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The Library) of 


University of California Berkeley 














Copyrighted, 1892, by A. K. McCLURE. 






THE chapters in 
this volume make 
n o pretensions t o 
give either a biog- 
raphy of Abraham 
Lincoln or a history 
of his memorable 
They were written 
amidst the constant 
pressure of editorial 
duties simply to cor- 
rect some popular er- 
rors as to Lincoln's 
character and actions. So much has been written of 
him by persons assuming to possess information obtained 
in the inner circle of his confidence, and such conflicting 
presentations of his personal attributes and private and 
public acts have been given to the public, that I have 
deemed it a duty to contribute what little I could from 
personal knowledge, to correct some common errors in 
estimating his character, ability, and efforts. 

The closest men to Abraham Lincoln, both before and 
after his election to the Presidency, were David Davis, 


Leonard Swett, Ward H. Lamon, and William H. Hern- 
don. Davis and Swett were his close personal and 
political counselors; Lamon was his Marshal for Wash- 
ington and Herndon had been his law-partner for twenty 
years. These men, who knew Mr. Lincoln better than 
all others, unite in testifying that his extreme caution 
prevented him from making a personal confidant of any 
one; and my own more limited intercourse with him 
taught me, in the early period of our acquaintance, that 
those who assumed that they enjoyed Lincoln's confi- 
dence had little knowledge of the man. It is the gen- 
erally honest but mistaken belief of confidential relations 
with Lincoln on the part of biographers and magazine 
and newspaper writers that has presented him to the 
public in such a confusion of attitudes and as possessing 
such strangely contradictory individual qualities. 

I saw Mr. Lincoln many times during his Presidential 
term, and, like all of the many others who had intimate 
relations with him, I enjoyed his confidence only within 
the limitations of the necessities of the occasion. I do 
not therefore write these chapters assuming to have been 
the confidant of Mr. Lincoln; but in some things I did 
see him as he was, and, from necessity, knew what he 
did and why he did it. What thus happened to come 
under my own observation and within my own hearing 
often related to men or measures of moment then and 
quite as momentous now, when the events of the war 
are about to be finally crystallized into history. 

My personal knowledge of occurrences in which Mr. 
Lincoln and other great actors in the bloody drama of 


our Civil War were directly involved enables me to pre- 
sent some of the chief characteristics of Mr. Lincoln, 
and to support them by facts and circumstances which 
are conclusive. I have, therefore, written only of Lin- 
coln and his relations with the prominent chieftains and 
civilians with whom I had more or less intimate personal 
acquaintance. The facts herein given relating to lead- 
ing generals and statesmen are presented to illustrate in 
the clearest manner possible the dominating character- 
istics of Mr. Lincoln. They may or may not be ac- 
cepted by the public as important, but they have the 
one merit of absolute truthfulness. 

Abraham Lincoln achieved more in American states- 
manship than any other President, legislator, or diplomat 
in the history of the Republic; and what he achieved 
brought no borrowed plumes to his crown. Compelled 
to meet and solve the most momentous problems of our 
government, and beset by confused counsels and intensi- 
fied jealousies, he has written the most lustrous records 
of American history; and his name and fame must be 
immortal while liberty shall have worshipers in any 
land. To aid to a better understanding of this " noblest 
Roman of them all ' ' is the purpose of these chapters ; 
and if they shall, in the humblest degree, accomplish 
that end, I shall be more than content. 

The portraits in these chapters have been selected with 
scrupulous care and executed in the best style. The 
frontispiece portrait of Lincoln is the only perfect copy 
of his face that I have ever seen in any picture. It was 


taken in March, 1864, on the occasion when he handed 
Grant his commission as lieutenant-general. Two nega- 
tives were taken by the artist, and only one of them 
u touched up " and copies printed therefrom at the time. 
The other negative remained untouched until a few 
months ago, when it was discovered and copies printed 
from it without a single change in the lines or features 
of Lincoln's face. It therefore presents Lincoln true to 
life. The other portraits of Lincoln present him as he 
appeared when he delivered his speech in Cooper Insti- 
tute, New York, in 1859, with the cleanly-shaven face 
that was always maintained until after his election to the 
Presidency, and as he appeared when studying with his 
son u Tad" at his side. These portraits I have selected 
because they give the most accurate presentations of the 
man, and to them are added a correct picture of the 
humble home of his early childhood; of his Springfield 
home of 1860; of the tomb in which his dust reposes 
near Springfield, 111. ; and a fac-simile of his letter of 
acceptance in 1860. 

I am greatly indebted to the Lives of Lincoln given by 
Nicolay and Hay the most complete and accurate record 
of dates and events, military and civil, relating to Lin- 
coln by Mr. Herndon, by Mr. Lamon, by Mr. Arnold, 
and by Mr. Brooks, and to Mr. Elaine's "Twenty Years 
in Congress," for valuable information on many points 
referred to in these chapters. 

A. K. McCIvURE. 


THE modern spir- 
it, which is essen- 
tially the democratic 
spirit, that has so 
profoundly influ- 
enced every mani- 
festation of human 
thought, has 
wrought a great 
change in the study 
of history and in 
the estimate of his- 
torical personages. 
To the older writers 
history was mainly a record of the acts of great men 
monarchs, ministers, and generals who rose out of the 
mist of the past as independent and irresponsible agents; 
the champions of opposing ideas, it might be, but them- 
selves the centres of all interest, and to be considered 
and classified as heroes or villains according as one liked 
or disliked the general purpose of their lives. The mod- 
ern historian, on the other hand, finds the material for 
a just estimate of times past not in the lives of the few 


as much as in the lives of the many in the general 
conditions of civilization, of which the men of distinc- 
tion are only the strongest exponents, dramatizing in 
themselves the forces of their age. 

Most of all is this recognized concerning periods of 
storm and stress, of war and tumult. Leaders may 
hasten or retard events, may direct or misdirect the 
impulses of the people, but they do not create these 
impulses. They are governed by them. Whether or 
not we accept that magnificent generalization of Count 
Tolstoi in his Physiology of War that makes Napoleon 
and Alexander but cock-boats on the tide, and the 
private soldier a more genuine power than either of 
them, the time certainly is past when one could speak 
of wars or revolutions as the capricious acts of indi- 
vidual men, or could profess to estimate the character 
and achievements of these men apart from the history 
of the people that surrounded them. 

This does not diminish the admiration due to the 
heroes of history. If it takes from them that element 
of the miraculous by which their proportions were dis- 
torted, it shows more clearly the means and methods of 
their achievement, which no longer appears due to the 
mere accident of birth, position, or opportunity, but 
rather to the individual qualities by which one man is 
enabled to assert himself as the representative of the 
mass. Most of all is this the case in a republic, where 
these accidents of birth or place, while they give oppor- 
tunities, confer no privileges; where incapacity may find 
preferment, but where it must be soon discovered; and 


where, in the long run, it is the man who best appre- 
ciates and can most highly direct the forces of his time 
that earns his final place among the great. 

It follows that while the history of the individual can 
be studied only in relation with his surroundings, the 
history of a nation may be exemplified in that of its 
representative men. There is no sharp dividing-line 
between history and biography. As the poet, the 
painter, the composer must be considered in the light 
of the poetry, the painting, the music of his period, 
which he in turn illuminates, so the man of affairs can 
only be understood if we can see him in his relations 
with his contemporaries, as he appeared to them and 
they to him, and as he and they were related to the great 
popular movements that controlled them all. And these 
movements, in their turn, may be best understood when 
we can see them as they were apprehended by the men 
who had directly to deal with them. 

The history of our civil war is yet to be written. A 
great popular movement and counter-movement, the 
contest, now seen to have been inevitable, of ideas de- 
veloped through generations, bearing results more far- 
reaching than the wisest could foresee and affecting the 
whole current of the nation's life, requires the perspec- 
tive of a greater distance in time than we have reached 
perhaps even yet, for the final view that shall give to 
every part its just proportion. The soldier in battle sees 
only that part of the field that is about him ; the colonel 
reports only the movements of his own regiment; the 
general of his brigade, division, corps; yet from these 


various reports the military historian forms his estimate 
of the campaign. Thus far, our records of the war are 
mainly in biography, personal narrative, and this for the 
most part of a controversial character, designed to set 
forth some one person's view, to vindicate his conduct, 
to defend the policy of a party. Even the purely mili- 
tary movements from 1861 to 1865 have scarcely yet 
crystallized in history, and the vastly more -important 
political and social history of that great era is still in 

With the exception of Mr. Elaine's delightful narra- 
tive of Twenty Years in Congress, the most comprehen- 
sive, compact, and philosophic summary that has been 
made of any like experience, we have nothing relating 
to this period that approaches to the dignity of history. 
The Life of Lincoln by Nicolay and Hay is an admirable 
compilation of the political records of the time, and its 
narrative of public events is invaluable. But as an 
actual biography of Lincoln it is unsatisfactory, and 
as a comprehensive view of the great forces for which 
Lincoln stood it is lacking in proportion as in insight. 

For Lincoln is, above all things, the representative of 
the people whose President he was, the embodiment and 
exponent of their convictions, their courage, their per- 
sistence, their limitations as well as their strength, their 
homely as well as their heroic attributes. The halo of 
a martyr's death exalted him, in the eyes of those of us 
who came after, to the plane of the ideal where we lost 
sight of the actual man. To know Lincoln as he was 
we must know him in his actual relations to the tre- 


mendous task that devolved upon him, and to all the 
fluctuations of that public sentiment whose support alone 
could make the execution of this task possible. To 
think of him as a specially inspired genius, innocent 
of the world and holding his triumphant way against 
all experience by some sort of supernatural insight, is 
to do needless violence alike to the philosophy of history 
and to recorded fact. 

The chapters upon Lincoln which make up this vol- 
ume have one supreme value that they present a con- 
vincingly truthful picture of the man as he appeared to 
an experienced observer who was called at various times 
into intimate relations with him, and who records only 
what he personally and directly knew of Lincoln's acts 
and motives at certain critical and illustrative periods, 
and of his attitude toward other actors in the same great 

A many-sided character like Lincoln's shows itself 
under various aspects to various men, and Mr. McClure 
makes it very plain to us that few if any of those who 
thought they knew Lincoln intimately knew really more 
than the one side he showed to each of them. Much of 
Mr. McClure' s intercourse with Lincoln had to do, from 
time to time, with what we now call practical politics, 
and his extraordinary shrewdness as a politician is one 
aspect of this many-sided character that has not before 
been so intelligently set forth. Yet this seems one of 
the great secrets of Lincoln's success his ready percep- 
tion of the popular current, his carefulness in guiding 
it, and his ability to wait for it if he found himself in 


danger of going ahead too fast. No man of his time 
was more earnest and sincere in his convictions, but he 
could not afford to risk them in impracticable experi- 
ments. He had to achieve results and patiently to await 
opportunities. The ideal hero of the old-fashioned his- 
torian, who must be always heroic, would not have 
waited. And he would not have achieved. If those 
to whom these revelations of Lincoln's shrewdness and 
ingenuity as a practical politician bring something of a 
shock will only think of the failures that he witnessed, 
and what failure in his case would have meant, they 
will not fear that Lincoln's fame will suffer from the 

It is perhaps best of all in Mr. Lincoln's relations with 
his immediate associates and subordinates that we ob- 
serve those elements of shrewd judgment, of patience, 
self-repression, persistence, and abiding faith that are 
such essential parts of his character. His treatment of 
Grant is a conspicuous illustration not only of his judg- 
ment of men, but of that cautious policy that so often 
enabled him to carry his ends by deferring them. His 
patient endurance with Stanton, often yielding to him 
against his own convictions in order to avoid a rupture 
that would have brought disaster, and indeed his rela- 
tions with all the leading members of his Cabinet, not 
less than the curiously characteristic diplomacy that re- 
sulted in the nomination of Andrew Johnson, illustrate 
this same thoughtful prudence that ever subordinated 
the minor issue to the greater which is the art of the 


This aspect of Mr. Lincoln's character is dwelt upon 
here because it is one that has been generally obscured 
in the popular estimate, but that is absolutely essential 
to any right estimate of the man and his work. No acts 
of his administration have been less understood than the 
great achievement of emancipation and his attitude 
toward the States in rebellion at the close of the war. 
On both of these points Mr. McClure speaks with the 
authority of exact knowledge, and he shows us with 
how little of self-assertion, with how much of prudent 
self-repression, Mr. Lincoln approached these as all other 
great crises of his career. He was not more in advance 
of his time than others were in foreseeing the inevitable 
destruction of slavery; but to him the one great purpose 
of the restoration of the Union was ever paramount, and 
the other must wait till the exigencies of the war should 
solve the problem or bring the people, the masses as well 
as the leaders, to recognize an act of emancipation as a 
supreme necessity. His own plan of compensated eman- 
cipation he brought forward in his Cabinet, and when it 
was disapproved he folded it up and put it by. And so 
he watched and waited till the time came when the 
country called for more heroic measures and he could 
speak as the mouthpiece of the nation. 

Again, at the close of the war he had his own plan, 
deliberately formed, for the recall of the legislatures of 
the Southern States to resume their functions under the 
Constitution. There can be no dispute as to Lincoln's 
intentions, as expressed in his own directions concern- 
ing Virginia, or his communication of these intentions to 


General Sherman. But when he found that he was not 
sustained he withdrew his instructions, to await the turn 
of events; and before he could recast his plans to make 
the present yielding lead to future achievement, the as- 
sassin's bullet ended his great life. Then all the men 
who had complained of Lincoln's slowness, his timidity, 
his indirectness, and who thought it the part of a leader 
to go ahead, irrespective of whether anybody followed 
him, had the opportunity they wished to try their various 

We know what confusion and disaster they wrought. 
The appeal was not, like his, to the conscience and con- 
victions of the people, but to their passions and resent- 
ments; and it is only now, when a new generation has 
come upon the scene, that we are emerging from the 
shadows of that dreadful time, and are learning to esti- 
mate its men and measures justly. And Lincoln rises in 
our esteem as we see in him not merely an abstract, im- 
possible ideal, nor merely, on the other hand, a rough, 
unschooled Western politician, but the typical Northern 
American of his time, the embodiment of the character 
of the nation in its period of greatest trial. 

Such at least is the idea that comes strongly to me 
from these chapters. Always somewhat skeptical of the 
untutored genius, as well as of the genius who thinks 
himself in advance of his age, I confess that I like much 
better to think of Lincoln as a man schooled for his 
work by thoughtful study and patient watchfulness, and 
meeting the strong men who surrounded him as at least 
their peer, not alone in singleness of devotion to a cause, 


but in the art of statesmanship as well. Very many 'of 
these strong men Mr. McClure brings before ns with the 
vivid relief of intimate knowledge, and the reader will 
not fail to recognize the just appreciation with which 
each one of these great figures is presented. This seems 
to me another of the qualities that give to this volume a 
value that is new. While its point of view is that of 
personal knowledge, it is also that of the impartial stu- 
dent, in whose mind the controversies of a quarter of a 
century have clarified and confirmed the judgments of 
the historian. He has given us thus not only a series 
of illustrative episodes, but a well-proportioned group 
of figures representing truthfully the political forces of 
the period of the war, with the one great figure always 
in the centre the great President, and more than that, 
the great American, the embodiment of the strength and 
uprightness, the conscience and the courage, of Amer- 
ican manhood, the realization of our democratic ideal. 


April, 1892. J 



ABRAHAM LINCOLN Frontispiece. 














ANDREW G. CURTIN, 1860 229 


ANDREW G. CURTIN, 1892 250 










G. K. WARREN 3 2 7 

D. C. BuELL 3 2 7 


J. E. B. STUART 370 






LINCOLN IN 1860 His First Nomination for President at Chicago 
How Seward was Overthrown Curtin and Lane Defeated him and 
Nominated Lincoln The October States decided it Seward's Nomi- 
nation would have Defeated Curtin in Pennsylvania and Lane in Indi- 
ana at the October Elections The School Question made Seward Un- 
available The Bitterness of Seward's Friends after his Defeat .... 21 

A VISIT TO LINCOLN First Impressions of the New President- 
Ungraceful in Dress and Manner His Homely Ways soon Forgotten 
in Conversation Lincoln's Midnight Journey The Harrisburg Dinner 
to Lincoln by Governor Curtin Discussion of a Change of Route 
Decided against Lincoln's Protest Colonel Scott's Direction of Lin- 
coln's Departure A Night of Painful Anxiety The Cheering Message 
of Lincoln's Arrival in Washington received 38 

LINCOLN'S SORE TRIALS Without Hearty Support from any Party 
Confused Republican Councils A Discordant Cabinet from the Start 
How Union Generals Failed A Memorable Conference with General 
Scott in the White House His Ideas of Protecting the Capital The 
People Unprepared for War and Unprepared for its Sacrifices .... 51 

LINCOLN'S CHARACTERISTICS The most Difficult of Characters 
to Analyze None but Himself his Parallel He Confided in None 
without Reservation How Davis, Swett, Lamon, and Herndon Esti- 
mated him The Most Reticent and Secretive of Men He Heard all 
and Decided for Himself Among the Greatest in Statesmanship and the 
Master Politician of his Day How his Sagacity Settled the Mollie 
Maguire Rebellion in Pennsylvania 64 

LINCOLN IN POLITICS His Masterly Knowledge of Political Strat- 
egy The Supreme Leader of his Party How he held Warring Fac- 
tions to his Support His First Blundering Venture in his Presidential 
Contest He was Master of Leaders, and not of Details His Inter- 
vention in the Curtin Contest of 1863 How he made James Gordon 
Bennett his Friend when the Political Horizon was Dark His Strategy 
in making a Faithless Officer perform his Duty without Provoking Po- 
litical Complications 76 

LINCOLN AND EMANCIPATION Willing to Save or Destroy Slav- 
ery \o Save the Union Not a Sentimental Abolitionist His Earnest 
Efforts for Compensated Emancipation Slavery could have been Saved 
The Suicidal Action of the Border States The Preliminary Procla- 
mation offered Perpetuity to Slavery if the Rebellion ended January i, 
1863 How the Republic gradually Gravitated to Emancipation Lin- 
coln eloquently Appeals to the Border-State Representatives The Vio- 
lent Destruction of Slavery the most Colossal Suicide of History Ap- 
peals to Lincoln to avoid Political Disasters by Rejecting Emancipation 
He BuHded Better than he Knew 88 

LINCOLN AND HAMLIN Why Lincoln Nominated Johnson in 1864 
A Southern War Democrat Needed The Gloomy Outlook of the 
Political Battle Lincoln would have been Defeated at any Time in 1864 
before the Victories of Sherman at Atlanta and Sheridan in the Valley 
The Two Campaign Speeches which Decided the Contest made by 
Sherman and Sheridan The Republican Leaders not in Sympathy with 

2 17 



Lincoln The Question of Foreign Intervention in Favor of the Con- 
federacy shaped Lincoln's Political Action Hamlin's Letter admitting 
that Lincoln Defeated him 104 

LINCOLN AND CHASE Secretary Chase the Fly in the Lincoln 
Ointment His Presidential Ambition He was an Annual Resigner of 
his Portfolio His Efforts to Defeat Lincoln How Chase's Presidential 
Movements grieved Lincoln Lincoln's Story about Declining Chase 
Lincoln's Fears about his Renomination His Final Acceptance of 
Chase's Resignation Chase's Resolve to Oppose Lincoln's Re-election 
His Visits to Lincoln after Lincoln's Re-election was Assured He 
Declared for Lincoln Two Weeks before the Election, and Telegraphed 
Congratulations from Ohio His Appointment as Chief-Justice violently 
Opposed 119 

LINCOLN AND CAMERON- Cameron's Exceptional Senatorial Hon- 
ors in Pennsylvania The First Man Four Times chosen His Can- 
didacy for President in 1860 His Battle for the Cabinet The Sander- 
son Compact with Davis at Chicago Lincoln Tendered Cameron a 
Cabinet Portfolio, and Revoked it Three Days later The Convulsive 
Contest in Pennsylvania Visit to Lincoln, and what he Said Cameron 
and Slavery His Report as War Minister on Arming Slaves recalled 
by Lincoln and Revised The True Story of Cameron's Retirement 
from the Cabinet The Wonderful Political Power Cameron created in 
Pennsylvania 134 

LINCOLN AND STANTON Stanton's Strange Medley of Attributes 
The Fiercest and Gentlest of Men Capable of the Grandest and 
the Meanest Actions Jere McKibben Imprisoned Lincoln releases 
McKibben from Old Capitol Prison on Parole Stanton's Angry Re- 
sentment The Conflict over McClellan Lincoln Overrules Stanton's 
Protests Stanton's Refusal to Execute Lincoln's Order Lincoln's An- 
swer : " Mr. Secretary, it will have to be Done " Lincoln's High Ap- 
preciation of Stanton's Public Services He believed Stanton to be the 
best War Minister he could Obtain Stanton's Conflict with Johnson 
His Death 155 

LINCOLN AND GRANT Grant's Trouble in Getting a Command- 
Given an Insubordinate Regiment Popular Demand for Grant's Dis- 
missal after Shiloh Lincoln alone saved Grant " I can't Spare this 
Man : he Fights " Lincoln's Heroic and Sagacious Methods to restore 
Grant to Public Confidence Relieved of Command without Reproach 
Restored when Fighting was Wanted An Incident of the Battle for 
Lincoln's Re-election Lincoln Distrusted Grant's Fidelity to him 
"Phil Sheridan; he's all Right" Grant's Explanation Twelve Years 
later Injustice done to Grant by Lincoln's Distrust Grant as a Con- 
versationalist A Genial Guest in the Social Circle 174 

LINCOLN AND McCLELL AN Their Relations yet Disputed by their 
Friends How History will Judge them Lincoln a Successful Presi- 
dent: McClellan an Unsuccessful General Lincoln was McClellan's 
Friend He Hoped that McClellan would again be Commander-in- 
Chief McClellan's Misfortune in declining Command of the Pennsyl- 
vania Reserves He was Called to the Chief Command when neither 
Generals nor the Country understood the Magnitude or the Necessities 
of the War McClellan would have made the Best Confederate Gen- 
eral Why Lincoln Restored him to Command He was the Great Or- 
ganizer of the War Grant the Great Aggressive General : McClellan 
the Great Defensive General McClellan's Devoted Loyalty and Pa- 
triotism 192 



LINCOLN AND SHERMAN Sherman at First sadly Disappointed in 
Lincoln Lincoln's Early Distrust of Sherman Sherman declared a 
Lunatic because he Understood the War How Time justified his 
Judgment Sherman won Lincoln and Grant's Confidence at Shiloh 
Lincoln's Strong Faith in Sherman in his Atlanta Campaign and March 
to the Sea Sherman's Qualities as a Commander The Atlanta Cam- 
paign the most Brilliant of the War Sherman's Terms of Surrender 
given to Johnston They were in Exact Accord with Lincoln's Instruc- 
tions given to Sherman at City Point Lincoln and the Virginia Legis- 
lature He did what he Instructed Sherman to do in North Carolina 
Lincoln's Views of Reconstruction looked solely to Peace and Cordial 
Reunion 209 

LINCOLN AND CURTIN Their First Meeting at Harrisburg, Febru- 
arv 22, 1861 They were Always in Accord Curtin and Sherman the 
two Men who Wanted Great Armies The Pennsylvania Reserve Corps 
Rejected by the Government, then frantically Called for The Loyal 
Governors united to call for More Troops in June, 1862 The Altoona 
Conference that made the Emancipation Policy Successful Curtin's 
Conference with Lincoln that brought the Loyal Governors together 
Lincoln's Fidelity to Curtin in 1863 Curtin and Stanton How Sol- 
diers' Orphans' Schools Originated Unexampled Expressions of Con- 
fidence in Curtin in 1867 and 1869 by the Unanimous Votes of the Leg- 
islature 229 

LINCOLN AND STEVENS The Executive and Legislative Leaders 
of the War Stevens the Great Commoner Two Characters so Like 
and yet so Unlike Humanity Mastered Lincoln Stevens blended Hu- 
manity with Fierce Resentment Lincoln and Stevens's Personal Rela- 
tions always Kind, but seldom Cordial They Worked on the Same 
Lines, but far Apart The Influence of their Opposing Qualities upon 
each Other Stevens's vindictive Policy of Reconstruction How it 
would have Saved the South from Desolation Stevens as a Lawyer 
His Defense of Hanway Nominated for Congress when Dead His 
Tomb and Epitaph 255 

LINCOLN AND BUCHANAN The Injustice done to the Memory of 
Buchanan He was Patriotic and Loyal Lincoln followed Buchanan's 
Policy until Sumter was Fired on Buchanan's Cabinet Reorganized 
in Loyalty Judge Black Reversed the Policy of the Administration 
Buchanan's Debt to the South He was Elected because he was in 
Sympathy with Slavery Progression His Federal Strict-Construction 
Ideas His Prompt and Heroic Action when he saw the South plunge 
into Rebellion He did not Reinforce the Southern Forts because he 
had no Troops His Loyalty to Lincoln and to the Country during the 
War His many Expressions of Lofty Patriotism His Conscientious 
Discharge of every Public and Private Duty 273 

LINCOLN AND GREELEY One of the most Fretting of Lincoln's 
Thorns They First met in Congress Greeley Opposed Lincoln's 
Election over Douglas How Greeley Aided Lincoln in 1860 He 
Made the First Breach in the Seward Column Greeley's Embarrass- 
ment to Lincoln by advocating Peaceable Secession His Demand that 
Force should not be employed to Hold any State in the Union Gree- 
ley's " On to Richmond!" Cry. and the Bull Run Disaster His Arro- 
gant Demand for Emancipation His Letter to Lincoln, and Lincoln's 
Answer Greeley's Hostility to Lincoln's Renomination, and his Reluc- 
tant Support of Lincoln's Re-election The Jewett Peace Fiasco 
Greeley's Quarrel with Grant His Candidacy for the Presidency in 
1872 Th,e Cincinnati Convention Greeley's Defeat and Sad Death. 288 



bersburg Known as "Dr. Smith" No Resident of the Town had 
Knowledge or Intimation of his Virginia Raid List of Brown's 
Harper's Ferry Raiders Capture of John E. Cook Dan Logan cap- 
tured Cook in South Mountain Ill-fated in several Chances to Escape 
His Trial and Execution 307 

OUR UNREWARDED HEROES George G. Meade, George H. 
Thomas, Fitz John Porter, G. K. Warren, and D. C. Buell Meade 
and Thomas denied Just Honors Porter, Warren, and Buell Dis- 
graced by the Passion of Power The Heroes of Gettysburg and Nash- 
ville The Reluctant Atonement done to the Humiliated Soldiers 
Meade's Soldierly Qualities at Gettysburg His Heroic Character in 
every Military Trial Thomas's Disfavor with the Ruling Military 
Power His Soldierly Ability displayed at Nashville His Great Vic- 
tory won when he had been Relieved of his Command Porter's Cruel 
and Brutal Conviction by a Packed Tribunal His Aggressive Loyalty 
at Harrisburg His Courage and Skill as a Commander His Final 
Complete Vindication and Restoration to Rank Warren's Unjust Dis- 
missal from Command in the Last Battle of the War How Military 
Hatred smote him when he had done most to Win Victory His Sad 
Death before his Vindication Buell's Wise and Heroic Campaign in 
Kentucky and Tennessee He Saved Grant from Annihilation Re- 
lieved from Command by the Partisan Clamor of the Time The Rec- 
ords of his Military Commission suppressed for Ten Years Stanton's 
Effort at Atonement 327 

BORDER-LIFE IN WAR-TIMES- -The First Murmurs of the Civil 
War The Strain upon the Border People Raids and Battles con- 
stantly Disturbing them How War Despoiled them Stuart's First 
Great Raid of the War An Interesting Evening with Confederates 
How Hospitality saved the Host from Capture Incidents of the Battle 
of Antietam Lee's Gettysburg Campaign The Unknown Scout who 
gave First Information of Lee's Advance on Gettysburg A Confed^ 
erate Hospital Incident The Fierce Passions of Civil War The De- 
struction of Chambersburg by McCausland How a Soldier's Wife 
Saved her Home The Surrender of Lee Rest for the Border . . . 362 

to the State as a Distinct Organization Its many Heroic Commanders : 
McCall, Meade, Reynolds, Ord, and Crawford It Won the First Vic- 
tory for the Army of the Potomac at Dranesville Under McDowell 
Bayard's Flying Brigade The Reserves Ten Thousand Strong when 
the Peninsula Battles began Heroic Defense at Games' Mills and 
Mechanicsville Always Fighting on the Retreat to the James River 
McCall and Reynolds Captured and Fourteen Hundred Reserves Killed 
or Wounded In the Second Bull Run Campaign under Reynolds 
Complimented by Pope In the Antietam Campaign under Meade 
First to Open the Battle Opened the Fight at Fredericksburg, but not 
Supported Ordered to Washington Crawford called to Command 
Crawford's Successful Appeal to get the Reserves in the Chancellors- 
ville Campaign The Bloody Struggle for Round Top at Gettysburg 
The Reserves Win it, and were Last in Action on the Field At Mine 
Run In the Wilderness Campaign The Last Battles of the Gallant 
Reserves Crawford's Farewell Address Most of them Re-enlist 
Only Twelve Hundred Officers and Men return 392 

APPENDIX The Nicolay-McClure Controversy 425 

INDEX . 451 

[Copied from "Abraham Lincoln; A History," by permission of its authors.] 


IT was the unexpected that happened in Chicago on 
that fateful i8th of May, 1860, when Abraham 
Lincoln was nominated for President of the United 
States. It was wholly unexpected by the friends of 
Seward ; it was hoped for, but not confidently expected, 
by the friends of Lincoln. The convention was the 
ablest assembly of the kind ever called together in this 
country. It was the first national deliberative body of 
the Republican party that was to attain such illustrious 
achievements in the history of free government. The 
first national convention of that party, held in Phila- 
delphia in 1856, was composed of a loose aggregation 
of political free-thinkers, embracing many usually de- 
nominated as * * cranks. ' ' The party was without organ- 
ization or cohesion; its delegates were self-appointed and 
responsible to no regular constituency. It was the sud- 
den eruption of the intense resentment of the people 
of the North against the encroachments of slavery in 
Northern Territories, and neither in the character of 
its leaders nor in the record of its proceedings did it 
rank as a distinctively deliberative body. It nomi- 
nated a romantic adventurer for President a man un- 
tried in statesmanship and who had done little to 
commend him to the considerate judgment of the 
nation as its Chief Magistrate in a period of uncom- 



mon peril. The campaign that followed was one of 
unusual brilliancy, and resulted in anchoring nearly all 
of the old Democratic States of the West in the Repub- 
lican column. In 1860 the principles of the Republican 
party had been clearly denned; its organization had been 
perfected in every Northern State, and each delegate 
to that convention at Chicago was regularly chosen and 
represented a great party inspired by a devotion to its 
faith that has seldom been equaled and never surpassed 
in all our political history. The halo of romance that 
encircled General Fremont, ' ' the Pathfinder, ' ' four 
years before had perished, and he was unthought of as 
a candidate. 

For nearly two years before the meeting of the Chicago 
Convention in 1860 the Republican party had one pre- 
eminent leader who was recognized as the coming can- 
didate for President. The one man who had done most 
to inspire and crystallize the Republican organization 
was William H. Seward of New York. Certainly, two- 
thirds of the delegates chosen to the convention pre- 
ferred him for President, and a decided majority went 
to Chicago expecting to vote for his nomination. Had 
the convention been held in any other place than 
Chicago, it is quite probable that Seward would have 
been successful; but every circumstance seemed to con- 
verge to his defeat when the delegates came face to face 
in Chicago to solve the problem of a Republican national 
victory. Of the 231 men who voted for Lincoln on the 
third and last ballot, not less than 100 of them voted 
reluctantly against the candidate of their choice. It 
was a Republican-Seward convention; it was not a Sew- 
ard-Repiiblican convention. With all its devotion to 
Seward it yielded to a higher devotion to Republican 
success, and that led to the nomination of Abraham 

LINCOLN IN i860. 23 

I have read scores of magazine and newspaper articles 
assuming to explain how and why Lincoln was nomi- 
nated at Chicago in 1860. Few of them approach ac- 
curacy, and no one of them that I can recall tells the 
true story. Lincoln was not seriously thought of for 
President until but a few weeks before the meeting of 
the National Convention. Elaine has truly said that the 
State Convention of Illinois, held but a short time before 
the meeting of the National Convention, was surprised 
at its own spontaneous and enthusiastic nomination of 
Lincoln. He had been canvassed at home and in other 
States as a more than possible candidate for Vice- Presi- 
dent. I well remember Lincoln mentioning the fact 
that his own delegation from Illinois was not unitedly in 
earnest for his nomination, but when the time came for 
casting their votes the enthusiasm for Lincoln in Chicago, 
both inside and outside the convention, was such that 
they could do no less than- give him the united vote of 
the State. Leonard Swett, who was one of the most 
potent of the Lincoln leaders in that struggle, in a letter 
written to Mr. Drummond on the 27th of May, 1860, in 
which he gives a detailed account of the battle made for 
Lincoln, states that 8 of the 22 delegates from Illinois 
( ' would gladly have gone for Seward. ' ' Thus, not only 
in many of the other States did Lincoln receive reluc- 
tant votes in that convention, but even his own State 
furnished a full share of votes which would have been 
gladly given to Seward had he been deemed available. 

The first breach made in the then apparently invin- 
cible columns of Seward was made by Horace Greeley. 
His newspaper, the Tribune, was then vastly the most 
influential public journal on the continent, and equaled 
in the world only by the Times of London. His battle 
against Seward was waged with tireless energy and con- 
summate skill. It was not then known that he had 


separated from immediate political association with Sew- 
ard and Weed. Had his relations with those gentlemen 
been fully understood then, as they were soon after the 
convention, when Greeley's memorable letter of political 
dissolution was given to the public, it would have greatly 
impaired his influence in opposing Seward. But I think 
it just to Greeley to say that, independent of all real or 
imaginary wrongs from Seward and Weed, he was hon- 
estly convinced that Seward was not an available candi- 
date in 1860. He espoused the cause of Edward Bates 
of Missouri, who was a man of most distinguished cha- 
racter and ability, and whose record appealed very 
strongly to the more conservative elements of the party. 
Indeed, the nomination of Bates would have been within 
the lines of possibility, instead of the nomination of 
Lincoln, had the convention been surrounded by local 
influences in his favor as potent as were the local influ- 
ences for the successful candidate. The Pennsylvania 
delegation in determining its final choice gave Lincoln 
barely four majority over Bates, and but for the fact that 
Indiana had decided to give unanimous support to Lin- 
coln at an early stage of the contest, Bates would have 
been a much more formidable candidate than he now 
appears to have been by the records of the convention. 
The defeat of Seward and the nomination of Lincoln 
were brought about by two men Andrew G. Curtin of 
Pennsylvania, and Henry S. Lane of Indiana, and neither 
accident nor intrigue was a material factor in the strug- 
gle. * They not only defeated Seward in a Seward con- 

* Mrs. Henry S. Lane to the Author, September 16, 1891 : " I 
read with the greatest interest your excellent article in the St. 
Louis Globe- Democrat, giving a history of the convention which 
nominated Lincoln. I thank you for the kindly mention of Mr. 
Lane's name in that memorable convention. So many different 
versions of the same have been given the public (with many mis- 

LINCOLN IN i860. 25 

vention, but they decided the contest in favor of Lincoln 
against Bates, his only real competitor after Seward. 
Curtin had been nominated for Governor in Pennsyl- 
vania and Lane had been nominated for Governor in 
Indiana. The States in which their battles were to be 
fought were the pivotal States of the national contest. 
It was an accepted necessity that both Pennsylvania and 
Indiana should elect Republican Governors in October to 
secure the election of the Republican candidate for Presi- 
dent in November. Curtin and Lane were naturally the 
most interested of all the great host that attended the 
Chicago Convention in 1860. Neither of their States 
was Republican. In Pennsylvania the name of Repub- 
lican could not be adopted by the party that had chosen 
Curtin for Governor. The call for the convention sum- 
moned the opposition to the Democratic party to attend 
the People's State Convention, and all shades of antago- 
nism to the administration then in power were invited to 
cordial and equal participation in the deliberations of 
that body. The Republicans had made a distinct battle 

takes) that I was glad to see a true one published to vindicate 
the truth of history. 

" I was with my husband in Chicago, and may tell you now, 
as most of the actors have 'joined the silent majority,' what no 
living person knows, that Thurlow Weed, in his anxiety for the 
success of Seward, took Mr. Lane out one evening and pleaded 
with him to lead the Indiana delegation over to Seward, saying 
they would send enough money from New York to ensure his 
election for Governor, and carry the State later for the New York 

1 ' His proposal was indignantly rejected, as there was neither 
money nor influence enough in their State to change my hus- 
band's opinion in regard to the fitness and availability of Mr. 
Lincoln for the nomination, and with zeal and energy he worked 
faithfully for his election, remained his firm friend through his 
administration till the end came and death crystallized his fame. 
With sincere thanks, respectfully." 


for Governor three years before, with David Wilmot as 
their candidate, against Isaac Hazelhurst, the American 
candidate, and William F. Packer, the Democratic can- 
didate. The result was the election of Packer by a 
majority over the combined votes of both the opposing 
nominees. The American organization was maintained 
in Philadelphia and in many of the counties of the State. 
Fillmore had received a large majority of the votes cast 
for the Fremont-Fillmore Fusion Electoral ticket in 1856 
in various sections. These elements had been combined 
in what was then called the People's party in Pennsyl- 
vania in the State elections of 1858 and 1859, an ^ the 
Democrats had been defeated by the combination, but 
the American element remained very powerful and quite 
intense in many localities. Without its aid the success 
of Curtin was simply impossible. A like condition of 
things existed in Indiana. The American element had 
polled over 22,000 votes for Fillmore in 1856, and in 
1858, when the same effort was made in Indiana to unite 
all shades of opposition to the Democracy, the combina- 
tion was defeated by a small majority. While the anti- 
slavery sentiment asserted itself by the election of a 
majority of Republicans to Congress in 1858, the entire 
Democratic State ticket was successful by majorities 
varying from 1534 to 2896. It was evident, therefore, 
that in both Pennsylvania and Indiana there would be a 
desperate battle for the control of the October election, 
and it was well known by all that if the Republicans 
failed to elect either Curtin or L,ane the Presidential 
battle would be irretrievably lost. 

Both of the candidates presented in these two pivotal 
States were men of peculiar fitness for the arduous task 
they had assumed. Both were admittedly the strongest 
men that could have been nominated by the opposition 
to the Democracy, and both were experienced and con- 

LINCOLN IN i860. 27 

summate politicians. Their general knowledge of poli- 
tics and of the bearing of all political questions likely to 
be felt in the contest made them not only wise counsel- 
ors, but all appreciated the fact that they were of all men 
the most certain to advise solely with reference to suc- 
cess. Neither of them cared whether Seward, Lincoln, 
Bates, or any of the other men named for President 
should be nominated, if the man chosen was certain to 
be the most available. They were looking solely to their 
own success in October, and their success meant the suc- 
cess of the Republican party in the nation. With Lane 
was John D. Defrees, chairman of his State committee, 
who had been called to that position because he was re- 
garded as best fitted to lead in the desperate contest 
before him. I was with Curtin and interested as he was 
only in his individual success, as he had summoned me 
to take charge of his October battle in Pennsylvania. 
The one thing that Curtin, Lane, and their respective 
lieutenants agree'd upon was that the nomination of 
Seward meant hopeless defeat in their respective States. 
Lane and Defrees were positive in the assertion that the 
nomination of Seward would lose the Governorship in 
Indiana. Curtin and I were equally positive in declar- 
ing that the nomination of Seward would defeat Curtin 
in Pennsylvania. 

There was no personal hostility to Seward in the efforts 
made by Curtin and Lane to defeat him. They had no 
reason whatever to hinder his nomination, excepting the 
settled conviction that the nomination of Seward meant 
their own inevitable defeat. It is not true, as has been 
assumed by many, that the objection to Seward was be- 
cause of his radical or advanced position in Republican 
faith. It was not Seward' s "irrepressible conflict" or 
his "higher-law" declarations which made Curtin and 
Lane oppose him as the Republican candidate. On the 


contrary, both of them were thoroughly anti-slavery 
men, and they finally accepted Lincoln with the full 
knowledge that he was even in advance of Seward in 
forecasting the "irrepressible conflict." Lincoln an- 
nounced in his memorable Springfield speech, delivered 
on the i;th of June, 1858, "'A house divided against 
itself cannot stand ;' I believe this Government cannot 
endure permanently half slave and half free," and 
Se ward's "irrepressible-conflict" speech was not deliv- 
ered until the 25th of October. * Lincoln was not only 
fully abreast with Seward, but in advance of him in 
forecasting the great battle against slavery. The single 
reason that compelled Curtin and L,ane to make aggres- 
sive resistance to the nomination of Seward was his atti- 
tude on the school question, that was very offensive to 
the many thousands of voters in their respective States, 
who either adhered to the American organization or 
cherished its strong prejudices against any division of 
the school fund. It was Seward' s record on that single 
question when Governor of New York that made him an 

* It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring 
forces, and it means that the United States must and will, sooner 
or later, become either entirely a slaveholding nation or entirely 
a free-labor nation . Seward' s speech at Rochester, October 25, 1858. 

But there is a higher law than the Constitution which regu- 
lates our authority over the domain and devotes it to the same 
noble purposes. The territory is a part, no inconsiderable part, 
of the common heritage of mankind bestowed upon them by the 
Creator of the universe. We are His stewards, and must so dis- 
charge our trust as to secure, in the highest obtainable degree, 
their happiness. Seward' s Senate speech, March u, 1850. 

" A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this 
Government cannot endure permanently one half slave and one 
half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved ; I do not 
expect the house to fall ; but I do expect it will cease to be di- 
vided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Lincoln's 
Springfield speech, June 17, 1858. 

LINCOLN IN i860. 29 

impossible candidate for President in 1860, unless he was 
to be nominated simply to be defeated. Had he been 
nominated, the American element in Pennsylvania and 
Indiana would not only have maintained its organi- 
zation, but it would have largely increased its strength 
on the direct issue of hostility to Seward. It was not 
an unreasonable apprehension, therefore, that inspired 
Curtin and Lane to protest with all earnestness against 
the nomination of Seward. There could be no question 
as to the sincerity of the Republican candidates for Gov- 
ernor in the two pivotal States when they declared that 
a particular nomination would doom them to defeat, 
and it was Andrew G. Curtin and Henry S. Lane whose 
earnest admonitions to the delegates at Chicago com- 
pelled a Seward convention to halt in its purpose and set 
him aside, with all his pre-eminent qualifications and 
with all the enthusiastic devotion of his party to him. 
It was Curtin and Lane also who decided that Lincoln 
should be the candidate after Seward had been practi- 
cally overthrown. When it became known that Sew- 
ard' s nomination would defeat the party in Pennsylvania 
and Indiana, the natural inquiry was, Who can best aid 
these candidates for Governor in their State contests? 
Indiana decided in favor of Lincoln at an early stage 
of the struggle, and her action had much to do in de- 
ciding Pennsylvania's support of Lincoln. The Penn- 
sylvania delegation had much less knowledge of Lincoln 
than the men from Indiana, and there were very few 
original supporters of Lincoln among them. Wilmot 
was for Lincoln from the start; Stevens was for Judge 
McLean; Reeder was for General Cameron. The dele- 
gation was not a harmonious one, because of the hos- 
tility of a considerable number of the delegates to 
Cameron for President, and it was not until the first 
day that the convention met that Pennsylvania got into 


anything like a potential attitude. At a meeting of the 
delegation it was proposed that the first, second, and 
third choice of the delegates for President should be 
formally declared. It is needless to say that this propo- 
sition did not come from the earnest supporters of 
Cameron, but it was coupled with the suggestion that 
Cameron should be unanimously declared the first choice 
of the State; which was done. Stevens was stubbornly 
for McLean, and had a considerable following. He 
asked that McLean be declared the second choice of the 
State, and, as McLean was then known to be practically 
out of the fight, he was given substantially a unanimous 
vote as the second choice. The third choice to be ex- 
pressed by the delegation brought the State down to 
practical business, as it was well known that both the 
first and second choice were mere perfunctory declara- 
tions. The battle came then between Bates and Lin- 
coln, and but for the facts that Indiana had previously 
declared for Lincoln, and that Curtin and Lane were 
acting in concert, there is little reason to doubt that 
Bates would have been preferred. Much feeling was 
exhibited in deciding the third choice of the State, and 
Lincoln finally won over Bates by four majority. When 
it became known that Pennsylvania had indicated Lin- 
coln as her third choice, it gave a wonderful impetus to 
the Lincoln cause. Cameron and McLean were not 
seriously considered, and what was nominally the third 
choice of the State was accepted as really the first choice 
among possible candidates. The slogan of the Lincoln 
workers was soon heard on every side, u Pennsylvania's 
for Lincoln," and from the time that Pennsylvania 
ranged herself along with Indiana in support of Lincoln 
not only was Seward's defeat inevitable, but the nomi- 
nation of Lincoln was practically assured. Thus did 
two men Curtin and Lane not only determine Sew- 

LINCOLN IN i860. 31 

ard's defeat, but they practically determined the nomi- 
nation of Lincoln. 

Notwithstanding the substantial advantages gained by 
the supporters of Lincoln in the preliminary struggles 
at Chicago, the fight for Seward was maintained with 
desperate resolve until the final ballot was taken. It 
was indeed a battle of giants. Thurlow Weed was the 
Seward leader, and he was simply incomparable as a 
master in handling a convention. With him were such 
able lieutenants as Governor Morgan, and Raymond of 
the New York Times, with Evarts as chairman of the 
delegation, whose speech nominating Seward was the 
most impressive utterance of his life. The Bates men 
were led by Frank Blair, the only Republican Congress- 
man from a slave State, who was nothing if not heroic, 
aided by his brother Montgomery, who was a politician 
of uncommon cunning. With them was Horace Gree- 
ley, who was chairman of the delegation from the then 
almost inaccessible State of Oregon. It was Lincoln's 
friends, however, who were the u hustlers'' of that 
battle. They had men for sober counsel like David 
Davis ; men of supreme sagacity like Leonard Swett; 
men of tireless effort like Norman B. Judd ; and they 
had what was more important than all a seething mul- 
titude wild with enthusiasm for Abraham Lincoln. For 
once Thurlow Weed was outgeneraled just at a critical 
stage of the battle. On the morning of the third day, 
when the final struggle was to be made, the friends of 
Seward got up an imposing demonstration on the streets 
of Chicago. They had bands and banners, immense 
numbers, and generous enthusiasm ; but while the Sew- 
ard men were thus making a public display of their 
earnestness and strength, Swett and Judd filled the im- 
mense galleries of the wigwam, in which the convention 
was held, with men who were ready to shout to the echo 


for Lincoln whenever opportunity offered. The result 
was that when the Seward men filed into the convention 
there were seats for the delegates, but few for any others, 
and the convention was encircled by an immense throng 
that made the wigwam tremble with its cheers for the 

Twelve names had been put in nomination for Presi- 
dent, but the first ballot developed to the comprehension 
of all that the struggle was between Seward and Lincoln. 
Seward had received 173^ votes and Lincoln 102. The 
other votes scattered between ten candidates, the highest 
of whom (Cameron) received 50^, all of which were from 
Pennsylvania with the exception of 3. Cameron's name 
was at once withdrawn, and on the second ballot Seward 
rose to 184^, with Lincoln closely following at 181, but 
both lacking the 233 votes necessary to a choice. The 
third ballot was taken amid breathless excitement, with 
Lincoln steadily gaining and Seward now and then 
losing, and when the ballot ended Lincoln had 231 X 
to 1 80 for Seward. Lincoln lacked but 2]/ 2 votes of a 
majority. His nomination was now inevitable, and be- 
fore the result was announced there was a general 
scramble to change from the candidates on the scatter- 
ing list to Lincoln. Carter of Ohio was the first to 
obtain recognition, and he changed four Ohio votes 
from Chase to Lincoln, which settled the nomination. 
Maine followed, changing ten votes from Seward to 
Lincoln. Andrew of Massachusetts and Gratz Brown 
of Missouri next came with changes to the Lincoln 
column, and they continued until Lincoln's vote was 
swelled to 354.* 

* The following were the ballots for President : 

First. Second. Third. 

Lincoln 102 181 231^ 

Seward ,,.,... 173^ i4^ 180 

LINCOLN IN i860. 33 

As soon as Ohio gave the necessary number of votes 
to Lincoln to nominate him a huge charcoal portrait 
of the candidate was suddenly displayed from the gallery 
of the wigwam, and the whole convention, with the 
exception of the New York delegation, was whirled to 
its feet by the enthusiasm that followed. It was many 
minutes before the convention could be sufficiently 
calmed to proceed with business. The New York dele- 
gates had kept their seats in sullen silence during all 
this eruption of enthusiasm for Lincoln, and it was long 
even after quiet had been restored that Evarts' tall form 
was recognized to move that the nomination be declared 
unanimous. He was promptly seconded by Andrew of 
Massachusetts, who was also an ardent supporter of 
Seward, and the motion was adopted with a wild hurrah 
that came spontaneously from every part of the conven- 
tion excepting the several lines of seats occupied by the 
seventy delegates from New York. Mr. Evarts' motion 
for a recess was unanimously carried, and the convention 
and its vast audience of spectators hurried out to make 

Cameron . ."' . 




Bates ..... 




Chase . . ? . .- 


McLean . . ." .* 

. . 12 


Dayton . i V-'. 



Collamer . . 





Sumner .... 

Fremont . . . 




Before the third ballot was announced changes were made to 
Lincoln, giving him 354 votes, or 120 more than the number 
necessary to nominate. 

* Withdrawn. 


the streets ring with shouts for the Illinois candidate 
for President. 

Until after the nomination of Lincoln little attention 
had been given to the contest for Vice-President. Had 
Seward been nominated, Lincoln would have been unan- 
imously tendered the second place on the ticket, but 
with Lincoln nominated for the first place the leading 
friends of Lincoln at once suggested to the friends of 
Seward that they should name the candidate for the 
Vice-Presidency. Mr. Greeley was sent to Governor 
Morgan to proffer the nomination to him if he would 
accept it, or in case of his refusal to ask him to name 
some man who would be acceptable to the friends of 
Seward. Governor Morgan not only declined to accept 
it himself, but he declined to suggest any one of Sew- 
ard' s friends for the place. Not only Governor Morgan, 
but Mr. Kvarts and Mr. Weed, all refused to be con- 
sulted on the subject of the Vice-Presidency, and they 
did it in a temper that indicated contempt for the action 
of the convention. Hamlin was nominated, not because 
Seward desired it, for New York gave him a bare major- 
ity on the first ballot, but because he was then the most 
prominent of the Democratic-Republicans in the East. 
The contest was really between Hamlin and Cassius M. 
Clay. Clay was supported chiefly because he was a resi- 
dent of a Southern State and to relieve the party from 
the charge of presenting a sectional ticket ; but as there 
were no Southern electoral votes to be fought for, Ham- 
lin was wisely preferred, and he was nominated on the 
second ballot by a vote of 367 to 86 for Clay.* Not- 

* The following were the ballots for Vice-President : 

First. Second. 

Hamlin 194 367 

Clay 101^ 86 

Hickman 58 18 

LINCOLN IN i860. 35 

withstanding Governor Morgan's keen disappointment 
at the defeat of Seward, he was easily prevailed upon to 
remain at the head of the National Committee, thus 
charging him with the management of the national 

I called on Thurlow Weed at his headquarters during 
the evening after the nominations had been made, ex- 
pecting that, with all his disappointment, he would be 
ready to co-operate for the success of the ticket. I found 
him sullen, and offensive in both manner and expression. 
He refused even to talk about the contest, and intimated 
very broadly that Pennsylvania, having defeated Seward, 
could now elect Curtin and Lincoln. Governor Curtin 
also visited Mr. Weed before he left Chicago, but re- 
ceived no word of encouragement from the disappointed 
Seward leader. * Weed had been defeated in his greatest 
effort, and the one great dream of his life had perished. 
He never forgave Governor Curtin until the day of his 
death, nor did Seward maintain any more than severely 
civil relations with Curtin during the whole time that he 
was at the head of the State Department. I called on 

First. Second. 

Reeder 51* . . 

Banks . ^ .. ; . . _, . . . 38^* 

Davis (Henry Winter) . . . 8* 

Dayton . . . . '. . , , . 3 

Houston 3 . . 

Read i . ., <. 

* Withdrawn. 

* I called on Morgan the night after the nomination was 
made. He treated me civilly, but with marked coolness, and I 
then called on Weed, who was very rude indeed. He said to me, 
"You have defeated the man who of all others was most revered 
by the people and wanted as President. You and Lane want to 
be elected, and to elect Lincoln you must elect yourselves." 
That was all, and I left him. Governor Curtirfs Letter to the 
Author, August 18, 1891. 


Seward but once after the organization of the Lincoln 
Cabinet, and not for the purpose of soliciting any favors 
from him, but he was so frigid that I never ventured to 
trespass upon him again. Three months after the Chi- 
cago convention, when the battle in Pennsylvania was 
raging with desperation on both sides, I twice wrote to 
Weed giving the condition of affairs in the State and 
urging the co-operation of himself and Chairman Mor- 
gan to assure the success of the ticket in October. He 
made no response to either letter, and it so happened 
that we never met thereafter during his life. 

The contest in Pennsylvania was really the decisive 
battle of the national campaign. A party had to be 
created out of inharmonious elements, and the commer- 
cial and financial interests of the State were almost sol- 
idly against us. I cannot recall five commercial houses 
of prominence in the city of Philadelphia where I could 
have gone to solicit a subscription to the Lincoln cam- 
paign with reasonable expectation that it would not be 
resented, and of all our prominent financial men I recall 
only Anthony J. Drexel who actively sympathized with 
the Republican cause. Money would have been useless 
for any but legitimate purposes, but the organization of 
a great State to crystallize incongruous elements was an 
immense task and involved great labor and expense. I 
visited Chairman Morgan in New York, presented the 
situation to him, but he was listless and indifferent, and 
not one dollar of money was contributed from New York 
State to aid the Curtin contest in Pennsylvania. The 
entire contributions for the State committee for that great 
battle aggregated only $12,000, of which $2000 were a 
contribution for rent of headquarters and $3000 were 
expended in printing. Three weeks before the election, 
when I felt reasonably confident of the success of the 
State ticket, I again visited Governor Morgan, and met 

LINCOLN IN i860. 37 

with him Moses Taylor and one or two others, and they 
were finally so much impressed with the importance of 
carrying a Republican Congress that they agreed to raise 
$4300 and send it direct to some six or seven debatable 
Congressional districts I indicated. Beyond this aid ren- 
dered to Pennsylvania from New York the friends of Mr. 
Seward took no part whatever in the great October bat- 
tle that made Abraham Lincoln President. Curtin was 
elected by a majority of 32, 164, and Lane was elected in 
Indiana by 9757. With Curtin the Republicans carried 
19 of the 25 Congressmen, and with Lane the Republi- 
cans of Indiana carried 7 of the n Congressmen of that 
State. Thus was the election of a Republican President 
substantially accomplished in October by the success of 
the two men who had defeated William H. Seward and 
nominated Abraham Lincoln at Chicago. 


I NEVER met Abraham Lincoln until early in Janu- 
ary, 1 86 1, some two months after his election to the 
Presidency. I had been brought into very close and con- 
fidential relations with him by correspondence during the 
Pennsylvania campaign of 1860. His letters were fre- 
quent, and always eminently practical, on the then su- 
preme question of electing the Republican State ticket 
in October. It was believed on all sides that unless 
Pennsylvania could be carried in October, Lincoln's de- 
feat would be certain in November. Pennsylvania was 
thus accepted as the key to Republican success, and Lin- 
coln naturally watched the struggle with intense interest. 
In accordance with his repeated solicitations, he was ad- 
vised from the headquarters of the State Committee, of 
which I was chairman, of all the varied phases of the 
struggle. It soon became evident from his inquiries and 
versatile suggestions that he took nothing for granted. 
He had to win the preliminary battle in October, and he 
left nothing undone within his power to ascertain the 
exact situation and to understand every peril involved 
in it. 

The Republican party in Pennsylvania, although then 
but freshly organized, had many different elements and 
bitter factional feuds within its own household, and all 
who actively participated in party efforts were more or 
less involved in them. I did not entirely escape the bit- 


(Photo by Brady, Washington.) 



terness that was displayed in many quarters. Had I 
been simply a private in the ranks, it would have been 
of little consequence to Lincoln whether I was compe- 
tent to conduct so important a campaign or not; but 
when he was advised, not only from within the State, 
but from friends outside the State as well, that the party 
organization in Pennsylvania was not equal to the press- 
ing necessities of the occasion, he adopted his own cha- 
racteristic methods to satisfy himself on the subject. 

I had met David Davis and Leonard Swett for the first 
time at the Chicago Convention, and of course we knew 
little of each other personally. Some time toward mid- 
summer, when the campaign in Pennsylvania was well 
under way, Davis and Swett entered my headquarters 
together and handed me a letter from Lincoln, in which 
he said that these gentlemen were greatly interested in 
his election that they were on East looking into the 
contest generally, and he would be pleased if I would 
furnish them every facility to ascertain the condition of 
affairs in the State. I was very glad to do so, and they 
spent two days at my headquarters, where every informa- 
tion was given them and the methods and progress of the 
organization opened to them without reserve. They saw 
that for the first time in the history of Pennsylvania poli- 
tics the new party had been organized by the State Com- 
mittee in every election district of the State, and that 
everything that could be done had been done to put the 
party in condition for a successful battle. 

After Davis and Swett had finished their work and 
notified me of their purpose to leave during the night, 
they invited me to a private dinner at which none were 
present but ourselves. During the course of the dinner 
Swett informed me that they were very happy now to be 
able to tell me the real purpose of their mission that 
had their information been less satisfactory they would 


have returned without advising me of it. He said that 
they had been instructed by Lincoln to come to Pennsyl- 
vania and make personal examination into the condition 
of affairs, especially as to the efficiency of the party 
organization of the State, and that his reason for doing 
so was that he had been admonished that the direction 
of the campaign by the State Committee was incompe- 
tent and likely to result in disaster. They added that, 
inasmuch as their answer to Lincoln must be that the 
organization was the best that they had ever known in 
any State, they felt entirely at liberty to disclose to me 
why they had come and what the result of their inquiry 

After their return to Illinois letters from Lincoln were 
not less frequent, and they were entirely confident in 
tone and exhibited the utmost faith in the direction of 
the great Pennsylvania battle. I twice sent him during 
the campaign once about the middle of August, and 
again in the latter part of September a carefully-pre- 
pared estimate of the vote for Governor by counties that 
had been made up by a methodical and reasonably accu- 
rate canvass of each election district of the State. The 
first gave Governor Curtin a majority of 12,000, leaving 
out of the estimate a considerable doubtful vote. The 
last estimate gave Curtin a majority of 17,000, also omit- 
ting the doubtful contingent. The result not only justi- 
fied the estimates which had been sent to him in the 
aggregate majority, but it justified the detailed estimates 
of the vote of nearly or quite every county in the State. 

Curtin' s majority was nearly double the last estimate 
given him because of the drift of the doubtful vote to 
our side, and, being successful in what was regarded as 
the decisive battle of the campaign, Lincoln accorded me 
more credit than I merited. From that time until the 
day of his death I was one of those he called into coun- 


sel in every important political emergency. Much as I 
grieved over the loss of the many to me precious things 
which I had gathered about my home in Chambersburg, 
and serious as was the destruction of all my property 
when the vandals of McCausland burned the town in 
1864, I have always felt that the greatest loss I sustained 
was in the destruction of my entire correspondence with 
Abraham Lincoln. 

About the^ist of January, 1861^! received a telegram 
from Lincoln requesting me to come to Springfield. It 
is proper to say that this invitation was in answer to a 
telegram from me advising him against the appointment 
of General Cameron as Secretary of War. The factional 
feuds and bitter antagonisms of that day have long since 
perished, and I do not purpose in any way to revive 
them. On the 3ist of December, Lincoln had delivered 
to Cameron at Springfield a letter notifying him that he 
would be nominated for a Cabinet position. This fact 
became known immediately upon Cameron's return, and 
inspired very vigorous opposition to his appointment, in 
which Governor Curtin, Thaddeus Stevens, David Wil- 
inot, and many others participated. Although the Sen- 
ate, of which I was a member, was just about to organize, 
I hastened to Springfield and reached there at^geyen 
o'clock in the evening. I had telegraphed Lincoln of 
"tnehour that I should arrive and that I must return at 
eleven the same night. I went directly from the depot 
to Lincoln's house and rang the bell, which was answered 
by Lincoln himself opening the door. I doubt whether 
I wholly concealed my disappointment at meeting him. 
Tall, gaunt, ungainly, ill clad, with a homeliness of 
manner that was unique in itself, I confess that my heart 
sank within me as I remembered that this was the man 
chosen by a great nation to become its ruler in the grav- 
est period of its history. I remember his dress as if it 


were but yesterday srmff-colored and slouchy panta- 
loons ; open black vest, held by a few brass buttons ; 
straight or evening dress-coat, with tightly-fitting sleeves 
to exaggerate his long, bony arms, and all supplemented 
by an awkwardness that was uncommon among men of 
intelligence. Such was the picture I met in the person 
of Abraham Lincoln. We sat down in his plainly fur- 
nished parlor, and were uninterrupted during the nearly 
four hours that I remained with him, and little by little, 
as his earnestness, sincerity, and candor were developed 
in conversation, I forgot all the grotesque qualities which 
so confounded me when I first greeted him. Before half 
an hour had passed I learned not only to respect, but, 
indeed, to reverence the man. 

It is needless to give any account of the special mis- 
sion on which I was called to Springfield, beyond the 
fact that the tender of a Cabinet position to Pennsylvania 
was recalled by him on the following day, although re- 1 
newed and accepted two months later, when the Cabinet 
was finally formed in Washington. It was after the 
Pennsylvania Cabinet imbroglio was disposed of that 
Lincoln exhibited his true self without reserve. For 
more than two hours he discussed the gravity of the situ- 
ation and the appalling danger of civil war. Although 
he had never been in public office outside the Illinois 
Legislature, beyond a single session of Congress, and had 
little intercourse with men of national prominence dur- 
ing the twelve years after his return from Washington, 
he exhibited remarkable knowledge of all the leading 
public men of the country, and none could mistake the 
patriotic purpose that inspired him in approaching the 
mighty responsibility that had been cast upon him by 
the people. He discussed the slavery question in all its 
aspects and all the various causes which were used as 
pretexts for rebellion, and he not only was master of the 


whole question, but thoroughly understood his duty and 
was prepared to perform it. During this conversation I 
had little to say beyond answering an occasional ques- 
tion or suggestion from him, and I finally left him fully 
satisfied that he understood the political conditions in 
Pennsylvania nearly as well as I did myself, and entirely 
assured that of all the public men named for the Presi- 
dency at Chicago he was the most competent and the 
safest to take the helm of the ship of State and guide 
it through the impending storm. I saw many dark days 
akin to despair during the four years which recorded the 
crimsoned annals from Sumter to Appomattox, but I 
never had reason to change or seriously question that 
I next met Abraham Lincoln at Harrisburp on fV 

of February. 1861. when he passed through the most 
trying ordeal of his life. He had been in Philadelphia 
the night before, where he was advised by letters from 
General Winfield Scott and his prospective Premier, 
Senator Seward, that he could not pass through Balti- 
more on the 23d without grave peril to his life. His 
route, as published to the world for some days, was 
from Harrisburg to Philadelphia on the morning of 
the 22d ; to remain in Harrisburg over night as the 
guest of Governor Curtin; and to leave for Washington 
the next morning by the Northern Central Railway, that 
would take him through Baltimore about midday. A 
number of detectives under the direction of President 
Felton of the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore 
Railroad, and Allan Pinkerton, chief of the well-known 
detective agency, were convinced from the information 
they obtained that Lincoln would be assassinated if he 
attempted to pass through Baltimore according to the 
published programme. A conference at the Continental 
Hotel in Philadelphia on the night of the 2ist, at which 


Lincoln was advised of the admonitions of Scott and 
Seward, had not resulted in any final determination as to 
his route to Washington. He was from the first ex- 
tremely reluctant about any change, but it was finally 
decided that he should proceed to Harrisburg on the 
morning of the 22d and be guided by events. 

The two speeches made by Lincoln on the 22d of Feb- 
ruary do not exhibit a single trace of mental disturbance 
from the appalling news he had received. He hoisted 
the stars and stripes to the pinnacle of Independence 
Hall early in the morning and delivered a brief address 
that was eminently characteristic of the man. He arrived 
at Harrisburg about noon, was received in the House of 
Representatives by the Governor and both branches of 
the Legislature, and there spoke with the same calm de- 
liberation and incisiveness which marked all his speeches 
during the journey from Springfield to Washington. 
After the reception at the House another conference was 
held on the subject of his route to Washington, and, 
while every person present, with the exception of Lin- 
coln, was positive in the demand that the programme 
should be changed, he still obstinately hesitated. He 
did not believe that the danger of assassination was 

The afternoon conference practically decided nothing, 
but it was assumed by those active in directing Lincoln's 
journey that there must be a change. Lincoln dined at 
the Jones House about five o'clock with Governor Curtin 
as host of the occasion. I recall as guests the names of 
Colonel Thomas A. Scott, Colonel Sumner, Colonel La- 
mon, Dr. Wallace, David Davis, Secretary Slifer, Attor- 
ney-General Purviance, Adjutant-General Russell, and 
myself. There were others at the table, but I do not 
recall them with certainty. Of that dinner circle, as I 
remember them, only three are now living Governor 


Curtin, Colonel Lamon, and the writer hereof. Mr. Judd 
was not a guest, as he was giving personal attention to 
.Mrs. Lincoln, who was much disturbed by the suggestion 
to separate the President from her, and she narrowly es- 
caped attracting attention to the movements which re- 
quired the utmost secrecy. 

It was while at dinner that it was finally determined 
that Lincoln should return to Philadelphia and go thence 
to Washington that night, as had been arranged in Phila- 
delphia the night previous in the event of a decision to 
change the programme previously announced. No one 
who heard the discussion of the question could efface it 
from his memory; The admonitions received from Gen- 
eral Scott and Senator Seward were made known to Gov- 
ernor Curtin at the table, and the question of a change 
of route was discussed for some time by every one with 
the single exception nf_]jnrn1n. He was the one silent 
man of the party, and when he was finally compelled to 
speak he unhesitatingly expressed his disapproval of the 
movement. With impressive earnestness he thus an- 
swered the appeal of his friends: " What would the na- 
tion think of its President stealing into the Capital like 
a thief in the ni^ht?" It was only when the other 
guests were unanimous in the expression that it was 
not a question for Lincoln to determine, but one for 
his friends to determine for him, that he finally agreed 
to submit to whatever was decided by those around him. 

It was most fortunate that Colonel Scott was one of the 
guests at that dinner. He was wise and keen in percep- 
tion and bold and swift in execution. The time was 
short, and if a change was to be made in Lincoln's route 
it was necessary for him to reach Philadelphia by eleven 
o' clock that night or very soon thereafter. Scott at once 
became master of ceremonies, and everything that was 
done was in obedience to his directions. There was a 


crowd of thousands around the hotel, anxious to see the 
new President and ready to cheer him to the uttermost. 
It was believed to be best that only one man should ac- 
company Lincoln in his journey to Philadelphia and 
Washington, and Lincoln decided that Lamon should be 
his companion. Colonel Sumner, who felt that he had 
been charged with the safety of the President-elect, and 
whose silvered crown seemed to entitle him to prece- 
dence, earnestly protested against Lincoln leaving his 
immediate care, but it was deemed unsafe to have more 
than one accompany him, and the veteran soldier was 
compelled to surrender his charge. That preliminary 
question settled, Scott directed that Curtin, Lincoln, and 
Lamon should at once proceed to the front steps of the 
hotel, where there was a vast throng waiting to receive 
them, and that Curtin should call distinctly, so that the 
crowd could hear, for a carriage, and direct the coach- 
man to drive the party to the Executive Mansion. That 
was the natural thing for Curtin to do to take the Presi- 
dent to the Governor's mansion as his guest, and it ex- 
cited no suspicion whatever. 

Before leaving the dining-room Governor Curtin halted 
Lincoln and Lamon at the door and inquired of Lamon 
whether he was well armed. Lamon had been chosen 
by Lincoln as his companion because of his exceptional 
physical power and prowess, but Curtin wanted assurance 
that he was properly equipped for defense. Lamon at 
once uncovered a small arsenal of deadly weapons, show- 
ing that he was literally armed to the teeth. In addition 
to a pair of heavy revolvers, he had a slung-shot and 
brass knuckles and a huge knife nestled under his vest. 
The three entered the carriage, and, as instructed by 
Scott, drove toward the Executive Mansion, but when 
near there the driver was ordered to take a circuitous 
route and to reach the railroad depot within half an 


hour. When Curtin and his party had gotten fairly 
away from the hotel I accompanied Scott to the railway 
depot, where he at once cleared one of his lines from 
Harrisburg to Philadelphia, so that there could be no 
obstruction upon it, as had been agreed upon at Phila- 
delphia the evening before in case the change should be 
made. In the mean time he had ordered a locomotive 
and a single car to be brought to the eastern entrance of 
the depot, and at the appointed time the carriage arrived. 
Lincoln and Lamon emerged from the carriage and en- 
tered the car unnoticed by any except those interested in 
the matter, and after a quiet but fervent u Good-bye and 
God protect you!" the engineer quietly moved his train 
away on its momentous mission. 

