Henry J. (Henry Jarvis) Raymond.

Lincoln, his life and times : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages, letters, and proclamations, and the closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 2) online

. (page 27 of 41)
Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and times : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages, letters, and proclamations, and the closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 2) → online text (page 27 of 41)
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fiscation Act passed July 17, 1862, 244, as prohibited the
forfeiture of the real estate of rebels beyond their natural
lives. But the Senate failed to take similar action, and the
law, therefore, remained unchanged.

Resolutions were reported to the Senate by the Com-
mittee on Military Affairs, that soldiers discharged for sick-
ness or wounds should be preferred for appointment to civil
offices, and recommending citizens generally to give them
a similar preference in their private business. The President
was in full sympathy with the feeling which led to this action,
as appears by the following order, which he made for the
appointment of a Mrs. Bushnell as postmistress at Sterling,
Illinois : —

Mr. Washburne has presented to me all the papers in this case,
and rinding Mrs. Bushnell as well recommended as any other, and she
being the widow of a soldier who fell in battle for the Union, let her
be appointed. A. Lincoln.

The question of the recognition of the State Govern-
ments in, and the admission of Senators and Representatives
from, Louisiana and Arkansas was brought upon both
Houses, but was not pressed to a vote, though reports were
made in favor of such recognition and admission.

The Tariff Bill was modified, a bill for a loan of $600,-
000,000 was passed, with many other bills of less importance,
and on the 3d of March Congress adjourned sine die.

The Senate, however, was at once convened in extra ses-
sion, by a proclamation issued by the President on February
17th, as follows : —

Department of State.
By the President of the United States.
Whereas, objects of interest to the United States require that the


Senate should be convened at twelve o'clock on the 4th of March
next, to receive and act upon such communications as may be made
to it on the part of the Executive:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United
States, have considered it to be my duty to issue my proclamation,
declaring that an extraordinary occasion requires the Senate of the
United States to convene for the transaction of business at the Cap-
itol, in the City of Washington, on the 4th day of March next, at
noon on that day. of which all who shall at that time be entitled to
act as members of that body, are hereby required to take notice.
Given under my hand and the seal of the United States, at Wash-
ington, this seventeenth day of February, in the year of our
[l. s.] Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-five, and of the
independence of the United States of America the eighty-
ninth. Abraham Lincoln.
By the President :
Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of State.

The military operations during February continued to
furnish cheering successes. The peace conference had not
been suffered to interfere in the least with military move-
ments. The rebel commissioners were hardly within their
lines before General Grant made another movement, taking
and holding, though not without severe loss, another of
the roads leading southwardly out of Petersburg, called the
Vaughan Road, and giving our troops command of vet
another called the Boydton Plankroad. A very encouraging
symptom of the situation was the increasing number of
desertions from the rebel ranks, by which General Lee's
army was steadily and seriously diminishing.

Our own forces meanwhile were being continually aug-
mented by new recruits, which were rapidly obtained, by the
strong exertions made in every district to avoid a draft.
Many questions arose and had to be decided by the President
in reference to the draft. The following letter from him
to Governor Smith, of Vermont, was called forth by com-
plaints that its burdens were not equally distributed : —

Executive Mansion, Washington, February 8, 1865.

His Excellency Governor Smith, of Vermont:

Complaint is made to me, by Vermont, that the assignment of her
quota for the draft on the pending call is intrinsically unjust, and
also in bad faith of the Government's promise to fairly allow credits
for men previously furnished. To illustrate, a supposed case is stated
as follows : —

Vermont and New Hampshire must between them furnish six thou-
sand men on the pending call; and being equal, each must furnish as


many as the other in the long run. But the Government finds that
on former calls Vermont furnished a surplus of five hundred, and
New Hampshire a surplus of fifteen hundred. These two surpluses
making two thousand, and added to the six thousand, making eight
thousand to be furnished by the two States, or four thousand each,
less by fair credits. Then subtract Vermont's surplus of five hundred
from her four thousand, leaves three thousand five hundred as her
quota on the pending call; and likewise subtract New Hampshire's
surplus of fifteen hundred from her four thousand, leaves two thou-
sand five hundred as her quota on the pending call. These three
thousand five hundred and two thousand five hundred make precisely
six thousand, which the supposed case requires from the two States,
and it is just equal for Vermont to furnish one thousand more now
than New Hampshire, because New Hampshire has heretofore fur-
nished one thousand more than Vermont, which equalizes the burdens
of the two in the long run. And this result, so far from being bad
faith to Vermont, is indispensable to keeping good faith with New
Hampshire. By no other result can the six thousand men be ob-
tained from the two States, and at the same time deal justly and keep
faith with both, and we do but confuse ourselves in questioning the
process by which the right result is reached. The supposed case is
perfect as an illustration.

