James M Stradling.

His talk with Lincoln; being a letter written by James M. Stradling (Volume 1) online

. (page 2 of 2)
Online LibraryJames M StradlingHis talk with Lincoln; being a letter written by James M. Stradling (Volume 1) → online text (page 2 of 2)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


the proclamation as an excuse for
deserting. I did not believe the
number of deserters would mate-
rially affect the army. On the other
hand, the issuing of the proclama-
tion would probably bring into the
ranks many who otherwise would
not volunteer.

" After I had made up my mind

C*8 3



Lincoln



to issue it, I commenced to put my
thoughts on paper, and it took me
many days before I succeeded in
getting it into shape so that it suited
me. Please explain to your com-
rades that the proclamation was
issued for two reasons. The first
and chief reason was this, I felt a
great impulse moving me to do
justice to five or six millions of
people. The second reason was
that I believed it would be a club
in our hands with which we could
whack the rebels. In other words,
it would shorten the war. I be-
lieved that under the Constitution
I had a right to issue the proclama-
tion as a 'Military Necessity/ I

C 2 9 ]



Lincoln



have faith that it will shorten the
war by many months. How does
the rank and file view General
Hooker ?"

I replied that General Hooker
was a hard fighter. "The boys have
great respect for him, as well as
great faith in his ability."

The President then extended his
hand and said, "I thank you very
much, and I trust you will reach
the front in the morning. "

When I came out I endeavored
to see Mr. Hay, but he had gone.
The door guard was still on duty
and I slipped up to him and said,
"You need not call me 'greeny'
any more, for I have learned more

C so -}



Lincoln



to-day than many people learn in
fifty years."

I then thanked him for his assist-
ance, and left the White House. I
started for a lunch counter, for thee
may believe I was hungry. After
filling up on good things, in which
" hardtack " had no share, I walked
rapidly to the boat. I showed the
captain my furlough with the Pres-
ident' s name on it. He gazed at it
a moment when he said, "Git
aboard/ '

About the time I had reached
the deck General Hooker climbed
aboard too. He took the captain's
cabin, while I took to a pile of bags
filled with oats. I pulled the bags

[ 31 3



Lincoln



around and made quite a nice bed,
where I slept all night and landed
at Acquia Creek next morning and
reached the regiment in the after-
noon. What a lot of unexpected
experience I had met with ! I am no
longer a "greeny " now. At least I
do not believe I am.

Mr. Lincoln was a very sad, woe-
begone, gloomy-looking man. He
did not smile, and his face did not
lighten up once while I was in his
presence. John, I was awful glad
to get out, and when I did get away
I felt as though I had been to a fu-
neral.

Senator Wade did smile once or
twice, and so did the other two gen-
C 32 ]



Lincoln



tlemen who were present, but Lin-
coln did not even show the shadow
of a smile. His long, sad and gloomy
face haunted me for days afterward.
I give his exact words, as near as
I can remember them. To have the
President of the United States talk
to me, and to be allowed to talk to
him, was such an event in my life
that I may be pardoned, I think, if
I did feel "a little set up," as it
were.

Now, John, I have written thee
a long letter, much longer than I
intended to write when I com-
menced, but there seemed to be
things to say and I could not resist
the temptation to say them. Please

1 33 n



Lincoln



thank thy wife (Letitia) for the
basket of " good things " which she
put up for me before I started, and
also say to my dear little Sarah,
that her " Dim " reached the camp
in safety. With very kindest re-
gards I remain

Sincerely Thine

J. M. Stradling



THIS EDITION, PRINTED AT THE RIVER-
SIDE PRESS IN CAMBRIDGE, U. S. A., IS
LIMITED TO FIVE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-
FIVE COPIES, OF WHICH FIVE HUNDRED
ARE TO BE SOLD. THIS IS NUMBER. S%fr



LIBRARY OF CONGRESS




012 025 470 4





2

Online LibraryJames M StradlingHis talk with Lincoln; being a letter written by James M. Stradling (Volume 1) → online text (page 2 of 2)