The Life, Public Services and State Papers of Abraham Lincoln

By Henry J. Raymond

Chapter 13



THE military events of 1863, though of very great importance, are much less closely connected with the direct  action of the President than those which occurred in  1862; we shall not attempt, therefore, to narrate them as  much in detail. When General Burnside succeeded General McClellan in command of the Army of the Potomac,  on the 7th of November, 1862, that army was at Warrenton, the rebel forces failing back before it towards Richmond. Deeming it impossible to force the enemy to a  decisive battle, and unsafe to follow him to Richmond on  a line which must make it very difficult to keep up his  communications, General Burnside, on the 15th, turned  his army towards Fredericksburg--marching on the north  bank of the Rappahannock, intending to cross the river,  take possession of Fredericksburg, and march upon Richmond from that point. The advance division, under General Sumner, arrived opposite Fredericksburg on the  19th; but a pontoon train, which had been ordered and  was expected to be there at the same time, had not come  --so that crossing at the moment was impossible. The  delay that thus became unavoidable enabled General Lee  to bring up a strong force from the rebel army, and possess  himself of the heights of Fredericksburg. On the night  of the 10th of December, General Burnside threw a bridge  of pontoons across the river, and the next day constructed  four bridges, under cover of a terrific bombardment of  the town. On the 11th and 19th his army was crossed  over, and on the 13th attacked the enemy--General Sumner commanding in front, and General Franklin having  command of a powerful flanking movement against the  rebel right. The rebels, however, were too strongly posted to be dislodged. Our forces suffered severely, and  were unable to advance. On the night of the 15th, they  were therefore withdrawn to the opposite bank of the  fiver. Our losses in this engagement were one thousand  one hundred and thirty-eight killed, nine thousand one  hundred and five wounded, two thousand and seventyeight missing; total, twelve thousand three hundred and  twenty-one.

The army remained quiet until the 20th of January,  when General Burnside again issued orders for an advance, intending to cross the river some six or eight miles  above Fredericksburg, and make a flank attack upon the  left wing of the rebel army. The whole army was moved  to the place of crossing early in the morning, but a heavy  storm on the preceding night had so damaged the roads  as to make it impossible to bring up artillery and pontoons  with the promptness essential to success. On the 24th,  General Burnside was relieved from command of the  Army of the Potomac, and General Hooker appointed in  his place. Three months were passed in inaction, the  season forbidding any movement; but on the 27th of  April, General Hooker pushed three divisions of his army  to Kelley's Ford, twenty-five miles above Fredericksburg,  and by the 30th had crossed the river, and turning south,  had reached Chancellorsville--five or six miles southwest  of that town. A strong cavalry force, under General  Stoneman, had been sent to cut the railroad in the rear of  the rebel army, so as to prevent their receiving re-enforcements from Richmond--General Hooker's design being  to attack the enemy in flank and rear. The other divisions of his army had crossed and joined his main force  at Chancellorsville, General Sedgwick, with one division  only, being left opposite Fredericksburg. On the 2d of  May, the left wing of the rebel army, under General Jackson, attacked our right, and gained a decided advantage  of position, which was recovered, however, before the day closed. The action was renewed next day, and the  advantage remained with the enemy. General Sedgwick,  meantime, had crossed the river and occupied the heights  of Fredericksburg, but was driven from them and compelled to retreat on the night of the 4th. On the morning  of the 5th a heavy rain-storm set in, and in the night Of  that day General Hooker withdrew his army to the north  bank of the Rappahannock, having lost not far from  eighteen thousand men in the movement.

Both armies remained inactive until the 9th of June,  when it was discovered that the rebel forces under Lee were  leaving their position near Fredericksburg and moving  northwest, through the valley of the Shenandoah. On  the 13th the rebel General Ewell, with a heavy force, attacked our advance post of seven thousand men at Winchester under General Milroy, and not only compelled  him to retreat, but pursued him so closely as to convert  his retreat into a rout; and on the 14th of June the rebel  army began to cross the Potomac and advanced upon  Hagerstown, Maryland, With the evident purpose of invading Pennsylvania. The movement created the most  intense excitement throughout the country. President  Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for one hundred  thousand militia from the States most directly menaced,  to serve for six months, and New York was summoned  to send twenty thousand also. On the 27th the main body  of the rebel army crossed the Potomac at Williamsport,  and General Lee took up his head-quarters at Hagerstown.