The pending call is not for three hundred thousand men subject to
fair credits, but is for three hundred thousand remaining after all fair
credits have been deducted, and it is impossible to concede what
Vermont asks without coming out short of three hundred thousand
men, or making other localities pay for the partiality shown her.

This upon the case stated. If there be different reasons for making
an allowance to Vermont, let them be presented and considered.

Yours truly, Abraham Lincoln.

The success at Fort Fisher was ably followed up by Gen-
eral Terry. One by one the rebel forts on the Cape Fear
River fell into our hands, and on the 226. of February Wil-
mington was evacuated, and was occupied by our troops
without a struggle.

Heavy cavalry expeditions were prepared and sent out
through the Southwest, in different directions, and made
good progress. But the crowning glory of the month was
the success of Sherman's march through South Carolina.
Starting from Savannah, he moved northwest through
swamps which were thought impassable for an army, forced
the line of the Salkehatchie River, pressed on into the heart
of the State, and on the 17th entered Columbia, the capital
of the State, without a battle. His presence there made the
evacuation of Charleston a necessity, and on the next day
our forces entered its grass-grown streets, and the old flag
floated again from Fort Sumter, from which, four years be-



fore, it had been traitorously torn down. Sherman's progress
northward continued to be rapid, but hardly anything that
he could do could give so much joy as the fall of that nest
of treason had given. Coming, as it did, just before the 22d
of February, it made the celebration of Washington's birth-
day one of great rejoicing. The public buildings in Wash-
ington were illuminated, and all over the country it was a
day of joy and gladness of heart.

It was not the military successes alone which made the
people glad : a general system of exchanging prisoners had
been at last agreed upon, and our poor fellows were rapidly
coming forward out of those hells on earth, in which the
rebel authorities had kept them.

In fact, all things seemed auspicious for the future. The
close of President's Lincoln's first Administration was bril-
liant in itself, and gave full promise of yet brighter things
to come.



The Inaugural Address.— Proclamation to Deserters.— Speeches by
the President. — Destruction of Lee's Army. — The President's Visit
to Richmond.— Return to Washington.— Close of the War

1t seems hardly credible that four years should embrace
within their narrow limit so immense a change as the four
years of Mr. Lincoln's first Administration had brought to
the country and to himself. When, on the 4th of March,
1861, he took the oath of office, administered to him by
Chief-Justice Taney, the horizon was dark with storms,
whose duration and violence were as yet happily unknown.
He himself, as he stood on the steps of the Capitol, was an
untried man, sneered at by those who had held the reins
of power in the country, an object for the rising hate of the
aspiring aristocracy of the South, which had already sought
his life, and would have sought it with still greater vindictive-
ness, if a tithe of the sagacity, firmness, honesty, and patriot-
ism which animated his breast had been understood; even
then an object of interest and growing affection, compara-
tively unknown as he was even to his own friends, to those
who saw the danger which was overhanging the country, and
were nerving themselves to meet it.

But now the fierceness of the storm seemed to be passing
away, and clearer skies to be seen through the rolling
clouds. The citizen, who, four years before, was utterly un-
tried and unknown, was now the chosen leader of a nation
of thirty million people, who trusted in his honesty as they
trusted in the eternal principles of Nature, who believed him
to be wise, and knew him to be abundant in patience and
kindness of heart, with an army of half a million men and a
navy of hundreds of vessels at his command, one of the
most powerful, certainly the most loved of all the leaders of
the nations of the earth. There could be but one higher step


for him to attain, and to that, also, in the order of Provi-
dence, he was soon to be called.

The scene of his re-inauguration was a striking one. The
morning had been inclement, storming so violently that up
to a few minutes before twelve o'clock it was supposed that
the Inaugural Address would have to be delivered in the
Senate Chamber. But the people had gathered in immense
numbers before the Capitol, in spite of the storm, and just
before noon the rain ceased and the clouds broke away, and,
as the President took the oath of office, the blue sky ap-
peared above, a small white cloud, like a hovering bird,
seemed to hang above his head, and the sunlight broke
through the clouds and fell upon him with a glory, afterwards
felt to have been an emblem of the martyr's crown, which
was so soon to rest upon his head.

