The Life, Public Services and State Papers of Abraham Lincoln

By Henry J. Raymond

Chapter 10



IN every other section of the country, except in Eastern Virginia, the military operations of the year 1862 were marked "by promptitude and vigor, and attended by success to the National arms. Early in February, a lodgment had been effected by the expedition under General Burnside on the coast of North Carolina; and, on the 19th of January, the victory of Mill Springs -had released Western Kentucky from rebel rule, and opened a path for the armies of the Union into East Tennessee. The President' s order of January 27th, for an advance of all the forces of the Government on the 22d of February, had been promptly followed by the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, which led to the evacuation of Bowling Green, the surrender of Nashville, and the fall of Columbus, the rebel stronghold on the Mississippi. Fort Pulaski, which guarded the entrance to Savannah, was taken, after eighteen hours' bombardment, on the 12th of April, and the whole west coast of Florida had been occupied by our forces. By the skilful strategy of General Halleck, commanding the Western Department, seconded by the vigorous activity of General Curtis, the rebel commander in Missouri, General Price, had been forced to retreat, leaving the whole of that State in our hands; and he was badly beaten in a subsequent engagement at Sugar Creek in Arkansas. On the 14th, Island No. 10, commanding the passage of the Mississippi, was taken "by General Pope; and, on the 4th of June, Forts Pillow and Randolph, still lower down, were occupied by our forces. On the 6th, the city of Memphis was surrendered by the rebels. Soon after the fall of Nashville, a formidable expedition had ascended the Tennessee River, and, being joined by all the available Union forces in that vicinity, the whole, under command of General Halleck, prepared to give battle to the rebel army, which, swelled by large re-enforcements from every quarter, was posted in the vicinity of Corinth, ninety miles east of Memphis, intending by a sudden attack to break the force of the Union army, which was sweeping steadily down upon them from the field of its recent conquests. The rebels opened the attack with great fury and effect, on the morning of the 6th of April, at Pittsburg Landing, three miles in advance of Corinth. The fight lasted nearly all day, the rebels having decidedly the advantage; but in their final onset they were driven back, and the next day our army, strengthened by the opportune arrival of General Buell, completed what proved to be a signal and most important victory. When news of it reached Washington, President Lincoln issued the following proclamation:

It has pleased Almighty God to vouchsafe signal victories to the land and naval forces engaged in suppressing an internal rebellion, and at the same time to avert from our country the dangers of foreign intervention and invasion.

It is therefore recommended to the people of the United States, that at their next weekly assemblages in their accustomed places of public worship which shall occur after the notice of this Proclamation shall have been received, they especially acknowledge and render thanks to our Heavenly Father for these inestimable blessings; that they then and there implore spiritual consolation in behalf of all those who have been brought into affliction by the casualties and calamities of sedition and civil war; and that they reverently invoke the Divine guidance for our national counsels, to the end that they may speedily result in the restoration of peace, harmony, and unity throughout our borders, and hasten the establishment of fraternal relations among all the countries of the earth.

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 tenth day of April, in the [L. s.] year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-sixth.


By the President:

WM. II. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

On the 28th of May the rebels evacuated Corinth, and were pushed southward by our pursuing forces for some twenty-five or thirty miles. General Mitchell, by a daring and most gallant enterprise in the latter part of April, took possession of Huntsville in Alabama. In February a formidable naval expedition had been fitted out under Commodore Farragut for the capture of New Orleans; and on the 18th of April the attack commenced upon Forts Jackson and St. Philip, by which the passage of the Mississippi below the city is guarded. After six days' bombardment, the whole fleet passed the forts on the night of the 23d, under a terrible fire from both; and on the 25th the rebel General Lovell, who had command of the military defences of the city, withdrew, and Commodore Farragut took possession of the town, which he retained until the arrival of General Butler on the 1st of May, who thereupon entered upon the discharge of his duties as commander of that Department.