Meantime, as soon as the movement of the rebel forces  from Fredericksburg was discovered, our army had broken  up its encampment and marched northward, on a line  nearly parallel with that of the enemy, and on the 27th,  the same day that the rebels reached Hagerstown, the  head-quarters of our army were at Frederick City--our  whole force being thus interposed between the rebels and  both Baltimore and Washington, and prepared to follow  them into Pennsylvania. On that day General Hooker  was relieved from command of the army, which was conferred upon General Meade, who at once ordered an advance into Pennsylvania in the general direction of Harrisburg--towards which the enemy was rapidly advancing  in force. On the 1st of July our advanced corps, the  First and Eleventh, under Generals Reynolds and Howard,  came in contact with the enemy, strongly posted near the  town of Gettysburg, and, attacking at once, fought an indecisive battle; the enemy being so far superior in numbers as to compel General Howard, who was in command  at the time, to fall back to Cemetery Hill and wait for  re-enforcements, During the night all the corps of our  army were concentrated and the next day posted around  that point. The Eleventh Corps retained its position on  the Cemetery ridge: the First Corps was on the right of  the Eleventh, on a knoll, connecting with the ridge extending to the south and east, on which the Second Corps  was placed. The right of the Twelfth Corps rested on a  small stream. The Second and Third Corps were posted  on the left of the Eleventh, on the prolongation of Cemetery ridge. The Fifth was held in reserve until the arrival  of the Sixth, at 2 P. M. on the 2d, after a march of thirty-two miles in seventeen hours, when the Fifth was ordered  to the extreme left and the Sixth placed in reserve.

At about 3 o'clock the battle was opened by a tremendous onset of the enemy, whose troops were massed  along a ridge a mile or so in our front, upon the Third  Corps, which formed our extreme left, and which met the  shock with heroic firmness, until it was supported by the  Third and Fifth. General Sickles, who commanded the  Third Corps, was severely wounded early in the action,  and General Birney, who succeeded to the command,  though urged to fall back, was enabled, by the help of the  First and Sixth Corps, to hold his ground, and at about  sunset the enemy retired in confusion. Another assault  was made on our left during the evening, which was also  repulsed. On the morning of the 3d, a spirited assault was  made upon the right of our line, but without success;  and at one P. M. the enemy opened an artillery fire upon  our centre and left from one hundred and twenty-five  guns, which continued for over two hours, without reply from our side, when it was followed by a heavy assault  of infantry, directed mainly against the Second Corps,  and repelled with firmness and success by that corps,  supported by Stannard's Brigade of the First Corps.  This repulse of the centre terminated the battle. On  the morning of the 4th, a reconnoissance showed that the  enemy had withdrawn his left flank, maintaining his position in front of our left, with the apparent purpose of forming a new line of attack; but the next morning it was  ascertained that he was in full retreat. The Sixth Corps,  with all disposable cavalry, were at once sent in pursuit;  but ascertaining that the enemy had availed himself of  very strong passes which could be held by a small force,  General Meade determined to pursue by a flank movement, and after burying the dead and succoring the  wounded, the whole army was put in motion for the  Potomac. On the 12th it arrived in front of the enemy,  strongly posted on the heights in advance of Williamsport. The next day was devoted to an examination of  the position; but on advancing for an attack on the 14th,  it was discovered that the enemy had succeeded in crossing by the bridge at Falling Waters and the ford at  Williamsport. The pursuit was continued still further,  but the enemy, though greatly harassed and subjected to  severe losses, succeeded in gaining the line of the Rapidan, and our forces again occupied their old position on  the Rappahannock.

On the morning of the 4th of July, the day celebrated  throughout the country as the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the President issued the following:--

WASHINGTON, July 4, 10.80 A. M.