As soon as the train left I accompanied Scott in the 
work of severing all the telegraph lines which entered 
Harrisburg. He was not content with directing that it 
should be done, but he personally saw that every wire 
was cut. This was about seven o'clock in the evening. 
It had been arranged that the eleven o'clock train from 
Philadelphia to Washington should be held until Lin- 
coln arrived, on the pretext of delivering an important 
package to the conductor. The train on which he was 
to leave Philadelphia was due in Washington at six in 
the morning, and Scott kept faithful vigil during the 
entire night, not only to see that there should be no res- 
toration of the wires, but waiting with anxious solicitude 
for the time when he might hope to hear the good news 
that Lincoln had arrived in safety. To guard against 
every possible chance of imposition a special cipher was 
agreed upon that could not possibly be understood by 
any but, the parties to it. It was a long, weary night of 
fretful anxiety to the dozen or more in Harrisburg who 
had knowledge of the sudden departure of Lincoln. No 
one attempted to sleep. All felt that the fate of the na- 


tion hung on the safe progress of Lincoln to Washington 
without detection on his journey. Scott, who was of 
heroic mould, several times tried to temper the severe 
strain of his anxiety by looking up railway matters, but 
he would soon abandon the listless effort, and thrice we 
strolled from the depot to the Jones House and back 
again, in aimless struggle to hasten the slowly-passing 
hours, only to find equally anxious watchers there jand a 
wife whose sobbing heart could not be consoled. At last 
the eastern horizon was purpled with the promise of day. 
Scott reunited the broken lines for the lightning messen- 
ger, and he was soon gladdened by an unsigned dispatch 
from Washington, saying, * ' Plums delivered nuts safely. ' ' 
He whirled his hat high in the little telegraph office as 
he shouted, u Lincoln's in Washington," and we rushed 
to the Jones House and hurried a messenger to the Ex- 
ecutive Mansion to spread the glad tidings that Lincoln 
had safely made his midnight journey to the Capital. 

I have several times heard Lincoln refer to this jour- 
ney, and always with regret. Indeed, he seemed to 
regard it as one of the grave mistakes in his public 
career. He was fully convinced, as Colonel Lamon has 
stated it, that ' ' he had fled from a danger purely imag- 
inary, and he felt the shame and mortification natural to 
a brave man under such circumstances. ' ' Mrs. Lincoln 
and her suite passed through Baltimore on the 23d with- 
out any sign of turbulence. The fact that there was not 
even a curious crowd brought together when she passed 
through the city which then required considerable time, 
as the cars were taken across Baltimore by horses con- 
firmed Lincoln in his belief. It is needless now to dis- 
cuss the question of real or imaginary danger in Lincoln 
passing through Baltimore at noonday according to the 
original programme. It is enough to know that there 
were reasonable grounds for apprehension that an attempt 


might be made upon his life, even if there was not the 
organized band of assassins that the detectives believed 
to exist. His presence in the city would have called out 
an immense concourse of people, including thousands of 
thoroughly disloyal roughs, who could easily have been 
inspired to any measure of violence. He simply acted 
the part of a prudent man in his reluctant obedience to 
the unanimous decision of his friends in Harrisburg 
when he was suddenly sent back to Philadelphia to take 
the midnight train for Washington, and there was no 
good reason why he should have regretted it; but his 
naturally sensitive disposition made him always feel 
humiliated when it recurred to him. 

The sensational stories published at the time of his 
disguise for the journey were wholly untrue. He was 
reported as having been dressed in a Scotch cap and 
cloak and as entering the car at the Broad and Prime 
station by some private alley-way, but there was no truth 
whatever in any of these statements. I saw him leave 
the dining-room at Harrisburg to enter the carriage with 
Curtin and Lamon. I saw him enter the car at the Har- 
risburg depot, and the only change in his dress was the 
substitution of a soft slouch hat for the high one he had 
worn during the day. He wore the same overcoat that 
he had worn when he arrived at Harrisburg, and the 
only extra apparel he had about him was the shawl that 
hung over his arm. When he reached West Philadelphia 
he was met by Superintendent Kenney, who had a car- 
riage in waiting with a single detective in it. Lincoln 
and Lamon entered the carriage and Kenney mounted 
the box with the driver. They were in advance of the 
time for the starting of the Baltimore train, and they 
were driven around on Broad street, as the driver was 
informed, in search of some one wanted by Kenney and 
the detective, until it was time to reach the station. 


When there they entered by the public doorway on 
Broad street, and passed directly along with other pas- 
sengers to the car, where their berths had been engaged. 
The journey to Washington was entirely uneventful, and 
at six in the morning the train entered the Washington 
station on schedule time. Seward had been advised, by 
the return of his son from Philadelphia, of the probable 
execution of this programme, and he and Washburne 
were in the station and met the President and his party, 
and all drove together to Willard's Hotel. Thus ends 
the story of Lincoln's midnight journey from Harrisburg 
to the National Capital. 

(Photo by Brady, Washington.) 



ABRAHAM LINCOLN arrived in Washington on the 
/A/^j^f ppfrfnat^ TR T| to accept the most appalling 
responsibilities ever cast upon any civil ruler of modern 
times. If he could have commanded the hearty confi- 
dence and co-operation of the leaders of his own party, 
his task would have been greatly lessened, but it is due 
to the truth of history to say that few, very few, of the 
Republican leaders of national fame had faith in Lin- 
coln's ability for the trust assigned to him. I could 
name a dozen men, now idols of the nation, whose open 
distrust of Lincoln not only seriously embarrassed, but 
grievously pained and humiliated, him. They felt that 
the wrong man had been elected to the Presidency, and 
only their modesty prevented them, in each case, from 
naming the man who should have been chosen in his 
stead. Looking now over the names most illustrious in 
the Republican councils, I can hardly recall one who en- 
couraged Lincoln by the confidence he so much needed. 
Even Seward, who had been notified as early as the 8th 
of December that he would be called as Premier of the 
new administration, and who soon thereafter had signi- 
fied his acceptance of the office and continued in the 
most confidential relations with Lincoln, suddenly, on 
the 2dof March, formally notified Lincoln of his recon- 
sideration of his acceptance. The only reason given was 
that circumstances had occurred since his acceptance 



which seemed to render it his duty ' ' to ask leave to 
withdraw that consent. ' ' The circumstances referred to 
were the hopeless discord and bitter jealousies among 
party-leaders both in and out of the Cabinet 

Lincoln found a party without a policy; the strangest 
confusion and bitterest antagonisms pervading those who 
should have been in accord, not only in purpose, but in 
earnest sympathy, with him in the discharge of his great 
duties, and he was practically like a ship tempest-tossed 
without compass or rudder. Even the men called to his 
Cabinet did not give Lincoln their confidence and co- 
operation. No two of them seemed to have the same 
views as to the policy the administration should adopt. 
Seward ridiculed the idea of serious civil war, and then 
and thereafter renewed his bond for peace in sixty days, 
only to be protested from month to month and from year 
to year. Chase believed in peaceable disunion as alto- 
gether preferable to fraternal conflict, and urged his 
views with earnestness upon the President. Cameron, 
always eminently practical, was not misled by any senti- 
mental ideas and regarded war as inevitable. Welles 
was an amiable gentleman without any aggressive quali- 
ties whatever, and Smith and Bates were old and con- 
servative, while Blair was a politician with few of the 
qualities of a statesman. 

A reasonably correct idea of the estimate placed upon 
Lincoln's abilities for his position may be obtained by 
turning to the eulogy on Seward delivered by Charles 
Francis Adams in 1873. Adams was a Republican mem- 
ber of Congress when Lincoln was chosen President, and 
he was Lincoln's Minister to England during the entire 
period of the war. In eulogizing Seward as the master- 
spirit of the administration and as the power behind the 
throne stronger than the throne itself, he said : u I must 
affirm, without hesitation, that in the history of our gov- 


eminent down to this hour no experiment so rash has 
ever been made as that of electing to the head of affairs 
a man with so little previous preparation for his task as 
Mr. Lincoln." Indeed, Lincoln himself seems to have 
been profoundly impressed with his want of fitness for 
the position when he was first named as a candidate from 
his State. In 1859, after he had attained national repu- 
tation by his joint discussion with Douglas in the contest 
for Senator, Mr. Pickett, the editor of an Illinois Repub- 
lican journal, wrote to him, urging that he should permit 
the use of his name for President. To this he answered : 
' ' I must in candor say I do not think myself fit for the 
Presidency. I certainly am flattered and gratified that 
some partial friends think of me in that connection, but 
I really think it best for our cause that no concerted 
effort, such as you suggest, should be made." Seward 
evidently agreed with his eulogist, Mr. Adams. That is 
clearly shown by the fact that in less than one month 
after the administration had been inaugurated he wrote 
out and submitted to the President a proposition to 
change the national issue from slavery to foreign war, 
in which he advised that war be at once declared against 
Spain and France unless satisfactory explanations were 
promptly received, and that the enforcement of the new 
policy should be individually assumed by the President 
himself or devolved on some member of his Cabinet. 
He added that while it was not in his special province, 
" I neither seek to evade nor assume the responsibility." 
In other words, Seward boldly proposed to change the 
national issue by a declaration of war against some for- 
eign power, and to have himself assigned practically as 
Dictator. He assumed that the President was incompe- 
tent to his task, that his policy, if accepted, would be 
committed to himself for execution, and that he meant 
to be Dictator is clearly proved by the fact that in his 


formal proposition he provides that the policy "once 
adopted, the debates on it must end and all agree and 

Outside of the Cabinet the leaders were equally dis- 
cordant and quite as distrustful of the ability of Lincoln 
to fill his great office. Sumner, Trumbull, Chandler, 
Wade, Henry Winter Davis, and the men to whom the 
nation then turned as the great representative men of the 
new political power, did not conceal their distrust of Lin- 
coln, and he had little support from them at any time 
during his administration. Indeed, but for the support 
given him by the younger leaders of that day, among 
whom Elaine and Sherman were conspicuous, he would 
have been a President almost without a party. The one 
man who rendered him the greatest service of all at the 
beginning of the war was Stephen A. Douglas, his old 
competitor of Illinois. When the Republican headers 
were hesitating and criticising their President, Douglas 
came to the front with all his characteristic courage and 
sagacity, and wfl^jTrnhglaly^llif, _ jjj pgj- ^t nisfej of all the 
Senators at the White House. It is not surprising that 
there was great confusion in the councils of the Repub- 
lican leaders when suddenly compelled to face civil war, 
but it will surprise many intelligent readers at this day to 
learn of the general distrust and demoralization that ex- 
isted among the men who should have been a solid pha- 
lanx of leadership in the crisis that confronted them. It 
must be remembered that there were no precedents in 
history to guide the new President. The relation of the 
States to the National Government had never been de- 
fined. The dispute over the sovereignty of the States 
had been continuous from the organization of the Re- 
public until that time, and men of equal intelligence and 
patriotism widely differed as to the paramount authority 
of State and Nation. Nor were there any precedents in 


history of other civilizations that could throw any light 
upon the dark path of Lincoln. There have been re- 
publics and civil wars, but none that furnish any rule 
that could be applied to the peculiar condition of our 
dissevered States. The President was therefore com- 
pelled to decide for himself in the multitude of conflict- 
ing counsels what policy the administration should adopt, 
and even a less careful and conservative man than Lin- 
coln would have been compelled, from the supreme ne- 
cessities which surrounded him, to move with the utmost 

Lincoln could formulate no policy beyond mere gen- 
eralities declaring his duty to preserve the integrity of 
the Union. He saw forts captured and arsenals gutted 
and States seceding with every preparation for war, and 
yet he could take no step to prepare the nation for the 
defense of its own life. The Border States were trem- 
bling in the balance, with a predominant Union senti- 
ment in most of them, but ready to be driven into open 
rebellion the moment that he should declare in favor of 
what was called " coercion " by force of arms. Coercion 
and invasion of the sacred soil of the Southern States 
were terms which made even the stoutest Southern 
Union man tremble. As the administration had no 
policy that it could declare, every leader had a policy 
of his own, with every invitation to seek to magnify 
himself by declaring it. The capital was crowded with 
politicians of every grade. The place-seekers swarmed 
in numbers almost equal to the locusts of Egypt, and the 
President was pestered day and night by the leading 
statesmen of the country, who clamored for offices for 
their henchmen. I well remember the sad picture of 
despair his face presented when I happened to meet him 
alone for a few moments in the Executive Chamber as 
he spoke of the heartless spoilsmen who seemed to be 


utterly indifferent to the grave dangers which threatened 
the government. He said : " I seem like one sitting in a 
palace assigning apartments to importunate applicants 
while the structure is on fire and likely soon to perish 
in ashes." 

Turn where Lincoln might, there was hardly a silver 
lining to the dark cloud that overshadowed him. The 
Senate that met in Executive session when he was in- 
augurated contained but 29 Republicans to 32 Democrats, 
with i bitterly hostile American, and 4 vacancies from 
Southern States that never were filled. It was only by 
the midsummer madness of secession and the retirement 
of the Southern Senators that he was given the majority 
in both branches of Congress, and when he turned to the 
military arm of the government he was appalled by the 
treachery of the men to whom the nation should have 
been able to look for its preservation. If any one would 
study the most painful and impressive object-lesson on 
this point, let him turn to Greeley's American Conflict 
and learn from two pictures how the stars of chieftains 
glittered and faded until unknown men filled their places 
and led the Union armies to victory. In the first volume 
of Greeley's history, which was written just at the begin- 
ning of the war and closed with the commencement of 
hostilities, there is a page containing the portraits of 
twelve men, entitled ' c Union Generals. ' ' The central 
figure is the veteran Scott, and around him are Fremont, 
Butler, McDowell, Wool, Halleck, McClellan, Burnside, 
Hunter, Hooker, Buell, and Anderson. These were the 
chieftains in whom the country then confided, and to 
whom Lincoln turned as the men who could be en- 
trusted with the command of armies. In the second 
volume of Greeley's history, published after the close 
of the war, there is another picture entitled ' ' Union 
Generals," and there is not one face to be found in the 


last that is in the first. Grant is the central figure of 
the Heroes of the Union at the close of the war, with 
the faces of Sherman, Sheridan, Thomas, Meade, Han- 
cock, Blair, Howard, Terry, Curtis, Banks, and Gilmore 
around him. In short, the military chieftains who saved 
the Union in the flame of battle had to be 'treated by 
the exigencies of war," while the men upon whom the 
President was compelled to lean when the conflict 
began one by one faded from the list of successful 

The ability of the government to protect its own life 
when wanton war was inaugurated by the Southern Con- 
federacy may be well illustrated by an interview between 
the President, General Winfield Scott, Governor Curtin, 
and myself immediately after the surrender of Sumter. 
The President telegraphed to Governor Curtin and to me 
as Chairman of the Military Committee of the Senate to 
gome to Washington as speedily as possible for consulta- 
tion as to the attitude Pennsylvania should assume in the 
civil conflict that had been inaugurated. Pennsylvania 
was the most exposed of all the border States, and, being 
the second State of the Union in population, wealth, and 
military power, it was of the utmost importance that she 
should lead in defining the attitude of the loyal States. 
Sumter was surrendered on Saturday evening, the I3th 
of April, 1 86 1, and on JVIonday morning Governor Cur- ,. 
tin and I were at the White House to meet the PresideirT" 
and the Commander-in-Chief of the armies at ten o'clock 
in the morning. I had never before met General Scott. 
I had read of him with all the enthusiasm of a boy, as 
he was a major-general before I was born, had noted 
with pride his brilliant campaign in Mexico, and remem- 
bered that he was accepted by all Americans as the Great 
Captain of the Age. I assumed, of course, that he was 
infallible in all matters pertaining to war, and when I 



met him it was with a degree of reverence that I had 
seldom felt for any other mortal. 

Curtin and I were a few minutes in advance of the ap- 
pointed time for the conference, and as the Cabinet was 
in session we were seated in the reception-room. There " 
were but few there when we entered it, and a number of 
chairs were vacant. We sat down by a window looking 
out upon the Potomac, and in a few minutes the tall form 
of General Scott entered. In the mean time a number 
of visitors had arrived and every chair in the room was 
occupied. Scott advanced and was cordially greeted by 
Governor Curtin and introduced to me. He was then 
quite feeble, unable to mount a horse by reason of a dis- 
tressing spinal affection; and I well remember the punc- 
tilious ideas of the old soldier, who refused to accept 
either Curtin' s chair or mine because there were not 
three vacant chairs in the room, although he could not 
remain standing without suffering agony. We presented 
the ludicrous spectacle of three men standing for nearly 
half an hour, and one of them feeble in strength and 
greatly the senior of the others in years, simply because 
there were not enough chairs for the entire party. With 
all his suffering he was too dignified even to lean against 
the wall, although it was evident to both of us that he 
airi f rorn his ceremonial ideas about ac- 

cepting the chair of another. When we were ushered 
into the President's room the practical work of our mis- 
sion was soon determined. The question had been fully 
considered by the President and the Secretary of War, 
who was a Pennsylvanian. Governor Curtin speedily 
perfected and heartily approved of the programme they 
had marked out, and we had little to do beyond inform- 
ing them how speedily it could be executed. How 
quickly Pennsylvania responded to the request of the 
government will be understood when I state that in a 


single day a bill embracing all the features desired was 
passed by both branches and approved by Governor 

It was only after the work of Pennsylvania had been 
defined and disposed of that I began to get some insight 
into the utterly/hopeless condition of the government. I 
found General Scott disposed to talk rather freely about 
the situation, and I ventured to question him as to the 
condition of the capital and his ability to defend it in 
case of an attack by General Beauregard. The answer 
to the first question I ventured was very assuring, coming 
from one whom I supposed to know all about war, and to 
one who knew just nothing at all about it. I asked Gen- 
eral Scott whether the capital was in danger. His an- 
swer was, ^No, sir, the capital is not, in danger^JjgjjUJ^ 
ital is not in danger." Knowing that General vScott 
could not have a large force at his command, knowing 
also that General Beauregard had a formidable force at 
his command at Charleston, and that the transportation 
of an army from Charleston to Washington would be the 
work of only a few days, I for the first time began to 
inquire in my own mind whether this great Chieftain 
was, after all, equal to the exceptional necessities of the 
occasion. I said to him that, if it was a proper question 
for him to answer, I would like to know how many men 
he had in Washington for its defense. His prompt an- 
swer was, ( fifteen hundred, sir ; fifteen hundred men 
and two batteries. " I then inquired whether Washing- 
ton was a defensible city. This inquiry cast a shadow 
over the old veteran's face as he answered, "NOj^sirj^ 
Washington is Qt a. ^fetiMMo qfr-" He then seemed 
to consider it necessary to emphasize his assertions of 
the safety of the capital, and he pointed to the Potomac, 
that was visible from the President's window. Said he : 
"You see that vessel? a sloop of war, sir, a sloop of 


war. ' ' I looked out and saw the vessel, but I could not 
help thinking, as I looked beyond to Arlington Heights, 
that one or two batteries, even of the ineffective class of 
those days, would knock the sloop of war to pieces in 
half an hour. 

As Johnson, Cooper, and a number of other able sol- 
diers had left the army but a short time before, I felt 
some anxiety to know who were commanding the forces 
under General Scott in Washington. He gave me their 
names, and within three days thereafter I saw that two 
of them had resigned and were already in Richmond 
and enlisted in the Confederate service. My doubts mul- 
tiplied, and a great idol was shattered before I left the 
White House that morning. I could not resist the con- 
viction that Qejiejal^ScotL was past all usefulness ; that 
he had no adequate conception of the contest before us ; 
and that he rested in confidence in Washington when 
there was not a soldier of average intelligence in that 
city who did not know that Beauregard could capture it 
at any time within a week. My anxiety deepened with 
my doubts, and I continued my inquiries with the old 
warrior by asking how many men General Beauregard 
at Oharl^ton. The old chieftain's head dropped 
almost upon his breast at this question, and a trace of 
despair was visible as he answered in tremulous tones : 
' * General Beauregard commands more men at Charles- 
ton than I command on the continent east of the fron- 
tier." I asked him how long it would require Beaure- 
gard to transport his army to Washington. He answered 
that it might be done in three or four days. I then re- 
peated the question, ( ' General, is not Washington in 
great danger ?' ' The old warrior was at once aroused, 
straightened himself up in his chair with a degree of 
dignity that was crushing, and answered u No, sir, the 


capital can't be taken ; the capital can't be taken, sir." 
President Lincoln listened to the conversation with evi- 
dent interest, but said nothing. He sat intently gazing 
at General Scott, and whirling his spectacles around in 
his fingers. When General Scott gave the final answer 
that the capital could not be taken, Lincoln, in his 
quaint way, said to General Scott, Jilt does seem to jpe^ 
general, |tn+ ^ T ****** JfrgpirnyanJ I wfM^fl foV Wash- 
ino-ton." This expression from the President electrified 
the old war-lion again, and he answered with increased 
emphasis, "Mr. President, the capital can't be taken, 
sir; it can't be taken." 

There was but one conclusion that could be accepted 
as the result of this interview, and that was that the 
great Chieftain of two wars and the worshiped Captain 
of the Age was in his dotage and utterly unequal to the 
great duty of meeting the impending conflict. Governor 
Curtin and I left profoundly impressed with the convic- 
tion that the ^competency of General Scott was one of 
the most serious ot the multiplied perils which then con- 
fronted the Republic. I need not repeat how General 
Scott failed in his early military movements ; how he 
divided his army and permitted the enemy to unite and 
defeat him at Bull Run ; how General McClellan, the 
Young Napoleon of the time, was called from his vic- 
tories in Western Virginia to take command of the 
army ; how that change reinspired the loyal people of 
the nation in the confidence of speedy victories and the 
overthrow of the rebellion; how he and his Chief soon 
got to cross purposes; and how, after months of quarrel, 
the old Chieftain was prevailed upon to resign his place. 
The inside history of his retirement has never been writ- 
ten, and it is best that it should not. President Lincoln, 
Secretary Cameron, and Thomas A. Scott were the only 
men who could have written it from personal knowledge. 


They are dead, and an interesting chapter of history has 
perished with them. 

Such was the condition of the government at the open- 
ing of our civil war. A great soldier was at the head of 
our army, with all his faculties weakened by the infirm- 
ities of age, and we were compelled to grope in the dark 
day after day, week after week, month after month, and 
even year after year, until chieftains could be created to 
lead our armies to final victories. It must be remem- 
bered also that public sentiment had at that time no 
conception of the cruel sacrifices of war. The fall of a 
single soldier, Colonel Ellsworth, at Alexandria cast a 
profound gloom over the entire country, and the loss of 
comparatively few men at Big Bethel and Ball's Bluff 
convulsed the people from Maine to California. No one 
dreamed of the sacrifice of life that a desperate war must 
involve. I remember meeting General Burnside, Gen- 
eral Heintzelman, and one or two other officers of the 
Army of the Potomac at Willard's Hotel in December, 
1 86 1. The weather had been unusually favorable, the 
roads were in excellent condition, and there was general 
impatience at McClellan's tardiness in moving against 
Manassas and Richmond. I naturally shared the impa- 
tience that was next to universal, and I inquired of Gen- 
eral Burnside why it was that the army did not move. 
He answered that it would not be a difficult task for 
McClellan's army to capture Manassas, march upon 
Richmond, and enter the Confederate capital; but he 
added with emphasis that he regarded as conclusive that 
"It would cost ten thousand men to do it." I was 
appalled to silence when compelled to consider so great 
a sacrifice for the possession of the insurgents' capital. 
Ten times ten thousand men, and even more, fell in the 
battles between the Potomac and Richmond before the 
stars and bars fell from the Richmond State House, but 


in the fall of 1861 the proposition to sacrifice ten thou- 
sand lives to possess the Confederate capital would have 
been regarded by all as too appalling to contemplate. 
Indeed, we were not only utterly unprepared for war, 
but we were utterly unprepared for its sacrifices and its 
bereavements; and President Lincoln was compelled to 
meet this great crisis and patiently await the fullness of 
time to obtain chieftains and armies and to school the 
people to the crimsoned story necessary to tell of the 
safety of the Republic. 


A BRAHAM LINCOLN was eminently human. As 
*\ the old lady said about General Jackson when she 
had finally reached his presence, " He's only a man, after 
all. ' ' Although much as other men in the varied quali- 
ties which go to make up a single character, taking him 
all in all, "none but himself can be his parallel." Of 
all the public men I have met, he was the most difficult 
to analyze. His characteristics were more original, more 
diversified, more intense in a sober way, and yet more 
flexible under many circumstances, than I have ever 
seen in any other. Many have attempted to portray 
Lincoln's characteristics, and not a few have assumed 
to do it with great confidence. Those who have spoken 
most confidently of their knowledge of his personal 
qualities are, as a rule, those who saw least of them 
below the surface. He might have been seen every day 
during his Presidential term without ever reaching the 
distinctive qualities which animated and guided him, 
and thus hundreds of writers have assumed that they 
understood him when they had never seen the inner in- 
spirations of the man at all. He was a stranger to deceit, 
incapable of dissembling; seemed to be the frankest and 
freest of conversationalists, and yet few understood him 
even reasonably well, and none but Lincoln ever thor- 
oughly understood Lincoln. If I had seen less of him 


(Photo by Gutekunst, Philadelphia.) 



I might have ventured with much greater confidence to 
attempt a portrayal of his individuality, but I saw him 
many times when Presidential honors were forgotten in 
Presidential sorrows, and when his great heart throbbed 
upon his sleeve. It was then that his uncommon quali- 
ties made themselves lustrous and often startled and con- 
fused his closest friends. 

I regard Lincoln as very widely misunderstood in one 
of the most important attributes of his character. It has 
been common, during the last twenty -five years, to see 
publications relating to Lincoln from men who assumed 
that they enjoyed his full confidence. In most and per- 
haps all cases the writers believed what they stated, but 
those who assumed to speak most confidently on the sub- 
ject were most mistaken. Mr. Lincoln gave his confi- 
dence to no living man without reservation. He trusted 
many, but he trusted only within the carefully-studied 
limitations of their usefulness, and when he trusted he 
confided, as a rule, only to the extent necessary to make 
that trust available. He had as much faith in mankind 
as is common amongst men, and it was not because he 
was of a distrustful nature or because of any specially 
selfish attribute of his character that he thus limited his 
confidence in all his intercourse with men. In this view 
of Lincoln I am fully sustained by those who knew him 
best. The one man who saw more of him in all the 
varied vicissitudes of his life from early manhood to his 
elevation to the Presidency was William H. Herndon, 
who was his close friend and law-partner for a full score 
of years. In analyzing the character of Lincoln he thus 
refers to his care as to confidants: " Mr. Lincoln never 
had a confidant, and therefore never unbosomed himself 
to others. He never spoke of his trials to me, or, so far 
as I knew, to any of his friends." David Davis, in 
whose sober judgment Lincoln had more confidence than 


in that of his other friends, and who held as intimate 
relations to him as was possible by any, says: "I knew 
the man so well; he was the most reticent, secretive man 
I ever saw or expect to see. ' ' 

Leonard Swett is well known to have been the one 
whose counsels were among the most welcome to Lin- 
coln, and who doubtless did counsel him with more free- 
dom than any other man. In a letter given in Herndon's 
Life of Lincoln he says : ' ' From the commencement of 
his life to its close I have sometimes doubted whether he 
ever asked anybody's advice about anything. He would 
listen to everybody; he would hear every body; but he 
rarely, if ever, asked for opinions." He adds in the 
same letter: "As a politician and as President he arrived 
at all his conclusions from his own reflections, and when 
his conclusions were once formed he never doubted but 
what they were right." Speaking of his generally as- 
sumed frankness of character, Swett says, ' ' One great 
public mistake of his [Lincoln's] character as generally 
received and acquiesced in is that he is considered by the 
people of this country as a frank, guileless, and unso- 
phisticated man. There never was a greater mistake. 
Beneath a smooth surface of candor and apparent decla- 
ration of all his thoughts and feelings he exercised the 
most exalted tact and wisest discrimination. He handled 
and moved men remotely as we do pieces upon a chess- 
board. He retained through life all the friends he ever 
had, and he made the wrath of his enemies to praise 
him. This was not by cunning or intrigue in the low 
acceptation of the term, but by far-seeing reason and 
discernment. He always told only enough of his plans 
and purposes to induce the belief that he had communi- 
cated all ; yet he reserved enough to have communicated 
nothing. ' ' 

Mr. Herndon, in a lecture delivered on Lincoln to a 


Springfield audience in 1866, said: " He [Lincoln] never 
revealed himself entirely to any one man, and therefore 
he will always to a certain extent remain enveloped in 
doubt. I always believed I could read him as thor- 
oughly as any man, yet he was so different in many re- 
spects from any other one I ever met before or since 
his time that I cannot say I comprehended him." Mr. 
Lamon, who completes the circle of the men who were 
closest to Lincoln, the man who was chosen by Lincoln 
to accompany him on his midnight journey from Harris- 
burg to Washington, and whom he appointed Marshal 
of the District of Columbia to have him in the closest 
touch with himself, thus describes Lincoln in his biog- 
raphy: " Mr. Lincoln was a man apart from the rest of 
his kind unsocial, cold, impassive; neither a good hater 
nor fond friend." And he adds that Lincoln u made 
simplicity and candor a mask of deep feelings carefully 
concealed, and subtle plans studiously veiled from all 
eyes but one." 

I have seen Lincoln many times when he seemed to 
speak with the utmost candor, I have seen him many 
times when he spoke with mingled candor and caution, 
and I have seen him many times when he spoke but lit- 
tle and with extreme caution. It must not be inferred, 
because of the testimony borne to Lincoln's reticence 
generally and to his singular methods in speaking on 
subjects of a confidential nature, that he was ever guilty 
of deceit. He was certainly one of the most sincere men 
I have ever met, and he was also one of the most saga- 
cious men that this or any other country has ever pro- 
duced. He was not a man of cunning, in the ordinary 
acceptation of the word; not a man who would mislead 
in any way, unless by silence; and when occasion de- 
manded he would speak with entire freedom as far as it 
was possible for him to speak at all. I regard him as 


one who believed that the truth was not always to be 
spoken, but who firmly believed, also, that only the 
truth should be spoken when it was necessary to speak 
at all. 

Lincoln's want of trust in those closest to him was 
often a great source of regret, and at times of morti- 
fication. I have many times heard Mr. Swett and Mr. 
Lamon, and occasionally Mr. Davis, speak of his per- 
sistent reticence on questions of the gravest public mo- 
ment which seemed to demand prompt action by the 
President. They would confer with him, as I did my- 
self at times, earnestly advising and urging action on his 
part, only to find him utterly impassible and incompre- 
hensible. Neither by word nor expression could any 
one form the remotest idea of his purpose, and when he 
did act in many cases he surprised both friends and foes. 
When he nominated Mr. Stanton as Secretary of War 
there was not a single member of his Cabinet who had 
knowledge of his purpose to do so until it was done, and 
when he appointed Mr. Chase Chief-Justice there was 
not a man living, of the hundreds who had advised him 
and pressed their friends upon him, who had any inti- 
mation as to even the leaning of his mind on the subject. 
I remember on one occasion, when we were alone in the 
Executive Chamber, he discussed the question of the 
Chief-Justiceship for fully half an hour; named the men 
who had been prominently mentioned in connection with 
the appointment; spoke of all of them with apparent 
freedom; sought and obtained my own views as to the 
wisdom of appointing either of them, and when the 
conversation ended I had no more idea as to the bent of 
his mind than if I had been conversing with the Sphinx. 
I suggested to him, in closing the conversation, that his 
views on the subject were very much more important 
than mine, and that I would be very glad to have them, 


to which he gave this characteristic answer: "Well, 
McClure, the fact is I'm ' shut pan ' on that question." 
Lincoln's intellectual organization has been portrayed 
by many writers, but so widely at variance as to greatly 
confuse the general reader. Indeed, he was the most 
difficult of all men to analyze. He did not rise above 
the average man by escaping a common mingling of 
greatness and infirmities. I believe he was very well 
described in a single sentence by Mr. Herndon when he 
said: "The truth about Mr. Lincoln is, that he read less 
and thought more than any man in his sphere in Amer- 
ica. " Tested by the standard of many other great men, 
Lincoln was not great, but tested by the only true stand- 
ard of his own achievements, he may justly appear in 
history as one of the greatest of American statesmen. 
Indeed, in some most essential attributes of greatness I 
doubt whether any of our public men ever equaled him. 
We have had men who could take a higher intellectual 
grasp of any abstruse problem of statesmanship, but few 
have ever equaled, and none excelled, Lincoln in the 
practical, common-sense, and successful solution of the 
gravest problems ever presented in American history. 
He possessed a peculiarly receptive and analytical mind. 
He sought information from every attainable source. 
He sought it persistently, weighed it earnestly, and in 
the end reached his own conclusions. When he had 
once reached a conclusion as to a public duty, there was 
no human power equal to the task of changing his pur- 
pose. He was self-reliant to an uncommon degree, and 
yet as entirely free from arrogance of opinion as any 
public man I have ever known. 

Judged by the records of his administration, Lincoln 
is now regarded as the most successful Executive the 
Republic has ever had. When it is considered what 
peculiarly embarrassing and momentous issues were pre- 


sented to him for decision, and issues for which history 
had no precedents, it is entirely safe to say that no man 
has ever equaled him as a successful ruler of a free 
people. This success was due chiefly to one single qual- 
ity of the man the will of the people was his guiding 
star. He sprang from the people and from close to 
Mother Earth. He grew up with the people, and in all 
his efforts, convictions, and inspirations he was ever in 
touch with the people. When President he looked solely 
to the considerate judgment of the American people to 
guide him in the solution of all the vexed questions 
which were presented to him. In all the struggles of 
mean ambition and all the bitter jealousies of greatness 
which constantly surged around him, and in all the con- 
stant and distressing discord that prevailed in his Cabinet 
during the dark days which shadowed him with grief, 
Lincoln ever turned to study with ceaseless care the in- 
telligent expression of the popular will. 

Unlike all Presidents who had preceded him, he came 
into office without a fixed and accepted policy. Civil 
war plunged the government into new and most per- 
plexing duties. The people were unschooled to the sad 
necessities which had to be accepted to save the Re- 
public. Others would have rushed in to offend public 
sentiment by the violent acceptance of what they knew 
must be accepted in the end. These men greatly vexed 
and embarrassed Lincoln in his sincere efforts to advance 
the people and the government to the full measure of the 
sacrifices which were inevitable ; but Lincoln waited 
patiently waited until in the fullness of time the judg- 
ment of the people was ripened for action, and then, and 
then only, did Lincoln act. Had he done otherwise, he 
would have involved the country in fearful peril both at 
home and abroad, and it was his constant study of, and 
obedience to, the honest judgment of the people of the 


nation that saved the Republic and that enshrined him 
in history as the greatest of modern rulers. 

If there are yet any intelligent Americans who believe 
that Lincoln was an innocent, rural, unsophisticated cha- 
racter, it is time that they should be undeceived. I ven- 
ture the assertion, without fear of successful contradiction, 
that Abraham Lincoln was the most sagacious of all the 
public men of his day in either political party. He was 
therefore the master-politician of his time. He was not 
a politician as the term is now commonly applied and 
understood; he knew nothing about the countless meth- 
ods which are employed in the details of political effort; 
but no man knew better indeed, I think no man knew 
so well as he did how to summon and dispose of polit- 
ical ability to attain great political results; and this work 
he performed with unfailing wisdom and discretion in 
every contest for himself and for the country. 

A pointed illustration of his sagacity and of his cau- 
tious methods in preventing threatened evil or gaining 
promised good is presented by his action in 1862 when 
the first army draft was made in Pennsylvania. There 
was then no national conscription law, and volunteering 
had ceased to fill up our shattered armies. A draft under 
the State law was necessary to fill a requisition made 
upon Pennsylvania for troops. The need for immediate 
reinforcements was very pressing, and in obedience to 
the personal request of both Lincoln and Governor Cur- 
tin I accepted the ungracious task of organizing and 
executing the draft under the State laws. How promptly 
the task was executed may be understood when I say that 
within sixty days the entire State was enrolled, quotas 
adjusted, the necessary exemptions made, the draft exe- 
cuted, and seventeen organized regiments sent to the 
front, and without a dollar of cost to either the State or 
National Governments for duties performed in my office 


beyond the salaries of two clerks. While there were 
mutterings of disloyalty in a very few sections of Penn- 
sylvania, and they only within a very limited circle, 
there was one sore spot where open rebellion was threat- 
ened. That was Cass township, Schuylkill county. The 
Mollie Maguires were then just approaching the zenith 
of their criminal power, and Cass township was the cen- 
tre of that lawless element. Thirteen murders had been 
committed in that district within a few years, and not 
one murderer had been brought to punishment. This 
banded criminal organization was as disloyal to the gov- 
ernment as it was to law, and it was with the utmost dif- 
ficulty that even an imperfect enumeration had been 
made and the quota adjusted to be supplied by draft. 
The draft was made, however, and on the day fixed for 
the conscripts to take the cars and report at Harrisburg 
the criminal element of the district not only refused to 
respond to the call, but its leaders came to the station 
and drove other conscripts violently from the depot. 

It was open, defiant rebellion. I at once reported the 
facts to Secretary Stanton, who promptly answered, di- 
recting that the draft should be enforced at every hazard, 
and placing one Philadelphia regiment and one regiment 
at Harrisburg subject to the orders of the Governor, with 
instructions to send them at once to the scene of revolt. 
Fearing that the Secretary did not fully comprehend the 
peril of a conflict between the military and the citizens, 
Governor Curtin directed me to telegraph more fully to 
Secretary Stanton, suggesting his further consideration 
of the subject. His answer was promptly given, repeat- 
ing his order for the military to move at once to Cass 
township and enforce the law at the point of the bayonet. 
The regiments were given marching orders, and reached 
Pottsville on the following day. I felt that a conflict 
between the military and citizens in any part of the State 


must be very disastrous to the loyal cause, and after full 
consultation with Governor Curtin, in obedience to his 
directions, I telegraphed to Lincoln in cipher asking him 
to consider the subject well. This was in the early part 
of the day, and I was surprised and distressed when even- 
ing came without any reply. When I entered the break- 
fast-room of the hotel the next morning I saw seated at 
the table Assistant Adjutant-General Townsend of the 
United States Army. I knew him well, and when he 
saw me he beckoned me to his side and asked me to 
breakfast with him. We were out of hearing of any 
others at the table, and he at once stated to me the pur- 
pose of his visit. He had arrived at three o'clock in the 
morning, and was waiting to see me as soon as I should 
appear. He said: " I have no orders to give you, but I 
came solely to deliver a personal message from President 
Lincoln in these words: ' Say to McClure that I am very 
desirous to have the laws fully executed, but it might be 
well, in an extreme emergency, to be content with the 
appearance of executing the laws; I think McClure will 
understand.'" To this General Townsend added: "I 
have now fulfilled my mission ; I do not know to what 
it relates." 

I of course made no explanation to General Townsend, 
but hurried from the breakfast-table to summon Benja- 
min Bannan from Pottsville to Harrisburg as speedily as 
possible. He was the commissioner of draft for that 
county, a warm friend of the President, and a man of 
unusual intelligence and discretion. He reached Harris- 
burg the same day, and Lincoln's instructions were 
frankly explained to him. No one had any knowledge 
of them but ourselves and the Governor. Commissioner 
Bannan appreciated the necessity of avoiding a collision 
between the military and the citizens of Cass township, 
but, said he, ' * How can it be done ? How can the laws 


even appear to have been executed ?' ' I told him that in 
a number of cases evidence had been presented, after the 
quotas had been adjusted and the draft ordered, to prove 
that the quotas had been filled by volunteers who had 
enlisted in some town or city outside of their townships. 
In all such cases, where the evidence was clear, the order 
for the draft was revoked because the complement of 
men had been filled. I said only by such evidence from 
Cass township could the order for the draft be revoked 
and the arrest of the conscripted men for service be 
avoided. He intuitively comprehended the gravity of 
the situation, and took the first train home. By the next 
evening he was back and laid before me a number of 
affidavits in regular form, apparently executed by citi- 
zens of Cass township, which, if uncontradicted, proved 
that their quota was entirely full. I asked no explana- 
tions, but at once indorsed upon the testimony that as 
the quota of Cass township had been filled by volunteers, 
the draft was inoperative in that district and its con- 
scripts would not be held to service. 

I have never made inquiry into the method of obtain- 
ing those affidavits, and there is none now living who 
could give any information about it, as Mr. Bannan has 
long since joined the great majority beyond. The Gov- 
ernor had, in the mean time, halted the troops at Potts- 
ville, and as the laws seemed to be executed in peace, the 
regiments were ordered back by the Governor and the 
conflict between the military and the Mollie Maguires 
was averted. Stan ton never had knowledge of Lincoln's 
action in this matter, nor did a single member of his ad- 
ministration know of his intervention. Had Stanton 
been permitted to have his sway, he would have ruled in 
the tempest, and Pennsylvania would have inaugurated 
a rebellion of her own that might have reached fearful 
proportions, and that certainly would have greatly para- 


lyzed the power of the loyal people of the State. I am 
quite sure that not until after the war was ended, and 
probably not for years thereafter, did any but Lincoln, 
Curtin, Bannan, and myself have any knowledge of this 
important adjustment of the Cass township rebellion. 


IF Abraham Lincoln was not a master politician, I am 
entirely ignorant of the qualities which make up such 
a character. In a somewhat intimate acquaintance with 
the public men of the country for a period of more than 
a generation, I have never met one who made so few 
mistakes in politics as Lincoln. The man who could 
call Seward as Premier of his administration, with Weed 
the power behind the Premier, often stronger than the 
Premier himself, and yet hold Horace Greeley even 
within the ragged edges of the party lines, and the man 
who could call Simon Cameron to his Cabinet in Penn- 
sylvania without alienating Governor Curtin, and who 
could remove Cameron from his Cabinet without alien- 
ating Cameron, would naturally be accepted as a man of 
much more than ordinary political sagacity. Indeed, I 
have never known one who approached Lincoln in the 
peculiar faculty of holding antagonistic elements to his 
own support, and maintaining close and often apparently 
confidential relations with each without offense to the 
other. This is the more remarkable from the fact that 
Lincoln was entirely without training in political man- 
agement. I remember on one occasion, when there was 
much concern felt about a political contest in Pennsyl- 
vania, he summoned half a dozen or more Pennsylvania 
Republicans to a conference at the White House. When 





we had gathered there he opened the subject in his 
quaint way by saying: "You know I never was a con- 
triver; I don't know much about how things are done 
in politics, but I think you gentlemen understand the 
situation in your State, and I want to learn what may 
be done to ensure the success we all desire." He made 
exhaustive inquiry of each of the persons present as to 
the danger-signals of the contest, specially directing his 
questions to every weak point in the party lines and 
every strong point of the opposition. He was not con- 
tent with generalities; he had no respect for mere enthu- 
siasm. What he wanted was sober facts. He had abid- 
ing faith in the people, in their intelligence and their 
patriotism; and he estimated political results by ascer- 
taining, as far as possible, the popular bearing of every 
vital question that was likely to arise, and he formed 
his conclusions by his keen intuitive perception as to 
how the people would be likely to deal with the 

While Lincoln had little appreciation of himself as 
candidate for President as late as 1859, the dream of 
reaching the Presidency evidently took possession of 
him in the early part of 1860, and his first efforts to 
advance himself as a candidate were singularly awkward 
and infelicitous. He had then no experience whatever 
as a leader of leaders, and it was not until he had made 
several discreditable blunders that he learned how much 
he must depend upon others if he would make himself 
President. Some Lincoln enthusiast in Kansas, with 
much more pretensions than power, wrote him in March, 
1860, proposing to furnish a Lincoln delegation from that 
State to the Chicago Convention, and suggesting that 
Lincoln should pay the legitimate expenses of organ- 
izing, electing, and taking to the convention the prom- 
ised Lincoln delegates. To this Lincoln replied that 


"in the main, the use of money is wrong, but for cer- 
tain objects in a political contest the use of some is both 
right and indispensable." And he added, "If you shall 
be appointed a delegate to Chicago I will furnish $100 to 
bear the expenses of the trip. ' ' He heard nothing further 
from the Kansas man until he saw an announcement in 
the newspapers that Kansas had elected delegates and 
instructed them for Seward. This was Lincoln's first 
disappointment in his effort to organize his friends to 
attain the Presidential nomination, but his philosophy 
was well maintained. Without waiting to hear from his 
friend who had contracted to bring a Lincoln delegation 
from Kansas he wrote him, saying, "I see by the dis- 
patches that since you wrote Kansas has appointed dele- 
gates instructed for Seward. Don't stir them up to 
anger, but come along to the convention, and I will do 
as I said about expenses." It is not likely that that 
unfortunate experience cost Lincoln his $100, but it is 
worthy of note that soon after his inauguration as Pres- 
ident he gave the man a Federal office with a comfort- 
able salary. 

When he became seriously enlisted as a candidate for 
the Presidential nomination, he soon learned that while 
he could be of value as an adviser and organizer, the 
great work had to be performed by others than himself. 
He gathered around him a number of the ablest poli- 
ticians of the West, among whom were Norman P. Judd, 
David Davis, Leonard Swett, O. M. Hatch, and Mr. 
Medill of the Chicago Tribune. These men had, for the 
first time, brought a National Convention to the West, 
and they had the advantage of fighting for Lincoln on 
their own ground with the enthusiasm his name inspired 
as a potent factor in their work. They went there to 
win, and they left nothing undone within the range of 
political effort to give him the nomination. Two posi- 


tions in the Cabinet, one for Pennsylvania and one for 
Indiana, were positively promised by David Davis at an 
early period of the contest, when they feared that there 
might be serious difficulty in uniting the delegations of 
those States on Lincoln. It is proper to say that Lincoln 
had no knowledge of these contracts, and had given no 
such authority, and it is proper, also, to say that the con- 
tracts were made in both cases with comparatively irre- 
sponsible parties who had little power, if any, in guiding 
the actions of their respective delegations. Certainly 
Lane and Curtin, who were the most important factors 
in bringing their States to the support of Lincoln, not 
only were not parties to these contracts, but were entirely 
ignorant of them until their fulfillment was demanded 
after Lincoln's election. I have good reason to know 
that in the case of Pennsylvania that contract, while it 
did not of itself make General Cameron Secretary of 
War, had much to do with resolving Lincoln's doubts in 
favor of Cameron's appointment in the end. 

There were no political movements of national import- 
ance during Lincoln's administration in which he did 
not actively, although often hiddenly, participate. It 
was Lincoln who finally, after the most convulsive efforts 
to get Missouri into line with the administration, effected 
a reconciliation of disputing parties which brought Brown 
and Henderson into the Senate, and it was Lincoln who 
in 1863 took a leading part in attaining the declination 
of Curtin as a gubernatorial candidate that year. Grave 
apprehensions were felt that Curtin could not be re- 
elected because of the bitterness of the hostility of Cam- 
eron and his friends, and also because there were 70,000 
Pennsylvania soldiers in the field who could not vote. 
Lincoln was Curtin' s sincere friend, but when Curtin' s 
supporters suggested that his broken health called for his 
retirement, Lincoln promptly agreed to tender Curtin a 


first-class foreign mission if he decided to decline a re- 
nomination. Curtin accepted the proffered mission, to 
be assumed at the close of his term, and he published his 
acceptance and his purpose to withdraw from the field for 

Curtin' s declination was responded to within a week 
by a number of the leading counties of the State per- 
emptorily instructing their delegates to vote for his re- 
nomination for Governor. It soon became evident that 
the party would accept no other leader in the desperate 
conflict, and that no other candidate could hope to be 
elected. Curtin was compelled to submit, and he was 
nominated on the first ballot by more than a two-thirds 
vote, although bitterly opposed by a number of promi- 
nent Federal officers in the State. Lincoln was disap- 
pointed in the result not because he was averse to Cur- 
tin, but because he feared that party divisions would lose 
the State. Both Lincoln and Stanton made exhaustive 
efforts to support Curtin after he had been nominated, 
and all the power of the government that could be 
wielded with effect was employed to promote his elec- 
tion. The battle was a desperate one against the late 
Chief-Justice Woodward, who was a giant in intellectual 
strength, and who commanded the unbounded confidence 
and enthusiastic support of his party, but Curtin was 
elected by over 15,000 majority. 

One of the shrewdest of Lincoln's great political 
schemes was the tender, by an autograph letter, of the 
French mission to the elder James Gordon Bennett. No 
one who can form any intelligent judgment of the polit- 
ical exigencies of that time can fail to understand why 
the venerable independent journalist received this mark 
of favor from the President. Lincoln had but one of 
the leading journals of New York on which he could 
rely for positive support. That was Mr. Raymond's 


New York Times. Mr. Greeley's Tribune was the most 
widely read Republican journal of the country, and it 
was unquestionably the most potent in moulding Repub- 
lican sentiment. Its immense weekly edition, for that 
day, reached the more intelligent masses of the people 
in every State of the Union, and Greeley was not in 
accord with Lincoln. Lincoln knew how important it 
was to have the support of the Herald, and he carefully 
studied how to bring its editor into close touch with 
himself. The outlook for Lincoln's re-election was not 
promising. Bennett had strongly advocated the nomi- 
nation of General McClellan by the Democrats, and that 
was ominous of hostility to Lincoln; and when McClel- 
lan was nominated he was accepted on all sides as a most 
formidable candidate. It was in this emergency that 
Lincoln's political sagacity served him sufficiently to 
win the Herald to his cause, and it was done by the 
confidential tender of the French mission. Bennett did 
not break over to Lincoln at once, but he went by grad- 
ual approaches. His first step was to declare in favor of 
an entirely new candidate, which was an utter impossi- 
bility. He opened a leader on the subject thus: "Lin- 
coln has proved a failure; McClellan has proved a fail- 
ure; Fremont has proved a failure; let us have a new 
candidate." Lincoln, McClellan, and Fremont were 
then all in the field as nominated candidates, and the 
Fremont defection was a serious threat to Lincoln. 
Of course, neither Lincoln nor McClellan declined, 
and the Herald, failing to get the new man it knew 
to be an impossibility, squarely advocated Lincoln's 

Without consulting any one, and without any public 
announcement whatever, Lincoln wrote to Bennett, ask- 
ing him to accept the mission to France. The offer was 
declined. Bennett valued the offer very much more than 


the office, and from that day until the day of his death 
he was one of Lincoln's most appreciative friends and 
hearty supporters on his own independent line. The 
tender of the French mission to Bennett has been dis- 
puted, but I am not mistaken about it. W. O. Bartlett, 
a prominent member of the New York bar, and father 
of the present Judge Bartlett of the Supreme Court of 
that State, had personal knowledge of Lincoln's auto- 
graph letter that was delivered to Bennett, and Judge 
Bartlett yet has the original letter, unless he has parted 
with it within the last few years. Bennett was not only 
one of the ablest and one of the most sagacious editors 
of his day, but he was also one of the most independent, 
and in controversy one of the most defiant. He was in 
a position to render greater service to Lincoln and to the 
country in its desperate civil war than any other one man 
in American journalism. He did not pretend to be a 
Republican; on the contrary, he was Democratic in all 
his personal sympathies and convictions, but he gave a 
faithful support to the war, although often freely criti- 
cising the policy of the administration. He had no de- 
sire for public office, but he did desire, after he had ac- 
quired wealth and newspaper power, just the recognition 
that Lincoln gave him, and I doubt whether any one 
thing during Bennett's life ever gave him more sincere 
gratification than this voluntary offer of one of the first- 
class missions of the country, made in Mr. Lincoln's own 
handwriting, and his opportunity to decline the same. 
Looking as Lincoln did to the great battle for his re-elec- 
tion, this was one of the countless sagacious acts by 
which he strengthened himself from day to day, and it 
did much, very much, to pave the way for his over- 
whelming majority of 1864. 

That Lincoln understood practical politics after he had 
been nominated for a second term is very clearly illus- 


trated in the letter he wrote to General Sherman on the 
1 9th of September, 1864. The States of Indiana, Ohio, 
and Pennsylvania then voted in October for State offices, 
and Indiana was desperately contested. Ohio was re- 
garded as certain, and Pennsylvania had only Congress- 
men and local officers to elect. The soldiers of Indiana 
could not vote in the field, and Lincoln's letter to Sher- 
man, who commanded the major portion of the Indiana 
troops, appeals to him, in Lincoln's usual cautious man- 
ner, to furlough as many of his soldiers home for the 
October election as he could safely spare. His exact 
language is: "Anything you can safely do to let your 
soldiers, or any part of them, go home to vote at the 
State election will be greatly in point" To this he 
adds: " This is in no sense an order; it is simply in- 
tended to impress you with the importance to the army 
itself of your doing all you safely can, yourself being the 
judge of what you can safely do." While this was u in 
no sense an order," it was practically a command that 
Sherman promptly and generously obeyed, and the result 
was that Morton was elected Governor by some 22,000 
majority. It was at Lincoln's special request that Gen- 
eral Logan left his command and missed the march to 
the sea, to stump Indiana and Illinois in the contest of 
1864. He was one of the ablest and most impressive of 
all the campaigners of the West, and it was regarded by 
Lincoln as more important that Logan should be on the 
hustings than in command of his corps. 

I recall a pointed illustration of Lincoln's rare sagacity 
when confronted with embarrassing political complica- 
tions that occurred in 1862, when I was in charge of the 
military department of Pennsylvania pertaining to the 
draft for troops made under the State law. Harrisburg 
was an important centre of military supplies, as well as 
the political centre of the State. Immense army con- 


tracts were there awarded and executed under officers 
assigned to duty at that place. After the draft had been 
made the conscripts began to pour into the capital by 
thousands, and, as the demand for reinforcements in the 
field was very pressing, I called upon the military officer 
of the city and urged upon him the necessity of muster- 
ing the new men as promptly as possible. To my sur- 
prise, he mustered only two companies the first day out 
of a thousand men. On the second day, notwithstand- 
ing my earnest appeal to him, he mustered no more than 
two companies, and on the third day, when I had over 
5000 men in camp, a mere mob without organization or 
discipline, the same tedious process of mustering was 
continued. I telegraphed Secretary Stanton that I had 
many men in camp, and that they were arriving in large 
numbers, but that I could not have them mustered that 
I could forward a regiment of troops every day if the 
government would furnish the officers to muster and or- 
ganize them. A prompt answer came that it would be 
done. The following morning a new officer appeared, 
of course subordinate to the commandant of the place 
who had charge of the mustering, and he promptly mus- 
tered an entire regiment the first day. On the following 
morning he was relieved from duty and ordered else- 
where, and the mustering again fell back to two com- 
panies a day. 

In the mean time over 7000 men had been gathered 
into the camp, and it was evident that the question of 
supplying the camp and the interests of contractors had 
become paramount to the reinforcement of the army. I 
telegraphed Lincoln that I would see him in Washing- 
ton that night, and hurried on to correct the evil by per- 
sonal conference with him. The case was a very simple 
one, and he readily took in the situation. He knew that 
I had labored day and night for two months, without 


compensation or the expectation of it, to hasten the 
Pennsylvania troops to the aid of our soldiers in the 
field, and I said to him that if he would send mustering 
officers to organize them promptly, I would return and 
finish the work; if not, I would abandon it and go home. 
Lincoln was greatly pained at the development, but he 
understood that a change of military officers at Harris- 
burg, such as this occasion seemed to demand, would 
involve serious political complications. He was of all 
things most desirous to strengthen our shattered armies, 
and it was evident very soon that he meant to do so in 
some way, but without offense to the political power that 
controlled the military assignments at Harrisburg. With- 
out intimating his solution of the problem, he rang his 
bell and instructed his messenger to bring Adjutant-Gen- 
eral Thomas to the Executive Chamber. Soon after the 
Adjutant-General appeared, and Lincoln said: " General, 
what is the military rank of the senior officer at Harris- 
burg?" To which the Adjutant-General replied: " Cap- 
tain, sir," and naming the officer. Lincoln promptly 
said in reply: " Bring me a commission immediately for 
Alexander K. McClure as Assistant Adjutant-General of 
the United States Volunteers, with the rank of major." 
The Adjutant-General bowed himself out, when I imme- 
diately said to Lincoln that I could not consent to be sub- 
ject to arbitrary military orders that I desired no com- 
pensation for the work I performed, and I must decline 
the honor he proposed to confer upon me. In his quiet 
way he replied: "Well, McClure, try my way; I think 
that will get the troops on without delay and without 
treading on anybody's toes. I think if you will take 
your commission back to Harrisburg, call upon the cap- 
tain in command there to muster you into the service of 
the United States, ^and show, him your assignment to 
duty there, you will have no trouble whatever in getting 



the troops organized and forwarded as rapidly as you 
wish. Now try it, won't you?" 

I saw the wisdom of the suggestion, and well under- 
stood why the President desired to avoid the offense that 
would have been given by the removal of the military 
officers, and I agreed to try his plan. When I returned 
to Harrisburg the next day I sent for the senior officer to 
come to my office. He came in with all the dignity and 
arrogance of an offended Caesar and spoke to me with 
bare civility. I quietly handed him my commission, 
requested him to muster me into the military service, 
and also exhibited the order assigning me for duty at 
Harrisburg. When he saw my commission his hat was 
immediately removed and he was as obsequious as he 
had been insolent before. When he had finished mus- 
tering me into the service I said to him, ' * I presume you 
understand what this means. I don't propose to make 
any display of military authority or to interfere with 
anything except that which I have immediately in hand. 
There must be a regiment of troops mustered and for- 
warded from this State every day until the troops in 
camp are all sent to the field. Good-morning." He 
immediately bowed himself out, saluting in military 
style as he did so a grace that I had not yet mastered 
sufficiently to return and from that day until the camp 
was emptied of conscripts a regiment of troops was mus- 
tered daily and forwarded to Washington. That was the 
only military authority I ever exercised, and few knew 
of the military dignity I had so suddenly attained. 
When the troops were forwarded to the field and the 
accounts settled I resigned my commission as quietly as 
I received it and sent my resignation to the President, 
who, as he had voluntarily promised, ordered its imme- 
diate acceptance. The officer who was tkus so unex- 
pectedly superseded, and who was so promptly made 


to render efficient service to the country by Lincoln's 
admirable strategy, is no longer among the living, 
and I omit his name. He learned how Lincoln 
could discipline a soldier, and he profited by the 


ABRAHAM LINCOLN was not a sentimental Aboli- 
<! tionist. Indeed, he was not a sentimentalist on 
any subject. He was a man of earnest conviction and 
of sublime devotion to his faith. In many of his public 
letters and State papers he was as poetic as he was epi- 
grammatic, and he was singularly felicitous in the pathos 
that was so often interwoven with his irresistible logic. 
But he never contemplated the abolition of slavery until 
the events of the war not only made it clearly possible, 
but made it an imperious necessity. As the sworn Ex- 
ecutive of the nation it was his duty to obey the Consti- 
tution in all its provisions, and he accepted that duty 
without reservation. He knew that slavery was the im- 
mediate cause of the political disturbance that culminated 
in civil war, and I know that he believed from the begin- 
ning that if war should be persisted in, it could end only 
in the severance of the Union or the destruction of slav- 
ery. His supreme desire was peace, alike before the war, 
during the war, and in closing the war. He exhausted 
every means within his power to teach the Southern peo- 
ple that slavery could not be disturbed by his administra- 
tion as long as they themselves obeyed the Constitution 
and laws which protected slavery, and he never uttered 
a word or did an act to justify, or even excuse, the South 



in assuming that he meant to make any warfare upon 
the institution of slavery beyond protecting the free Ter- 
ritories from its desolating tread. 

It was not until the war had been in progress for 
nearly two years that Lincoln decided to proclaim the 
policy of Emancipation, and then he was careful to as- 
sume the power as warranted under the Constitution only 
by the supreme necessities of war. There was no time 
from the inauguration of Lincoln until the ist of Janu- 
ary, 1863, that the South could not have returned to the 
Union with slavery intact in every State. His prelimi- 
nary proclamation, dated September 22, 1862, gave notice 
that on the ist of January, 1863, he would by public 
proclamation, ' ( warranted by the Constitution upon 
military necessity, ' ' declare that ' ' all persons held as 
slaves within any State, or designated part of the State, 
the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the 
United States, shall be thenceforward and for ever free. ' ' 
Every insurgent State had thus more than three months' 
formal notice that the war was not prosecuted for the 
abolition of slavery, but solely for the restoration of the 
Union, and that they could, by returning and accepting 
the authority of the National Government at any time 
before the ist of January, 1863, preserve slavery indef- 
initely. Lincoln's letter to Horace Greeley, written just 
one month before his preliminary Emancipation Procla- 
mation, presents in the clearest and most concise manner 
Lincoln's views on the subject of slavery and the Union. 
After saying that if he could save the Union without 
freeing any slaves he would do it; that if he could save 
it by freeing all the slaves he would do it; and that if 
he could save it by freeing some and leaving others 
he would also do that, he adds: "What I do about 
slavery and the colored race I do because I believe it 
helps to save this Union, and what I forbear I forbear 


because, I do not believe it would help to save the 

As President of the Republic, Lincoln was governed 
at every step by his paramount duty to prevent the dis- 
memberment of the nation and to restore the Union and 
its people to fraternal relations. The best expression of 
his own views and aims in the matter is given in a single 
brief sentence, uttered by himself on the i3th of Sep- 
tember, 1862, only nine days before he issued the pre- 
liminary proclamation. It was in response to an appeal 
from a large delegation of Chicago clergymen, represent- 
ing nearly or quite all the religious denominations of that 
city, urging immediate Emancipation. He heard them 
patiently, as he always did those who were entitled to be 
heard at all, and his answer was given in these words: 
* ' I have not decided against the proclamation of liberty 
to the slaves, but hold the matter under advisement, and 
I can assure you the matter is on my mind by day and 
by night more than any other. Whatever shall appear 
to be God's will I will do." However Lincoln's relig- 
ious views may be disputed, he had a profound belief in 
God and in God's immutable justice, and the sentence I 
have just quoted tells the whole story of Lincoln's action 
in the abolition of slavery. He did not expect miracles 
indeed, he was one of the last men to believe in mira- 
cles at all but he did believe that God overruled all 
human actions; that all individuals charged with grave 
responsibility were but the means in the hands of the 
Great Ruler to accomplish the fulfillment of justice. 
Congressman Arnold, whom Lincoln once declared to 
me to be the one member of the House in whose per- 
sonal and political friendship he had absolute faith, 
speaking of the earnest appeals made to Lincoln for 
Emancipation, says: " Mr. Lincoln listened not un- 
moved to such appeals, and, seeking prayerful guidance 


of Almighty God, the Proclamation of Emancipation 
was prepared. It had been, in fact, prepared in July, 

Thus from July until September, during which time 
there was the greatest possible pressure on Lincoln for 
an Emancipation policy, his proclamation had been for- 
mulated, but his usual caution had prevented him from 
intimating it to any outside of his Cabinet. It was the 
gravest step ever taken by any civil ruler in this or any 
other land, and military success was essential to main- 
tain and execute the policy of Emancipation after it had 
been declared. Had McClellan been successful in his 
Peninsula campaign, or had Lee been defeated in the 
second conflict of Manassas, without bringing peace, the 
proclamation would doubtless have been issued with the 
prestige of such victory. Under the shivering hesitation 
among even Republicans throughout the North, Lincoln 
felt that it needed the prestige of a military victory to 
assure its cordial acceptance by very many of the sup- 
porters of the government. The battle of Antietam, 
fought by the only general of that time who had pub- 
licly declared against an Emancipation policy, was the 
first victory the Army of the Potomac had achieved in 
1862, and five days after the Antietam victory the pre- 
liminary proclamation was issued. 

Only the careful student of the history of the war can 
have any just conception of the gradual manner in which 
Lincoln approached Emancipation. He long and earn- 
estly sought to avoid it, believing then that the Union 
could be best preserved without the violent destruction 
of slavery; and when he appreciated the fact that the 
leaders of the rebellion were unwilling to entertain any 
proposition for the restoration of the Union, he accepted 
the destruction of slavery as an imperious necessity, but 
he sought to attain it with the least possible disturbance. 


The first direct assault made upon slavery was by Sec- 
retary Cameron's overruled annual report in December, 

1861, in which he advised the arming of slaves. The 
first Congress that sat during the war made steady 
strides toward the destruction of slavery by the passage 
of five important laws. The first abolished slavery in 
the District of Columbia; the second prohibited slavery 
in all the Territories of the United States; the third 
gave freedom to the escaped slaves of all who were in 
rebellion; the fourth gave lawful authority for the enlist- 
ment of colored men as soldiers; and the fifth made a 
new article of war, prohibiting any one in the military 
or naval service from aiding in the arrest or return of a 
fugitive slave under pain of dismissal. Slavery was 
abolished in the District of Columbia as early as April, 

1862, the act having passed the Senate by 29 to 6, and 
the House by 92 to 38. A bill prohibiting slavery in the 
Territories was passed on the i9th of June, and a bill 
giving freedom to slaves of rebellious masters who per- 
formed military service was passed on the iyth of July. 

Thus was Congress steadily advancing toward Eman- 
cipation, and as early as March, 1862, Lincoln had pro- 
posed his plan of compensated Emancipation. On the 
6th of March he sent a special message to Congress 
recommending the adoption of the following joint reso- 

RESOLVED, That the United States ought to co-operate with 
any State which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery, giv- 
ing to such State pecuniary aid, to be used by such State, in its 
discretion, to compensate for the inconvenience, public and pri- 
vate, produced by such change of system. 

His message very earnestly pressed upon Congress the 
importance of adopting such a policy, and upon the 
country the importance of accepting it, North and 
South. His concluding sentence is: " In full view of 


my great responsibility to my God and to my country, I 
earnestly beg the attention of Congress and the people to 
the subject." Again, when revoking General Hunter's 
order of the gth of May, 1862, declaring all slaves free 
within his military district, Lincoln made a most im- 
pressive appeal to the people of the South on the sub- 
ject of compensated Emancipation. He said: u I do 
not argue; I beseech you to make the argument for 
yourselves. You cannot, if you would, be blind to the 
signs of the times. . . . The change it contemplates 
would come gently as the dews of heaven, not rending 
or wrecking anything. Will you not embrace it? So 
much good has not been done by any one effort in all 
past time as, in the providence of God, it is now your 
high privilege to do. May the vast future not have to 
lament that you have neglected it." Soon after this 
Lincoln had an interview with the Congressional dele- 
gations from the Border Slave States, at which he again 
earnestly urged them to accept compensated Emanci- 
pation. Speaking of that interview, Lincoln said: "I 
believed that the indispensable necessity for military 
Emancipation and arming the blacks would come unless 
averted by gradual and compensated Emancipation." 
Again in July, 1862, only two months before he issued 
the preliminary proclamation, Lincoln summoned the 
delegates from the Border Slave States to a conference 
with him, and again most persuasively appealed to them 
to accept gradual and compensated Emancipation. He 
said to them: " I do not speak of Emancipation at once, 
but of a decision at once to emancipate gradually." He 
also clearly foreshadowed to them that if they refused it, 
more violent Emancipation must come. He said : ( ' The 
pressure in this direction is still upon me and is increas- 
ing. By conceding what I now ask you can relieve me, 
and much more can relieve the country, on this import- 


ant point." He concluded with these eloquent words: 
' ' Our common country is in great peril, demanding the 
loftiest views and boldest action to bring a speedy relief. 
Once relieved, its form of government is saved to the 
world; its beloved history and cherished memories are 
vindicated, and its happy future fully assured and ren- 
dered inconceivably grand. To you, more than to any 
others, the privilege is given to assure that happiness 
and swell that grandeur, and to link your names there- 
with for ever." 

Strange as it may now seem, in view of the inevitable 
tendency of events at that time, these appeals of Lincoln 
were not only treated with contempt by those in rebel- 
lion, but the Border State Congressmen, who had every- 
thing at stake, and who in the end were compelled to 
accept forcible Emancipation without compensation, al- 
though themselves not directly involved in rebellion, 
made no substantial response to Lincoln's efforts to save 
their States and people. Thus did the States in rebel- 
lion disregard repeated importunities from Lincoln to 
accept Emancipation with payment for their slaves. 
During long weary months he had made temperate 
utterance on every possible occasion, and by every 
official act that could direct the attention of the coun- 
try he sought to attain the least violent solution of the 
slavery problem, only to learn the bitter lesson that 
slavery would make no terms with the government, and 
that it was the inspiration of rebellious armies seeking 
the destruction of the Republic. Soon after his appeal 
to the Congressmen of the Border States in July, 1862, 
Lincoln prepared his Emancipation Proclamation, and 
quietly and patiently waited the fullness of time for pro- 
claiming it, still hoping that peace might come without 
resort to the extreme measure of military and uncompen- 
sated Emancipation. Seeing that the last hope of any 


other method of peace had failed, he issued the prelim- 
inary proclamation on the 22d of September, 1862, and 
his final proclamation on the ist of January following; 
and there never was a day from that time until Lin- 
coln's death that he ever entertained, even for a mo- 
ment, the question of receding from the freedom he had 
proclaimed to the slaves. But while he was compelled 
to accept the issue of revolutionary Emancipation, he 
never abandoned the idea of compensated Emancipation 
until the final overthrow of Lee's army in 1865. He 
proposed it to his Cabinet in February of that year, only 
to be unanimously rejected, and I personally know that 
he would have suggested it to Stephens, Campbell, and 
Hunter at the Hampton Roads Conference in February, 
1865, had not Vice-President Stephens, as the immediate 
representative of Jefferson Davis, frankly stated at the 
outset that he was instructed not to entertain or discuss 
any proposition that did not recognize the perpetuity of 
the Confederacy. That statement from Stephens pre- 
cluded the possibility of Lincoln making any propo- 
sition, or even suggestion, whatever on the subject. In 
a personal interview with Jefferson Davis when I was a 
visitor in his house at Bevoir, Mississippi, fifteen years 
after the close of the war, I asked him whether he had 
ever received any intimation about Lincoln's desire to 
close the war by the payment of $400,000,000 for eman- 
cipated slaves. He said that he had not heard of it. 
I asked him whether he would have given such in- 
structions to Stephens if he had possessed knowledge 
of the fact. He answered that he could not have given 
Stephens any other instructions than he did under the 
circumstances, because as President of the Confederacy 
he could not entertain any question involving its dis- 
solution, that being a subject entirely for the States 



Lincoln treated the Emancipation question from the 
beginning as a very grave matter-of-fact problem to be 
solved for or against the destruction of slavery as the 
safety of the Union might dictate. He refrained from 
Emancipation for eighteen months after the war had 
begun, simply because he believed during that time that 
he might best save the Union by saving slavery, and had 
the development of events proved that belief to be cor- 
rect he would have permitted slavery to live with the 
Union. When he became fully convinced that the safety 
of the government demanded the destruction of slavery, 
he decided, after the mo'st patient and exhaustive con- 
sideration of the subject, to proclaim his Emancipation 
policy. It was not founded solely or even chiefly on the 
sentiment of hostility to slavery. If it had been, the 
proclamation would have declared slavery abolished in 
every State of the Union; but he excluded the slave 
States of Delaware, Maryland, and Tennessee, and cer- 
tain parishes in Louisiana, and certain counties in Vir- 
ginia, from the operation of the proclamation, declaring, 
in the instrument that has now become immortal, that 
"which excepted parts are for the present left precisely 
as if this proclamation were not issued." Thus if only 
military Emancipation had been achieved by the Presi- 
dent's proclamation, it would have presented the singular 
spectacle of Tennessee in the heart of the South, Mary- 
land and Delaware north of the Potomac, and nearly one- 
half of Louisiana and one-half of Virginia with slavery 
protected, while freedom was accorded to the slaves of 
all the other slaveholding States. Lincoln evidently 
regarded the Emancipation policy as the most moment- 
ous in the history of American statesmanship, and as 
justified only by the extreme necessity of weakening 
the rebellion that then threatened the severance of the 


From the very day of his inauguration until he issued 
his Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln was constantly 
importuned by the more radical element of his supporters 
to declare his purpose to abolish slavery. Among them 
were a number of the ablest leaders of his party in the 
Senate and House, and some of them as impracticable in 
their methods as they were imperious in their demands. 
That he was glad of the opportunity to destroy slavery 
none can doubt who knew him, but he patiently bore the 
often irritating complaints of many of his friends until 
he saw that slavery and the Union could not survive to- 
gether, and that the country was at least measurably pre- 
pared to accept and support the new policy. He was 
many times threatened with open rebellion against his 
administration by some of the most potent Republicans 
because of his delay in declaring the Emancipation pol- 
icy, but he waited until the time had come in the fall of 
1862, when he felt that it was not only a necessity of war, 
but a political necessity as well. Another very grave 
consideration that led him to accept Emancipation when 
he did was the peril of England and France recognizing 
the Confederacy and thereby involving us in war with 
two of the greatest powers of Europe. The pretext on 
which was based the opposition of England to the Union 
cause in the early part of the war was the maintenance 
of slavery by the government while prosecuting a war 
against a slaveholders' rebellion, and it seemed to be an 
absolute necessity that our government should accept the 
Emancipation policy to impair the force of the public 
sentiment in England that demanded the recognition of 
the South as an independent government. These three 
weighty considerations, each in itself sufficient to have 
decided Lincoln's action, combined to dictate his Eman- 
cipation policy in the early fall of 1862. The proclama- 
tion did not in itself abolish slavery, but the positive 


declaration in the proclamation ' * that the Executive 
government of the United States, including the military 
and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and main- 
tain the freedom of said persons," gave notice to every 
slaveholder and promise to every slave that every bond- 
man brought within the lines of the Union Army would 
thereafter be for ever free. 

