Henry J. (Henry Jarvis) Raymond.

History of the administration of President Lincoln : including his speeches, letters, addresses, proclamations, and messages. With a preliminary sketch of his life online

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Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondHistory of the administration of President Lincoln : including his speeches, letters, addresses, proclamations, and messages. With a preliminary sketch of his life → online text (page 42 of 46)
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to support the Constitution of the United States, and said modified Con
stitution of the State of Arkansas, may be declared by you qualified and
empowered to immediately enter upon the duties of the offices to which
they shall have been respectively elected.

You will please order an election to take place on the 28th of March,
1864, and returns to be made in fifteen days thereafter.


Upon the return of the delegation to Arkansas, they issued
an address to the people of the State, urging; them to avail
themselves of the opportunity thus afforded for restoring their
State to its old prosperity, and assuring them, from personal
observation, that the people of the Northern States would
most cordially welcome their return to the Union. Meantime
a convention had assembled at Little Rock, composed of
delegates elected without any formality, and not under the
authority of the General Government, and proceeded to form
a new State Constitution. Upon learning this fact, the Presi
dent wrote the following letter to one of the most prominent
members :



When I fixed a plan for an election in Arkansas, I did it in ignorance
that your convention was at the same work. Since I learned the latter
fact, I have been constantly trying to yield my plan to theirs. 1 have
sent two letters to General Stcele, and three or four dispatches to you and
others, saying that he (General Stcele) must be master, but that it will
probably be best for him to keep the convention on its own plan. Some
single mind must be master, else there will be no agreement on any thing ;
and General Steele, commanding the military and being on the ground,
is the best man to be that master. Even now citizens are telegraphing
me to postpone the election to a later day than either fixed by the con
vention or me. This discord must be silenced. A. LINCOLN.

The Convention framed a Constitution abolishing Slavery,
which was subsequently adopted by a large majority of the

The military movements of the year 1864 thus far call for no
special notice in this place. Three enterprises of considera
ble magnitude have been undertaken, but neither of them was
attended with results of any great importance.

As early as the 15th of December, 1SG3, Gen. Gillmore,
commanding the Department of the South, applied to the
Government for permission to send an expedition into Flori
da, for the purpose of cutting off supplies of the enemy ;
and in January, in urging the matter still further upon the
attention of Gen. Halleck, he suggested that measures might
be also inaugurated for restoring the State of Florida to her
allegiance under the terms of the President s Proclamation.
Gen. Gillmore was authorized to take such action in the mat
ter as he should deem proper, and he accordingly organized
an expedition, which left Port Royal on the 5th of February,
under General Seymour, and was followed soon afterwards by
General Gillmore himself to whom, on the 13th of January,
the President had addressed the following letter :

Major-General GILLMORE :

I understand an effort is being made by some worthy gentlemen to


reconstruct a legal State government in Florida. Florida is in your
department, and it is not unlikely you may be there in person. I have
given Mr. Hay a commission of Major, and sent him to you, with some
blank books and other blanks, to aid in the reconstruction. He will ex
plain as to the manner of using the blanks, and also my general views on
the subject. It is desirable for all to co-operate, but if irreconcilable
differences of opinion shall arise, you are master. I wish the thing done
in the most speedy way, so that when done it be within the range of the
late proclamation on the subject. The detail labor will, of course, have
to be done by others ; but I will be greatly obliged if you will give it
such general supervision as you can find consistent with your more
strictly military duties.


The advance portion of the expedition reached Jacksonville
on the 8th of February. Gen. Gillmore returned to Port Royal
on the 16th, leaving the command of the expedition to Gen.
Seymour. The first operations were successful. Near
Jacksonville one hundred prisoners, with eight pieces of ser
viceable artillery, fell into our hands, and expeditions were
pushed forward into the interior, by which large amounts
of stores and supplies were destroyed. On the 17th General
Seymour, with 5,000 men, was on the Florida Central Rail
road, about forty-five miles from Jacksonville. Here they
remained until the 20th, when the preparations for a move
ment toward Lake City were completed. The enemy was
found in force, a little before reaching Lake City, at Olustee,
a small station on the railroad. The engagement was com
menced between the enemy s skirmishers and our advance.
The fire directed against our men was so hot that they were
compelled to fall back ; then we brought two batteries to bear
on the enemy, and our whole force became engaged with more
than twice their number of the enemy, who occupied a strong
position, flanked by a marsh. Again we retreated, taking
another position ; but it was impossible to contend with a
force so greatly superior, and, after a battle of three hours
and a half, General Seymour retreated, leaving his dead and


severely wounded on the field. Fire guns were lost, and
about a thousand men killed, wounded, and missing.

