturbance at Lincoln's second inauguration, 535;
  assigns parts in conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln, 535, 536;
  final preparations, 536, 537;
  shoots the President, 538;
  wounds Major Rathbone 538;
  escape of, 539;
  flight and capture of, 542, 543;
  death of, 543;
  account at Montreal Bank, 544

=Bragg, Braxton=, Confederate general,
  forces Buell back to Louisville, 275, 276;
  threatens Louisville, 379;
  battle of Perryville, 379;
  battle of Murfreesboro, 380;
  retreat to Chattanooga, 385;
  Chattanooga and Chickamauga, 386-392;
  retreats to Dalton, 392;
  superseded by Johnston, 395;
  his invasion delays reconstruction in Tennessee, 428

=Breckinridge, John C.=, Vice-President, Confederate major-general,
  and Secretary of War, nominated for Vice-President, 1856, 104;
  desires Douglas's reëlection to United States Senate, 126;
  nominated for President, 1860, 143;
  vote for, 160;
  joins the rebellion, 217;
  required by Davis to report on Johnston-Sherman agreement, 523

=Breckinridge, Robert J.=, D.D., LL.D.,
  temporary chairman Republican national convention, 1864, 446

=Brown, Albert G.=, member of Congress, United States senator,
  questions Douglas, 129;
  demands congressional slave code, 141

=Brown, John=, raid at Harper's Ferry, trial and execution of, 134

=Brown, Joseph E.=, governor of Georgia, United States senator,
  refuses to obey orders from Richmond, 481

=Browning, Orville H.=, United States senator, Secretary of the Interior
  under President Johnson, at Springfield, Illinois, 52;
  speech in Chicago convention, 151

=Browning, Mrs. O.H.=, Lincoln's letter to, 58, 59

=Bryant, William Cullen=, presides over Cooper Institute meeting, 138

=Buchanan, Franklin=, captain United States navy, admiral Confederate
  navy, resigns from Washington navy-yard and joins the Confederacy, 196

=Buchanan, James=, fifteenth President of the United States,
  nominated for President, 1856, 104;
  elected President, 105, 108;
  announces pro-slavery policy, 114;
  appoints Walker governor of Kansas, 114;
  reply to Walker's letter, 115;
  special message recommending Lecompton Constitution, 115;
  permits Scott to be called to Washington, 172;
  non-action regarding secession, 176, 177;
  reconstruction of his cabinet, 178;
  rides with Lincoln in inauguration procession, 180;
  non-coercion doctrine of, 210;
  signs resolution for constitutional amendment, 476

=Buckner, Simon B.=, Confederate lieutenant-general,
  stationed at Bowling Green, 254;
  force of, 263;
  surrenders Fort Donelson, 267, 268

=Buell, Don Carlos=, major-general United States Volunteers,
  succeeds Sherman in Kentucky, 255;
  driven back to Louisville, 1862, 258;
  instructions about East Tennessee, 258, 259;
  reluctance to move into East Tennessee, 260;
  reluctance to coöperate with Halleck, 263, 264, 269;
  ordered forward to Savannah, 271;
  arrives at Pittsburg Landing, 273;
  retreats to Louisville, 275, 276;
  battle of Perryville, 379;
  relieved from command, 380

=Bull Run=, Virginia, battle of, July 21, 1861, 226-229;
  second battle of, August 30, 1862, 310, 311

=Burnside, Ambrose E.=, major-general United States Volunteers,
  holds Knoxville 1863, 258;
  commands force in Roanoke Island expedition, 277, 278;
  ordered to reinforce McClellan, 307;
  orders arrest of Vallandigham, 358;
  appointed to command Army of the Potomac, 363;
  previous services, 363, 364;
  battle of Fredericksburg, 364, 365;
  relieved from command, 366;
  ordered to reinforce Rosecrans, 388;
  besieged at Knoxville, 391;
  repulses Longstreet, 391

=Butler, Benjamin F.=, major-general United States Volunteers,
  member of Congress, occupies Baltimore, 199;
  orders concerning slaves, 220-222;
  instructions to, about slaves, 223;
  commands land
  force in Farragut's expedition against New Orleans, 283;
  in command at New Orleans, 285;
  report about negro soldiers, 348, 349;
  proclaimed an outlaw by Jefferson Davis, 350;
  seizes City Point, 401;
  receives votes for Vice-President at Baltimore convention, 448

=Butler, William=, relates incident about Lincoln, 53

=Butterfield, Justin=, appointed Commissioner of General Land Office, 92;
  defended by Lincoln from political attack, 92

=Cadwalader, George=, major-general United States Volunteers,
  action in Merryman case, 199, 200

=Cairo=, Illinois, military importance of, 209, 210

=Calhoun, John=, appoints Lincoln deputy surveyor, 39, 40;
  at Springfield, Illinois, 52

=Cameron, Simon=, United States senator, Secretary of War,
  candidate for presidential nomination, 1860, 144;
  vote for, in Chicago convention, 149;
  tendered cabinet appointment, 163, 164;
  appointed Secretary of War, 182;
  brings letters of Anderson to Lincoln, 182;
  visits Frémont, 242;
  interview with Sherman, 255;
  appointed minister to Russia, 289;
  reference to slavery in report to Congress, 320;
  moves renomination of Lincoln and Hamlin by acclamation, 447

=Campbell, John A.=, justice United States Supreme Court; Confederate
  commissioner; intermediary of Confederate commissioners, 183;
  at Hampton Roads conference, 482-485;
  interviews with Lincoln, 519

=Canby, E.R.S.=, brevet major-general United States army,
  receives surrender of Taylor, 525;
  receives surrender of E. Kirby Smith, 526, 527

=Carpenter, Frank B.=, conversation with Lincoln about
  emancipation proclamation, 331, 332

=Carpenter, W.=, defeated for Illinois legislature 1832, 34;
  elected in 1834, 43

=Carrick's Ford=, Virginia, battle of, July 13, 1861, 225

=Cartter, David K.=, announces change of vote to Lincoln
  in Chicago convention, 151

=Cartwright, Peter=, elected to Illinois legislature in 1832, 34

=Chancellorsville=, Virginia, battle of, May 1-4, 1863, 369

=Charleston=, South Carolina, capture of, February 18, 1865, 415;
  burning of, 416