The oath of office was administered by Chief- Justice Chase,
and the President delivered his second Inaugural Address
as follows : —

Fellow-Countrymen : — At this second appearing to take the oath
of the Presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended ad-
dress than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in
detail of a course to be pursued seemed very fitting and proper. Now,
at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have
been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the ^reat
contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies
of the nation, little that is new could be presented.

The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is
as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably
satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future,
no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts
were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it.
all sought to avoid it. While the inaugural address was being deliv-
ered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without
war, insurgent agents were in the city, seeking to destroy it with
war — seeking to dissolve the Union and divide the effects by negotia-
tion. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war
rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war
rather than let it perish, and the war came. One-eighth of the whole
population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the
Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves con-
stituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest
was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and
extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would
rend the Union by war. while the Government claimed no right to do
morethan to restrict the territorial enlargement of it.

Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration


which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of
the conflict might cease, or even before the conflict itself should
cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less funda-
mental and astounding.

Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each
invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men
should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread
from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we
be not judged. The prayer of both could not be answered. That
of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own pur-
poses. Woe unto the world because of offences, for it must needs
be that offences come, but woe to that man by whom the offence
cometh. If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of these
offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but
which having continued through His appointed time, He now wills
to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible
war as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we
discern there any departure from those Divine attributes which the
believers in a living God always ascribe to him? Fondly do we hope,
fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily
pass away. Yet if God wills that it continues until all the wealth
piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited
toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash
shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three
thousand years ago, so, still it must be said that the judgments of
the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

With malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in
the right as God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work we
are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall
have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphans, to do all
which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among
ourselves and with all nations.

The only change which was made in the Cabinet was one
made necessary by the resignation, in consequence of his
election to the Senate, of Mr. Fessenden, Secretary of the
Treasury, whose post was filled on the 6th of March, by
the appointment of the Hon. Hugh McCullough, of Indiana.
With this exception, affairs went on as before, without any
perceptible change in their working in consequence of the
change of Administration.

The Senate met in extra session, and at once had a sharp
debate on the admission of the Senators from Arkansas,
whose credentials were finally ordered to be sent to the
Committee of the Judiciary. The other business before the
Senate was Executive merely.

One of the acts passed by Congress near the close of the
session was an amendment of the laws for calling out the


National forces, one provision of which directed the Presi-
dent to issue a proclamation, calling upon deserters to re-
turn to their duty within sixty days. Accordingly, on the
nth of March the proclamation was issued as follows: —


Whereas, the twenty-first section of the act of Congress, approved
on the 3rd instant, entitled 'An Act to amend the several acts hereto-
fore passed to provide for the enrolling and calling out the national
forces and for other purposes," requires that in addition to the other
lawful penalties of the crime of desertion from the military or naval
service, all persons who have deserted the military or naval service
of the United States who shall not return to said service or report
themselves to a provost-marshal within sixty days after the procla-
mation hereinafter mentioned, shall be deemed and taken to have
voluntary relinquished and forfeited their citizenship and their right
to become citizens, and such deserters shall be forever incapable
of holding any office of trust or profit under the United States, or of
exercising any rights of citizens thereof; and all persons who shall
hereafter desert the military or naval service, and all persons who,
being duly enrolled, shall depart the jurisdiction of the district in
which they are enrolled, or go beyond the limits of the United States
with intent to avoid any draft into the military or naval service duly
ordered, shall be liable to the penalties of this section; and the Presi-
dent is hereby authorized and required forthwith, on the passage of
this act, to issue his proclamation setting forth the provisions of this
section, in which proclamation the President is requested to notify
all deserters returning within sixty days as aforesaid that they shall
be pardoned on condition of returning to their regiments and com-
panies, or to such other organizations as they may be assigned to,
until they shall have served for a period of time equal to their orig-
inal term of enlistment :

Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President
of^ the United ^ States, do issue this my proclamation as required by
said act, ordering and requiring all deserters to return to their proper
posts; and I do hereby notify them that all deserters who shall
within sixty days from the date of this proclamation, viz., on or be-
fore the 10th day of May, 1865, return to service or report themselves
to a provost-marshal, shall be pardoned on condition that they return
to their regiments or companies or to such other organization as
they may be assigned to, and serve the remainder of their original
terms of enlistment, and in addition thereto a period equal to the
time lost by desertion.

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 eleventh day of March, in the
[l. s.] year of our Lord eighteen hundred and sixty-five, and of the
independence of the United States the eiehtv-ninth.

kRy the President: Abraham Lincoln.