On the 3d of February, General Sherman, with a strong
force, set out from Vicksburg, in light marching order, and
moved eastward. Shortly after, a cavalry expedition, under
General Smith, set out from Memphis, to work its way south
eastward, and join Sherman somewhere on the borders of
Mississippi and Alabama. By the 18th Smith had accom
plished nearly one-half of his proposed march, but soon after
found the enemy concentrated in superior force in his way.
Finding it impossible to proceed, he fell back, destroying the
bridges on the Memphis and Ohio Railroad in his retreat.
There was continual skirmishing, but no decisive battle during
the retreat, which lasted until the 25th, when the expedition
accomplished its return to Memphis. Much damage was done
to the enemy by the destruction of property, but, the main
object of making a junction with Sherman failed. Sherman
went as far east as Meridian, almost on the borders of Missis
sippi and Alabama, and after destroying large quantities of
the rebel stores, and breaking their means of communication,
he returned to Vicksburg.

The other enterprise to which reference is made above, was
a raid upon Richmond, made by a large cavalry force under
General Kilpatrick. Leaving his camp on the 28th of Feb
ruary, he crossed the Rapidan, gained the rear of Lee s army
without being discovered, and pushed rapidly on in the direc
tion of Richmond. A detachment under Colonel Dahlgren
was sent from the main body to Frederick s Hall, on the
Virginia Central Railroad. The road was torn up for some
distance, and then the James River Canal was struck, and six
grist-mills destroyed, which formed one of the main sources
of supply for the Confederate army. Several locks on the
canal were destroyed, and other damage done. Dahlgren s
main body then pressed onward toward Richmond, and came


within three miles of the city, when, encountering a Confed
erate force, it was compelled to withdraw, Dahlgren himself
being killed, and a laro;e part of his force captured. Kil-
patrick, meanwhile, pressed onward to Spottsylvania Court-
House, and thence to Beaver Dam, near where the two lines
of railway from Kichmond, those running to Gordonsville and
Fredericksburg, cross. Here the railway was torn up, and the
telegraphic line cut, and the cavalry pushed straight on toward
Richmond. They reached the outer line of fortifications at
a little past ten on the morning of the 1st of March, about
three and a half miles from the city. These were fairly
passed, and the second line, a mile nearer, was reached, and
a desultory fire was kept up for some hours. Toward evening
Kilpatrick withdrew, and encamped six miles from the city.
In the night an artillery attack was made upon the camp, and
our troops retired still farther, and on the following morning
took up their line of march down the Peninsula toward Wil-
lianisburg. Several miles of railway connection of great
importance to the enemy were interrupted, stores to the
value of several millions of dollars were destroyed, and .some
hundreds of prisoners were captured, as the result of this

The relations of the war which is carried on to maintain
the Republican Government of the United States, against the
efforts of the slave-holding oligarchy for its overthrow, to the
general interests of labor, have from time to time enlisted a
good deal of the thoughts of the President, and elicited from
him expressions of his own sentiments on the subject. On
the 31st of December, 1863, a very large meeting of working-
men was held at Manchester, England, to express their opin
ion in regard to the war in the United States. At that meet
ing an address to President LINCOLN was adopted, expressing
the kindest sentiments towards this country, and declaring that,
since it had become evident that the destruction of Shivery


was involved in the overthrow of the rebellion, their sympa
thies had been thoroughly and heartily with the Government
of the United States in the prosecution of the war. This
address was forwarded to the President through the American
Minister in London, and elicited the following reply :

To tJie Worklngmen of Manchester :

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the address and reso
lutions which you sent me on the eve of the new year. When I came
on the 4th of March, 1861, through a free and constitutional election, to
preside in the Government of the United States, the country was found
at the verge of civil war. Whatever might have been the cause, or
whosesoever the fault, one duty, paramount to all others, was before me,
namely, to maintain and preserve at once the Constitution and the intcc
rity of the Federal Republic. A conscientious purpose to perform this
duty, is the key to all the measures of administration which have been,
and to all which will hereafter be pursued. Under our frame of govern
ment and my official oath, I could not depart from this purpose if I
would. It is not always in the power of governments to enlarge or re
strict the scope of moral results which follow the policies that they may
deem it necessary, for the public safety, from time to time to adopt,

I have understood well that the duty of self-preservation rests solely
with the American people. But I have at the same time been aware
that favor or disfavor of foreign nations might have a material influence
in enlarging or prolonging the struggle with disloyal men in which the
country is engaged. A fair examination of history has served to author
ize a belief that the past actions and influences of the United States, were
generally regarded as having been beneficial toward mankind. I have,
therefore, reckoned upon the forbearance of nations. Circumstances-
to some of which you kindly allude induced me especially to expect that
if justice and good faith should be practised by the United States, they
would encounter no hostile influence on the part of Great Britain. It is
now a pleasant duty to acknowledge the demonstration you have given
of your desire that a spirit of amity and peace toward this country may
prevail in the councils of your Queen, who is respected and esteemed in
your own country only more than she is by the kindred nation which
has its home on this side of the Atlantic.