While the Emancipation Proclamation inflicted a mor- 
tal wound upon slavery and assured its absolute extinc- 
tion, sooner or later, throughout the entire country, Lin- 
coln fully" appreciated the fact that much was yet to be 
done, even beyond victories in the field, to efface the blot 
of slavery from the Republic. As early as the i4th of 
January, 1863, Representative Wilson of Iowa, then 
chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and now a United 
States Senator, reported a proposed amendment to the 
Constitution declaring slavery " for ever prohibited in 
the United States." On the loth of February, 1864, 
Senator Trumbull reported from the Judiciary Com- 
mittee of that body a proposed amendment that was 
finally adopted in 1865, and is now part of the funda- 
mental law of the nation. It was passed in the Senate 
oil the 1 8th of April by a vote of 38 to 6. It was de- 
feated in the House by a vote of 93 in its favor and 65 
against it, lacking the requisite two-thirds. Seeing that 
the amendment was lost, Ashley of Ohio changed his 
vote from the affirmative to the negative with a view of 
entering a motion to reconsider, and the subject went 
over until the next session. On the 6th of January, 
1865, Ashley made his motion to reconsider and called 
up the proposed amendment for another vote. One of 
the most interesting and able debates of that time was 
precipitated by Ashley's motion, and the notable speech 
of the occasion was made by Mr. Rollins of Missouri, 
who had been a large slaveholder, and who declared that 


' ' the rebellion instigated and carried on by slaveholders 
has been the death-knell of the institution." Stevens^ 
the great apostle of freedom from Pennsylvania and the 
Great Commoner of the war, closed the debate, and 
probably on no other occasion in the history of Congress 
was such intense anxiety exhibited as when the roll was 
called on the adoption or rejection of the amendment. 
The Republicans did not have two-thirds of the House, 
but several Democrats openly favored the amendment 
and a number of others were known to be uncertain. 
The first break in the Democratic line was when the 
name of Coffroth of Pennsylvania was called, who 
promptly answered ay, and was greeted with thunders 
of applause in the House and galleries. He was fol- 
lowed by Ganson, Herrick, Nelson, Odell, Radford, and 
Steele, Democrats from New York, by English from 
Connecticut, and by McAlister from Pennsylvania, and 
when the Speaker declared that the amendment had 
been adopted by 119 yeas to 56 nays, being more than 
the requisite constitutional majority, the great battle of 
Emancipation was substantially won, and Lincoln hailed 
it with a measure of joy second only to his delight at 
the announcement of Lee's surrender. Before the mem- 
bers left their seats salvos of artillery announced to the 
people of the capital that the Constitutional amendment 
abolishing slavery had been adopted by Congress, and 
the victorious leaders rushed to the White House to 
congratulate Lincoln on the final achievement of 

The acceptance of the proposed amendment by the 
requisite number of States was not a matter of doubt, 
and the absolute overthrow of slavery throughout the 
entire Republic dates from the adoption of the amend- 
ment to the Constitution in the House of Representatives 
on the 6th of January, 1865. Illinois, the home of Lin- 


coin, fitly led off in ratifying the amendment. Massa- 
chusetts and Pennsylvania both ratified on the 8th of 
February, and one of the most grateful recollections of 
my life is that as a member of the popular branch of the 
Pennsylvania Legislature I supported and voted for that 
measure. Owing to the delay in the meeting of Legis- 
latures in a number of the States the official proclamation 
of the ratification of the amendment was not made until 
the 1 8th of December, 1865, on which day Secretary 
Seward formally declared to the country and the world 
that the amendment abolishing slavery had ( ' become to 
all intents and purposes valid as a part of the Constitu- 
tion of the United States. ' ' Lincoln had thus dealt the 
deathblow to slavery by his proclamation, but it was not 
until after he had sealed his devotion to free government 
by giving his life to the assassin's hate that the great 
work was consummated and the Republic was entirely 
free from the stain of human bondage. 

The most earnest discussions I ever had with Lincoln 
were on the subject of his Emancipation Proclamation. 
I knew the extraordinary pressure that came from the 
more radical element of the Republican party, embracing 
a number of its ablest leaders, such as Sumner, Chase, 
Wade, Chandler, and others, but I did not know, and 
few were permitted to know, the importance of an 
Emancipation policy in restraining the recognition of 
the Confederacy by France and England. I was earn- 
estly opposed to an Emancipation Proclamation by the 
President. For some weeks before it was issued I saw 
Lincoln frequently, and in several instances sat with him 
for hours at a time after the routine business of the day 
had been disposed of and the doors of the White House 
were closed. I viewed the issue solely from a political 
standpoint, and certainly had the best of reasons for the 
views I pressed upon Lincoln, assuming that political 


expediency should control his action. I reminded him 
that the proclamation would not liberate a single slave 
that the Southern armies must be overthrown, and that 
the territory held by them must be conquered by military 
success, before it could be made effective. To this Lin- 
coln answered: " It does seem like the Pope's bull against 
the comet;" but that was the most he ever said in any 
of his conversations to indicate that he might not issue 
it. I appealed to him to issue a military order as Com- 
mander-in-chief of the Army and Navy, proclaiming 
that every slave of a rebellious owner should be for ever 
free when brought within our lines. Looking simply to 
practical results, that would have accomplished every- 
thing that the Emancipation Proclamation achieved; but 
it was evident during all these discussions that Lincoln 
viewed the question from a very much higher standpoint 
than I did, although, as usual, he said but little and 
gave no clue to the bent of his mind on the subject. 

I reminded Lincoln that political defeat would be in- 
evitable in the great States of the Union in the elections 
soon to follow if he issued the Emancipation Proclama- 
tion that New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, 
Indiana, and Illinois would undoubtedly vote Democratic 
and elect Democratic delegations to the next Congress. 
He did not dispute my judgment as to the political effect 
of the proclamation, but I never left him with any rea- 
sonable hope that I had seriously impressed him on the 
subject. Every political prediction I made was fearfully 
fulfilled in the succeeding October and November elec- 
tions. New York elected Seymour Governor by 10, 700 
majority, and chose 17 Democratic and 14 Republican 
Congressmen. New Jersey elected a Democratic Gov- 
ernor by 14,500, and 4 Democrats and i Republican to 
Congress. Pennsylvania elected the Democratic State 
ticket by 3500 majority and 13 Democrats and n Re- 


publicans to Congress, with a Democratic Legislature 
that chose Buckalew to the United States Senate. Ohio 
elected the Democratic State ticket by 5500 majority and 
14 Democrats and 2 Republicans to Congress, Ashley and 
Schenck being the only two who escaped in the political 
Waterloo. Indiana elected the Democratic State ticket 
by 9500 majority and 7 Democrats and 4 Republicans to 
Congress, with 30 Democratic majority in the Legis- 
lature. Illinois elected the Democratic State ticket by 
16,500 majority and 9 Democrats and 5 Republicans to 
Congress, and 28 Democratic majority in the Legislature. 
Confidently anticipating these disastrous political results, 
I could not conceive it possible for Lincoln to success- 
fully administer the government and prosecute the war 
with the six most important loyal States of the Union 
declaring against him at the polls; but Lincoln knew 
that the majority in Congress would be safe, as the rebel- 
lious States were excluded, and the far West and New 
England were ready to sustain the Emancipation policy; 
and he appreciated, as I did not, that the magnitude of 
his act cast all mere considerations of expediency into 
nothingness. He dared to do the right for the sake of 
the right. I speak of this the more freely because, in 
the light of events as they appear to-day, he rose to the 
sublimest duty of his life, while I was pleading the mere 
expedient of a day against a record for human freedom 
that must be immortal while liberty has worshipers in 
any land or clime. 

Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation be- 
cause it was an imperious duty, and because the time 
had come when any temporizing with the question 
would have been more fatal than could possibly be any 
temporary revolt against the manly declaration of right. 
He felt strong enough to maintain the freedom he pro- 
claimed by the military and naval power of the govern- 


ment. He believed it to be the most mortal wound that 
could be inflicted upon the Confederacy. He believed 
that it would disarm the strong anti-Union sentiment 
that seemed to be fast pressing the Hnglish government 
to the recognition of the South, and he believed that, 
however public sentiment might falter for a time, like 
the disturbed and quivering needle it would surely settle 
to the pole. He did not issue it for the mere sentiment 
of unshackling four millions of slaves, nor did he then 
dream of universal citizenship and suffrage to freedmen. 
In the last public address that he ever delivered, on the 
nth of April, 1865, speaking of negro suffrage, he said: 
' ' I would myself prefer that suffrage were now conferred 
upon the very intelligent and on those who served our 
cause as soldiers. ' ' He believed it to be simply an act 
of justice that every colored man who had fought for his 
freedom and for the maintenance of the Union, and was 
honorably discharged from the military service, should 
be clothed with the right of franchise; and he believed 
that ' ' the very intelligent ' ' should also be enfranchised 
as exemplars of their race and an inspiration to them for 
advancement. He was always stubbornly for justice, 
stubbornly for the right, and it was his sublime devotion 
to the right in the face of the most appalling opposition 
that made the name of Abraham Lincoln immortal as 
the author of the Emancipation Proclamation, on which 
he justly invoked u the considerate judgment of mankind 
and the gracious favor of Almighty God. ' ' 


THE fact that Abraham Lincoln conceived and exe- 
cuted the scheme to nominate Andrew Johnson for 
Vice-President in 1864 has been feebly disputed, but is 
now accepted as the truth of history. It was not an 
arbitrary exercise of political power on the part of Lin- 
coln. He had no prejudice against Hannibal Hamlin to 
inspire him to compass Hamlin' s defeat. He had no 
special love for Andrew Johnson to lead him to over- 
throw his old associate of 1860 and make the Military 
Governor of an insurgent State his fellow- candidate for 
1864. Hamlin was not in close sympathy with Lincoln; 
on the contrary, he was known as one who passively 
rather than actively strengthened a powerful cabal of 
Republican leaders in their aggressive hostility to Lin- 
coln and his general policy; but Lincoln was incapable 
of yielding to prejudice, however strong, in planning his 
great campaign for re-election in 1864. Had Hamlin 
been ten times more offensive than he was to Lincoln, 
it would not have halted Lincoln for a moment in favor- 
ing Hamlin' s renomination if he believed it good politics 
to do so. He rejected Hamlin not because he hated him; 
he accepted Johnson not because he loved him. He was 
guided in what he did, or what he did not, in planning 
the great campaign of his life, that he believed involved 
the destiny of the country itself, by the single purpose 
of making success as nearly certain as possible. 


(Photo by Brady, Washington.) 



Hamlin was nominated for the Vice- Presidency in 1860 
simply because he was a representative Republican fresh 
from the Democratic party. Another consideration that 
favored his selection was the fact that his State had been 
carried into the Republican party under his leadership, 
and that its State election in September would be the 
finger-board of success or defeat in the national contest. 
His position as Representative, Senator, and Governor, 
and his admitted ability and high character, fully justi- 
fied his nomination as the candidate for Vice- President; 
but when elected there was the usual steadily widening 
chasm between him and the Executive, and, like nearly 
or quite all Vice- Presidents, he drifted into the embrace 
of the opposition to his chief. It was this opposition, 
led by men of such consummate ability as Wade of Ohio 
and Henry Winter Davis of Maryland, that admonished 
Lincoln of the necessity of putting himself in the strong- 
est possible attitude for the then admittedly doubtful bat- 
tle of 1864. While the defeat of Lee at Gettysburg and 
the surrender of Vicksburg the year before had done 
much to inspire faith in the success of the war, the Con- 
federacy was stubbornly maintaining its armies. The 
opening of the new year of 1864 called for large drafts 
of men to fill the thinned ranks of the Union forces, and 
there was a powerful undertow of despondency among 
the loyal people of the North. The war was costing 
#3,000,000 a day, and after three years of bloody conflict 
the end was not in view. The Republican leaders in the 
early part of 1864 were divided in councils, distracted by 
the conflicts of ambition, and very many of the ablest of 
them regarded the defeat of the party as not only possi- 
ble, but more than probable. The one man who fully 
understood the peril and who studied carefully how to 
avert it was Abraham Lincoln. 

Lincoln, as was his usual custom, consulted with all 


who came within his reach, and developed his views 
from time to time with extreme caution. In the early 
part of the year he reached the conclusion that it would 
be eminently wise to nominate a conspicuous War Demo- 
crat for Vice- President along with himself for President. 
A number of prominent men who acted with the Demo- 
cratic party in 1860 against Lincoln's election, but who 
patriotically entered the military service and won dis- 
tinction by their heroism, represented a very large class 
of Democratic voters upon whom Lincoln felt he must 
rely for his re-election. Hamlin had been a Democrat, 
but he did not come under the class of War Democrats, 
while Butler, Dix, Dickinson, Johnson, Holt, and others 
represented a distinctive and very formidable class of 
citizens who, while yet professing to be Democrats, were 
ready to support the war under Lincoln until it should 
be successfully terminated by the restoration of the Union. 
Lincoln's first selection for Vice-President was General 
Butler. I believe he reached that conclusion without 
specially consulting with any of his friends. As early 
as March, 1864, he sent for General Cameron, to whom 
he proposed the nomination of Butler, and that, I as- 
sume, was his first declaration of his purpose to any one 
on the subject. He confided to Cameron the mission to 
Fortress Monroe to confer confidentially with Butler. 
On that journey Cameron was accompanied by Ex-Con- 
gressman William H. Armstrong of Pennsylvania, who 
was first informed of the real object of Cameron's visit 
when they were returning home, and after Butler had 
declined to permit his name to be considered. Butler 
was at that time a strong man in the loyal States. He 
had not achieved great military success, but his adminis- 
tration in New Orleans had made him universally popu- 
lar throughout the North, in which the vindictive vitu- 
peration of the Southern people heaped upon him was 


an important factor. Butler's declination was peremp- 
tory, and Cameron returned home without learning in 
what direction Lincoln would be likely to look for a 
candidate for Vice-President 

In a later conference with Cameron, in which the 
names of Johnson, Dickinson, and Dix were seriously 
discussed, Lincoln expressed his preference for Johnson, 
to which Cameron, with unconcealed reluctance, finally 
assented. While Lincoln at that time decided in favor 
of Johnson, he did not himself regard it as final. His 
extreme caution and exceptional sagacity made him 
carefully consider all possible weak points in Johnson's 
candidacy before he launched the movement for his 
nomination. He summoned General Sickles to Wash- 
ington, and sent him to Tennessee on a confidential mis- 
sion to examine and make report to him of the success 
of Johnson's administration as Military Governor. That 
State was in a revolutionary condition ; Johnson was 
charged with violent and despotic official acts, and Lin- 
coln meant to know fully whether Johnson might, by 
reason of his administration, be vulnerable as a national 
candidate. Sickles had no knowledge of the real pur- 
pose of his mission. The question of nominating John- 
son for the Vice- Presidency was never suggested or even 
intimated to Sickles, and he fulfilled his trust and re- 
ported favorably on Johnson's administration, without 
even a suspicion that he was to determine the destiny 
of Andrew Johnson, make him Vice-President of the 
United States, and thus President. 

Lincoln's purpose in seeking Johnson as his associate 
on the national ticket in 1864 was much more far reach- 
ing than any but himself at the time supposed. He 
meant to guard against possible defeat by getting a 
number of the insurgent States in some sort of line to 
enable their Electoral votes to be counted if needed. 


His most promising experiment was in Tennessee under 
the guidance of Johnson, but he obviously intended that 
the States of Louisiana, Arkansas, and West Virginia 
with Tennessee should be organized with the semblance 
of full Statehood to make their Electoral votes available 
should the national contest be close. Had he developed 
this policy to his party or to Congress, it would have 
been met with positive and aggressive opposition, but 
he developed it in the quietest way possible. His first 
movement in that line was to have delegations elected 
to the National Convention from the Southern States 
named, and when they appeared at the Baltimore Con- 
vention on the yth of June the battle for their admission 
was led with consummate skill by the few who under- 
stood Lincoln's policy. Tennessee being in the strong- 
est attitude, the delegation from that State was selected 
on which to make the fight. It was desperately con- 
tested, because it was then well understood to mean the 
nomination of Johnson for Vice- President; but the Ten- 
nessee delegates were admitted by more than a two- 
thirds vote. With Tennessee accepted as entitled to 
representation, the contest was ended, and Louisiana 
and Arkansas were given the right of representation 
without a serious struggle. 

When Congress met again after the election in No- 
vember, and when Lincoln's election by an overwhelm- 
ing popular as well as Electoral vote was assured, the 
question of counting the Electoral votes of Louisiana, 
Tennessee, and Arkansas was raised and elaborately dis- 
cussed in both branches. As Lincoln had 212 Electoral 
votes to 21 for McClellan, exclusive of the votes of the 
three insurgent States referred to, there was no political 
necessity to induce Congress to strain a point for the ac- 
ceptance of these votes; and a joint resolution was finally 
passed declaring "that no valid election for Electors of 


President and Vice-President of the United States" had 
been held in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Lin- 
coln approved the resolution, but took occasion by spe- 
cial message to disclaim approval of the recital of the 
preamble. Had the votes of these three States been 
needed to elect a Republican President, I hazard little in 
saying that they would have been treated as regular and 
lawful and counted with the approval of both the Senate 
and House; as they were not needed and as the develop- 
ment of these States was Lincoln's own conception, those 
who were not specially friendly scored an empty victory 
against him. 

He moved with masterly sagacity at every step in his 
efforts to nominate Johnson, and his selection of General 
Cameron as early as March to be his first ambassador in 
search of a War Democrat for Vice-President was not 
one of the least of his many shrewd conceptions. The 
relations between Lincoln and Cameron had been some- 
what strained by Cameron's retirement from the Cabinet 
in 1862. At least Lincoln assumed that they might be 
somewhat strained on the part of Cameron, and he took 
early caution to enlist Cameron in his renomination. He 
knew the power of Cameron in the manipulation of dis- 
cordant political elements, and he fully appreciated the 
fact that Cameron's skill made him a dangerous oppo- 
nent. He bound Cameron to himself by making him 
one of his trusted leaders in the selection of a candidate 
for Vice-President. The man who was probably closest 
to Lincoln in this movement was Henry J. Raymond, 
but in this as in all Lincoln's movements his confidence 
was limited with each of his trusted agents. Raymond 
was then editor of the only prominent New York journal 
that heartily supported Lincoln; and he, with the aid of 
Seward and Weed, who early entered into the movement 
for the nomination of Johnson, overthrew Dickinson in 


his own State and was the confessed Lincoln leader in 
the Baltimore Convention of 1864. With Dickinson 
beaten in New York and with Hamlin's forces demoral- 
ized early in the contest, the nomination of Johnson was 
easily accomplished, chiefly because it was what Lincoln 

Neither Swett nor Lamon had any knowledge of Lin- 
coln's positive movement for the nomination of Johnson 
until within a day or two of the meeting of the conven- 
tion. Colonel Lamon has recently given a description 
of the scene between Lincoln, Swett, and himself a day 
or two before they went to Baltimore to aid in Lincoln's 
renomination. Swett earnestly and even passionately 
protested against the overthrow of Hamlin, but after 
hearing Lincoln fully on the subject he consented to go 
to the convention, in which he was a delegate from Illi- 
nois, and support the nomination of Johnson; but he 
wisely declared Holt to be his candidate, as a foil to pro- 
tect Lincoln. Swett naturally felt uncertain as to how 
the suggestion of Johnson's name would be received at 
Baltimore, as he had no knowledge of the extent to 
which Lincoln had progressed in the Johnson move- 
ment. In answer to his inquiry whether he was at lib- 
erty to say that Lincoln desired Johnson's nomination, 
Lincoln answered in the negative, and, as quoted by 
Colonel Lamon in a recent public letter, said : ' ' No, I 
will address a letter to Lamon here embodying my views, 
which you, McClure, and other friends may use if it be 
found absolutely necessary; otherwise it may be better 
that I shall not appear actively on the stage of this 
theatre." The letter was written by Lincoln and deliv- 
ered to Lamon, who had it with him at Baltimore, but, 
as there was no occasion for using it, it was never shown 
to any one and was returned to Lincoln after the con- 
vention at his request. 


How shrewdly Lincoln moved, and with what extreme 
caution he guarded his confidence, is well illustrated by 
the fact that while he consulted Cameron confidentially 
about the nomination of Johnson some months before the 
convention, and consulted me on the same subject the 
day before the convention met, neither of us supposed 
that the other was acting in the special confidence of 
Lincoln. On the contrary, I supposed that Cameron was 
sincerely friendly to Hamlin and would battle for his re- 
nomination, until he finally proposed to me the night 
before the convention met that we give a solid compli- 
mentary vote to Hamlin, and follow it with a solid vote 
for Johnson. Another evidence of his extreme caution 
in politics is given by the fact that while he carefully 
concealed from both Cameron and myself the fact that 
the other was in his confidence in the same movement, 
he surprised me a few weeks before the convention by 
sending for me and requesting me to come to the con- 
vention as a delegate-at-large. I had already been unani- 
mously chosen as a delegate from my own Congressional 
district, and was amazed, when I informed Lincoln of 
that fact, to find that he still insisted upon me going 
before the State Convention and having myself elected 
as a delegate-at-large. To all my explanations that a 
man in the delegation was good for just what he was 
worth, whether he represented the district or the State, 
Lincoln persisted in the request that I should come as a 
delegate-at-large. When I finally pressed him for an 
explanation of what seemed to me to be a needless re- 
quest involving great embarrassment to me, he finally 
with evident reluctance answered : * * General Cameron 
has assured me that he will be a delegate-at-large from 
your State, and while I have no reason to question his 
sincerity as my friend, if he is to be a delegate-at-large 

from Pennsylvania I would much prefer that you be one 


with him. ' ' Had he been willing to tell me the whole 
truth, he would have informed me that Cameron was en- 
listed in the Johnson movement, and that he specially 
desired at least two of the delegates-at-large, representing 
opposing factions, to be active supporters of Johnson's 
nomination. There could be no other reasonable expla- 
nation of his earnest request to me to accept the embar- 
rassing position of seeking an election from the State 
Convention when I was already an elected delegate from 
my district. A fortunate combination of circumstances 
made it possible for me to be elected without a serious 
contest, Cameron and I receiving nearly a unanimous 

Lincoln realized the fact that the chances were greatly 
against his re-election unless he should be saved by the 
success of the Union army. There was no period from 
January, 1864, until the 3d of September of the same 
year when McClellan would not have defeated Lincoln 
for President. The two speeches of that campaign which 
turned the tide and gave Lincoln his overwhelming vic- 
tory were Sherman's dispatch from Atlanta on the 3d of 
September, saying: u Atlanta is ours and fairly won;" 
and Sheridan's dispatch of the igth of September from 
the Valley, saying: "We have just sent them (the enemy) 
whirling through Winchester, and we are after them to- 
morrow. ' ' From the opening of the military campaign 
in the spring of 1864 until Sherman announced the cap- 
ture of Atlanta, there was not a single important victory 
of the Union army to inspire the loyal people of the 
country with confidence in the success of the war. 
Grant's campaign from the Rapidan to the James was 
the bloodiest in the history of the struggle. He had lost 
as many men in killed, wounded, and missing as Lee 
ever had in front of him, and there was no substantial 
victory in all the sacrifice made by the gallant Army of 


the Potomac. Sherman had been fighting continuously 
for four months without a decisive success. The people 
of the North had become heartsick at the fearful sacri- 
fices which brought no visible achievement. Democratic 
sentiment had drifted to McClellan as the opposing can- 
didate, and so profoundly was Lincoln impressed by the 
gloomy situation that Confronted him that on the 23d of 
August, seven days before the nomination of McClellan 
and ten days before the capture of Atlanta, he wrote the 
following memoranda, sealed it in an envelope, and had 
it endorsed by several members of the Cabinet, including 
Secretary Welles, with written instructions that it was 
not to be opened until after the election: 

WASHINGTON, August 23, 1864. 

This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly 
probable that this administration will not be re-elected. Then 
it will be my duty to co-operate with the President-elect so as to 
save the Union between the election and the inauguration, as he 
will have secured his election on such grounds that he cannot 
possibly save it afterward. A. LINCOLN. 

Nor was I/incoln alone in his apprehension of defeat. 
Distrust and disintegration were common throughout the 
entire Republican organization, and nearly all of the sin- 
cere supporters of Lincoln were in next to utter despair 
of political success. I spent an hour with him in the 
Executive Chamber some ten days before he wrote the 
memoranda before given, and I never saw him more de- 
jected in my life. His face, always sad in repose, was 
then saddened until it became a picture of despair, and 
he spoke of the want of sincere and earnest support from 
the Republican leaders with unusual freedom. I dis- 
tinctly remember his reference to the fact that of all 
the Republican members of the House he could name 


but one in whose personal and political friendship he 
could absolutely confide. That one man was Isaac N. 
Arnold of Illinois. Stevens, the Great Commoner of 
the war, while sincerely desiring Lincoln's re-election 
because he hated McClellan worse than he hated Lin- 
coln, and because he felt that the election of Lincoln 
was necessary to the safety of the Union, was intensely 
bitter against Lincoln personally, and rarely missed an 
opportunity to thrust his keenest invectives upon him. 
New York had a Democratic Governor of matchless abil- 
ity, and that great State was regarded as almost hope- 
lessly lost. Pennsylvania was trembling in the balance, 
as was confirmed by the failure of the Republicans to 
carry the State at the October election, and Indiana 
would have been almost in rebellion but for the vic- 
tories of Sherman and Sheridan during the month of 

At this interview Lincoln seemed to have but one over- 
mastering desire, and that was to attain peace on the basis 
of a restored Union. He took from a corner of his desk 
a paper written out in his own handwriting, proposing to 
pay to the South $400,000,000 as compensation for their 
slaves, on condition that the States should return to their 
allegiance to the government and accept Emancipation. 
I shall never forget the emotion exhibited by Lincoln 
when, after reading this paper to me, he said : u If I 
could only get this proposition before the Southern peo- 
ple, I believe they would accept it, and I have faith that 
the Northern people, however startled at first, would soon 
appreciate the wisdom of such a settlement of the war. 
One hundred days of war would cost us the $400,000,000 
I would propose to give for Emancipation and a restored 
Republic, not to speak of the priceless sacrifice of life 
and the additional sacrifice of property; but were I to 
make this offer now it would defeat me inevitably and 


probably defeat Emancipation. ' ' I had seen him many 
times when army disasters shadowed the land and op- 
pressed him with sorrow, but I never saw him so pro- 
foundly moved by grief as he was on that day, when 
there seemed to be not even a silvery lining to the polit- 
ical cloud that hung over him. Few now recall the 
grave perils to Lincoln's re-election which thickened 
almost at every turn in 1864 until the country was elec- 
trified by Sherman's inspiring dispatch from Atlanta, 
followed by Sheridan's brilliant victories in the Valley 
and Sherman's memorable march to the sea; and it was 
these grave perils and these supreme necessities, long un- 
derstood by Lincoln, which made him, in his broad and 
sagacious way, carefully view the field for the strongest 
candidate for Vice- President, and finally led him to nomi- 
nate Andrew Johnson. To Lincoln, and to Lincoln 
alone, Johnson owed his nomination. 

I had no personal knowledge of Lincoln's purpose to 
nominate Johnson for Vice- President until the day before 
the Baltimore Convention met. He telegraphed me to 
visit Washington before attending the convention, and I 
did so. He opened the conversation by advising me to 
give my vote and active support to Johnson as his asso- 
ciate on the ticket. It was evident that he confidently 
relied on my willingness to accept his judgment in the 
matter. I had expected to support the renomination of 
Hamlin. I had little respect for Andrew Johnson, and 
of all the men named for the position he was the last I 
would have chosen if I had been left to the exercise of 
my own judgment. It is more than probable that I 
would have obeyed the wishes of Lincoln even if he had 
not presented the very strong and, indeed, conclusive 
reasons for his request; but after hearing the arguments 
which had led him to the conclusion that Johnson should 
be nominated as his associate, I was quite as ready to ac- 


cept the wisdom of the proposition as to obey the wishes 
of the President. 

There was not a trace of bitterness, prejudice, or even 
unfriendliness toward Hamlin in all that Lincoln said 
about the Vice- Presidency, and he was careful to say 
that he did not desire the nomination of Johnson to 
gratify any personal preference of his own. He natu- 
rally preferred a new man, as Hamlin was not in sympa- 
thy with Lincoln personally or with the general policy 
of his administration, but he preferred Johnson for two 
reasons, which he presented with unanswerable clear- 
ness: First, he was the most conspicuous, most aggres- 
sive, and the most able of all the War Democrats of that 
time, and was just in the position to command the largest 
measure of sympathy and support from that very import- 
ant political element. Dix, Dickinson, Butler, and Holt 
had made no such impressive exhibition of their loyalty 
as had Johnson in Tennessee. He was then just in the 
midst of his great work of rehabilitating his rebellious 
State and restoring it to the Union, and his loyal achieve- 
ments were therefore fresh before the people and certain 
to continue so during the campaign. There was really 
no answer to Lincoln's argument on this point. Second, 
the stronger and more imperative reason for Lincoln pre- 
ferring Johnson was one that I had not appreciated fully 
until he had presented it. The great peril of the Union 
at that day was the recognition of the Confederacy by 
England and France, and every month's delay of the 
overthrow of the rebellious armies increased the danger. 
Extraordinary efforts had been made by Lincoln to stim- 
ulate the Union sentiment, especially in England, but 
with only moderate success, and there was no safety 
from one day to another against a war with England 
and France that would have been fatal to the success of 
the Union cause. The only possible way to hinder recog- 


nition was to show successful results of the war in restor- 
ing the dissevered States to their old allegiance, and Lin- 
coln was firmly convinced that by no other method could 
the Union sentiment abroad be so greatly inspired and 
strengthened as by the nomination and election of a rep- 
resentative Southern man to the Vice- Presidency from 
one of the rebellious States in the very heart of the Con- 
federacy. These reasons decided Lincoln to prefer John- 
son for Vice- President, and Lincoln possessed both the 
power to make the nomination and the wisdom to dic- 
tate it without jarring the party organization. 

The fact that Lincoln did not make known to Hamlin 
and his friends his purpose to nominate another for Vice- 
President in 1864 does not accuse him of deceit or insin- 
cerity ; and the additional fact that when the Convention 
was in session and he was asked for a categorical answer 
as to his position on the Vice-Presidency, he declined to 
express his wishes or to avow his interference with the 
action of the party, cannot be justly construed into polit- 
ical double-dealing. It was quite as much a necessity 
for Lincoln to conceal his movements for the nomination 
of Johnson as it was, in his judgment, a necessity for him 
to nominate a Southern man and a War Democrat, and 
he simply acted with rare sagacity and discretion in his 
movements and with fidelity to the country, the safety 
of which was paramount with him. Hamlin was pro- 
foundly grieved over his defeat, as were his many friends, 
and had they seen the hand of Lincoln in it they would 
have resented it with bitterness; but Hamlin himself was 
not fully convinced of Lincoln's opposition to his renomi- 
nation until within two years of his death. I have in 
my possession an autograph letter from Hamlin to Judge 
Pettis of Pennsylvania, to whom Lincoln had expressed 
his desire for -Johnson's nomination on the morning of 
the day the convention met, in which he says that he 


had seen and heard statements relating to Lincoln's 
action in the matter, but he did not believe them nntil 
the evidence had lately been made conclusive to his 
mind. In this letter he says: " I was really sorry to be 
disabused." And he adds: "Mr. L. [Lin coin] evidently 
became some alarmed about his re-election, and changed 
his position. That is all I care to say." I have thus the 
conclusive evidence from Hamlin himself, that in Sep- 
tember, 1889, he had full knowledge of Lincoln's direct 
intervention to nominate Johnson for Vice-President in 
1864. Hamlin gave an earnest support to the ticket, 
believing that the supreme sentiment of Republicanism 
had set him aside in the interest of the public welfare. 
He maintained his high position in the party for many 
years thereafter, filling the office of Collector of Portland 
and subsequently returning to the Senate, where he 
served until he had passed the patriarchal age, and then 
voluntarily retired to enjoy the calm evening of a well- 
spent life. 

(Photo by Gutekunst, Philadelphia.) 



SALMON P. CHASE was the most irritating fly in 
the Lincoln ointment from the inauguration of the 
new administration in 1861 until the 29th of June, 1864, 
when his resignation as Secretary of the Treasury was 
finally accepted. He was an annual resigner in the Cabi- 
net, having petulantly tendered his resignation in 1862, 
again in 1863, and again in 1864, when he was probably 
surprised by Mr. Lincoln's acceptance of it. It was 
soon after Lincoln's unanimous renomination, and when 
Chase's dream of succeeding Lincoln as President had 
perished, at least for the time. He was one of the strong- 
est intellectual forces of the entire administration, but in 
politics he was a theorist and a dreamer and was unbal- 
anced by overmastering ambition. He never forgave 
Lincoln for the crime of having been preferred for Presi- 
dent over him, and while he was a pure and conscien- 
tious man, his prejudices and disappointments were vastly 
stronger than himself, and there never was a day during 
his continuance in the Cabinet when he was able to ap- 
proach justice to Lincoln. Like Sumner, he entered 
public life ten years "before the war by election to the 
Senate through a combination of Democrats and Free- 
Soilers, and it is worthy of note that these two most 
brilliant and tireless of the great anti-slavery leaders cast 
their last votes for Democratic candidates for President. 



From the day that Chase entered the Cabinet he seems 
to have been consumed with the idea that he must be 
Lincoln's successor in 1864, and to that end he system- 
atically directed his efforts, and often sought, by flagrant 
abuse of the power of his department, to weaken his 
chief. He will stand in history as the great financier of 
the war; as the man who was able to maintain the na- 
tional credit in the midst of rebellion and disruption, and 
who gave the country the best banking system the world 
has ever known. In that one duty he was practical and 
amenable to wholesome counsel, and his unblemished 
personal and official integrity gave great weight to his 
policy as Secretary of the Treasury. With all the vexa- 
tion he gave Lincoln, and with the many reasons he gave 
his chief to regard him as perfidious, Lincoln never 
ceased to appreciate his value as a Cabinet officer. In 
1863, when Chase had become an open candidate for the 
Presidency, and when many of his political movements 
were personally offensive to the President, Lincoln said 
of Chase: " I have determined to shut my eyes so far as 
possible to everything of the sort. Mr. Chase makes a 
good Secretary, and I shall keep him where he is. If he 
becomes President, all right. I hope we may never have 
a worse man. I have observed with regret his plan of 
strengthening himself. ' ' This expression from Lincoln 
conveys a very mild idea of his real feelings on the sub- 
ject. In point of fact, Lincoln was not only profoundly 
grieved at Chase's candidacy, but he was constantly irri- 
tated at the methods Chase employed to promote his 

I never saw Lincoln unbalanced except during the fall 
of 1863, when Chase was making his most earnest efforts 
to win the Republican nomination. The very widespread 
distrust toward Lincoln cherished by Republican leaders 
gave him good reason to apprehend the success of a com- 


bination to defeat him. Scores of national leaders were 
at that time disaffected, but when they were compelled 
to face the issue of his renomination or Republican de- 
feat, they finally yielded with more or less ill grace, and 
supported him. Lincoln saw that if the disaffected ele- 
ments of the party should be combined on one strong 
candidate, his own success would be greatly endangered. 
It was the only subject on which I ever knew Lincoln 
to lose his head. I saw him many times during the sum- 
mer and fall of 1863, when the Chase boom was at its 
height, and he seemed like one who had got into water 
far beyond his depth. I happened at the White House 
one night when he was most concerned about the Chase 
movement, and he detained me until two o'clock in the 
morning. Occasionally he would speak with great seri- 
ousness, and evidently felt very keenly the possibility of 
his defeat, while at other times his face would suddenly 
brighten up with his never-ending store of humor, and 
he would illustrate Chase's attitude by some pertinent 
story, at which he would laugh immoderately. After 
reviewing the situation for an hour, during which I as- 
sured him that Chase could not be the Republican can- 
didate, whoever might be, and that I regarded his re- 
nomination as reasonably certain, I rose at midnight, 
shook hands with him, and started to go. He followed 
me to the end of the Cabinet table nearest his desk, 
swung one of his long legs over the corner of it, and 
stopped me to present some new phase of the Chase bat- 
tle that had just occurred to him. After he had gotten 
through with that I again bade him good-night and 
started to the door. He followed to the other end of the 
Cabinet table, again swung his leg over the corner of it, 
and started in afresh to discuss the contest between Chase 
and himself. 

It was nearly one o'clock when I again bade Lincoln 


good-night, and got as far as the door, but when just 
about to open it he called me and with the merriest 
twinkling of his eye, he said: "By the way, McClure, 
how would it do if I were to decline Chase?" I was 
surprised of course at the novel suggestion, and said to 
him, "Why, Mr. Lincoln, how could that be. done?" 
He answered, "Well, I don't know exactly how it 
might be done, but that reminds me of a story of two 
Democratic candidates for Senator in Egypt, Illinois, in 
its early political times. That section of Illinois was 
almost solidly Democratic, as you know, and nobody but 
Democrats were candidates for office. Two Democratic 
candidates for Senator met each other in joint debate 
from day to day, and gradually became more and more 
exasperated at each other, until their discussions were 
simply disgraceful wrangles, and they both became 
ashamed of them. They finally agreed that either 
should say anything he pleased about the other and it 
should not be resented as an offense, and from that time 
on the campaign progressed without any special display 
of ill temper. On election night the two candidates, 
who lived in the same town, were receiving their returns 
together, and the contest was uncomfortably close. A 
distant precinct, in which one of the candidates confi- 
dently expected a large majority, was finally reported 
with a majority against him. The disappointed can- 
didate expressed great surprise, to which the other can- 
didate answered that he should not be surprised, as he 
had taken the liberty of declining him in that district 
the evening before the election. He reminded the de- 
feated candidate that he had agreed that either was free 
to say anything about the other without offense, and 
added that under that authority he had gone up into 
that district and taken the liberty of saying that his 
opponent had retired from the contest, and therefore the 


vote of the district was changed, and the declined can- 
didate was thus defeated. I think," added Lincoln, 
with one of his heartiest laughs, "I had better decline 
Chase." It was evident that the question of inducing 
Chase to decline was very seriously considered by Lin- 
coln. He did not seem to know just how it could be 
done, but it was obvious that he believed it might be 
done in one way or another, and what he said in jest he 
meant in sober earnest. 

Lincoln's anxiety for a renomination was the one 
thing ever uppermost in his mind during the third year 
of his administration, and, like all men in the struggles 
of ambition, he believed that his only motive in his de- 
sire for his own re-election was to save the country, 
rather than to achieve success for himself. That he 
was profoundly sincere and patriotic in his purpose and 
efforts to save the Union, and that he would willingly 
have given his life as a sacrifice had it been necessary to 
accomplish that result, none can doubt who knew him ; 
but he was only human, after all, and his ambition was 
like the ambition of other good men, often stronger than 
himself. In this as in all political or administrative 
movements Lincoln played the waiting game. When 
he did not know what to do, he was the safest man in 
the world to trust to do nothing. He carefully veiled 
his keen and sometimes bitter resentment against Chase, 
and waited the fullness of time when he could by some 
fortuitous circumstance remove Chase as a competitor, 
or by some shrewd manipulation of politics make him a 
hopeless one. His inexperience in the details of politics 
made him naturally distrustful and apprehensive as to 
his renomination. He could not, at that early day, get 
together the political forces necessary to make him feel 
safe in the battle, and it was not until about the close of 
1863 or early in 1864 that he finally formulated in his 


mind his political policy, and began the work of consoli- 
dating his forces for action. He did this with a degree 
of sagacity and method that would have done credit to 
the ripest politician of the age, but there was no time 
until the Baltimore Convention met that Lincoln felt 
secure. Even after an overwhelming majority of the 
delegates had been instructed in his favor, and when to 
all but himself it was evident that there could be no 
effective opposition to him in the convention, he was 
never entirely free from doubts as to the result. Within 
a month of his nomination, and when his more violent 
enemies had abandoned the effort to defeat him, as was 
evidenced by the Fremont Convention called at Cleve- 
land, he was yet perplexed with anxiety over the possi- 
bility of his defeat. In discussing the question as late 
as May, 1864, I was surprised to find the apprehensions 
he cherished. I told him that his nomination was a 
foregone conclusion, and that it was not possible for any 
combination to be made that could endanger his success. 
I presented the attitude of the various States, and re- 
ferred to their delegations to prove to him that his nomi- 
nation must be made on the first ballot by a two-thirds 
vote, if not with absolute unity. To this he responded: 
"Well, McClure, what you say seems to be unanswer- 
able, but I don't quite forget that I was nominated for 
President in a convention that was two- thirds for the 
other fellow." 

It is needless to say that the official and personal rela- 
tions between Chase and Lincoln during the latter part 
of the year 1863 and the early part of 1864 were severely 
strained. Lincoln felt it deeply, but said little to any 
one on the subject, and never permitted Chase to know 
how keenly he grieved him. He knew that Chase sin- 
cerely desired to be honest in the performance of his 
public duty, and he judged his infirmities with generous 


charity. He fully appreciated the fact, so well stated 
by Chase's biographer, Judge Warden, that Chase "was 
indeed sought less by strong men and by good men than 
by weak men and by bad men." Indeed, Chase, with 
all his towering intellect and all his admitted devotion 
to the country's cause, was the merest plaything of the 
political charlatans who crossed his path, and he was 
thus made to do many things which were unworthy of 
him, and which, with any other than Lincoln to judge 
him, would have brought him to absolute disgrace. He 
wrote many letters to his friends in different parts of 
the country habitually complaining* of Lincoln's incom- 
petency and of the hopeless condition of the war. In 
none of the many letters which have reached the light 
did he give Lincoln credit for capacity or fitness for his 
responsible trust. In disposing of the patronage of his 
department he was often fretful and generally ill-advised. 
With all these infirmities of temper and of ambition, 
Lincoln bore with Chase with marvelous patience until 
after Lincoln's unanimous renomination in 1864, when 
Chase sent his third resignation to the President. In 
his letter of resignation he said : ' * My position here is 
not altogether agreeable to you, and it is certainly too 
full of embarrassment and difficulty and painful respon- 
sibility to allow in me the least desire to retain it." 
For the first time Lincoln recognized the fact that he 
and Chase could not get along together, and he promptly 
answered Chase's letter of resignation in the following 
terse but expressive note: "Your resignation of the office 
of Secretary of the Treasury, sent me yesterday, is ac- 
cepted. Of all I have said in commendation of your 
ability and fidelity I have nothing to unsay, and yet you 
and I have reached a point of mutual embarrassment in 
our official relation which it seems cannot be overcome 
or long sustained consistently with the public service. ' ' 


Like all irritable men who are the prey of infirmities, 
Chase believed, and recorded in his diary, that the em- 
barrassments which arose between him and Lincoln 
were not of his creation. He thus expresses it in his 
own language : "I had found a good deal of embarrass- 
ment from him, but what he had found from me I can- 
not imagine, unless it has been caused by my unwilling- 
ness to have offices distributed as spoils or benefits." 
Chase retired from the Cabinet believing that he had 
severed all political relations with Lincoln for the re- 
mainder of his life, and the last thing that he then 
could have dreamed of was that his name would ever be 
considered by the President for the office of Chief Justice 
of the United States. 

When Chase retired from the Cabinet, in the latter 
part of June, he did not expect to support Lincoln for 
re-election. Within a week thereafter he recorded in his 
diary the fact that Senator Pomeroy could not support 
Lincoln, and he added: "I am much of the same senti- 
ment, though not willing now to decide what duty may 
demand next fall." But he then hoped much from the 
revolutionary attitude of the supporters of Fremont and 
the bold assault made upon Lincoln by Senator Wade 
and Representative Henry Winter Davis. Chase retired 
to the White Mountains to await events, and it soon be- 
came evident that the revolt against Lincoln would not 
materialize. On the contrary, every week brought way- 
ward stragglers into the Lincoln camp, until at last Fre- 
mont himself had to surrender the side-show nomination 
he had accepted and fall into line in support of the ad- 
ministration, and the manifesto of Wade and Davis had 
fallen upon listless ears. It soon became evident that the 
sulking Republican leaders must choose between Lincoln 
and McClellan between supporting the war and opposing 
the war, for the McClellan platform distinctly declared 


the war a failure and demanded the restoration of the 
Union by some other method than an appeal to arms. 
When Chase returned from his rest in the mountains in 
the latter part of September, he visited Washington, and 
of course paid his respects to the President. It is evi- 
dent from Chase's own report of his interview with Lin- 
coln that he was not greatly inspired by Lincoln's pro- 
fessions of devotion. He notes the fact that Lincoln was 
u not at all demonstrative, either in speech or manner," 
and he adds, "I feel that I do not know him." It is 
evident that Chase returned to Washington with the 
view of getting into some sort of friendly relations with 
the President. He twice visited Lincoln during his short 
stay in Washington, and within a week thereafter he 
publicly declared himself in favor of Lincoln's election 
at his home in Ohio. He voted the Republican State 
ticket in October, and sent a congratulatory telegram to 
Lincoln on the result of the election. 

It was known to all about Washington during the fall 
of 1864 tnat Chief Justice Taney could not long survive, 
and after the first of September he was likely to die any 
day. It would be unjust to Chase to say that he was in- 
fluenced in his political action by the hope of succeeding 
Chief Justice Taney, but the fact that his name was 
pressed upon Lincoln simultaneously by his friends 
throughout the country, even before the dead Chief 
Justice had been consigned to the tomb, proves that 
Chase had cherished the hope of reaching that exalted 
judicial position. Taney died on the i2th of October, 
1864, within two weeks after Chase declared himself in 
favor of the election of Lincoln, and on the i3th of Oc- 
tober Chase's name was on the lips of all his friends as 
the man for Chief Justice. The movement was digni- 
fied by the active and earnest efforts of Senator Sumner, 
who was in a position to exert considerable influence 



with the President, although on many questions they 
had seriously differed. He desired a Chief Justice who 
could be trusted on the slavery question, and, believing 
that Chase was the safest of all on that important issue, 
he made an exhaustive struggle to win the position for 
Chase. Secretary Stanton, who had been in general 
harmony with Chase in the Cabinet, was also his earnest 
friend in the struggle for the Chief Justiceship, but the 
opposition aroused at the mention of his name came from 
every part of the country, and from very many of the 
ablest and most earnest of Lincoln's friends. It was 
argued against Chase that while his ability was admit- 
ted, his practical knowledge of law was limited, and that 
he was without legal training, because his life had been 
devoted almost exclusively to politics. He was elected 
to the Senate a dozen years before the war; he retired 
from the Senate to become Governor of Ohio, in which 
position he served two terms, and he was re-elected to 
the Senate at the close of his gubernatorial service. He 
gave up the Senatorship to enter the Cabinet in 1861, so 
that for many years he had given no thought or efforts to 
the law, and he was regarded by very many as lacking 
in the special training necessary to the first judicial office 
of the national government. 

Strong as was the hostility to Chase's appointment in 
every section of the Union, the most intense opposition 
came from his own State of Ohio. The suggestion that 
he should become Chief Justice was resented by a large 
majority of the leading Republicans of the State, and 
they severely tested Lincoln's philosophy by the violence 
of their opposition, and especially by the earnestness 
with which they insisted that it was an insult to Lin- 
coln himself to ask him to appoint Chase. Pennsylva- 
nia's most prominent official connected with the admin- 
istration, and one of her most learned lawyers, Joseph J. 


Lewis, then Commissioner of Internal Revenue, reflected 
the general, Republican sentiment of Pennsylvania by 
his unusual proceeding of sending a formal protest to 
Lincoln against Chase's appointment. He declared that 
Chase ' ' was not a man of much legal or financial know- 
ledge; that his selfishness had gradually narrowed and 
contracted his views of things in general; that he was 
amazingly ignorant of men; that it was the opinion in 
the department that he really desired, toward the end of 
his term of office, to injure, and as far as possible to 
destroy, the influence and popularity of the adminis- 
tration. ' ' 

I have, in a previous chapter, related an interview I 
had with Lincoln a short time before he appointed 
Chase. It was very evident from Lincoln's manner, 
rather than from what he said, that he was much per- 
plexed as to his duty in the selection of a Chief Justice. 
In that conversation he discussed the merits of the half 
dozen or more prominent men who were suggested for 
the place. It is hardly proper to say that Lincoln dis- 
cussed the matter, for the conversation was little else on 
his part than a succession of searching inquiries to ob- 
tain the fullest expression of my views as to the merits 
and demerits of the men he seemed to have under con- 
sideration. As to his own views he was studiously reti- 
cent. I tried in various ways to obtain some idea of the 
leaning of his mind on the subject, but did not succeed. 
The many inquiries he made about Stanton, and the 
earnestness he exhibited in discussing, or rather having 
me discuss, Stanton as the possible Chief Justice, im- 
pressed me with the belief that he was entertaining the 
idea of appointing his Secretary of War; but he gave no 
expression that could have warranted me in assuming 
that I could correctly judge the bent of his mind on the 
subject. The fact that he delayed the appointment for 


nearly two months after the death of Taney proves that 
Lincoln gave the subject not only very serious but pro- 
tracted consideration, and I doubt whether he had fully 
decided in his own mind whom he would appoint until 
the 6th of December, the day that he sent the name of 
Chase to the Senate for Chief Justice. 

At no time during Lincoln's administration had he 
ever submitted to an equal pressure in deciding any pub- 
lic appointment, and, excepting the Emancipation Proc- 
lamation, I .doubt whether any question of policy was 
ever so earnestly pressed and opposed by his friends as 
was the appointment of Chase. Any other President 
than Lincoln would not have appointed Chase. His 
personal affronts to Lincoln had been continuous and 
flagrant from the time he entered the Cabinet until he 
resigned from it a little more than three years thereafter, 
and I am quite sure that at no time during that period 
did Lincoln ever appeal to Chase for advice as his friend. 
He had many consultations with him, of course, on mat- 
ters relating to the government, but that Lincoln regarded 
Chase as his bitter and even malignant enemy during all 
that period cannot now be doubted. The only pretense 
of atonement that Chase had ever made was his hesi- 
tating and ungracious support of Lincoln's re-election, 
but only after the brilliant success of the Union armies 
under Sherman and Sheridan had absolutely settled the 
contest in Lincoln's favor. Grant overlooked a malig- 
nant assault made upon him by Admiral Porter when he 
promoted him to succeed Farragut; but in that case Por- 
ter's record clearly entitled him to the distinction, and 
Grant simply yielded personal resentment to a public 
duty. It was not pretended that Chase had any claim 
to the Chief Justiceship on the ground of eminent legal 
attainments or of political fidelity, and Lincoln's appoint- 
ment of Chase was simply one of the many exhibitions 


of the matchless magnanimity that was one of the great- 
est attributes of his character. He appointed him not 
because he desired Chase for Chief Justice so much as 
because he feared that, in refusing to appoint him, he 
might permit personal prejudice to do injustice to the 
nation. * 

Of course, Chase promptly and effusively thanked the 
President when he learned that his name had been sent 
to the Senate for Chief Justice. In his letter to Lincoln 
he said : ' ' Before I sleep I must thank you for this mark 
of your confidence, and especially for the manner in 
which the nomination was made. ' ' But before he was 

* You give a wrong impression as to Chase's legal training. 
He was a thorough student of the law, and a careful, painstaking 
lawyer till he entered the Senate at the age of forty-two. He even 
was so fond of law as to take up superfluous drudgery, editing 
with notes and citations the Ohio Statutes. He kept out of poli- 
tics till he was thirty-three. While in the Senate he argued cases 
in the Supreme Court as one involving the title to lands in and 
about Keokuk. 

Now, it is the study and practice a lawyer has before forty 
which determine his quality and equipment as a jurist, and these 
are not much affected by diversions afterward. A man culmi- 
nates professionally by forty : witness B. R. Curtis, Choate, Fol- 
lett, etc. Edmunds has been in the Senate twenty or twenty-five 
years, but he has not lost his legal ability acquired before he 
entered it. 

My own impression is, from the conversations with Lincoln 
which different persons have reported to me and from some 
manuscript letters of Sumner, that Lincoln intended all along to 
appoint Chase, though somewhat doubting whether Chase would 
settle down quietly in his judicial office and let politics alone. 
That was a sincere apprehension which others shared, but I do 
not think that Lincoln's mind at all rested on any other person. 

I began to write this note only to make the points that Chase 
had ample legal training, and that his intellect was naturally 
judicial. See his able argument in the Van Landt case, about 
1846. Edward L. Pierce to the Author, December 7, 1891. 


three months in the high office conferred upon him by 
Lincoln he became one of Lincoln's most obtrusive and 
petulant critics, and his last letter to Lincoln, written on 
the very day of Lincoln's assassination, was a harsh criti- 
cism on the President's action in the Louisiana case. 
Immediately after the death of Lincoln, writing to an 
old political associate in Ohio, Chase said: u The schemes 
of politicians will now adjust themselves to the new con- 
ditions; I want no part in them." Indeed, the only 
specially kind words from Chase to Lincoln that I have 
been able to discover in all the publications giving 
Chase's views I find in the one expression of hearty 
gratitude and friendship, written on the impulse of the 
moment, when he was first notified of his nomination to 
the Chief Justiceship. The new conditions of which he 
spoke after the death of Lincoln, and in which he de- 
clared he could have no part, speedily controlled the new 
Chief Justice in his political actions. The leader of the 
radical Republicans when he became Chief Justice, he 
gradually gravitated against his party until he was ready 
to accept the Democratic nomination for President in 
1868, and he never thereafter supported a Republican 
candidate for President. He hoped to receive the Presi- 
dential nomination from the New York Convention of 
1868. It had been agreed upon by some who believed 
that they controlled the convention that Chase should be 
nominated, and Governor Seymour retired from the chair 
at the appointed time, as is generally believed, to make 
the nomination to the convention ; but Samuel J. Tilden 
had no love for Chase, and it was he who inspired the 
spontaneous movement that forced the nomination of 
Seymour while he was out of the chair, and carried it 
like a whirlwind. Tilden did not guide the convention 
to the nomination of Seymour because he specially de- 
sired Seymour's nomination; he did it because he desired 


to defeat the nomination of Chase. The result was the 
keenest disappointment to the Chief Justice. He defined 
his political position during the contest of 1868 as fol- 
lows : ' ' The action of the two parties has obliged me to 
resume, with my old faith, my old position that of 
Democrat; by the grace of God free and independent." 
After 1868, Chase was unknown as a factor in politics. 
In June, 1870, he was attacked by paralysis, and from 
that time until his death, on the jth of May, 1873, he 
was a hopeless invalid. His last political deliverance 
was a feeble declaration in favor of Greeley's election in 
1872, when he was shattered in mind and body. It may 
truthfully be said of him that from 1861 until his death 
his public life was one continued and consuming disap- 
pointment, and the constant training of his mind to poli- 
tics doubtless greatly hindered him in winning the dis- 
tinction as Chief Justice that he might have achieved 
had he given up political ambition and devoted himself 
to the high judicial duties he had accepted. While one 
of the greatest intellects among all the Republican lead- 
ers, he was an absolute failure as a politician, and his 
persistence in political effort made him fail to improve 
other opportunities. His life may be summed up in the 
single sentence: He was an eminently great, a strangely 
unbalanced, and a sadly disappointed man. 


ABRAHAM LINCOLN had more varied and cornpli- 
fl* cated relations with Simon Cameron than with any 
other Pennsylvanian during his Presidential term. In- 
deed, Cameron fills more pages in the annals of Penn- 
sylvania politics than any citizen of the State since the 
organization of our government. He is the only man 
who was four times elected to the United States Senate 
by the Pennsylvania Legislature until his son attained 
the same distinction as his successor, and he would have 
won a fifth election without a serious contest had he not 
voluntarily resigned to assure the succession to his son. 
Without great popular following, he was the most con- 
spicuous of all our Pennsylvania politicians, measured 
by the single standard of success in obtaining political 
honors and power. He was first elected to the Senate in 
1845 to succeed Buchanan, who had been transferred to 
the Polk Cabinet. The tariff of 1842 was then a vital 
issue in Pennsylvania, and Cameron was known as a 
positive protectionist. The Legislature was Democratic, 
and had nominated the late Chief Justice Woodward 
with apparent unanimity to succeed Buchanan ; but 
Cameron organized a bolt from the Democratic party, 
commanded the solid Whig vote on the tariff issue, and 
was thus elected. The Senate to which he was chosen 
was Democratic, and he exhibited his peculiar power 
over that body when he served in it by the rejection of 


(Photo by Brady, Washington.) 



Judge Woodward when nominated by President Polk as 
Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He 
made a memorable record during his early Senatorial 
service by his earnest appeal to Vice- President Dallas in 
favor of protection, when it was known that the repeal 
of the tariff of 1842 would depend upon the casting vote 
of the Vice-President. At the expiration of his term, 
in 1849, Cameron was a candidate for re-election. The 
balance of power in the Legislature was held by Native 
American Representatives from Philadelphia, elected on 
the Fusion ticket. He failed, however, to divert that 
element from the Whigs, and abandoned the struggle, 
giving the field to James Cooper, the regular Whig can- 
didate, who was successful. 

In 1854 a strange political revolution occurred in 
Pennsylvania, in which the new American or Know- 
Nothing party elected the Whig candidate for Governor 
and the Democratic candidate for Canal Commissioner, 
and carried an overwhelming majority of the Legis- 
lature, embracing nominees of both parties. Cameron 
supported the Democratic ticket, and made a speech in 
its favor the night before election, but immediately after 
the election he associated himself with the Americans 
and became an aggressive candidate for United States 
Senator. This was the beginning of the factional con- 
flict between Cameron and Curtin (then Secretary of the 
Commonwealth) that continued as long as they were in 
active political life. The new party was without leader- 
ship or discipline, and was speedily broken into frag- 
ments by a dozen aspirants for the Senatorship, of whom 
Cameron and Curtin were the leading and apparently 
only hopeful candidates. The struggle became excep- 
tionally bitter, the joint convention meeting and ad- 
journing from time to time without succeeding in a 
choice, until finally it became a matter of necessity 


to elect Cameron or adjourn without an election; and 
after a protracted contest over that issue the joint con- 
vention adjourned sine die by one majority. The next 
Legislature was Democratic, and Governor Bigler was 
chosen. When the Legislature met in 1857 the Demo- 
crats had three majority on joint ballot, and confidently 
expected to elect a Senator. The late Colonel Forney 
was made the candidate by the direct intervention of 
President-elect Buchanan, who was then just on the 
threshold of the enormous power and patronage of the 
Presidency. The nomination would naturally have gone 
to Henry D. Foster, who was a member of the House, 
but for the attitude assumed by Buchanan. Forney's 
nomination somewhat weakened the Democratic lines 
by the general and clamorous discontent of the several 
candidates who had hoped to win in an open contest. 
The Republicans were intensely embittered against For- 
ney because they believed that he, as chairman of the 
Democratic State Committee, had controlled the October 
election unfairly to defeat the Republican State ticket 
by a small majority, and thus assured the election of a 
Democratic President. Cameron had for the first time 
taken open ground against the Democrats in 1856, when 
he was one of the Republican candidates for elector at 
large, and actively supported Fremont's election. But 
he was not in personal favor with most of the Repub- 
licans, and when his name was proposed in the Repub- 
lican caucus as a candidate for Senator, it was not seri- 
ously entertained until Senator Penrose assured the 
caucus that Cameron could command three Democratic 
votes if given the solid support of the Republicans. A 
confidential committee was appointed to ascertain the 
truth of the statement by personal assurance from the 
Democratic members, and after a confirmative report, in 
which the names of the Democratic members were not 


given, the Republican caucus resolved to cast one vote 
for Cameron. That resolution was carried out in joint 
convention, and three Democratic Representatives (Lebo, 
Maneer, and Wagonseller) voted for Cameron and elected 

In 1 86 1, Cameron resigned the Senatorship to accept 
the War portfolio under Lincoln. Early in 1862 he was 
transferred by Lincoln from the War Department to the 
Russian Mission, and in 1863 he had resigned his mission 
and again appeared as a candidate for United States Sen- 
ator to succeed Wilmot, who had been chosen to fill 
Cameron's unexpired term. The Legislature contained 
one Democratic majority on joint ballot. Wilmot would 
have been unanimously renominated had it been possible 
to elect him, but Cameron was nominated upon the posi- 
tive assurance from his friends that he could command 
one or more Democratic votes and was the only Repub- 
lican who could be successful. His nomination and the 
contest that followed led to an eruption that not only pre- 
vented any Democratic support, but deprived him of a 
solid Republican support, and Buckalew was elected. 
In 1867, Cameron and Curtin again locked horns on the 
Senatorship, and Cameron was successful after a struggle 
of unexampled desperation. Cameron served his full 
term of six years, and was re-elected in 1873 to succeed 
himself, without a contest. Most of the active oppo- 
nents within his party had broken to the support of 
Greeley in 1872, and thereafter Cameron was practically 
supreme in the direction of the Republican organization. 
He resigned in 1877, when the Legislature was in ses- 
sion, and after it had been ascertained that his son, the 
present Senator Cameron, could be elected as his suc- 
cessor. Had Cameron not resigned, he would have been 
elected to his fifth term in 1879 by the united vote of his 
party; but from his retirement in 1877 until his death, 


a dozen years later, he seemed to enjoy freedom from the 
cares and perplexities of political life, and had the grati- 
fication of seeing his son thrice elected to the position he 
had surrendered to him. He had survived all the many 
intensified asperities of his long and active political life, 
and died at the ripe age of fourscore and ten years, with 
his faculties unabated until the long halt came. He and 
his son have each attained the highest Senatorial honors 
ever awarded by Pennsylvania to any of her citizens by 
four elections to the Senate an entirely exceptional rec- 
ord of political success in the history of all the States of 
the Union. It was often complained by his foes that 
Cameron fought and won unfairly in his political con- 
tests, but the defeated generals of Europe made the same 
complaint against Napoleon. 

Cameron was a Senator when Lincoln served his single 
term in Congress, but they did not become even acquaint- 
ances, and he first became involved in Lincoln's political 
life in 1860, when both were candidates for the Repub- 
lican nomination for President. Cameron's candidacy 
was not regarded as a serious effort to nominate him, but 
the peculiar political situation in Pennsylvania greatly 
favored him in making himself the candidate of the 
State, and with his sagacity and energy in political 
affairs he was not slow to avail himself of it. Curtin 
was the prominent candidate for Governor, and Cameron 
led Curtin' s opponents. Curtin commanded the nomina- 
tion for Governor, and naturally enough desired a united 
party to assure his election. Cameron secured a majority 
of votes in the State Convention for President, and rea- 
sonably claimed that he was as much entitled to the 
united support of the party for President as Curtin was 
entitled to it for Governor. The conflict between the 
two elements of the party led to a compromise, by which 
a nearly united delegation was given to Cameron for a 


complimentary vote for President. Cameron himself be- 
lieved, in after years, that he could have been nominated 
and elected if he had been heartily pressed by Pennsyl- 
vania. He many times chided me for refusing to give 
him an earnest support, saying that he could have been 
made a successful candidate, and then, to use his own 
expressive language, ' ' We could all have had everything 
we wanted." While Cameron had a majority of the 
delegation, a large minority was more or less bitterly 
opposed to him, and his name was withdrawn in the 
convention after the first ballot, because the delegation 
would have broken. The men who immediately repre- 
sented Cameron on that occasion were John P. Sander- 
son, who was subsequently appointed to the regular army, 
and Alexander Cummings, whose confused use of mili- 
tary authority conferred upon him in the early part of 
the war led to a vote of censure upon Cameron by Con- 
gress. They knew before the convention met that the 
contest was narrowed down to Seward and Lincoln, and 
that Cameron, Chase, and Bates were not in the fight. 
Sanderson and Cummings, with little or no control of 
the delegation, were early in negotiation with David 
Davis, who was specially in charge of Lincoln's interest 
in Chicago, and obtained Davis' s positive assurance that 
if the Pennsylvania delegation would support Lincoln 
and Lincoln succeeded to the Presidency, Cameron would 
be appointed Secretary of the Treasury. This agreement 
was not made known at the time to any in the delega- 
tion, nor did it become known to Lincoln, at least as a 
positive obligation, until after the election. 

The success of Lincoln at the November election left 
the political situation in Pennsylvania without change, 
except that the war of factions was intensified. Curtin 
did not give even a perfunctory support to Cameron for 
the Presidency, and Cameron gave about the same sort 


of support to Curtin for Governor; and when it was an- 
nounced, about trie ist of January, that Cameron had 
been to Springfield and had returned with the proffer of 
a Cabinet portfolio, it immediately inspired the most ag- 
gressive opposition to his appointment. I was not in 
sympathy with Cameron, and promptly telegraphed Lin- 
coln, protesting against his appointment, to which Lin- 
coln answered urging me to come immediately to Spring- 
field. When I met Lincoln he frankly informed me that 
on the last day of December he had given Cameron a 
letter tendering to him a position in the Cabinet, reserv- 
ing the right to decide whether it should be that of Sec- 
retary of the Treasury or Secretary of War. I explained 
to the President, with all the ardor of an intense partisan 
in the factional feud, that the appointment of Cameron 
would be a misfortune to the party in Pennsylvania, and 
a misfortune to the President that he must soon realize 
after his inauguration. It is needless now to review the 
causes which led to this active and embittered hostility 
of the friends of Curtin to Cameron's political advance- 
ment. It is sufficient to say that there was persistent 
war between these elements, and the usual political de- 
moralization that ever attends such conflicts was pain- 
fully visible from the factional battles of that time. I 
saw that Lincoln was very much distressed at the situ- 
ation in which he had become involved, and he discussed 
every phase of it with unusual frankness and obviously 
with profound feeling. I did not then know that Lin- 
coln had been pledged, without his knowledge, by his 
friends at Chicago to the appointment of Cameron, nor 
did Lincoln intimate it to me during our conversation. 
After an hour or more of discussion on the subject Lin- 
coln dismissed it by saying that he would advise me 
further within a very few days. 

I left Lincoln conscious that I had seriously impressed 


him with my views, but entirely unable to form any 
judgment as to what might be his ultimate action. Al- 
though I left him as late as eleven o'clock in the even- 
ing, he wrote Cameron a private letter dated the same 
night, beginning with this sentence: u Since seeing you, 
things have developed which make it impossible for me 
to take you into the Cabinet" He added: "You will 
say this comes from an interview with McClure, and this 
is partly but not wholly true; the more potent matter is 
wholly outside of Pennsylvania, yet I am not at liberty 
to specify. Enough that it appears to me to be suf- 
ficient." He followed with the suggestion that Came- 
ron should write him declining the appointment, stating 
that if the declination was forwarded he would " not 
object to its being known that it was tendered " to him. 
He concluded by saying: "No person living knows, or 
has an intimation, that I write this letter," and with a 
postscript asking Cameron to telegraph the words "All 
right. ' ' * Lincoln also wrote me a letter of a single sen- 

* The following is the text of the Lincoln letters to Cameron 
on the subject of the Cabinet appointment, as given in Nicolay 
and Hay's life of Lincoln, published by the Century Company, 
New York : 

SPRINGFIELD, ILL., December 31, 1860. 

MY DEAR SIR: I think fit to notify you now, that by your per- 
mission I shall at the proper time nominate you to the U. S. Sen- 
ate for confirmation as Secretary of the Treasury, or as Secretary 
of War which of the two I have not yet definitely decided. 
Please answer at your earliest convenience. 

Your obedient servant, 


SPRINGFIELD, ILL., Jan. 3, 1861. 

MY DEAR SIR : Since seeing you things have developed which 
make it impossible for me to take you into the Cabinet. You 
will say this comes of an interview with McClure; and this is 


tence, dated the same night, asking that the accusations 
against Cameron should be put in tangible shape for his 

partly, but not wholly, true. The more potent matter is wholly 
outside of Pennsylvania, and yet I am not at liberty to specify it. 
Enough that it appears to me to be sufficient. And now I sug- 
gest that you write me declining the appointment, in which case 
I do not object to its being known that it was tendered you. 
Better do this at once, before things so change that you cannot 
honorably decline, and I be compelled to openly recall the tender. 
No person living knows or has an intimation that I write this 
letter. Yours truly, 


P. S. Telegraph me instantly on receipt of this, saying, "All 
right." A. L. 

(Private and confidential^) 

SPRINGFIELD, ILL., Jan. 13, 1861. 