=Chase, Salmon P.=, United States senator, Secretary of the Treasury,
  chief justice United States Supreme Court,
  candidate for presidential nomination, 1860, 144;
  vote for, in Chicago convention, 149;
  summoned to Springfield, 163;
  appointed Secretary of the Treasury, 182;
  questions McClellan at council of war, 289;
  signs cabinet protest, 311;
  favors emancipation by military commanders, 332;
  urges that parts of States be not exempted
  in final emancipation proclamation, 343;
  submits form of closing paragraph, 344;
  presidential aspirations of, 439-441;
  letter to Lincoln, 440, 441;
  resigns from cabinet, 457;
  effect of his resignation on the political situation, 464;
  looked upon by radicals as their representative in the cabinet, 487;
  hostility to Montgomery Blair, 488;
  made chief justice, 490, 491;
  note of thanks to Lincoln, 491;
  opinion of Lincoln, 491;
  administers oath of office to Lincoln at second inauguration, 496;
  administers oath of office to President Johnson, 545

=Chattanooga=, Tennessee, battle of, November 23-25, 1863, 389-392

=Chickamauga=, Tennessee, battle of, September 18-20, 1863, 386, 387

=Clary's Grove=, Illinois, settlement of, 24

=Clay, Clement C., Jr.=, United States senator,
  Confederate agent in Canada, correspondence with Horace Greeley, 459

=Clay, Henry=, nominated for President, 28

=Clements, Andrew J.=, member of Congress, elected to Congress, 419

=Cleveland=, Ohio, funeral honors to Lincoln in, 547

=Cochrane, John=, member of Congress, brigadier-general United States
  Volunteers, nominated for Vice-President, 1864, 442

=Cold Harbor=, Virginia, battle of, June 1-12, 1864, 399

=Colfax, Schuyler=, member of Congress, Vice-President,
  letter to, from Lincoln, 132, 133

=Collamer, Jacob=, member of Congress, Postmaster-General,
  United States senator, vote for, in Chicago convention, 149

=Columbia=, South Carolina, capture and burning of, 415, 416

=Columbus=, Kentucky, evacuation of, 269

=Confederate States of America=, formed by seceding States, 178, 179;
  "corner-stone" theory, 179;
  government of, fires on Fort Sumter, 189;
  joined by North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas, 200;
  strength of, 204;
  war measures of, 207;
  capital removed to Richmond, 207;
  strength of, in the West, 263;
  outcry of, against emancipation proclamation and arming of
  negroes, 350, 351;
  efficiency of armies of, in 1863, 370;
  proclamation calling on people to resist Sherman's march, 411, 412;
  nearly in state of collapse, 481;
  doomed from the hour of Lincoln's reëlection, 499;
  depreciation of its currency, 499, 500;
  conscription laws of, 500;
  Confederate Congress makes Lee general-in-chief, 500;
  number of soldiers in final struggle, 507;
  flight of, from Richmond, 515;
  collapse of the rebellion, 524-527;
  number of troops surrendered, 527

=Congress of the United States=, passes act organizing
  territory of Illinois, 19;
  fixes number of stars and stripes in the flag, 19;
  admits as States Illinois, Alabama, Maine, and Missouri, 19;
  nullification debate in, 38;
  Lincoln's service in, 75-90;
  Missouri Compromise, 94-96;
  Democratic majorities chosen in, in 1856, 108;
  agitation over Kansas in, 113;
  Senator Brown's resolutions, 141;
  official count of electoral votes, 160;
  appoints compromise committees, 167;
  Buchanan's annual message to, December, 1860, 176, 177;
  convened in special session by President Lincoln, 192;
  Lincoln's message to, May 26, 1862, 195;
  legalizes Lincoln's war measures, 206;
  meeting and measures of special session of
  Thirty-seventh Congress, 217-220;
  Southern unionists in, 217;
  Lincoln's message to, July 4, 1861, 218-220;
  action on slavery, 223;
  special session adjourns, 223;
  House passes resolution of thanks to Captain Wilkes, 246;
  friendly to McClellan, 250;
  Lincoln's message of December 3, 1861, 257, 321, 322;
  interview of border State delegations with Lincoln, 257, 258, 324, 325;
  Lincoln's special message, March 6, 1862, 323, 324;
  passes joint resolution favoring compensated emancipation, 325;
  passes bill for compensated emancipation in District of
  Columbia, 325, 336;
  House bill to aid emancipation in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia,
  Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri, 326;
  slavery measures of 1862, 329;
  President's second interview with border slave State
  delegations, 329-331;
  President's annual message, December 1, 1862, 341, 342;
  passes national conscription law, 354, 355;
  act authorizing the President to suspend writ of habeas corpus, 359, 360;
  confers rank of lieutenant-general on Grant, 393;
  admits representatives and senators from States with
  provisional governments, 419;
  President's annual message, December 8, 1863, 424;
  reverses former action about seating members from "ten-per-cent
  States," 424;
  bills to aid compensated abolishment in Missouri, 432;
  opposition to Lincoln in, 454;
  action on bill of Henry Winter Davis, 454;
  repeals fugitive-slave law, 457;
  confirms Fessenden's nomination, 458;
  Lincoln's message of December 5, 1864, 470-472;
  joint resolution proposing constitutional amendment to prohibit
  slavery throughout United States, 471-476;
  the two constitutional amendments submitted to the States during
  Lincoln's term, 475, 476;
  Senate confirms Chase's nomination as chief justice, 491

=Congress=, the, Union sailing frigate, burned by _Merrimac_, 280

=Constitutional Union Party=, candidates in 1860, 153

=Conventions=: first national convention of Whig party, 28;
  President Jackson gives impetus to system of, 52;
  Illinois State convention nominates Lincoln for Congress 74, 75;
  convention of "Know-Nothing" party, 1856, 102;
  Bloomington convention, May, 1856, 103;
  first national convention of Republican party, June 17, 1856, 103;
  Democratic national convention, June 2, 1856, 104;
  Democratic national convention, Charleston, April 23, 1860, 142;
  it adjourns to reassemble at Baltimore, June 18, 1860, 143;
  Constitutional Union Convention, Baltimore, May 9, 1860, 143;
  Republican national convention, Chicago, May 16, 1860, 144, 147-151;
  Decatur, Illinois, State convention, 154;
  Cleveland convention, May 31, 1864, 441, 442;
  meeting in New York to nominate Grant, 442, 443;
  New Hampshire State convention, January 6, 1864, 443;
  Republican national convention, June 7, 1864, 446-449;
  Democratic national convention, 1864, postponed, 463;
  Democratic national convention meets, 466-468;
  resolution of Baltimore convention hostile to Montgomery Blair, 487