During the summer, a powerful rebel army, under General Bragg, invaded Kentucky for the double purpose of obtaining supplies and affording a rallying point for what they believed to be the secession sentiment of the State. In the accomplishment of the former object they were successful, but not in the latter. They lost more while in the State from desertions than they gained by recruits; and after a battle at Perryville, on the 7th of October, they began their retreat. On the 5th of October a severe battle was fought at Corinth, from which a powerful rebel army attempted to drive our troops under General Rosecrans, but they were repulsed with very heavy losses, and the campaign in Kentucky and Tennessee was virtually at an end. A final effort of the enemy in that region led to a severe engagement at Murfreesboro' on the 31st of December, which resulted in the defeat of the rebel forces, and in relieving Tennessee from the presence of the rebel armies.

In all the military operations of this year, especial care had been taken by the generals in command of the several departments, acting tinder the general direction of the Government, to cause it to be distinctly understood that the object of the war was the preservation of the Union and the restoration of the authority of the Constitution. The rebel authorities, both civil and military, lost no opportunity of exciting the fears and resentments of the people of the Southern States, by ascribing to the National Government designs of the most ruthless and implacable hostility to their institutions and their persons. It was strenuously represented that the object of the war was to rob the Southern people of their rights and their ' property, and especially to set free their slaves. The Government did every thing in its power to allay the apprehensions and hostilities which these statements were calculated to produce. General Garfield, while in Kentucky, just before the victory of Mill Springs, issued on the 16th of January an address to the citizens of that section of the State, exhorting them to return to their allegiance to the Federal Government, which had never made itself injuriously felt by any one among them, and promising them full protection for their persons and their property, and fall reparation for any wrongs they might have sustained. After the battle of Mill Springs, the Secretary of War, under the direction of the President, issued an order of thanks to the soldiers engaged in it, in which he again announced that the ' ' purpose of the war was to attack, pursue, and destroy a rebellious enemy, and to deliver the country from danger menaced by traitors." On the 20th of November, 1861, General Halleck, commanding the Department of the Missouri, on the eve of the advance into Tennessee, issued an order enjoining upon the troops the necessity of discipline and of order, and calling on them to prove by their acts that they came "to restore, not to violate the Constitution and the laws," and that the people of the South under the flag of the Union should "enjoy the same protection of life and property as in former days." "It does not belong to the military," said this order, "to decide upon the relation of master and slave. Such questions must be settled by the civil courts. No fugitive slave will, therefore, be admitted within our lines or camps except when specially ordered by the General commanding."1  So also General Burnside, when about to land on the soil of North Carolina, issued an order, February 3d, 1862, calling upon the soldiers of his army to remember that they were there "to support the Constitution and the laws, to put down rebellion, and to protect the persons and property of the loyal and peaceable citizens of the State." And on the 18th of the same month, after Fort Henry and Roanoke Island had fallen into our hands, Commodore Goldsborough and General Burnside issued a joint proclamation, denouncing as false and slanderous the attempt of the rebel leaders to impose on the credulity of the Southern people by telling them of "our desire to destroy their freedom, demolish their property, and liberate their slaves," and declaring that the Government asked only that its authority might be recognized, and that "in no way or manner did it desire to interfere with their laws, constitutionally established, their institutions of any kind whatever, their property of any sort, or their usages in any respect." And, on the 1st of March, General Curtis, in Arkansas, had addressed a proclamation to the people of that State, denouncing as false and calumnious the statements widely circulated of the designs and sentiments of the Union armies, and declaring that they sought only "to put down rebellion "by -making war against those in arms, their aiders and abettors" and that they came to "vindicate the Constitution, and to preserve and perpetuate civil and religious liberty under a flag that was embalmed in the blood of our Revolutionary fathers." In all this the Government adhered, with just and rigorous fidelity, to the principles it had adopted for its conduct at the outset of the war; and in its anxiety to avoid all cause of complaint and all appearance of justification for those who were in arms against its authority, it incurred the distrust and even the denunciation of the more zealous and vehement among its own friends and supporters in the Northern States.

On the 22d of July, in order to secure unity of action among the commanders of the several military departments, upon the general use to be made of rebel property, the President directed the issue of the following order:


First. Ordered that military commanders within the States of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas, in an orderly manner seize and use any property, real or personal, which may be necessary or convenient for their several commands, for supplies, or for other military purposes; and that while property may be destroyed for proper military objects, none shall be destroyed in wantonness or malice.

Second. That military and naval commanders shall employ as laborers, within and from said States, so many persons of African descent as can be advantageously used for military or naval purposes, giving them reasonable wages for their labor.