MY DEAR SIR: At the suggestion of Mr. Sanderson, and with 
hearty good-will besides, I herewith send you a letter dated 
Jan. 3, the same in date as the last you received from me. I 
thought best to give it that date, as it is in some sort to take the 
place of that letter. I learn, both by a letter of Mr. Swett and 
from Mr. Sanderson, that your feelings were wounded by the 
terms of my letter really of the 3d. I wrote that letter under 
great anxiety, and perhaps I was not so guarded in its terms as I 
should have been; but I beg you to be assured I intended no 
offense. My great object was to have you act quickly, if possible 
before the matter should be complicated with the Penn. Senatorial 
election. Destroy the offensive letter or return it to me. 

I say to you now I have not doubted that you would perform 
the duties of a Department ably and faithfully. Nor have I for 
a moment intended to ostracize your friends. If I should make 
a Cabinet appointment for Penn. before I reach Washington, I 
will not do so without consulting you, and giving all the weight 
to your views and wishes which I consistently can. This I have 
always intended. Yours truly, 

(Inclosure. ) 

SPRINGFIELD, ILL., Jan. 3, 1861. 

MY DEAR SIR: When you were here, about the last of Decem- 


consideration. I am unable to quote literally any of the 
correspondence with Lincoln on this subject, as all of 
my many letters received from him, and the correspond- 
ence relating to the campaign and the organization of 
the administration, that I had preserved, were destroyed 
when Chambersburg was burned by McCausland in 1864. 
I answered Lincoln's very indefinite note by declining to 
appear as an individual prosecutor of Cameron, and his 
request for the formulation of Cameron's alleged political 
and personal delinquencies was not complied with. 

Lincoln's letter to Cameron tendering him the Cabinet 
appointment had been shown to some confidential friends 
whose enthusiasm outstripped their discretion, and they 
made public the fact that Cameron was an assured mem- 
ber of the new Cabinet The second letter from Lincoln 
to Cameron, recalling the tender of a Cabinet office, wa,s 
not made public, and doubtless was never seen beyond 
a very small and trusted circle of Cameron's associates; 
but it soon became known that Lincoln regarded the 
question as unsettled, and that led to exhaustive efforts 
on both sides to hinder and promote Cameron's appoint- 
ment. Sanderson, who had made the compact at Chi- 

ber, I handed you a letter saying I should at the proper time 
nominate you to the Senate for a place in the Cabinet. It is due 
to you and to truth for me to say you were here by my invitation, 
and not upon any suggestion of your own. You have not as yet 
signified to me whether you would accept the appointment, and 
with much pain I now say to you that you will relieve me from 
great embarrassment by allowing me to recall the offer. This 
springs from an unexpected complication, and not from any 
change of my view as to the ability or faithfulness with which 
you would discharge the duties of the place. 

I now think I will not definitely fix upon any appointment for 
Pennsylvania until I reach Washington. 

Your obedient servant, 




cago with Davis for Cameron's appointment, was sent at 
once to Springfield to enforce its fulfillment. He reason- 
ably complained that Lincoln's letter to Cameron, revok- 
ing the appointment was offensively blunt and needed 
explanation, as it gave no reason whatever for the sudden 
change in his judgment. While Sanderson and other 
prominent Pennsylvanians who visited Lincoln about 
the same time failed to obtain from him any assurance 
of his purpose to appoint Cameron, Lincoln was pre- 
vailed upon on the i3th of January, ten days after he 
had written the letter revoking the appointment, to 
write a confidential letter to Cameron apologizing for 
the unguarded terms in which he had expressed himself, 
and giving the assurance that he u intended no offense." 
He also enclosed to Cameron a new letter, antedated 
January 3, which he suggested that Cameron should 
accept as the original of that date, and destroy or re- 
turn the one that had given offense. In this letter he 
said : ( ' You have not as yet signified to me whether you 
would accept the appointment, and with much pain I 
now say to you that you will relieve me from great em- 
barrassment by allowing me to recall the offer." The 
explanatory letter in which the antedated letter was en- 
closed gave Cameron only this assurance as to Lincoln's 
purpose: " If I should make a Cabinet appointment for 
Pennsylvania before I reach Washington, I will not do 
so without consulting you and giving all the weight to 
your views and wishes which I consistently can. ' ' None 
of these letters were made public by Cameron, but it was 
well understood that it was an open fight for and against 
him, and Pennsylvania was convulsed by that struggle 
from the ist of January until the Cabinet was announced 
after the inauguration of the President. 

When Lincoln arrived in Washington the five mem- 
bers of the Cabinet who had been positively chosen were 


Messrs. Seward, Bates, Chase, Welles, and Smith. The 
ten days he spent at the Capital before becoming Presi- 
dent were given up almost wholly to a battle over the 
two remaining Cabinet portfolios. The appointment of 
Cameron and Blair was not finally determined until the 
day before the inauguration, and then the Cameron issue 
was decided by the powerful intervention of Seward and 
Weed. They were greatly disappointed that Cameron 
had failed to deliver the Pennsylvania delegation to Sew- 
-ard, as they had been led to expect, but they were in- 
tensely embittered against Curtin because he and Lane 
had both openly declared at Chicago that Seward' s nomi- 
nation would mean their inevitable defeat. Looking 
back upon that contest with the clearer insight that the 
lapse of thirty years must give, I do not see how Lincoln 
could have done otherwise than appoint Cameron as a 
member of his Cabinet, viewed from the standpoint he 
had assumed. He desired to reconcile party differences 
by calling his Presidential competitors around him, and 
that opened the way for Cameron. He acted with entire 
sincerity, and in addition to the powerful pressure for 
Cameron's appointment made by many who were en- 
titled to respect, he felt that he was not free from the 
obligation made in his name by Davis at Chicago to 
make Cameron a member of his Cabinet. The appoint- 
ment was not made wholly for that reason, but that 
pledge probably resolved Lincoln's doubts in Cameron's 
favor, and he was accepted as Secretary of War. That 
there was some degree of mutual distrust between Lin- 
coln and Cameron was a necessity from the circumstances 
surrounding the selection; but as there was no very large 
measure of mutual trust between Lincoln and any of his 
Cabinet officers, Cameron's relations with the President 
were little if any more strained than were the relations 
of his brother constitutional advisers with their chief; 


and Cameron's practical views in the grave emergency 
in which the administration was placed were probably 
of more value to Lincoln at times than were the coun- 
sels of most of the Cabinet. Every member had his 
own theory of meeting the appalling crisis, from peace- 
able dismemberment of the Republic to aggressive war, 
while Lincoln had no policy but to await events, and he 
counseled with all and trusted none. Cameron entered 
the Cabinet, therefore, with about equal opportunity 
among his associates to win and hold power with the 
President, and his retirement within less than a year was 
not due to any prejudices or apprehensions which may 
have been created by the bitter struggle against his ap- 

Had the most capable, experienced, and upright man 
of the nation been called to the head of the War Depart- 
ment when Lincoln was inaugurated in 1861, it would 
have been impossible for him to administer that office 
without flagrant abuses. The government was entirely 
unprepared for war. It was without armies, without 
guns, without munitions of war; indeed, it had to im- 
provise everything needed to meet an already well-organ- 
ized Confederate army. Contracts had to be made with 
such haste as to forbid the exercise of sound discretion 
in obtaining what the country needed; and Cameron, 
with his peculiar political surroundings, with a horde 
of partisans clamoring for spoils, was compelled either 
to reject the confident expectation of his friends or to 
submit to imminent peril from the grossest abuse of his 
delegated authority. He was soon brought under the 
severest criticism of leading journals and statesmen of 
his own party, and Representative Dawes, now Senator 
from Massachusetts, led an investigation of the alleged 
abuses of the War Department, which resulted in a 
scathing report against Cameron's methods in adminis- 


tering the office, and a vote of censure upon Cameron by 
the House. Lincoln promptly exhibited the generous 
sense of justice that always characterized him by send- 
ing a special message to the House, exculpating Came- 
ron, because the acts for which he was criticised had not 
been exclusively Cameron's, but were largely acts for 
which the President and Cabinet were equally respon- 
sible. Some ten years later the House expunged the 
resolution of censure. Notwithstanding the message 
of Lincoln lessening the burden of reproach cast upon 
Cameron by the House, popular distrust was very gen- 
eral as to the administration of the War Department, 
and the demands for Cameron's removal grew in both 
power and intensity. He was not accused of individual 
corruption, but the severe strain put upon the national 
credit led to the severest criticisms of all manner of pub- 
lic profligacy, and it culminated in a formal appeal to 
the President from leading financial men of the country 
for an immediate change in the Minister of War. 

I have no reason to believe that Lincoln would have 
appointed a new Secretary of War had not public con- 
siderations made it imperative. His personal relations 
with Cameron were as pleasant as his relations with any 
other of his Cabinet officers, and in many respects Came- 
ron was doubtless a valuable adviser because of his clear, 
practical, common-sense views of public affairs. The 
one vital issue that Cameron very early appreciated was 
that of slavery. As early as May, 1861, he wrote to 
General Butler, instructing him to refrain from surren- 
dering to their masters any slaves who came within his 
lines, and to employ them ' ' in the services to which 
they may be best adapted." That was the first step 
taken by the administration toward the overthrow of 
slavery. In August of the same year General Fremont 
issued a proclamation in Missouri declaring the slaves 


of all those in the Confederate service to be for ever free, 
which was a substantial emancipation of all slaves in 
Missouri. Lincoln at once revoked the Fremont order, 
and sent Secretary Cameron and the Adjutant-General 
to personally examine into the situation in Missouri and 
report upon it. Cameron obviously sympathized with 
Fremont's emancipation ideas, and, instead of delivering 
to Fremont the order for his removal prepared before he 
left Washington, he finally decided to bring it back with 
him and to give Fremont an opportunity to retrieve him- 
self, lyincoln, always patient, yielded to Fremont's im- 
portunities, and permitted him to remain in command 
until October, when he sent General Curtis in person to 
deliver the order of removal, with the single condition 
that if Fremont ' ' shall then have, in personal command, 
fought and won a battle, or shall then be actually in 
battle, or shall then be in the immediate presence of the 
enemy in expectation of a battle, it is not to be delivered, 
but held for further orders. ' ' As Fremont was not near 
a battle, he was relieved of his command. 

Cameron pressed the slavery issue to the extent of a 
flagrant outrage upon his chief by recommending the 
arming of slaves in his first annual report without the 
knowledge of the President, and sending it out in printed 
form to the postmasters of the country for delivery to the 
newspapers after having been presented to Congress. 
The slavery question had then become an important 
political theme, and politicians were shaping their lines 
to get into harmony with it. In this report Cameron 
declared in unqualified terms in favor of arming the 
slaves for military service. lyincoln was not only shocked, 
but greatly grieved when he learned the character of 
Cameron's recommendation, and he at once ordered that 
the copies be recalled by telegraph, the report revised, 
and a new edition printed. Cameron submitted as grace- . 


fully as possible, and revised his report, limiting his 
recommendations about slaves to the suggestion that 
they should not be returned to their masters.* While 
this episode did not produce unfriendly personal relations 
between Lincoln and Cameron, it certainly was a severe 
strain upon Lincoln's trust in the fidelity of his War 

* It is as clearly a right of the government to arm slaves when 
it may become necessary, as it is to use gunpowder taken from 
the enemy. What to do with that species of property is a ques- 
tion that time and circumstance will solve, and need not be 
anticipated further than to repeat that they cannot be held by the 
government as slaves. It would be useless to keep them as pris- 
oners of war; and self-preservation, the highest duty of a govern- 
ment or of individuals, demands that they should be disposed 
of or employed in the most effective manner that will tend most 
speedily to suppress the insurrection and restore the authority 
of the government. If it shall be found that the men who have 
been held by the rebels as slaves are capable of bearing arms and 
performing efficient military service, it is the right, and may be- 
come the duty, of the government to arm and equip them, and 
employ their services against the rebels under proper military 
regulation, discipline, and command. Cameron's Original Re- 
port, recalled by the President for revision. 

It is already a grave question what shall be done with those 
slaves who were abandoned by their owners on the advance of 
our troops into Southern territory, as at Beaufort district in 
South Carolina. The number left within our control at that 
point is very considerable, and similar cases will probably occur. 
What shall be done with them ? Can we afford to send them for- 
ward to their masters, to be by them armed against us or used in 
producing supplies to sustain the rebellion ? Their labor may be 
useful to us; withheld from the enemy, it lessens his military re- 
sources, and withholding them has no tendency to induce* the 
horrors of insurrection, even in the rebel communities. They 
constitute a military resource, and, being such, that they should 
not be turned over to the enemy is too plain to discuss. Why 
deprive him of supplies by a blockade, and voluntarily give him 
men to produce them? Cameron's Report \ as revised by direction 
of the President. 


Minister; but Lincoln was too wise to put himself in 
open antagonism to the antislavery sentiment of the 
country by removing Cameron for his offensive and sur- 
reptitious antislavery report. The financial pressure for 
Cameron's removal would probably have accomplished 
it under any circumstances, and Lincoln waited more 
than a month after the flurry over Cameron's report. 

There have been many and conflicting accounts given 
to the public of Cameron's retirement from the Lincoln 
Cabinet, no one of which is wholly correct, and most of 
them incorrect in vital particulars. Cameron had ver- 
bally assured the President when censured by Congress, 
and again when the dispute arose over his annual report, 
that his resignation was at Lincoln's disposal at any 
time, but he had no knowledge of Lincoln's purpose to 
make a change in the War Department until he received 
Lincoln's letter in January, 1862, informing him of the 
change. In Nicolay and Hays' life of Lincoln (volume 
5, page 128) is given what purports to be the letter de- 
livered to Cameron notifying him of the change. Lin- 
coln certainly wrote that letter, as his biographers have 
published it from his manuscript, but it is not the letter 
that was delivered to Cameron. Lincoln sent his letter 
to Cameron by Chase, who met Cameron late in the 
evening after he had dined with Colonel Forney, and he 
delivered the letter in entire ignorance of its contents. 
I happened to be spending the evening with Colonel 
Thomas A. Scott, then Cameron's Assistant Secretary 
of War, when Cameron came in near the midnight hour 
and exhibited an extraordinary degree of emotion. He 
laid the letter down upon Scott's table, and invited us 
both to read it, saying that it meant personal as well as 
political destruction, and was an irretrievable wrong 
committed upon him by the President. We were not 
then, and indeed never had been, in political sympathy, 


but our friendly personal relations had never been inter- 
rupted. He appealed to me, saying: "This is not a po- 
litical affair; it means personal degradation; and while 
we do not agree politically, you know I would gladly 
aid you personally if it were in my power." Cameron 
was affected even to tears, and wept bitterly over what 
he regarded as a personal affront from Lincoln. I re- 
member not only the substance of Lincoln's letter, but 
its language, almost, if not quite, literally, as follows: 
' ' I have this day nominated Hon. Edwin M. Stanton to 
be Secretary of War and you to be Minister Plenipo- 
tentiary to Russia. ' ' Although the message did not go 
to the Senate that day, it had been prepared and was 
sent in pursuance of that notice. Colonel Scott, who 
was a man of great versatility of resources, at once sug- 
gested that Lincoln did not intend personal offense to 
Cameron, and in that I fully agreed; and it was then 
and there arranged that on the following day Lincoln 
should be asked to withdraw the offensive letter; to per- 
mit Cameron to antedate a letter of resignation, and for 
Lincoln to write a kind acceptance of the same. The 
letter delivered by Chase was recalled; a new corre- 
spondence was prepared, and a month later given to the 

Cameron had no knowledge or even suspicion of Stan- 
ton succeeding him. Chase and Seward, as well as Cam- 
eron, have claimed direct or indirect influence in the 
selection of Stanton, but there was not a single member 
of the Cabinet who knew of Stanton' s appointment until 
Lincoln notified Cameron of the change. Stanton had 
been in open, malignant opposition to the administration 
only a few months before, but he was then the closest 
friend and personal counselor of General McClellan ; was 
in hearty sympathy with the war; was resolutely and ag- 
gressively honest; and Lincoln chose him without con- 


suiting any, as far as I have ever been able to learn, 
unless it was General McClellan. One of the many 
good results he expected from Stanton as War Minister 
was entire harmony between him and the general com- 
manding the armies. 

Cameron well concealed his disappointment at the 
manner of his retirement from the Cabinet; wisely 
maintained personal relations with Lincoln; and when 
he returned from Russia, after less than a year of service 
as minister, he resumed active political life, and was one 
of the earliest of the political leaders to foresee that the 
people would force the renomination of Lincoln, regard- 
less of the favor or disfavor of politicians. The early 
movement in January, 1864, in which Curtin cordially 
co-operated, by which the unanimous recommendation 
of the Republican members of the Pennsylvania Legis- 
lature was given for Lincoln's renomination, was sug- 
gested by Cameron; and Lincoln, with a sagacity that 
never failed him, took the earliest opportunity to attach 
Cameron so firmly to his cause that separation would be 
impossible. His first movement in that line was the 
Cameron mission to Fortress Monroe to ask Butler to 
accept the Vice-Presidency. This was in March, 1864, 
and Cameron was one of the very few whom Lincoln 
consulted about the Vice-Presidency until he finally set- 
tled upon the nomination of Johnson, in which Cameron 
reluctantly concurred, and he went to the Baltimore 
Convention as a delegate-at-large to execute Lincoln's 
wishes. He became chairman of the Republican State 
Committee in Pennsylvania, and doubtless would have 
been in very close relations with the President during 
his second term had Lincoln's life been spared. 

I have written of Lincoln and Cameron with some 
hesitation, because during the thirty years in which 
Cameron and I were both more or less active in politics 


we never were in political sympathy. He had retired 
from his first term of Senatorial service before I had be- 
come a voter, and was thirty years my senior. He was 
then a Democrat and I a Whig, and the political hos- 
tility continued when in later years we were of the same 
political faith. He never was a candidate with my sup- 
port, nor was I ever a candidate with his support, even 
when I was the unanimous nominee of our party. We 
differed radically in political methods, and often in bit- 
terness, but our personal relations were never strained, 
and on occasions he confided in me and received friendly 
personal service that he warmly appreciated. We many 
times had a truce to attain some common end, but it was 
never misunderstood as anything more than a truce for 
the special occasion. When he entered the L/incoln 
Cabinet he knew that I would gladly have aided him to 
success, and we seldom met without an hour or more of 
pleasant personal intercourse over a bottle of wine, the 
only stimulant he ever indulged in. In 1873 he was 
elected to his fourth term to the Senate and I was a 
State Senator. An effort was made by legislative mer- 
cenaries to call into the field some man of large fortune 
as his competitor. He called on me, stated the case, and 
appealed to me to oppose the movement, as it was ob- 
viously dishonest. It was expected that my opposition 
to Cameron would make me willing to join any move- 
ment for his defeat; but I at once assured him that, 
while I would not support his election, I would earn- 
estly oppose any effort to force him into the corrupt 
conciliation of venal legislators. He thanked me, and 
added : "I can rely upon you, and I will now dismiss 
the thieves without ceremony. ' ' The movement failed, 
and he was elected by the united vote of his party, while 
I voted for the late William D. Kelley. No man has so 
strongly impressed his personality upon the politics of 


Pennsylvania as has Simon Cameron, and the political 
power he organized is as potent in the State to-day as at 
any time during his life. He was one of the few men 
who voluntarily retired from the Senate when he could 
have continued his service during life. He survived his 
retirement a full dozen years; his intercourse mellowed 
into the gentlest relations with old-time friends and foes, 
and in the ripeness of more than fourscore and ten sum- 
mers and in peaceful resignation he slept the dreamless 
sleep of the dead. 

(Photo by Brady, Washington.) 



OF all the men intimately connected with Abraham 
Lincoln during our civil war, Edwin M. Stanton 
presented the strangest medley of individual attributes. 
He was a man of whom two histories might be written 
as widely diverging as night and day, portraying him as 
worthy of eminent praise and as worthy of scorching 
censure, arid yet both absolutely true* His dominant 
quality was his heroic mould. He could be heroic to a 
degree that seemed almost superhuman, and yet at times 
submissive to the very verge of cowardice. Like Lin- 
coln, he fully trusted no man; but, unlike Lincoln, he 
distrusted all, and I doubt whether any man prominently 
connected with the government gave confidence to so 
few as did Stanton. He in turn trusted and hated nearly 
every general prominent in the early part of the war. 
He was McClellan's closest personal friend and counselor 
when he entered the Lincoln Cabinet, and later became 
McClellan's most vindictive and vituperative foe. The 
one general of the war who held his confidence without 
interruption from the time he became Commander-in- 
Chief of the armies until the close of the war was Gen- 
eral Grant, and he literally commanded it by distinctly 
defining his independent attitude as General-in-Chief 
when he accepted his commission as Lieutenant-General. 
He often spoke of, and to, public men, military and civil, 
with a withering sneer. I have heard him scores of 



times thus speak of Lincoln, and several times thus 
speak to Lincoln. He was a man of extreme moods; 
often petulant, irritating, and senselessly unjust, and at 
times one of the most amiable, genial, and delightful 
conversationalists I have ever met. He loved antago- 
nism, and there was hardly a period during his remark- 
able service as War Minister in which he was not, on 
some more or less important point, in positive antago- 
nism with the President. In his antagonisms he was, 
as a rule, offensively despotic, and often pressed them 
upon Lincoln to the very utmost point of Lincoln's for- 
bearance; but he knew when to call a halt upon himself, 
as he well knew that there never was a day or an hour 
during his service in the Cabinet that Lincoln was not 
his absolute master. He respected Lincoln's authority 
because it was greater than his own, but he had little 
respect for Lincoln's fitness for the responsible duties of 
the Presidency. I have seen him at times as tender and 
gentle as a woman, his heart seeming to agonize over 
the sorrows of the humblest; and I have seen him many 
more times turn away with the haughtiest contempt from 
appeals which should at least have been treated with re- 
spect. He had few personal and fewer political friends, 
and he seemed proud of the fact that he had more per- 
sonal and political enemies than any prominent officer 
of the government. Senators, Representatives, and high 
military commanders were often offended by his wanton 
arrogance, and again thawed into cordial relations by his 
effusive kindness. Taken all in all, Edwin M. Stanton 
was capable of the grandest and the meanest actions of 
any great man I have ever known, and he has reared 
imperishable monuments to the opposing qualities he 

Stanton had rendered an incalculable service to the 
nation by his patriotic efforts in the Cabinet of Bu- 


chanan. Cass had resigned from trie Premiership be- 
cause he was much more aggressive in his ideas of meet- 
ing rebellion than was the President. Attorney-General 
Black was promoted to the head of the Cabinet, and 
Stanton was called in as Black's successor. It was Judge 
Black who saved Buchanan's administration from sud- 
den and irretrievable wreck at the outset of the issue, 
and he doubtless dictated the appointment of Stanton, 
who was his close personal friend. From the time that 
Stanton entered the Buchanan Cabinet the attitude of 
the administration was so pointedly changed that none 
could mistake it. He was positively and aggressively 
loyal to the government, and as positively and aggres- 
sively hated rebellion. While Stanton and Black gen- 
erally acted in concert during the few remaining months 
of the Buchanan administration, they became seriously 
estranged before the close of the Lincoln administration 
so much so that Black, in an article published in the 
Galaxy of June, 1870, said of Stanton: " Did he accept 
the confidence of the President (Buchanan) and the Cabi- 
net with a predetermined intent to betray it?" After 
Stanton' s retirement from the Buchanan Cabinet when 
Lincoln was inaugurated, he maintained the closest con- 
fidential relations with Buchanan, and wrote him many 
letters expressing the utmost contempt for Lincoln, the 
Cabinet, the Republican Congress, and the general pol- 
icy of the administration. These letters, given to the 
public in Curtis's life of Buchanan, speak freely of the 
"painful imbecility of Lincoln," of the "venality and 
corruption ' ' which ran riot in the government, and ex- 
pressed the belief that no better condition of things was 
possible " until Jeff Davis turns out the whole concern." 
He was firmly impressed for some weeks after the battle 
of Bull Run that the government was utterly overthrown, 
as he repeatedly refers to the coming of Davis into the 


National Capital. In one letter he says that "in less 
than thirty days Davis will be in possession of Washing- 
ton;" and it is an open secret that Stanton advised the 
revolutionary overthrow of the Lincoln government, to 
be replaced by General McClellan as military dictator. 
These letters published by Curtis, bad as they are, are 
not the worst letters written by Stanton to Buchanan. 
Some of them were so violent in their expressions against 
Lincoln and the administration that they have been 
charitably withheld from the public, but they remain 
in the possession of the surviving relatives of President 
Buchanan. Of course, Lincoln had no knowledge of 
the bitterness exhibited by Stanton to himself personally 
and to his administration, but if he had known the worst 
that Stanton ever said or wrote about him, I doubt not 
that he would have called him to the Cabinet in Janu- 
ary, 1862. The disasters the army suffered made Lin- 
coln forgetful of everything but the single duty of sup- 
pressing the rebellion. From the day that McClellan 
was called to the command of the Army of the Potomac 
in place of McDowell, Stanton was in enthusiastic accord 
with the military policy of the government. The con- 
stant irritation between the War Department and mili- 
tary commanders that had vexed Lincoln in the early 
part of the war made him anxious to obtain a War Min- 
ister who was not only resolutely honest, but who was in 
close touch with the commander of the armies. This 
necessity, with the patriotic record that Stanton had 
made during the closing months of the Buchanan ad- 
ministration, obviously dictated the appointment of Stan- 
ton. It was Lincoln's own act. Stanton had been dis- 
cussed as a possible successor to Cameron along with 
many others in outside circles, but no one had any reason 
to anticipate Stanton' s appointment from any intimation 
given by the President. Lincoln and Stanton had no 


personal intercourse whatever from the time of Lincoln's 
inauguration until Stanton became his War Minister. 
In a letter to Buchanan, written March i, 1862, Stanton 
says : ( ' My accession to my present position was quite as 
sudden and unexpected as the confidence you bestowed 
upon me in calling me to your Cabinet. ' ' In another 
letter, written on the i8th of May, 1862, he said: "I 
hold my present position at the request of the President, 
who knew me personally, but to whom I had not spoken 
from the 4th of March, 1861, until the day he handed 
me my commission." The appointment was made be- 
cause Lincoln believed that Stan ton's loyal record in the 
Buchanan Cabinet and his prominence as the foe of every 
form of jobbery would inspire the highest degree of con- 
fidence in that department throughout the entire country. 
In that he judged correctly. From the day that he en- 
tered the War Office until the surrender of the Confeder- 
ate armies, Stanton, with all his vagaries and infirmities, 
gave constant inspiration to the loyal sentiment of the 
country, and rendered a service that probably only Edwin 
M. Stanton could have rendered at the time. 

Lincoln was not long in discovering that in his new 
Secretary of W T ar he had an invaluable but most trouble- 
some Cabinet officer, but he saw only the great and good 
offices that Stanton was performing for the imperiled Re- 
public. Confidence was restored in financial circles by 
the appointment of Stanton, and his name as War Min- 
ister did more to strengthen the faith of the people in the 
government credit than would have been probable from 
the appointment of any other man of that day. He was 
a terror to all the hordes of jobbers and speculators and 
camp-followers whose appetites had been whetted by a 
great war, and he enforced the strictest discipline through- 
out our armies. He was seldom capable of being civil to 
any officer away from the army on leave of absence un- 


less he had been summoned by the government for con- 
ference or special duty, and he issued the strictest orders 
from time to time to drive the throng of military idlers 
from the capital and keep them at their posts. He was 
stern to savagery in his enforcement of military law. 
The wearied sentinel who slept at his post found no 
mercy in the heart of Stanton, and many times did Lin- 
coln's humanity overrule his fiery minister. Any neglect 
of military duty was sure of the swiftest punishment, and 
seldom did he make even just allowance for inevitable 
military disaster. He had profound, unfaltering faith in 
the Union cause, and, above all, he had unfaltering faith 
in himself. He believed that he was in all things except 
in name Commander-in-Chief of the armies and the navy 
of the nation, and it was with unconcealed reluctance 
that he at times deferred to the authority of the Presi- 
dent. He was a great organizer in theory, and harsh to 
the utmost in enforcing his theories upon military com- 
manders. He at times conceived impossible things, and 
peremptorily ordered them executed, and woe to the man 
who was unfortunate enough to demonstrate that Stan- 
ton was wrong. If he escaped without disgrace he was 
more than fortunate, and many, very many, would have 
thus fallen unjustly had it not been for Lincoln's cautious 
and generous interposition to save those who were wan- 
tonly censured. He would not throw the blame upon 
Stanton, but he would save the victim of Stanton's in- 
justice, and he always did it so kindly that even Stanton 
could not complain beyond a churlish growl. 

Stanton understood the magnitude of the rebellion, 
and he understood also that an army to be effective must 
be completely organized in all its departments. He had 
no favorites to promote at the expense of the public ser- 
vice, and his constant and honest aim was to secure the 
best men for every important position. As I have said, 


he assumed, in his own mind, that he was Commander- 
in-Chief, and there was nothing in military movements, 
or in the quartermaster, commissary, hospital, secret ser- 
vice, or any other department relating to the war, that 
he did not claim to comprehend and seek to control in 
his absolute way. * I doubt whether his partiality ever 
unjustly promoted a military officer, and I wish that I 

* Mr. Stanton's theory was that everything concerned his own 
department. It was he who was carrying on the war. It was he 
who would be held responsible for the secret machinations of the 
enemy in the rear as well as the unwarranted success of the en- 
emy in front. Hence he established a system of military censor- 
ship which has never, for vastness of scope or completeness of 
detail, been equaled in any war before or since or in any other 
country under the sun. The whole telegraphic system of the 
United States, with its infinite ramifications, centered in his 
office. There, adjoining his own personal rooms, sat Gen. Eck- 
ert, Hymer D. Bates, Albert B. Chandler, and Charles A. Tinker, 
all of them young men of brilliant promise and now shining 
lights in the electrical world. Every hour in the day and night, 
under all circumstances, in all seasons, there sat at their instru- 
ments sundry members of this little group. The passage be- 
tween their room and the Secretary's was unobstructed. It was 
an interior communication they did not have even to go through 
the corridor to reach him and every dispatch relating to the war 
or party politics that passed over the Western Union wires, North 
or South, they read. Cipher telegrams were considered especially 
suspicious, so every one of those was reported. The young men 
I have mentioned were masters of cipher-translation. Every 
message to or from the President or any member of his house- 
hold passed under the eye of the Secretary. If one Cabinet Min- 
ister communicated with another over the wire by a secret code, 
Mr. Stanton had the message deciphered and read to him. If 
Gen. McClellan telegraphed to his wife from the front, Mr. Stan- 
ton knew the contents of every dispatch. Hence, as far as the 
conduct of the war was concerned, Mr. Stanton knew a thousand 
secrets where Mr. Lincoln knew one; for the Secretary's instruc- 
tions were that telegrams indiscriminately should not be shown 
to the President. Albert E. H. Johnson, Stanton's confidential 
clerk, in Washington Post, July 14, 1891. 


could say that his prejudices had never hindered the pro- 
motion or driven from the service faithful and competent 
military commanders. His hatreds were intense, im- 
placable, and yielded to the single authority of Lincoln, 
and that authority he knew would be exercised only in 
extreme emergencies. The effect of such a War Minis- 
ter was to enforce devotion to duty throughout the entire 
army, and it is impossible to measure the beneficent re- 
sults of Stanton's policy in our vast military campaigns. 
Great as he was in the practical administration of his 
office that could be visible to the world, he added im- 
measurably to his greatness as War Minister by the im- 
press of his wonderful personality upon the whole mili- 
tary and civil service. 

Stanton's intense and irrepressible hatreds were his 
greatest infirmity and did much to deform his brilliant 
record as War Minister. A pointed illustration of his 
bitter and unreasonable prejudices was given in the case 
of Jere McKibben, whom he arbitrarily confined in Old 
Capitol Prison without even the semblance of a pretext 
to excuse the act. The Constitution of Pennsylvania 
had been so amended during the summer of 1864 as to 
authorize soldiers to vote in the field. The Legislature 
was called in extra session to provide for holding elec- 
tions in the army. It was in the heat of the Presi- 
dential contest and party bitterness was intensified to the 
uttermost. Despite the earnest appeals of Governor 
Curtin and all my personal importunities with promi- 
nent legislators of our own party, an election law was 
passed that was obviously intended to give the minority 
no rights whatever in holding army elections. The 
Governor was empowered to appoint State Commis- 
sioners, who were authorized to attend the elections 
without any direct authority in conducting them. As 
the law was violent in its character and liable to the 


grossest abuses, without any means to restrain election 
frauds, the Democrats of the State and country justly 
complained of it with great earnestness. The Governor 
decided, as a matter of justice to the Democrats, to ap- 
point several Democratic Commissioners, but it was with 
difficulty that any could be prevailed upon to accept. 
He requested me to see several prominent Democrats 
and obtain their consent to receive his commission and 
act under it. As McKibben had three brothers in the 
Army of the Potomac, I supposed it would be pleasant 
for him to make a visit there in an official way, and I 
suggested it to him. He promptly answered: "Why, 
Stanton would put me in Old Capitol Prison before I 
was there a day. He hates our family for no other 
reason that I know of than that my father was one of 
his best friends in Pittsburg when he needed a friend. ' ' 
I assured him that Stanton would not attempt any vio- 
lence against a man who held the commission of the 
Governor of our State, and he finally consented to go, 
having first solemnly pledged me to protect him in case 
he got into any difficulty. 

McKibben and the other Commissioners from Phila- 
delphia were furnished the election papers and started 
down to the army, then quietly resting on the James 
River. On the second day after he left I received a tele- 
gram from him dated Washington, saying: " Stanton has 
me in Old Capitol Prison; come at once." I hastened to 
Washington, having telegraphed to Lincoln to allow me 
to see him between eleven and twelve o' clock that night, 
when I should arrive. I went direct to the White House 
and told the President the exact truth. I explained the 
character of the law of our State; that I had personally 
prevailed upon McKibben to go as a Commissioner to 
give a semblance of decency to its execution; that he 
was not only guiltless of any offense, as he knew how 


delicately he was situated, but that he was powerless to 
do any wrong, and I insisted upon McKibben's imme- 
diate discharge from prison. Lincoln knew of Stanton's 
hatred for the McKibbens, as he had been compelled to 
protect four of McKibben's brothers to give them the 
promotion they had earned by most heroic conduct in 
battle, and he was much distressed at Stanton's act. 
He sent immediately to the War Department to get the 
charge against McKibben, and it did not require five 
minutes of examination to satisfy him that it was utterly 
groundless and a malicious wrong committed by Stanton. 
He said it was a ' ' stupid blunder, ' ' and at once proposed 
to discharge McKibben on his parole. I urged that he 
should be discharged unconditionally, but Lincoln's cau- 
tion prevented that. He said : "It seems hardly fair to 
discharge McKibben unconditionally without permitting 
Stanton to give his explanation;" and he added, " You 
know, McClure, McKibben is safe, parole or no parole, 
so go and get him out of prison." I saw that it would 
be useless to attempt to change Lincoln's purpose, but I 
asked him to fix an hour the next morning when I could 
meet Stanton in his presence to have McKibben dis- 
charged from his parole. He fixed ten o'clock the next 
morning for the meeting, and then wrote, in his own 
hand, the order for McKibben's discharge, which I 
hurriedly bore to Old Capitol Prison and had him 

Promptly at ten o'clock the next morning I went to 
the White House to obtain McKibben's discharge from 
his parole. Lincoln was alone, but Stanton came in a 
few minutes later. He was pale with anger and his first 
expression was: "Well, McClure, what damned rebel are 
you here to get out of trouble this morning?" I had 
frequently been to Washington before when arbitrary 
and entirely unjustifiable arrests of civilians had been 


made in Pennsylvania, to have the prisoners discharged 
from military custody; and as I had never applied in 
such a case without good reason, and never without suc- 
cess even when opposed by Stanton, he evidently meant 
to square up some old accounts with me over McKibben. 
I said to him and with some feeling: " Your arrest of 
McKibben was a cowardly act; you knew McKibben 
was guiltless of any offense, and you did it to gratify a 
brutal hatred." I told him also that I had prevailed 
upon McKibben, against his judgment, to act as a State 
Commissioner to give a semblance of decency to what 
would evidently be a farcical and fraudulent election in 
the army, and that if he had examined the complaint 
soberly for one minute, he would have seen that it was 
utterly false. I told him that I had requested his ap- 
pearance there with the President to have SlcKibben 
discharged from his parole, and that I now asked him to 
assent to it. He turned from me, walked hurriedly back 
and forth across the room several times before he an- 
swered, and then he came up to me and in a voice trem- 
ulous with passion said: " I decline to discharge McKib- 
ben from his parole. You can make formal application 
for it if you choose, and I will consider and decide it. ' ' 
His manner was as offensive as it was possible even for 
Stanton to make it, and I resented it by saying: "I 
don't know what McKibben will do, but if I were Jere 
McKibben, as sure as there is a God I would crop your 
ears before I left Washington." He made no reply, but 
suddenly whirled around on his heel and walked out of 
the President's room. Lincoln had said nothing. ~ He 
was used to such ebullitions from Stanton, and after the 
Secretary had gone he remarked in a jocular way, 
" Well, McClure, you didn't get on very far with Stan- 
ton, did you? but he'll come all right; let the matter 
rest." Before leaving the President's room I wrote out 


a formal application to Stanton for the discharge of 
McKibben from his parole. Several days after I re- 
ceived a huge official envelope enclosing a letter, all in 
Stanton' s bold scrawl, saying that the request for the 
discharge of Jere McKibben from his parole had been 
duly considered, and ' ' the application could not be 
granted consistently with the interests of the public 
service." McKibben outlived Stanton, but died a pris- 
oner on parole. 

After such a turbulent interview with Stanton it would 
naturally be supposed that our intercourse thereafter would 
be severely strained, if not wholly interrupted ; but I had 
occasion to call at the War Department within a few 
weeks, and never was greeted more cordially in my life 
than I was by Stanton. The election was over, the mili- 
tary power of the Confederacy was obviously broken, and 
the Secretary was in the very best of spirits. He promptly 
granted what I wanted done, which was not a matter of 
much importance, and it was so cheerfully and gener- 
ously assented to that I carefully thought of everything 
that I wanted from his department, all of which was 
done in a most gracious manner. I puzzled my brain to 
make sure I should not forget anything, and it finally 
occurred to me that a friend I much desired to serve had 
lately appealed to me to aid in obtaining promotion for a 
young officer in the quartermaster's department whom I 
did not know personally. It seemed that this was the 
chance for the young officer. I suggested to Stanton 

that Quartermaster was reputed to be a very 

faithful and efficient officer, and entitled to higher pro- 
motion than he had received. Stanton picked up his 
pen, saying: "It will give me great pleasure, sir; what 
is his name?" I had to answer that I could not recall 
his name in full, but he took down the officer's rank and 
last name and assured me that he would be promptly pro- 


moted. I supposed that a change of mood would make 
him forgetful of this promise; but the young quarter- 
master wore new shoulder-straps within ten days, and 
won distinction as the chief of his department in large 
independent army movements in Virginia. I never had 
the pleasure of meeting the worthy officer who thus un- 
expectedly secured his promotion, and he is doubtless 
ignorant to this day of the peculiar way in which it was 

Stanton's hatred for McClellan became a consuming 
passion before the close of the Peninsular campaign. 
When McClellan was before Yorktown and complaining 
of his inadequate forces to march upon Richmond, Stan- 
ton summed him up in the following expression: "If he 
(McClellan) had a million men, he would swear the en- 
emy had two millions, and then he would sit down in 
the mud and yell for three." He was impatient and 
often fearfully petulant in his impatience. He was dis- 
appointed in McClellan not marching directly upon 
Richmond by Manassas, and he was greatly disappointed 
again when McClellan laid siege to Yorktown, but he 
was ever ready to congratulate, in his blunt way, when 
anything was accomplished. When General "Baldy" 
Smith made a reconnoissance at Yorktown that produced 
the first successful results of that campaign, Stanton an- 
swered McClellan' s announcement of the movement: 
"Good for the first lick; hurrah for Smith and the one- 
gun battery!" but from that time until the withdrawal 
of the army from the Peninsula, Stanton never found 
occasion to commend McClellan, and McClellan was a 
constant bone of contention between Stanton and Lin- 
coln. Lincoln's patience and forbearance were marked 
in contrast with Stanton's violence of temper and inten- 
sity of hatred. McClellan so far forgot himself as to 
telegraph to Stanton after the retreat to the James River: 


" If I save this army now, I tell you plainly that I owe 
no thanks to you or to any other person in Washington. 
You have done your best to sacrifice this army. ' ' Any 
other President than Lincoln would have immediately 
relieved McClellan of his command, and Stanton not 
only would have relieved him, but would have dismissed 
him from the service. Lincoln exhibited no resentment 
whatever for the ill-advised and insubordinate telegram 
from McClellan. On the contrary, he seemed inclined 
to continue McClellan in command, and certainly ex- 
hibited every desire to sustain him to the utmost. In 
a letter addressed to the Secretary of State on the same 
day that McClellan' s telegram was received he expressed 
his purpose to call for additional troops, and said : "I 
expect to maintain this contest until successful, or till 
I die, or I am conquered, or my term expires, or Con- 
gress or the country forsakes me." 

This was one of the most perplexing situations in 
which Lincoln was ever placed. The defeat of the army 
would not, in itself, have been so serious had Lincoln 
been able to turn to commanders in whom he could im- 
plicitly confide. He had abundant resources and could 
supply all needed additional troops, but where could he 
turn for safe* advice ? He had, to a very large extent, 
lost faith in McClellan. When he counseled with Stan- 
ton he encountered insuperable hatreds, and he finally, 
as was his custom, decided upon his own course of action 
and hurried off to West Point to confer with General 
Scott. His visit to West Point startled the country and 
quite as much startled the Cabinet, as not a single mem- 
ber of it had any intimation of his intended journey. 
What passed at the interview between Lincoln and Scott 
was never known to any, so far as I have been able to 
learn, and I believe that no one has pretended to have 
had knowledge of it. It is enough to know that Pope 


was summoned to the command of a new army, called 
the Army of Virginia, embracing the commands of Fre- 
mont, Banks, and McDowell, and that Halleck was made 
General-in-Chief. The aggressive campaign of Lee, re- 
sulting in the second battle of Bull Run and the utter 
defeat of Pope, brought the army back into the Washing- 
ton intrenchments in a most demoralized condition. It 
was here that Lincoln and Stanton came into conflict 
again on the question of the restoration of McClellan to 
command. Without consulting either the General-in- 
Chief or his War Minister, Lincoln assigned McClellan 
to the command of the defenses of Washington, and as 
the various commands of Pope's broken and demoralized 
army came back into the intrenchments in utter confu- 
sion they thereby came again under the command of 

When it was discovered that McClellan was thus prac- 
tically in command of the Army of the Potomac again, 
Stanton was aroused to the fiercest hostility. He went 
so far as to prepare a remonstrance to the President in 
writing against McClellan' s continuance in the com- 
mand of that army or of any army of the Union. This 
remonstrance was not only signed by Stanton, but by 
Chase, Bates, and Smith, with the concurrence of Welles, 
who thought it indelicate for him to sign it. After the 
paper had been prepared under Stanton' s impetuous lead, 
some of the more considerate members of the Cabinet 
who had joined him took pause to reflect that Lincoln 
was in the habit not only of having his own way, but of 
having his own way of having his own way, and the 
protest was never presented. Lincoln knew McClellan' s 
great organizing powers, and he knew the army needed 
first of all a commander who was capable of restoring it 
to discipline. To use his own expressive language about 
the emergency, he believed that ' ' there is no one in 


the army who can command the fortifications and lick 
those troops of ours into shape one-half as well as he 
could." It was this conviction that made Lincoln 
forget all of McClellan's failings and restore him to 
command, and Stanton was compelled to submit in 
sullen silence. 

Lincoln's restoration of McClellan to command in dis- 
regard of the most violent opposition of Stanton was only 
one of the many instances in which he and his War Min- 
ister came into direct and positive conflict, and always 
with the same result; but many times as Stanton was 
vanquished in his conflicts with Lincoln, it was not in 
his nature to be any the less Edwin M. Stanton. As late 
as 1864 he had one of his most serious disputes with Lin- 
coln, in which he peremptorily refused to obey an order 
from the President directing that certain prisoners of 
war, who expressed a desire to take the oath of alle- 
giance and enter the Union army, should be mustered 
into the service and credited to the quotas of certain 
districts. An exact account of this dispute is preserved 
by Provost- Marshal General Fry, who was charged with 
the execution of the order, and who was present when 
Lincoln and Stanton discussed it. Stanton positively 
refused to obey the order, and said to Lincoln : * ' You 
must see that your order cannot be executed. ' ' Lincoln 
answered with an unusually peremptory tone for him: 
"Mr. Secretary, I reckon you'll have to execute the 
order. ' ' Stanton replied in his imperious way : * ' Mr. 
President, I cannot do it; the order is an improper one, 
and I cannot execute it. ' ' To this Lincoln replied in a 
manner that forbade all further dispute: u Mr. Secretary, 
it will have to be done. ' ' A few minutes thereafter, as 
stated by Provost-Marshal General Fry in a communica- 
tion to the New York Tribune several years ago, Stanton 


issued instructions to him for the execution of the Presi- 
dent's order. 

Notwithstanding the many and often irritating con- 
flicts that Lincoln had with Stanton, there never was an 
hour during Stanton' s term as War Minister that Lincoln 
thought of removing him. Indeed, I believe that at no 
period during the war, after Stanton had entered the 
Cabinet, did Lincoln feel that any other man could fill 
Stanton' s place with equal usefulness to the country. 
He had the most unbounded faith in Stanton' s loyalty 
and in his public and private integrity. He was in 
hearty sympathy with Stanton' s aggressive earnestness 
for the prosecution of the war, and at times hesitated, 
even to the extent of what he feared was individual in- 
justice, to restrain Stanton' s violent assaults upon others. 
It will be regretted by the impartial historian of the 
future that Stanton was capable of impressing his in- 
tense hatred so conspicuously upon the annals of the 
country, and that Lincoln, in several memorable in- 
stances, failed to reverse his War Minister when he had 
grave doubts as to the wisdom or justice of his methods. 
It was Stan ton's fierce resentment that made just verdicts 
impossible in some military trials which will ever be his- 
toric notably, the unjust verdict depriving Fitz John 
Porter at once of his commission and citizenship, and 
the now admittedly unjust verdict that sent Mrs. Surra tt 
to the gallows. Lincoln long hesitated before giving his 
assent to the judgment against Porter, as is clearly shown 
by the fact that, with Pope's accusations against Porter 
fresh before him, he assented to McClellan's request and 
assigned Porter to active command in the Antietam cam- 
paign, and personally thanked Porter on the Antietam 
field, after the battle, for his services. Another enduring 
monument of Stanton' s resentment is the Arlington Na- 
tional Cemetery. The home of Lee was taken under the 


feeblest color of law that Stanton well knew could not be 
maintained, and the buildings surrounded with graves 
even to the very door of the venerable mansion, so that 
it might never be reclaimed as the home of the Confed- 
erate chieftain. The government made restitution to the 
Lees in obedience to the decision of its highest court, 
but the monument of hate is imperishable. 

Soon after the surrender of Lee, Stanton, severely 
broken in health by the exacting duties he had per- 
formed, tendered his resignation, believing that his great 
work was finished. lyincoln earnestly desired him to re- 
main, and he did so. The assassination of Lincoln called 
him to even graver duties than had before confronted 
him. His bitter conflict with Johnson and his violent 
issue with Sherman stand out as exceptionally interest- 
ing chapters of the history of the war. It was President 
Johnson's attempted removal of Stanton in violation of 
the Tenure-of-Office Act that led to the President's im- 
peachment, and Stanton persisted in holding his Cabinet 
office until Johnson was acquitted by the Senate, when he 
resigned and was succeeded by General Schofield on the 2d 
of June, 1868. After his retirement Stanton never exhib- 
ited any great degree of either physical or mental vigor. 
I last saw him in Philadelphia in the fall of 1868, where 
he came in answer to a special invitation from the Union 
League to deliver a political address in the Academy of 
Music in favor of Grant's election to the Presidency. I 
called on him at his hotel and found him very feeble, 
suffering greatly from asthmatic disorders, and in his 
public address he was often strangely forgetful of facts 
and names, and had to be prompted by gentlemen on 
the stage. It may be said of Stanton that he sacrificed 
the vigor of his life to the service of his country in the 
sorest trial of its history, and when President Grant 
nominated him as Justice of the Supreme Court, on the 


2oth of December, 1869, all knew that it was an empty 
honor, as he was both physically and mentally unequal 
to the new duties assigned to him. Four days thereafter 
the inexorable messenger came and Edwin M. Stanton 
joined the great majority across the dark river. 


ABRAHAM LINCOLN and Ulysses S. Grant were 
-JL entire strangers to each other personally until the 
9th of March, 1864, when Lincoln handed Grant his 
commission as Lieutenant-General, which made him 
three days later Commander-in-Chief of all the armies 
of the Union. Although Grant entered the army as a 
citizen of Lincoln's own State, he had resided there only 
a little more than a year. When he retired from the 
army by resignation on the 3ist of July, 1854, as a cap- 
tain, he selected Missouri as his home and settled on a 
farm near St. Louis. He had won promotion at the 
battles of Molino del Rey and Chapultepec in the Mex- 
ican War, and was brevetted for special gallantry. Dur- 
ing the nearly seven years between his retirement from 
the army and re-entering the military service at the be- 
ginning of the civil war he had done little or nothing 
to make himself known to fame. He had moved from 
Missouri to Galena early in 1860 to improve his worldly 
condition by accepting a salary of $600 from his two 
brothers, who were then engaged in the leather business. 
After remaining with them for a year his salary was ad- 
vanced to $800, and in a letter to a friend he exhibited 
his gratification at his business success and expressed the 
hope of reaching what then seemed to be his highest 
ambition a partnership in the firm. His life in Galena 
was quiet and unobtrusive as was Grant's habit under 


(Photo by Gutekunst Phila.) 



all circumstances; and when the first call for troops was 
issued and Grant brought a company from Galena to 
Springfield without any friends to press his promotion, 
it is not surprising that, while political colonels were 
turned out with great rapidity, Grant remained without 
a command. He served on the staff of Governor Yates 
for several weeks, giving him the benefit of his military 
experience in organizing new troops, but it does not 
seem to have occurred to Grant to suggest his own ap- 
pointment to a command or to Governor Yates to tender 
him one. He returned to Galena, and on the 24th of 
May, 1 86 1, sent a formal request to the Adjutant-General 
of the army at Washington for an assignment to military 
duty " until the close of the war in such capacity as may 
be offered. ' ' To this no reply was ever received, and a 
month later he made a personal visit to the headquarters 
of General McClellan, then in command of the Ohio 
volunteers at Cincinnati, hoping that McClellan would 
tender him a position on his staff; but he failed to meet 
McClellan, and returned home without suggesting to 
any one a desire to enter the service under the Cin- 
cinnati commander. 

It was a wayward and insubordinate regiment at 
Springfield that called Grant back to the military ser- 
vice and started him on his matchless career. The 
Twenty-first Illinois defied the efforts of Governor Yates 
to reduce it to discipline, and in despair he telegraphed 
to the modest Captain Grant at Galena, asking him to 
come and accept the colonelcy. The prompt answer 
came: "I accept the regiment and will start imme- 
diately." It is needless to say that the appearance of a 
plain, ununiformed, and modest man like Grant made 
little impression at first upon his insubordinate com- 
mand, but in a very short time he made it the best dis- 
ciplined regiment from the State, and the men as proud 



of their commander as he was of them. The story of 
Grant's military achievements from Belmont to Shiloh 
is familiar to every reader of American history. It was 
Grant's capture of Fort Henry, soon followed by the 
capture of Fort Donelson and Nashville, that opened 
the second year of the war with such brilliant promise 
of an early overthrow of the Confederate armies. It was 
his sententious answer to General Buckner at Fort Don- 
elson that proclaimed to the nation his heroic qualities 
as a military commander. He said: u No terms except 
unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted; 
I propose to move immediately upon your works. ' ' He 
soon became popularly known as ' ' Unconditional Sur- 
render Grant, ' ' and while his superior officers, including 
General-in-Chief McClellan and his immediate division 
commander Halleck, seemed to agree only in hindering 
Grant in his military movements, the country profoundly 
appreciated his victories. Soon after the capture of 
Nashville he was ordered by Halleck to make a new 
military movement that was rendered impossible by im- 
mense floods which prevailed in the Western waters. 
Halleck reported him to McClellan, complaining that he 
had left his post without leave and had failed to make 
reports, etc., to which McClellan replied: " Do not hesi- 
tate to arrest him at once if the good of the service re- 
quires it, and place C. F. Smith in command." Halleck 
immediately relieved Grant and placed Smith in com- 
mand of the proposed expedition. Grant gave a tem- 
perate explanation of the injustice done to him, but as 
the wrong was continued he asked to be relieved from 
duty. In the mean time Halleck had discovered his 
error, and atoned for it by answering to Grant: "Instead 
of relieving you, I wish you, as soon as your new T army 
is in the field, to assume the immediate command and 
lead it on to new victories." 


It was not until after the battle of Shiloh, fought on 
the 6th and yth of April, 1862, that Lincoln was placed 
in a position to exercise a controlling influence in shap- 
ing the destiny of Grant. The first day's battle at Shiloh 
was a serious disaster to the Union army commanded by 
Grant, who was driven from his position, which seems to 
have been selected without any special reference to re- 
sisting an attack from the enemy, and, although his 
army fought most gallantly in various separate encoun- 
ters, the day closed with the field in possession of the 
enemy and Grant's army driven back to the river. For- 
tunately, the advance of Buell's army formed a junction 
with Grant late in the evening, and that night all of 
Buell's army arrived, consisting of three divisions. The 
two generals arranged their plans for an offensive move- 
ment early the next morning, and, after another stub- 
born battle, the lost field was regained and the enemy 
compelled to retreat with the loss of their commander, 
General Albert Sidney Johnston, who had fallen early in 
the first day's action, and with a larger aggregate loss of 
killed, wounded, and missing than Grant suffered. The 
first reports from the Shiloh battle-field created profound 
alarm throughout the entire country, and the wildest 
exaggerations were spread in a floodtide of vituperation 
against Grant. It was freely charged that he had ne- 
glected his command because of dissipation, that his 
army had been surprised and defeated, and that it was 
saved from annihilation only by the timely arrival of 

The few of to-day who can recall the inflamed condi- 
tion of public sentiment against Grant caused by the dis- 
astrous first day's battle at Shiloh will remember that he 
was denounced as incompetent for his command by the 
public journals of all parties in the North, and with 
almost entire unanimity by Senators and Congressmen 


without regard to political faith. Not only in Washing- 
ton, but throughout the loyal States, public sentiment 
seemed to crystallize into an earnest demand for Grant's 
dismissal from the army. His victories of Forts Henry 
and Donelson, which had thrilled the country a short 
time before, seemed to have been forgotten, and on every 
side could be heard the emphatic denunciation of Grant 
because of his alleged reckless exposure of the army, 
while Buell was universally credited with having saved 
it. It is needless to say that owing to the excited condi- 
tion of the public mind most extravagant reports gained 
ready credence, and it was not uncommon to hear Grant 
denounced on the streets and in all circles as unfitted by 
both habit and temperament for an important military 
command. The clamor for Grant's removal, and often 
for his summary dismissal, from the army surged against 
the President from every side, and he was harshly criti- 
cized for not promptly dismissing Grant, or at least re- 
lieving him from his command. I can recall but a single 
Republican member of Congress who boldly defended 
Grant at that time. Elihu B. Washburne, whose home 
was in Galena, where Grant had lived before he went 
into the army, stood nearly or quite alone among the 
members of the House in wholly justifying Grant at 
Shiloh, while a large majority of the Republicans of 
Congress were outspoken and earnest in condemning 

I did not know Grant at that time; had neither par- 
tiality nor prejudice to influence my judgment, nor had I 
any favorite general who might be benefited by Grant's 
overthrow, but I shared the almost universal conviction 
of the President's friends that he could not sustain him- 
self if he attempted to sustain Grant by continuing him 
in command. Looking solely to the interests of Lincoln, 
feeling that the tide of popular resentment was so over- 


whelming against Grant that Lincoln must yield to it, I 
had repeated conferences with some of his closest friends, 
including Swett and Lamon, all of whom agreed that 
Grant must be removed from his command, and com- 
plained of Lincoln for his manifest injustice to himself 
by his failure to act promptly in Grant's removal. So 
much was I impressed with the importance of prompt 
action on the part of the President after spending a day 
and evening in Washington that I called on Lincoln at 
eleven o' clock at night and sat with him alone until after 
one o'clock in the morning. He was, as usual, worn out 
with the day's exacting duties, but he did not permit me 
to depart until the Grant matter had been gone over and 
many other things relating to the war that he wished to 
discuss. I pressed upon him with all the earnestness I 
could command the immediate removal of Grant as an 
imperious necessity to sustain himself. As was his cus- 
tom, he said but little, only enough to make me continue 
the discussion until it was exhausted. He sat before the 
open fire in the old Cabinet room, most of the time with 
his feet up on the high marble mantel, and exhibited un- 
usual distress at the complicated condition of military 
affairs. Nearly every day brought some new and per- 
plexing military complication. He had gone through a 
long winter of terrible strain with McClellan and the 
Army of the Potomac; and from the day that Grant 
started on his Southern expedition until the battle of 
Shiloh he had had little else than jarring and confusion 
among 'his generals in the West. He knew that I had 
no ends to serve in urging Grant's removal, beyond the 
single desire to make him be just to himself, and he lis- 
tened patiently. 

I appealed to Lincoln for his own sake to remove 
Grant at once, and in giving my reasons for it I simply 
voiced the admittedly overwhelming protest from the 


loyal people of the land against Grant's continuance in 
command. I could form no judgment during the con- 
versation as to what effect my arguments had upon him 
beyond the fact that he was greatly distressed at this new 
complication. When I had said everything that could 
be said from my standpoint, we lapsed into silence. 
Lincoln remained silent for what seemed a very long 
time. He then gathered himself up in his chair and 
said in a tone of earnestness that I shall never forget: 
"/ cartt spare this man; he fights" That was all he 
said, but I knew that it was enough, and that Grant was 
safe in Lincoln's hands against his countless hosts of 
enemies. The only man in all the nation who had the 
power to save Grant was Lincoln, and he had decided to 
do it. He was not influenced by any personal partiality 
for Grant, for they had never met, but he believed just 
what he said "I can't spare this man; he fights." I 
knew enough of Lincoln to know that his decision was 
final, and I knew enough of him also to know that he 
reasoned better on the subject than I did, and that it 
would be unwise to attempt to unsettle his determina- 
tion. I did not forget that Lincoln was the one man 
who never allowed himself to appear as wantonly defy- 
ing public sentiment. It seemed to me impossible for 
him to save Grant without taking a crushing load of con- 
demnation upon himself; but Lincoln was wiser than all 
those around him, and he not only saved Grant, but he 
saved him by such well-concerted effort that he soon won 
popular applause from those who were most violent in 
demanding Grant's dismissal. 

The method that Lincoln adopted to rescue Grant from 
the odium into which he had, to a very large degree, un- 
justly fallen was one of the bravest and most sagacious 
acts of his administration. Halleck was commander of 
the military division consisting of Missouri, Kentucky, 


Tennessee, and possibly other States, but he remained at 
his headquarters in St. Louis until after the battle of 
Shiloh. Lincoln's first move was to bring Halleck to 
the field, where he at once superseded Grant as com- 
mander of the army. This relieved public apprehen- 
sion and soon calmed the inflamed public sentiment that 
was clamoring for Grant's dismissal. Lincoln knew that 
it would require time for the violent prejudice against 
Grant to perish, and he calmly waited until it was safe 
for him to give some indication to the country of his 
abiding faith in Grant as a military commander. Hal- 
leck reached the army at Pittsburg Landing on the nth 
of April, four days after the battle had been fought, and 
of course his presence on the field at once made him the 
commanding officer. On the 3<Dth of April, when the 
public mind was reasonably well prepared to do justice 
to Grant, an order was issued assigning him ' * as second 
in command under the major-general commanding the 
department. ' ' 

This was an entirely needless order so far as mere 
military movements were involved, and it is one of the 
very rare cases in the history of the war in which such 
an order w T as issued. Only under very special circum- 
stances could there be any occasion for an order assign- 
ing a particular general as second in command of an 
army. While the army is within reach of orders from 
the commanding general there can be no second in com- 
mand. In case of his death or inability to take active 
command in battle, the military laws wisely regulate the 
succession, and only in extraordinary cases is it departed 
from. In this case the purpose of it was obvious. Lin- 
coln had quieted public apprehension by bringing Gen- 
eral Halleck to the field and thus relieving Grant of 
command without the semblance of reproach; but he 
desired to impress the country with his absolute faith 


in Grant as a military leader, and it was for that reason 
that the special order was issued assigning him as second 
in command of Halleck's army. The effect of that order 
was precisely what Lincoln anticipated. It made all 
loyal men take pause and abate or yield their violent 
hostility to Grant in obedience to the publicly expressed 
confidence of Lincoln. The country knew that Lincoln 
best understood Grant, and from the date of Grant's as- 
signment as second in command of the army the preju- 
dice against him rapidly perished. It was thus that 
Lincoln saved Grant from one of the most violent surges 
of popular prejudice that was ever created against any 
of our leading generals, and on the nth of July, when 
it was entirely safe to restore Grant to his command for 
active operations, Halleck was ordered to Washington 
by Lincoln and assigned as commander-in-chief. Thus 
was Grant restored to the command of the army that he 
had lost at the battle of Shiloh, and it was Lincoln, and 
Lincoln alone, who saved him from disgrace and gave to 
the country the most lustrous record of all the heroes of 
the war. 

I doubt whether Grant ever understood how Lincoln, 
single and alone, protected him from dishonor in the 
tempest of popular passion that came upon him after 
the disaster at Shiloh. Grant never was in Washington 
until he was summoned there early in 1864 to be com- 
missioned as Lieutenant-General, and he was entirely 
without personal acquaintance with Lincoln. After he 
became Commander-in-Chief he made his headquarters 
in the field with the Army of the Potomac, and was very 
rarely in Washington after he crossed the Rapidan and 
opened the campaign by the battles of the Wilderness. 
That he frequently saw Lincoln between February and 
May while perfecting his plans for army movements is 
well known, but Grant was one of the most silent of 


men and most of all reluctant to talk about himself, 
while Lincoln was equally reserved in all things per- 
taining to himself personally. Especially where he had 
rendered any service to another he would be quite un- 
likely to speak of it himself. Judging the two men from 
their chief and very marked characteristics, it is entirely 
reasonable to assume that what Lincoln did to save 
Grant from disgrace was never discussed or referred to 
by them in personal conversation. Grant never, in any 
way known to the public, recognized any such obligation 
to Lincoln, and no utterance ever came from him indi- 
cating anything more than the respect for Lincoln due 
from a general to his chief. 

I never heard Lincoln allude to the subject but once, 
and that was under very painful circumstances and when 
the subject was forced upon him by myself. Lincoln 
knew that I had personal knowledge of his heroic effort 
to rescue Grant from the odium that came upon him 
after Shiloh, and an accidental occasion arose in the 
latter part of October, 1864, when his relations to Grant 
became a proper subject of consideration. The October 
elections in 1864, when Lincoln was a candidate for re- 
election, resulted favorably for the Republicans in Ohio 
and Indiana, but unfavorably for them in Pennsylvania. 
There was no State ticket to be elected in Pennsylvania 
that year, and the vote for Congress and local officers 
gave a small Democratic majority on the home vote in 
the State. McClellan, a native of Pennsylvania, was 
the Democratic candidate for President, and State pride 
naturally added to his strength. General Cameron was 
chairman of the Republican State Committee. He was 
well equipped for the position, but was so entirely con- 
fident of success that he neglected to perfect the organ- 
ization necessary to gain the victory, and the prestige of 
success fell to McClellan. New York was regarded as 


extremely doubtful, and there was much concern felt 
about the possibility of New York and Pennsylvania 
both voting against Lincoln in November. It was not 
doubted that the army vote would give Pennsylvania to 
Lincoln, but it was of the utmost importance, to give 
moral force and effect to the triumph, to give Lincoln a 
majority on the home vote. Lincoln was much con- 
cerned about the situation, and telegraphed me to come 
to Washington the day after the October election. I 
went on at once, and after going over the political situ- 
ation carefully, Lincoln asked me whether I would be 
willing to give my personal services to aid the State 
Committee during the month intervening between the 
October and November elections. I reminded him that 
General Cameron and I were not in political sympathy, 
and that he would regard it as obtrusive for me to volun- 
teer assistance to him in the management of the cam- 
paign. To this Lincoln replied: "Of course, I under- 
stand that, but if Cameron shall invite you can you give 
your time fully to the contest?" I answered that I 
would gladly do so. He did not suggest how he meant 
to bring about co-operation between Cameron and my- 
self, but I knew him well enough to know that he would 
be very likely to accomplish the desired result. Two 
days thereafter I received a cordial letter from General 
Cameron inviting me to join him at the headquarters 
and assist in the November contest. 

I at once went to Philadelphia, and found Wayne 
MacVeagh already with General Cameron in obedience 
to a like invitation that had been brought about by Lin- 
coln. MacVeagh had been chairman of the State Com- 
mittee the previous year, when Curtin was re-elected, as 
I had been chairman in 1866 when Lincoln was first 
elected, and both of us were at the time regarded as 
somewhat conspicuous among the opponents of Came- 


ron. The failure in Pennsylvania, contrasted with the 
party successes in Ohio and Indiana, was very mortify- 
ing to Cameron, and he was ready to employ every avail- 
able resource to redeem the State in November. There 
was the heartiest co-operation by MacVeagh and myself, 
all being done under the name and immediate direction 
of Cameron as chairman, and there was not a jar during 
the month of desperate effort to win the State for Lin- 
coln. I took a private room at another hotel, and never 
was at headquarters except for confidential conference 
with Cameron himself; and, as requested by Lincoln, I 
wrote him fully every night my impressions of the prog- 
ress we were making. The Democrats were highly 
elated by their rather unexpected success in October, 
and they made the most desperate and well-directed 
battle to gain the State for McClellan. So anxious was 
Lincoln about the campaign that after I had been a 
week in co-operation with the State Committee, he sent 
Postmaster-General Dennison over to Philadelphia spe- 
cially to talk over the situation more fully than it conld 
be presented in my letters, and to return the same night 
and make report to him. It was evident that we had 
gained nothing, and I so informed the Postmaster-Gen- 
eral, and expressed great doubts as to our ability to do 
more than hold our own, considering the advantage the 
Democrats had in the prestige of their October victory. 
I told him, however, that in another week the question 
could be determined whether we were safe on the home 
vote in Pennsylvania, and that if there was reasonable 
doubt about it I would notify Lincoln and visit Wash- 

A week later, as I had advised Lincoln from day to 
day, I saw nothing to warrant the belief that we had 
gained any material advantage in the desperate battle, 
and I telegraphed Lincoln that I would see him at ten 


o'clock that night. I found him waiting, and he exhib- 
ited great solicitude as to the battle in Pennsylvania. 
He knew that his election was in no sense doubtful, but 
he knew that if he lost New York and with it Pennsyl- 
vania on the home vote, the moral effect of his triumph 
would be broken and his power to prosecute the war and 
make peace would be greatly impaired. His usually sad 
face was deeply shadowed with sorrow when I told him 
that I saw no reasonable prospect of carrying Pennsylva- 
nia on the home vote, although we had about held our 
own in the hand-to-hand conflict through which we were 
passing. "Well, what is to be done?" was Lincoln's 
inquiry after the whole situation had been presented to 
him. I answered that the solution of the problem was a 
very simple and easy one that Grant was idle in front 
of Petersburg; that Sheridan had won all possible vic- 
tories in the Valley; and that if 5000 Pennsylvania sol- 
diers could be furloughed home from each army the elec- 
tion could be carried without doubt. Lincoln's face 
brightened instantly at the suggestion, and I saw that 
he was quite ready to execute it. I said to him : u Of 
course, you can trust Grant to make the suggestion to 
him to furlough 5000 Pennsylvania troops for two 
weeks?" To my surprise, Lincoln made no answer, 
and the bright face of a few moments before was in- 
stantly shadowed again. I was much disconcerted, as I 
supposed that Grant was the one man to whom Lincoln 
could turn with absolute confidence as his friend. I then 
said with some earnestness: "Surely, Mr. President, you 
can trust Grant with a confidential suggestion to furlough 
Pennsylvania troops ?' ' Lincoln remained silent and evi- 
dently distressed at the proposition I was pressing upon 
him. After a few moments, and speaking with empha- 
sis, I said: "It can't be possible that Grant is not your 
friend; he can't be such an ingrate?" Lincoln hesitated 


for some time, and then answered in these words: u Well, 
McClure, I have no reason to believe that Grant prefers 
my election to that of McClellan." 

I must confess that my response to this to me appalling 
statement from Lincoln was somewhat violative of the 
rules of courteous conversation. I reminded Lincoln 
how, in that room, when I had appealed to him to re- 
spect the almost universal demand of the country for 
Grant's dismissal, he had withstood the shock alone and 
interposed his omnipotence to save Grant when he was 
a personal stranger. Lincoln, as usual, answered intem- 
perance of speech by silence. I then said to him : * ' Gen- 
eral Meade is a soldier and a gentleman; he is the com- 
mander of the Army of the Potomac; send an order to 
him from yourself to furlough 5000 Pennsylvania soldiers 
home for two weeks, and send that order with some 
trusted friend from the War Department, with the sug- 
gestion to Meade that your 'agent be permitted to bring 
the order back with him. ' ' After a little reflection Lin- 
coln answered: "I reckon that can be done." I then 
said, ' ' What about Sheridan ?' ' At once his sad face 
brightened up, like the noonday sun suddenly emerging 
from a dark cloud, as he answered: " Oh, Phil Sheridan; 
he's all right. " Before I left his room that night he had 
made his arrangements to send messengers to Meade and 
Sheridan. The order was sent to Meade, and he per- 
mitted it to be returned to the President, but Sheridan 
needed no order. The 10,000, Pennsylvania soldiers were 
furloughed during the week, and Lincoln carried Penn- 
sylvania on the home vote by 5712 majority, to which 
the army vote added 14,363 majority. It was thus that 
Lincoln made his triumph in Pennsylvania a complete 
victory without what was then commonly called the 
' * bayonet vote, ' ' and Lincoln carried New York by 
6749, leaving McClellan the worst defeated candidate 


ever nominated by any of the great political parties of 
the country. 