=Cook, B.C.=, member of Congress, nominates Lincoln
  in Baltimore convention, 447;
  seeks to learn Lincoln's wishes about Vice-Presidency, 448

=Cooper, Samuel=, Confederate adjutant-general,
 joins the Confederacy, 208

=Corbett, Boston=, sergeant United States army, shoots Booth, 543

=Corinth=, Mississippi, captured by Halleck, 275

=Couch, Darius N.=, major-general United States Volunteers,
  militia force under, in Pennsylvania, 372

=Cox, Samuel=, assists Booth and Herold, 542

=Crawford, Andrew=, teacher of President Lincoln, 12

=Crittenden, John J.=, Attorney-General, United States senator,
  advocates reëlection of Douglas to United States Senate, 126;
  in Thirty-seventh Congress, 217;
  presents resolution, 223

=Cumberland=, the, Union frigate, sunk by _Merrimac_, 280

=Curtis, Samuel R.=, member of Congress, major-general
  United States Volunteers, sends order of removal to Frémont, 242, 243;
  campaign in Missouri, 269;
  victory at Pea Ridge, 271

=Cushing, William B.=, commander United States navy,
  destruction of the _Albemarle_, 525

=Dahlgren, John A.=, rear-admiral United States navy,
  at gathering of officials to discuss fight between _Monitor_
  and _Merrimac_, 296

=Davis, Henry Winter=, member of Congress, bill prescribing
  method of reconstruction, 454;
  signs Wade-Davis manifesto, 456

=Davis, Jefferson=, Secretary of War, United States senator,
  Confederate President, orders that
  "rebellion must be crushed" in Kansas, 113;
  Senate resolutions of, 141;
  signs address commending Charleston disruption, 143;
  statement in Senate, 143;
  elected President of Confederate States of America, 179;
  telegram to Governor Letcher, 197;
  proclamation offering letters of marque to privateers, 205;
  camp of instruction at Harper's Ferry, 209;
  proclamation of outlawry, 350;
  message on emancipation proclamation, 350, 351;
  appoints Hood to succeed Johnston, 407;
  visits Hood, and unites commands of Beauregard and Hood, 409;
  interview with Jaquess and Gilmore, 462;
  interviews with F.P. Blair, Sr., 479-481;
  gives Blair a letter to show Lincoln, 481;
  appoints peace commission, 482;
  instructions to peace commissioners, 482;
  reports Hampton Roads conference to rebel Congress, 485;
  speech at public meeting, 485, 486;
  Confederate Congress shows hostility to, 500, 501;
  reappoints J.E. Johnston to resist Sherman, 501;
  recommendations concerning slaves in rebel army, 501;
  sanctions Lee's letter to Grant, 503;
  conference with Lee, 504;
  flight from Richmond, 515;
  proclamation from Danville, 519, 520;
  retreat to Greensboro, North Carolina, 520;
  interview with Johnston and Beauregard, 520;
  continues southward, 520;
  dictates proposition of armistice presented by Johnston to Sherman, 521;
  requires report from Breckinridge about Johnston-Sherman agreement, 523;
  instructions to Johnston, 524;
  attempt to reach E. Kirby Smith, 525, 526;
  effort to gain Florida coast, 526;
  capture, imprisonment, and release of, 526

=Davis, Mrs. Jefferson=, captured with her husband, 526

=Dawson, John=, defeated for Illinois legislature, 1832, 34;
  elected in 1834, 43

=Dayton, William L.=, United States senator minister to France,
  nominated for Vice-President, 104;
  vote for, in Chicago convention, 149

=Delano, Columbus=, member of Congress, Secretary of the Interior,
  in Baltimore convention, 447

=Delaware=, State of, secession feeling in, 201;
  rejects compensated abolishment, 322, 323

=Democratic Party=, party of slavery extension, 102;
  nominates Buchanan and Breckinridge in 1856, 104;
  disturbed by Buchanan's attitude on slavery, 116;
  pro-slavery demands of, 140, 141;
  national conventions of, 1860, 142-144;
  candidates in 1860, 152, 153;
  opposition to emancipation measures and conscription law, 354, 355;
  adopts McClellan for presidential candidate, 355;
  interest in Vallandigham, 358;
  attitude on slavery, 437, 438, 472, 473;
  convention postponed, 463;
  national convention, 1864, 466-468

=Dennison, William=, governor of Ohio, Postmaster-General,
  permanent chairman of Republican national convention, 1864, 446;
  succeeds Blair as Postmaster-General, 489, 490

=Dickinson, Daniel S.=, United States senator, candidate
  for vice-presidential nomination, 1864, 448, 449

=Doherty, E.P.=, lieutenant United States army,
  captures Booth and Herold, 543

=Donelson, Andrew J.=, nominated for Vice-President, 102

=Dorsey, Azel W.=, teacher of President Lincoln, 12

=Douglas, Stephen A.=, member of Congress, United States senator,
  at Springfield, Illinois, 52;
  challenges young Whigs of Springfield to debate, 62;
  elected to United States Senate, 75;
  champions repeal of Missouri Compromise, 95;
  speech at Illinois State fair, 96;
  at Peoria, 96;
  agreement with Lincoln, 99;
  on Dred Scott case, 109, 110;
  denounces Lecompton Constitution, 116, 117;
  hostility of Buchanan administration toward, 117;
  Lincoln-Douglas joint debate, 121-125;
  speeches in the South, 128, 129;
  answer to Senator Brown, 129;
  references to Lincoln, 130;
  Ohio speeches, 133;
  "Harper's Magazine" essay, 134;
  fight over nomination of, for President, 1860, 142-144;
  nominated for President, 143;
  speeches during campaign of 1860, 156;
  vote for, 160

=Douglass, Frederick=, conversation with Lincoln, 352

=Draft=, Congress passes national conscription law, 354;
  opposition of Governor Seymour to, 355-357;
  riots in New York, 356, 357;
  dissatisfaction in other places, 357;
  opposition of Vallandigham to, 358

=Dred Scott= case, decision of Supreme Court in, 108, 109;
  protest of North against, 109;
  Senator Douglas on, 109, 110

=Dresser, Rev. Charles=, marries Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd, 68, 69

=Du-Pont, Samuel F.=, rear-admiral United States navy,
  commands fleet in Port Royal expedition, 245

=Durant, Thomas J.=, mentioned in letter of Lincoln's, 334, 335

=Early, Jubal A.=, Confederate lieutenant-general,
  threatens Washington, 403;
  inflicts damage on Blair's estate, 488