Third. That, as to both property, and persons of African descent, accounts shall be kept sufficiently accurate and in detail to show quantities and amounts, and from whom both property and such persons shall have come, as a basis upon which compensation can be made in proper cases; and the several departments of this Government shall attend to and perform their appropriate parts towards the execution of these orders.

By order of the President:

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

And on the 25th of July he issued the following proclamation, warning the people of the Southern States against persisting in their rebellion, under the penalties prescribed by the confiscation act passed by Congress at its preceding session:

By order of the President of the United States.


In pursuance of the sixth section of the Act of Congress, entitled "An Act to suppress insurrection, to punish treason and rebellion, to seize and confiscate the property of rebels, and for other purposes," approved July 17th, 1862, and which Act, and the joint resolution explanatory thereof, are herewith published, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim to and warn all persons within the contemplation of said sixth section to cease participating in, aiding, countenancing, or abetting the existing rebellion, or any rebellion, against the Government of the United States, and to return to their proper allegiance to the United States, on pain of the forfeiture and seizures as within and by said sixth section provided.

In testimony 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 twenty-fifth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.


By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of Slate.

Our relations with foreign nations during the year 1862 continued to be in the main satisfactory. The President held throughout, in all his intercourse with European powers, the same firm and decided language in regard to the rebellion which had characterized the correspondence of the previous year. Our Minister in London, with vigilance and ability, pressed upon the British Government the duty of preventing the rebel authorities from building and fitting out vessels of war in English ports to prey upon the commerce of the United States; but in every instance these remonstrances were without practical effect. The Government could never be convinced that the evidence in any specific case was sufficient to warrant its interference, and thus one vessel after another was allowed to leave British ports, go to some other equally neutral locality and take on board munitions of war, and enter upon its career of piracy in the rebel service. As early as the 18th of February, 1862, Mr. Adams had called the attention of Earl Russell to the fact that a steam gunboat, afterwards called the Oreto, was being built in a Liverpool ship-yard, under the supervision of well-known agents of the rebel Government, and evidently intended for the rebel service. The Foreign Secretary replied that the vessel was intended for the use of parties in Palermo, Sicily, arid that there was no reason to suppose she was intended for any service hostile to the United States. Mr. Adams sent evidence to show that the claim of being designed for service in Sicily was a mere pretext; but he failed, by this dispatch, as in a subsequent personal conference with Earl Russell on the 15th of April, to induce him to take any steps for her detention. She sailed soon after, and was next heard of at the British " neutral" port of Nassau, where she was seized by the authorities at the instance of the American consul, but released by the same authorities on the arrival of Captain Semmes to take command of her as a Confederate privateer. In October an intercepted letter was sent to Earl Russell by Mr. Adams, written by the Secretary of the Navy of the Confederate Government, to a person in England, complaining that he had not followed the Oreto on her departure from England and taken command of her, in accordance with his original appointment. In June, Mr. Adams called Earl Russell's attention to another powerful war-steamer, then in progress of construction in the ship-yard of a member of the House of Commons, evidently intended for the rebel service. This complaint went through the usual formalities, was referred to the " Lords Commissioners of her Majesty's Treasury," who reported in due time that they could discover no evidence sufficient to warrant the detention of the vessel. Soon afterwards, however, evidence was produced which was sufficient to warrant the collector of the port of Liverpool in ordering her detention; but before the necessary formalities could be gone through with, and through delays caused, as Earl Russell afterwards explained, "by the "sudden development of a malady of the Queen's advocate, totally incapacitating him for the transaction of business," the vessel, whose managers were duly advertised of every thing that was going on, slipped out of port, took on board an armament in the Azores, and entered the rebel service as a privateer. Our Government subsequently notified the British Government that it would be held responsible for all the damage which this vessel, known first as "290," and afterwards as the Alabama, might inflict on American commerce.

Discussions were had upon the refusal of the British authorities to permit American vessels of war to take in coal at Nassau, upon the systematic attempts of British merchants to violate our blockade of Southern ports, and upon the recapture, by the crew, of the Emily St. Pierre, which had been seized in attempting to run the blockade at Charleston, and was on her way as a prize to the port of New York. The British Government vindicated her rescue as sanctioned by the principles of international law.