I left Lincoln fully convinced that Grant was an in- 
grate, and Lincoln certainly knew that he permitted that 
conviction to be formed in my mind. He did not in any 
way qualify his remark about Grant, although it was his 
custom when he felt compelled to disparage any one to 
present some charitable explanation of the conduct com- 
plained of. The fact that he refused to send his request 
to Grant, while he was willing to send it to Meade, 
proved that he was, for some reason, disappointed in 
Grant's fidelity to him; and the enthusiasm with which 
he spoke of Sheridan proved how highly he valued the 
particular quality that he did not credit to Grant. I con- 
fess that the conviction formed that day made the name 
of Grant leave a bad taste in my mouth for many years. 
I heartily supported his nomination for the Presidency in 
1868, and was chairman of the Pennsylvania delegation 
in the Chicago Convention that nominated him, because 
I believed that the chivalrous victor of Appomattox 
would command the highest measure of confidence from 
the Southern people and hasten the restoration -of peace 
and business prosperity; but Grant and his immediate 
friends knew that while I earnestly supported his nomi- 
nation and election, I did not have the confidence in him 
that he generally commanded. I now believe that Lin- 
coln was mistaken in his distrust of Grant. It was not 
until after Grant's retirement from the Presidency that I 
ever had an opportunity to hear his explanation. I re- 
membered that on election night, when Grant was ad- 
vised at his headquarters in front of Petersburg of Lin- 
coln's election, he sent Lincoln a dispatch heartily con- 
gratulating him upon his triumph. I never heard Lin- 
coln allude to the subject again, and I am therefore 
ignorant as to whether his belief was ever changed. 


I never visited the White House during Grant's Presi- 
dency, although twice specially invited to do so to con- 
sider what I regarded as an impracticable or impossible 
political suggestion, but I accidentally met him in the 
Continental Hotel, soon after his retirement, in company 
with Mr. Childs. Grant came forward in the most cor- 
dial manner and thanked me for an editorial that had 
appeared in The Times on the day that ended his Presi- 
dential term, in which I had spoken of him and his 
achievements as history would record them, regardless 
of the political passions and prejudices of the day. The 
meeting ended with an invitation to lunch with him that 
afternoon at Mr. Drexel's office, which I accepted. 
There were present only Mr. Drexel, Mr. Childs, and 
one or two others connected with the Drexel house. 
After luncheon all dispersed but Grant, Childs, and my- 
self, and we had a most delightful conversation with 
Grant for an hour or more. I was anxious to learn, if 
possible, what Grant's feelings were in the Presidential 
battle of 1864. Without intimating to him that Lincoln 
had doubted his fidelity, I reminded him that he had 
maintained such a silent attitude that some of Lincoln's 
closest friends were at a loss to know his preference in 
the contest. He answered very promptly that he sup- 
posed none could have doubted his earnest desire for the 
re-election of Lincoln, although he studiously avoided 
any expression, public or private, on the subject. He 
said : "It would have been obviously unbecoming on my 
part to have given a public expression against a general 
whom I had succeeded as Commander-in-Chief of the 
army." I do not doubt that Grant declared the exact 
truth in that statement. Naturally silent and averse to 
any expressions whatever on politics, he felt that he 
could not with propriety even appear to assail a man 
who had failed and fallen in the position that he had 


won and maintained. Thus for twelve years I cherished 
a personal prejudice against Grant because of his sup- 
posed want of fidelity to Lincoln that I now believe to 
have been wholly unjust. One revelation to me at the 
meeting with Grant at the Drexel luncheon was his re- 
markable and attractive powers as a conversationalist. 
He discussed politics during his term and the politics of 
the future, public men and public events, with great free- 
dom and in a manner so genial as to amaze me. I had 
shared the common impression that Grant was always 
reticent, even in the circle of his closest friends, but the 
three hours spent with him on that day proved that when 
he chose he could be one of the most entertaining of men 
in the social circle. 

It is evident that from the day that Grant became 
Commander-in-Chief, Lincoln had abiding faith in him. 
He yielded implicitly to Grant's judgment in all matters 
purely military; Grant, like all great soldiers, yielded as 
implicitly to Lincoln in all matters relating to civil ad- 
ministration, and the annals of history will testify that 
Grant fulfilled every expectation of the government and 
of the loyal people of the nation as military chieftain. 
Many have criticised some of his military movements, 
such as his assaults at Vicksburg and Cold Harbor and 
his battles in the Wilderness, but he met the great need 
of the country and was as heroic in peace as in war. 
When President Johnson attempted to punish Lee for 
treason, Grant not only admonished the President, but 
notified him that " the officers and men paroled at Appo- 
mattox Court-House, and since upon the same terms 
given to Lee, cannot be tried for treason so long as they 
preserve the terms of their parole;" and he went so far 
as to declare that he would resign his commission if the 
government violated the faith he had given when Lee 
surrendered to him. He fought more battles and won 


more victories than any general of any country during 
his generation, and when on the 23d of July, 1885, 
Ulysses S. Grant met the inexorable messenger, the 
Great Captain of the Age passed from time to eternity. 



NOT until all the lingering personal, political, and 
military passions of the war shall have perished 
can the impartial historian tell the true story of Abra- 
ham Lincoln's relations to George B. McClellan, nor 
will the just estimate of McClellan as a military chief- 
tain be recorded until the future historian comes to his 
task entirely free from the prejudices of the present. 
Although more than a quarter of a century has elapsed 
since the close of the war, and countless contributions 
have been given to the history of that conflict from 
every shade of conviction that survived it, McClellan' s 
ability as a military commander, and the correctness of 
Lincoln's action in calling him to command and in dis- 
missing him from command, are as earnestly disputed 
to-day as they were in the white heat of the personal 
and political conflicts of the time. Notwithstanding 
the bitter partisan assaults which have been made upon 
McClellan in the violence of party struggles, at times 
impugning his skill, his courage, and his patriotism, it 
is safe to say that fair-minded men of every political 
faith now testify to the absolute purity of his patriotism, 
to his exceptional skill as a military organizer, and to 
his courage as a commander. I knew McClellan well, 
and I believe that no reasonably just man could have 
known him without yielding to him the highest measure 
of personal respect, He was one of the most excellent 


(Photo by Gutekunst, Philadelphia.) 



and lovable characters I have ever met, and that he was 
patriotic in everything that he did, however he may 
have erred, and that he would have given his life as a 
sacrifice to his army or his country had duty required 
it, will not be doubted within the circle of his personal 
associations. I saw him frequently after he came to 
Washington heralded as the " Young Napoleon," to 
perform the herculean task of organizing the best army 
that ever was organized in any country within the same 
period of time. I saw him when he started upon his 
Peninsula campaign with the hope of victory beaming 
from his bright young face, and I stood close by his side 
most of the day when he fought his last battle at An- 
tietam. Only a few months thereafter he was finally 
relieved from his command, and his military career 
ended on November 5, 1862, when, by order of the Pres- 
ident, he transferred his army to General Burnside and 
went to Trenton, New Jersey, "for further orders." 
The ( ' further orders ' ' never came until Presidential 
election day, 1864, when McClellan resigned his com- 
mission as major-general in the army and Sheridan was 
appointed to his place. 

Both Lincoln and McClellan now live only in history, 
and history will judge them by their achievements as it 
has judged all mankind. Lincoln was a successful Pres- 
ident, and, like the great Roman Germanicus, " fortunate 
in the opportunity of his death. ' ' McClellan was an un- 
successful general and a defeated politician. Such will 
be the imperishable records of history as to these two 
men; but even the next generation will see continued 
disputation as to McClellan' s capabilities as a com- 
mander, and Lincoln will be censured alike for having 
maintained and supported McClellan as a military 
leader, and for having failed to appreciate and support 
him after having called him to responsible command. 


None the less, however, will be the irrevocable judgment 
of history that Lincoln succeeded and that McClellan 
failed. But why did McClellan fail as a military com- 
mander? The answer of his devoted partisans is that 
he was deliberately hindered and embarrassed in every 
military movement, and that he would have achieved 
great success had he been supported as the more success- 
ful generals later in the war were supported by the gov- 
ernment. To this comes the response from the friends 
of Lincoln that he earnestly and heartily seconded 
McClellan to the utmost of his resources; that he long 
confided in him when the confidence of his friends had 
been greatly shattered ; that he reappointed him to com- 
mand against his Cabinet and against the general senti- 
ment of his party leaders; and that whatever failures 
were suffered by McClellan were the result of his own 
incompetency or of the inability of the government to 
meet his wants. 

It is unjust to McClellan to judge him by the same 
standard that is applied to the successful generals who 
succeeded him. I believe that it was McClellan' s great- 
est misfortune that he was suddenly called to the daz- 
zling position of Commander-in-Chief when he was a 
comparative novice in great war operations and without 
the experience necessary to make a great commander. 
I believe that the 23d of April, 1861, was the fateful day 
that dated the beginning of McClellan' s misfortunes. 
He was then in Cincinnati, in charge of one of the 
railroads connected with that city. Pennsylvania troops 
were then being organized by Governor Curtin, and he 
was in search of a Pennsylvanian of military education 
and attainments to be placed in command. He first 
offered the position to McClellan, who promptly arranged 
his business to go to Harrisburg in person with the view 
of accepting it. By special request he stopped at Colum- 


bus on his way to Harrisburg to confer with Governor 
Dennison on some military problems which were vexing 
the Governor of Ohio. He expected to remain at Colum- 
bus only a few hours and then proceed to Pennsylvania. 
While in conference with Governor Dennison he was 
tendered the commission of major-general commanding 
the volunteers of Ohio, although ineligible because of 
his want of residence in that State. The difficulty was 
obviated by both branches of the Legislature passing, in 
a few hours, a bill making him eligible, and on the same 
23d of April, 1861, he was commissioned as major-gen- 
eral and assigned to the command of the Ohio State 
troops. This led to his skirmishes in West Virginia, 
which in that day were magnified into great battles and 
great victories, and, when it became necessary to select 
a successor to Scott as Commander-in-Chief, McClellan 
was the only general whose victories had attracted the 
attention of the nation. He was thus called to the re- 
sponsible position of Commander-in-Chief when a little 
over thirty years of age, with no experience in war be- 
yond a brief campaign in Mexico, and without the train- 
ing necessary to enable him to comprehend the most 
colossal war of modern times. Had he accepted the 
command of the Pennsylvania troops he would doubtless 
have made them the best disciplined and most effective 
division of the Army of the Potomac, would have fought 
them wisely and gallantly in every conflict, and would 
have won distinction as a commander with the experi- 
ence that would have enabled him to maintain it. In- 
stead of floundering along in untrodden paths and com- 
mitting errors for others to profit by, he would have seen 
others charged with the gravest responsibility that could 
be assigned to any military man, would have seen them 
blunder and fall, and would have been ripened, by his 
own experience and by the misfortunes of his superiors, 


for the command that he won so suddenly and twice lost 
by order of a President who sincerely desired to be 
McClellan's friend and to give him success. 

McClellan's fundamental error, and the one that I be- 
lieve was the fountain of most, if not all, his misfortunes, 
was in his assumption not only that Lincoln and the 
government generally were unfriendly to him when he 
started out on his spring campaign of 1862, but that they 
deliberately conspired to prevent him from achieving 
military success.* This was a fatal error, and it was 
certainly most unjust to Lincoln. If McClellan really 
believed that the government had predetermined his 
military failure or if he seriously doubted its fidelity, 
it exhibited moral cowardice on his part to march an 
army into hopeless battle. He might have believed the 
President, the Secretary of War, and the administration 
generally to have been unfriendly to him, and yet, rely- 
ing upon his ability to win their confidence by winning 
victory, he could have retained his command with just- 
ice to himself and to the country; but his own statements 
show that he believed then that he would not be permit- 
ted to win a victory or to capture Richmond; and, thus 
believing, he owed it to himself, to the great army he 
had organized as none other could have organized it, and 
to the country to whose cause he was undoubtedly loyal, 
to resign the command and put the responsibility upon 

* Don't worry about the wretches in Washington. They have 
done nearly their worst, and can't do much more. I am sure that 
I will win in the end, in spite of all their rascality. History will 
present a sad record of these traitors, who are willing to sacrifice 
the country and its army for personal spite and personal aims. 
The people will soon understand the whole matter. Gen. McClel- 
lan's Letter to his Wife, dated Yorktown, April n, 1862, in McClel- 
lan's Own Story, page 310. 


those he believed to be conspirators for the destruction 
of himself and his army. 

McClellan has not left this question open to dispute. 
In McClellart s Oum Story, written by himself, on page 
150, he says: "They (the President and others) deter- 
mined to ruin me in any event and by any means. 
First, by endeavoring to force me into premature move- 
ments, knowing that a failure would end my military 
career; afterward by withholding the means necessary to 
achieve success." On the same page he says: "They 
determined that I should not succeed, and carried out 
their determinations only too well, at a fearful sacrifice 
of blood, time, and treasure." On page 151 in the same 
book McClellan says: "From the light that has since 
been thrown on Stanton's character I am satisfied that 
from an early day he was in this treasonable conspir- 
acy. " * It will thus be seen that McClellan started on 

* From the light that has since been thrown on Stanton's cha- 
racter I am satisfied that from an early date he was in this trea- 
sonable conspiracy, and that his course in ingratiating himself 
with me, and pretending to be my friend before he was in office, 
was only a part of his long system of treachery. ..." 

I had never seen Mr. Stanton, and probably had not even heard 
of him, before reaching Washington in 1861. Not many weeks 
after arriving I was introduced to him as a safe adviser on legal 
points. From that moment he did his best to ingratiate himself 
with me, and professed the warmest friendship and devotion. I 
had no reason to suspect his sincerity, and therefore believed him 
to be what he professed. The most disagreeable thing about him 
was the extreme virulence with which he abused the President* 
the administration, and the Republican party. He carried this 
to such an extent that I was often shocked by it. 

He never spoke of the President in any other way than as the 
"original gorilla," and often said that Du Chaillu was a fool to 
wander all the way to Africa in search of what he could so easily 
have found at Springfield, Illinois. Nothing could be more bitter 
than his words and manner always were when speaking of the 


his Peninsula campaign not merely believing that the 
President and the administration generally were un- 
friendly to him, but really believing that they had 
formed a treasonable conspiracy by whicli his military 
movements should be made disastrous and the blood of 
thousands of brave soldiers sacrificed to accomplish 
McClellan's overthrow. This is a monstrous accusation 
against Lincoln, and but for the fact that McClellan pre- 
sents it so clearly in language from his own pen that 
none can mistake, it would seem incredible that he could 
have believed such a conspiracy to exist, and yet led a 
great army to defeat that treachery on the part of the 
government would make inevitable. In this I am sure 
that McClellan does both himself and Lincoln the gravest 
injustice. Lincoln was the one man of all who was ut- 
terly incapable of deliberately hindering military success 
under any circumstances. There were those who be- 
lieved it best to protract the war in order to accomplish 
the overthrow of slavery, but Lincoln was not of that 
number. On the contrary, he offended many when he 
distinctly declared in his letter to Greeley, August 22, 
1862: " If there be those who would not save the Union 
unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do 
not agree with them. My paramount object in this 
struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save 
or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without 
freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by 

administration and the Republican party. He never gave them 
credit for honesty or patriotism, and very seldom for any ability. 
At some time during the autumn of 1861, Secretary Cameron 
made quite an abolition speech to some newly-arrived regiment. 
Next day Stanton urged me to arrest him for inciting to insub- 
ordination. He often advocated the propriety of my seizing the 
government and taking affairs into my own hands. Gen. McClel- 
lan in McClellan's Own Story, pages 151, 152. 


freeing all the slaves I would do it, and if I could save 
it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also 
do that. ' ' What Lincoln wanted was the speediest over- 
throw of the rebellion and the restoration of the Union, 
with or without the destruction of slavery; and the as- 
sumption that he could have been capable of such a 
treasonable conspiracy as to deliberately send a general 
to the field with a great army solely to have that army 
sacrificed and its commander dishonored is at war with 
every attribute of Lincoln's character. There never was 
the blood of a soldier shed in battle that did not bring 
grief to the heart of Abraham Lincoln, and there never 
was a disaster of the Union troops that did not shadow 
his face with sorrow, no matter whether he loved or dis- 
trusted the commander. I am quite 'sure that the two 
men of all the nation who most desired McClellan' s 
success in the field were Lincoln and McClellan them- 

I have said that it is unjust to McClellan to compare 
his achievements in the first great campaign of the war 
with the achievements of Grant and Sherman in the 
later campaigns which culminated in the overthrow of 
the rebellion. All the generals of the early part of the 
war were making object-lessons to guide themselves and 
those who succeeded them in later conflicts. In this 
work the many failed, and many of the most promising 
among them. The few succeeded and made their names 
immortal. One of the greatest wars of history produced 
but one Grant and one Lee; but one Joe Johnston and 
one Tecumseh Sherman; but one Phil Sheridan and one 
Stonewall Jackson. Scores of generals on both sides 
had opportunities of winning the laurels of these great 
chieftains, but none was equal to the task. It is no re- 
proach to McClellan to say that Grant fought few bat- 
tles which McClellan would have fought under precisely 


similar circumstances. McClellan was an organizer, a 
disciplinarian, and the best defensive general in all the 
armies of the late war. He would have made a greater 
Confederate leader than L,ee himself. He would never 
have made the exhaustive and fruitless campaigns of 
the second Bull Run and Antietam which cost Lee one- 
fourth of his army when he had feeble means to replace 
his losses. He never would have made an aggressive 
campaign to Gettysburg when the resources of the Con- 
federacy were so nearly exhausted, and Pickett's charge 
would never have been dreamed of by McClellan. He 
was the greatest organizer and defensive officer of the 
age, but the Union cause demanded swift and terrible 
blows and countless sacrifices. It had to fight on fields 
chosen by the enemy. It had often to give two men for 
one in the death-lists of the struggles, but it had bound- 
less resources to fill the shattered ranks. The most ag- 
gressive warfare was certain to bring the speediest vic- 
tory and with the least sacrifice of life and treasure in 
the end. Grant met this want. He was the great ag- 
gressive general of the war. He always fought when he 
should have fought, and sometimes fought when it would 
have been wiser to have refrained. Had he been a South- 
ern general, he would have been an utter failure, for the 
Southern general had to study how to husband his re- 
sources; how to protect the life of every soldier; how to 
fight only when a thousand men could withstand two 
thousand; and to that system of warfare Grant was an 
entire stranger. He was the embodiment of aggressive 
warfare; McClellan was the embodiment of defensive 
warfare, and McClellan was as great as Grant in his line, 
and with no greater limitations upon his military genius. 
Grant fought one defensive battle at Shiloh and lost 
it and lost his command. McClellan fought only one 
pitched battle as the aggressor at Antietam, and then he 


was strategically defensive, while tactically aggressive, 
but his military genius shone resplendent in his de- 
fensive battles when retreating to the James River.* 
Thus a condition confronted McClellan to which his 
great military genius and attainments were not best 
adapted, and Grant's star rose and brightened as 
McClellan' s faded, because Grant possessed, in the full- 
est measure, the qualities needed to win peace and re- 
store the Republic. 

No man ever commanded the Army of the Potomac 
for whom the soldiers had so much affection as they had 
for McClellan. They knew that he was a soldier and a 
great soldier. They knew that he would never put 
them into action unless good generalship dictated it. 
They knew they were safe from wanton sacrifice while 
under his command. They knew that he valued the 
life of every man with the tenderness of a parent, and 
they loved him because they revered and trusted him. 
Lincoln fully appreciated and greatly valued the devo- 
tion of the army to McClellan. He believed that no 
other general could have so quickly organized and dis- 
ciplined a great army out of entirely raw materials as 
McClellan had done, and he never gave up faith in 
McClellan until he felt that he could no longer trust the 
destiny of the war to his direction. He was many times 

* The movement from Washington into Maryland, which cul- 
minated in the battles of South Mountain and Antietam, was not 
a pait of an offensive campaign, with the object of the invasion 
of the enemy's territory and an attack upon his capital, but was 
defensive in its purposes, although offensive in its character, and 
would be technically called a " defensive-offensive campaign." 
It was undertaken at a time when our army had experienced 
severe defeats, and its object was to preserve the national capital 
and Baltimore, to protect Pennsylvania from invasion, and to 
drive the enemy out of Maryland. Gen. McClellan in McClellan' s 
Own Story, page 642. 


justly fretted at McClellan's complaints about military 
matters, at his obtrusive criticism about political mat- 
ters, and especially at his insulting declaration to the 
Secretary of War, in a letter dated at army headquarters 
on the Peninsula, June 28, 1862, just after his retreat to 
the James River, in which he said : " If I save this army 
now, I tell you plainly that I owe no thanks to you or to 
any other person in Washington. You have done your 
best to sacrifice this army. ' ' This letter, although ad- 
dressed to the Secretary of War, distinctly embraced the 
President in the grave charge of conspiracy to defeat 
McClellan's army and sacrifice thousands of the lives of 
his soldiers. None but a man of Lincoln's exceptional 
forbearance and patience would have tolerated McClel- 
lan in command for a day after such a declaration, writ- 
ten from the headquarters of a defeated army, but Lin- 
coln neither dismissed nor reproached him, nor, as far as 
I can learn, did he ever allude to it. 

Ten days after the offensive and insubordinate letter 
was written Lincoln visited McClellan at his headquar- 
ters on the James River. While Lincoln was there 
McClellan personally handed him a letter dated July 7, 
1862, that was a caustic criticism of the political and 
military policy of the administration, and assumed to 
define not only the military action of the government, 
but the civil and political policy of the government on 
all important questions relating to the war. McClellan 
himself records the fact that Lincoln read the letter in 
McClellan's presence without comment, and that he 
never alluded to the subject again. McClellan vigor- 
ously protested against the withdrawal of the army from 
the Peninsula, but the order was peremptory, and he 
obeyed it with obvious reluctance. His personal feeling 
toward Lincoln and the administration is clearly exhib- 
ited in a letter to his wife written on the 3ist of August 


and published in McClellan^ s Oivn Story, p. 532. Speak- 
ing of Washington, he says : " As a matter of self-respect 
I cannot go there." On the ist of September, however, 
he was called to Washington and given a verbal order 
by General Halleck, then Commander-in-Chief, to take 
charge of the defenses of Washington. On the follow- 
ing morning Lincoln and Halleck called on General 
McClellan at his house and asked him to take command. 
McClellan states that Lincoln asked him as a favor to the 
President to ' ( resume command and do the best that 
could be done." The same day an order was issued 
from the War Department by Halleck stating that " Ma- 
jor-General McClellan will have command of the fortifi- 
cations of Washington and all the troops for the defense 
of the capital." The manner of the restoration of 
McClellan to command has given rise to latitudinous 
dispute, but the short story is that most of the Army of 
the Potomac had been put under command of General 
Pope in his disastrous battles of the second Bull Run 
campaign, and both the armies of McClellan and Pope 
were compelled to retreat into the Washington defenses 
in a very demoralized condition. 

No man better understood McClellan 's value as an 
organizer and as a defensive commander than Lincoln, 
and he solved the problem himself by calling McClellan 
to the new command because he believed the capital to 
be in danger and McClellan the best man to protect it. 
If he ever consulted any one on the subject, the fact has 
never been given to the public in any authentic form. 
Had he consulted his Cabinet, it would have been next 
to unanimous against giving McClellan any command 
whatever, and the administration leaders in both branches 
of Congress would also have been nearly unanimous in 
demanding McClellan' s dismissal from command. Lin- 
coln acted in this case, as was his custom in all severe 


trials, on his own personal responsibility, and Lincoln, 
and Lincoln alone, is responsible for calling McClellan 
to command the defenses of Washington and for per- 
mitting McClellan, under that assignment, to take the 
field for the Antietam campaign without any special 
orders from the government. The assumption that Lin- 
coln simply consulted his fears in restoring McClellan to 
command is an absurdity. There were twenty generals 
in the Army of the Potomac and in Pope's army who 
could have taken command of the complete defenses of 
Washington, constructed under McClellan' s faultless en- 
gineering skill, and protected the capital against doiible 
the number of men Lee had in his entire army. That 
McClellan handled the demoralized army better than any 
other could have done I do not doubt, but that he was a 
necessity to save the capital is not to be considered for 
a moment. It is obvious also that Lincoln believed 
McClellan to be the best man to command the army in 
the campaign in pursuit of Lee, but he was prudent 
enough to avoid any specific order to McClellan assign- 
ing him to the command. He put McClellan in position 
to take the command to move against Lee, and McClel- 
lan, always obedient to what he believed to be his duty, 
availed himself of it and fought the battle of Antietam. 
So far from Lincoln being unfriendly to McClellan 
when he started on his spring campaign of 1862, there 
is the strongest evidence in support of the belief that 
Lincoln hoped for McClellan' s success and earnestly de- 
sired him to win his way back as Commander-in-Chief 
of the armies. It was on March n, 1862, that Lincoln 
relieved McClellan from his position of Commander-in- 
Chief and limited him to the command of his own im- 
mediate army, but no Commander-in-Chief was ap- 
pointed until July n, 1862. Had Lincoln intended that 
McClellan should never return to the command of all the 


armies, he certainly would have appointed Halleck Com- 
mander-in-Chief before the nth of July. It is known 
that General Scott, when he retired from the command, 
desired the appointment of Halleck as his successor, and 
McClellan himself was in doubt for some weeks whether 
he or Halleck would be called to the supreme command. 
After McClellan, Halleck was the one man to whom Lin- 
coln turned as the most competent for Commander-in- 
Chief, but he delayed filling the position not only until 
after the disastrous close of the Peninsula campaign, but 
for two weeks after McClellan' s insulting letter to Stan- 
ton and four days after McClellan' s offensive political 
letter handed to the President at Harrison's Landing. It 
was not until McClellan had proclaimed himself a polit- 
ical as well as a military general on the yth of July, 
1862, that Lincoln abandoned all hope of McClellan ever 
regaining the position of Commander-in-Chief, and four 
days thereafter he called Halleck to that task. I many 
times heard Lincoln discuss McClellan. I do not mean 
that he usually or even at any time expressed fully his 
views as to McClellan, but I have reason to know that 
with all the troubles he had with him about moving in 
the early part of 1862 and about the Peninsula campaign, 
he sincerely and earnestly hoped that McClellan would 
capture Richmond and thus reinstate himself as Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the armies, with his laurels fairly 
won and his ability to maintain them clearly demon- 

If Lincoln had been capable of resentment against 
McClellan or against any of his military leaders, many 
heads would have fallen that were saved by Lincoln's 
patience and generosity. He knew that McClellan and 
more than one other general had at times listened to the 
whispers of a military dictatorship. McClellan states, 
on page 152 of his own book, that Stanton once urged 


him to arrest Secretary Cameron for inciting to insubor- 
dination by making an Abolition speech to a newly- 
arrived regiment, and he adds: " He (Stan ton) often ad- 
vocated the propriety of my seizing the government and 
taking affairs in my own hands. " In a letter to his wife, 
dated August 9, 1861, also published in his own volume, 
page 85, McClellan refers to the fact that he is earnestly 
pressed by letter after letter and conversation after con- 
versation to save the nation by assuming the powers of 
the President as dictator. Writing in the free confidence 
of a devoted husband to a devoted wife, he said: " As I 
hope one day to be united with you for ever in heaven I 
have no such aspiration. I would cheerfully take the 
dictatorship and agree to lay down my life when the 
country is saved. ' ' Had Lincoln been jealous of McClel- 
lan' s power, he had ample opportunity to relieve him 
from command long before he did, but he never feared 
those who prattled about the dictatorship, although well 
informed of the many, including some prominent gen- 
erals, who had advised it. His generosity to military 
men who committed such follies is clearly exhibited in 
his letter of January 26, 1863, to General Hooker, notify- 
ing him of his assignment to the command of the Army 
of the Potomac. Hooker was one of those who had be- 
lieved in a military dictatorship, and Lincoln believed 
that Hooker had not given cordial support to General 
Burnside when he was in command of the army. To 
use Lincoln's own plain language, he told Hooker that 
he had done ( ' a great wrong to the country and to a 
most meritorious and honorable brother-officer. " He 
then said to Hooker: "I have heard, in such a way as 
to believe it, of your recently saying that both the army 
and the government needed a dictator. Of course it was 
not for this, but in spite of it, that I have given you the 
command. Only those generals who gain success can be 


dictators. What I now ask of you is military success, 
and I will risk the dictatorship. ' ' Thus did Lincoln as- 
sign Hooker to the command of the Army of the Poto- 
mac when he knew that Hooker had been guilty of the 
failure to support his commanding officer in important 
military movements, and that he had advised a dictator 
to usurp the prerogatives of the President. He believed 
McClellan to be in political sympathy with the men who 
were most implacably hostile to his administration, but 
he was sagacious enough to know that military success 
under any general of his appointment would give polit- 
ical success to the administration; and I am certain that 
he would have preferred McClellan as the conqueror of 
Richmond in 1862, and would gladly have restored him 
to the command of all the armies, knowing that the vic- 
tory would have been as much the victory of Lincoln as 
the victory of McClellan. 

I saw Lincoln many times during the campaign of 
1864, when McClellan was his competitor for the Presi- 
dency. I never heard him speak of McClellan in any 
other than terms of the highest personal respect and 
kindness. He never doubted McClellan' s loyalty to the 
government or to the cause that called him to high mili- 
tary command. But he did believe, until after the cap- 
ture of Atlanta by Sherman and Sheridan's victories in 
the Valley, which settled the political campaign in favor 
of Lincoln, that McClellan was quite likely to be elected 
over him, and that if elected, with all his patriotism and 
loyalty to the Union, he would be powerless to prevent 
the dissolution of the Republic. The convention that 
nominated McClellan for President met only a few days 
before Sherman captured Atlanta. There had been no 
important victories for any of the Union armies until 
that time during the year 1864, and there had been great 
sacrifice of life in both Sherman's and Grant's campaigns. 


The convention that nominated McClellan voiced the 
sentiment that regarded the war as a failure, and it was 
so declared in the platform in the clearest terms, with 
the call for a suspension of hostilities because of the fail- 
ure to obtain peace by force of arms. Lincoln believed 
that McClellan, if elected, would be coerced into a pol- 
icy of humiliating peace and the loss of all the great 
issues for which so much blood and treasure had been 
sacrified. But that he ever cherished the semblance of 
resentment against McClellan, even when McClellan was 
offensively insubordinate as a military man and equally 
offensive in assuming to define the political policy of the 
administration, I do not for a moment believe. Had 
McClellan understood Lincoln half as well as Lincoln 
understood McClellan, there never would have been 
serious discord between them. It was the creation of 
what I believe to be McClellan' s entirely unwarranted 
distrust of Lincoln's personal and official fidelity to him 
as a military commander, and that single error became a 
seething cauldron of woe to both of them and a consum- 
ing misfortune to McClellan. 

Lincoln's position in history is secure, but it is doubt- 
ful whether the impartial historian of the future will give 
McClellan his full measure of justice. History records 
results only achievements and failures. It will tell of 
McClellan that he was an unsuccessful military chieftain, 
and that on his own record in an appeal to the country 
he was the most overwhelmingly defeated candidate for 
President in the history of the present great parties of 
the nation; but no truthful historian can fail to say of 
him that he was one of the great military geniuses of his 
day, one of the purest of patriots, and one of the most 
loyal of men in the great battle for the preservation of 
the Union. 

(Photo by Sarony, New York.) 



ABRAHAM LINCOLN and William T. Sherman had 
^\ never met until Sherman came to Washington to 
visit his brother, the present Senator Sherman, ten days 
after Lincoln's inauguration. Sherman's mission to the 
capital was not to obtain a command. He had resigned 
as president of a military institute in Louisiana, because, 
as he frankly said to the State officials who controlled 
the institution, he could not remain and owe allegiance 
to a State that had withdrawn from the Union. In his 
letter of resignation, dated January 18, 1861, he said: 
" Should Louisiana withdraw from the Federal Union, I 
prefer to maintain my allegiance to the Constitution as 
long as a fragment of it survives, and my longer stay 
here would be a wrong in every sense of the word." 
He left New Orleans about the ist of March to make his 
home in the North. Like Grant, he tendered his ser- 
vices to the government, but, again like Grant, his offer 
was not answered. His first meeting with Lincoln was 
in company with his Senator brother to pay a brief visit 
of courtesy to the President. After the Senator had 
transacted some political business with Lincoln, he 
turned to his brother and said: u Mr. President, this is 
my brother, Colonel Sherman, who is just Up from Lou- 
isiana; he may give you some information you want." 
To this Lincoln replied, as reported by Sherman him- 
self: u Ah! How are they getting along down there?" 



Sherman answered : * ' They think they are getting along 
swimmingly; they are prepared for war." To which 
Lincoln responded: u Oh, well, I guess we'll manage to 
keep house." Sherman records in his Memoirs that 
he was ' ' sadly disappointed, ' ' and that he ' ' broke out 
on John, damning the politicians generally," saying: 
4 * You have got things in a hell of a fix ; you may get 
them out as best you can. ' ' Sherman then, as ever, was 
ruggedly honest and patriotic, and often more impressive 
than elegant in his manner of speech. Some old St. 
Louis friends had obtained for him the presidency of a 
street-railway of that city at a salary of $2500. Speak- 
ing of this position, he says: "This suited me exactly, and 
I answered Turner that I would accept with thanks." 

Before Sherman was comfortably installed in his posi- 
tion as street-railway president, Postmaster-General Blair 
telegraphed him, on the 6th of April, asking him to 
accept a chief clerkship in the War Department, with 
the assurance that he would be made Assistant Secretary 
of War when Congress met. Sherman answered with 
the laconic dispatch: "I cannot accept." In a letter 
written at the same time to Blair he says that after his 
visit to Washington, where he saw no chance of em- 
ployment, he had gone to St. Louis, accepted an official 
position and established his home, and that he was not 
at liberty to change. He added that he was thankful 
for the compliment, and that he wished "the adminis- 
tration all success in its almost impossible task of gov- 
erning this distracted and anarchical people." A few 
days thereafter General Frank Blair called on Sherman 
and said that he was authorized to select a brigadier-gen- 
eral to command the Department of Missouri, and he ten- 
dered the position to Sherman, who declined it, and Gen- 
eral Lyon was then appointed. Feeling, however, as the 
clouds of war darkened upon the country, that his ser- 


vices might be needed, on the 8th of May Sherman ad- 
dressed a formal letter to the Secretary of War, again 
tendering his services to the government, and on the 
i4th of the same month he was appointed colonel of the 
Thirteenth regiment of regulars. On the 2oth of June 
he reported at Washington in obedience to orders from 
General Scott, who assigned him to inspection duty; and 
before the movement was made to Manassas, Sherman 
was ordered to the command of a brigade of Hunter's 
division, and in that position was in the first battle of 
the war. 

Sherman was one of the very few generals who seldom 
grieved Lincoln. While he was one of the most volum- 
inous of writers on every phase of the war and every 
question arising from it, he never assumed to be wiser 
than the government, and he never committed a serious 
blunder. He had the most profound contempt for poli- 
ticians in and out of the army, and for political methods 
generally, and his bluntness of both manner and expres- 
sion emphasized his views and purposes so that none 
could misunderstand them. Naturally impulsive, he 
often felt keenly the many complications which sur- 
rounded all great generals, and he spoke and wrote with 
unusual freedom, but always within the clearest lines of 
military subordination. He was an earnest, ardent, out- 
spoken patriot, and had more controversy than any other 
general with the single exception of McClellan; but I 
doubt whether there is a single important utterance of 
Sherman's during the four long years of war, when new 
and grave problems had to be met and solved from time 
to time, that he would have recalled in the later years 
of his life. He had learned to cherish the most pro- 
found respect for Lincoln, although they never met after 
his first introduction to the President during the early 
period of the war, until the spring of 1865 at City Point, 


after Sherman had made his march to the sea and his 
great campaign had practically ended at Raleigh, North 

There is no doubt that Lincoln's earliest impressions 
of Sherman were quite as unfavorable to Sherman as 
were Sherman's early impressions of Lincoln. It was 
not until Sherman had been assigned to Kentucky, along 
with General Anderson, that he attracted the attention 
of the country. Along with a number of others he had 
won his star at Bull Run, and on the 24th of August he 
was sent with Anderson to Louisville. Anderson's feeble 
health soon demanded that he should be relieved, and 
Sherman was thus left in command. The position of 
Kentucky was a most delicate and important one. Sher- 
man succeeded to the command on the 8th of October, 
and within a few weeks thereafter it was whispered 
throughout Washington that he was a lunatic. This 
belief was accepted in most if not all military circles at 
the capital, and was doubtless shared by Lincoln himself, 
as in little more than two months after Sherman had as- 
sumed command in Kentucky he was ordered to report 
at Benton Barracks, St. Louis, and General Buell was 
assigned as his successor. The attitude of Kentucky at- 
tracted very general interest throughout the country, and 
the repeated changes of commanders caused great solici- 
tude. I remember calling on Colonel Scott, Assistant 
Secretary of War, on the day that the announcement 
was made of Sherman's transfer to Missouri and Buell' s 
appointment to Kentucky, and asking him what it 
meant. Scott answered: "Sherman's gone in the 
head;" and upon inquiry I found that Scott simply 
voiced the general belief of those who should have been 
best informed on the subject. Reports were published 
in all the leading newspapers of the country speaking 
of Sherman as mentally unbalanced, and it naturally 


mortified the blunt, straightforward soldier to the last 
degree. General Halleck, in a letter to McClellan ask- 
ing for more officers, said: " I am satisfied that General 
Sherman's physical and mental system is so completely 
broken by labor and care as to render him, for the pres- 
ent, unfit for duty. Perhaps a few weeks' rest may re- 
store him." But it is only just to Sherman to say that 
the chief reason for the military authorities in Washing- 
ton assuming that he was a lunatic was his report soon 
after assuming command in Kentucky, stating that it 
would require an army of 60,000 men to hold Kentucky 
and 200,000 men to open the Mississippi and conquer the 
rebellion in the South-west. This was at that time re- 
garded as conclusive evidence of his insanity, and his 
mental condition was a matter of almost daily discussion 
in the public journals, with Halstead's Cincinnati Com- 
mercial, published in Sherman's own State, leading the 
attack against his mental capacity. 

When Secretary Cameron and Adjutant-General 
Thomas were returning from their investigation of 
General Fremont's department, soon after Sherman had 
assumed command of Kentucky, Sherman took special 
measures to prevail upon Cameron to stop over in Louis- 
ville and personally inquire into the condition of that 
State. Cameron did so, and had a confidential confer- 
ence with Sherman at the Gait House, in which Sherman 
said to Cameron that for the purpose of defense in Ken- 
tucky he should have 60,000 men, and for offensive 
movements 200,000 would be necessary. Cameron's an- 
swer, as reported by Sherman himself, was: " Great God! 
where are they to come from?" That demand of Sher- 
man's convinced Cameron that Sherman was mentally 
unbalanced, and on his return to Washington he united 
with all the military authorities of that day in ridiculing 
Sherman's demand. Those who have distinct recollec- 


tions of the war, as well as every intelligent reader of its 
history, need not now be reminded that Sherman was the 
only military man of that day who thoroughly and accu- 
rately appreciated the situation in the South-west, and 
that his original estimate of the forces necessary to over- 
throw the rebellion in that section of the country is 
proved to have been substantially correct. Buell, who 
succeeded Sherman in command of Kentucky, had 
nearly 60,000 men when he was ordered to Grant at 
Shiloh, and fully 200,000 men were reapers in the har- 
vest of death before the rebellion was conquered in the 
South-west and the Father of Waters again ' ' went un- 
vexed to the sea." 

Sherman was not permitted to take the field until after 
the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson and the city 
of Nashville. From December 23, 1861, to the i3th of 
February, 1862, he was in charge of the St. lyouis bar- 
racks as military instructor. He was first ordered from 
St. lyouis to take command of the post at Paducah, Ken- 
tucky, where he remained until the loth of March, when 
he was placed in command of a division and ordered to 
join Grant for the Shiloh campaign. It will be remem- 
bered that he exhibited great skill and courage as a gen- 
eral during the disastrous first day at Shiloh. That was 
the first action in which Sherman had an opportunity to 
prove his ability as a military commander, and it is safe 
to say that from that day until the close of the war Grant 
regarded him as the best lieutenant in his entire army. 
He was with Grant at Vicksburg, shared Grant's victory 
at Missionary Ridge, and when the Atlanta campaign 
was determined upon in the spring of 1864 there was no 
question in military circles as to the pre-eminent fitness 
of Sherman to take the command. His campaign from 
Chattanooga to Atlanta was one of the most brilliant of 
all the campaigns of the war. It exhibited the most ac- 


complished military strategy coupled with the wisest di- 
rection of an army that had to contend with an enemy 
always intrenched and to fight every battle under the 
greatest disadvantages. Many even of our successful 
military campaigns have been severely criticised, but I 
doubt whether any intelligent military man at home or 
abroad has ever found fault with Sherman's generalship 
in his Atlanta campaign. With all his natural impetu- 
osity of temper, he was always clear-headed and abun- 
dant in caution when charged with the command of an 
army. In his march to Atlanta he was passing through 
a country that was, to use his own language, ' ' one vast 
fort, ' ' and with ' * at least fifty miles of connected trenches 
with abatis and finished batteries. ' ' With the single ex- 
ception of his assault upon Johnston's lines at Kenesaw 
he did not meet with a serious reverse until he entered 
Atlanta, and it was his dispatch to Lincoln, announcing 
the capture of that city, that reversed the political tide 
of the country and assured Lincoln's re-election. 

Sherman's march to the sea, that furnished the most 
romantic story of the civil war, was really a holiday pic- 
nic as compared with the march from Chattanooga to 
Atlanta. On the I2th of November, 1864, Sherman 
severed communications with the North, and started for 
Savannah with a picked army full 60,000 strong, and on 
the loth of December he was in front of the Confederate 
defenses of Savannah. On the i3th, after the capture 
of Fort McAllister, he had opened communications with 
the Union squadron and was enabled to obtain the sup- 
plies his army so much needed. Thus for more than 
one entire month the country had no word whatever 
from General Sherman except in the vague and often 
greatly exaggerated reports which came from the South- 
ern newspapers. I saw Lincoln several times during 
Sherman's inarch, and while he did not conceal his 


anxiety concerning him, he always frankly expressed his 
unbounded confidence in Sherman's ability to execute 
what he had undertaken. He had the strongest faith in 
Sherman as a military commander. On one occasion 
during Sherman's march, when he had been out for two 
or three weeks, I called at the War Department and as- 
certained that no word had been received from him, and 
that none need be expected for some days to come. I 
went from the War Department to the White House, and 
after a brief conference with Lincoln, in which Sherman 
was not alluded to at all, I bade him good-day and started 
to leave the room. Just as I reached the door he turned 
round and with a merry twinkling of the eye he said: 
( ' McClure, wouldn' t you like to hear something from 
Sherman?" The inquiry electrified me at the instant, 
as it seemed to imply that Lincoln had some information 
on the subject. I immediately answered: u Yes, most 
of all I should like to hear from Sherman." To this 
Lincoln answered with a hearty laugh: "Well, I'll be 
hanged if I wouldn't myself." When Sherman reached 
Savannah, Lincoln overflowed with gratitude to him and 
his army. He then felt fully assured that the military 
power of the rebellion was hopelessly broken. 

The names of Lincoln and Sherman are indissolubly 
linked together in the yet continued dispute over Lin- 
coln's original views on reconstruction, as Sherman 
claimed to represent them in the terms of the first sur- 
render of Johnston to Sherman at Durham Station, North 
Carolina. On the i8th of April, 1865, Sherman and 
Johnston met at the house of Mr. Bennet to agree upon 
the terms for the surrender of Johnston's army. On the 
1 2th of April Sherman had announced to his army the 
surrender of Lee. Two days later a flag of truce was 
received from Johnston proposing ( ' to stop the further 
effusion of blood and devastation of property," and sug- 


gesting that the civil authorities of the States be per- 
mitted ' ' to enter into the needful arrangements to termi- 
nate the existing war." Sherman's answer of the same 
date said: " I am fully empowered to arrange with you 
any terms for the suspension of further hostilities be- 
tween the armies commanded by you and those com- 
manded by myself. ' ' An interview with Johnston hav- 
ing been arranged by a staff officer, Sherman started 
from Raleigh on the i7th to fill the appointment with 
Johnston. When he was about to enter the car he was 
stopped by a telegraph-operator, who gave him the start- 
ling information of the assassination of Lincoln on the 
1 4th. He gave orders that no publicity should be given 
to the death of Lincoln, and he did not even inform the 
staff officers accompanying him. As soon as he was 
alone with Johnston he communicated to him the fact 
of Lincoln's assassination, and he adds that "the per- 
spiration came out in large drops on his (Johnston's) 
forehead, and he did not attempt to conceal his distress. ' ' 
This conference with Johnston did not result in formu- 
lating the terms of surrender. Johnston did not assume 
to possess authority to surrender all the various armies 
yet in the field, but as Jefferson Davis, with Breckenridge, 
his Secretary of War, and Reagan, his Postmaster-Gen- 
eral, was within reach of Johnston, he proposed to meet 
Sherman on the following day, when he hoped to have 
authority to surrender the entire Confederate armies re- 
maining in the service. When they met again Brecken- 
ridge was with Johnston without assuming to act in any 
official capacity, and the terms of surrender were formu- 
lated and signed by Sherman and Johnston. So far as 
the purely military terms were involved, they were prac- 
tically the same as those agreed to by Grant and Lee at 
Appomattox. The third article of the basis of agree- 
ment provided for " the recognition by the Executive of 


the United States of the several State governments on 
their officers and legislatures taking the oath prescribed 
by the Constitution of the United States." The fifth 
article provided for substantial amnesty, so far as in the 
power of the President, to all who accepted the terms of 
surrender, who should be protected in ' ' their political 
rights and franchise as well as their rights of person and 
property. ' ' It was provided also that the armies of Sher- 
man and Johnston should refrain from all warlike move- 
ments until the terms of surrender were finally accepted, 
and in the event of failure forty-eight hours' notice 
should be given by either side for the resumption of 
hostilities. Sherman transmitted the agreement to the 
government "through Grant, and Stanton published the 
disapproval by the administration with most offensive 
reflections upon Sherman. 

But for the dispute that arose over Sherman's original 
terms of surrender with Johnston, Lincoln's views as to 
reconstruction would never have been crystallized in his- 
tory. The fact that Sherman claimed to act under the 
direct authority of Lincoln in the terms he gave to John- 
ston and to the civil governments of the insurgent States 
brings up the question directly as to Lincoln's contem- 
plated method of closing the war; and it is notable that 
many of Lincoln's biographers have injected partisan 
prejudice into history and have studiously attempted to 
conceal Lincoln's ideas as to the restoration of the Union. 
Whether he was right or wrong, it is due to the truth of 
history that his convictions be honestly presented. The 
plain question to be considered is this: Did or did not 
Lincoln expressly suggest to Sherman the terms he gave 
to Johnston in his original agreement of surrender ? If 
he did, it clearly portrays Lincoln's purposes as to recon- 
struction and fully vindicates Sherman. If he did not 
thus suggest and instruct Sherman, then Sherman is a 


deliberate falsifier; and who is prepared to doubt the in- 
tegrity of any positive statement made by William T. 
Sherman ? There were four persons present at the con- 
ference held at City Point on the 28th of March, 1865. 
They were Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, and Admiral Por- 
ter. It was before these men that Lincoln freely dis- 
cussed the question of ending the war, and in Sherman's 
Memoirs he says: " Mr. Lincoln was full and frank in 
his conversation, assuring me that in his mind he was all 
ready for the civil reorganization of affairs at the South 
as soon as the war was over." Had Lincoln stopped 
with the general assurance of his purpose to restore the 
South to civil government, it might be plausible to as- 
sume that Sherman misinterpreted his expressions, but 
Sherman adds the following positive statement: u He 
(Lincoln) distinctly authorized me to assure Governor 
Vance and the people of North Carolina that as soon as 
the rebel armies laid down their arms and resumed their 
civil pursuits they would at once be guaranteed all their 
rights as citizens of a common country ; and that to avoid 
anarchy the State governments then in existence, with 
their civil functionaries, would be recognized by him as 
the governments de facto till Congress could provide 
others." * There was no possibility for Sherman to 

* Your note of the 26th inst, enclosing proof sheet of your 
article on Lincoln and Sherman, has been received and very care- 
fully read. I have no criticisms to make, for I think it is a just 
and fair delineation, well stated, of the character of these two 
conspicuous actors in the war of the Rebellion. I remember 
very well the interview with Mr. Lincoln in March, 1861. A 
good deal more was said than you have noted. Among other 
things, I remember that Lincoln said to Sherman: "I guess we 
will get along without you fellows," or some such remark, mean- 
ing that he thought there would be no war. This was the remark 
that made the most impression upon Captain Sherman, as he was 
then called, and led him to a want of confidence in Lincoln, who 


mistake this expression of Lincoln. He was distinctly 
instructed to assure the Governor of North Carolina, the 
State in which Sherman's army was then operating, that 
upon the surrender of. the insurgent forces all would be 
guaranteed their rights as citizens, and the civil govern- 
ments then in existence would be recognized by Lincoln. 
There was no chance for misunderstanding on this point. 

did not seem to appreciate the condition of the South and the 
peril in which the whole country was then involved. During 
General Sherman's march to the sea I went to Lincoln as you 
did. I was somewhat troubled by the reports from rebel sources 
that General Sherman had been flanked and that this wing or 
that wing had been driven back, etc., and went to Lincoln for 
encouragement, and asked him if he knew anything about the 
correctness of these reports. Lincoln said, "Oh no. I know 
what hole he went in at, but I can't tell what hole he will come 
out of," but seemed to be entirely confident that he would come 
out safely. 

In respect to the conditional arrangement made between Gen- 
eral Sherman and General Johnston for the surrender of John- 
ston's army your statement agrees entirely with what I under- 
stood from General Sherman a few days after the surrender. I 
went with General Sherman on his return from the interview 
with Lincoln to Goldsborough, N. C., where the army was en- 
camped, and was fully advised by General Sherman of the con- 
ference between Lincoln, Grant, Porter, and himself at Hampton 
Roads. I did not at the time agree with the generous policy pro- 
posed by Mr. Lincoln, but at the meeting with Johnston General 
Sherman acted upon it in exact accordance with what he under- 
stood were the instructions of Mr. Lincoln, and afterward com- 
plained bitterly at the injustice done him for obeying what he 
regarded as the orders of the President. Immediately after Stan- 
ton's cruel statement of his reasons for setting aside the agree- 
ment between Sherman and Johnston, I wrote a reply which was 
published in Washington, stating my view of this agreement at 
that time. I have not seen it since, but I have no doubt if you 
have access to it you will find it supports the statements you 
now make. You are at liberty to use the contents of this letter 
or any part of it at your discretion. Senator John Sherman to 
the Author, January 29, 1892. 


Hither Lincoln thus instructed Sherman or Sherman 
states what is deliberately untrue. 

These were the last instructions that Sherman received 
from Lincoln or from the government until the surrender 
of Johnston. In a little more than two weeks thereafter 
Lincoln was assassinated, and the only event that could 
have been regarded as an additional guide for Sherman 
was the surrender of Lee, in which all the rights that 
Sherman accorded to Johnston's army were given to 
Lee's army by Grant. The testimony of Lincoln could 
not be had after the issue was raised with Sherman, as 
Lincoln was then dead; but Sherman knew that on the 
6th of April, Lincoln had authorized the reconvening 
of the Virginia Legislature, and thus felt sure that Lin- 
coln was doing in Virginia precisely what he had in- 
structed Sherman to do in North Carolina. Grant, 
always reticent in matters of dispute except when tes- 
timony was a necessity, was not called upon to express 
any opinion as to the correctness of Sherman's under- 
standing of Lincoln's instructions. General Badeau, 
who was with Grant at the time he received Stan ton's 
offensive revocation of the agreement between Sherman 
and Johnston, says that Grant pronounced Stanton's ten 
reasons for rejecting the terms of surrender to be "in- 
famous." An entirely new condition had been pro- 
duced by the murder of Lincoln and the succession of 
Johnson, and had Sherman been advised of the frenzy 
of public sentiment that followed the assassination of the 
President, he probably would not have obeyed Lincoln's 
instructions by giving the promise that the government 
would recognize the Confederate civil authorities of the 

The tragic death of Lincoln aroused public sentiment 
to the highest point of resentment. The new President 
was ostentatious in his demand for vengeance upon the 


Southern leaders. Stanton was most violent in his cry 
for the swiftest retribution, and it was in this changed 
condition of sentiment and of authority that Sherman's 
terms, accorded to Johnston in obedience to the peaceful 
purposes of Lincoln, were sent to the government for 
approval or rejection. Stanton immediately proclaimed 
the rejection of the terms of surrender in a dispatch given 
to the public press, in which he denounced Sherman with 
unmingled ferocity as having acted without authority and 
surrendered almost every issue for which the war had been 
fought. So violent was this assault upon Sherman from 
Stanton that soon after, when Sherman's victorious army 
was reviewed in Washington by the President and Sec- 
retary of War, Sherman refused the proffered hand of 
Stanton before the multitude. President Johnson subse- 
quently assured Sherman that Stanton' s public reflection 
upon him had not been seen by the President nor any 
of Stanton' s associates of the Cabinet until it had been 
published. Admiral Porter, who was the remaining wit- 
ness to the instructions received by Sherman, took down 
notes immediately after the conference ended, and within 
a year thereafter he furnished Sherman a statement of 
what had occurred, in which he fully and broadly sus- 
tained Sherman as to Lincoln's instructions. I assume, 
therefore, that it is true beyond all reasonable dispute 
that Sherman in his original terms of Johnston's sur- 
render in North Carolina implicitly obeyed the direc- 
tions of Lincoln, and was therefore not only fully jus- 
tified in what he did, but would have been false to his 
trust had he insisted upon any other terms than those he 

This issue made with General Sherman and feebly 
sustained by a few partisan historians of the time has 
led intelligent students to study carefully Lincoln's ideas 
of reconstruction, and they should be correctly under- 


stood to correctly estimate Lincoln's character. I fre- 
quently saw Lincoln during the summer and fall of 1864 
and winter of 1865. Some time in August, 1864, I spent 
several hours with him alone in the White House, when 
he spoke most earnestly about the closing of the war. 
He had but a single purpose, and that was the speedy 
and cordial restoration of the dissevered States. He 
cherished no resentment against the South, and every 
theory of reconstruction that he ever conceived or pre- 
sented was eminently peaceful and looking solely to re- 
attaching the estranged people to the government. I 
was startled when he first suggested that it would be 
wise to pay the South $400,000,000 as compensation for 
the abolition of slavery, but he had reasoned well on the 
subject, and none could answer the arguments he ad- 
vanced in favor of such a settlement of the war. He 
knew that he could not then propose it to Congress or to 
the country, but he clung to it until the very last. He 
repeatedly renewed the subject in conversations when I 
was present, and on the 5th of February, 1865, he went 
so far as to formulate a message to Congress, proposing 
the payment of $400,000,000 for emancipation, and sub- 
mitted it to his Cabinet, only to be unanimously rejected. 
Lincoln sadly accepted the decision of his Cabinet, and 
filed away the manuscript message with this indorsement 
thereon, to which his signature was added : ' ' February 5, 
1865. To-day these papers, which explain themselves, 
were drawn up and submitted to the Cabinet and unani- 
mously disapproved by them." When the proposed 
message was disapproved Lincoln soberly asked : ' ( How 
long will the war last ?' ' To this none could make an- 
swer, and he added: " We are spending now in carrying 
on the war $3,000,000 a day, which will amount to all 
this money, besides all the lives." 

At Lincoln's conference with Sherman and Grant at 


City Point on the 28th of March he exhibited profound 
sorrow at the statement of these generals that another 
great battle would probably have to be fought before 
closing the war. Sherman says that "Lincoln ex- 
claimed more than once that there had been blood 
enough shed, and asked us if another battle could not 
be avoided." His great desire was to attain peace with- 
out the sacrifice of a single life that could be saved, and 
he certainly desired that there should be no policy of 
retribution upon the Southern people. He intimated to 
Sherman very broadly that he desired Jefferson Davis to 
escape from the country. Sherman in his Memoirs re- 
peats a story told by Lincoln to him illustrative of his 
wish that Davis should escape ' * unbeknown to him ;' ' 
and in discussing the same subject in the White House 
in the presence of Governor Curtin, Colonel Forney, sev- 
eral others, and myself, he told the same story to illus- 
trate the same point, obviously intending to convey very 
clearly his wish that the Southern leaders should escape 
from the land and save him the grave complications 
which must follow their arrest. Secretary Welles, in an 
article in the Galaxy, quotes Lincoln as saying on this 
subject: " No one need expect he would take any part in 
hanging or killing these men, even the worst of them. 
Frighten them out of the country; open the gates; let 
down the bars, scare them off. Enough lives have been 
sacrificed; we must extinguish our resentments if we ex- 
pect harmony and union. ' ' 

Lincoln's greatest apprehension during the last six 
months of the war was that the South would not return 
to the Union and recognize the authority of the govern- 
ment. He knew that the military power of the rebellion 
was broken, but he knew that the bitterness that pre- 
vailed among the Southern people would be an almost 
insuperable barrier to anything like cordial reconstruc- 


tion. He knew that they were impoverished, and he 
feared almost universal anarchy in the South when the 
shattered armies of the Confederacy should be broken 
up, and, instead of a restoration of peace and industry 
or anything approaching friendly relations between the 
Southern people and the government, he anticipated 
guerilla warfare, general disorder, and utter hopelessness 
of tranquility throughout the rebellious States. It was 
this grave apprehension that made Lincoln desire to close 
the war upon such terms as would make the Southern 
people and Southern soldiers think somewhat kindly of 
the Union to which they were brought back by force of 
arms. It was this apprehension that made him instruct 
Sherman to recognize the civil governments of the South 
until Congress should take action on the subject, and 
that made him personally authorize General Weitzel to 
permit the Virginia State government to reconvene, as 
he himself stated it, to u take measures to withdraw the 
Virginia troops and their support from resistance -to the 
general government. " He meant to do precisely what 
Sherman agreed to do in his terms with Johnston. On 
Lincoln's return to Washington from Weitzel's head- 
quarters in Richmond he was surprised to find that his 
consent to the reassembling of the Virginia State gov- 
ernment, like his proposed message offering $400,000,000 
as compensation for slavery, was disapproved by the Cab- 
inet, and that it was likely to be disapproved by the 
country. He was greatly distressed, and hesitated some 
time before he attempted to extricate himself from the 
complication. Secretary Welles, in the Galaxy of April, 
1872, page 524, speaking of the question in the Cabinet, 
says: u The subject had caused general surprise, and on 
the part of some dissatisfaction and irritation. " Stanton 
and Speed were especially disturbed about it, and Secre- 
tary Welles quotes Lincoln as finally saying that he " was 


surprised that his object and the movement had been so 
generally misconstrued, and under the circumstances per- 
haps it was best the proceeding should be abandoned." 

In the mean time Lee's army had surrendered, and 
Lincoln was given a reasonable opportunity to stop the 
proposed meeting of the Virginia Legislature; and on 
the 1 2th of April he wrote to General Weitzel that as 
the proposed meeting had been misconstrued, and that 
as Grant had since captured the Virginia troops, so that 
they could not be withdrawn by the Virginia Legislature, 
his letter to Judge Campbell should be recalled and the 
legislature not allowed to assemble; but if any had come 
in pursuance of the order to allow them a safe return to 
their homes. In his interview with Judge Campbell and 
others in relation to the proposed assembling of the Vir- 
ginia Legislature, Lincoln had distinctly agreed that if 
Virginia could be peaceably restored to the Union, con- 
fiscation should be remitted to the people. The evidence 
is multiplied on every side that Lincoln intended to give 
the Virginians exemption from all the retributory laws 
of war, including amnesty to all who obeyed the govern- 
ment, just as Sherman provided in his terms of surrender 
with Johnston; but he was halted in his purpose, as he 
was halted in his proposed compensated emancipation, 
by the bitter resentments of the time, which prevailed 
not only in his Cabinet, but throughout the country. 
Had he been able to see Sherman after he had revoked 
the authority for the Virginia Legislature to assemble, 
he would doubtless have modified his instructions to him, 
but Lincoln never again communicated with Sherman. 
Two days after his revocation of the Weitzel order he 
was assassinated, and four days after Lincoln's assassina- 
tion Sherman made his terms of surrender with John- 
ston. Had Lincoln been alive when Sherman's first 
report of Johnston's surrender was received in Washing- 


ton, his experience in assenting to the reassembling of 
the Virginia State government would doubtless have 
made him disapprove the terms given to Johnston in 
obedience to Lincoln's instructions to Sherman; but he 
would have cast no reproach upon the heroic victor of 
Atlanta and Savannah, and would have manfully as- 
sumed his full share of responsibility for Sherman's 
action. * What policy of reconstruction Lincoln would 

* In a recent publication which I understand to be a fragment 
of a forthcoming book from your pen you referred to the terms 
of surrender which Gen. Sherman agreed to with Gen. Jo John- 
ston at the close of the civil war. You express the opinion that 
had Mr. Lincoln been alive he would have rejected these terms, 
but you censure Mr. Stanton very emphatically for publishing 
the reasons for their disapproval. You seem to think that Mr. 
Stanton in stating these reasons to Gen. John A. Dix, and per- 
mitting their publication, was guilty of a wanton and unneces- 
sary assault on Gen. Sherman. In reply to your criticism I beg 
leave to submit to you the opposite view from yours expressed in 
a letter written at the time by a statesman of calm temper and 
good judgment. The letter is as follows: 

WOODSTOCK, VT., June I4th, 1865. 

Gen. Sherman promulgated to his army and the world his ar- 
rangements with Johnston. Indeed, the armistice could be in no 
other way accounted for, and the army were gratified with the ex- 
pectation of an immediate return home. 

To reject that arrangement was clearly necessary, and to do it 
without stating any reason for it w r ould have been a very danger- 
ous experiment, both to the public and the army. Indeed, many 
had serious apprehensions of its effect on the army even with the 
conclusive reasons which were given. Should not this view be 
presented in any and every true manifesto of the case ? 

Yours respectfully, 



There is no ground for the belief that Mr. Stanton had any 
other motive in the action he took than to guard against the 


have adopted had he lived to complete his great work 
cannot now be known; but it is entirely safe to assume 
that, while he would have yielded to the mandatory sen- 
timent of the nation, he would in the end have taught 
the country that ' ' with malice toward none, with char- 
ity for all," he could assure the world that "government 
of the people by the people and for the people shall not 
perish from the earth." 

danger of disturbances in the army and throughout the country, 
which might have resulted had the inadmissible terms been re- 
jected without explanation. Hon. George C. Gorham to the Au- 
thor, February 16, 1892. 

(From Sypher's Pennsylvania Reserves,) 



ANDREW G. CURTIN has written the most brilliant 
/^ chapters in the annals of our great civil conflict by 
his official record as Governor of Pennsylvania. I am 
not unmindful, in paying this high tribute to the great 
War Governor of the Union, that there are many Penn- 
sylvania names that have become memorable for their 
heroism in the struggle for the preservation of our free 
institutions. Nor am I unmindful that Pennsylvania 
has within her borders the great battle-field of the war, 
and that the names of such Pennsylvania heroes as 
Meade, Reynolds, and Hancock are inseparably linked 
with the decisive victory that gave assured safety and 
unsullied freedom to the Union. While Pennsylvania 
heroism was making itself immortal on every battle-field 
of the war, the civil administration of the State was 
more intimately involved with every issue growing out 
of the war than that of any other State of the Republic. 
Pennsylvania was second only to New York in popu- 
lation and physical power, and first of all in the import- 
ance of her position and in moulding the policy of the 
States and their relations to the parent government. 
Bordered by slave commonwealths from her eastern to 
her western lines, and more exposed to the perils of war 
than any of the other loyal States, her people were con- 
servative to the utmost limits of positive loyalty to the 
Union. In January, 1861, when Curtin was inaugurated 



as Governor, not a single Northern State had officially 
defined its relations to the Union or its attitude as to the 
threatened civil war, and any utterance from a State of 
such pre-eminent physical and political power could not 
but make its impression on every State of the Union, 
North and South. 

Few of the present day can have any just appreciation 
of the exceptional delicacy and grave responsibility of 
the position of the new Governor of Pennsylvania. An 
ill-advised utterance from him might have wantonly in- 
flamed the war spirit of the South or chilled the loyal 
devotion of the North. He was called upon to define, 
in advance of all the other States, the position of the 
North when confronted by armed treason, and there 
were no precedents in our history to guide him. His 
inaugural address was prepared entirely by himself be- 
fore he came to the capital to assume his most respon- 
sible trust. Before he delivered it he summoned to his 
council a number of the most intelligent and considerate 
men of both parties in the State, but after careful and 
dispassionate reflection upon every sentence of the docu- 
ment it was not substantially changed in any particular, 
and the highest tribute that history could pay to his 
statesmanship is in the fact that the position of his great 
State, and its relations with the general government as 
defined in that address, were accepted by every loyal 
State and vindicated alike by the loyal judgment of the 
nation and by the arbitrament of the sword. 

Curtin stood single among the public men of Pennsyl- 
vania in 1860 as a popular leader. His strength was 
with the people rather than in political invention. He 
had made himself conspicuously known by his services 
as Secretary of the Commonwealth when that officer was 
charged with the control of the school system. It was 
he who first organized a distinct department to extend 


and elevate our schools, and he succeeded in greatly 
liberalizing our educational system and starting it on 
the high way to its present matchless advancement. As 
early as 1844 he had made himself known as one of the 
most eloquent stump-speakers of the State, and from that 
time until his nomination for Governor in 1860 he was in 
the forefront of every political contest, and was greeted 
with boundless enthusiasm by his political followers 
wherever he appeared. When the great battle of 1860 
was to be fought Pennsylvania was accepted by all as a 
doubtful State, and as her vote in October would be the 
unerring finger-board of national victory or defeat in 
November, it became not only a State but a national 
necessity for the Republicans to nominate their most 
available candidate to lead in that pivotal contest. The 
Republican people, almost as with one voice, demanded 
the nomination of Curtin, and there would have been no 
other name presented to the convention but for the pecu- 
liar political complications arising from General Came- 
ron being a candidate for President before the same con- 
vention, and bitterly hostile to Curtin. But despite the 
peculiar power of Cameron as an organizer and manager 
of political conventions, he was finally compelled to 
assent to Curtin' s nomination without being able to 
obtain an earnestly united delegation in his favor for 
President. When Curtin was called before the conven- 
tion to accept the leadership conferred upon him, he 
aroused the enthusiasm of that body and of his party 
friends throughout the State by declaring that he ac- 
cepted the flag of the convention and would carry it in 
the front of battle from Lake Erie to the Delaware; and 
he grandly fulfilled his promise. He was one of the 
most magnetic popular speakers Pennsylvania has ever 
known, combining matchless wit, keen invective, and 
persuasive argument with singular felicity, and his tow- 


ering and symmetrical form and his genial face and 
manner made him the most effective of all our men on 
the hustings. He was aggressive from the day he entered 
the battle until it closed with his magnificent victory that 
declared him Governor by a majority of over thirty- two 

Many circumstances combined to bring Lincoln and 
Curtin into the closest official and personal relations 
from Lincoln's nomination until his death. As I have 
shown in a previous chapter, the nomination of lyincoln 
was made possible by two men Henry S. Lane of Indi- 
ana and Curtin of Pennsylvania. Both would have been 
defeated had Seward been nominated, and Curtin' s first 
great struggle to give himself even a winning chance in 
Pennsylvania was his effort to defeat the nomination of 
Seward at Chicago. After that had been accomplished 
he united with Lane to nominate Lincoln. He and Lin- 
coln never met until Curtin received the President-elect 
on his way to Washington on the 22d of February, 1861, 
and it was at the dinner given to Lincoln by Curtin on 
the evening of that day that Lincoln's route was changed 
and he suddenly started on his memorable midnight jour- 
ney to the national capital. The appointment of Came- 
ron to the Lincoln Cabinet was regarded by Curtin as 
unfortunate, and would have made very strained rela- 
tions between Lincoln and Curtin had not both been 
singularly generous in all their impulses and actions. 
Notwithstanding the frequent irritating complications 
which arose between the Secretary of War and the Gov- 
ernor in the organization of troops in the early part of 
the war, there never was a shadow upon the relations 
of these two men. Curtin was profoundly loyal and an 
enthusiast in everything pertaining to the war. He was 
proud of his great State, and especially of the hundreds 
of thousands of heroes she sent to the field, and so tire- 


less in his great work that he always commanded the 
sincerest affection and confidence of the President. Al- 
though often disappointed in the political action of the 
national administration, and at times keenly grieved per- 
sonally because of political honors unworthily conferred, 
or withheld from those he deemed most worthy of them, 
he never for a moment lost sight of his paramount duty 
to give unfaltering support to the government in the 
great struggle for the maintenance of the Union. 

The two men of the country who are distinctly upon 
record as having appreciated the magnitude of the war 
when it first began are General Sherman and Governor 
Curtin. Sherman was judged a lunatic and relieved of 
his command in Kentucky because he told the govern- 
ment the exact truth as to the magnitude of the rebellion 
in the South-west and the forces necessary to overthrow 
it. In a little time the country began to appreciate Sher- 
man's military intelligence. He was finally permitted to 
go to the front in command of a division, and in his first 
battle he proved himself to be one of the most skillful 
and courageous of our generals. Curtin proved his ap- 
preciation of the necessities of our imperiled government 
by issuing his proclamation on the 25th of April, 1861, 
calling for twenty-five additional regiments of infantry 
and one of cavalry to serve for three years or during the 
war, in addition to the quota furnished by Pennsylvania 
under the President's call of April 15, 1861, summoning 
75,000 three months' men to the field. This call of Cur- 
tin was made without the authority of the general gov- 
ernment, and entirely without the knowledge of the 
President or Secretary of War. Pennsylvania and the 
whole loyal North had been cut off from all communi- 
cation with the national capital for several days by trea- 
sonable rioters in Baltimore, who burned the railroad 
bridges and prevented all railroad or even telegraphic 


communication with Washington. In this grave emer- 
gency, although Pennsylvania had furnished every man 
called for by the government, and had offered many more 
than the quota, after the most careful study of the situ- 
ation with General Robert Patterson and Colonel Fitz 
John Porter, then serving as Assistant Adjutant-General, 
and a number of civilians who were heartily sustaining 
Curtin in his arduous labors, it was decided to assume 
the responsibility of calling out twenty-six additional 
regiments for service under the general government, be- 
cause it was believed by all that they would be needed as 
speedily as they could be obtained. * 

The requisition for troops made by Pennsylvania was 
in pursuance of the unanimous judgment of the military 
and civil authorities then at Harrisburg, and it was not 
doubted that the government would gratefully accept 
them. The response to Curtin' s proclamation for vol- 


PHILADELPHIA, April 25th, 1861. 