The President announces to the country that news from the Army of  the Potomac, up to 10 P. M. of the 3d, is such as to cover that army with  the highest honor; to promise a great success to the cause of the Union,  and to claim the condolence of all for the many gallant fallen; and that  for this he especially desires that on this day, He, whose will, not ours,  should ever-be done, be everywhere remembered and reverenced with  profoundest gratitude.


The result of this battle--one of the severest and most sanguinary of the war--was of the utmost importance.  It drove the rebels back from their intended invasion of  Pennsylvania and Maryland, and compelled them to  evacuate the upper part of the Valley of the Shenandoah, leaving in our hands nearly fourteen thousand prisoners, and twenty-five thousand small arms collected on  the battle-field. Our own losses were very severe, amounting to two thousand eight hundred and thirty-four killed,  thirteen thousand seven hundred and nine wounded, and  six thousand six hundred and forty-three missing--in all  twenty-three thousand one hundred and eighty-six.

During the ensuing season, a piece of ground, seventeen  and a half acres in extent, adjoining the town cemetery,  and forming an important part of the battle-field, was  purchased by the State of Pennsylvania, to be used as a  national burying-ground for the loyal soldiers who fell  in that great engagement. It was dedicated, with solemn  and impressive ceremonies, on the 19th of November,  1863, the President and members of his Cabinet being in  attendance, and a very large and imposing military display adding grace and dignity to the occasion. Hon.  Edward Everett delivered the formal address, and President Lincoln made the following remarks:--

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this  continent a new nation; conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the prop osition 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 con secrated it far above our 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 ad vanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remain ing 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 gov ernment of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish  from the earth.

The other great military achievement of the year was  the capture of Port Hudson and Vicksburg, and the  opening of the Mississippi River throughout its entire  length to the commerce of the United States. General N.  P. Banks, who succeeded General Butler in command of  the military department of Louisiana, reached New Orleans, sustained by a fomidable expedition from New  York, and assumed command on the 15th of December,  1862, and at once took possession of Baton Rouge. On  the 21st, an expedition under General W. T. Sherman  stared from Memphis, passed down the Mississippi to  the mouth of the Yazoo, some ten miles above Vicksburg,  and on the 26th ascended that river, landed, and commenced an attack upon the town from the rear. Severe  fighting continued for three days, during which time our  army pushed within two miles of the city; but on the  30th they were repulsed with heavy loss. On the 2d of  January, General McClernand arrived and took command, and the attack upon Vicksburg was for the time  abandoned as hopeless. The capture of Arkansas Post,  however, relieved the failure in some degree. On February 2d, General Grant having been put in command,  the attack upon Vicksburg was renewed. Various plans  were undertaken, now to get in the rear of the place through  bayous, and now to cut a canal across a bend of the Mississippi, and thus command the river above and below.  All these failing, vessels were boldly run by the rebel  batteries; and, on the 30th of April, General Grant  crossed the river at Bruinsburg, sixty-five miles below  Vicksburg, and immediately advanced upon Port Gibson, where he was opposed by the rebel General Bowen, who was defeated, with a loss in killed, wounded,  and prisoners, of one thousand five hundred men. At  Grand Gulf, ten miles above Bruinsburg, the enemy had  begun to erect strong fortifications. These had been  fired upon by our gunboats a few days before, under  cover of which the fleet had run past. Grant having now gained the rear of this strong post, Admiral Porter, two days after the fight at Port Gibson, returned to Grand Gulf and found it abandoned. Grant's army then marched upward towards Vicksburg, and on the 19th of May encountered the enemy again at Raymond, not far from Jackson, the capital of the State of Mississippi, and again defeated them with a loss of eight hundred. Two days after, May 14, they were opposed by a corps of the enemy under General Joseph E. Johnston, formerly the commander-in-chief of the Confederate army, who had been assigned to the command of the Department of the Mississippi. Johnston was defeated, and the city of Jackson fell into our hands, with seventeen pieces of artillery and large stores of supplies. Grant then turned to the west, directly upon the rear of Vicksburg. General Pemberton, the commander at that point, advanced with the hope of checking him, but was defeated, on the 16th, at Baker's Creek, losing four thousand men, and twenty-nine pieces of artillery. On the next day the same force was encountered and defeated at Big Black River Bridge, ten miles from Vicksburg, with a loss of two thousand six hundred men, and seventeen pieces of artillery. On the 18th, Vicksburg was closely invested, and the enemy were shut up within their works, which were found to be very strong. An attempt to carry them by storm was unsuccessful, and regular siege was at once laid to the city by the land forces, the gunboats in the river co-operating. Our approaches were pushed forward with vigorous perseverance; our works, in spite of the most strenuous opposition of the garrison under General Pemberton, drawing nearer every day, and the gunboats in the river keeping up an almost constant bombardment. The enemy, it was known, were greatly straitened by want of supplies and ammunition, and their only hope of relief was that General Johnston would be able to collect an army sufficient to raise the siege by attacking Grant in his rear. This had been so strongly defended that a force of fifty thousand men would have been required to make the attempt with any hope of success, and Johnston was not able to  concentrate half of that number. General Pemberton,  therefore, proposed to surrender Vicksburg on the morning of the 4th of July, on condition that his troops should  be permitted to march out. Grant refused, demanding an  absolute surrender of the garrison as prisoners of war.  Upon consultation with his officers, Pemberton acceded  to these terms. By this surrender about thirty-one thousand prisoners, two hundred and twenty cannon, and  seventy thousand stand of small arms fell into our hands.  The prisoners were at once released on parole. The  entire loss of the enemy during the campaign which was  thus closed by the surrender of Vicksburg, was nearly  forty thousand; ours was not far from seven thousand.