The only incident of special importance which occurred during the year in our foreign relations, grew out of an attempt on the part of the Emperor of the French to secure a joint effort at mediation between the Government of the United States and the rebel authorities, on the part of Great Britain and Russia in connection with his own Government. Rumors of such an intention on the part of the Emperor led Mr. Dayton to seek an interview with the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the 6th of November, at which indications of such a purpose were apparent. The attempt failed, as both the other powers consulted declined to join in any such action. The French Government thereupon determined to take action alone, and on the 9th of January, 1863, the Foreign Secretary wrote to the French Minister at Washington a dispatch, declaring the readiness of the French Emperor to do any thing in his power which might tend towards the termination of the war, and suggesting that ' ' nothing would hinder the Government of the United States, without renouncing the advantages which it "believes it can attain by a continuation of the war, from entering upon informal conferences with the Confederates of the South, in case they should show themselves disposed thereto." The specific advantages of such a conference, and the mode in which it was to be brought about, were thus set forth in this dispatch:

Representatives or commissioners of the two parties could assemble at such point as it should be deemed proper to designate, and which could, for this purpose, be declared neutral. Reciprocal complaints could be examined into at this meeting. In place of the accusations which North and South mutually cast upon each other at this time, would be substituted an argumentative discussion of the interests which divide them. They would seek out by means of well-ordered and profound deliberations whether these interests are definitively irreconcilable whether separation is an extreme which can no longer be avoided, or whether the memories of a common existence, whether the ties of any kind which have made of the North and of the South one sole and whole Federative State, and have borne them on to so high a degree of prosperity, are not more powerful than the causes which have placed arms in the hands of the two populations. A negotiation, the object of which would be thus determinate, would not involve any of the objections raised against the diplomatic interventions of Europe, and, without giving birth to the same hopes as the immediate conclusion of an armistice, would exercise a happy influence on the march of events.

Why, therefore, should not a combination which respects all the relations of the United States obtain the approbation of the Federal Government? Persuaded on our part that it is in conformity with their true interests, we do not hesitate to recommend it to their attention; and, not having sought in the project of a mediation of the maritime powers of Europe any vain display of influence, we would applaud, with entire freedom from all susceptibility of self-esteem, the opening of a negotiation which would invite the two populations to discuss, without the co-operation of Europe, the solution of their differences.

The reply which the President directed to be made to this proposition embraces so many points of permanent interest and importance in connection with his Administration, that we give it in full. It was as follows:


SIR: The intimation given in your dispatch of January 15th, that 1 might expect a special visit from M. Mercier, has been realized. He called on the 3d instant, and gave me a copy of a dispatch which he had just then received from M. Drouyn de l'Huys under the date of the 9th of January.

I have taken the President's instructions, and I now proceed to givft you his views upon the subject in question.

It has been considered with seriousness, resulting from the reflection that the people of France are known to be faultless sharers with the American nation in the misfortunes and calamities of our unhappy civil war; nor do we on this, any more than on other occasions, forget the traditional friendship of the two countries, which we unhesitatingly believe has inspired the counsels that M. Drouyn de 1'IIuys has imparted.

He says, "the Federal Government does not despair, we know, of giving more active impulse to hostilities;" and again he remarks, "the protraction of the struggle, in a word, has not shaken the confidence (of the Federal Government) in the definite success of its efforts."

These passages seem to me to do unintentional injustice to the language, whether confidential or public, in which this Government has constantly spoken on the subject of the war. It certainly has had and avowed only one purpose a determination to preserve the integrity of the country. So far from admitting any laxity of effort, or betraying any despondency, the Government has, on the contrary, borne itself cheerfully in all vicissitudes, with unwavering confidence in an early and complete triumph of the national cause. Now, when we are, in a manner, invited by a friendly power to review the twenty-one months' history of the conflict, we find no occasion to abate that confidence. Through such an alternation of victories and defeats as is the appointed incident of every war, the land and naval forces of the United States have steadily advanced, reclaiming from the insurgents the ports, forts, and posts which they had treacherously seized before the strife actually began, and even before it was seriously apprehended. So many of the States and districts which the insurgents included in the field of their projected exclusive slaveholding dominions have already been re-established under the nag of the Union, that they now retain only the States of Georgia, Alabama, and Texas, with half of Virginia, half of North Carolina, two-thirds of South Carolina, half of Mississippi, and one-third respectively of Arkansas and Louisiana. The national forces hold even this small territory in close blockade and siege.