I feel it my duty to express to you my clear and decided opin- 
ion that the force at the disposal of this department should be 
increased without delay. 

I therefore have to request Your Excellency to direct that 
twenty-five additional regiments of infantry and one regiment 
of cavalry be called for forthwith, to be mustered into the service 
of the United States. 

Officers will be detailed to inspect and muster the men into 
service as soon as I am informed of the points of rendezvous 
which may be designated by Your Excellency. 
I have the honor to be, with great respect, 

Your obedient servant, 


Major- General. 

His Excellency ANDREW G. CURTIN, 
Governor of Pennsylvania. 


unteers was unexampled, and in the few days during 
which Harrisburg was without communication with 
Washington thousands of patriotic men were crowding 
the trains for the capital from every part o; the State 
to enter the military service. To the utter surprise of 
the Governor and the commander of the department, 
the first communication received from Washington after 
notice of this requisition for additional troops had been 
forwarded was a blunt refusal to receive any of the regi- 
ments under the new call; and to emphasize the attitude 
of the government and its appreciation of the magnitude 
of the war, Secretary Cameron stated in a dispatch to the 
Governor not only that the troops could not be received, 
but ' ' that it was more important to reduce than enlarge 
the number. ' ' Earnest appeals were made to the Presi- 
dent and the War Department from the Governor and 
General Patterson to have these troops, or at least part 
of them, accepted, but every such appeal was met with 
a positive refusal. John Sherman, then as now Senator 
from Ohio, was a volunteer aide on General Patterson's 
staff, and he fully agreed with the authorities at Harris- 
burg that it was of the utmost importance to the govern- 
ment that the additional Pennsylvania troops be accepted. 
In view of his important political position and presumed 
influence with the President and Secretary of War, he 
was hurried to Washington as soon as communications 
were opened to make a personal appeal for the accept- 
ance of the troops. On the 3<Dth of May, five days after 
the requisition had been made, he wrote General Patter- 
son from Washington, stating that he had entirely failed 
to persuade the government to accept any part of these 
new regiments. It was not within the power of the gov- 
ernment to depose Governor Curtin and order him to 
some military barracks as a lunatic, but it could rebuke 
him for proposing to furnish a large number of addi- 


tional troops, when, as subsequent events proved, the 
government had the most pressing need for them. For- 
tunately for the government and for the complete vindi- 
cation of the broad sagacity and heroic fidelity of Curtin, 
he resolved to perform his duty to his State and nation 
regardless of the Washington authorities. 

After a bitter contest, in which some prominent Re- 
publicans opposed the Governor's recommendations, a 
bill had been passed by the legislature some weeks be- 
fore appropriating half a million of dollars to provide for 
the defense of the State, and he had issued his call for 
an extraordinary session of the Legislature as early as 
the 2oth of April to meet the great issue of civil war. 
He revoked his proclamation for additional regiments 
called for by General Patterson's requisition, but much 
more than one-half the number called for had already 
volunteered, and were practically in charge of the State 
for organization. When the special session of the Leg- 
islature met on the 3oth of April he sent an earnest mes- 
sage calling for the organization of the volunteers then 
in camp into fifteen regiments as a State corps, but to be 
subject to the call of the United States in any emergency. 
It was this brave action of Curtin that gave us the Penn- 
sylvania Reserve Corps, whose heroism crimsoned nearly 
every battle-field of the Army of the Potomac. These 
troops were organized not only without the aid of the 
national government, but in defiance of its refusal to 
accept them and of its positive declarations that they 
could not and would not be needed. It was a most 
heroic policy on the part of Curtin. It involved a loan 
of $3,000,000 when the credit of the State was severely 
strained, and every partisan or factional foe was inspired 
to opposition by the known fact that the national govern- 
ment declared additional troops to be entirely unneces- 
sary. The Legislature and the people had faith in Cur- 


tin, had faith in his integrity, his patriotism, and his 
judgment of the nation's peril, and the bill creating a 
loan and organizing fifteen regiments of the Reserve 
Corps was passed by an overwhelming majority in both 
branches of the Legislature. He had around him a 
number of leading men of both parties who cheerfully 
gave their time and ceaseless labor to assist him. Among 
those I recall who sat in his councils by day and night to 
strengthen his hands by voluntary service on his staff 
were such men as the late Thomas A. Scott, John A. 
Wright, R. Biddle Roberts, Reuben C. Hale, and John 
B. Parker, and Craig Biddle and Joseph E. Potts, who 
yet survive. These men, as well as the military officers 
on duty in Pennsylvania with General Patterson, all 
heartily concurred in the policy of the Governor and 
shared his vindication at an early day. 

Even before the disastrous battle of Bull Run was 
fought on the 2ist of July, two of the Reserve regiments 
were called for by the government to march to Cumber- 
land to the relief of Colonel Wallace, and the regiments 
commanded by Colonel Charles J. Biddle and Colonel 
Simmons and a battery of artillery were on the march 
the same day the order was received, and soon thereafter 
the Tenth regiment followed. Notwithstanding the re- 
fusal to entertain the question of accepting these troops, 
Curtin again tendered the Reserve Corps to the govern- 
ment on the 1 8th of July, just before the battle of Bull 
Run, and the same day brought orders from the War 
Department that four regiments should be sent to Ha- 
gerstown and the remaining, exclusive of those in West 
Virginia, should be sent to Baltimore. These regiments 
were encamped at Pittsburg, Easton, West Chester, and 
Harrisburg, and the Governor at once ordered them to 
march as requested by the Washington authorities. His 
answer to the request to forward the troops was in these 


words: u All the regiments have been ordered to Harris- 
burg in obedience to your dispatch just received, and on 
arrival will be immediately forwarded to the seat of war, 
as previously ordered. If there is not time to muster 
them in at this place, mustering officers can follow them 
into the field." Had these troops been on the battle- 
field of Bull Run, as they could have been had not the 
government persistently refused to accept them, it would 
have given an overwhelming preponderance of numbers 
to the Union forces, and doubtless reversed the disaster 
of that day. On the night of July 2ist, when the gov- 
ernment learned that the army had been routed at Bull 
Run, most frantic appeals were made to Curtin from the 
Washington authorities to hasten his troops to the front 
to save the National Capital, and within twenty-four 
hours after the retreat of McDowell's army into the 
Washington fortifications the welcome tread of the Penn- 
sylvania Reserves was heard on Pennsylvania Avenue, 
and the panic was allayed and confidence restored by 
regiment after regiment of the once-rejected troops 
hurrying to Washington. One dispatch from the War 
Department thus appeals to Curtin : ' ' Get your regiments 
at Harrisburg, Kaston, and other points ready for imme- 
diate shipment. L,ose no time in preparing. Make 
things move to the utmost." Another dispatch said: 
u To-morrow won't do for your regiments; you must 
have them to-night Send them to-night. It is of the 
utmost importance." Another appeal to him said: " Stop 
the regiment at Green castle, and send it to Washington 
to-night. Do not fail. ' ' Thus the war authorities that 
had treated with contempt the appeals of Curtin to accept 
the troops he had called for when cut off from the na- 
tional capital, in a few months thereafter sent the most 
earnest appeals to him to save them from their own folly 


by forwarding the troops he had organized in defiance of 
their protest. 

I speak advisedly when I say that there was not a sin- 
gle new phase of the war at any time that did not sum- 
mon Curtin to the councils of Lincoln. He was the first 
man called to Washington after the surrender of Sumter, 
and I accompanied him in obedience to a like summons 
to me as chairman of the Military Committee of the Sen- 
ate. Pennsylvania was to sound the keynote for all the 
loyal States of the North in the utterance of her loyal 
Governor, and her action was to be the example for 
every other State of the Union. How grandly Curtin 
performed that duty is proved by the fact that he organ- 
ized and furnished to the national government during 
the war 367,482 soldiers, and organized, in addition to 
that number, 87,000 for domestic defense during the 
same period. New duties and grave responsibilities 
were multiplied upon him every week, but he was al- 
ways equal to them, and was a tireless enthusiast in the 
performance of his labors. Three times during the war 
was his State invaded by the enemy, and at one time 
90,000 of Lee's army, with Lee himself at their head, 
were within the borders of our State on their way to 
their Waterloo at Gettysburg. While responding with 
the utmost promptness to every call of the national gov- 
ernment, whether for troops or for moral or political sup- 
port, he was most zealous in making provision for the 
defense of his exposed people in the border counties. 
He had an ample force within the State to protect the 
border against raids by the enemy, and would have saved 
Chambersburg from destruction by the vandal torch, had 
not his own State troops been ordered away from him to 
save General Hunter after his disgraceful and disastrous 
raid into Virginia in 1864. Hunter's vandalism had 
justly inflamed the South, and when he was driven 



across the Potomac the Pennsylvania regiments organ- 
ized for the special defense of the State, being subject 
to orders from Washington because mustered into the 
United States service, passed through Chambersburg, 
within forty-eight hours of the period of its destruction, 
to join Hunter in Maryland and save him from the retri- 
bution his folly had invited. Had these Pennsylvania 
troops remained subject to the orders of the State author- 
ities, they could have been in Chambersburg before 
McCausland reached there, and would have outnum- 
bered him nearly three to one. Chambersburg was thus 
destroyed solely because of the grave emergency that 
called the State troops to the support of Hunter, and 
they were almost within sound of McCausland' s guns 
when he opened on the defenseless people of Chambers- 
burg at daylight on the 3oth of July, 1864, before he 
entered the town to destroy it. 

Curtin's relations with Stanton were never entirely 
cordial and at times embarrassing; but Lincoln always 
interposed when necessary, and almost invariably sus- 
tained Curtin when a vital issue was raised between 
them. The fact that Lincoln supported Curtin against 
Stanton many times greatly irritated the Secretary of 
War, and doubtless intensified his bitterness against the 
Pennsylvania War Governor. In one notable instance 
only, in which Curtin and Stanton were in bitter con- 
flict, did Lincoln hesitate to sustain Curtin, but Lincoln 
was overruled by his military commanders and bowed to 
their exactions with profound reluctance. In the winter 
or early spring of 1864, Curtin, always alive to the inter- 
ests of humanity, and feeling keenly the sorrows of the 
Pennsylvania soldiers who were in Southern prison-pens 
suffering from disease and starvation, went to Washing- 
ton on three different occasions and appealed to both 
Stanton and Lincoln for the exchange of prisoners as 


the Southern commissioners proposed. We then held 
about 30,000 Southern prisoners, and the South held as 
many or more of Union soldiers, and General Grant, 
looking solely to military success, peremptorily refused 
to permit the exchange of these men, because Lee would 
gain nearly 30,000 effective soldiers, while most of the 
30,000 Union prisoners would be unfit for service because 
of illness. On Curtin's third visit to Washington on that 
subject he was accompanied by Attorney-General Wil- 
liam M. Meredith, and they both earnestly pressed upon 
the government the prompt exchange of prisoners. Stan- 
ton grew impatient and even insolent, retorting to the 
Governor's appeal: " Do you come here in support of the 
government and ask me to exchange 30,000 skeletons for 
30,000 well-fed men?" To which Curtin replied with 
all the earnestness of his humane impulses: u Do you 
dare to depart from the laws of humane warfare in this 
enlightened age of Christian civilization ?' ' Curtin and 
Meredith carried their appeal to Lincoln, who shared all 
of Curtin's sympathies for our suffering prisoners, and 
who exerted himself to the utmost, only to effect a par- 
tial exchange. In 1863, when Curtin was a candidate 
for re-election, Stanton gave most earnest support to his 
cause, notwithstanding he rarely spoke of Curtin person- 
ally except with bitterness. Curtin keenly appreciated 
what Stanton had done, and went to Washington soon 
after his election with the purpose of paying his respects 
to Stanton and thanking him for the hearty support he 
had given him. A mutual acquaintance, who knew that 
Curtin was in Washington to pay his respects to Stanton, 
happened to meet Stanton during the evening and spoke 
with much enthusiasm of Curtin's victory, and of his 
presence there to visit and thank the Secretary of War. 
Stanton replied in his cynical way : ' ' Yes, Pennsylvania 
must be a damned loyal State to give such a victory to 


Curtin." This was repeated to Curtin the same even- 
ing, and the result was that Curtin' s visit to the War 
Office was indefinitely postponed, and Stanton died 
without having received the thanks that Curtin had in- 
tended for him. Soon after the war was over, however, 
Stanton seemed to have justly appreciated Curtin, as he 
wrote him a voluntary and most affectionate letter, re- 
viewing the great work he had done as Governor of 
Pennsylvania, thanking him for his patriotism and fidel- 
ity, and offering a full apology for anything that he 
might have done to give him unpleasant recollections. 
Lincoln played a most conspicuous part in Curtin' s 
second nomination and re-election. So profoundly was 
Curtin impressed with the necessity of uniting all par- 
ties in the support of the war for the suppression of the 
rebellion that he was the first man to suggest his own 
retirement from the office of Governor if the Democrats 
would present the name of General William B. Frank- 
lin, a gallant Pennsylvania Democratic soldier. I was 
present when Curtin first made this suggestion to a 
number of his friends, and he made it with a degree of 
earnestness that impressed every one. He said that it 
was vastly more important to thus unite the whole 
Democratic party with the Republicans on an honest 
war platform than that any party or any individual 
should win political success. So earnestly did he press 
the matter that communication was opened w r ith a num- 
ber of leading Democrats of the State, many of whom 
regarded the suggestion with favor and sought to accom- 
plish it. Unfortunately for the Democracy, the more 
Bourbon element controlled its councils and a Supreme 
Judge who had declared the national conscription act 
unconstitutional, thereby depriving the government of 
the power to fill its wasted armies, was nominated for 
Governor when the thunders of L,ee's guns were heard 


in the Cumberland Valley and almost within hearing of 
the capital where the convention sat. Had Franklin 
been nominated by the Democrats, Curtin would have 
publicly declared for him, and the Republican Conven- 
tion would have welcomed him as their candidate, re- 
gardless of his political faith. Failing in that move- 
ment, there seemed to be but one hopeful loyal candi- 
date for Governor Curtin himself. He was broken in 
health and entirely unequal to the strain of a desperate 
battle. In political contests he was expected to be 
leader of leaders in Pennsylvania. In addition to his 
shattered health, there were over 70,000 of his soldiers 
in the field who had not then the constitutional right to 
vote in their camps, while the bitter factional feud be- 
tween the Curtin and Cameron wings of the party seri- 
ously threatened his defeat. Curtin' s greatest desire, 
next to the faithful fulfillment of the high responsi- 
bilities cast upon him, was to retire from public office 
and recover his physical vigor. It was believed in his 
own household that he could not survive another polit- 
ical campaign in which he was compelled to take the 
lead. His devoted and estimable wife, who brightened 
every public honor he attained, appealed to me with 
tears in her eyes to take absolute measures to retire him 
from the field, and the Governor heartily assented if he 
could be permitted to retire in any way honorable to 

Of Curtin' s renomination there was no doubt what- 
ever if he permitted his name to be used, and it became 
merely a question how he could retire gracefully. En- 
trusted with this matter, acting entirely upon my own 
judgment, I went to Washington, called upon Colonel 
Forney and told him my mission. I said: " Senator 
Cameron will desire the retirement of Curtin because he 
is his enemy ; I desire it because I arn his friend ; may we 


not co-operate in bringing it about ?' ' Cameron was sent 
for; the matter was presented to him, and he at once said, 
with some asperity, that ' ' Curtin should be got rid of. ' ' 
I suggested that if Lincoln would tender to Curtin a 
foreign mission in view of his broken health, it would 
solve the difficulty and enable Curtin to retire. To this 
Cameron agreed, and within half an hour thereafter we 
startled Lincoln by appearing before him together, ac- 
companied by Forney. It was the first time Cameron 
and I had appeared before Lincoln to unite in asking 
him to perform any public act. I stated the case briefly 
but frankly, and he promptly responded that Curtin was 
entitled to the honor suggested, and that it would be a 
great pleasure to him to tender him the place. ' ' But, ' ' 
said he, " I'm in the position of young Sheridan when 
old Sheridan called him to task for his rakish conduct, 
and said to him that he must take a wife; to which young 
Sheridan replied : ' Very well, father, but whose wife shall 
I take?' It's all very well," he added, " to say that I 
will give Curtin a mission, but whose mission am I to 
take ? I would not offer him anything but a first-class 
one. ' ' To this Cameron replied that a second-class mis- 
sion would answer the purpose, but Forney and I resented 
that, and said that if a second-class mission was to be dis- 
cussed we had nothing further to say. Lincoln closed 
the conference by suggesting that as. it seemed to be my 
affair I should call to see him in the morning. I did so, 
when Lincoln handed me the following autograph letter, 
tendering Curtin a first-class mission, to be accepted at 
the close of his gubernatorial term: 

WASHINGTON, April 13, 1863. 

MY DEAR SIR : If, after the expiration of your present term as 
Governor of Pennsylvania I shall continue in office here, and you 




shall desire to go abroad, you can do so with one of the first-class 
missions. Yours truly, 


This letter I delivered to Curtin. The announcement 
was at once made to the Associated Press that a foreign 
mission had been tendered to Curtin, that he had signi- 
fied his acceptance of it, and that he would not be a can- 
didate for renomi nation for Governor. The popular de- 
mand for Curtin' s renomination came with such emphasis 
from every section of the State that within a few weeks 
after his declination he was compelled to accept the can- 
didacy, and he was nominated in Pittsburg by an over- 
whelming majority on the first ballot, and after one of 
the most desperate contests ever known in the State was 
re-elected by over 15,000 majority, even with his soldiers 
disfranchised. Lincoln exhibited unusual interest in that 
struggle, and his congratulations to Curtin upon his re- 
election were repeated for several days, and were often as 
quaint as they were sincere. 

The secret of Curtin' s re-election in 1863 was the de- 
votion of the Pennsylvania soldiers to him and his cause. 
He was the earliest of all the Governors in the States to 
devise and put into practical execution every measure 
that could lessen the sorrows of war to his people. After 
every battle in which Pennsylvania troops were engaged 
Curtin was always among the first visitors to camp and 
hospital, and his sympathetic hand was felt and his voice 
heard by the sick and wounded. He had his official 
commissioners to visit every part of the country in search 
of Pennsylvania troops needing kind ministrations, and 
early in the war he obtained legislative authority to 
bring the body of every soldier who was killed or died 
in the service home for burial at the cost of the State. 
Every Pennsylvania soldier in the army felt that he had 


one friend upon -whom he could always rely in the War 
Governor of his State, and many hundreds of letters 
poured in upon Curtin at the Capitol every day appeal- 
ing to him for redress from real or imaginary grievances, 
every one of which was promptly answered. If injustice 
was done to any Pennsylvania officer or any hindrance 
of gallant men in the ranks from just promotion, an early 
appeal to Curtin invariably brought him to the front to 
correct it. It is not surprising, therefore, that when he 
became a candidate for re-election and was assailed on 
every side with bitterness, nearly every soldier in the 
army, whether Democrat or Republican, appealed to his 
people at home to support and vote for Curtin. While 
the soldiers were themselves unable to testify their ap- 
preciation of their patriotic Governor at the polls, every 
soldier at home on leave, however unskilled in rhetoric, 
was a most eloquent advocate of Curtin' s re-election, and 
there was hardly a home in the State that had a soldier 
in the field to which did not come earnest appeals by 
letters to fathers and brothers to vote for the Soldier's 
Friend. Thus was Curtin re-elected by a large majority, 
and by the votes of Democrats who were influenced solely 
by their sympathy with their sons and brothers in the 
field whose gratitude to Curtin was reflected in almost 
every family circle. 

It was on Thanksgiving Day of 1863 that Curtin first 
conceived the idea of State provision for the care and 
education of the orphans of our fallen soldiers. While 
on his way in Harrisburg to hear Dr. Robinson's Thanks- 
giving sermon, he was met by two shivering and starving 
children, who piteously appealed to him to relieve them 
of their distress, saying that their father had been killed 
on the Peninsula and that their mother was broken in 
health by her efforts to provide for them. He was so 
deeply impressed and his sympathies so keenly aroused 


by the children that he heard little of the eloquent ser- 
mon. He remembered that all over Pennsylvania there 
were such orphans without home or bread, and he re- 
solved from that day that some provision should be made 
for the care of these helpless little ones. Soon after he 
presided at a meeting at which Henry Ward Beecher was 
the speaker. Beecher had just returned from England, 
where he had been most eloquent in his defense of the 
Union cause, and he was welcomed in Pennsylvania with 
enthusiasm by the loyal people. In Curtin's introductory 
speech he, for the first time, made public allusion to the 
duty of the State to provide for the orphans of our sol- 
diers who had fallen in battle, and the suggestion was 
greeted with round after round of applause. Some time 
before that period the Pennsylvania Railroad had placed 
at the disposal of the State $50,000 to equip troops. The 
money was received by Curtin, but he had no need to 
use it for the equipment of troops, and if he had covered 
it into the treasury, it would have merged into the gen- 
eral fund. This money lay idle on special deposit for 
some months, and Curtin conceived the plan of making 
it the basis of a fund for the care of our soldiers' orphans. 
To this President Thomson assented, and with $50,000 
already assured, the Governor presented the subject to 
the Legislature in his annual message, and earnestly 
urged early action. There was much hesitation to sup- 
port such a bill, and no progress was made in it until 
near the close of the session. The bill was finally de- 
feated, and when the next Legislature met Curtin ar- 
ranged with President Thomson for the transportation 
of a large number of our soldiers' orphans to visit Har- 
risburg. They were sent free of cost for transportation, 
and were received into the homes of generous people, ten 
of them being guests of Curtin in the Executive Man- 
sion. They came bearing the flag under which their 


fathers had fallen, and the House received them at three 
o'clock, when patriotic speeches were made, the little 
orphans sang patriotic songs, and Curtin made a most 
eloquent appeal to the Legislature to make these chil- 
dren the wards of the commonwealth. The Legislature 
speedily retraced its steps, passed the bill, and the Gov- 
ernor had the gratification of signing it the next morn- 
ing. Such was the beginning of the Soldiers' Orphans' 
Schools which have lasted now for nearly thirty years, 
which have educated thousands and thousands of the 
war orphans of the State, and are still performing that 
humane mission to the few yet in our midst. In this 
sublime beneficence to the helpless children of our heroes 
Pennsylvania stands single and alone among the loyal 
States, and there has not been a class of orphans in any 
school in Pennsylvania that has not lisped the name of 
Curtin with affectionate reverence. 

Some of the most momentous official acts of Curtin' s 
public career have almost passed from the recollection 
of the men of the present who lived at that day, yet they 
rendered the greatest service to the national government 
when it was in the gravest peril. After the disastrous 
Peninsula campaign it became a necessity to summon a 
large additional force to the field, and it was regarded as 
a dangerous experiment in view of the despairing condi- 
tion of public sentiment in the North. Volunteering 
had entirely ceased; there was at that time no national 
conscription act; the appeal had to be made directly to 
the States to raise their respective quotas of troops. As 
was common in every serious emergency, Curtin was 
called into the councils of Lincoln, and the subject dis- 
cussed with a full appreciation of the solemn responsi- 
bilities that devolved upon both of them. It was Cur- 
tin's suggestion that the Governors of the loyal States 
should be conferred with and got to unite in a formal 


demand upon the President to call out a large additional 
force. Eighteen loyal Governors responded, and on the 
28th of June, 1862, they aroused every loyal heart in the 
country by their bold demand for the promptest measures 
to fill up our armies and for the most vigorous prosecu- 
tion of the war. The address concludes with this patri- 
otic sentence : ' ' All believe that the decisive moment is 
near at hand, and to that end the people of the United 
States are desirous to aid promptly in furnishing all rein- 
forcements that you may deem necessary to sustain our 
government. ' ' This address was delivered in person by 
a number of the Governors themselves, and Lincoln re- 
plied: " Gentlemen: Fully concurring in the wisdom of 
the views expressed to me in so patriotic a manner by 
you in the communication of the 28th of June, I have 
decided to call into the service an additional force of 
300,000 men." The Altoona conference of the loyal 
Governors was originally proposed by Curtin to Lincoln 
and cordially approved by the President before the call 
was issued. It was a supreme necessity to crystallize the 
loyal sentiment of the country in support of the coming 
and then clearly foreshadowed Emancipation policy. 
Curtin telegraphed Governor Andrew of Massachusetts: 
' ' In the present emergency would it not be well that the 
loyal Governors should meet at some point in the Border 
States to take measures for the more active support of 
the government?" The Governors of Massachusetts, 
Ohio, and West Virginia responded promptly, and the 
call was issued on the i4th of September, and the Al- 
toona conference met on the 24th, the day after the 
Emancipation Proclamation had been published to the 
world. There were seventeen Governors in attendance, 
and after a full interchange of views, Curtin and Andrew 
were charged with the duty of preparing an address to 
the President and the country. That address, coming as 


the united voice of the loyal States through their Gov- 
ernors, was regarded by Lincoln as of inestimable service 
to the cause of the Union. It not only gave the keynote 
for every loyal man to support the Emancipation policy, 
but it suggested to the President to call out additional 
troops to keep a reserve of 100,000 men for any emer- 
gency of the war.* 

* In 1862, after the disaster on the Peninsula, and when I was 
in New York under medical treatment and not able to receive my 
personal friends, I sent for a newspaper and read of the defeat of 
McClellan's army. Soon after a messenger came to see me from 
Mr. Seward, who was at the Astor House, inviting me to meet 
Mr. Seward, saying that he would come to see me if I could not 
go to see him. With much risk and suffering I went at once to 
the Astor House, where I found Mr. Seward with the Mayor of 
New York and the Mayor of Philadelphia, who were then con- 
sidering the question of going to Boston. Mr. Seward gave me 
all the telegrams from the front, which I read carefully, and found 
that of McClellan's army there were not over 80,000 effectives left. 
I suggested to Mr. Seward that it might be better to ask the Gov- 
ernors of the loyal States than the Mayors of our cities to unite 
in an address to the President, asking for a more vigorous prose- 
cution of the war and an immediate call for additional troops. 
He asked me to put it in writing. I did so, and he immediately 
telegraphed it to the President, who promptty answered that it 
was just what he wanted done. I at once prepared a telegram 
to the other Governors, and Colonel Scott, w r ho happened to be 
there, hurried it off to all the Governors of the loyal States. Ap- 
proving answers were received from all but Governor Andrew, 
who made the objection that a public policy should be declared, 
which of course meant Emancipation. The names of the Gov- 
ernors were appended to the paper, and it was immediately re- 
turned to Lincoln. Governor Aiidrew afterward acquiesced, and 
I then wrote him asking his views as to the propriety of calling 
the loyal Governors to meet at Altoona for the purpose of declar- 
ing a policy and demanding a more vigorous prosecution of the 
war. He agreed to it at once, and we commenced writing and 
telegraphing to the Governors, and I had favorable answers to 
all excepting Governor Morgan of New York, whose relations 
with me were not friendly. Governor Andrew, Governor Todd, 

(Photo by Brady, Washington.) 



Thus, from the day that Curtin welcomed Lincoln in 
the Hall of the House of Representatives at Harrisburg 
when on his way to be inaugurated, until their last meet- 
ing in the same hall when it was the chamber of death, 
and sorrowing patriots passed silently through it to take 
their last look upon the face of the martyred President, 
he was side by side with Lincoln in every trial; and, 
backed by his great State, he was enabled to render a 
service to the President and to the country unapproached 
by any other Governor of the Union. How gratefully 
his public record was appreciated by the people of Penn- 
sylvania of that day is clearly shown by reference to the 
journals of our Legislature of April 12, 1866, when a 
resolution was passed, by unanimous vote in both 
branches, thanking him, in the name of Pennsylvania, 
u for the fidelity with which, during the four years of 
war by which our country was ravaged and its free in- 
stitutions threatened, he stood by the national govern- 
ment and cast into the scales of loyalty and the Union 
the honor, the wealth, and the strength of the State. n 
These resolutions were offered in the House by Repre- 

and myself consulted Mr. Lincoln, and he highly approved of 
our purpose. In that interview he did not attempt to conceal 
the fact that we were upon the eve of an Emancipation policy, 
and he had from us the assurance that the Altoona conference 
would cordially endorse such a policy. All that was done at the 
Altoona conference had the positive approval of President Lin- 
coln in advance, and he well understood that the whole purpose 
of the movement was to strengthen his hands and support the 
bolder policy that all then knew was inevitable. The address 
presented to Mr. Lincoln from the Altoona conference was pre- 
pared by Governor Andrew and myself. I did not then doubt 
that it would lose us the coming election in Pennsylvania, and 
so said to Mr. Lincoln, but I believed that the country then knew 
what the war was about, and that it was time to bring slavery to 
the front as the great issue. Ex-Governor Curtin' s Letter to the 
Author, Feb. 16, 1892. 


sentative Ruddiman, the Republican leader of that body, 
and were passed by a vote of 97 ayes and no nays, being 
within 3 of the entire membership of the body.* On 
the same day the resolutions were called up in the Sen- 
ate by Senator Wallace, the Democratic leader of that 
body, and on the call of the ayes and nays received the 
vote of every Senator. No Governor of any State ever 
received such a tribute as this from all parties when 
about to retire from his high office after six years of ser- 
vice during the most heated partisan and factional strife 

* Whereas, The term of His Excellency Andrew G. Curtin as 
Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will expire 
with the present year, and the Legislature of the State will not 
stand toward him in the relation of official courtesy and personal 
regard which they have heretofore sustained; 

And whereas, This House cannot contemplate his course dur- 
ing the recent struggle of our country without admiration of the 
patriotism which made him one of the earliest, foremost, and 
most constant of the supporters of the government, and without 
commendation of the spirit which has prompted him with un- 
tiring energy and at the sacrifice of personal repose and health 
to give to the soldier in the field and in the hospital, and to the 
cause for which the soldier fell and died, fullest sympathy and 
aid; be it 

Resolved, That in the name of the Commonwealth of Pennsyl- 
vania we tender to Governor Curtin our thanks for the fidelity 
with which, during the four years of war by which our country 
was ravaged and its free institutions threatened, he stood by the 
national government and cast into the scale of loyalty and the 
Union the honor, the wealth, and strength of the State. 

Resolved, That by his devotion to his country, from the dark 
hour in which he pledged to the late lamented President of the 
United States the faith and steadfast support of our people, he 
has gained for his name an historical place and character, and 
while rendering himself deserving of the nation's gratitude he 
has added lustre to the fame and glory to the name of the Com- 
monwealth over which he has presided during two terms of office 
with so much ability, and in which he has tempered dignity w T ith 
kindness and won the high respect and confidence of the people. 


ever known in our political history. Again on the 6th 
of April, 1869, when he had been a private citizen for 
several years, the Legislature passed joint resolutions of 
thanks to President Grant for his appointment of Curtin 
as Minister to Russia, and they received the vote of every 
member present of both branches, and were approved by 
Governor Geary on the following day.* In 1868 the 
Republican State Convention proclaimed Curtin with 
almost entire unanimity for the Vice-Presidency of the 
United States on the ticket with Grant, who was then 
the accepted candidate of the party for President, and I 
went to Chicago as chairman of the Pennsylvania dele- 
gation to present his name and cast the vote of the State 
for her honored War Governor. 

Political necessities rather than individual merit con- 
trolled the National Convention, and Schuyler Colfax 

* Joint Resolutions relative to the appointment of Andrew 
Gregg Curtin Minister to Russia: 

Whereas, His Excellency the President of the United States 
has appointed Andrew Gregg Curtin, the former Chief Magis- 
trate of this Commonwealth, to a high and responsible position 
in the representation at the Court of the ruler of the European 
nation whose boast is that he has always been a friend of the 
United States of America; 

Be it resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in General Assembly met, 
That the best wishes of the members of this Assembly be con- 
veyed to His Excellency Andrew G. Curtin, Minister Plenipo- 
tentiary and Envoy Extraordinary of the United States at St. 
Petersburg, Russia, for his restoration to health, so much impaired 
by his heroic and constant labors in behalf of this Commonwealth, 
and that he has and always will receive the grateful assurance of 
the high regard and esteem in which he is held by his fellow-citi- 
zens, ivithout regard to partisan views, on account of the noble 
and self-sacrificing spirit displayed by him alike in the hours of 
victory and defeat, and the fidelity with which he executed the 
solemn and responsible trusts committed to his hands by his fel- 



was taken to turn the scale in doubtful Indiana; but 
Curtin was, as ever, in the front of the battle, as Grant 
gratefully acknowledged by nominating him as Minister 
to Russia a few days after the inauguration. He had 
been offered the same mission by President Johnson sev- 
eral years earlier, but his fidelity to the cause that had 
enlisted the best efforts of his life forbade his even con- 
sidering it. In the Republican revolt against the des- 
potic political and sectional policy of Grant in 1872, 
Curtin sincerely sympathized with the Liberals, and he 
resigned his mission to obtain freedom in political action. 
When on his way home he was met in both Paris and 
London by authorized offers of either of those missions 
if he would remain abroad, but he declined. On his 
return home he 'was nominated by the Liberal Repub- 
licans for delegate-at-large to the Constitutional Conven- 
tion, and Ex-Governor Bigler voluntarily retired from 
the Democratic ticket to enable that party to tender Cur- 
tin an unanimous nomination, resulting in his election. 
His exceptional experience in State government made 
him one of the most practical and useful members of 
the body, and many of the most beneficent reforms of 
the new fundamental law are of his creation. In 1880, 
and again in 1882 and 1884, he was elected to Congress, 
and during his six years of service in the House he was 
the favorite of every social and political circle. Since 
then he has enjoyed the mellow evening of his life in his 
mountain-home, where every face brightens at his com- 
ing, and on every hillside and valley of the State there 
are grizzled veterans and their children and their chil- 
dren's children whose hearts throb with grateful emotion 
as they speak of the Soldier's Friend. 

(Photo by Brady, Washington.) 



ABRAHAM LINCOLN and Thaddeus Stevens were 
-tJL strangely mated. Lincoln as President and Stevens 
as Commoner of the nation during the entire period of our 
sectional war assumed the highest civil responsibilities in 
the administrative and legislative departments of the gov- 
ernment. While Lincoln was President of the whole peo- 
ple, Stevens, as Commoner, was their immediate represen- 
tative and oracle in the popular branch of Congress when 
the most momentous legislative measures of our history 
were conceived and enacted. No two men were so much 
alike in all the sympathy of greatness for the friendless 
and the lowly, and yet no two men could have been 
more unlike in the methods by which they sought to 
obtain the same great end. Lincoln's humanity was 
one of the master attributes of his character, and it was 
next to impossible for him to punish even those most de- 
serving of it. In Stevens humanity and justice were 
singularly blended, and while his heart was ever ready 
to respond to the appeal of sorrow, he was one of the 
sternest of men in the administration of justice upon 
those who had oppressed the helpless. No man pleaded 
so eloquently in Congress for the deliverance of the bond- 
men of the South as did Stevens, and he made ceaseless 
battle for every measure needed by ignorant freedmen for 
the enjoyment of their rights obtained through the mad- 
ness of Southern rebellion ; and there was no man of all 



our statesmen whose voice was so eloquent for the swift 
punishment of the authors of the war. He declared on 
the floor of Congress that if he had the power he would 
summon a military commission to try, convict, and exe- 
cute Jefferson Davis and other leaders of the rebellion 
* * for the murders at Andersonville, the murders at Salis- 
bury, and the shooting down of prisoners-of-war in cold 
blood;" and when the whole world was shocked by the 
relentless vengeance of Juarez in the summary execution 
of Maximilian, he was the one man of Congress who rose 
and boldly defended the Mexican President; and his 
ground of defence was that Maximilian had sought to 
usurp power from the weak. Lincoln's humanity was 
always predominant in his nature and always reflected 
itself in his public and private acts. He never signed a 
death-warrant unless it was absolutely unavoidable, and 
then always with a degree of sorrow that could not be con- 
cealed. He earnestly desired that Davis and all South- 
ern leaders who might be called to account after the war 
for precipitating the nation into fraternal strife should 
safely escape from the country; and Maximilian could 
not have appealed in vain to Lincoln for his life had it 
been within his power to save him. Such were the con- 
flicting attributes of the two great civil leaders of the 
country during the war. Each filled his great trust with 
masterly fidelity, and the opposing qualities of each were 
potent upon the other. 

The country has almost forgotten the exceptionally re- 
sponsible position of Stevens as the Great Commoner of 
our civil war. It is the one high trust of a free govern- 
ment that must be won solely by ability and merit. The 
Commoner of a republic is the organ of the people, and 
he can hold his place only when all confess his pre-emi- 
nent qualities for the discharge of his duties. Presi- 
dents, Cabinets, Senators, and Representatives may be 


accidents. Fortuitous circumstances or sudden muta- 
tions in politics may create any of these civil function- 
aries in a popular government to serve their brief terms 
and pass away into forgetfulness, but the Commoner of 
the nation must be the confessed ' * leader of leaders. ' ' 
Mere popular attributes are valueless in struggling for 
such a place. Only he who can come to the front when- 
ever occasion calls, lead discordant elements to a common 
end, and maintain his position in all the sudden changes 
of a mercurial body can go into history as an American 
Commoner; and Stevens grandly, undisputedly, met these 
high requirements. There were those around him in 
Congress much riper in experience in national legis- 
lation, for he had served but six years in the House 
when the war began, and four of those were nearly a 
decade before the rebellion ; but when the great conflict 
came before which all but the bravest-hearted quailed, 
Stevens' supreme ability and dauntless courage made 
him speedily accepted by all as the leader of the popular 
branch of Congress. In all the conflicts of opinion and 
grave doubts among even the sincerest of men as to the 
true policy of the government in meeting armed rebel- 
lion, Stevens was the one man who never faltered, who 
never hesitated, who never temporized, but who was ready 
to meet aggressive treason with the most aggressive as- 
saults. He and Lincoln worked substantially on the 
same lines, earnestly striving to attain the same ends, 
but Stevens was always in advance of public sentiment, 
while Lincoln ever halted until assured that the con- 
siderate judgment of the nation would sustain him. 
Stevens was the pioneer who was ever in advance of the 
government in every movement for the suppression of 
the rebellion, whether by military or civil measures. He 
always wanted great armies, heroic chieftains, and relent- 
less blows, and he was ready to follow the overthrow of 


rebellion with the sternest retributive policy. He had 
faith that the people would sustain the war that they 
would patriotically submit to any sacrifice of blood and 
treasure necessary to preserve the Union and overthrow 
slavery that was the cause of fraternal conflict, and he 
was always in the lead in pressing every measure that 
promised to weaken the slave power in any part of the 

Lincoln was inspired by the same patriotic purpose 
and sympathies with Stevens in everything but his pol- 
icy of vengeance. Lincoln possessed the sagacity to 
await the fullness of time for all things, and thus he 
failed in nothing. These two great civil leaders were 
not in close personal relations. Stevens was ever im- 
patient of Lincoln's tardiness, and Lincoln was always 
patient with Stevens' advanced and often impracticable 
methods. Stevens was a born dictator in politics; Lin- 
coln a born follower of the people, but always wisely aid- 
ing them to the safest judgment that was to be his guide. 
When Stevens proposed the abolition of slavery in the 
District of Columbia, and followed it with the extension 
of the elective franchise to the liberated slaves, very 
many of his party followers in the House faltered and 
threatened revolt, and only a man of Stevens' iron will 
and relentless mastery could have commanded a solid 
party vote for the measures which were regarded by 
many as political suicide. I sat by him one morning 
in the House before the session had opened when the 
question of negro suffrage in the District of Columbia 
was about to be considered, and I heard a leading Penn- 
sylvania Republican approach him to protest against 
committing the party to that policy. Stevens' grim face 
and cold gray eye gave answer to the man before his bit- 
ter words were uttered. He waved his hand to the trem- 
bling suppliant and bade him go to his seat and vote for 


the measure or confess himself a coward to the world. 
The Commoner was obeyed, for had disobedience fol- 
lowed the offender would have been proclaimed to his 
constituents, over the name of Stevens, as a coward, and 
that would have doomed him to defeat. 

The relations between Lincoln and Stevens were 
always friendly, but seldom cordial. Stevens did not 
favor the nomination of Lincoln in 1860, although he 
voted for him as a second choice in preference to Seward. 
He was the champion of John McLean for President, 
and presented the anomaly of the most radical Repub- 
lican leader of the country, Giddings excepted, support- 
ing the most conservative candidate for the Presidency. 
He was politician enough to understand that there was 
a large conservative element, especially in Pennsylvania 
and Indiana, that had to be conciliated to elect a Repub- 
lican President, and he loved McLean chiefly because 
McLean had dared to disobey the commands of Jackson 
when in his Cabinet. He was again a delegate when 
Lincoln was renominated in 1864, and he voted for Lin- 
coln simply because it was not possible to nominate any 
other man more in accord with his convictions; but in 
neither of these conventions, in both of which he voted 
for Lincoln, was he enthusiastic in Lincoln's cause. He 
had faith in Lincoln's patriotism and integrity, but he 
believed him weak because he kept far behind Stevens 
in his war measures, and he was especially bitter against 
the nomination of Johnson for Vice- President instead 
of Hamlin, but he permitted his vote to be recorded for 
Johnson in obedience to the obvious purpose of his own 
delegation and of the convention to nominate him. I 
sat close by him in the first informal meeting of the 
Pennsylvania delegation in Baltimore in 1864, and, being 
a delegate-at-large, I was one of the first four who voted 
on the choice for Vice- President. When I voted for 


Johnson, Stevens was startled, and turning to me he 
said in a tone of evident bitterness, " Can't you find a 
candidate for Vice-President in the United States, with- 
out going down to one of those damned rebel provinces 
to pick one up ?" I gave a kind answer and evaded dis- 
cussion of the subject. He had no personal love for 
either of the candidates for whom his own vote had been 
finally cast, but his hatred of McClellan called out his 
fiercest invective and made him ready to do tireless battle 
for his defeat. He harshly judged all men who pretended 
to prosecute the war while protecting slavery, and he be- 
lieved that McClellan was a traitor to the cause for which 
he was leading his armies, and, believing it, he declared 

Stevens never saw Lincoln during the war except when 
necessity required it. It was not his custom to fawn 
upon power or flatter authority, and his free and incisive 
criticism of public men generally prevented him from 
being in sympathetic touch with most of the officials 
connected with the administration. He was one of the 
earliest of the party leaders to demand the unconditional 
and universal freedom of the slaves, and he often grieved 
Lincoln sorely by his mandatory appeals for an Emanci- 
pation Proclamation, and by the keen satire that only he 
could employ against those who differed from him. It 
was known to but few that he suffered a serious disap- 
pointment from Lincoln when Cameron was appointed 
to the Cabinet. Stevens took no part in the contest for 
a Pennsylvania Cabinet officer until after it became 
known that Lincoln had revoked his offer of a Cabinet 
portfolio to Cameron about the ist of January. Stevens 
then entered the field with great earnestness as a candi- 
date for the Cabinet himself, and the position he desired 
was that of Secretary of the Treasury. In obedience to 
his invitation I met him at Harrisburg, and found him 


more interested in reaching the Cabinet than I had ever 
known him in any of his political aspirations. Later, 
when Cameron became again prominent as a Cabinet 
expectant, Stevens bitterly protested, and when Cam- 
eron's appointment was announced he felt personally 
aggrieved, although few even of his most intimate ac- 
quaintances had any knowledge of it. It was his second 
disappointment in his efforts to reach Cabinet honors. 
In December, 1839, when the Whig National Convention 
was about to meet at Harrisburg to decide whether Clay, 
Harrison, or Scott should be honored with the candidacy, 
Harrison sent to Stevens by Mr. Purdy an autograph 
letter voluntarily proposing that if Harrison should be 
nominated and elected President, Stevens would be made 
a member of his Cabinet. Stevens was one of the most 
potent of the political leaders in that convention, and he 
finally controlled the nomination for Harrison. He never 
J5aw or heard from Harrison from that time until he was 
inaugurated as President, and he was astounded when 
the Cabinet was nominated to the Senate to find his 
name omitted. So reticent was he as to Harrison's pre- 
vious proffer of the position that Mr. Burroughs, who 
was at the head of the Pennsylvanians in Washington 
urging Stevens' appointment, was never advised of the 
promise he held from Harrison for the place. Harrison 
died too early to feel the retribution that would surely 
have come from Stevens, but in his second disappoint- 
ment Stevens was face to face w r ith Lincoln and side by 
side with him until death divided them. Only once 
during Lincoln's administration can I recall Stevens' 
positive and enthusiastic commendation of Lincoln, and 
that was when he issued his Emancipation Proclamation 
in 1862. He then believed in Lincoln, and expected a 
rapid advance in every line of aggression against slavery 
and rebellion, but soon new causes of dissent arose be- 


tween them, as Stevens called for the speedy confiscation 
of property of those in rebellion and for the punishment 
of all who were responsible for the civil war. Thus they 
continued during the whole period of Lincoln's adminis- 
tration, both earnestly working to solve the same great 
problems in the interest of free government, and yet sel- 
dom in actual harmony in their methods and policies. 

I am quite sure that Stevens respected Lincoln much 
more than he would have respected any other man in 
the same position with Lincoln's convictions of duty. 
He could not but appreciate Lincoln's generous forbear- 
ance even with all of Stevens' irritating conflicts, and 
Lincoln profoundly appreciated Stevens as one of his 
most valued and useful co-workers, and never cherished 
resentment even when Stevens indulged in his bitterest 
sallies of wit or sarcasm at Lincoln's tardiness. Strange 
as it may seem, these two great characters, ever in con- 
flict and yet ever battling for the same great cause, ren- 
dered invaluable service to each other, and unitedly ren- 
dered incalculable service in saving the Republic. Had 
Stevens not declared for the abolition of slavery as soon 
as the war began, and pressed it in and out of season, 
Lincoln could not have issued his Emancipation Procla- 
mation as early as September, 1862. Stevens was ever 
clearing the underbrush and preparing the soil, while 
Lincoln followed to sow the seeds that were to ripen in 
a regenerated Union ; and while Stevens was ever hast- 
ening the opportunity for Lincoln to consummate great 
achievements in the steady advance made for the over- 
throw of slavery, Lincoln wisely conserved the utter- 
ances and efforts of Stevens until the time became fully 
ripe when the harvest could be gathered. I doubt not 
that Stevens, had he been in Lincoln's position, would 
have been greatly sobered by the responsibility that the 
President must accept for himself alone, and I doubt not 


that if Lincoln had been a Senator or Representative in 
Congress, he would have declared in favor of Emancipa- 
tion long before he did it as President. Stevens as Com- 
moner could afford to be defeated, to have his aggressive 
measures postponed, and to take up the battle for them 
afresh as often as he was repulsed; but the President 
could proclaim no policy in the name of the Republic 
without absolute assurance of its success. Each in his 
great trust attained the highest possible measure of suc- 
cess, and the two men who more than all others blended 
the varied currents of their efforts and crystallized them 
in the unchangeable policy of the goverment were Abra- 
ham Lincoln and Thaddeus Stevens. 

After the death of Lincoln, Stevens was one of the 
earliest of the Republican leaders to place himself in an 
aggressively hostile attitude to Johnson, and he persisted 
in it with tireless energy until he performed his last great 
task in his plea before the Senate for the conviction of 
the President under articles of impeachment preferred 
by the House. He was then greatly enfeebled by broken 
health, but his mental powers were unabated. I remem- 
ber meeting him one morning in acting Vice-President 
Wade's room of the Capitol, before the meeting of the 
Senate, when the impeachment trial was in progress. 
Chase had just startled some of the Republican leaders 
by rulings which foreshadowed the probable acquittal 
of Johnson. Stevens came limping into Wade's room, 
dropped into an easy-chair, and at once opened his in- 
vective upon Chase. He ended his criticism of the trial 
with these words : "It is the meanest case, before the 
meanest tribunal, and on the meanest subject of human 
history. ' * After the acquittal of Johnson he seemed al- 
most entirely hopeless of preserving the fruits of the vic- 
tory won by our armies in the overthrow of the rebellion. 
I remember meeting him at his house some three weeks 


before his death. He spoke of the perfidy of Johnson 
with great bitterness, and seemed clouded with gloom as 
to the achievements of his own life. He then hoped to 
go to Bedford Springs to recover sufficient vigor to be 
able to resume his seat at the next session, but he saw 
little of the future that promised restoration of the Union 
with justice to the liberated slaves. Although he was the 
acknowledged Commoner of the war, and the acknow- 
ledged leader of the House as long as he was able to re- 
tain his seat after the war had closed, he said, " My life 
has been a failure. With all this great struggle of years 
in Washington, and the fearful sacrifice of life and trea- 
sure, I see little hope for the Republic." After a mo- 
ment's pause his face suddenly brightened, and he said, 
u After all, I may say that my life has not been entirely 
vain. When I remember that I gave free schools to 
Pennsylvania, my adopted State, I think my life may 
have been worth the living. ' ' He had lately reprinted 
his speech delivered in the Pennsylvania House in 1835 
that changed the body from its purpose to repeal the 
free-school law, and he handed me a copy of it, say- 
ing, "That was the proudest effort of my life. It gave 
schools to the poor and helpless children of the State. ' ' 
Thus did the Great Commoner of the nation, crowned 
with the greenest laurels of our statesmanship, turn back 
more than a generation from his greatest achievements 
because they were incomplete, although fully assured, 
to find the silver lining to the many disappointments 
of his life. 

Stevens, like Lincoln, had few intimate acquaintances, 
and no one in whom he implicitly confided. That he 
had had some untold sorrow was accepted by all who 
knew him well, but none could venture to invade the 
sacred portals of his inner life. He seldom spoke of 
himself, but his grim, cynical smile and his pungent 


invective against the social customs of the times pro- 
claimed his love of solitude, except when his lot could 
be cast with the very few congenial spirits he found 
around him. One name alone ever brightened his stern 
face and kindled the gray eye that was so often lustre- 
less, and that name was ' ' mother. ' ' He loved to speak 
of her, and when he did so all the harsh lines of his 
countenance disappeared to give place to the tenderness 
of a child. That one devotion was like an oasis in the 
desert of his affections, and, regardless of his individual 
convictions, he reverenced everything taught him by his 
mother. In his will he provided that the sexton of her 
little churchyard in the bleak hills of Vermont should 
ever keep her grave green, "and plant roses and other 
cheerful flowers at each of the four corners of said grave 
every spring." He also made a devise of $1000 to aid 
in the building of a Baptist church in Lancaster, giving 
in the will this reason for it: "I do this out of respect to 
the memory of my mother, to whom I owe what little 
prosperity I have had on earth, which, small as it is, I 
desire emphatically to acknowledge." 

I need hardly say that a man of Stevens' positive and 
aggressive qualities left an enduring record of his great- 
ness in both the statutes and the fundamental law of the 
nation. Unlike his distinguished fellow-townsman, Pres- 
ident Buchanan, who with all his long experience in both 
branches of Congress never formulated a great measure 
to stand as a monument of his statesmanship, Stevens 
was the master-spirit of every aggressive movement in 
Congress to overthrow the rebellion and slavery. His 
views of the civil war and of reconstruction were point- 
edly presented in the Confiscation Act of July 17, 1862. 
It was a radical measure, and clearly foreshadowed the 
employment of freedmen in the military service of the 
Union. It was practically the abolition of slavery by 


Congress under the war powers of the government. Lin- 
coln saw that the passage of the bill was inevitable, and 
he took occasion to make known the fact that it could 
not meet with his approval, because it assumed that Con- 
gress had the power to abolish slavery within a State. 
He went so far as to prepare a veto, but Stevens wisely 
obviated the necessity of a veto by consenting to an ex- 
planatory joint resolution of Congress relieving the bill of 
its acutely offensive features, and Lincoln signed the bill 
and the explanatory resolutions together. Stevens was 
the author of the Fourteenth Amendment to the national 
Constitution, although it was not accepted as he would 
have preferred it. This new article of the fundamental 
law, next to the Thirteenth Article abolishing slavery, is 
the most important of all the actions of Congress relating 
to reconstruction. It conferred unchangeably upon the 
liberated slaves the high right of American citizenship, 
and made it impossible for any State to abridge the privi- 
leges of any race. It also limited representation to the 
enfranchised voters of the States; it made the validity 
of the public debt absolutely sacred; prohibited the as- 
sumption or payment of Confederate debt by any State ; 
and it disqualified most of the Southern leaders from ever 
again enjoying citizenship unless their disability were 
relieved by a two-thirds vote of Congress. Stevens was 
bitterly opposed to the provision allowing restoration to 
citizenship of any who had taken the oath of office, mili- 
tary or civil, to support the government and afterward 
engaged in the rebellion, but, being unable to obtain the 
absolute disqualification of those men, he accepted the 
gravest obstacles that he could interpose against the res- 
toration of civil rights. His policy of reconstruction, 
exclusive of his fierce confiscation and retributive pur- 
poses, would have been a priceless blessing to the South, 
although at the time it would have been accepted as ex- 


tremely vindictive. He would have held the rebellious 
States as provinces and governed them as Territories, to 
await the period when they might with safety be restored 
to the Union. Had that policy been adopted the desola- 
tion almost worse than war would have been averted in 
the Southern States. Sadly as the people of the South 
were impoverished by war, the greatest humiliation they 
ever suffered was in the rule of the carpet-bagger and 
the adventurer who despoiled them of safety and credit 
and ran riot in every channel of State authority. Had 
they been held as provinces there would have been peace, 
their industries would have been speedily revived, mu- 
tual confidence between the North and South would have 
rapidly strengthed, and in a very few years at the most 
they would have resumed their position in the galaxy of 
States; and universal negro suffrage would not have been 
in the cup of bitterness they had to drain. Stevens was 
bitterly denounced by many for his vindictive recon- 
struction policy; but, stripped of its utterly impracti- 
cable and impossible confiscation and retributive fea- 
tures, it would have been the wisest policy for both 
North and South that could have been adopted. 

It is a common belief that on the question of recon- 
struction and on many other questions relating to the 
war Stevens planted himself entirely above the Consti- 
tution and acted in utter contempt of the supreme law. 
I have heard thoughtless and malicious people many 
times quote him as having said "Damn the Constitu- 
tion!" but Stevens never uttered or cherished such a 
sentiment. He defined his views on the subject so 
clearly that none could mistake them in his speech giv- 
ing his reasons for voting for the admission of West 
Virginia as a State. He quoted the requirements of the 
Constitution, and said that it was a mockery to assume 
that the provisions of the Constitution had been com- 


plied with. He did not justify or excuse his vote in 
favor of the creation of a new State because of his dis- 
regard of, or contempt for, the Constitution. On the 
contrary, he presented the unanswerable argument that 
Virginia was in rebellion against the government and 
the Constitution, and had been conceded belligerent 
rights by our government and by the governments of 
Europe, thus making her subject to the rules of war 
governing a public enemy, whereby she placed herself 
beyond the pale of the Constitution and had no claim 
upon its protecting attributes. He said, ' ' We may ad- 
mit West Virginia as a new State, not by virtue of any 
provision in the Constitution, but under the absolute 
power which the laws of war give us under the circum- 
stances in which we are placed. I shall vote for this bill 
upon that theory, and upon that alone, for I will not 
stultify myself by supposing that we have any warrant 
in the Constitution for this proceeding. ' ' The logic that 
a belligerent power, recognized by ourselves and by the 
world, was entirely beyond the protecting power of our 
Constitution was indisputable, and in that case, as in all 
cases, he always maintained the sanctity of the Consti- 
tution to all who had not become public enemies with 
conceded belligerent rights. 

Being outside the pale of the Constitution in war, he 
held that the insurgent States occupied the legal status 
of conquered enemies when the war closed, and upon 
that theory was based his whole policy of reconstruction, 
including the confiscation of property and the punish- 
ment of the leaders of the rebellion. That he was ab- 
stractly right in his interpretation of the laws of war 
cannot be questioned, however widely others may differ 
from him in the expediency or justice of the measures 
he proposed. He was one of the first to appreciate the 
truth that President Johnson had adopted a policy of re- 



construction that the Republican party could not sustain. 
In this I heartily agreed with him, and one of my most 
valued mementos of the men of war-times is an auto- 
graph letter received from Mr. Stevens warmly com- 
mending an editorial on the subject published in the 
Chambersburg Repository, which I then edited, in which 
he expressed the hope, since proved gratefully prophetic, 
that I should one day conduct a daily newspaper in Phila- 
delphia with a hundred thousand readers. * I had voted 
for Johnson's nomination for Vice-President in disregard 
of Stevens' bitter complaint, but when Johnson had dis- 
graced himself before the nation and the world by his 
exhibition of inebriety at his inauguration, I had de- 
nounced him and demanded his resignation. He never 
was permitted to return to the Senate as Vice-President, 
but a little more than a month thereafter the assassination 
of Lincoln made him President. Assuming that my free 
criticism and demand for his resignation would preclude 
cordial relations between us, I did not visit him in the 
White House until he had twice requested me to do so 
through Governor Curtin, and my first and only inter- 
view with him convinced me that his policy of recon- 
struction could not be sustained by the North. 

My relations with Stevens for a dozen years before his 
death were peculiarly pleasant, and as intimate perhaps 
as was common between him and those in the narrow 
circle of his close acquaintances. He spent his summers 

* WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 1865. 

DEAR SIR : I thank you for the kindness to me personally in 
your letter; but I more particularly thank you for the grand argu- 
ment in favor of the right policy. 

You ought to speak from Philadelphia in a daily of 100,000 
circulation. Why cannot you get up such a paper? 

COL. A. K. McCi,URE. 


at his quiet mountain-furnace home in Franklin county, 
where I resided, and during the few years that I was in 
active practice at the bar in Chambersburg he attended 
our courts and tried one side of nearly every important 
cause. In all my acquaintance with the lawyers of 
Pennsylvania I regard Stevens as having more nearly 
completed the circle of a great lawyer than any other 
member of the Pennsylvania bar. He was perfect in 
practice, a master of the law, exceptionally skillful in 
eliciting testimony from witnesses, a most sagacious, elo- 
quent, and persuasive advocate, and one of the strongest 
men before a law court that I have ever heard. He was 
thoroughly master of himself in his profession, and his 
withering invective and crushing wit, so often employed 
in conversation and in political speeches, were never dis- 
played in the trial of a cause unless it was eminently wise 
to do so; and he was one of the most courteous of men 
at the bar whether associate or opponent. He was espe- 
cially generous in his kindness to young members of the 
bar unless they undertook to unduly flap their fledgling 
wings, when they were certain to suffer speedy and 
humiliating discomfiture. His trial of the Hanway trea- 
son case before Judge Greer in the United States Court 
at Philadelphia exhibited his matchless skill in the best 
use of his matchless powers. While he conceived and 
directed every feature of the defence, he was the silent 
man of the trial. He knew the political prejudices 
which were attached to his then odious attitude on the 
slavery question, and he put upon the late Chief Justice, 
John M. Read, the laboring oars of the trial, as Read 
was a Democrat of State and even national fame. It was 
a trial that attracted the attention not only of the nation, 
but of the civilized world, and was the first case adjudi- 
cated in Pennsylvania in our higher courts under the 
Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. Mr. Gorsuch, a Virginia 


minister, pursuing his slave into Chester county, was 
killed in an altercation at Christiana by the friends of 
the hunted bondman, and Hanway and others were in- 
dicted for treason in inciting to rebellion and murder. 
Hanway was acquitted, and he owed his deliverance to 
the legal acumen and skill of Thaddeus Stevens. 

The highest tribute ever paid to an American states- 
man since the foundation of the Republic was paid to 
Thaddeus Stevens by his bereaved constituents of Lan- 
caster county when his dead body lay in state at his 
home. He died on Thursday, the nth of August, 1868, 
and his body was brought from Washington to his home 
on the following day, and on Saturday it was viewed by 
thousands of sorrowing friends. The Republican prim- 
ary elections had been called for that day, and, although 
Stevens had died three days before and a nomination was 
to be made for his successor, no one of the several candi- 
dates in the county dared to whisper his name as an as- 
pirant while Stevens' body was untombed. Acting under 
a common inspiration, the people of the county who were 
entitled to participate in the primary elections cast an 
unanimous vote for Stevens' renomination as their can- 
didate for Congress when they knew that he had passed 
away and his body was in state in his humble house in 
Lancaster. There is nothing in Grecian or Roman story 
of such a tribute to a dead leader. Monuments were 
erected in those days to greatness which have crumbled 
away under the gnawing tooth of time, but the dust of 
Thaddeus Stevens reposes under a humble monument 
suggested by himself, located in a humble " City of 
the Silent, ' ' chosen by him because it recognized ( ' equal- 
ity of man before his Creator," and admitted any of 
every race and color to sleep the sleep that knows no 
waking. The inscription on his monument, dictated by 
himself, is in these words: 


Born at Danville, Caledonia Co., Vermont, 

April 4, 1792. 

Died at Washington, D. C., 
August u, 1868. 

x I repose in this quiet and secluded spot, 
Not from any natural preference for solitude, 
But, finding other Cemeteries limited as to Race 

By Charter Rules, 
I have chosen this that I might illustrate 

In my death 

The Principles which I advocated 
Through a long life: 


Thus passed away the Great Commoner of the war; the 
friend of the lowly, the oppressed, and the friendless; the 
author of our free-school system of Pennsylvania that now 
gives education to the humblest of every township; and I 
can fitly quote the eloquent tribute of Charles Sumner: 
' ' I see him now as I have so often seen him during life ; 
his venerable form moves slowly with uncertain steps, 
but the gathered strength of years in his countenance 
and the light of victory on his path. Politician, calcu- 
lator, time-server, stand aside; a Hero Statesman passes 
to his reward." 

(Photo by Saylor, Lancaster, Pa.) 



IT is now more than thirty years since James Buchanan 
retired from the office of President of the United 
States, but I doubt whether there is any one of our great 
national characters whose relations to our civil war are 
so widely and so flagrantly misunderstood. It will sur- 
prise many at this day when I say that Abraham Lincoln 
took up the reins of government just where James Bu- 
chanan left them, and continued precisely the same pol- 
icy toward the South that Buchanan had inaugurated, 
until the Southern leaders committed the suicidal act of 
firing upon Fort Sumter. From the time that Buchan- 
an's original Cabinet was disrupted on the sectional 
issues that culminated in armed rebellion, the adminis- 
tration of Buchanan was not only thoroughly loyal to 
the preservation of the Union, but it fixed the policy 
that Lincoln accepted, and from which he took no 
marked departure until actual war came upon him. 
This is not the common appreciation of Buchanan 
among the American people, but it is the truth of his- 
tory. He retired from his high office in the very flood- 
tide of sectional and partisan passion. The loyal people 
were frenzied to madness by what was regarded as the 
perfidy of Buchanan's War Minister, Mr. Floyd, in ship- 
ping valuable arms and munitions to the South ; by the 
insolent treason of his Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. 
Toombs; by the boldly-asserted and generally-believed 



treachery of his Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Toucey, in 
scattering our navy throughout the world; and it is now 
accepted by many, amongst even intelligent people of 
this country, that Buchanan was faithless to his duty in 
failing to reinforce Major Anderson at Sumter. In addi- 
tion to these deeply-seated unjust convictions in regard 
to Buchanan, he is commonly believed to have been in 
hostility to the Lincoln administration and to the war, 
and his sympathies to have been with the South in the 
bloody struggle for the preservation of the Union.' It 
is certainly time that these iitterly erroneous and most 
unjust impressions as to Buchanan should be dissipated; 
and, fortunately for his own good name, he has left on 
record the most positive evidence of his devotion to the 
Union and his earnest support of the government in the 
most vigorous prosecution of the war that had been, as 
he always held, wantonly precipitated upon the nation 
by the Soiith. I never was in political sympathy with 
Buchanan while he was in public life, excepting the few 
closing months of his administration, when, as I then 
knew, both he and his Cabinet were estranged from their 
ultra-Democratic friends North and South, and were in 
daily intercourse with the leading friends of Lincoln as 
the incoming President. My personal acquaintance with 
him was of the most casual character, and I have there- 
fore neither lingering personal nor political affection to 
inspire me to any strained attempt to vindicate his 

Buchanan as President should be judged by the cir- 
cumstances under which he reached that position, by his 
long-cherished and conscientious convictions, and by his 
peculiar political environment, that led him into the 
most sympathetic relations with the South. It should 
be remembered that he was elected President over Gen- 
eral Fremont, a distinctly sectional candidate who was 


not thought of with any degree of favor in any State 
south of Mason and Dixon's line. It was an earnest 
battle against what was assailed as the ultra-sectionalism 
of the North, and it consolidated the South in support 
of Buchanan. It naturally intensified the sober judg- 
ment of his life against political Abolitionism, and he 
entered the Presidency owing his election to the solid 
vote of the Slave States. To these facts, which could 
not fail to profoundly impress Buchanan, it should be 
added that he was naturally a most conservative and 
strict-constructionist statesman. Born and reared in the 
Federal school, acting with the Federal party until he 
had become noted as a leader in Congress, and gravi- 
tating thence into the Democratic school when strict 
constructionists had settled upon State rights as the 
jewel of their faith, it is not surprising that Buchanan 
sympathized with the South in all the preliminary dis- 
putes which finally ended in sanguinary war. That he 
was radically wrong on the fundamental issues relating 
to the war when he entered the Presidency cannot be 
doubted. He foreshadowed the Dred Scott decision in 
his inaugural address, and evidently believed that it was 
to come as a final solution of the slavery dispute, as it 
greatly enlarged the constitutional protection of slave- 
holders; and his support of the lawless and revolutionary 
Lecompton policy, into which he and his party were 
dragooned by the Southern leaders, engulfed him and 
his administration in the maelstrom of secession. Thus 
was he drifting, step by step, insensibly into the hands 
of those who, however fair in declaration or promise, 
were treasonable in purpose, and sought through him to 
wield the power of the government to aid rather than 
hinder the disruption of the Republic. It is only just to 
Buchanan, however, to say that whenever he was brought 
face to face with the true purposes of the Southern lead- 


ers he reversed his own policy, revised his Cabinet, and 
made his administration quite as aggressive as was wise 
under the circumstances in asserting the paramount au- 
thority of the Union. 

The crisis that changed Buchanan's whole policy on 
the question of Secession was initiated on the i2th of 
December, 1860, when General Cass resigned his posi- 
tion as Secretary of State because he could not har- 
monize with Buchanan's views in meeting the question. 
Cass was greatly enfeebled by age, and Buchanan left a 
private record on Cass' resignation in which he stated 
that until that time the only difference between them 
that he had knowledge of was on the ground that 
Buchanan had failed to assert with sufficient clearness 
that there was no power in Congress or the government 
to make war upon a State to hinder it in separating from 
the Union. The retirement of Cass was speedily followed 
by the enforced resignations of Floyd from the War De- 
partment and Cobb from the Treasury. Philip Thomas 
of Maryland succeeded Cobb; Joseph Holt of Kentucky 
succeeded Floyd; Attorney-General Black was promoted 
to Secretary of State; and Edwin M. Stanton made his 
successor as Attorney-General. Thomas remained in 
office only a month, when he was succeeded by General 
Dix, an aggressive loyalist. Stanton, Dix, and Holt 
were aggressively against every form of treasonable re- 
bellion, and they gave a visibly altered tone to every- 
thing about the administration in the preliminary dis- 
putes with the leading Secessionists. One of the first 
acts of South Carolina after her formal withdrawal from 
the Union was to appoint Commissioners to proceed to 
Washington to treat with the government of the United 
States for peaceable separation and the recognition of 
the independence of the Palmetto State. These Com- 
missioners proceeded to Washington, and were cour- 


teously received by Buchanan as citizens of South Caro- 
lina, without any recognition of their official capacity, 
and several misunderstandings arose between them as to 
what was accepted or agreed upon in relation to the mili- 
tary status in Charleston. 

It finally became necessary for Buchanan to give a 
formal answer to the South Carolina Commissioners as 
to the attitude of the government and his purposes as its 
Executive. He prepared an answer without consulting 
any of the members of his Cabinet, in which he said: 
' ' I have declined for the present to reinforce these forts 
(in Charleston harbor), relying upon the honor of South 
Carolinians that they will not be assaulted while they 
remain in their present condition, but that Commis- 
sioners will be sent by the convention to treat with Con- 
gress on the subject." In this paper Buchanan assumed 
that he had no power to take any action as President 
that the whole dispute was one to be submitted to Con- 
gress. He added, however, that ' ' if South Carolina 
should take any of these forts, she will then become the 
assailant in a war against the United States." In the 
many interesting conversations I had with the late Judge 
Black on the subject of the difficulties in Buchanan's 
Cabinet, I received from his own lips detailed accounts 
of almost every incident of importance that occurred, 
and what I state in regard to the answer of Buchanan to 
the South Carolina Commissioners I give from distinct 
recollection on his authority. On the 2Qth of December, 
soon after Buchanan had written the original draft of his 
answer to the Commissioners, he submitted it to his Cab- 
inet. It was little criticised at the Cabinet meeting by 
any of the President's constitutional advisers, and Black 
was ominously silent. He was profoundly grieved at the 
attitude the President had assumed, and his strong per- 
sonal devotion to Buchanan made his position one of 


extreme delicacy. He was the one man of the Cabinet 
whom Buchanan regarded as his close personal and po- 
litical friend. He did not express his views to any of 
his Cabinet associates until he had spent an entire night 
in anxious reflection as to his duty. On the following 
day he called upon Buchanan and told him frankly that 
if he sent the answer to the South Carolina Commission- 
ers as originally prepared he (Black) must resign from 
the Cabinet, because he could not assent to the govern- 
ment being placed in such an attitude. It was seldom 
that Buchanan ever betrayed emotion, but when Black 
informed him that they must separate Buchanan was 
moved even to tears. Few words passed between them, 
and Buchanan handed Black the original paper with the 
request to modify it in accordance with his own views, 
and return it as speedily as possible. Black then wrote 
the paper that went into history as the answer of 
Buchanan to the Commissioners. Before he presented it 
to the President it was carefully considered and revised 
by Black, Holt, and Stanton, who then were, and there- 
after continued to be, with Dix, the aggressively loyal 
members of the Buchanan Cabinet; and in their actions 
they had the hearty sympathy and support of the Pres- 

One of the common accusations against Buchanan is 
that he failed to reinforce the garrisons in the Southern 
forts and protect them from capture by the Secessionists. 
A careful study of the facts, however, shows that Bu- 
chanan was utterly without an army to protect these 
forts. He and General Scott had a somewhat bitter dis- 
pute on this point after Buchanan's retirement from 
office, but Scott's own statement proves that he had no 
intelligent knowledge of the ability of the government 
to reinforce the forts, or that he, as commander-in-chief 
of the army, made an official suggestion to the President 


that was impossible of execution. On the 29th of Octo- 
ber, 1860, Scott addressed Buchanan on the subject of 
these Southern forts, and he enumerated nine of them 
that would be exposed to easy capture unless speedily 
reinforced. On the day after thus addressing the Presi- 
dent, Scott pointedly illustrated the absurdity of his 
recommendation by saying to the President, ' ' There is 
one regular company at Boston, one here at the Narrows, 
one at Portsmouth, one at Augusta, Georgia, and one at 
Baton Rouge." According to Scott's own statement, 
there were but five companies of the army then within 
the reach of the government to garrison or reinforce the 
threatened forts. These five companies did not aggre- 
gate four hundred men, and these four hundred men, 
scattered from Boston to Baton Rouge, were presented 
by Scott himself as the resources of the government for 
the protection of nine forts in six Southern States. 