=Eckert, Thomas T.=, brevet brigadier-general United States Volunteers,
  sent to meet peace commissioners at Hampton Roads, 482;
  refuses to allow peace commissioners to proceed, 483

=Edwards, Cyrus=, desires commissionership of General Land Office, 92

=Edwards, Ninian W.=, one of "Long Nine," 63

=Edwards, Mrs. Ninian W.=, sister of Mrs. Lincoln, 63

=Ellsworth, E.E.=, colonel United States Volunteers, assassination of, 214

=Emancipation=, Lincoln-Stone protest, 47;
  Lincoln's bill for, in District of Columbia, 86, 87;
  Missouri Compromise, 94, 95;
  Frémont's proclamation of, 236-238;
  discussed in President's message of December 3, 1861, 321, 322;
  Lincoln offers Delaware compensated abolishment, 322, 323;
  special message of March 6, 1862, 323, 324;
  Congress passes bill for, in District of Columbia, 325, 326;
  bill to aid it in border slave States, 326;
  Hunter's order of, 327;
  measures in Congress relating to, 328, 329;
  Lincoln's second interview with delegations from border slave
  States, 329-331;
  Lincoln's conversation with Carpenter about, 331, 332;
  first draft of emancipation proclamation read to cabinet, 331, 332;
  President's interview with Chicago clergymen, 337-339;
  Lincoln issues preliminary emancipation proclamation, 339-341;
  annual message of December 1, 1862, 341, 342;
  President issues final emancipation proclamation, 342-346;
  President's views on, 346, 347;
  arming of negro soldiers, 348, 350;
  Lincoln's letters to Banks about emancipation in Louisiana, 423-425;
  slavery abolished in Louisiana, 426;
  slavery abolished in Arkansas, 427;
  slavery abolished in Tennessee, 429;
  slavery abolished in Missouri, 432-434;
  Maryland refuses offer of compensated abolishment, 434;
  slavery abolished in Maryland, 435, 436;
  Republican national platform favors Constitutional
  amendment abolishing slavery, 446;
  Constitutional amendment prohibiting slavery in United States, 471-476;
  two Constitutional amendments affecting slavery offered during
  Lincoln's term, 475,476;
  Lincoln's draft of joint resolution offering the South $400,000,000, 493;
  Jefferson Davis recommends employment of negroes in army,
  with emancipation to follow, 501.
  See _Slavery_

=England=, public opinion in, favorable to the South, 211;
  excitement in, over _Trent_ affair, 246;
  joint expedition to Mexico, 451;
  "neutrality" of, 525

=Ericsson=, John, inventor of the _Monitor_, 279

=Evarts=, William M., Secretary of State, United States senator,
  nominates Seward for President, 149;
  moves to make Lincoln's nomination unanimous, 151

=Everett=, Edward, member of Congress, minister to England,
  Secretary of State, United States senator,
  candidate for Vice-President, 1860, 153

=Ewell=, Richard S., Confederate lieutenant-general,
  in retreat to Appomattox, 511;
  statement about burning of Richmond, 516

=Ewing=, Thomas, Secretary of the Interior defended by Lincoln
  against political attack, 92

=Fair Oaks=, Virginia, battle of, 302

=Farragut=, David G., admiral United States navy,
  captures New Orleans and ascends the Mississippi, 282-287;
  ascends Mississippi a second time, 287;
  mentioned 328, 329, 381;
  operations against Port Hudson, 382;
  Mobile Bay, 468, 525

=Farrand=, Ebenezer, captain Confederate navy, surrender of, 525

=Fessenden=, William P., United States senator,
  Secretary of the Treasury, becomes Secretary of the Treasury, 458;
  agrees with President against making proffers of peace to Davis, 463;
  resigns from cabinet, 491, 492

=Field=, David Dudley, escorts Lincoln to platform at Cooper Institute, 138

=Fillmore=, Millard, thirteenth President of the United States,
  nominated by Know-Nothing party for President, 1856, 102

=Five Forks=, Virginia, battle of, April 1, 1865, 507-509

=Floyd=, John B., Secretary of War, Confederate brigadier-general,
  escapes from Fort Donelson, 268

=Foote=, Andrew H., rear-admiral United States navy,
  capture of Island No. 10, 274;
  proceeds to Fort Pillow, 274

=Forrest=, Nathan B., Confederate lieutenant-general,
  with Hood's army, 410;
  defeat of, 525

=Fort Donelson=, Tennessee, capture of, 266-268

=Fort Fisher=, North Carolina, capture of, 414, 481, 525

=Fort Harrison=, Virginia, capture of, 560

=Fort Henry=, Tennessee, capture of, 266

=Fort Jackson=, Louisiana, capture of, 282-285

=Fort McAllister=, Georgia, stormed by Sherman, 412

=Fort Pillow=, Tennessee, evacuation of, 286;
  massacre of negro troops at, 351

=Fort Pulaski=, Georgia, capture of, 278

=Fort Randolph=, Tennessee, evacuation of, 286

=Fort Stedman=, Virginia, assault of, 505, 506

=Fort St. Philip=, Louisiana, capture of, 282-285

=Fort Sumter=, South Carolina, occupied by Anderson, 177, 178;
  attempt to reinforce 178;
  cabinet consultations about, 182-184;
  defense and capture of, 189, 190

=Fortress Monroe=, Virginia, importance of, 209

=Fox=, Gustavus V., Assistant Secretary of the Navy,
  ordered to aid Sumter, 184;
  sends the President additional news about fight between _Monitor_
  and _Merrimac_, 296, 297

=France=, public opinion in, favorable to the South, 211;
  joint expedition to Mexico, 451;
  "neutrality" of, 525

=Franklin=, Benjamin, on American forests and the spirit
  of independence they fostered, 17

=Franklin=, Tennessee, battle of, November 30, 1864, 410

=Franklin=, W.B., brevet major-general United States army,
  advises movement on Manassas, 289

=Fredericksburg=, Virginia, battle of, December 13, 1862, 364

=Frémont=, John C., United States senator,
  major-general United States army, nominated for President, 1856, 103;
  made major-general, 233;
  opportunities and limitations of, 233-235;
  criticism of, 235;
  quarrel with Blair family, 236, 487;
  proclamation freeing slaves, 236, 237, 432;
  refuses to revoke proclamation, 238;
  removed from command of Western Department, 241-243;
  commands Mountain Department, 299;
  ordered to form junction with McDowell and Shields, 306;
  in Army of Virginia, 310;
  nominated for President, 1864, 442;
  withdraws from the contest, 442