This Government, if required, does not hesitate to submit its achievements to the test of comparison; and it maintains that in no part of the world, and in no times, ancient or modern, has a nation, when rendered all unready for combat by the enjoyment of eighty years of almost unbroken peace, so quickly awakened at the alarm of sedition, put forth, energies so vigorous, and achieved successes so signal and effective as those which have marked the progress of this contest on the part of the Union.

M. Drouyn de l'Huys, I fear, has taken other light than the correspondence of this Government for his guidance in ascertaining its temper and firmness. He has probably read of divisions of sentiment among those who hold themselves forth as organs of public opinion here, and has given to them an undue importance. It is to be remembered that this is a nation of thirty millions, civilly divided into forty-one States and Territories, which cover an expanse hardly less than Europe; that the people are a pure democracy, exercising everywhere the utmost freedom of speech and suffrage; that a great crisis necessarily produces vehement as well as profound debate, with sharp collisions of individual, local, and sectional interests, sentiments, and ambitions; and that this heat of Controversy is increased by the intervention of speculations, interests, prejudices, and passions from every other part of the civilized world. It is, however, through such debates that the agreement of the nation upon any subject is habitually attained, its resolutions formed, and its policy established. While there has been much difference of popular opinion and favor concerning the agents who shall carry on the war, the principles of which it shall be waged, and the means with which it shall be prosecuted, M. Drouyn de l'Huys has only to refer to the statute-book of Congress and the Executive ordinances to learn that the national activity has hitherto been, and yet is, as efficient as that of any other nation, whatever its form of government, ever was, under circumstances of equally grave import to its peace, safety, and welfare. Not one voice has been raised anywhere, out of the immediate field of the insurrection, in favor of foreign intervention, of mediation, of arbitration, or of compromise, with the relinquishment of one acre of the national domain, or the surrender of even one constitutional franchise. At the same time, it is manifest to the world that our resources are yet abundant, and our credit adequate to the existing emergency.

What M. Drouyn de 1'Huys suggests is, that this Government shall appoint commissioners to meet, on neutral ground, commissioners of the insurgents. He supposes that in the conferences to be thus held, reciprocal complaints could be discussed, and in. place of the accusations which Jie North and South now mutually cast upon each other, the conferees would be engaged with discussions of the interests which divide them. He assumes, further, that the commissioners would seek, by means of well ordered and profound deliberation, whether these interests are definitively irreconcilable, whether separation is an extreme that can no longer be avoided, or whether the memories of a common existence, the ties of every kind which have made the North and the South one whole Federative State, and have borne them on to so high a degree of prosperity, are not more powerful than the causes which have placed arms in the hands of the two populations.

The suggestion is not an extraordinary one, and it may well have been thought by the Emperor of the French, in the 'earnestness of his benevolent desire for the restoration of peace, a feasible one. But when M. Drouyn de l'Huys shall come to review it in the light in which it must necessarily be examined in this country, I think he can hardly fail to perceive that it amounts to nothing less than a proposition that, while this Government is engaged in suppressing an armed insurrection, with the purpose of maintaining the constitutional national authority, and preserving the integrity of the country, it shall enter into diplomatic discussion with the insurgents upon the questions whether that authority shall not be renounced, and whether the country shall not be delivered over to disunion, to be quickly followed by ever-increasing anarchy.

If it were possible for the Government of the United States to compromise the national authority so far as to enter into such debates, it is not easy to perceive what good results could be obtained by them.

The commissioners must agree in recommending either that the Union shall stand or that it shall be voluntarily dissolved; or else they must leave the vital question unsettled, to abide at last the fortunes of the war. The Government has not shut out the knowledge of the present temper, any more than of the past purposes, of the insurgents. There is not the least ground to suppose that the controlling actors would be persuaded at this moment, by any arguments which national commissioners could offer, to forego the ambition that has impelled them to the disloyal position they are occupying. Any commissioners who should be appointed by these actors, or through their dictation or influence, must enter the conference imbued with the spirit and pledged to the personal fortunes of the insurgent chiefs. The loyal people in the insurrectionary States would be unheard, and any offer of peace by this Government, on the condition of the maintenance of the Union, must necessarily be rejected.