Our little army of that day was all needed on our then 
remote frontiers to protect settlers and emigrants from 
the savages who ruled in those regions, and it would 
have required weeks, and in some cases months, to bring 
them to the East for the protection of the endangered 
forts. Even when war came and the frontiers had to be 
stripped of their military protection wherever it was pos- 
sible, there were but few regular troops at the battle of 
Bull Run. Scott and Buchanan both agreed that there 
was danger of turbulence at the inauguration of Lin- 
coln, and they cordially co-operated with each other to 
take the most effective measures to preserve peace on 
that occasion. After gathering all the troops that could 
be marshaled from every part of the country to serve at 
the inauguration, they finally got together six hundred 
and thirty, and they made their arrangements for the 
inauguration with that small military display because 
the commander-in-chief of the army could not summon 


a larger force. It was simply impossible, therefore, for 
President Buchanan to garrison or reinforce the South- 
ern forts, for the reason that he had not the men with 
which to do it. There was but one way to save the 
Southern forts, and that was to garrison them so strongly, 
with ample provisions and munitions of war, that they 
would be invulnerable to assault. To have sent inade- 
quate reinforcements to any of these forts in the then 
inflamed condition of the public mind in the South 
would have been to wantonly provoke attack upon forces 
that could not protect themselves. Had Lincoln been 
President he could not have done more without doing 
what would have been accepted as an open declaration 
of war against the South, and Lincoln would no more 
have committed that folly than did Buchanan. It would 
have been a wise thing to do if we had had an army of 
thirty or forty thousand men. Then all the forts could 
have been garrisoned and reinforced, and they could 
have had the support necessary in case of threatened 
assault; but our government was entirely unprepared for 
defence, and when we were compelled to face the peril 
of war the army could not be increased without making 
the North either measurably or wholly responsible for 
precipitating a civil conflict. The intelligent and dis- 
passionate American citizen, who carefully reads the 
whole story of the action of Buchanan and his Cabinet 
in co-operation with Scott, must reach the conclusion 
that Buchanan was not in any degree at fault for the 
failure to garrison or reinforce the forts in the South- 
ern States. 

On the important question of Buchanan's support of 
the government after war had been commenced by the 
assault on Sumter, he has fortunately left the most posi- 
tive and multiplied evidence of his patriotic loyalty to 
the Union. He was singularly reticent during the war, 


and his silence was misconstrued into a lack of sympa- 
thy with the government. After his retirement from 
the Presidency he was most mercilessly vilified, brutally 
misrepresented as deliberately disloyal, and he seems to 
have abandoned the hope of correcting public sentiment 
and doing himself justice until the flood-tide of passion 
had run its course. He was, however, in constant com- 
munication with his leading friends throughout the 
country, and to every one of them, from the beginning 
of the war until its close, he expressed the most patriotic 
convictions, and uniformly urged the earnest support of 
the war and its most vigorous prosecution. In Septem- 
ber, 1861, he was invited by an intimate friend to deliver 
a public address on the condition of the country and the 
attitude of the government. In his answer he said, wri- 
ting in the frankness of sacred friendship, ' ' Every per- 
son who has conference with me knows that I am in 
favor of sustaining the government in the vigorous pros- 
ecution of the war for the restoration of the Union. But 
occasion may offer when it may be proper for me author- 
itatively to express this opinion to the public. Until that 
time shall arrive I desire to avoid any public exhibition." 
In a private letter to James Buchanan Henry, his nephew, 
immediately after he had heard of the firing upon Sum- 
ter, he said : ' ' The Confederate States have deliberately 
commenced a civil war, and God knows where it may 
end. They were repeatedly warned by my adminis- 
tration that an assault on Fort Sumter would be civil 
war and they would be responsible for the conse- 
quences. ' ' 

On the i Qth of April, 1861, soon after the bombard- 
ment of Sumter, he wrote to General Dix, who had then 
been announced as the president of a great Union meet- 
ing soon to be held, at which he advised him to repeat 
the admonitions the administration had given to South 


Carolina against precipitating war. He referred to the 
fact that as Dix had been - a member of the Cabinet at 
the time he could speak with great propriety of the utter 
want of excuse on the part of South Carolina for firing 
upon Sumter. In this letter he said : ' ' The present ad- 
ministration had no alternative but to accept the war 
initiated by South Carolina or the Southern Confed- 
eracy. The North will sustain the administration to a 
man, and it ought to be sustained at all hazards." 
Again, on the 26th of April, writing to Mr. Baker, he 
said: "The attack on Fort Sumter was an outrageous 
act. The authorities at Charleston were several times 
warned by my administration that such an attack would 
be civil war, and would be treated as such. If it had 
been made in my time it should have been treated as 
such." In a letter to Mr. Stanton, May 6, when Stan- 
ton was writing to Buchanan fiercely criticising Lincoln 
and every act of the administration, Buchanan said: 
"The first gun fired by Beauregard aroused the indig- 
nant spirit of the North as nothing else could have done, 
and made us an unanimous people. I repeatedly warned 
them that this would be the result." In a letter to Mr. 
King, July 13, he said: "The assault upon Fort Sum- 
ter was the commencement of war by the Confederate 
States, and no alternative was left but to prosecute it 
with vigor on our part. Up until all social and political 
relations ceased between the Secession leaders and my- 
self I had often warned them that the North would rise 
to a man against them if such an assault was made. . . . 
I am glad that General Scott does not underrate the 
strength of his enemy, which would be a great fault in 
a commander. With all my heart and soul I wish him 
success." In a letter to Mr. L,eiper, August 31, he said: 
' ' I agree with you that nothing but a vigorous prose- 
cution of the war can now determine the question be- 


tween the North and the South. It is vain to think of 
peace at the present moment." 

In a letter to Dr. Blake, September 12, he said: " We 
must prosecute the war with the utmost vigor. May 
God grant us a safe deliverance and a restoration of the 
Union!" In a letter to Mr. King, September 18, he 
said : "I think I can perceive in the public mind a more 
fixed, resolute, and determined purpose than ever to pros- 
ecute the war to a successful termination with all the 
men and means in our power. Enlistments are now pro- 
ceeding much more rapidly than a few weeks ago, and I 
am truly glad of it. The time has passed for offering 
compromises and terms of peace to the seceded States. . . . 
There is a time for all things under the sun, but surely 
this is not the moment for paralyzing the arm of the 
national administration by a suicidal conflict among our- 
selves, but for bold, energetic, and united action." On 
the 28th of September, Buchanan addressed a letter to 
a committee of the citizens of Chester and Lancaster 
counties who had invited him to address a Union meet- 
ing at Hagersville. He declined because "advancing 
years in the present state of my health render it impos- 
sible. ' ' He said : ' ' Were it possible for me to address 
your meeting, waiving all other topics, I should confine 
myself to a solemn and earnest appeal to my countrymen, 
and especially those without families, to volunteer for the 
war and join the many thousands of brave and patriotic 
volunteers who are already in the field. This is the 
moment for action for prompt, energetic, and united 
action and not for discussion of peace propositions." 
In closing the letter he said that until the South shall 
voluntarily return to the Union u it will be our duty to 
support the President with all the men and means at the 
command of the country in a vigorous and successful 
prosecution of the war." 


In a letter to Mr. King, January 28, 1862, he said: u I 
do most earnestly hope that our army may be able to do 
something before the first of April. If not, there is 
great danger not merely of British, but of European, 
interference." In a letter to Mrs. Boyd, February 16, 
he said: u The Confederate States commenced this un- 
happy war for the destruction of the Union, and until 
they shall be willing to consent to its restoration there 
can be no hopes of peace." On the 4th of March he 
wrote Judge Black : * ' They (the South) chose to com- 
mence civil war, and Mr. Lincoln had no alternative but 
to defend the country against dismemberment. I cer- 
tainly should have done the same thing had they begun 
the war in my time, and this they well knew. " In a 
letter to Dr. Blake, July 12, he speaks of the deep anx- 
iety he felt about the safety of McClellan's army, with a 
heavy pressure removed from his heart when he learned 
that it was safe, and he then adds: "Without doubt his 
change of position in the face of a superior army evinced 
great skill in strategy; but why was the wrong position 
originallv selected? I still feel great confidence in 
McClellan, and with all my heart wish him success. 
Still, there is a mystery in the whole affair which time 
alone can unravel." On February 14, 1863, in a letter 
to Mr. Roosevelt, he expressed his great disappointment 
that a country so great as ours ( ' has not yet produced 
one great general." In a letter to Mr. Leiper, March 
19, he said: "I cannot entertain the idea of a division 
of the Union; may God in His good providence restore 
it!" In a letter to Mr. Schell, July 25, he expresses his 
profound regret at Governor Seymour's hostility to the 
national conscription law, and said: u The conscription 
law, though unwise and unjust in many of its provisions, 
is not in my opinion unconstitutional. ' ' So earnest was 
Buchanan in his efforts to have the Democracy of Penn- 


sylvania give the most cordial support to Lincoln and to 
the war that he even trangressed the lines of delicacy in 
a letter addressed to Judge Woodward, then a Supreme 
Justice and candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, ear- 
nestly appealing to him to sustain the national conscrip- 
tion law by a judicial decision. This he did as early as 
July, 1863, when the question was first raised in our 
courts. In a letter of September 5, also addressed to 
Judge Woodward, he offered an apology for having ad- 
vised him as to his judicial duties, and his apology was, 
as stated by himself, u I perceived that in New York the 
party was fast- making the unconstitutionality of the 
conscription law the leading prominent point in the 
canvass. ' ' 

On January 27, 1864, he wrote Mr. Capen, expressing 
his regret that ' ' the Democrats have made no issue on 
which to fight the Presidential battle," and on the i4th 
of March he wrote to the same friend, expressing the 
belief that it would be best if the Democrats would fail 
to succeed to power at the Presidential election of that 
year. On the 25th of August he wrote to the same 
friend, assuming that McClellan would be nominated, in 
which he said: " A general proposition for peace and an 
armistice without reference to the restoration of the 
Union would be, in fact, a recognition of their inde- 
pendence. For this I confess I am far from being pre- 
pared." On the 22d of September, writing to his 
nephew, Mr. Henry, he said: "Peace would be a very 
great blessing, but it would be purchased at too high a 
price at the expense of the Union. " In a letter to Mr. 
Capen of October 5 he declares his purpose to support 
McClellan for President, and he denounces the Chicago 
peace platform, and specially commends McClellan for 
having patriotically dissented from it. In the same let- 
ter he expresses some hope of McClellan' s election, and 


frankly says that " the recent victories of Grant, Sher- 
man, and Farragut have helped the Republicans," but 
he rejoiced at the victories of our armies and the pros- 
pect of the South submitting to a restoration of the 
Union. In a letter to Mr. Capen, December 28, he says: 
"I agree in opinion with General McClellan that it is 
fortunate both for himself and the Democratic party that 
he was not elected." In a letter to Mr. Flinn, April, 
1865, he speaks most feelingly of the assassination of 
Lincoln, and says: "I deeply mourn his loss from pri- 
vate feelings, and still more deeply for the sake of the 
country. Heaven, I trust, will not suffer the perpetra- 
tors of the deed and their guilty accomplices to escape 
just punishment, but we must not despair of the Repub- 
lic." In a letter to Mr. Capen, October 19, 1867, he 
says: u Negro emancipation is a fixed fact, and so let 
it remain for ever; but the high privilege of voting can 
only be constitutionally granted by the legislatures of 
the respective States." He heartily accepted emanci- 
pation, but he felt that the Democracy had an issue on 
which it could stand in a patriotic attitude opposing 
universal negro suffrage. 

Thus from the day that civil war was precipitated 
upon the country by the madness of secession until the 
last insurgent gun was fired there was not an utterance 
from James Buchanan that did not exhibit the most 
patriotic devotion to the cause of the Union. 

In the flood of light thrown upon the actions of 
Buchanan and Lincoln as nearly a generation has come 
and passed away, the intelligent and unbiased reader of 
the truth of history will be amazed to learn how closely 
the policy of Lincoln adhered to the policy inaugurated 
by Buchanan after he had been compelled to face the 
issue of actual secession and armed rebellion. From the 
day that Judge Black revised the answer of Buchanan to 


the South Carolina Commissioners the aims and efforts 
of Buchanan were uniformly and earnestly in the line 
of the most patriotic devotion to his responsible duties; 
and when he had such men as Black, Dix, Stanton, and 
Holt by his side, the majority, and the absolutely domi- 
nant element, of his Cabinet were aggressively loyal to 
the government, and made heroic effort to exercise every 
power they possessed to maintain the integrity of the 
Union. Whatever may have been Buchanan's political 
errors during the greater part of his administration, and 
however those errors may have strengthened the arms of 
secession, it* is only simple justice to one of the most con- 
scientious and patriotic of all our Presidents to say that 
when Buchanan was brought face to face with the fruits 
of his policy he severed all political and social intercourse 
with the leaders who had controlled his election, and cast 
his lot and all the power of the government on the side 
of unqualified loyalty. Not only did the call of Lincoln 
for troops to prosecute the war after the firing upon 
Sumter command the uniform and earnest support of 
Buchanan, but he heartily sustained the government in 
every war measure, even to the extent of assenting to 
emancipation. Such a record demands the commenda- 
tion rather than the censure of our only Pennsylvania 
President; and I have performed the task of attempting 
to present him justly to the American people all the more 
gratefully because there are no lingering bonds of special 
personal or political sympathy between us. He is entitled 
to justice from every honest American citizen, and I have 
sought to give him justice nothing more, nothing less. 


HORACE GREELEY was one of the earliest and 
most fretting of the many thorns in the political 
pathway of Abraham Lincoln. They served together in 
Congress in the winter of 1848-49, when Greeley was 
chosen to a short term to fill a vacancy. Speaking of 
Lincoln some years after his death, Greeley, referring to 
his association with him in Congress, said that Lincoln 
was * ' personally a favorite on our side, ' ' and adds : ' ' He 
seemed a quiet, good-natured man; did not aspire to 
leadership, and seldom claimed the floor." For ten 
years after these two memorable characters separated as 
members of Congress Lincoln was little known or heard 
of outside of his State of Illinois, and when his great 
contest with Douglas for the Senate attracted the atten- 
tion of the whole country in 1858, Greeley, with his 
powerful Republican organ, vastly the most potent polit- 
ical journal in the country, took positive grounds in favor 
of the return of Douglas to the Senate by the Republi- 
cans of Illinois, because of Douglas' open hostility to 
the Lecompton policy of the Buchanan administration. 
This attitude of Greeley 's Tribune was one of the most 
serious obstacles that confronted Lincoln in his great 
campaign against Douglas, and it is possible that the 
influence of the Tribune may have lost Lincoln the leg- 
islature. He carried the popular vote and elected the 
Republican State ticket, but Douglas won the legislature 




and was re-elected to the Senate. Thus did Greeley 
antagonize Lincoln in the first great battle he made for 
national leadership in politics, and with the exception 
of a single act of Greeley 's, in which he served Lincoln 
to an extent that can hardly be measured, when in the 
early part of 1860 he opened the broadsides of the 
Tribune against Seward's nomination for President, he 
was a perpetual thorn in Lincoln's side, seldom agreeing 
with him on any important measure, and almost con- 
stantly criticising him boldly and often bitterly. 

The first assault made on the Seward lines that at- 
tracted any attention from the country was the unex- 
pected and aggressive revolt of Greeley 's Tribune against 
Seward some months before the meeting of the Chicago 
Convention that nominated Lincoln. It attracted special 
attention from considerate Republicans throughout the 
country, because this assault came from the ablest Re- 
publican editor of the nation, from Seward's own State, 
and from one who was presumed to be Seward's personal 
and political friend. It was not then known to the pub- 
lic that on the nth of November, 1854, he had written 
a pungent letter to Seward and formally severed all po- 
litical association with him, to take effect in the follow- 
ing February, when Seward was re-elected to the United 
States Senate. The letter was written in strict confi- 
dence, but in 1860, when the friends of Seward keenly 
felt Greeley 's criticisms on Seward's availability as a 
Presidential candidate, and especially in the bitter dis- 
appointment of Seward's friends after his defeat at Chi- 
cago, such free allusions were made to the contents of 
this letter and to Greeley 's personal animosity that at 
Greeley 's request the letter was made public. Until 
Greeley had thus thrown his great Tribune into the con- 
test against Seward's nomination Seward was the gen- 
erally-accepted Republican candidate for President in 


1860, and, notwithstanding the ability and influence 
exerted by Greeley and his newspaper, the Republicans 
of the country elected a convention overwhelmingly in 
favor of Seward. It was Greeley, however, who drove 
the entering wedge that made it possible to break the 
Seward column, and I shall never forget the smile that 
played upon his coiintenance as he sat at the head of the 
Oregon delegation in the Wigwam at Chicago and heard 
the announcement that Abraham Lincoln had been nomi- 
nated as the candidate of the convention for President. 
He had made no battle for Lincoln. His candidate was 
Edward Bates of Missouri, whose cause he championed 
with all his fervency and power; but it is evident that in 
selecting Bates as his favorite he had been influenced 
solely to choose the most available candidate to contest 
the honor with Seward. After Bates, he was for any one 
to beat Seward, and when Lincoln became the chief 
competitor of Seward he was more than willing to ac- 
cept him. After the nomination of Lincoln, Greeley 's 
Tribune was leader of leaders among the Republican 
journals of the land in the great struggle that elected 
Lincoln President. But his rejoicing over the success 
of Lincoln was speedily chilled by the announcement 
that Seward would be called as premier of the new ad- 
ministration. The appointment of Seward as Secretary 
of State meant the mastery of Thurlow Weed in wield- 
ing the patronage and power of the administration in 
New York, and it meant much more than that to Gree- 
ley. It meant that all the power that Seward and Weed 
could exercise would be wielded relentlessly to punish 
Greeley for his revolt against Seward. On the very day 
that Lincoln entered the Presidency, therefore, Greeley 
was hopelessly embittered against him, and while no 
man in the whole land was more conscientious than 
Greeley in the performance of every patriotic and per- 


sonal duty, he was also human, and with all his bound- 
less generosity and philanthropy he was one of the best 
haters I have ever known. 

Soon after Lincoln's election Greeley put himself in 
an attitude that he must have known at the time was an 
utterly impossible one for Lincoln to accept. That he 
was influenced in any degree by a desire to embarrass 
Lincoln I do not for a moment believe, but it is none 
the less the truth of history that, after having done 
much to make Lincoln's nomination possible, he did 
more perhaps than any one man in the country to assure 
his election, and then he publicly demanded that Lin- 
coln should be so far forgetful of his oath to maintain the 
Constitution as to permit the Southern States to secede 
in peace. Only three days after Lincoln's election Gree- 
ley published an editorial in the Tribune in which he 
said: "If the Cotton States shall become satisfied that 
they can do better out of the Union than in it, we insist 
on letting them go in peace. . . . The right to secede 
may be a revolutionary one, but it exists nevertheless. 
We must ever resist the right of any State to remain in 
the Union and nullify or defy the laws thereof. To 
withdraw from the Union is quite another matter, and 
whenever a considerable section of our Union shall de- 
liberately resolve to get out we shall resist all coercive 
measures designed to keep it in. We hope never to live 
in a republic whereof one section is pinned to another 
by bayonets." Again, on the iyth of December, 1860, 
just after the secession of South Carolina, a leading edi- 
torial in the Tribune, speaking of the Declaration of 
Independence, said: "If it justified the secession from 
the British empire of three million of colonists in 1776, 
we do not see why it would not justify the secession of 
five million of Southerners from the Federal Union in 
1 86 1. . . . If seven or eight contiguous States shall pre- 


sent themselves at Washington saying, 'We hate the 
Federal Union; we have withdrawn from it; we give 
you the choice between acquiescing in our secession and 
arranging amicably all incidental questions on the one 
hand, and attempting to subdue us on the other,' we 
would not stand up for coercion, for subjugation, for we 
do not think it would be just. We hold to the right of 
self-government even when invoked in behalf of those 
who deny it to others." Less than two weeks before 
the inauguration of Lincoln, on the 23d of February, 
1 86 1, and the same day on which his paper announced 
Lincoln's midnight journey from Harrisburg to Wash- 
ington, Greeley said in a leading editorial: "We have 
repeatedly said, and we once more insist, that the great 
principle embodied by Jefferson in the Declaration of 
American Independence, that governments derive their 
just powers from the consent of the governed, is sound 
and just, and that if the Slave States, the Cotton States, 
or the Gulf States only choose to form an independent 
nation, they have a clear moral right to do so. When- 
ever it shall be clear that the great body of Southern 
people have betome conclusively alienated from the 
Union and anxious to escape from it, we will do our best 
to forward their views. ' ' 

Such were the pointed and earnest utterances of Gree- 
ley between the period of Lincoln's election and of his 
inauguration, and it is needless to say that these utter- 
ances not only grieved but embarrassed Lincoln to an 
extent that can hardly be appreciated at this time. Had 
Greeley stood alone in these utterances, even then his 
position and power would have made his attitude one of 
peculiar trouble to Lincoln, but he did not stand alone. 
Not only the entire Democratic party, with few excep- 
tions, but a very large proportion of the Republican 
party, including some of its ablest and most trusted 


leaders, believed that peaceable secession, that might 
reasonably result in early reconstruction, was preferable 
to civil war. The constitutional right of coercion by 
the government upon a seceded State was gravely dis- 
puted by most Democratic statesmen and by many Re- 
publican statesmen; and it is worthy of note that Lin- 
coln, like Buchanan, studiously avoided any attempt at 
coercion until the South wantonly precipitated war by 
firing upon the starving garrison in Fort Sumter. The 
first gun fired upon Sumter solved the problem of coer- 
cion. Coercion at once ceased to be an issue. The 
South had coerced the government into war by cause- 
lessly firing upon the flag of the nation and upon a gar- 
rison that had committed no overt act of war; and from 
that day until the surrender of the Southern armies to 
Grant and Sherman the overwhelming sentiment of every 
Northern State demanded the prosecution of the war to 
conquer Secession. Had Buchanan or Lincoln fired a 
single gun solely to coerce the Southern States to re- 
main in the Union, the North would have been hope- 
lessly divided, and the administration would surely have 
been overthrown in any attempt to prosecute the war. 
Greeley recognized the fact that the firing upon Sumter 
ended the issue of coercion as understood and discussed 
until that time, and from the day that Lincoln issued his 
call for seventy-five thousand troops to engage in the war 
that had been so insanely precipitated .against the gov- 
ernment he heartily sustained the President and his 
policy ; but he added new grief and fresh embarrassments 
to Lincoln by his fretful impatience and his repeated 
and emphatic demands that the army should be hurled 
against the Confederates as soon as it was organized. 
u On to Richmond!" was his almost daily battle-cry, 
and Greeley was overwhelmed with sorrow and humil- 
iation when at last his impetuous orders were obeyed 


and McDowell's army was defeated and hurled back into 
the intrenchments of Washington. 

When war was accepted as a necessity no man in the 
country was more earnest in his support of a most vig- 
orous and comprehensive war policy than was Greeley. 
After the lesson of the first Bull Run he appreciated the 
fact that a great war was upon us, and every measure 
looking to the increase of our armies and the mainte- 
nance of our severely strained credit was supported by 
the Tribune with all of Greeley 's matchless ability and 
vigor; but he was never without some disturbing issue 
with Lincoln and the policy of the administration. Sin- 
cerely patriotic himself, he was as sincere in his convic- 
tions on all questions of public policy, and he seldom 
took pause to consider the claims of expediency when 
he saw what he believed to be the way dictated by the 
right. He believed Lincoln equally patriotic with him- 
self, and equally sincere in every conviction and public 
act, but no two men were more unlike in their mental 
organization. Greeley was honest, aggressive, impul- 
sive, and often ill advised in attempting to do the right 
thing in the wrong way. Lincoln was honest, patient, 
considerate beyond any man of his day, and calmly 
awaited the fullness of time for accomplishing the great 
achievements he hoped for. Writing of Lincoln some 
time after his death, Greeley said that after the war be- 
gan " Lincoln's tenacity of purpose paralleled his former 
immobility; I believe he would have been nearly the 
last, if not the very last, man in America to recognize 
the Southern Confederacy had its armies been triumph- 
ant. He would have preferred death. ' ' That two such 
men should differ, and widely differ, and that Greeley 
should often differ in bitterness from Lincoln's apparent 
tardiness, was most natural; and with a great war con- 
stantly creating new issues of the gravest magnitude 


Greeley was kept in constant conflict with Lincoln on 
some great question while honestly and patriotically sup- 
porting the government in the prosecution of the war. 

The question of destroying slavery enlisted Greeley 's 
most earnest efforts when it became evident that a great 
civil war must be fought for the preservation of the 
Union, and on that issue he fretted Lincoln more than 
any other one man in the United States, because he had 
greater ability and greater power than any whose criti- 
cisms could reach either Lincoln or the public. While 
the Cabinet had as much discord as there was between 
Lincoln and Greeley, and while even great Senators and 
Representatives of the same political faith with the Pres- 
ident had serious dispute with him on the subject, Gree- 
ley was the most vexatious of all, for he was tireless in 
effort and reached the very heart of the Republican party 
in every State in the Union with his great newspaper. 
Notwithstanding the loyal support given to Lincoln by 
the Republicans throughout the country, Greeley was in 
closer touch with the active loyal sentiment of the peo- 
ple than even the President himself, and his journal con- 
stantly inspired not only those who sincerely believed in 
early Emancipation, but all who were inclined to factious 
hostility to Lincoln, to most aggressive efforts to embar- 
rass the administration by untimely forcing the Emanci- 
pation policy. Finally, Greeley 's patience became ex- 
hausted over what he regarded as the inexcusable inac- 
tion of Lincoln on the subject of Emancipation, and on 
the 2Oth of August, 1862, he published in his own news- 
paper an open letter to Lincoln denouncing him for his 
failure to execute the Confiscation Act in * * mistaken 
deference to rebel slavery," for bowing to the influence 
of what he called " certain fossil politicians hailing from 
the Border States," and because our army officers 
"evinced far more solicitude to uphold slavery than to 


put down the rebellion. ' ' Thus plainly accused by one 
whose patriotism Lincoln did not question and whose 
honesty of purpose he could not doubt, Lincoln felt that 
he could no longer be silent, and on the 22d of August 
he addressed a letter to Greeley that did more to steady 
the loyal sentiment of the country in a very grave emer- 
gency than anything that ever came from Lincoln's pen. 
It is one of Lincoln's clearest and most incisive presenta- 
tions of any question. Greeley, with all his exceptional 
tact and ability in controversy, was unable successfully to 
answer it. It was in that letter that Lincoln said : "I 
would save the Union; I would save it the shortest way 
under the Constitution;" and he followed these terse ut- 
terances with the statement, several times referred to in 
these articles, that he would save the Union either by the 
destruction or the maintenance of slavery as might best 
serve the great end he had in view. It should be remem- 
bered that at the time this letter was written by Lincoln 
to Greeley his draft of the Emancipation Proclamation 
had been prepared nearly one month, and precisely one 
month after he wrote the letter he issued his preliminary 
proclamation ; but the letter gives no indication whatever 
as to his action on the issue beyond his concluding sen- 
tence, in which he says: "I intend no modification of 
my often expressed personal wish that all men for ever 
could be free." 

This constant friction between Greeley and Lincoln 
logically led Greeley into the ranks of the opposition to 
Lincoln's renomination in 1864, and he labored most 
diligently to accomplish Lincoln's overthrow. His ripe 
experience in politics prevented him from falling in with 
the few disappointed Republican leaders who nominated 
Fremont at Cleveland before the Baltimore Convention 
met. He would gladly have joined in that effort had he 
not fully appreciated the fact that the occasion was too 


momentous to organize a faction on personal or political 
grievances; but, while he kept aloof from the Fremont 
movement, he aggressively resisted the nomination of 
Lincoln, and on the day the convention met he published 
an earnest protest and indicated very clearly that Lin- 
coln's nomination meant Republican defeat He had 
long been in intercourse with the friends of Chase, and 
he would gladly have accepted Chase or Grant, or, in- 
deed, almost any other Republican in the country whose 
name had been mentioned for the Presidency, in prefer- 
ence to Lincoln. When Lincoln was renominated by 
practically an unanimous vote, Greeley avoided direct 
antagonism to the party, but earnestly co-operated with 
Senator Wade and Representative Davis in their open 
rebellion against Lincoln. Wade and Davis issued an 
address to the people of the United States that appeared 
in Greeley 's journal on the 5th of August, in which Lin- 
coln was severely arraigned for usurping the authority 
of Congress and for withholding his approval to a bill 
presented to him just on the eve of adjournment, for the 
purpose, as they assumed, of holding "the Electoral 
votes of the rebel States at the dictation of his personal 
ambition." Such an appeal, coming from two of the 
ablest of the Republican leaders, cast a dark gloom over 
the prospects of the Republican party, and to the sup- 
port of this revolt Greeley added an ostentatious and ill- 
advised effort to negotiate a peace through a plausible 
adventurer commonly known as "Colorado" Jewett. 
The effusive and irrepressible George N. Sanders was 
involved in it, and through Greeley they communicated 
to Lincoln a basis of peace that Greeley was led to be- 
lieve the South would accept. 

The terms suggested were the restoration of the Union, 
the abolition of slavery, universal amnesty, payment of 
$400,000,000 for the slaves, full representation to be given 


to the Southern States in Congress, and a National Con- 
vention to be called at once to engraft the new policy on 
the Constitution. Instead of maintaining the secresy 
necessary to the success of an adjustment of the difficulty 
between the sections then at war, the Greeley-Jewett ne- 
gotiations soon became public, and Lincoln was earnestly 
importuned by Greeley to meet the emergency by open- 
ing the doors widely to the consideration of any proposi- 
tion of peace. Lincoln, in his abundant caution, al- 
though entirely without hope of accomplishing anything 
by the Greeley negotiations, transmitted a paper to be 
delivered to the Confederates who were assuming to act 
for the South a statement over his signature saying 
that any proposition for ' ' the restoration of peace, the 
integrity of the whole Union, and the abandonment of 
slavery, and which comes by and with an authority that 
can control the armies now at war against the United 
States, will be received and considered by the executive 
government of the United States, and will be met by 
liberal terms on other substantial and collateral points, 
and the bearer or bearers thereof shall have safe-conduct 
both ways." Greeley had become enthusiastic in his 
efforts to accomplish peace. He was a lover of peace, an 
earnest and inherent foe of the arbitrament of the sword 
under all circumstances, and when he found that the 
whole effort made to arrest fraternal war brought only 
a contemptuous rejection of Lincoln's proposition from 
those who assumed to represent the Confederate govern- 
ment, he was profoundly humiliated. It is fortunate for 
both Greeley and the country that Messrs. Clay and Hoi- 
combe, who assumed to speak for the Confederate gov- 
ernment, refused even to consider the question of peace 
on the basis of a restored Union and the abandonment 
of slavery. Had they entertained the proposition, or 
even pretended to entertain it, they would have misled 


Greeley into a violent crusade against the further prose- 
cution of the war and into as violent hostility to the 
re-election of Lincoln. 

The pronounced anti-war platform of the Democratic 
Convention that nominated McClellan against Lincoln 
was even less to Greeley 's liking than the attitude of the 
Republicans, and finally, as the Wade and Davis mani- 
festo seemed to have fallen stillborn upon the country, 
and Greeley 's negotiations for peace had ended disas- 
trously, without credit to any, Greeley had no choice but 
to fall in with the Lincoln procession and advocate the 
success of the Republican ticket. Sherman's capture 
of Atlanta and Sheridan's victories in the Valley started 
the tidal wave in favor of Lincoln, and Greeley was quite 
prepared, through his sad experiences in his hostility to 
the administration, to fall in with the tide and share the 
victory his party was then certain to win. After Lin- 
coln's re-election there was little opportunity for Greeley 
to take issue with Lincoln. During the winter of 1865 
he earnestly favored every suggestion looking to the ter- 
mination of the war upon some basis that would bring 
the South back into cordial relations with the Union. 
The failure of the Hampton Roads conference between 
Lincoln and the Confederate Commissioners was regretted 
by Greeley, but he no longer criticised Lincoln with his 
old-time severity; and when, after Lee's surrender and 
the final triumph of the Union cause, Lincoln's life was 
taken by the assassin's bullet, Greeley and Lincoln were 
more nearly in harmonious relations than they had ever 
been at any time from the day of Lincoln's inauguration. 
When the war ended Greeley was the first prominent 
man of the country to demand universal amnesty and 
impartial suffrage. A leading editorial in the Tribune 
demanding the forgiveness of the insurgents as the price 
of universal suffrage to the freedmen startled the coun- 



try, and cost Greeley the Senatorial honors he much 

While Greeley was one of the founders of the Repub- 
lican party, and certainly did more to make it successful 
than any other one man of the nation, he gathered few 
of its honors and was seldom in harmony with Repub- 
lican authority in State or nation. His rebellion against 
Seward in 1860 cost him an election to the United States 
Senate in 1861. His universal amnesty and suffrage pol- 
icy, proclaimed immediately after the war, again defeated 
him as a Senatorial candidate in 1865, and while he ac- 
cepted Grant for President in 1868 and supported his 
election with apparent cordiality, he very soon drifted 
into a hostile attitude toward the administration. Grant 
had none of Lincoln's patience and knew little of Lin- 
coln's conciliatory methods; and when Greeley rebelled 
Grant allowed him to indulge his rebellious ideas to his 
heart's content. Long before the close of Grant's first 
administration Greeley was ripe for revolution, and was 
one of the earliest of those who inaugurated the Liberal 
Republican movement of 1872 that nominated Greeley 
as its candidate for President. I cordially sympathized 
with the revolt against Grant in 1872, and was chairman 
of the delegation from Pennsylvania in the Cincinnati 
Convention. My relations with Greeley had been of the 
most friendly character from the time I first met him 
when a boy-journalist at the Whig Convention in Phila- 
delphia in 1848, and I not only profoundly respected his 
sincerity, his philanthropy, and his masterly ability, but 
I cherished an affection for him that I felt but for few, 
if any, of our public men. He was surprised when he 
learned from me, after the delegation to the Liberal Con- 
vention had been selected in Pennsylvania, that I was 
.not urging his nomination for President. He believed 
that all my personal inclinations would make me favor 


him at any time that it might be in my power to do so, 
and he made an appointment by telegraph to meet me at 
the Colonnade Hotel in Philadelphia to discuss the ques- 
tion of the Presidency. We met at the appointed time, 
and I greatly pained Greeley when I told him that I did 
not believe his nomination would be a wise one, because 
I saw no possible chance for his election. He believed 
me when I assured him that I had no candidate whom I 
preferred to him, and that I was influenced solely by my 
desire to protect him from a great personal disaster and 
the country from a failure in the then promising effort to 
overthrow the despotic political rule that had obtained 
under Grant. I told him that I did not believe it pos- 
sible for the Democrats to support him, and without 
their support his election would be utterly hopeless. 
After hearing me very fully, and evidently in great sor- 
row because of the attitude I assumed, he finally made 
this significant remark: "Well, perhaps the Democrats 
wouldn't take me head foremost, but they might take 
me boots foremost." I well understood that Greeley 
meant that while he might not be an available candidate 
for President, he might be an acceptable candidate for 
the second place on the ticket. I at once answered: 
' * Yes, Mr. Greeley, with a conservative Republican for 
President you can easily be nominated for Vice- Pres- 
ident and add great strength to the ticket." I said: 
"There are two names which seem to me to be the 
strongest David Davis and Charles Francis Adams: 
which would you prefer?" Greeley answered: "The 
name of Adams leaves a bad taste in my mouth ; I would 
prefer Davis;" and we finally agreed that I should go to 
the Cincinnati Convention and support the nomination 
of Davis for President and Greeley for Vice- President. 
While I knew that Greeley most reluctantly gave up 
the idea of being nominated for President, I did not 


doubt that his candidacy for that office was practically 
ended by our conference. When I went to Cincinnati, 
I there met Leonard Swett, John D. Defrees, Senator 
Fen ton, and others, and we started out to accomplish 
the nomination of Davis and Greeley. Some fifteen or 
twenty of us met at ten o'clock in the evening and de- 
cided on a programme by which we confidently expected 
to nominate Davis and Greeley on the first ballot. But 
while we were thus conferring General Frank P. Blair 
had gotten together a conference between some of the 
more radical supporters of Greeley and the supporters of 
B. Gratz Brown, and their conference ended by deciding 
to nominate Greeley for President and Brown for Vice- 
President. By this new combination we were deprived 
of the support of the important State of New York, and 
also lost a large support in the West. While many of 
the New York delegates would have preferred the nomi- 
nation of Davis and Greeley, when Greeley was presented 
as a hopeful candidate for President the delegation natu- 
rally united in his support, and Brown brought into the 
combination a large number of Western delegates who 
would have preferred Davis had they been free to exer- 
cise their own judgment in selecting a candidate. Davis 
was thus practically out of the race, and after giving a 
complimentary vote to Curtin a large majority of the 
Pennsylvania delegation united with me in supporting 
the nomination of Adams. I did not regard Adams as 
possessing the qualities of availability presented in Davis, 
but Adams seemed to be the only man who had a reason- 
able prospect of winning the nomination over Greeley. 
I was placed in the most unpleasant attitude of support- 
ing a man for President to whom I was almost an entire 
stranger, and for whom I had little personal sympathy, 
against Greeley, for whom I cherished the profoundest 
respect and affection. 


On the first ballot Adams led Greeley by a vote of 203 
to 147, with a large scattering vote between Trumbull, 
Brown, Davis, Curtin, and Chase. On the second ballot 
Adams rose to 243 and Greeley to 239, with Trumbull to 
148. On the third ballot Adams had 264, Greeley 258, 
and Trumbull 156. On the fourth ballot Adams in- 
creased to 279, and Greeley fell off to 251, with Trum- 
bull still holding 141. On the fifth ballot Adams had 
309 and Greeley 258; and on the sixth and final ballot, 
as first reported, Greeley led Adams 8 votes, having 332 
to Adams 324. This was the first ballot on which Gree- 
ley led Adams, and it clearly indicated that the conven- 
tion was resistlessly drifting to Greeley as its candidate. 
There was at once a rush from different delegations to 
change votes from Adams to Greeley. I did not partici- 
pate in it, and only when a majority of votes had been 
cast and recorded for him did I announce the change 
of the Pennsylvania delegation to Greeley. The ballot 
as finally announced was 482 for Greeley and 187 for 
Adams. While the balloting was in progress Greeley 
was sitting in his editorial room in the Tribune office 
along with one of his editorial assistants, who informed 
me that Greeley became intensely agitated as the sixth 
ballot developed his growing strength; and when the 
telegrams announced that he led Adams on that vote, he 
excitedly exclaimed: u Why don't McClure change the 
vote of Pennsylvania ?' ' The next bulletin he received 
announced his nomination, and he promptly telegraphed 
to Whitelaw Reid, then his chief editorial associate, who 
was in attendance at the convention: " Tender my grate- 
ful acknowledgments to the members of the convention 
for the generous confidence they have shown me, and 
assure them that I shall endeavor to deserve it." 

I was greatly disappointed at the result of the conven- 
tion, and was deeply grieved at what I regarded as a 


cruel sacrifice of one of the men I most loved and the 
surrender of a great opportunity to win a national vic- 
tory in the interest of better government and sectional 
tranquility. The nomination of Greeley carried with it 
the nomination of B. Gratz Brown for Vice- President, 
and when the convention adjourned I returned to my 
room at the hotel feeling that our work was farcical, 
because I did not regard it as possible for the Democrats 
to accept Greeley. Before midnight, however, a number 
of leading Democrats from different parts of the country 
who were in constant touch with the convention pulled 
themselves together, and their utterances given to the 
world the next morning foreshadowed the possibility 
that the Democrats would accept Greeley and Brown; 
but even when the Democratic National Convention 
with substantial unanimity accepted both the candidates 
and the platform of the Liberal Republicans, I saw little 
hope for Greeley 's election, as I feared that the Demo- 
cratic rank and file could not be brought to his support. 
For some time after both conventions had nominated 
Greeley we had a Greeley tidal-wave that seemed likely 
to sweep the country. In Pennsylvania, as chairman 
of the Liberal State Committee, I had voluntary letters 
from hundreds of leading Republicans in every section 
of the State indicating their purpose to fall in with the 
Greeley current, but the loss of North Carolina early in 
August not only halted the Greeley tide, but made its 
returning ebb swift and destructive. With this obvious 
revulsion in the political current the great business in- 
terests of the country were speedily consolidated in oppo- 
sition to any change in the .national administration, and 
there never was a day after the North Carolina defeat 
when Greeley 's election seemed to be within the range 
of possibility. 

The September elections proved that Greeley 's nomi- 




nation made no impression upon the Republicans in New 
England, including his native State of Vermont, where 
it was hoped he would have thousands of Republican 
followers, and the October elections came like an ava- 
lanche against the Liberal movement. Greeley delivered 
campaign speeches in New England and in the Middle 
States which were models of statesmanlike ability, but 
he was fighting a hopeless battle; and when the October 
elections cast their gloom upon his political hopes he was 
called to nurse a dying wife, where for nearly a month 
he passed sleepless nights, and closed her eyes in death 
only a week before his overwhelming defeat in Novem- 
ber. Thus at once broken in heart and hope, the most 
brilliant and forceful editor the country has ever pro- 
duced, and one of the sincerest and most tireless of 
American philanthropists, pined away in the starless 
midnight of an unsettled mind until the 29th of No- 
vember, 1872, when he passed to his final account. Im- 
mediately after the election I had written him a personal 
letter expressing my sincere sympathy with him in his 
multiplied misfortunes. One of the most valued of my 
mementos of the men of the past is his reply, dated No- 
vember loth, the last day on which he ever wrote any- 
thing, as follows: 


NEW YORK, November 10, 1872. 

I am a man of many sorrows, and doubtless have deserved 
them, but I beg to say that I do not forget the gallant though 
luckless struggle you made in my behalf. I am not well. 

Yours truly, 

Coi,. A. K. McC^URE, 

144 So. Sixth St., Philada. 

Thus ended one of the most useful and one of the sad- 
dest lives of the last generation. He was of heroic 


mould in his matchless battles for the lonely and help- 
less, and was always invincible in political controversy, 
because his integrity was ever as conspicuous as his abil- 
ity; but he was as impatient as he was philanthropic, 
and he most longed for what was so pointedly denied 
him the generous approval of his countrymen. He 
was made heart-sore when he saw the colored voters, 
whose cause he had championed when no political party 
had the courage to espouse it, almost unitedly oppose his 
election to the Presidency; and finally, smitten in his 
home, in his ambition, and in his great newspaper, Hor- 
ace Greeley, broken in heart and hopelessly clouded in 
intellect, gave up the battle of life, and slept with his 
loved ones who had gone before. 

(Photo by Gutekunst, Phila ) 



FAR down in the beautiful Cumberland Valley, the 
old-time heartsome village of Chambersburg was 
one of the chief attractions a generation ago. It was 
founded by the sturdy Scotch-Irish pioneers, who carried 
their severe religion and not less severe detestation of 
despotism with them, and mingled their prayers with 
their warfare against the savage and the soldiers of King 
George. The memorable pioneer whose name the village 
bears chose a lovely spot as his home and the heritage of 
his children, where the soft murmurs of the crystal waters 
of Falling Spring are lost in the Conococheague, and the 
united waters course through the centre of the town on 
their journey to the sea. Here more than a century had 
been devoted to the genial civilization that made Cham- 
bersburg first in the affections of its people ; and its homes, 
palatial for that day; its grand elms and lindens which 
arched the walks with their shades; its cultured people, 
with just pride of ancestry and equal pride of present 
character and usefulness, made it one of the most de- 
lightful of Pennsylvania towns for citizen or visitor. It 
had none of the paralysis that comes when u wealth ac- 
cumulates and men decay ;' ' large fortunes were unknown, 
but plenty, thrift, and comfort stamped their impress 
upon the community. 

In the summer of 1859 a man of rather rude aspect, 
but of grave and quiet demeanor, was noticed by the 



village crowd that usually gathered in social converse 
about the post-office while the evening mail was being 
distributed. He attracted little attention, as he seldom 
spoke save when spoken to, and then only in the briefest 
way. He was known as u Dr. Smith," and was reputed 
to be engaged in the development of iron-mines on the 
Potomac, some twenty-five miles distant. He lodged at 
a private boarding-house off from the centre of the town, 
and there was nothing in his sayings or doings to excite 
any apprehension that his mission was anything else than 
a peaceful one. This man was John Brown, then of 
Kansas fame, and later immortalized in song and story 
throughout every civilized land. The supposed mining- 
implements which he was storing in Chambersburg were 
the rude pikes with which the negroes of Virginia were 
to be armed in their expected insurrection against their 
masters. There was not a man, woman, or child in 
Chambersburg who then dreamed that * ' Dr. Smith ' ' 
was John Brown not one who knew or suspected his 
real purpose. None of the many who then saw him 
casually from day to day could have dreamed that the 
harmless-looking and acting * ' Dr. Smith ' ' was engaged 
in a drama the sequel of which would be enacted when 
the vandals' torch left the beautiful old village in ashes 
only five years later. The South ever believed that John 
Brown made Chambersburg the base for his mad raid on 
Harper's Ferry because he had many sympathizing con- 
fidants and abetters there; and that unjust prejudice re- 
solved all doubts as to dooming the town when McCaus- 
land rioted in its destruction on the 3oth of July, 1864. 

In the early part of October, 1859, ^ wo men > unknown 
to me, entered my office and asked to submit some legal 
matters in private. We retired to the private office, 
when the younger of the two, an intelligent and evi- 
dently positive man, gave his name as Francis Jackson 


Meriam of Boston, and his companion gave his name as 
John Henry. Meriam said that he was going on a jour- 
ney South; that he had some property at home; that acci- 
dents often happened to travelers ; and that he desired me 
to draw his will. I did so, and was not surprised that a 
young Boston traveler, after making a few special be- 
quests, gave his property to the Abolition Society of his 
native State. There was nothing in his appearance, 
manner, or conversation to attract any special attention 
to his proceeding, and his will was duly executed, wit- 
nessed, and, in obedience to his orders, mailed to the 
executor in Boston. When I asked Meriam' s companion 
to witness the will, he declined, saying that he was a 
traveler also, and that both the witnesses had better be 
in the same town. His real reasons for declining to wit- 
ness the will of his friend were first, that "John Henry " 
was none other than John Henry Kagi, and, second, be- 
cause he presumed his life to be as much in peril as was 
that of his friend. The sequel proved that he judged 
well, for Kagi was killed in the attack on Harper's 
Ferry, while Meriam escaped. When the two visitors 
left they were no more thought of in the village lawyer's 
office until the startling news came of Brown's attempt 
to capture Harper's Ferry and to arm the slaves of Vir- 
ginia in general insurrection. Then, to my surprise, I 
read the name of the testator in the will I had written a 
short time before, and the name and description of an- 
other assured me that his fellow-visitor in my office was 
the then fallen John Henry Kagi. 

It may be remembered that of the twenty-one who 
composed John Brown's army of invasion, Watson 
Brown, Oliver Brown, John Henry Kagi, Adolphus 
Thompson, and Stewart Taylor, whites, and Sherrard 
Lewis Leary, Dangerfield Newby, and Jeremiah Ander- 
son, colored, were killed in the battle, and that William 


H. L,eeman and William Thompson were killed in at- 
tempting to retreat. Owen Brown, Barclay Coppoch, 
Charles P. Tidd, and Francis Jackson Meriam, whites, 
and Osborne P. Anderson, colored, escaped. They made 
their way through the forests of the South Mountain to 
Chambersburg, traveling only by night; were concealed 
in a retired grove near Chambersburg for several days to 
enable the wounded men of the party to recruit their 
strength, and then went on by short night-marches 
across the South Mountain to the Juniata Valley, near 
Bell's Mills, where they were taken in charge by a 
prominent citizen of Harrisburg, whose dust has long 
mouldered with that of John Brown. Meriam left the 
party at Chambersburg, took the cars, and went through 
to Boston without detection. Only two residents of 
Chambersburg knew of the presence of the fugitives, 
and they are no longer numbered among the citizens of 
the town whose history forms such an important chapter 
in the annals of our terrible civil war. John E. Cook, 
Edwin Coppoch, Aaron D wight Stevens, and Albert 
Hazlitt, whites, and John Copeland and Shields Green, 
colored, were captured, and, with John Brown their 
leader, convicted of murder at Charlestown, Virginia, 
and executed in December, 1859. Hazlitt was the first 
of the fugitives captured in Pennsylvania. He was 
arrested while walking along the Cumberland Valley 
Railroad near Shippensburg, and lodged in the jail at 
Carlisle. His captors supposed him to be Captain Cook, 
and that error cost Cook his life on the gibbet. A requi- 
sition was quietly obtained from Richmond for the ren- 
dition of Cook. When it arrived the identity of Hazlitt 
had been established, but the requisition remained within 
thirty miles of Chambersburg, to surprise Cook and return 
him to Virginia just when he had perfected his plans for 
escape. Cook was the last of the fugitives to be cap- 


tured, and the circumstances and manner of his arrest, 
the strange miscarriage of his apparently certain oppor- 
tunities of escape, and his heroism in the lawless cause 
that so blindly misguided him make a truthful story be- 
fore which the fascinating inventions of romance pale. 

I was the counsel of John E. Cook in Chambersburg, 
and the only person entirely familiar with the inner his- 
tory of his capture and the plans of escape. The com- 
munity of which Chambersburg was the centre of busi- 
ness and sentiment was nearly equally divided on the 
political issues of that day; but the undertow of anti- 
slavery conviction was stronger than the partisan dogmas 
which made one-half the people declare slavery a lawful 
and therefore a defensible institution. Fervent and elo- 
quent speeches would be made on the stump in every 
campaign against interference with slavery and in favor 
of the faithful observance of the mandates of the Con- 
stitution, and glittering resolves would emanate from 
party conventions in favor of the Union, the Constitu- 
tion, and trie laws; but the practical division of the com- 
munity on the issues of obedience to the Constitution and 
the laws which commanded the rendition of fugitive slaves 
left here and there a despised negro-catcher on the one side 
and all the people on the other side. There was no Demo- 
crat in Franklin County to accept a commissionership under 
the Fugitive Slave Law. I have seen two Democratic 
president judges administer the laws with a singleness of 
purpose to hold the scales of justice in even balance; and 
I have known a prominent Democratic candidate for the 
same position, once a member of Congress, who pub- 
licly demanded justice to the South by the rendition of 
slaves; but all of them would feed the trembling sable 
fugitive, hide him from his pursuers, and bid him God- 
speed on his journey toward the North Star. The Demo- 
cratic president judge who personally remanded Captain 


Cook to the custody of the Virginia authorities for exe- 
cution would have assented to and aided his escape had 
they met simply as man and man outside the sacred obli- 
gations of the law. There was no sentiment in Frank- 
lin County or elsewhere in the North to give any practical 
enforcement to the Fugitive Slave Law; and in every 
contest between slave and master and in every issue re- 
lating to slavery the people were profoundly anti-slavery, 
however they resolved in convention or spoke in the 
forum or voted at the polls. This statement of the pub- 
lic sentiment that prevailed a quarter of a century ago 
in Southern Pennsylvania, hard by the slave border, and 
which was but a reflex of the sentiment of the North 
that gave practical effect to its teachings, will make the 
story of Captain Cook's apparently certain but singularly- 
defeated opportunities of escape better understood. 

It had been known for some days after the Brown raid 
on Harper's Ferry that Captain Cook was at large, and, 
as a liberal reward for his capture had been offered by 
Governor Wise of Virginia, and a minute description of 
his person published throughout the country, the whole 
skilled and amateur detective force of the land was 
watching every promising point to effect his capture. 
The Northern cities, Hast and West, were on the watch 
to discover his hiding-place, but the forest-schooled and 
nature-taught detective of the South Mountain knew 
that some of its fastnesses must be his retreat. The 
broken ranges of the mountain on the southern border 
of Franklin embraced the line between Pennsylvania 
and Maryland, between the free and the slave States. 
It was the favorite retreat of the fugitive slave, and its 
nearness to Harper's Ferry, and its sacred temples of 
solitude where only the hunter or the chopper wandered, 
made it the most inviting refuge for the fleeing insurrec- 
tionist. Cook was known as a man of desperate courage, 


as a rare expert in the use of pistol and rifle, as a reckless 
desperado in the anti-slavery crusade; and his capture 
alive was not expected. He had braved assassination in 
Kansas, and all believed that he would resist to the death 
any attempt to capture him for Virginia vengeance on 
the gallows. He had been concealed in the mountain- 
recesses for some days with his companions, who subse- 
quently escaped through Chambersburg to the North, 
when he decided to seek out some woodman's home and 
obtain provisions. They were afraid to shoot game, lest 
the reports of their guns might indicate their retreat and 
lead to their capture. Cook was of a nervous, restless, 
reckless disposition, and he started out alone, going he 
knew not whither, to obtain food. He reasoned plausi- 
bly that he could not be captured by any one or two 
men, as he was well armed and thoroughly skilled in the 
use of his weapons. He took no thought of arrest, as, 
had a score of armed men confronted him, he would 
have sold his life as dearly as possible and died in the 
battle for his liberty. He understood that he might die 
any day or hour, but to be made a prisoner and be ren- 
dered up to Virginia justice to die on the gibbet was the 
one doom that he meant to escape. He felt safe, there- 
fore, in his venture out in the pathless mountains to 
claim the hospitality of some humble home in the wil- 
derness. And his judgment would have been justified 
had he not walked into the hands of the only man in 
Franklin County who combined with the. courage and 
the skill the purpose to capture him. 

Among the sturdy population of the mountaineers 
on the southern Pennsylvania border was a family of 
Logans. There were two brothers, both shrewd, quiet, 
resolute men, both strongly Southern in their sympathies, 
both natural detectives, and both trained in the summary 
rendition of fugitive slaves without process of law. It 



was common for slaves to escape from Maryland and 
Virginia into the South Mountain, whose broken spurs 
and extended wings of dense forest gave them reasonably 
safe retreat. Their escape would be followed by hand- 
bills describing the fugitives and offering rewards for 
their capture and return. These offers of rewards always 
found their way into the hands of Daniel and Hugh 
L,ogan, and many fleeing sons of bondage were arrested 
by them and quietly returned to their masters. Hugh 
followed his natural bent and went South as soon as the 
war began. He at once enlisted in the Confederate ser- 
vice, rose to the rank of captain, and was the guide in 
General Stuart's raid to Chambersburg in October, 1862. 
He then saved me from identification and capture, al- 
though my arrest was specially ordered, with that of a 
dozen others, in retaliation of Pope's arrest of Virginia 
citizens; and I was glad at a later period of the war to 
save him from summary execution as a supposed bush- 
whacker by General Kelley. Whatever may be said or 
thought of his convictions and actions, he sealed them 
with his life, as he fell mortally wounded in one of the 
last skirmishes of the war. His brother Daniel was less 
impulsive, and he did not believe that either slavery or 
freedom was worth dying for. He was then just in the 
early vigor of manhood and a man of rare qualities. 
He possessed the highest measure of courage, but never 
sought and seldom shared in a quarrel. He was a com- 
plete picture of physical strength, compactly and sym- 
metrically formed, and with a face whose clear-cut fea- 
tures unmistakably indicated his positive qualities. He 
was a born detective. Silent, cunning, tireless, and reso- 
lute, he ever exhausted strategy in his many campaigns 
against fugitives, and he seldom failed. Had he been 
city-born, with opportunities for culture in the pro- 
fession, Logan would have made one of the best chiefs 


of a detective bureau to be found in the country. But, 
mountain-born, unschooled save by himself, and trained 
only in the rude contests with fugitive slaves and an 
occasional criminal in the border wilderness, he finally 
wearied of his trade, and his arrest of Captain Cook was 
his last exploit in the detective line. He subsequently 
removed to Lancaster, where a very quiet, well-to-do, 
well behaved, and respected dealer in horses answers to 
the name of Daniel Logan. 

In a mountain-ravine near Mont Alto Furnace, Cleg- 
gett Fitzhugh, manager of the works, and a man of 
Southern birth and strong Southern sympathies, was 
overseeing a number of men at work, and Daniel Logan 
had happened to come that way and was engaged in 
casual conversation with him. The ravine is so hidden 
by the surrounding forest that one unacquainted with 
the locality would not know of its existence until he 
entered it. Captain Cook, in his wanderings in search 
of food, was surprised to find himself suddenly emerge 
from the mountain-thicket into an open space and within 
less than fifty yards of a number of workmen. He was 
clad and armed as a hunter, and he at once decided to 
evade suspicion by boldly meeting the men he could not 
hope to escape by flight. The moment he appeared the 
keen eye of Logan scanned him, and, without betraying 
his discovery in any way, he quietly said to Fitzhugh, 
"That's Captain Cook; we must arrest him; the reward 
is one thousand dollars. ' ' Fitzhugh heartily sympathized 
with Logan alike in hatred of the John Brown raiders 
and in desire for the reward, and he knew enough about 
Logan to say nothing and obey. Cook advanced in a 
careless manner to Logan and Fitzhugh, and told them 
that he was hunting on the mountains and wanted to re- 
plenish his stock of bread and bacon. Logan at once 
disarmed suspicion on the part of Cook by his well- 



affected hospitality, as he proposed to go at once with 
Cook to Logan's store which had no existence, by the 
way and supply the hunter's wants. Cook was so com- 
pletely thrown off guard by the kind professions of Lo- 
gan and Fitzhugh that he fell in between them without 
noticing how he was being flanked. His gun rested 
carelessly on his shoulder, and the hand that could grasp 
his pistol and fire with unerring aim in the twinkling of 
an eye was loosely swinging by his side. None but a 
Daniel Logan could have thus deceived John B. Cook, 
who had studied men of every grade in many perils ; but 
there was not the trace of excitement or the faintest be- 
trayal of his desperate purpose on the face of Logan. 
Thus completely disarmed by strategy, the little blue- 
eyed blonde, the most sympathetic and the fiercest of all 
John Brown's lieutenants, was instantly made powerless, 
as two rugged mountaineers, at a signal from Logan, 
grasped his arms and held him as in a vice. Cook was 
bewildered for a moment, and when the truth flashed 
upon him he struggled desperately ; but it was one small, 
starved man against two strong mountaineers, and he 
soon discovered that resistance was vain. 

( ' Why do you arrest me ?' ' was his inquiry, when he 
perceived that violence was useless. 

u Because you are Captain Cook," was the cool reply 
of Logan. 

Cook neither affirmed nor denied the impeachment, 
and the speedy search of his person settled the question, 
as his captain's commission in John Brown's army was 
found in an inner pocket. Cook was taken to Fitz- 
hugh' s house and stripped of his weapons, consisting 
of gun, revolver, and knife. He was allowed to eat a 
hasty meal, and was then placed, unbound, in an open 
buggy with Logan, to be taken to Chambersburg. He 
was informed that if he attempted to escape he would be 


shot; and it did not need an extended acquaintance with 
his captor to assure him that what he threatened he 
would certainly perform. He then gave up all hope of 
escape by either fight or flight. As they were journey- 
ing along the eighteen miles Cook found that his captor 
was less bloodthirsty than mercenary; and the following 
conversation, subsequently repeated to me by both par- 
ties, passed substantially between them: 

' l You will get a reward of one thousand dollars for 
me, you say?" queried Cook. 

" Yes, a thousand dollars," answered the sententious 

" They will hang me in Virginia, won't they?" was 
Cook's next inquiry. 

" Yes, they will hang you," was the chilling answer. 

"Do you want to have me hung?" was Cook's first 
venture upon the humane side of his captor. 

"No," was the prompt but unimpassioned answer of 

"Then you want only the reward?" was Cook's half- 
hopeful appeal to Logan. 

"Yes; that's all," was Logan's reply. 

Cook's naturally bright face beamed at once with hope 
as he enthusiastically entered into various plans for the 
payment of the sum that would ransom his life. He told 
Logan how a thousand dollars, or five times that sum, 
would not be a matter of a moment's consideration to 
his brother-in-law, Governor Willard of Indiana, or his 
other brother-in-law, a man of large fortune residing in 
Brooklyn ; but Logan distrusted this story of high digni- 
taries and large fortunes, and no practical way seemed 
open to make Cook's credit good enough to assure his 
discharge. Finally, he inquired of Logan whether there 
was no one in Chambersburg who would be likely to take 
an interest in him, and who could act as his counsel and 



assure Logan of the payment of the reward. Logan 
named me as a Republican Senator just elected, who 
might agree to act as his counsel. He proposed to take 
Cook to my office without revealing his identity to any 
others, and if I assured him of the payment of the re- 
ward he would walk away and leave Cook with me. 
With this truce between captor and captive they arrived 
in Chambersburg a little before sunset, put up at a hotel, 
and Logan sent for me. I had walked out to the south- 
ern suburbs of the town that evening after tea to look at 
some lots, and on my way back had stopped with a circle 
of men gathered about a small outskirt store. We had 
just closed one of the most desperate local contests of 
the State, and only those who know the sunny side of 
village politics can appreciate how an evening hour or 
more could thus be pleasantly spent. It was an out-of- 
the-way place, and among the last that would be thought 
of in deciding to look for me. Meantime, Logan had 
me searched for in every place where I was accustomed 
to stroll in the evening, until, as it grew late, his evident 
concern attracted attention, and he feared the discovery 
or suspicion of the identity of his prisoner. When dark- 
ness began to gather and all efforts to find me had been 
unsuccessful, he sent for an officer and started with his 
prisoner for the office of Justice Reisher, to deliver Cook 
to the custody of the law. The office of the justice was 
on the main street, about midway between the hotel and 
the suburban store where I had tarried, and as I walked 
leisurely homeward I noticed a crowd about the door of 
the little temple of justice. As I came up to the door 
Logan first noticed me from the inside, and hurried out 
to meet me, exclaiming in a whisper, with a betrayal of 
excitement that I had never before seen in him, " My 
God, Colonel McClure! where have you been? I have 
been hunting you for more than an hour. That's Cap- 


tain Cook, and I had agreed to bring him to you. Can't 
yon get him yet ?' ' 

I was greatly surprised, of course, and equally per- 
plexed at the grave results likely to follow. I quietly 
pressed my way into the office until the justice noticed 
me, and he at once addressed Cook, saying, u Here's 
your counsel now." 

Cook beckoned me to his side in the corner, and said, 
in a tone of visible despair, " I had expected to meet you 
at your office and escape this misfortune. ' ' He added, 
u I am Cook: there's no use in denying it. What's to be 

I turned to the justice, and said, "There is no dispute 
as to the identity of the prisoner: a hearing is needless. 
Let him be committed to await the demand for his ren- 

The justice would have been quite content had Cook 
been able to bounce through a window and escape, but 
that was not possible, and Cook was committed to prison. 
Logan repented of his work when he saw that he had sur- 
rendered a life for a price, and his last direction to me as 
we passed out of the office was, " Get Cook away, reward 
or no reward. ' ' 

Cook was conducted to the old jail, accompanied by 
the officer and myself; and I shall never forget the trem- 
ulous voice in which the sheriff inquired of me what pre- 
cautions he should take to secure the prisoner. I was 
in the doubly unpleasant position of being counsel for a 
prisoner whose life depended upon his escape from prison, 
and also counsel for the sheriff, who was more than ready 
to obey any instructions I might give him to facilitate 
Cook's escape without legal responsibility for the act. 
The sheriff was one of a class of simple countrymen who 
are as rugged in their political convictions and prejudices 
as in their physical organization. He ill concealed his 



willingness to let Cook get away if it could be done with- 
out official responsibility for the escape; and this he was 
more than willing to leave me to decide. I told him to 
take Cook and myself to a cell, leave us together, and 
admit no others. When the lawless little captive had 
got comfortably seated in his cell, I had my first oppor- 
tunity to note his appearance and qualities. His long, 
silken, blonde hair curled carelessly about his" neck; his 
deep-blue eyes were gentle in expression as a woman's; 
and his slightly bronzed complexion did not conceal the 
soft, effeminate skin that would have well befitted the 
gentler sex. He was small in stature, barely five feet 
five, and his active life on the Western theatre of war 
had left him without superfluous flesh. He was nervous 
and impatient; he spoke in quick, impulsive sentences, 
but with little directness, save in repeating that he must 
escape from prison. I reminded him that he could not 
walk out of jail, and that his escape that night, under 
any circumstances, would be specially dangerous to him- 
self and dangerous to the sheriff. My presence with him 
in the jail until a late hour and my professional relations 
as counsel of the sheriff forbade any needless haste. We 
carefully considered every possible method of getting a 
requisition for him from Richmond; and, assuming that 
Cook's arrest was telegraphed to Richmond that evening, 
a requisition by mail or special messenger could not pos- 
sibly reach Chambersburg the next day or night. It was 
decided, therefore, that he should not attempt to escape 
that night, but that the next night he should have the 
necessary instructions and facilities to regain his liberty. 
How or by whom he was to be aided need not be told. 
The two men who took upon themselves the work of 
ascertaining just where and by what means Cook could 
best break out of the old jail were never known or sus- 


pected as actively aiding the prisoner. One is now dead 
and the other is largely interested in Southern enter- 
prises. They did their part well, and, had Cook re- 
mained" in Chambersburg over the next day, he would 
have been following the North Star before the midnight 

I had spent half an hour with Cook when he first en- 
tered the prison, and then left him for an hour to confer 
with my law-partner about the possibility of a legal con- 
test to delay or defeat the requisition in case it should be 
necessary. I returned to the jail about ten o'clock, and 
had my last interview with Cook. As he never dreamed 
of a requisition reaching him before the second day, and 
as he was entirely confident of his escape the following 
night, he threw off the cloud of despair that shadowed 
him in the early part of the evening, and startled me 
with the eloquence and elegance of his conversation. 
His familiar discussion of poetry, painting, and every- 
thing pertaining to the beautiful would have made any 
one forget that he was in a chilly prison-cell, and im- 
gine that he was in the library of some romantic lover 
of literature and the fine arts. I became strangely in- 
terested in the culture that was blended with the mad 
desperation of the Virginia insurgent. He was evidently 
a man of much more than common intellectual qualities 
and thoroughly poetic in taste and temperament, with a 
jarring mixture of wild, romantic love of the heroic. 
He told me of his hairbreadth escapes in Kansas, of the 
price set upon his head; and his whole soul seemed to be 
absorbed in avenging the Kansas slavery crusades by 
revolutionary emancipation in the Slave States. When 
I asked him whether he would not abandon his lawless 
and hopeless scheme when he escaped, his large, soft eyes 
flashed with the fire of defiance as he answered, with an 
emphasis that unstrung every nerve in his body: u No! 



the battle must be fought to the bitter end ; and we must 
triumph, or God is not just. ' ' 

It was vain to argue with him the utter madness of 
attempting such a revolution, and its absolute lawless- 
ness: he rejected all law and logic and believed in his 
cause. And more: he fully, fanatically, believed in its 
justice: he believed in it as a duty as the rule of patriot- 
ism that had the sanction of a higher law than that of 
man. In short, John B. Cook was a wild fanatic on the 
slavery question, and he regarded any and every means 
to precipitate emancipation as justified by the end. He 
did not want to kill or to desolate homes with worse than 
death by the brutal fury of slave insurrection; but if such 
appalling evils attended the struggle for the sudden and 
absolute overthrow of slavery, he was ready to accept the 
responsibility and believe that he was simply performing 
his duty. I do not thus present Cook in apology for his 
crime; I present him as he was a sincere fanatic, with 
mingled humanity and atrocity strangely unbalancing 
each other, and his mad purposes intensified by the bar- 
barities which crimsoned the early history of Kansas. 

After half an hour thus spent almost wholly as a lis- 
tener to the always brilliant and often erratic conversa- 
tion of the prisoner, I rose to leave him. He bade me 
good-night with hope beaming in every feature of his 
attractive face. I engaged to call again the next after- 
noon, and left him to meet nevermore. He could have 
made his escape in thirty minutes that night, but it 
would have compromised both the sheriff and myself, 
and the second opportunity for his flight was lost. I 
reached my home before eleven o'clock, and was sur- 
prised to find Mrs. McClure and her devoted companion, 
Miss Virginia Reilly, awaiting me in the library, dressed 
to face the storm that had begun to rage without. They 
stated that they were about to proceed to the jail, ask to 


see Cook which they knew would not be refused them 
by the sheriff dress him in the extra female apparel 
they had in a bundle, and one of them walk out with 
him while the other remained in the cell. It was en- 
tirely practicable, and it required more than mere prot- 
estation on my part to prevent it. Even when assured 
that Cook would certainly escape the following night 
without embarrassment to the sheriff or any one else, the 
woman's intuition rejected the reason it could not answer, 
and only when it was peremptorily forbidden as foolish 
and needless did they reluctantly consent to abandon the 
last chance Cook could then have to escape. They were 
both strongly anti-slavery by conviction, and their lives 
were lustrous in the offices of kindness. Miss Reilly, 
better known in Philadelphia as the late accomplished 
wife of Rev. Thomas X. Orr, was the daughter of a 
Democratic member of Congress, and was positive in 
her party faith in all save slavery; and both women were 
of heroic mould. They many times reproached them- 
selves for not acting upon their woman's intuition with- 
out waiting to reason with man on the subject. Had 
they done so, Cook would have been out of prison, fleetly 
mounted, and the morning sun would have greeted him 
in the northern mountains. Their mission failed because 
forbidden when the escape of the prisoner by other means 
seemed as certain as anything could be in the future, and 
the ill-fated Cook lost his third chance for liberty. Both 
his fair would-be rescuers sleep the dreamless sleep of 
the dead, and the winds of the same autumn sang their 
requiem and strewed their fresh graves with Nature's 
withered emblems of death. 