=Fusion=, attempts at, in campaign of 1860, 157, 158

=Gamble, Hamilton R.=, provisional governor of Missouri,
  calls State convention together, 433;
  death of, 434

=Garnett, Robert S.=, Confederate brigadier-general,
  killed at Carrick's Ford, 225

=Gentry, Allen=, makes flatboat trip with Lincoln, 16

=Gentry, James=, enters land at Gentryville, 9;
  sends Lincoln to New Orleans, 16

=Gettysburg=, Pennsylvania, battle of, July 1-3, 1863, 372-375;
  address of Mr. Lincoln at, 376, 377

=Giddings, Joshua R.=, member of Congress approves
  Lincoln's bill abolishing slavery in District of Columbia, 87;
  amendment to Chicago platform, 148, 149

=Gillmore, Quincy A.=, brevet major-general United States army,
  siege of Fort Pulaski, 278

=Gilmer, John A.=, member of Congress, tendered cabinet appointment, 164

=Gilmore, J.R.=, visits Jefferson Davis with Jaquess, 462

=Gist, William H.=, governor of South Carolina, inaugurates secession, 175

=Goldsborough, L.M.=, rear-admiral United States navy,
  commands fleet in Roanoke Island expedition, 277, 278

=Gordon, John B.=, Confederate lieutenant-general,
  United States senator, in assault of Fort Stedman, 504, 505;
  in defense of Petersburg, 509

=Graham, Mentor=, makes Lincoln election clerk, 23, 24;
  advises Lincoln to study grammar, 25;
  aids Lincoln to study surveying, 40

=Grant, Ulysses S.=, eighteenth President of the United States,
  general, and general-in-chief United States army, early life, 264;
  letter offering services to War Department, 264, 265;
  commissioned by Governor Yates, 265;
  reconnaissance toward Columbus, 265;
  urges movement on Fort Henry, 265, 266;
  capture of Forts Henry and Donelson, 266-268;
  ordered forward to Savannah, 271;
  Pittsburg Landing, 272-274;
  asks to be relieved, 275;
  co-operates with adjutant-general of the army in arming negroes, 350;
  repulses rebels at Iuka and Corinth, 380;
  Vicksburg campaign, 380-383;
  ordered to Chattanooga, 389;
  battle of Chattanooga, 390, 391;
  pursuit of Bragg, 391, 392;
  speech on accepting commission of lieutenant-general, 394;
  visits Army of the Potomac and starts west, 394;
  placed in command of all the armies, 394;
  conference with Sherman, 395;
  plan of campaign, 395, 397;
  returns to Culpepper, 395;
  fear of presidential interference, 395, 396;
  letter to Lincoln, 396;
  strength and position of his army, 396, 397;
  instructions to Meade, 397;
  battle of the Wilderness, 398;
  Spottsylvania Court House, 398, 399;
  report to Washington, 399;
  Cold Harbor, 399;
  letter to Washington, 399, 400;
  siege of Petersburg, 400-402;
  sends Wright to Washington, 403;
  withholds consent to Sherman's plan, 410;
  gives his consent, 411;
  orders to Sherman, 413;
  adopts Sherman's plan, 414;
  attempt to nominate him for President, 1864, 442, 443;
  depressing influence on political situation of his heavy fighting, 463;
  admits peace commissioners to his headquarters, 483;
  despatch to Stanton, 484;
  pushing forward, 502;
  telegraphs Lee's letter to Washington, 503;
  reply to Lee, 504;
  orders to General Parke, 505;
  issues orders for the final movement of the war, 506;
  number of men under his command in final struggle, 507;
  his plan, 507;
  battle of Five Forks, 507-509;
  orders Sheridan to get on Lee's line of retreat, 509, 510;
  sends Humphreys to Sheridan's assistance, 509;
  telegram to Lincoln, 509;
  pursuit of Lee, 510-513;
  sends Sheridan's despatch to Lincoln, 511;
  correspondence with Lee, 512, 513;
  receives Lee's surrender, 513-515;
  forbids salute in honor of Lee's surrender, 515;
  visit to Lee, 515;
  goes to Washington, 515;
  learns terms of agreement between Sherman and Johnson, 523;
  ordered to Sherman's headquarters, 523;
  gives Sherman opportunity to modify his report, 523, 524;
  at Lincoln's last cabinet meeting, 531;
  invited by Mrs. Lincoln to Ford's Theater, 536

=Grant, Mrs. U.S.=, invited by Mrs. Lincoln to Ford's Theater, 536

=Greeley, Horace=, hears Lincoln's Cooper Institute speech, 138;
  "open letter" to Lincoln, 335;
  Niagara Falls conference, 458-461;
  effect of his mission on political situation, 464

=Halleck, Henry Wager=, major-general and general-in-chief
  United States army, succeeds Frémont, 260;
  reluctance to coöperate with Buell, 263, 264;
  answers to Lincoln, 263, 264;
  instructions to Grant, 264;
  orders Grant to take Fort Henry, 266;
  sends reinforcements to Grant, 267;
  asks for command in the West, 269;
  plans expedition under Pope, 270;
  message to Buell, 270;
  telegrams to McClellan, 270;
  appeal to McClellan, 271;
  commands Department of the Mississippi, 271;
  orders Pope to join him, 274;
  march on Corinth, 275;
  capture of Corinth, 275;
  sends Buell to East Tennessee, 275;
  ordered to reinforce McClellan, 307;
  general-in-chief, 309;
  visit to McClellan, 309;
  orders Army of Potomac back to Acquia Creek, 309;
  letter to McClellan, 309, 310;
  orders McClellan to support Pope, 311;
  telegram to McClellan, 317;
  mentioned, 328, 329;
  asks to be relieved, 365;
  quarrel with Hooker, 372;
  urges Meade to active pursuit of Lee, 375;
  plans for Western campaign, 379;
  urges Buell to move into East Tennessee, 380;
  orders Rosecrans to advance, 385, 386;
  at council to consider news of Chattanooga, 388;
  President's chief of staff, 394;
  conduct during Early's raid, 403;
  note to War Department about Blair, 488;
  orders to Meade, 523

=Hamlin, Hannibal=, United States senator, Vice-President,
  nominated for Vice-President, 151;
  Cameron moves his renomination, 447;
  candidate for vice-presidential nomination in 1864, 448, 449

=Hanks, John=, tells of Lincoln's frontier labors, 15;
  flatboat voyage with Lincoln, 22, 23;
  at Decatur convention, 154