The capture of Vicksburg was immediately followed  by that of Port Hudson, which was surrendered on the  8th of July to General Banks, together with about seven  thousand prisoners, fifty cannon, and a considerable number of small arms. The whole course of the Mississippi,  from its source to its mouth, was thus opened, and the  Confederacy virtually separated into two parts, neither  capable of rendering any effective assistance to the other.

The great victories, by which the Fourth of July had  been so signally and so gloriously commemorated, called  forth the most enthusiastic rejoicings in every section of  the country. Public meetings were held in nearly all the  cities and principal towns, at which eloquent speeches  and earnest resolutions expressed the joy of the people,  and testified their unflinching purpose to prosecute the  war until the rebellion should be extinguished. A large  concourse of the citizens of Washington, preceded by a  band of music, visited the residence of the President, and  the members of his Cabinet--giving them, in succession,  the honors of a serenade--which the President acknowledged in the following remarks:--

FELLOW-CITIZENS:--I am very glad indeed to see you to-night, and yet  I will not say I thank you, for this call; but I do most sincerely thank  Almighty God for the occasion on which you have called. How long  ago is it?--eighty odd years since, on the Fourth of July, for the first time, in the history of the world, a nation, by its representatives, assembled and declared as a self-evident truth, "that all men are created  equal." That was the birthday of the United States of America. Since  then the Fourth of July has had several very peculiar recognitions. The  two men most distinguished in the framing and support of the Declaration were Thomas Jefferson and John Adams--the one having penned  it, and the other sustained it the most forcibly in debate--the only two  of the fifty-five who signed it, and were elected Presidents of the United  States. Precisely fifty years after they put their hands to the paper, it  pleased Almighty God to take both from this stage of action. This was  indeed an extraordinary and remarkable event in our history. Another  President, five years after, was called from this stage of existence on  the same day and month of the year; and now on this last Fourth of  July, just passed, when we have a gigantic rebellion, at the bottom of  which is an effort to overthrow the principle that all men were created  equal, we have the surrender of a most powerful position and army on  that very day. And not only so, but in a succession of battles in Pennsylvania, near to us, through three days, so rapidly fought that they  might be called one great battle, on the first, second, and third of the  month of July; and on the fourth the cohorts of those who opposed  the Declaration that all men are created equal, "turned tail" and run.  [Long-continued cheers.] Gentlemen, this is a glorious theme, and the  occasion for a speech, but I am not prepared to make one worthy of the  occasion. I would like to speak in terms of praise due to the many brave  officers and soldiers who have fought in the cause of the Union and liberties of their country from the beginning of the war. These are trying  occasions, not only in success, but for the want of success. I dislike to  mention the name of one single officer, lest I might do wrong to those I  might forget. Recent events bring up glorious names, and particularly  prominent ones; but these I will not mention. Having said this much, I  will now take the music.