On the other hand, as I have already intimated, this Government has not the least thought of relinquishing the trust which has been confided to it by the nation under the most solemn of all political sanctions; and if it had any such thought, it would still have abundant reason to know that peace proposed at the cost of dissolution would be immediately, unreservedly, and indignantly rejected by the American people. It is a great mistake that European statesmen make, if they suppose this people arc demoralized. Whatever, in the case of an insurrection, the people of France, or of Great Britain, or of Switzerland, or of the Netherlands would do to save their national existence, no matter how the strife might be regarded by or might affect foreign nations, just so much, and certainly no less, the people of the United States will do, if necessary to save for the common benefit the region which is bounded by the Pacific and the Atlantic coasts, and by the shores of the Gulfs of St. Lawrence and Mexico, together with the free and common navigation of the Rio Grande, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Ohio, St. Lawrence, Hudson, Delaware, Potomac, and other natural highways by which this land, which to them is at once a land of inheritance and a land of promise, is opened and watered. Even if the agents of the American people now exercising their power should, through fear or faction, fall below this height of the national virtue, they would be speedily, yet constitutionally, replaced by others of sterner character and patriotism.

I must be allowed to say, also, that M. Drouyn do 1'Huys errs in his description of the parties to the present conflict. We have here, in the political sense, no North and South, no Northern and Southern States. We have an insurrectionary party, which is located chiefly upon and adjacent to the shore of the Gulf of Mexico; and we have, on the other hand, a loyal people, who constitute not only Northern States, but also Eastern, Middle, Western, and Southern States.

I have on many occasions heretofore submitted to the French Government the President's views of the interests, and the ideas more effective for the time than even interests, which lie at the bottom of the determination of the American Government and people to maintain the Federal Union. The President has done the same thing in his Messages and other public declarations. I refrain, therefore, from reviewing that argument in connection with the existing question.

M. Drouyn de 1'Huys draws, to his aid the conferences which took place between the Colonies and Great Britain in our Revolutionary War. lie will allow us to assume that action in the crisis of a nation must accord, with its necessities, and therefore can seldom be conformed to precedents. Great Britain, when entering on the negotiations, had manifestly come to entertain doubts of her ultimate success; and it is certain that the councils of the Colonies could not fail to take new courage, if not to gain other advantage, when the parent State compromised so far as to treat of peace on the terms of conceding their independence.

It is true, indeed, that peace must come at some time, and that conferences must attend, if they are not. allowed to precede the pacification. There is, however, a better form for such conferences than the one which M. Drouyn de 1'IIuys Suggests.^ The latter would be palpably in derogation of the Constitution of the United States, and would carry no weight, because destitute of the sanction necessary to bind either the disloyal or the loyal portions of the people. On the other hand, the Congress of the United States furnishes a constitutional forum for debates between the alienated parties. Senators and representatives from the loyal portion of the people are there already, freely empowered to confer; and seats also are vacant, and inviting senators and representatives of this discontented party who may be constitutionally sent there from the States involved in the insurrection. Moreover, the conferences which can thus be held in Congress have this great advantage over any that could be organized upon the plan of M. Drouyn de 1'Huys, namely, that the Congress, if it were, thought wise, could call a national convention to adopt its recommendations, and give them all the solemnity and binding force of organic law. Such conferences between the alienated parties may be said to have already begun. Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri States which are claimed by the insurgents are already represented in Congress, and submitting with perfect freedom and in a proper spirit their advice upon the course best calculated to bring about, in the shortest time, a firm, lasting, and honorable peace. Representatives have been sent also from Louisiana, and others are understood to be coming from Arkansas.

There is a preponderating argument in favor of the Congressional form of conference over that which is suggested by M. Drouyn de 1'Huys, namely, that while an accession to the latter would bring this Government into a concurrence with the insurgents in disregarding and setting aside an important part of the Constitution of the United States, and so would be of pernicious example, the Congressional 1 conference, on the contrary, preserves and gives new strength to that sacred writing which must continue through future ages the sheet-anchor of the Republic.