I know, and deeply deplore the sufferings which the workingmen at
Manchester, and in all Europe, are called to endure in this crisis. It has
been often and studiously represented that the attempt to overthrow this
Government, which was built upon the foundation of human rights, and
to substitute for it one which should rest exclusively on the basis of


human slavery, was likely to obtain the favor of Europe. Through the
action of our disloyal citizens, the workingmen of Europe have been
subjected to severe trials, for the purpose of forcing their sanction to
that attempt. Under the circumstances, I cannot but regard jour deci
sive utterances upon the question as an instance of sublime Christian
heroism, which has not been surpassed in any age or in any country. It
is indeed an energetic and reinspiring assurance of the inherent power
of truth, and of the ultimate and universal triumph of justice, humanity,
and freedom. I do not doubt that the sentiments you have expressed
will be sustained by your great nation, and on the other hand, I have no
hesitation in assuring you that they will excite admiration, esteem, and
the most reciprocal feelings of friendship among the American people.
I hail this interchange of sentiment, therefore, as an augury that what
ever else may happen, whatever misfortune may befall your country or my
own, the peace and friendship which now exist between the two nations
will be, as it shall be my desire to make them, perpetual.


The workingmen of London held a similar meeting at about
the same time, and took substantially the same action. The
President made the following response to their address :

To the Workingmen of London :

I have received the New Year s Address which you have sent me, with
a sincere appreciation of the exalted and humane sentiments by which
it was inspired.

As these sentiments are manifestly the enduring support of the free
institutions of England, so I am sure also that they constitute the only
reliable basis for free institutions throughout the world.

The resources, advantages, and powers of the American people are
very great, and they have consequently succeeded to equally great respon
sibilities. It seems to have devolved upon them to test whether a gov
ernment established on the principles of human freedom, can be main
tained against an effort to build one upon the exclusive foundation of
human bondage. They will rejoice with me in the new evidences which
your proceedings furnish, that the magnanimity they arc exhibiting is
justly estimated by the true friends of freedom and humanity in foreign

Accept my best wishes for your individual welfare, and for the welfare
and happiness of the whole British people.


On the 21st of March, 1864, a committee from the Working-
men s Association of the city of New York waited upon the


President and delivered an address, stating the general objects
and purposes of the Association, and requesting that he would
allow his name to be enrolled among its honorary members-
To this address the President made the following reply :

GENTLEMEN OF THE COMMITTEE : The honorary membership in your
association, as generously tendered, is gratefully accepted.

You comprehend, as your address shows, that the existing rebellion
means more and tends to do more than the perpetuation of African slav
ery that it is, in fact, a war upon the rights of all working people. Partly
to show that this view has not escaped my attention, and partly that I
cannot better express myself, I read a passage from the message to Con
gress in December, 1861 :

" It continues to develop that the insurrection is largely, if not ex
clusively, a war upon the first principle of popular government, the rights
of the people. Conclusive evidence of this is found in the most grave
and maturely considered public documents, as well as in the general tone
of the insurgents. In those documents we find the abridgement of the
existing right of suffrage, and the denial to the people of all right to par
ticipate in the selection of public officers, except the legislative, boldly
advocated, with labored argument to prove that large control of the
people in government is the source of all political evil. Monarchy itself
is sometimes hinted at as a possible refuge from the power of the people.

" In my present position I could scarcely be justified were I to omit
raising a warning voice against this approach of returning despotism.

" It is not needed, nor fitting here, that a general argument should be
made in favor of popular institutions; but there is one point with its
connections, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a brief at
tention. It is the effort to place capital on an equal footing, if not above
labor, in the structure of government. It is assumed that labor is avail
able only in connection with capital ; that nobody labors unless some
body else, owning capital, somehow by the use of it induces him to labor.
This assumed, it is next considered whether it is best that capital shall
hire laborers, and thus induce them to work by their own consent, or buy
them, and drive them to it without their consent. Having proceeded so
far, it is naturally concluded that all laborers are either hired laborers, or
what we call slaves. And, further, it is assumed that whoever is once a
hired laborer, is fixed in that condition for life. Now there is no such
relation between capital and labor as ass umed, nor is there any such thing
as a free man being fixed for life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both
these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them are ground

" Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the
fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed.
Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher considera
tion. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any
other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably always will be,
a relation between capital and labor, producing mutual benefits. The
error is in assuming that the whole labor of a community exists within
that relation. A few men own capital, and that few avoid labor them
selves, and, with their capital, hire or buy another few to labor for them.
A large majority belong to neither class neither work for others, nor


have others working for them. In most of the Southern States a maior-
ity of the whole people of ail colors, are neither slaves nor masters; while
in the Northern, a large majority are neither hirers nor hired. Men with
their families wives, sons and daughters work for themselves, on their
farms, in their houses, and in their shops, taking the whole product, to
themselves, and asking no favors of capital on the one hand nor of hired
laborers or slaves on the other. It is not forgotten that a considerable
number of persons mingle their own labor with capital ; that is, they
labor with their own hands, and also buy or hire others to labor for them
but this is only a mixed and not a distinct class. No principle stated is
disturbed by the existence of this mixed class.