The President, a few days afterwards, wrote to General  Grant the following letter:--


Major-General GRANT:

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 write 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.

Yours, truly,  A. LINCOLN.

These victories, together with others, both numerous  and important, which were achieved in other sections of  the country, gave such strong grounds of encouragement  and hope for the speedy overthrow of the rebellion, that,  on the 15th of July, the President issued the following  proclamation for a day, of National Thanksgiving:--


By the President of the United States of America. 



It has pleased Almighty God to hearken to the supplications and  prayers of an afflicted people, and to vouchsafe to the Army and the  Navy of the United States, on the land and on the sea, victories so signal  and so effective as to furnish reasonable grounds for augmented confidence that the Union of these States will be maintained, their Constitution preserved, and their peace and prosperity permanently secured; but  these victories have been accorded, not without sacrifice of life, limb,  and liberty, incurred by brave, patriotic, and loyal citizens. Domestic  affliction, in every part of the country, follows in the train of these fearful bereavements. It is meet and right to recognize and confess the presence of the Almighty Father, and the power of His hand, equally in  these triumphs and these sorrows.

Now, therefore, be it known, that I do set apart Thursday, the sixth  day of August next, to be observed as a day for National Thanksgiving,  praise, and prayer; and I invite the people of the United States to assemble on that occasion in their customary places of worship, and in the  form approved by their own conscience, render the homage due to the  Divine Majesty, for the wonderful things He has done in the Nation's  behalf, find invoke the influence of His Holy Spirit, to subdue the anger  which has produced, and so long sustained a needless and cruel rebellion,  to change the hearts of the insurgents; to guide the counsels of the Government with wisdom adequate to so great a national emergency, and to  visit with tender care and consolation, throughout the length and breadth  of our land, all those who, through the vicissitudes of marches, voyages,  battles, and sieges, have been brought to suffer in mind, body, or estate,  and finally, to lead the whole nation, through paths of repentance and  submission to the Divine will, back to the perfect enjoyment of union  and fraternal peace.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the sea]  of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this 15th day of July, in the year of  our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of  [L. S.] the independence of the United States of America the eighty eighth.


By the President:  WM. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

In other portions of the field of war, our arms, during  the year 1863; had achieved other victories of marked  importance which deserve mention, though their relation  to the special object of this work is not such as to require  them to be described in detail.

After the retreat of the rebel General Lee to the south  side of the Rapidan, a considerable portion of his army  was detached and sent to re-enforce Bragg, threatened by  Rosecrans, at Chattanooga; but, with his numbers thus  diminished, Lee assumed a threatening attitude against  Meade, and turning his left flank, forced him to fall back  to the line of Bull Run. Several sharp skirmishes occurred during these operations, in which both sides sustained considerable losses, but no substantial advantage  was gained by the rebels, and by the 1st of November  they had resumed their original position on the south side  of the Rapidan.