=Hanks, Joseph=, teaches Thomas Lincoln carpenter's trade, 5

=Hanks, Nancy=. See _Lincoln, Nancy Hanks_

=Hardee, William J.=, lieutenant-colonel United States army, Confederate
  lieutenant-general, council with Johnston and Beauregard, 267;
  evacuates Savannah and Charleston, 415;
  joins Johnston, 416

=Hardin, John J.=, member of Congress, colonel United States Volunteers,
  at Springfield, Illinois, 52;
  elected to Congress, 73;
  killed in Mexican War, 75

=Harper's Ferry=, Virginia, John Brown raid at, 134;
  burning of armory, 209;
  captured by Lee, September 15, 1862, 315

=Harris, Miss Clara W.=, attends Ford's Theater with Mrs. Lincoln, 536;
  assists Mrs. Lincoln, 539

=Harrison, George M.=, Lincoln's messmate in Black Hawk War, 33

=Hartford=, the, Union cruiser, Farragut's flag-ship, 284, 285

=Hatteras Inlet=, North Carolina, capture of forts at, August 29, 1861, 245

=Hay, John=, assistant private secretary to Lincoln,
  brevet colonel and assistant adjutant-general United States Volunteers,
  ambassador to England, Secretary of State, accompanies
  Mr. Lincoln to Washington, 168;
  shows Lincoln letter of inquiry about Vice-Presidency, 448;
  mission to Canada, 460;
  at Lincoln's death-bed, 540

=Hazel, Caleb=, teacher of President Lincoln, 6

=Herndon, A.G.=, defeated for Illinois legislature, 1832, 34

=Herndon, "Jim" and "Row,"= sell Lincoln and Berry their store, 35

=Herndon, William H.=, Lincoln's law partner, 158;
  assumes Lincoln's law business during campaign, 158

=Herold, David E.=, in conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln, 534;
  chosen to assist Booth, 536;
  deposits arms in tavern at Surrattsville, 536;
  accompanies Booth in his flight, 542, 543;
  capture of, 543;
  execution of, 544

=Hicks, Thomas H.=, governor of Maryland, United States senator,
  reply to Lincoln's call for volunteers, 193;
  speech at mass-meeting, 193;
  protest against landing of troops at Annapolis, 198;
  calls meeting of Maryland legislature, 198

=Holcomb, James P.=, Confederate agent in Canada,
  correspondence with Horace Greeley, 459

=Holt, Joseph=, Postmaster-General, Secretary of War,
  judge-advocate general United States army, calls Scott to
  Washington, 172;
  report on Knights of the Golden Circle, 361;
  favored by Swett for Vice-President, 448;
  declines attorney-generalship, 491

=Hood, John B.=, Confederate general, succeeds Johnston, 407;
  evacuates Atlanta, 407, 468;
  truce with Sherman, 408;
  placed under command of Beauregard, 409;
  moves to Tuscumbia, 410;
  Franklin and Nashville, 410;
  his movements delay reconstruction in Tennessee, 429

=Hooker, Joseph=, brevet major-general United States army,
  succeeds Burnside in command of Army of the Potomac, 366;
  submits plan of campaign to Lincoln, 368;
  battle of Chancellorsville, 369, 370;
  criticism of, 370;
  foresees Lee's northward campaign, 370;
  proposes quick march to capture Richmond, 371;
  follows Lee, 372;
  asks to be relieved, 372;
  ordered to reinforce Rosecrans, 388;
  reaches Chattanooga, 389;
  in battle of Chattanooga, 390-391

=Hume, John F.=, moves that Lincoln's nomination be made unanimous, 447

=Humphreys, Andrew A.=, brevet major-general United States army,
  in recapture of Fort Stedman, 505, 506;
  ordered to assist Sheridan, 509

=Hunt, Randall=, tendered cabinet appointment, 164

=Hunter, David=, brevet major-general, United States army,
  asked to assist Frémont, 235, 236;
  ordered to relieve Frémont, 243;
  order of emancipation, 327;
  experiment with negro soldiers, 348;
  declared an outlaw by Confederate War Department, 350

=Hunter, R.M.T.=, United States senator, Confederate Secretary of State,
  appointed peace commissioner, 482;
  at Hampton Roads conference, 482-485

=Iles, Elijah=, captain Illinois Volunteers, commands company in
  Black Hawk War, 33

=Illinois=, State of, organized as Territory, 1809, 19;
  admitted as State, 1818, 19;
legislative schemes of internal improvement, 44, 45;
  capital removed to Springfield, 45;
  political struggles over slavery, 45, 46;
  Lincoln-Douglas senatorial campaign in, 118-125;
  ratifies Thirteenth Amendment, 474, 475

=Island No. 10=, Tennessee, fortifications at, 269, 270;
  surrender of, 274

=Jackson, Andrew=, seventh President of the United States,
  gives impetus to system of party caucuses and conventions, 52

=Jackson, Claiborne F.=, governor of Missouri,
  attempts to force Missouri secession, 202-204;
  flight to Springfield, Missouri, 234

=Jackson, Thomas Jonathan ("Stonewall")=, Confederate lieutenant-general,
  Shenandoah valley campaign, 305, 306;
  mentioned, 328;
  killed at Chancellorsville, 369

=Jaquess, James F.=, D.D., colonel United States Volunteers,
  visits to the South, 461, 462;
  interview with Jefferson Davis, 462

=Jewett, William Cornell=, letter to Greeley, 458

=Johnson, Andrew=, seventeenth President of the United States,
  in thirty-seventh Congress, 217;
  telegram about East Tennessee, 259;
  retains seat in Senate, 419;
  appointed military governor of Tennessee, 420;
  begins work of reconstruction, 428;
  nominated for Vice-President, 448, 449;
  popular and electoral votes for, 470;
  disapproves Sherman's agreement with Johnston, 523;
  proclamation of amnesty, 526;
  plot to murder, 535;
  rejoicing of radicals on his accession to the Presidency, 545;
  takes oath of office, 545

=Johnson, Herschel V.=, candidate for Vice-President, 1860, 152

=Johnston, Albert Sidney=, Confederate general,
  council with Hardee and Beauregard, 267;
  killed at Pittsburg Landing, 273

=Johnston, Joseph E.=, quartermaster-general United States army,
  Confederate general, member of Congress, joins Confederacy, 196, 208;
  understanding with Beauregard, 215, 216;
  joins Beauregard at Bull Run, 228;
  opinion of battle of Bull Run, 228;
  retrograde movement, 297;
  defeats McClellan at Fair Oaks, 302;
  succeeds Bragg, 395;
  strength of, in spring of 1864, 405;
  superseded by Hood, 407;
  again placed in command, 416, 501;
  interview with Davis, 520;
  begins negotiations with Sherman, 520;
  meetings with Sherman, 521, 522;
  agreement between them, 522;
  agreement disapproved at Washington, 523;
  surrender of, 524