You will be at liberty to read this dispatch to M. Drouyn de l'Huys, and to give him a copy if he shall desire it.

To the end that you may be informed of the whole case, I transmit a copy of M. Drouyn de 1'Huys's dispatch.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


The effect of this dispatch was very marked. It put an end to all talk of foreign intervention in any form, and met the cordial and even enthusiastic approbation of the people throughout the country. Its closing suggestions, as to the mode in which the Southern States could resume their old relations to the Federal Government, were regarded as significant indications of the policy the Administration was inclined to pursue whenever the question of restoration should become practical; and while they were somewhat sharply assailed in some quarters, they commanded the general assent of the great body of the people.

The subject of appointing commissioners to confer with the authorities of the rebel Confederacy had been discussed, before the appearance of this correspondence, in the Northern States. It had emanated from the party most openly in hostility to the Administration, and those men in that party who had been most distinctly opposed to any measures of coercion, or any resort to force for the purpose of overcoming the rebellion. It was represented by these persons that the civil authorities of the Confederacy were restrained from abandoning the contest only by the refusal or neglect of the Government to give them an opportunity of doing so without undue humiliation and dishonor; and in December, Hon. Fernando Wood, of New York, wrote to the President, informing him that he had reason to believe the Southern States would " send representatives to the next Congress, provided a full and general amnesty should permit them to do so," and asking the appointment of commissioners to ascertain the truth of these assurances.

To this request the President made the following reply:



MY DEAR SIR: Your letter of the 8th, with the accompanying note of same date, was received yesterday.

The most important paragraph in the letter, as I consider, is in these words: " On the 25th of November last I was advised by an authority which I deemed likely to be well informed, as well as reliable and truthful, that the Southern States would send representatives to the next Congress, provided that a full and general amnesty should permit them to do so. No guarantee or terms were asked for other than the amnesty referred to."

I strongly suspect your information will prove to be groundless; nevertheless, I thank you for communicating it to me. Understanding the phrase in the paragraph above quoted " the Southern States would send representatives to the next Congress " to be substantially the same as that "the people of the Southern States would cease resistance, and would re-inaugurate, submit to, and maintain the national authority within the limits of such States, under the Constitution of the United States," I say that in such case the war would cease on the part of the United States; and that if within a reasonable time " a full and general amnesty" were necessary to such end, it would not be withheld.

I do not think it would be proper now to communicate this, formally or informally, to the people of the Southern States. My belief is that they already know it; and when they choose, if ever, they can communicate with me unequivocally. Nor do I think it proper now to suspend military operations to try any experiment of negotiation.

I should nevertheless receive, with great pleasure, the exact information you now have, and also such other as you may in any way obtain. Such information might be more valuable before the 1st of January than afterwards.

While there is nothing in this letter which I shall dread to see in history, it is, perhaps, better for the present that its existence should not become public. I therefore have to request that you will regard it as confidential. Your obedient servant,


The intimation in this letter that information concerning the alleged willingness of the rebels to resume their allegiance, "might "be more valuable before the 1st of January than afterwards," had reference to the Emancipation Proclamation, which he proposed to issue on that day, unless the offer of his preliminary proclamation should be accepted. That proclamation had been issued on the 22d of September, and the sense of responsibility under which this step was taken, was clearly indicated in the following remarks made by the President on the evening of the 24th of that month, in acknowledging the compliment of a serenade at the Executive Mansion:

FELLOW-CITIZENS: I appear before yon to do little more than acknowledge the courtesy you pay me, and to thank you for it. I have not been distinctly informed why it is that on this occasion you appear to do me this honor, though I suppose it is because of the proclamation. What I did, I did after a very full deliberation, and under a very heavy and solemn sense of responsibility. I can only trust in God I have made no mistake. I shall make no attempt on this occasion to sustain what I have done or said by any comment. It is now for the country and the world to pass judgment, and may be take action upon it. I will say no more upon this subject. In my position I am environed with difficulties. Yet they are, scarcely so great as the difficulties of those who, upon the battlefield, are endeavoring to purchase with their blood and their lives the future happiness and prosperity of this country. Let us never forget them. On the 14th and 17th days of this present month there have been battles bravely, skilfully, and successfully fought. We do not, yet know the particulars. Let us be sure that, in giving praise to certain individuals, we do no injustice to others. I only ask you, at the conclusion of these few remarks, to give three hearty cheers to all good and brave officers and men who fought those successful battles.