" Again, as has already been said, there is not, of necessity, any such
thing as the free hired laborer being tixed to that condition for life.
Many independent men everywhere in these States, a few years back in
their lives were hired laborers. The prudent penniless beginner in the
world labors for wages a while, saves a surplus with which to buy tools
or land for himself, then labors on his own account another while and at
length hires another new beginner to help him. This is the just and
generous and prosperous system which opens the way to all gives hope
to all, and consequent energy and progress, and improvement of condi
tion to all. No men living are more worthy to be trusted than those who
toil up from poverty none less inclined to touch or take aught which
they have not honestly earned. Let them beware of surrendering a polit
ical power they already possess, and which, if surrendered, will surely be
used to close the door of advancement against such as they, and to fix
new disabilities and burdens upon them, till all of liberty shall be lost."

The views then expressed remain unchanged, nor have I much to add.
None are so deeply interested to resist the present rebellion as the work
ing people. Let them beware of prejudices, working division and hos
tility among themselves. The most notable feature of a disturbance in
your city last summer was the hanging of some working people by other
working people. It should never be so. The strongest bond of human
sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all work
ing people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds. Nor should this
lead to a war upon property or the owners of property. Property is the
fruit of labor ; property is desirable ; is a positive good in the world. That
some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and, hence, is
just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is
houseless pull down the house of another, but let him labor diligently and
build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe
from violence when built.

The President had always taken a deep interest in the vol
unteer movements of benevolent people throughout the coun
try, for relieving the suffering s of the sick and wounded
among our soldiers. A meeting of one of these organizations,
the Christian Commission, was held at Washington, on the
22d of February, 1863, to which President LINCOLN, unable
to attend and preside, addressed the following letter:



MY DEAR SIR : Your note, by which you, as G-eneral Superintendent
of the U. S. Christian Commission, invite me to preside at a meeting to bo
held this day, at the hall of the House of Representatives in this city,
is received.

While, for reasons which I deem sufficient, I must decline to preside,
I cannot withhold my approval of the meeting, and its worthy objects.
Whatever shall be, sincerely and in God s name, devised for the good
of the soldiers and seamen in their hard spheres of duty, can scarcely
fail to be blessed. And whatever shall tend to turn our thoughts from
the unreasoning and uncharitable passions, prejudices, and jealousies
incident to a great national trouble such as ours, and to fix them on the
vast and long-enduring consequences, for weal or for woe, which are to
result from the struggle, and especially to strengthen our reliance on
the Supreme Being for the final triumph of the right, cannot but be
well for us all

The birthday of "Washington and the Christian Sabbath coinciding
this year, and suggesting together the highest interests of this life and
of that to come, is most propitious for the meeting proposed.

Your obedient servant, A. LINCOLN.

On the 16th of March, 1864, at the close of a fair in
Washington, given at the Patent Office, for the benefit of the
sick and wounded soldiers of the army, President LINCOLN
happening to be present in response to loud and continuous
calls, made the following remarks :

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN : I appear to say but a word. This extraor
dinary war in which we are engaged falls heavily upon all classes of peo
ple, but the most heavily upon the soldier. For it has been said, all that
a man hath will he give for his life ; and while all contribute of their
substance, the soldier puts his Me at stake, and often yields it up in his
country s cause. The highest merit, then, is due to the soldier.

In this extraordinary war, extraordinary developments have manifested
themselves, such as have not been seen in former wars ; and among these
manifestations nothing has been more remarkable than these fairs for the
relief of suffering soldiers and their families. And the chief agents in
these fairs are the women of America.

I am not accustomed to the use of language of eulogy ; I have never
studied the art of paying compliments to women ; but I must say, that
if all that has been said by orators and poets since the creation of the


world in praise of women were applied to the women of America, it
would not do them justice for their conduct during this war. I will
close by saying, God bless the women of America !

Still another occasion of a similar character occurred at
Baltimore on the 18th of April, at the opening of a Fair for

Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondHistory of the administration of President Lincoln : including his speeches, letters, addresses, proclamations, and messages. With a preliminary sketch of his life → online text (page 42 of 46)