=Johnston, Sarah Bush=, marries Thomas Lincoln, 10;
  improves the condition of his household, 10;
  tells of Lincoln's studious habits, 13

=Jones, Thomas=, assists Booth and Herold, 542, 543

=Judd, Norman B.=, minister to Prussia, member of Congress,
  nominates Lincoln for President, 1860, 149;
  member of Lincoln's suite, 173

=Kansas=, State of, slavery struggle in, 113-115;
  Lecompton Bill defeated in Congress, 117

=Kearsarge=, the, Union cruiser, battle with the _Alabama_, 525

=Kelly, Benjamin F.=, brevet major-general United States Volunteers,
  dash upon Philippi, 225

=Kentucky=, State of, action concerning secession, 201, 204;
  legislature asks Anderson for help, 254;
  public opinion in, regarding slavery, 473

=Kilpatrick, Judson=, brevet major-general United States army,
  minister to Chili, with Sherman on march to the sea, 411

=Kirkpatrick=, defeated for Illinois legislature 1832, 34

=Knights of Golden Circle=, extensive organization of, 360, 361;
  plans and failures of, 360-362;
  projected revolution in Northwestern States, 466

=Know-Nothing Party=, principles of, 101, 102;
  nominates Millard Fillmore for President, 1856, 102

=Lamon, Ward H.=, accompanies Lincoln on night journey to Washington, 174

=Lane, Joseph=, brevet major-general United States army, governor,
  United States senator candidate for Vice-President in 1860, 153;
  attempt to arm negroes, 348

=Leavitt, Humphrey H.=, member of Congress,
  judge United States Circuit Court,
  denies motion for habeas corpus for Vallandigham, 358

=Lecompton Constitution=, adopted in Kansas, 115;
  defeated in Congress, 117

=Lee, Robert E.=, colonel United States army,
  Confederate general, captures John Brown, 134;
  enters service of Confederacy, 196, 197, 208;
  concentrates troops at Manassas Junction, 215;
  sends troops into West Virginia, 224;
  attacks McClellan near Richmond, 302;
  campaign into Maryland, 314;
  captures Harper's Ferry, 315;
  battle of Antietam, 315;
  retreats across the Potomac, 316;
  battle of Chancellorsville, 369;
  resolves on invasion of the North, 370;
  crosses the Potomac, 371, 372;
  battle of Gettysburg, 372-374;
  retreats across the Potomac, 375, 377;
  strength and position of his army, 397;
  battle of the Wilderness, 398;
  Spottsylvania Court House, 398, 399;
  Cold Harbor, 399;
  defense of Petersburg, 400-402;
  sends Early up the Shenandoah valley, 403;
  despatch about rations for his army, 481;
  made general-in-chief, 500;
  assumes command of all the Confederate armies, 502;
  attempt to negotiate with Grant, 502, 503;
  conference with Davis, 504;
  attempt to break through Grant's lines, 504-506;
  number of men under his command in final struggle, 507;
  takes command in person, 507;
  attacks Warren, 507;
  battle of Five Forks, 507-509;
  makes preparations to evacuate Petersburg and Richmond, 509;
  begins retreat, 510;
  surrender of Richmond, 510;
  reaches Amelia Court House, 510;
  starts toward Lynchburg, 511;
  reply to generals advising him to surrender, 512;
  correspondence with Grant, 512, 513;
  surrender of, 513-515;
  size of army surrendered by, 524

=Letcher, John=, member of Congress, governor of Virginia,
  orders seizure of government property, 194