After the battle of Murfreesboro', and the occupation  of that place by our troops, on the 5th of January, 1863,  the enemy took position at Shelbyville and Tullahoma,  and the winter and spring were passed in raids and unimportant skirmishes. In June, while General Grant was  besieging Vicksburg, information reached the Government which led to the belief that a portion of Bragg's  army had been sent to the relief of that place; and General Rosecrans was urged to take advantage of this division of the rebel forces and drive them back into Georgia,  so as completely to deliver East Tennessee from the rebel  armies. He was told that General Burnside would move  from Kentucky in aid of this movement. General Rosecrans, however, deemed his forces unequal to such an  enterprise; but, receiving re-enforcements, he commenced  on the 25th of June a forward movement upon the enemy, strongly intrenched at Tullahoma, with his main force near Shelbyville. Deceiving the rebel General by a movement upon his left flank, Rosecrans threw the main body of his army upon the enemy's right, which he turned so completely that Bragg abandoned his position, and fell back rapidly, and in confusion, to Bridgeport, Alabama, being pursued as far as practicable by our forces. General Burnside had been ordered to connect himself with Rosecrans, but had failed to do so. Bragg continued his retreat across the Cumberland Mountain and the Tennessee River, and took post at Chattanooga, whither he was pursued by Rosecrans, who reached the Tennessee on the 20th of August, and on the 21st commenced shelling Chattanooga and making preparation for throwing his army across the river. A reconnoissance, made by General Crittenden on the 9th of September, disclosed the fact that the rebels had abandoned the position, which was immediately occupied by our forces, who pushed forward towards the South. Indications that the rebel General was receiving heavy re-enforcements and manœuvring to turn the right of our army, led to a concentration of all our available forces; but, notwithstanding all this, on the 19th of September, General Rosecrans was attacked by the rebel forces--their main force being directed against his left wing, under General Thomas, endeavoring to turn it so as to gain the road to Chattanooga. The attack was renewed the next morning, and with temporary success--Longstreet's Corps, which had been brought down from the Army of Virginia, having reached the field and poured its massive columns through a gap left in the centre of our line by an unfortunate misapprehension of an order; but the opportune arrival and swift energy of General Granger checked his advance, and the desperate valor of Thomas and his troops repulsed every subsequent attempt of the enemy to carry the position. Our losses, in this series of engagements, were sixteen hundred and forty-four killed, nine thousand two hundred and sixty-two wounded, and four thousand eight hundred and forty-five missing--a total swelled by the estimated losses of our cavalry to about  sixteen thousand three hundred and fifty-one. The rebel  General immediately sent Longstreet against Burnside,  who was at Knoxville, while he established his main  force again in the neighborhood of Chattanooga. In  October, General Rosecrans was superseded by General  Grant. On November 23d, having been re-enforced by  General Sherman from Vicksburg, General Grant moved  his army to the attack, and on the 25th the whole of the  range of heights known as Missionary Ridge, held by  Bragg, was carried by our troops after a desperate struggle, and the enemy completely routed. This was a very  severe engagement, and our loss was estimated at about  four thousand. Generals Thomas and Hooker pushed  the rebel forces back into Georgia, and Granger and  Sherman were sent into East Tennessee to relieve Burnside, and raise the siege of Knoxville, which was pressed  by Longstreet, who, failing in this attempt, soon after  retreated towards Virginia.

Upon receiving intelligence of these movements the  President issued the following recommendation:--


Reliable information being received that the insurgent force is retreating from East Tennessee, under circumstances rendering it probable that  the Union forces cannot hereafter be dislodged from that important position; and esteeming this to be of high national consequence, I recommend that all loyal people do, on receipt of this information, assemble at  their places of worship, and render special homage and gratitude to Al mighty God for this great advancement of the national cause.


On the 3d of October, the President had issued the following proclamation, recommending the observance of the  last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving:--


By the President of the United States of America.

The year that is drawing towards its close has been filled with the  blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which  are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which  they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty  God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity,  which has sometimes seemed to invite and provoke the aggressions of  foreign States, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been  maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has  prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict, while  that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and  navies of the Union. The needful diversion of wealth and strength from  the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, has not arrested  the plough, the shuttle, or the ship. The axe has enlarged the borders of  our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious  metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population  has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in  the camp, the siege, and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in  the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect  a continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out  these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God,  who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly,  reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and voice,  by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens  in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea, and  those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe  the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and prayer  to our beneficent Father, who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him  for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble  penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His  tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or  sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to  heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony,  tranquillity, and union.

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 third day of October, in the year  of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three,  [L. S.] and of the independence of the United States the eighty eighth.


By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.



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