In November the President published the following order regarding the observance of the day of rest, and the vice of profanity, in the army and navy:


1 The President, commander-in-chief of the army and navy, desires and enjoins the orderly observance of the Sabbath by the officers and men in the military and naval service. The importance for man and beast of the prescribed weekly rest, the sacred rights of Christian soldiers and sailors, a becoming deference to the best sentiment of a Christian people, and a due regard for the Divine will, demand that Sunday labor in the army and navy be reduced to the measure of strict necessity.

The discipline and character of the National forces should not suffer, nor the cause they defend be imperilled, by the profanation of the day or name of the Most High. "At this time of public distress," adopting the words of "Washington in 1776, "men may find enough to do in the service of God and their country, without abandoning themselves to vice and immorality." The first general order issued by the Father of his Country, after the Declaration of Independence, indicates the spirit in which our institutions were founded, and should ever be defended. "The general hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country."



1) In regard to this order, -winch was afterwards severely criticised in Congress. General Halleck wrote the following letter of explanation:


ST. Louis, December 8, 1861.

MY DEAR COLONEL: Tours of the 4th instant is just received. Order No. 3 was, in my mind, clearly a military necessity. Unauthorized persons, black or white, free or slaves, must he kept out of our camps, unless we are willing to publish to the enemy every thing we do or intend to do. It was a military and not apolitical order.

I am ready to carry out any lawful instructions in regard to fugitive slaves which my superiors may give me, and to enforce any law which Congress may pass. But I cannot make law, and will not violate it. You know my private opinion on the policy of confiscating the slave property of the rebels in arms. If Congress shall pass it, you may be certain that I shall enforce it. Perhaps my policy as to the treatment of rebels and their property is as well set out In Order No. 18, issued the day your letter was written, as I could now describe it.

Hon. F. P. BLAIR, Washington.

Book Navigation Title Page Preface Illustrations Memorandum Table of Contents   ► Chapter I.   ► Chapter II.   ► Chapter III.   ► Chapter IV.   ► Chapter V.   ► Chapter VI.   ► Chapter VII.   ► Chapter VIII.   ► Chapter IX.   ► Chapter X.   ► Chapter XI.   ► Chapter XII.   ► Chapter XIII.   ► Chapter XIV.   ► Chapter XV.   ► Chapter XVI.   ► Chapter XVII.   ► Chapter XVIII.   ► Chapter XIX.   ► Chapter XX.   ► Chapter XXI. Anecdotes and Reminiscences of President Lincoln.   ► Mr. Lincoln's Sadness   ► His Favorite Poem   ► His Religious Experience   ► His Sympathy   ► His Humor, Shrewdness, and Sentiment   ► The Emancipation Proclamation Appendix. Letters on Sundry Occasions.   ► To Mr. Lodges, of Kentucky   ► To General Hooker   ► To John B. Fry   ► To Governor Magoffin   ► To Count Gasparin   ► The President and General McClellan   ► Warnings Against Assassination Reports, Dispatches, and Proclamations Relating to the Assassination.   ► Secretary Stanton to General Dix   ► The Death-Bed   ► The Assassins   ► Reward Offered by Secretary Stanton   ► Flight of the Assassins   ► The Conspiracy Organized in Canada   ► Booth Killed. Harold Captured   ► Reward Offered by President Johnson   ► The Funeral Official Announcements   ► Acting Secretary Hunger to Minister Adams   ► Acting Secretary Hunter to his Subordinates   ► Orders from Secretary Stanton and General Grant   ► Orders from Secretary "Welles   ► Order from Secretary McCulloch   ► Order from Postmaster-General Dennison   ► Proclamation by President Johnson of a Day of Humiliation and Mourning.   ► Secretary Stanton to Minister Adams   ► Important Letter from J. Wilkes Booth   ► Indictment of the Conspirators   ► The Finding of the Court