=Lincoln, Abraham=, sixteenth President of the United States,
  born February 12, 1800, 3, 6;
  goes to A B C schools, 6;
  early schooling in Indiana, 10-13;
  home studies and youthful habits, 13-19;
  manages ferry-boat, 15;
  flatboat trip to New Orleans, 15, 16;
  employed in Gentryville store, 16;
  no hunter, 17;
  kills wild turkey, 17, 18;
  emigrates to Illinois, March 1, 1830, 20;
  leaves his father's cabin, 21;
  engaged by Denton Offutt, 21;
  builds flatboat and takes it to New Orleans, 22, 23;
  incident at Rutledge's Mill, 22;
  returns to New Salem, 23;
  election clerk, 23, 24;
  clerk in Offutt's store, 24;
  wrestles with Jack Armstrong, 25;
  candidate for legislature, 1832, 29;
  address "To the Voters of Sangamon County," 29, 30;
  volunteers for Black Hawk War, 32;
  elected captain of volunteer company, 32;
  mustered out and reënlists as private, 32, 33;
  finally mustered out, 33;
  returns to New Salem, 33;
  defeated for legislature, 33;
  enters into partnership with Berry, 35;
  sells out to the Trent brothers, 36;
  fails, but promises to pay his debts, 36;
  surveying instruments sold for debt, 36;
  "Honest old Abe," 37;
  appointed postmaster of New Salem, 37;
  made deputy surveyor, 39, 40;
  candidate for legislature, 1834, 41, 42;
  elected to legislature, 43;
  begins study of law, 44;
  admitted to practice, 44;
  removes to Springfield and forms law partnership with J.T. Stuart, 44;
  reëlected to legislature, 44;
  services in legislature, 44-48;
  manages removal of State capital to Springfield, 45;
  Lincoln-Stone protest, 47;
  vote for, for Speaker of Illinois House, 48;
  his methods in law practice, 49;
  notes for law lecture, 49-51;
  his growing influence, 52;
  guest of William Butler, 53;
  intimacy with Joshua F. Speed, 53;
  engaged to Anne Rutledge, 54;
  her death, 54;
  his grief, 55;
  courtship of Mary Owens, 55-60;
  member of "Long Nine," 61, 62;
  debate with Douglas and others, 1839, 62, 63;
  meets and becomes engaged to Mary Todd, 63;
  engagement broken, 64;
  his deep melancholy, 64;
  letter to Stuart, 64;
  visit to Kentucky, 64;
  letters to Speed, 64, 65;
  "Lost Townships" letters, 66;
  challenged by Shields, 66;
  prescribes terms of the duel, 67;
  duel prevented, 68;
  letter to Speed, 68;
  marriage to Mary Todd, November 4, 1842, 68, 69;
  children of, 69;
  partnership with Stuart dissolved, 69, 70;
  law partnership with S.T. Logan, 70;
  declines reëlection to legislature, 70;
  letter to Speed, 71;
  letter to Martin Morris, 71-73;
  letter to Speed, 73;
  presidential elector, 1844, 73;
  letters to B.F. James, 74;
  elected to Congress, 1846, 75;
  service and speeches in Congress, 76-90;
  votes for Wilmot Proviso, 79;
  presidential elector in 1840 and 1844, 80;
  favors General Taylor for President, 80-83;
  letters about Taylor's nomination, 80-82;
  letters to Herndon, 81-83;
  speeches for Taylor, 83;
  bill to prohibit slavery in District of Columbia, 86;
  letters recommending office-seekers, 87-89;
  letter to W.H. Herndon, 90, 91;
  letter to Speed, 91, 92;
  letter to Duff Green, 92;
  applies for commissionership of General Land Office, 92;
  defends Butterfield against political attack, 92;
  refuses governorship of Oregon, 93;
  indignation at repeal of Missouri Compromise, 94, 95;
  advocates reëlection of Richard Yates to Congress, 96;
  speech at Illinois State Fair, 96;
  debate with Douglas at Peoria, 96-99;
  agreement with Douglas, 99;
  candidate for United States Senate before Illinois legislature, 1855, 99;
  withdraws in favor of Trumbull, 100;
  letter to Robertson, 100, 101;
  speech at Bloomington convention, 1856, 103;
  vote for, for Vice-President, 1856, 104;
  presidential elector, 1856, 105;
  speeches in campaign of 1856, 105;
  speech at Republican banquet in Chicago, 106, 107;
  speech on Dred Scott case, 110-112;
  nominated for senator, 118, 119;
  "House divided against itself" speech, 119, 120, 127, 128;
  Lincoln-Douglas joint debate, 121-125;
  defeated for United States Senate, 125;
  analysis of causes which led to his defeat, 126, 127;
  letters to H. Asbury and A.G. Henry, 127;
  letter to A.L. Pierce and others, 130, 131;
  speech in Chicago, 131, 132;
  letter to M.W. Delahay, 132;
  letter to Colfax, 132, 133;
  letter to S. Galloway, 133;
  Ohio speeches, 133, 134;
  criticism of John Brown raid, 134, 135;
  speeches in Kansas, 136, 137;
  Cooper Institute speech, 137-140;
  speeches in New England, 140;
  letter to T.J. Pickett, 145;
  candidate for presidential nomination, 1860, 145;
  letters to N.B. Judd, 145, 146;
  nominated for President, 1860, 149-151;
  speech at Decatur convention, 153, 154;
  daily routine during campaign, 158, 159;
  letters during campaign, 159;
  elected President, 160;
  his cabinet program, 161-163;
  letter to Seward offering cabinet appointment, 163;
  offers Bates and Cameron cabinet appointments, 163;
  summons Chase to Springfield, 163;
  withdraws offer to Cameron, 163;
  editorial in Springfield "Journal," 164;
  offers cabinet appointments to Gilmer, Hunt, and Scott, 164;
  letters to W.S. Speer and G.D. Prentiss, 164, 165;
  correspondence with Alexander H. Stephens, 165, 166;
  letter to Gilmer, 166;
  letter to Washburne, 166, 167;
  writes his inaugural, 167, 168;
  journey to Washington, 168-174;
  farewell address at Springfield, 169;
  speeches on journey to Washington, 169-171;
  consultation with Judd, 173;
  night journey to Washington, 173, 174;
  visits of ceremony, 179, 180;
  first inauguration of, 180-182;
  inaugural address, 180-182;
  calls council to consider question of Sumter, 182, 183;
  signs order for relief of Sumter, 184;
  answer to Seward's memorandum of April 1, 1861, 187;
  instructions to Seward, 1865, 187;
  notice to Governor Pickens, 188;
  issues call for 75,000 volunteers, 192;
  assumes responsibility for war measures, 195;
  opinion against dispersing Maryland legislature, 198, 199;
  authorizes Scott to suspend writ of habeas corpus, 199;
  action in Merryman case, 200;
  institutes blockade, 205;
  calls for three years' volunteers, 206;
  appoints Charles Francis Adams minister to England, 211;
  modifies Seward's despatch of May 21, 212;
  his immense duties, 212, 213;
  calls council of war, 215;
  message to Congress, July 4, 1861, 218-220;
  postpones decision about slaves, 222, 223;
  receives news of defeat at Bull Run, 229;
  letter to Hunter, 235;
  letter to Frémont, 237, 238;
  letter to Browning, 238-240;
  sends Cameron to visit Frémont, 242;
  letter to General Curtis about Frémont, 242, 243;
  draft of despatch about Trent affair, 247, 248;
  welcomes McClellan to Washington, 250;
  orders retirement of General Scott, 253;
  memorandum to McClellan, 253;
  his grasp of military problems, 255, 256;
  memorandum after battle of Bull Run, 256;
  interest in East Tennessee, 256, 257;
  personally urges on Congress the construction of railroad
  in East Tennessee, 257, 258;
  letter to Buell, 258, 259;
  telegrams and letters to Buell and Halleck, 262-264, 268, 269;
  places Halleck in command of Department of the Mississippi, 271;
  calls councils of war, 288, 289;
  General War Order No. 1, 290;
  Special War Order No. 1, 291;
  letter to McClellan about plan of campaign, 291;
  interview with Stanton, 293, 294;
  interview with McClellan, 295;
  President's General War Orders No. 2 and No. 3, 295;
  receives news of fight between _Monitor_ and _Merrimac_, 296;
  relieves McClellan from command of all troops except
  Army of the Potomac, 298;
  orders McDowell to protect Washington, 299;
  letter to McClellan, 299, 300;
  letter to McClellan, 303, 304;
  visit to General Scott, 306;
  assigns General Pope to command of Army of Virginia, 306;
  orders Burnside and Halleck to reinforce McClellan, 307;
  letter to governors of free States, 307, 308;
  accepts 300,000 new troops, 308;
  letters to McClellan, 308;
  visit to Harrison's Landing, 308;
  appoints Halleck general-in-chief, 309;
  his dispassionate calmness in considering McClellan's conduct, 311;
  asks McClellan to use his influence with Pope's officers, 313;
  places McClellan in command of defenses of Washington, 313;
  orders reinforcements to McClellan, 316;
  telegram to McClellan, 316;
  visit to Antietam, 316, 317;
  directions and letter to McClellan, 317-319;