William H. Seward. Secretary of State.


In addition to the increase of onr armies which this proc-
lamation gave — for great numbers of deserters availed
themselves of its provisions — the draft, which had been
often postponed, was fairly put in operation on the 15th of
March ; — not that there was so pressing and immediate a
need of men, for the tide of military successes continued to |
roll in full and strong in our favor; but the authorities felt |
called upon to provide for future contingencies, which hap-
pily never arose.

On every hand the prospects of the rebellion were grow-
ing darker. The stream of deserters from Lee's lines was
growing larger and larger, most of the men bringing their
arms with them, and all uniting in the same story of the
demoralization of those they had left behind. In their ex-
tremity, the rebel leaders even began to turn to the negro
for help, and various propositions were introduced into the \
rebel Congress looking towards the employment of slaves
as soldiers. The measure, however, was not a popular one,
for it was felt to be a practical abandonment of those ideas
of slavery for whose supremacy the rebellion had been set
on foot. At one time the proposition before the rebel Sen-
ate for arming the slaves was defeated by one vote. The
President referred to this extremity of theirs, and this means
of relief which they had sought, in a speech which he made
when a rebel flag, captured at Anderson by the One Hundred
and Fortieth Indiana Volunteers, was presented to Governor
Morton in front of the National Hotel on the 17th of March. I
A large crowd was in attendance. Governor Morton made
a brief speech, in which he congratulated his auditors on the
speedily approaching end of the rebellion, and concluded bv
introducing President Lincoln, whose purity and patriotism j
were confessed, he said, by all, even among the most violent
of his opponents. His Administration would be recognized
as the most important epoch of history. It had struck the
death-blow to slavery, and clothed the Republic with a power
it never before possessed. If he had done nothing more than
put his name to the Emancipation Proclamation, that act
alone would have made his name immortal.

The President addressed the assembly substantially as
follows : : —

Fellow- Citizens : — It will be but a very few words that I shall un-


dertake to say. I was born in Kentucky, raised in Indiana, and lived
in Illinois; and now I am here, where it is my business to care equally
for the good people of all the States. I am glad to see an Indiana
regiment on this day able to present the captured flag to the Gov-
ernor of Indiana. I am not disposed, in saying this, to make a dis-
tinction between the States, for all have done equally well.

There are but few views or aspects of this great war upon which I
have not said or written something whereby my own opinions__might
be known. But there is one — the recent attempt of our erring breth-
ren, as they are sometimes called, to employ the negro to fight for
them. I have neither written nor made a speech on that subject,
because that was their business, not mine, and if I had a wish upon
the subject, I had not the power to introduce it, or make it effective.
The great question with them was whether the negro, being^put into
the army, will fight for them. I do not know, and therefore cannot
decide. They ought to know better than me. I have in my lifetime
heard many arguments why the negroes ought to be slaves; but if
they fight for those who would keep them in slavery, it will be a
better argument than any I have yet heard. He who will fight for
that, ought to be a slave. They have concluded, at last, to take one
out of four of the slaves and put them in the army, and that one out
of four who will fight to keep the others in slavery, ought to be a
slave himself, unless he is killed in a fight. While I have often said
that all men ought to be free, yet would I allow those colored persons
to be slaves who want to be, and next to them those white people
who argue in favor of making other people slaves. I am in favor of
giving an appointment to such white men to try it on for these slaves.
I will say one thing in regard to the negroes being employed to fight
for them. I do know he cannot fight and stay at home and make
bread too. And as one is about as important as the other to them, I
don't care which they do. I am rather in favor of having them try
them as soldiers. They lack one vote of doing that, and I wish I
could send my vote over the river so that I might cast it in favor of
allowing the negro to fight. But they cannot fight and work both.
We must now see the bottom of the enemy's resources. They will
stand out as long as they can, and if the negro will fight for them
they must allow him to fight. They have drawn upon their last
branch of resources, and we can now see the bottom. I am glad to
see the end so near at hand. I have said now more than I intended
and will therefore bid you good-by.

But even the culminating interest of affairs before Rich-
mond did not absorb exclusively the President's attention.
On the 17th he issued the following proclamation against
persons furnishing arms to the hostile Indians in the West,
who, stirred up by emissaries from the rebels, or coming to
the conclusion from their own judgment, that while the
white men were thus fighting each other, it was surely a
good time for the red man to strike, had, on more than one


occasion, since the rebellion broke out, spread terror and

Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and times : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages, letters, and proclamations, and the closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 2) → online text (page 27 of 41)