About noon on the following day the sheriff rushed 
into my office, wild with excitement and his eyes 
dimmed by tears, and exclaimed, " Cook's taken away!" 
A thunderbolt from a cloudless sky could not have 


startled me more, but the painful distress of the sheriff 
left no doubt in my mind that he had stated the truth. 
He soon calmed down sufficiently to tell me how a req- 
uisition for Cook had been lying in Carlisle, only thirty 
miles distant by railroad, where it had been brought 
some days before when Hazlitt had been arrested and 
was believed to be Cook. The error had been corrected 
when the identity of Hazlitt had been discovered, and 
another requisition forwarded, on which he had been 
returned to Virginia; but the Cook requisition remained 
with the sheriff of Cumberland. When Cook's arrest 
was announced the requisition was brought on to Cham- 
bersburg in the morning train, and the officer, fearing 
delay by the sheriff sending for his counsel, called on the 
president judge, who happened to be in the town, and 
demanded his approval of the regularity of his papers 
and his command for the prompt rendition of the pris- 
oner. The judge repaired to the prison with the officer, 
and performed his plain duty under the law by declaring 
the officer entitled to the custody of Cook. The noon 
train bore the strangely ill-fated prisoner on his way 
to Virginia and to death. No man in like peril ever 
seemed to have had so many entirely practicable oppor- 
tunities for escape; but all failed, even with the exercise 
of what would be judged as the soundest discretion for 
his safety. 

His return to the Charlestown jail, his memorable 
trial, his inevitable conviction, his only cowardly act of 
submitting to recapture when he had broken out of his 
cell a few hours before his execution, and his final exe- 
cution with his captive comrades, are familiar to all. 
His trial attracted more attention than that of any of 
the others, because of the prominent men enlisted in his 
cause and of the special interest felt in him by the com- 
munity in and about Harper's Ferry. He had taught 


school there some years before, had married there, and 
his return as one of John Brown's raiders to kindle the 
flame of slave insurrection intensified the bitterness of 
the people against him. From the 28th day of October, 
1859, when he was lodged in the Charlestown jail, until 
the last act of the tragedy, when he was executed, Cook 
attracted the larger share of public interest in Harper's 
Ferry, much as Brown outstripped him in national or 
worldwide fame. Governor Willard, the Democratic 
executive of Indiana, appeared in person on the scene, 
and made exhaustive efforts to save his wayward but be- 
loved brother-in-law. Daniel W. Voorhees, now United 
States Senator from Indiana, was then United States Dis- 
trict Attorney of his State, and his devotion to his party 
chief made him excel every previous or later effort of his 
life in pleading the utterly hopeless cause of the brilliant 
little Virginia insurgent. It was a grand legal and for- 
ensic battle, but there was not an atom of law to aid the 
defense, and public sentiment was vehement for the 

Viewed in the clearer light and calmer judgment of 
the experience of more than thirty years, it would have 
been wiser and better had Virginia treated John Brown 
and his corporal's guard of madmen as hopeless lunatics 
by imprisonment for life, as was strongly advised by con- 
fidential counsels from some prominent men of the land 
whose judgment was entitled to respect; but Governor 
Wise, always a lover of the theatrical, made a dress- 
parade burlesque of justice, and on the i6th day of De- 
cember, 1859, amidst the pomp and show of the concen- 
trated power of the Mother of Presidents, John E. Cook 
paid the penalty of his crime on the gallows. No demand 
was ever made for the rendition of Cook's companions 
who had escaped from Harper's Ferry into the South 
Mountain with him. Some of them lived in Northern 


Pennsylvania without concealment, but no one thought 
of arresting them. A few months thereafter the long- 
threatening clouds of fraternal war broke in fury upon 
the country; the song of John Brown inspired great 
armies as they swept through the terrible flame of battle 
from the Father of Waters to the Southern Sea, and the 
inspiration that made lawless madmen of Brown and 
Cook at Harper's Ferry crowned the Republic with uni- 
versal freedom at Appomattox. 



great wars produce great victors, and they are 
crowned with the greenest laurels of the people for 
whose cause they have achieved success. These chief- 
tains live in history and their memory is gratefully cher- 
ished long after they have passed away ; but every great 
war has also its unrewarded heroes, whose merits are 
often equal to, sometimes even greater than, those who 
attained the highest measure of distinction. In war 
and politics nothing is successful but success, and the 
unsuccessful military commander and the unsuccessful 
politician are forgotten, whatever may be their personal 
merits, while those who win victories win the applause 
of the world. Accident, fortuitous circumstance, and 
personal or political influence aid largely in winning 
promotion in both peace and war, and a lost battle, how- 
ever bravely and skillfully fought, often deposes a com- 
mander, while a victory won, even in spite of the absence 
of the elements of greatness, may make a name immor- 
tal. The rewarded heroes of our late civil war are well 
known to the country and to the world, but that great 
conflict left unrewarded heroes whose names and merits 
should be crystallized in the history of the Republic. 
Prominent among these are General George G. Meade, 
General George H. Thomas, General Fitz John Porter, 
General G. K. Warren, and General D. C. Buell. 

The country has never done justice to General Meade 



as a military commander, and our varied histories, as a 
rule, have grudgingly conceded to him only what could 
not be withheld from him. The man who fought and 
won the battle of Gettysburg should have been the com- 
mander-in-chief of the armies of the Union and held 
that position during life. It was the great battle of the 
war; it was the Waterloo of the Confederacy, and the 
victory there achieved was won by the skill of the com- 
manding general and the heroism of his army. No man 
ever accepted a command under circumstances as embar- 
rassing and in every way discouraging as those which 
confronted General Meade when he succeeded Hooker as 
commander of the Army of the Potomac. That superb 
army had never up to that time won a decisive victory 
in a great battle. It had been defeated in 1861 under 
McDowell, in the spring of 1862 under McClellan on the 
Peninsula, again under Pope on the second Bull Run 
field, next under Burnside at Fredericksburg in the fall 
of 1862, and in 1863 under Hooker at Chancellorsville; 
and the only success it had achieved in pitched battle 
was the victory of Antietam. That was a victory only 
because Lee left the field vmassailed after the battle had 
been fought. Meade was called to the command within 
three days of the battle of Gettysburg, and was compelled 
to advance to meet the strongest and most defiant army 
that ever marched under the Confederate flag, and one 
that fully equaled his in numbers and that was flushed 
with repeated triumphs. His army was fresh from the 
humiliating discomfiture of Chancellorsville, distrustful 
of its own ability because of distrust in its commanders, 
and it had to be concentrated by forced marches to meet 
the shock of battle on Cemetery Hill. 

The Gettysburg campaign was in all material respects 
defensive. The government had little hope of anything 
more than repelling Lee's advance upon the national 


capital or upon Baltimore or Philadelphia. The destruc- 
tion of Lee's army was not to be thought of, for it was 
equal in numbers, equipment, and prowess to the ever- 
gallant though often-defeated Army of the Potomac. It 
was the single hope of the nation, for had it been de- 
feated in a great battle Washington and the wealth of our 
Eastern cities would have been at the mercy of the in- 
surgents. It was an occasion for the most skillful and 
prudent generalship, united with the great courage essen- 
tial to command successfully in such an emergency. All 
these high requirements General Meade fully met, and 
the most critical examination of the records he made in 
the Gettysburg campaign develops nothing but what 
heightens his qualities for the peculiarly grave emer- 
gency that confronted him. He has been thoughtlessly 
or maliciously criticised because he took the wise pre- 
caution to provide for his retreat from Gettysburg had 
the chances of war made it necessary, and also because 
he failed to pursue Lee more vigorously on the retreat, 
and decided not to assault him at Williamsport. 

When General Meade arrived at Gettysburg, which he 
did at the earliest hour possible, he knew how desperate 
the battle must be and how the advantage was with the 
enemy, as Lee had largely superior numbers on the first 
day, and should have had largely superior numbers on 
the second day. Not until the morning of the third day 
was Meade' s army all upon the field, and then one corps 
had made a forced march of nearly thirty miles. He 
had expected to fight a defensive battle east of Gettys- 
burg, and his topographical examinations had been care- 
fully made and his lines fully formulated. He thus acted 
as a wise and skillful general in making the earliest prepa- 
rations for the retirement of his army to another position 
in case he should be assaulted or flanked from his lines 
on Cemetery Hill. He was thus prepared to retire his 


army at any moment in perfect order, with every corps 
advised precisely where to form its new lines; but he 
proved by the dauntless courage with which he held his 
position at Gettysburg that he did not contemplate retreat 
until retreat became an absolute necessity. So far from 
being complained of for having looked beyond Gettys- 
burg for a position in which to fight the decisive battle 
with Lee, he is entitled to the highest commendation as 
a most skillful, brave, and considerate soldier. 

When Lee was defeated and retired from the field, the 
Army of the Potomac was worn by forced marches and 
fighting for more than a week, and more than twenty 
thousand of its gallant warriors were killed or wounded, 
and when the two armies were brought face to face again 
at Williamsport, they were yet equal in numbers, equal 
in prowess, and presumably equal in equipment, and Lee 
had the advantage of a chosen position for repelling as- 
saults upon his lines. Meade might have won another 
victory, but it would have been at such fearful sacrifice 
that no wise soldier would have attempted it. After 
Gettysburg, General Meade had but a single opportunity 
of displaying his generalship in handling the Army of 
the Potomac, and that was in the fruitless movement 
upon Mine Run, where by disobedience of his orders, 
owing to a mistake of one of his corps commanders, Lee 
was enabled to unite his forces in an impregnable posi- 
tion before the Army of the Potomac was ready for as- 
sault. He might have done at Mine Run as Grant did 
at Vicksburg and Cold Harbor, and as Burnside did at 
Fredericksburg, and sacrificed ten thousand men with 
only defeat as his reward; but General Meade was too 
great a soldier to sacrifice an army to conceal failures in 
generalship. General Grant, the victor of Vicksburg on 
the same day that Meade was victor at Gettysburg, added 
fresh laurels to his crown at Missionary Ridge, where he 


had overwhelming numbers to assure success. That 
achievement made him Lieutenant-General, as Meade 
would have been made had he succeeded at Mine Run 
and Grant failed at Missionary Ridge, and thenceforth 
Grant was the only chieftain the nation could know until 
his final victory at Appomattox. 

I first saw General Meade on the day that he reported 
for duty at Tenleytown, wearing his new brigadier's uni- 
form, to take command of a brigade of the Pennsylvania 
Reserves. He impressed me then, as he ever impressed 
those who came in close contact with him, as a thorough 
gentleman and soldier, quiet, unobtrusive, intelligent, and 
heroic, and in every battle in which he led his brigade 
or his division or his corps he was ever first in the fight 
and last to leave it. He would have won Fredericksburg 
had he been half supported, as his movement in the early 
part of the day was the only success achieved by any 
effort of the army in that disastrous battle; and when he 
was called to the command of the Army of the Potomac 
he hesitated long before accepting it, and finally accepted 
it only when it was pressed upon him as an imperious 
duty that he could not evade. 

I have reason to believe that Meade lost the Lieuten- 
ant-Generalship that was conferred upon Sheridan in 
1869 because of the disappointment in Washington at 
his failure to deliver battle to Lee at Williamsport. I 
saw Lincoln within a week after Lee's retreat from Penn- 
sylvania, and he inquired most anxiously and in great 
detail as to all the roads and mountain-passes from Get- 
tysburg to the Potomac. I was entirely familiar with 
them, and gave him minute information on the subject. 
After a somewhat protracted inquiry into the topography 
of the country, I asked Lincoln whether he was not sat- 
isfied with what Meade had accomplished. He answered 
with the caution that always characterized Lincoln in 



speaking of those who were struggling for the preserva- 
tion of the government. I remember his exact language 
as well to-day as if it had been spoken but yesterday. 
He said: " Now, don't misunderstand me about General 
Meade. I am profoundly grateful down to the bottom of 
my boots for what he did at Gettysburg, but I think that 
if I had been General Meade I would have fought an- 
other battle. ' ' The atmosphere about Washington was 
not friendly to Meade. He was all soldier, and would 
have died unpromoted had he been compelled to seek 
or conciliate political power to attain it. Stanton raved 
against him because he did 'not do the impossible thing 
of capturing Lee and his army, and political sentiment 
in and around the administration and in Congress settled 
down in the conviction that Meade had lost a great op- 
portunity. They would have deified Meade, when terror- 
stricken as Lee was marching upon Gettysburg, had he 
given them the assurance that he could drive Lee's army 
back defeated and broken upon its desolated Virginia 
homes; but when their fears were quieted by Meade' s 
hard-fought battle and decisive victory, they forgot the 
grandeur of his achievement and accused him of incom- 
petency for failing to fight at Williamsport. Had he 
fought there and been repulsed, as he had every reason 
to believe was more than probable had he attacked, he 
would have been denounced as rash and unfitted for com- 
mand; but he was censured for his wisdom; multiplied 
censure fell upon him for his wisdom at Mine Run; and 
thus the man who should have been the Great Captain 
of the war was subordinated, but performed his duty with 
matchless fidelity until the last insurgent flag was furled. 
That Meade was sore at heart because he felt that his 
best efforts as a soldier were not fully appreciated is 
known to all his personal associates. One month before 
General Grant was inaugurated as President, I met him 


on a railway-train going to Washington. He and his 
family were in a private car at the rear of the train. . 
When I learned that he was there, along with others I 
called to pay my respects. After a very brief conversa- 
tion I was about to leave him when he asked me to 
remain for a moment, as he wished to speak to me about 
the proposed abolishment of the rank of General, which 
he was soon to vacate when he became President, and to 
which Sherman was fairly entitled by regular promotion. 
He asked me to take some interest in the matter at Wash- 
ington and urge some of our prominent Pennsylvania 
Representatives to defeat the passage of the bill. I fully 
agreed with him, and in leaving him said, "The coun- 
try well understands who should succeed you as General 
in the army, but there is dispute as to who should suc- 
ceed Sherman as Lieutenant-General." I did not expect 
any intimation from Grant as to his choice for Lieuten- 
ant-General, but to my surprise he answered, "Oh, that 
is not a matter of doubt; Sheridan is fully entitled to it." 
The remark was not made in confidence, although none 
heard it but his family and myself. The names of Meade 
and Thomas were both freely discussed at that time as 
likely to reach the Lieutenant-Generalship, while few, 
if any, expected Sheridan, a junior major-general, to 
attain it. On my return from Washington I happened 
to meet General Meade in Col. Scott's room of the Penn- 
sylvania Railroad office, and without intimating that I 
had any information on the subject I inquired of him 
whether the Lieutenant-Generalship, soon to be vacant, 
would not, of right, go to the senior major-general of the 
army. General Meade answered very promptly and with 
great emphasis : u Of course, it can go only to the senior 
major-general; I could not with self-respect remain in 
the army for a day if any other should be appointed over 
me." I need hardly say that I did not venture to inform 


General Meade of the positive views expressed by Gen- 
eral Grant on the subject, as it would have wounded him 
beyond expression. A few weeks thereafter Grant was 
inaugurated and Sheridan promptly appointed to the Lieu- 
tenant-Generalship. I saw Meade many times thereafter, 
but always wearing the deep lines of sad disappointment 
in his finely-chiseled face. . The Lieutenant-Generalship 
was obviously a forbidden topic with him, and he went 
down to his grave one of the sorrowing and unrewarded 
heroes of the war. 

GEORGE H. THOMAS was another of the unrewarded 
heroes of the war. He was the same type of soldier as 
General Meade, cautious in movement and heroic in 
action, and both were modest and gentle as a woman in 
their private lives. No two men in the army more per- 
fectly completed the circle of soldier and gentleman, and 
either was equal to the highest requirements of even the 
exceptional duties imposed upon a great commander by 
our civil war. Either would have taken Richmond with 
Grant's army, and saved tens of thousands of gallant 
men from untimely death. Both of these men fought 
one great battle when in supreme command, Meade at 
Gettysburg and Thomas at Nashville, and they stand 
out single and alone in history as the two most decisive 
battles of the war. Meade dealt the deathblow to the 
Confederacy from Cemetery Hill; Thomas annihilated 
the army of Hood from the heights of Nashville, and 
thenceforth Hood's army is unknown in the history of 
the conflict. In all the many other achievements of 
these men they fought as subordinate commanders, and 
their records are unsurpassed by any of the many heroic 
records made by our military commanders. Both were 
considered as hopeful candidates for the Ivieutenant-Gen- 


eralship to which Grant appointed Sheridan. I remem- 
ber a conversation with Senator John Sherman soon 
after the election of Grant to the Presidency in 1868, in 
which he expressed the opinion that either Thomas or 
Meade would certainly be promoted when Grant became 
President; and at that time he certainly reflected the be- 
lief of his brother, then Lieutenant-General, who was 
soon to be promoted to the highest rank of the army. 
General Thomas's military record is one of the most 
remarkable to be found in the history of our civil con- 
flict. He is one of the very few commanders who never 
committed a serious military error, who never sacrificed 
a command, and who never lost a battle. He was prob- 
ably more cautious than Meade, but I doubt whether 
any man of all the generals of the war was better 
equipped for the supreme command of all our armies 
than George H. Thomas. He lacked Grant's persistent 
aggression, but Grant never lost a battle that Thomas 
would have fought, and never failed in an assault that 
Thomas would have ordered. His battle at Mill Spring, 
fought on the I9th of January, 1862, with an army of 
entirely raw troops, was one of the first important vic- 
tories of the war, and it directed the attention of the 
country to the great skill and energy of Thomas as a 
military commander. Soon after he was called to the 
command of one of the three wings of the army of 
Rosecrans, and in the bloody battle of Stone River his 
command played a most conspicuous part and contrib- 
uted more than any other to the victory that was finally 
wrested from Bragg on that memorable field. Again his 
name called out the homage of every loyal heart as he 
and his brave warriors stood alone to resist the success- 
ful enemy on the sanguinary battle-field of Chickamauga. 
He, and he alone, saved the army from utter rout in that 
disastrous battle, and it led to his promotion to the com- 



mand of the army as the successor of Rosecrans. In 
Sherman's great campaign from Chattanooga to Atlanta, 
Thomas was one of his most efficient lieutenants. So 
highly was he appreciated by Sherman that he was 
chosen from all of Sherman's subordinates to protect 
Sherman's rear by confronting Hood in Tennessee when 
Sherman started on his march to Savannah. When 
Sherman cut loose from his base of supplies and started 
on his romantic march through the heart of the rebel- 
lion, he left Thomas to give battle to Hood, knowing 
that Thomas would be outnumbered by the enemy, but 
entirely confident in Thomas's ability to maintain his 

The duty assigned to Thomas was one that required 
exceptional discretion and courage, and he was doubt- 
less chosen because he possessed those qualities in a pre- 
eminent degree. Had he given battle to Hood before 
he was entirely prepared to fight, even under the most 
favorable circumstances, he could have been easily over- 
whelmed, but Sherman confidently trusted Thomas, 
knowing that if any man could save an army Thomas 
was the man. Because of the inadequacy of his force to 
make an aggressive movement against Hood, Thomas 
was compelled to fall back upon Nashville, where he 
could best concentrate his army for the decisive conflict. 
He reached Nashville on the 3d of October, 1864, where 
he summoned scattered commands with all possible speed 
until he had gathered 25,000 infantry and 8000 cavalry 
to resist Hood's advance with 40,000 infantry and over 
10,000 cavalry. 

Sherman did not start upon his march to the sea until 
a month or more after Thomas had begun the concentra- 
tion of his army at Nashville, and until Hood had moved 
far enough against Thomas to make it impossible for him 
to pursue Sherman. So rapidly did Hood march north- 


ward that General Schofield was compelled to fight a 
desperate battle at Franklin before he was able to join 
Thomas at Nashville, where he arrived on the ist of 
December. On the next day after Schofield' s arrival 
the authorities at Washington became most importunate 
to have Thomas .deliver battle at once. Stanton tele- 
graphed Grant on the 2d of December, complaining of 
the * ' disposition of Thomas to lay in fortifications for an 
indefinite period. . . . This looks like the McClellan and 
Rosecrans strategy of do nothing and let the enemy raid 
the country." On the same day Grant telegraphed 
Thomas urging him to make an early attack upon Hood. 
On the same day he telegraphed him again, complaining 
that he had not moved out from Nashville to Franklin 
and taken the offensive against the enemy. To these 
complaints General Thomas replied on the same day that 
had he joined Schofield at Franklin he could have had 
no more than 25,000 men to take the offensive against 
nearly 50,000. Again, on the 5th of December, Grant 
telegraphed Thomas complaining of his delay in attack- 
ing Hood, and again Thomas answered that he could not 
take the aggressive for want of sufficient cavalry force 
that he was rapidly increasing and equipping. On the 
6th of December, Grant telegraphed Thomas a peremp- 
tory order in these words: "Attack Hood at once, and 
wait no longer for a remount for your cavalry. ' ' This 
dispatch was dated 4 p. M., and at 9 P. M. of the same 
evening Thomas replied: "I will make the necessary 
disposition and attack Hood at once, agreeably to your 
orders, though I believe it will be hazardous with the 
small force of cavalry now at my service. ' ' On the next 
day Stanton telegraphed Grant: "Thomas seems unwill- 
ing to attack because it is hazardous, as if all war was 
any but hazardous. If he waits for Wilson to get ready, 
Gabriel will be blowing his last horn." On the 8th of 


December, Grant telegraphed Halleck: "If Thomas has 
not struck yet, he ought to be ordered to hand over his 
command to Schofield. There is no better man to repel 
an attack than Thomas, but I fear he is too cautious to 
take the initiative." Halleck replied: "If you wish 
General Thomas relieved, give the order. No one here 
will, I think, interfere. The responsibility, however, 
will be yours, as no one here, so far as I am informed, 
wishes General Thomas removed." On the same day 
Grant telegraphed Thomas: "Why not attack at once? 
By all means avoid the contingency of a foot-race to see 
which, you or Hood, can beat to the Ohio." On the 
same day, in answer to Halleck' s inquiry about removing 
Thomas, Grant said : "I would not say relieve him until 
I hear further from him." At 11.30 P. M. of the same 
day Thomas telegraphed Grant: "I can only say, in 
further extenuation why I have not attacked Hood, that 
I could not concentrate my troops and get their trans- 
portation in order in shorter time than it has been done, 
and am satisfied I have made every effort that was pos- 
sible to complete the task." On the Qth of December, 
Halleck telegraphed Thomas: " Lieutenant-General Grant 
expresses much dissatisfaction at your delay in attacking 
the enemy;" and on the same day Grant telegraphed to 
Halleck : ' ' Please telegraph orders relieving him (Thomas) 
and placing Schofield in command." In obedience to 
this request of Grant, the War Department issued a gen- 
eral order reciting Grant's request to have Thomas re- 
lieved by Schofield, and assigning Schofield to the com- 
mand of the Department and Army of the Cumberland. 
On the afternoon of December Qth, Thomas telegraphed 
Halleck, expressing his regret at Grant's dissatisfaction 
at his delay in attacking the enemy, and saying that ' ' a 
terrible storm of freezing rain has come on since day- 
light, which will render an attack impossible till it 


breaks." On the same day he telegraphs Grant that if 
Grant should deem it necessary to relieve him, U I will 
submit without a murmur. " At 5. 30 P. M. of the same 
day Grant thought better of his purpose to relieve 
Thomas, and telegraphed to Halleck: " I am very un- 
willing to do injustice to an officer who has done so 
much good service as General Thomas has, however, 
and will therefore suspend the order relieving him until 
it is seen whether he will do anything." Two hours 
later he telegraphed to General Thomas, earnestly press- 
ing him to give early battle. The severe freeze that had 
covered the ground with ice, so that troops could not be 
manoeuvred at all, contined for several days, and on the 
nth Grant again telegraphed Thomas: u Delay no longer 
for weather or reinforcements. ' ' To this dispatch Thomas 
answered : ' ' The whole country is now covered with a 
sheet of ice so hard and slippery it is utterly impossible 
for troops to ascend the slopes, or even move on level 
ground in anything like order. . . . Under these circum- 
stances I believe that an attack at this time would only 
result in a useless sacrifice of life. ' ' On the following 
day, December i3th, Grant issued special orders No. 149, 
as follows: u Major-General John A. Logan, United States 
Volunteers, will proceed immediately to Nashville, Ten- 
nessee, report by telegraph to the Lieutenant-General his 
arrival at Louisville, Kentucky, and also his arrival at 
Nashville, Tennessee. ' ' 

General Logan started immediately upon his mission 
with an order in his pocket requiring General Thomas 
to transfer to him the command of the army. When 
he reached Louisville he learned that the battle was in 
progress, and he wisely halted and returned without vis- 
iting Nashville. On the evening of the I4th, Thomas 
telegraphed Halleck : * * The ice having melted away to- 
day, the enemy will be attacked to-morrow morning." 


In the mean time Grant had become alarmed at the pos- 
sible consequences of his own order in transferring the 
command from Thomas to Logan, and on the I4th he 
started for Nashville himself to take personal command. 
When he reached Washington he received the first infor- 
mation of Thomas's attack, and later in the evening a 
report of the great victory achieved, to which Grant re- 
sponded by the following dispatch to Thomas: "Your 
dispatch of this evening just received. I congratulate 
you and the army under your command for to-day's ope- 
rations, and feel a conviction that to-morrow will add 
more fruits to your victory. ' ' Stanton also telegraphed 
Thomas: "We shall give you a hundred guns in the 
morning." Two days later, when Grant learned how 
complete were Thomas's methods and his victory, he 
telegraphed Thomas: "The armies operating against 
Richmond have fired two hundred guns in honor of 
your great victory." 

I give the substance of these dispatches because it is 
necessary to convey to the public the peculiar attitude in 
which Thomas was placed before he fought the battle at 
Nashville. He was soldier enough to disobey the per- 
emptory order of the commander-in-chief when he knew 
that his commander could not know or appreciate the 
peril of an attempt to obey his orders, and he exhibited 
the most sublime qualities of a great soldier when, even 
in the face of his threatened removal from his command, 
he peremptorily refused to fight a battle that he was con- 
vinced could result only in disaster and in the needless 
sacrifice of life. The result so fully vindicated General 
Thomas that none have since questioned the wisdom of 
the position he assumed and maintained so heroically; 
but the fact that the battle of Nashville proved that 
Thomas was entirely right, and that Grant, Halleck, 
and Stanton were entirely wrong, doomed Thomas to 


disfavor with the government; and while he never could 
be censured by those who so severely criticised him, I 
fear that even Grant, with all his greatness, never fully 
forgave Thomas for the wrong that Grant had done him 
in regard to the battle of Nashville. It was the one 
battle of the war that was planned on the most thorough 
principles of military science and executed in its entirety 
with masterly skill ; and it is the only great battle of our 
civil war that is studied in the military schools of the 
world because of the completeness of the military strat- 
egy exhibited by Thomas. There were no more battles 
to be fought in the South-west after the battle of Nash- 
ville, as Thomas had left no enemy to confront him. 

I first met George H. Thomas in May, 1861, when he 
dined at my home in Chambersburg along with Generals 
Patterson, Cadwalader, Doubleday, and Keim, and Col- 
onels Fitz John Porter and John Sherman, who were 
serving as staff officers. Thomas was then a colonel, 
and commanded the regulars in Patterson's movement 
into the Shenandoah Valley. The war was freely dis- 
cussed by this circle of military men, and I well remem- 
ber that all those present, with the exception of Double- 
day and Thomas, freely predicted that it would not last 
over three months, and that no more than one or two 
battles would be fought. Doubleday aggressively dis- 
puted the theory generally advanced of an early peace, 
and Thomas, with that modesty that always character- 
ized him, was silent. Doubleday had met the South- 
erners in battle at Sumter, and he knew how desperately 
earnest they were; and Thomas was a son of Virginia, 
and knew that the Southern people were as heroic as 
any in the North. I saw him several times during that 
campaign, and much enjoyed visits to his camp; but 
even in the privacy of personal conversation he was 
most reluctant to discuss the situation, evidently because 



lie knew that the North did not understand, and could 
not be made to understand, the determined purpose of 
the Southern people to win independence. Our ac- 
quaintance that began at Chambersburg was maintained 
until his death, and whenever opportunity presented I 
always sought his companionship. He was one of the 
most lovable characters I have ever known, but it re- 
quired exhaustive ingenuity to induce him to speak 
about any military movements in which he was a prom- 
inent participant. Any one might have been in daily 
intercourse with him for years and never learned from 
him that he had won great victories in the field. 

After the war Thomas suffered in silence the disfavor 
of those in authority. It was doubtless the more dis- 
tressing to one of his sensitive temperament from the 
fact that there was no visible evidence of the injustice 
that was studiedly done him. Politicians tempted him 
to enter the field as a candidate for President, but he 
wisely declined, and on no occasion did he so grandly 
exhibit the higher qualities of the soldier and gentleman 
as when President Johnson, having quarrelled with Grant, 
decided to supersede Grant as commander-in-chief of the 
army by nominating Thomas to the same brevet rank 
held by Grant. The President went so far as to send his 
name to the Senate for confirmation as General by brevet, 
which would have enabled Johnson to assign Thomas to 
the command of the army. The President acted without 
conference with or the knowledge of Thomas, and as 
soon as Thomas learned of it he promptly telegraphed 
to Senator Chandler and others peremptorily refusing to 
accept the proffered promotion. After having served as 
commander of the third military district in the South 
and of his old Department of the Cumberland, he was 
finally assigned to the Military Division of the Pacific, 
and he arrived in San Francisco to assume his last com- 


mand in June, 1869. My last meeting with him was some 
time during the winter of 1870, when he made his last 
visit to Washington. We spent the evening together at the 
opera, and afterward sat until late in the night conversing 
on topics of general interest. I doubt whether any one 
ever heard him utter a single complaint, but it was ob- 
vious to those who knew him well that he felt humiliated 
and heart-sore at the treatment he had received from the 
military power of the government. Within a few weeks 
thereafter the lightning flashed from the Western coast 
the sad news that the great warrior's head had fallen 
upon his breast while sitting in his office, and on the 
evening of the same day one of the noblest but unre- 
warded heroes of the war passed away. 

GENERAL FITZ JOHN PORTER was the most conspicu- 
ous victim of military injustice in the history of our civil 
war. I doubt whether the military records of modern 
times in any civilized country present such a flagrant 
instance of the overthrow of one of the bravest and most 
skillful of officers by a deliberate conspiracy of military 
incompetents and maddened political partisans. He was 
the only one of McClellan's lieutenants who had proved 
his ability to exercise supreme command in fighting great 
battles, and I doubt whether there was then in the entire 
Army of the Potomac a more competent man for the su- 
preme command than Fitz John Porter; and certainly no 
one was more patriotic in his devotion to the cause of the 
Union. I first met him in the dark days of April, 1861, 
when he was sent to Harrisburg to represent General 
Scott in organizing and forwarding troops to the national 
capital. When communication between Washington and 
the North had been severed by the treasonable revolution 
in Baltimore, it became a grave question what action 


should be taken in Pennsylvania in the absence of orders 
from the national authorities. I shall never forget the 
last council held in the Executive Chamber at Harris- 
burg when General Patterson, Governor Curtin, and 
their advisers were compelled to act upon their own re- 
sponsibility. Bach in turn advised caution, as revolu- 
tion was in the air and it was impossible to devise a plan 
of operations with any assurance of safety. After all 
had spoken Fitz John Porter, the youngest of the party, 
who had won his promotion on the battle-fields of Mex- 
ico, spoke with an earnestness that inspired every one 
present. With his handsome face brightened by the 
enthusiasm of his patriotism, and his keen eye flashing 
the fire of his courage, he said to General Patterson and 
Governor Curtin: "I would march the troops through 
Baltimore or over its ashes to the defence of the capital 
of the nation. ' ' He was a thorough soldier and an ear- 
nest patriot, and had his counsels prevailed it would not 
have been left for General Butler to command obedience 
to the laws in Baltimore by his shotted guns on Federal 
Hill, nor would the government have been compelled to 
confess its weakness by shipping troops surreptitiously by 
Annapolis to Washington. 

Colonel Porter had been among the first of our soldiers 
called to active duty when the madness of Secession took 
shape by the capture of forts in the Secession States. 
He was ordered by General Scott to Texas, where he 
made earnest effort to save Albert Sydney Johnson from 
being engulfed in the maelstrom of rebellion. By his 
skill and energy the garrisons at Key West and Tortugas 
were reinforced and saved from capture, and when at 
Harrisburg, unable to reach his commander-in-chief or 
the War Department because of the interruption of com- 
munications, he took the responsibility of telegraphing 
to General Frank P. Blair of Missouri authority to mus- 


ter in troops for the protection of that State, whereby, as 
General Blair subsequently stated, Missouri was saved to 
the Union. Before the close of the first year of the war 
he had organized a division that attained the highest 
reputation as a model of discipline, and early in 1862 he 
went to the Peninsula with McClellan as a division com- 
mander. Immediately after the capture of Yorktown he 
was assigned to the command of the Fifth Army Corps, 
and with that corps he fought the battles of Mechanics- 
ville and Games' Mill, and won the highest encomiums 
from both General McClellan and the government for the 
ability he exhibited. After the failure of the Peninsula 
campaign, and when Pope was playing the braggart and 
sacrificing his army to his incompetency in the second 
Bull Run campaign, Porter was ordered to the relief of 
Pope, and, learning that L,ee was rapidly advancing upon 
Pope's defeated army, Porter disobeyed orders to stop at 
Williamsburg, and assumed the responsibility whereby 
he was enabled to join Pope several days earlier. He 
participated in the second Bull Run battle, and was 
finally compelled with the rest of the army to retreat 
into the defences of Washington. 

Pope was smarting under the disgraceful failure he had 
made as a military commander, and his cause was taken 
up by the embittered partisans who then sought the over- 
throw of McClellan and all who were supposed to be in 
friendly relations with him. General Porter was singled 
out for sacrifice, although so fully did General-in-chief 
Halleck and Secretary-of-War Stan ton confide in Porter's 
ability as a military commander that when the movement 
was made against L,ee in the Antietam campaign, Porter 
was directed to select a division of 12,000 from among 
several divisions and a commander among twenty gen- 
eral officers, and add them to his corps. With this com- 
mand he held the centre of the line of battle at Antie- 


tarn, and was one of the first to pursue L/ee in his retreat, 
and with his single corps fought the battle of Shepherds- 
town. Early in November, General McClellan was re- 
moved from the command of the Army of the Potomac, 
and one week later General Porter was relieved of the 
command of his corps. Pope preferred charges against 
him, and on the 25th of November, Porter was placed 
under arrest. The substance of the charges against him 
was that he had failed to obey an order from General 
Pope requiring him to start with his division to General 
Pope in the field. The court was chosen by Secretary 
Stanton, who had become so intensely inflamed against 
McClellan and all w r ho were supposed to be in sympathy 
with him that he had determined to eliminate them from 
the army, and he could dispense with so skillful and he- 
roic a soldier as Porter, after Lee had been driven back 
to Virginia, only by disgracing him. The court was 
organized to convict. By the verdict of the court-mar- 
tial he was not only dismissed from the army, but he was 
made a stranger to the country for which he had so gal- 
lantly fought, by depriving him of his citizenship and 
making him ineligible to any public position under the 

For fifteen years General Porter was compelled to bear 
the fearful stigma that had been put upon him by a court 
that simply obeyed the vindictive orders of its master. 
Many applications had been made from time to time to 
have his case reopened, and fully ten years before the 
effort was successful men like Governor Curtin, Senator 
Wilson of Massachusetts, and others had made earnest 
efforts to have a review of Porter's case. During the 
eight years in which Grant was President he had been 
earnestly urged to open the door for justice to a fellow- 
soldier, but he stubbornly refused; and it was not until 
after he had retired from the Presidency, and had care- 


fully studied the whole question from the accurate his- 
tory of both sections, that he became fully convinced of 
his error, and manfully declared, in an article published 
in the North American Review, that Porter had not only 
not failed to perform his duty as a soldier, but that he 
was entitled to the highest measure of credit for having 
performed his duty to the uttermost. In 1878, President 
Hayes authorized a military commission to review the 
judgment in Porter's case, and three of the most expe- 
rienced and respected generals of the army, Schofield, 
Terry, and Getty, were assigned to that duty. Two of 
these generals entered upon that duty inclined to the be- 
lief that Porter deserved censure if not dismissal, and it 
is not known that any one of the three was specially 
friendly to his cause. They heard all the evidence in 
the case, and they not only reversed the judgment of the 
partisan court that had condemned Porter by relieving 
him of all accusations of failing to perform his duty, but 
they declared: u Porter's faithful, subordinate, and intel- 
ligent conduct that afternoon (August 29th) saved the 
Union army from the defeat which would otherwise have 
resulted that day in the enemy's more speedy concentra- 
tion. . . . Porter had understood and appreciated the mil- 
itary situation, and so far as he had acted upon his own 
judgment his action had been wise and judicious. ' ' Such 
was the unanimous judgment of three of the ablest and 
confessedly among the most fair-minded generals of the 
army, but it was not until 1885 that a bill was finally 
passed authorizing General Porter's restoration to the 
army roll, upon which he had shed such conspicuous 
lustre in the early part of the war, and that bill was 
vetoed by President Arthur. General Porter was re- 
stored to the army on the 7th of August, 1886, by a 
subsequent act of Congress, and was permitted to exer- 
cise his own discretion as to active service or retiring 


with his original rank. In obedience to his own request 
he was placed upon the retired list. 

A memorable incident, not generally known in history, 
occurred about this time, arising from the retirement of 
General Pope from the major-generalship to which he 
had been so unjustly promoted. General Terry, who was 
one of the members of the military commission that had 
heard and decided the Porter case, was entitled by rank 
to succeed Pope as major-general, but he was as chival- 
rous in peace as he was in war, and so keenly did he feel 
the injustice under which General Porter had suffered 
that he not only proposed, but insisted, that General Por- 
ter should be promoted to the major-generalship in prefer- 
ence to himself as the only possible atonement the gov- 
ernment could make for the unspeakable wrong it had 
perpetrated. General Porter gratefully appreciated this 
manly action of General Terry, and, in the face of Gen- 
eral Terry's appeal to him to accept the promotion, he 
resolutely declined to be considered for the place, because 
it would have hindered the promotion of the equally gal- 
lant soldier who had vindicated the majesty of justice. 
General Grant, in a letter written December 30, 1881, 
speaking of Porter's case, said: "I have done him an 
injustice, and have so written to the President;" and 
from that time until the verdict of the military commis- 
sion was rendered Grant left no opportunity unemployed 
to aid in the restoration of Porter to the position and 
respect to which he was justly entitled. 

In 1869, General Porter was tendered by the Khedive 
of Egypt the position of commander-in-chief of his 
army, but he declined it, and recommended General 
Stone, who accepted it. Since then he has made his 
home in New York, where he has filled most important 
public and private positions, having served as Commis- 
sioner of Public Works, Assistant Receiver of the Cen- 


tral Railroad of New Jersey, as Police Commissioner, 
and later as Fire Commissioner of that city. He retired 
in 1889, since when he has been engaged in private busi- 
ness pursuits. Despite the fearful flood-tide of injustice 
that was flung upon him, General Porter has survived 
nearly all his assailants, and the few who survive with 
him are now ashamed to whisper even an accusation 
against his heroism or his honor as a soldier. He is yet 
in the full vigor of life, and while his accusers have been 
forgotten where the names of men are cherished with 
respect, he lives beloved by all who know him and hon- 
ored by every soldier of the land. Many of the heroes 
of the war failed to meet just reward for the devotion 
they gave to the country, but Fitz John Porter stands out 
single from all as the one man who suffered a judgment 
of infamy, formally declared by a military court, for the 
single offence of having been one of the wisest, noblest, 
and bravest of our army's commanders. 

THE record of GENERAL G. K. WARREN is the story 
of a brilliant military career touched with every hue of 
promise cut short by the unjust exercise of that power 
that resides in military rank, used upon impulse and in 
ignorance of actual existing conditions, without hesita- 
tion and without reference to inquiry or investigation. 
It was the ist of April, 1864; the war was yet in progress, 
and the two armies still faced each other at Petersburg. 
Our lines had been extended to the left, which brought 
them in immediate contact with the enemy. On the 
3ist of March, Sheridan with his cavalry had struck the 
enemy's combined force of infantry and cavalry at Din- 
widdie Courthouse under Pickett, and had been roughly 
handled. Warren with the Fifth Corps had come to his 
support; upon the next day a battle was fought at Five 


Forks, wholly decisive, far-reaching in its results, and 
ending in the rout of the enemy's forces. The whole 
nation was exulting, when suddenly the news was flashed 
over the land that Major-General Warren, the commander 
of the Fifth Corps, had been relieved of his command, 
by order of General Sheridan, on the field of battle. 

It is with a recognition of what Warren, in long and 
faithful service, in character and achievement, brought 
to the discharge of his duties as a corps commander in 
this battle that I am to deal with him. Just before the 
Wilderness campaign, when Sykes had been relieved as 
commander of the Fifth Corps, Warren was at once 
named as its commandant. He brought to the command 
of the Fifth Corps a reputation for ability and energy 
and brilliant service that had won for him steady and 
well-deserved promotion. With a courage that never 
quailed he had fought his way from the command of a 
regiment to that of an army corps. There was no mili- 
tary reputation more promising than his when at the 
head of one of the army's best corps of veteran soldiers 
he crossed the Rapidan and became at once involved in 
the battles of the Wilderness. Initiating almost every 
flank movement after the investment of Petersburg, his 
corps participated prominently in all the battles of the 
army, his restless spirit knowing no repose. He was be- 
loved by his men, who trusted him, and who testified to 
their affection when, on the return march of the corps 
through Petersburg, recognizing him as he stood among 
the crowd, they rent the air with shouts of recognition. 

On the ist of April, 1864, after some preliminary fight- 
ing in front of Dinwiddie Courthouse on the 3ist, in 
which he had been unsuccessful, Sheridan applied to 
Grant for infantry support. He wanted the Sixth Corps, 
which had been with him in the Valley of the Shenan- 
doah. He objected to Warren, and only took him and 


his corps when Grant had authorized him to relieve War- 
ren upon any occasion justifying that action. Warren 
moved his corps to Gravelly Run Church. Pickett had 
fallen back to the White Oak road and intrenched. 
Warren with his corps was to move upon the left in- 
trenched flank of Pickett' s works. A faulty reconnais- 
sance had been made, and when the Fifth Corps moved 
at noon of the ist the intrenchments of the enemy were 
found to be three-quarters of a mile to the left of the 
position supposed by Sheridan. To meet this unexpected 
fire upon his flank Ayres broke away from Crawford and 
Griffin. Warren went at once to these flanking divisions, 
where he remained in person, directing their movements, 
changing their direction to meet the force on Ayres' s 
flank as well as their own front, getting into the enemy's 
rear with Crawford's division, capturing guns and thir- 
teen hundred prisoners, and compelling the retreat of the 

The battle as it was fought was a series of flank move- 
ments, and was, as such, wholly unanticipated by Sheri- 
dan. Warren had just reached a point directly in rear 
of the enemy at the Forks, and was pursuing his success 
when he sent his adjutant-general to Sheridan to report 
that he was in the enemy's rear, had taken a large num- 
ber of prisoners, and was pursuing his advantages, when 
the stroke fell, in the midst of the victory he had done 
so much to secure. u Tell General Warren," said Sheri- 
dan, "that, by God! he was not at the front: this is all 
I've got to say to him." He had already replaced him 
without any attempt to communicate with him, and 
this with the victory won, the enemy in retreat, and the 
evacuation of Richmond and Petersburg made inevit- 
able. Conscious of his innocence and knowing what he 
had accomplished, Warren went in person to Sheridan 
and asked him to reconsider his action. "Hell!" said 


Sheridan; " I don't reconsider my determinations." Nor 
did he. 

Warren at once sought an investigation, which was 
then refused him, and fifteen years of incessant applica- 
tion and pleading were to pass before it was secured; but 
at last the long-hoped-for investigation came, an inquiry 
where the keenest legal acumen was instrumental in 
bringing facts to light, wholly regardless of that pedantry 
that belongs to military life a search for truth, unawed 
by the glitter of the uniform or the prestige of rank, no 
matter how high, and with a result so wholly different 
from that which had been assumed and acted upon as to 
seem almost romance. And what was gained by this 
investigation, to which were summoned witnesses from 
every quarter, and where the Confederate testimony es- 
tablished the facts of the battle beyond controversy? 
This, that but for the movement of Crawford's division 
under Warren's immediate orders the enemy's lines 
would have been held, and were held until the move- 
ment of Crawford, and that the results of Ayres's attack 
were rendered possible by that movement. What, then, 
could excuse the action of General Sheridan in view of 
the victory secured to him ? Nothing but that he was 
ignorant of what was done, as he himself testifies, and 
that he knew nothing of the Confederate Mumford's en- 
gagement with Crawford's division, nor of the fighting 
of that division, nor of the cavalry. He knew that in 
relieving Warren he was pleasing General Grant, and he 
ignored then and subsequently anything presented to 
him that might in any way question his action. War- 
ren made every effort to carry out the order and execute 
the plan of this battle ; and when asked by his own coun- 
sel if he had or had not done this, his reply was noble. 
Asking that the question be withdrawn, he said, " I do 
it on the ground that I am willing to be judged by my 


deeds." Sheridan, with a magnetism second to none, a 
fighter beyond all other qualities, was deficient in strong 
mental or moral sense. 

When the battle of Five Forks had been fought and 
won he did not know what had been accomplished nor 
by whom. His testimony distinctly shows this: he made 
his official report without that knowledge, and, although 
the commanding general upon the field, he saw but one 
of the many movements which contributed to the vic- 
tory, and ignored the rest; nor would he give any ac- 
count of his own personal movements after Ay res' s as- 
sault; and yet he committed an act of despotic power so 
uncalled for, unjust, and cruel as to wellnigh constitute a 
crime. The record of Warren's court of inquiry will 
remain for ever an enduring stain upon an otherwise 
great reputation. Warren, after long and patient wait- 
ing, at last began to despond and to doubt as to the final 
result. His health was breaking. He lost the fiery spirit 
that had animated him. Grant and Sheridan were om- 
nipotent, the heroes of the hour, and unassailable. And 
so the end came at last before the decision of his court 
was known, and they buried him in that sunny city by 
the sea where he was known and loved and where he 
worked in peace. His last request was that there should 
be no military display, no emblems of his profession upon 
his coffin, and no uniform upon his person. Devoted 
friends followed him to his last resting-place, and as they 
turned homeward the conviction came to each of them 
that the earth with which they had filled his grave gave 
rest to a generous and broken heart. 

GENERAL DON CARLOS BUELL very clearly demon- 
strated in the early part of the war that he was one of 
the most accomplished soldiers of our army. While he 



was not dishonored, as were General Porter and General 
Warren, he was displaced from command in obedience to 
partisan clamor. He was a thorough soldier, brave, in- 
telligent, skillful, and equal to every emergency in which 
he was placed ; but he was not a politician. He believed 
that war was war; he believed that armies were organized 
to fight battles, and to fight them, according to the estab- 
lished rules of military science, to accomplish the speedi- 
est and most substantial results. During the period that 
he was in command in Kentucky he accomplished more 
in the same length of time than any other general in the 
Western army. When he assumed command at Louis- 
ville on the 1 5th of November, 1861, his entire effective 
Union force was less than 30,000 men, and they largely 
without organization, arms, equipment, or transportation. 
During the seven months he remained there he organized 
one of the best disciplined armies that ever marched on 
the continent. He defeated the enemy at Middle Creek 
and Mills Springs in January, aided in the capture of 
Fort Donelson, occupied Middle Tennessee and the north- 
ern part of Alabama, and moved with the main body of 
his army by a forced march to the rescue of Grant at 
Shiloh. All this was accomplished between the i5th of 
November, 1861, and the loth of January, 1862. He 
committed no military mistakes, met with no military 
disasters, and he strengthened the Union cause unspeak- 
ably in Kentucky by the strict discipline he enforced in 
his command. 

The temptation was great to Union troops in Kentucky 
to demoralize themselves by pillage and plunder, as one- 
half the people of the State were earnestly disloyal and 
very many of them in the Confederate service; but Buell 
was placed in command in Kentucky to save it to the 
Union, and he performed that duty most conscientiously 
and patriotically. But the most effective means he em- 


ployed to save Kentucky were seized upon by the poli- 
ticians of the times, and he was denounced from one end 
of the country to the other as a semi-rebel because he 
strictly restrained his troops from the plundering of pri- 
vate property of either friend or foe. He was not only a 
soldier himself, but he made a soldier of every man in 
his command as far as he could be obeyed. But for his 
timely arrival at Pittsburgh Landing on the evening of 
the first day's battle, when Grant's army had been liter- 
ally routed and driven to the river, the army of Grant 
would have ceased to exist in history at the close of the 
following day. It was Buell whose energy and skill as 
a soldier brought relief to Grant, and it was his courage 
and skill on the battle-field, co-operating with Grant on 
the second day, that gave the victory to the Union armies 
at Shiloh. Both were as generous as they were brave, 
and Buell never claimed the victory as his, and Grant 
proved his appreciation of Buell by asking his assign- 
ment to an important command when he was com- 
mander-in-chief of the army. Stanton was implacable 
in his hatred of Buell, as he was in his hatred against 
all who incurred his displeasure, and Buell was left with- 
out a command, although his services were called for by 
the one who certainly best understood his value as a 

On the loth of June, Buell was assigned to make a 
campaign for the capture of Chattanooga. It was ordered 
by General Halleck, who was then in personal command 
at Corinth. This movement was regarded by the author- 
ities at Washington as the most important of all our 
army operations, with the single exception of the cam- 
paign against Richmond. Stanton, in a dispatch to 
Halleck, declared that the capture of Chattanooga 
"would be equal to the capture of Richmond," but 
soon after Buell was assigned to this task the disasters 



on the Peninsula and the second Bull Run campaign 
brought importunate calls from Washington for troops 
from Halleck' s army to strengthen the Army of the 
Potomac. On the 4th of July, Lincoln telegraphed Hal- 
leek: "You do not know how much you would oblige 
us if, without abandoning any of your positions or plans, 
you could promptly send us 10,000 infantry. Can you 
not?" On receipt of this dispatch Halleck called a 
council of war, and sent a dispatch saying that no troops 
could be sent to the East without abandoning the Chat- 
tanooga expedition, and Halleck himself became alarmed 
at his position at Corinth, as, after having detached Buell 
to the Chattanooga campaign, he had sent reinforcements 
to General Curtis in Arkansas. After having started 
Buell on his Chattanooga campaign, in which he was 
to confront Bragg with his 75,000 men and maintain a 
long line of communication, Buell was notified by Hal- 
leck that Thomas's division must be withdrawn from 
him, and perhaps other portions of his command would 
be called away. Thus, after starting Buell with an in- 
ferior force to fight his way to Chattanooga and maintain 
hundreds of miles of communication in an enemy's coun- 
try, -his force was depleted, his plan of campaign was 
overruled, and because he failed to march with a rapidity 
that Halleck had never approached he was censured from 
day to day by both Halleck and the War Department for 
his failure to accomplish the impossible. Halleck had 
required two months to remove his army from Shiloh to 
Corinth, a distance of twenty miles, and soon thereafter 
he telegraphed Buell complaining of his slow movement, 
when he had marched with four times the rapidity that 
Halleck had himself. 

When it is remembered that Buell was compelled to 
fortify every bridge for more than three hundred miles 
of road in his rear, the depletion of his forces and the 


necessity for caution may be intelligently understood. 
Especially did Halleck become mandatory about rapid 
movements on the part of Buell after he became com- 
mander-in-chief and had been transferred to Washing- 
ton. On the 1 3th of August he telegraphed Buell that 
he had been notified to have him removed, but inti- 
mating that he interposed to save him. To this Buell 
replied on the same day: " I beg that you will not inter- 
pose in my behalf. On the contrary, if the dissatis- 
faction cannot cease on grounds which I think may be 
supposed if not apparent, I respectfully request that I 
may be relieved. My position is far too important to be 
occupied by any officer on sufferance. I have no desire 
to stand in the way of what may be deemed for the pub- 
lic good." Buell was not then relieved from command, 
but the clamor for his removal grew more imperious, 
and all the partisan rancor of that time was thrown into 
the scale against Buell as a military commander. His 
command was composed largely of Illinois and Indiana 
troops, and Governors Morton and Yates pursued him 
with intense ferocity because he enforced discipline in 
his army and would not permit his soldiers to plunder 
private homes. It was political clamor and not military 
necessity, nor even military expediency, that made the 
War Department issue an order on the 27th of Septem- 
ber relieving Buell of his position and ordering him to 
Louisville, limiting his authority to the command of the 
troops in that city, and directing him to transfer the 
army to the direction of General Thomas. Buell 
promptly called General Thomas to this place, but 
Thomas was one of the bravest and noblest of our sol- 
diers, and he at once telegraphed to Secretary Stanton: 
"General Buell' s preparations have been complete to 
move against the enemy, and I therefore respectfully ask 
that he may be retained in command." In obedience to 


Thomas's request the order relieving Buell was revoked, 
only to be met by a fiercer clamor from the political pas- 
sions of the day for his sacrifice. On the 8th of October 
he fought and won the battle of Perry sville, after a san- 
guinary conflict in which he lost over four thousand 
men. Even when Buell had won a decisive victory, 
instead of being complimented by the authorities at 
Washington, he was daily criticised for his failure to 
pursue and destroy Bragg' s army that largely outnum- 
bered him. On the i9th of October he was notified by 
Halleck that the capture of East Tennessee should be 
the main object of his campaign, and saying, "Buell 
and his army must enter East Tennessee this fall." 
Four days later, on the 23d of October, Buell was re- 
moved from his command and General Rosecrans as- 
signed to it. General Buell in his modest but soldier- 
like farewell to his army, after referring to its heroic 
achievements, broadly took upon himself all responsi- 
bility for any failures it might be charged with. He 
said: "If anything has not been accomplished which 
was practicable within the sphere of its duty, the gen- 
eral cheerfully holds himself responsible for the failure." 
Strange as it may seem, while the Secretary of War 
notified Halleck in the early part of the Tennessee cam- 
paign that the capture of Chattanooga was second only 
in importance to that of Richmond, and while only ten 
days before Buell was relieved of command General Hal- 
leck notified him that he "must enter East Tennessee 
this fall," Rosecrans immediately abandoned the East 
Tennessee movement and pushed his army as directly as 
possible to Nashville. To show how promptly Buell had 
moved in comparison with others, it may be stated that 
General Rosecrans, although only thirty-two miles away 
from Bragg, permitted two months to elapse before he 
delivered battle at Stone River; and he did not march 


his army a mile for six months thereafter. The same 
army under Buell in about the same period of eight 
months marched across the State of Kentucky, 185 
miles; thence across Tennessee, 217 miles; thence across 
the State of Alabama to East Tennessee, 217 miles; 
thence across Tennessee and Kentucky to Louisville, 
336 miles; thence through Central and Eastern Ken- 
tucky in pursuit of Bragg and back to Nashville, 485 
miles making nearly fifteen hundred miles of march 
and several hard-fought battles. 

Thus ended the military career of one who could and 
should have been one of the great military leaders of our 
civil war. He was retired from command solely because 
of the intense partisan hatred that had pursued him for 
no other reason than being a true, faithful, and skillful 
soldier. When Grant asked for his restoration to com- 
mand on the 1 9th of April, 1864, Halleck replied: U I 
would like very much to see Buell restored to command, 
and have several times pressed him at the War Depart- 
ment, but there has been such a pressure against him 
from the West that I do not think the Secretary will give 
him any at present." Iri obedience to Buell's request for 
an official investigation of the operations of the armies 
under his command, a military commission was appoint- 
ed for the purpose on the 2Oth of November, 1862, and 
its labors continued until May 10, 1863. The record and 
opinion of the commission were received at the War De- 
partment, but were never published, and after they had 
been suppressed for nearly ten years the House of Repre- 
sentatives, by resolution passed March i, 1872, called for 
a copy of the proceedings, which brought the astounding 
answer from the Secretary of War that "a careful and 
exhaustive search among all the records and files of the 
Department fails to discover what disposition was made 
of the proceedings of the commission and the papers en- 


closed. " It is obvious that the evidence and the finding 
of the commission were not in accord with the violent 
passions which had forced the removal of one of the most 
gallant soldiers of our army, and the proceedings were 
deliberately suppressed and justice withheld from General 
Buell. The Governors of the Western States who had 
so boldly assailed Buell were called upon to confront him 
and testify before the commission, but all refused. His 
accusers dared not meet him, and when a packed com- 
mission, chosen and manipulated by the filling of va- 
cancies to hinder justice, had failed to convict him, the 
proceedings were deliberately suppressed for ten years, 
and General Buell permitted to live under the false and 
malicious charges made against him by reckless poli- 
ticians who did not even venture to testify against him. 
That Stanton himself felt that his injustice to Buell 
was so flagrant as to call for some atonement is evident 
by the fact that in the spring of 1864 he invited Buell to 
a personal interview, received him most cordially, and 
asked him which one of several important commands he 
would prefer to receive. Buell 's only answer was that it 
was first a necessity to dispose of the proceedings of the 
military commission that inquired into his case. Buell' s 
self-respect as a soldier forbade his acceptance of a com- 
mand when his fidelity and ability as a ' ~ Tiander had 
been inquired into by a military commissiv, T hose judg- 
ment was withheld not only from the accuse: , but from 
the public. This was a degree of manliness that Stanton 
was unprepared for, and they parted for the last time, as 
Stanton never again conferred with Buell. Subsequently, 
Stanton twice voluntarily offered Buell important com- 
mands, but he very properly declined both, as the verdict 
of the commission was denied publicity, and in both cases 
he would have been compelled to serve under officers 
whom he outranked. 


Thus the war closed with one of its ablest and most 
patriotic chieftains not only refused the right to give the 
gallant service he offered, but he was assailed by partisan 
passion for having faithfully performed his duty as a sol- 
dier, and he was finally tried by a military commission 
whose testimony and judgment were stolen from the 
archives of the Department to give license to his ma- 
licious slanderers. His chief accusers have all passed 
away, but General Buell yet lives, honored and respected 
by the country as one of the noble but unrewarded 
Heroes of the War. 


WHILE all sections of the country keenly felt the 
sad bereavements and sacrifices of the civil war, 
only those who lived on the border between the two con- 
tending sections involved in bloody fraternal strife, with 
all the fierce passions it inspires, can have any just con- 
ception of the severe trials and constant strain which fell 
upon the border people. My home was then in Cham- 
bersburg, in one of the most beautiful valleys of the 
country, and among a people exceptionally comfortable 
and forming one of the most delightful communities of 
the State. The first distant murmurs of the coming war 
were heard in Chambersburg in October, 1859, when 
John Brown and his few insane followers attempted the 
conquest of Virginia by assaulting Harper's Ferry. Al- 
though Brown had made Chambersburg his base of ope- 
rations for some weeks before he moved upon Harper's 
Ferry, freely mingling with the citizens of the town and 
known only as "Dr. Smith," who was ostensibly en- 
gaged in mining pursuits in Maryland, there was not a 
single resident of Chambersburg who had any concep- 
tion or suspicion of his purpose ; but when the startling 
news came that actual conflict had been precipitated at 
Harper's Ferry by the stubborn fanatic fresh from the 
Kansas battles, it appalled the community, as it seemed 
to be the precursor of civil war. In little more than a 
year thereafter the people of the town were again startled 


(Fhoto by Brady, Washington.) 



by Lieutenant Jones and straggling members of his com- 
mand reaching there, exhausted and footsore, to announce 
that he had been compelled to abandon Harper's Ferry, 
where he was in command, and had blown up the works 
as far as he was able to accomplish it. This was one of 
the first of the many thrilling events of the great war 
that was soon to burst upon us. From that time, through 
four long years of bloody battle until the end came at 
Appomattox, there was not a day nor an hour of absolute 
peace in the border counties. 

Chambersburg was within a night's ride of the Con- 
federate lines during the whole war, and not only the 
repeated raids made into that community by the Con- 
federate commanders, but the constant sense of insecurity 
and the multiplied reports of incursions from the enemy, 
made tranquility impossible. Not only did these people 
suffer their full share of the exactions of war which fell 
upon every community, but they were subject to constant 
convulsions by actual or threatened raids of the enemy, 
and often by destructive incursions of militia defenders; 
and they suffered unspeakable loss of property from both 
armies. Finally, upon Chambersburg fell the avenging 
blow for Hunter's vandalism in Virginia, and the beau- 
tiful old town was left in its ashes and its people largely 
impoverished. On the I2th of April, 1861, the brief tel- 
egraphic bulletins which were then obtainable in coun- 
try districts announced the bombardment of Sumter. 
Business was practically suspended, public meetings were 
held in support of the government at which the leading 
men of every political faith were orators, the Stars and 
Stripes were displayed from every house, and patriotic 
badges and shields graced almost every person. Volun- 
teering was so rapid that companies could not even be 
organized to keep pace with them. The first call for 
troops was responded to more generously in that section 


than from any other in the State. Its very nearness to 
the seat of war and the exceptional dangers which fell 
upon it seemed to call out the highest measure of 
patriotic purpose and action. Party differences were 
obliterated in the common effort to maintain the cause 
of the Union. It is only in times of great danger that 
the greatest qualities of both men and women are devel- 
oped, and the border people, of whom Chambersburg was 
the central altar, grandly illustrated the truth of the 

On the 28th of May the advance of General Patterson's 
army reached Chambersburg, and from that day until the 
war closed Chambersburg was the military headquarters 
for all movements on the border. Even with a great 
army in our midst, it was impossible for the people to 
appreciate what war really meant. I well remember that 
when two officers of General Patterson's command had 
crossed the Potomac as scouts, and had been captured by 
the Confederates, it was spoken of by all in bated breath 
as if some unspeakable calamity had befallen them. 
Both the North and the South seemed to believe that 
they were about to engage in war with a barbarous 
enemy, and all expectations of humane and civilized 
warfare appeared to have perished in the minds of the 
people. For two months General Patterson's army kept 
the border people in a state of restless suspense. He 
crossed the Potomac to Falling Waters, then fell back 
upon Maryland, and then renewed his march into the 
enemy's country. The wildest excitement prevailed in 
every circle: a great battle was expected every day, as 
Patterson was threatening Johnson at Winchester and 
McDowell marched against Beauregard at Manassas. 
Finally, on Monday, July 22d, the news of a great tri- 
umph won by McDowell was posted on the bulletin- 
boards, and all business was forgotten as the people re- 

r , 


joiced over the victory, but before the sun had set on the 
same day the reports from Manassas told the sad story 
that McDowell was not only defeated, but that his army 
was routed and retreating into the defences of Washing- 
ton, with little hope that the capital would be saved from 
the enemy. 

The call for additional troops was responded to by a 
regiment of volunteers made up almost entirely of the 
sturdy young men of Franklin and Fulton counties. 
When the regiment started for Harrisburg the people 
turned out almost en masse to inspire them in their patri- 
otic work. Speeches were made, flags were waved, tears 
shed, sorrowing hearts were left behind as the brave men 
went to their great task, and many to death. In May, 
1862, the border people were thrown into convulsion by 
the retreat of Banks from Strasburg to Winchester, 
thence to Martinsburg, and finally to the north side of 
the Potomac. This was assumed to mean the invasion 
of Pennsylvania. Stock and valuables, including the 
goods of merchants and money of banks, were all hur- 
ried away to places of safety. This was only the first 
of many like disturbances that came during every year 
of the war. General Ewell, who had driven Banks to 
the north side of the Potomac, did not pursue his victory 
upon Northern soil, but in August of the same year, when 
Pope was defeated in the second Bull Run campaign and 
L,ee crossed the Potomac into Maryland, war was brought 
to the very doors of the people of the border. As Lee's 
army moved westward from Frederick, a portion of it 
extended northward as far as Hagerstown, while Jackson 
hastened to Williamsport, thence to Martinsburg and 
Harper's Ferry, .where he captured 10,000 men and 60 
guns, and was back on the Antietam battle-ground in 
time to fight McClellan. 

An interesting story may here be told of the methods 



by which information was obtained to guide the actions 
of great armies. I was then Assistant Adjutant-General 
of the United States, assigned to duty at Harrisburg to 
make a draft under the State laws of Pennsylvania. 
There was no military force on the border, and not even 
an officer of the army who had exercised any command 
of troops. I was compelled, therefore, to exercise what 
little military authority could be enforced under the cir- 
cumstances, and Governor Curtin ordered a half-organ- 
ized company of cavalry, that Captain W. J. Palmer was 
recruiting at Carlisle, to report to me at Chambersburg 
for duty as scouts. I thus became commander of an 
army of nearly one hundred men, or about one man to 
each mile of border I had to guard, but Captain Palmer 
proved to be a host within himself, as he entered the 
Confederate lines every night for nearly a week under 
various disguises, obtained all information possible as to 
the movements of -Lee's command, and with the aid of 
William W. Wilson, an expert telegrapher, who was co- 
operating with him, attached his instrument to the first 
telegraph-wire he struck and communicated to me all 
movements of the enemy, present and prospective, as far 
as he had *been able to ascertain them. As rapidly as 
these telegrams reached me they were sent to Governor 
Curtin, who promptly forwarded them to the War De- 
partment, whence they were hastened to General McClel- 
lan's headquarters, who was then moving through Mary- 
land against Lee; and all the important information that 
McClellan received from the front of Lee's army until 
their lines faced each other at Antietam came from Cap- 
tain Palmer's nightly visits within the enemy's lines and 
his prompt reports to me in the morning. Ho well Cobb's 
division finally reached as far north as Hagerstown, and 
Captain Palmer spent most of the night within Cobb's 
camp, and learned from leading subordinate officers that 


the destination of Lee's army was Pennsylvania, and that 
Cobb's command would lead the movement probably the 
next day. 

I need hardly say that I hastened the information to 
Curtin, who hurried it through to Washington, whence 
McClellan received it within a few hours. McClellan 
was then ignorant of the exact movements of General 
Reynolds, whom he had sent to Pennsylvania to organize 
a force of ' ' emergency-men ' ' and bring them to the aid 
of McClellan in Western Maryland. He did not know, 
therefore, who was in 'command at Chambersburg or 
what force was there, but doubtless supposed that either 
Reynolds or some part of his command was already there 
on its way to join him. General McClellan, on receipt 
of the news that Lee was likely to advance into Pennsyl- 
vania, sent substantially this telegram to the commander 
at Chambersburg, without naming him: "I am advised 
that Lee's probable destination is Pennsylvania, and if 
he shall advance in that direction, concentrate all your 
forces and obstruct his march until I can overtake him 
and give battle. The occasion calls for prompt action. ' ' 
As I was the commander and had less than one hundred 
men, all told, and not twenty of them within fifteen 
miles of me, the prospect of concentrating my forces 
and marching out to meet one of Lee's army corps was 
not specially enticing. I promptly advised Curtin of the 
situation and of the orders I had received from McClel- 
lan. Thaddeus Stevens happened to be in the Executive 
Chamber when the message was received, and McClel- 
lan' s order to me to confront one of Lee's army corps 
with my force, which did not amount to a corporal's 
guard within reach, caused considerable merriment. 
Stevens, who at that time never lost an opportunity to 
slur McClellan, said: " Well, McClure will do something. 
If he can't do better, he'll instruct the tollgate keeper 


not to permit Lee's army to pass through; but as to 
McClellan, God only knows what he'll do." 

Thus one bold, heroic, and adventurous young captain, 
aided by an equally heroic young telegrapher, furnished 
McClellan all the reliable information he received about 
Lee's movements from the time McClellan left Rockville 
in the Antietam campaign until the shock of battle came 
ten days later. I met Captain Palmer at Antietam when 
the battle was in progress, and, after complimenting him 
as he so well deserved for the great work he had done, I 
earnestly cautioned him against attempting to repeat his 
experiments if Lee should be driven into Virginia. He 
was a young man of very few words, and made no re- 
sponse to my admonition beyond thanking me for my 
kind expressions of confidence. When Lee retreated 
across the Potomac, Captain Palmer followed him the 
next night, entered his lines again, and brought import- 
ant reports which, as I believe, led to the battle of Shep- 
herdstown that was successfully fought by General Fitz 
John Porter. He then passed beyond my jurisdiction, 
and became known to some of the leading officers of 
McClellan' s army as the scout or spy who had given 
McClellan most reliable and important information. For 
several nights he entered Lee's lines and reported in the 
morning. Finally, he was missed at the usual time his 
report was expected. When the second day passed with- 
out any word from him, great anxiety was felt for his 
safety, and every effort was made that could be made 
without exposing him to the discovery of his identity to 
learn of his whereabouts, but without success. When he 
had been missing a week it was evident that he had been 
captured, and, upon being advised of it from the head- 
quarters of McClellan' s army, I hastened to Philadelphia 
to confer with President J. Edgar Thompson of the Penn- 


sylvania Railroad Company, whose secretary Captain Pal- 
mer had been until he entered the service, and who was 
greatly interested in him personally. 

A conference with President Thompson and Vice- Pres- 
ident Scott resulted in the purpose to endeavor to save 
Palmer from being identified by his captors, and it was 
finally decided that I should go to the offices of the North 
American, the Press, and the Inquirer, the leading morn- 
ing journals of the city, and write up for publication the 
next morning displayed dispatches announcing the arrival 
in Washington of Captain W. J. Palmer, who had been 
scouting in Virginia for some days, and who had brought 
most important information of the movements and pur- 
poses of the enemy. Some details of his reported facts 
were given to make the story plausible, to which was 
added the statement that he had brought momentous in- 
formation that could not be given to the public, but that 
would doubtless lead to early military movements against 
the enemy. The dispatches were all accepted by the pub- 
lishers, as all felt a special interest in Captain Palmer's 
fate, and that publication doubtless saved him from being 
gibbeted as a spy. He had been arrested by the enemy, 
tried, and convicted as a spy, but he had managed to 
maintain doubt as to his identity. His execution was 
delayed from time to time to ascertain who he was. The 
dispatches published in the Philadelphia papers, all of 
which reached the enemy's lines within forty-eight hours, 
if not sooner, entirely misled the Confederates as to Cap- 
tain Palmer, and the failure to identify him saved him, 
until he finally effected his own exchange by quietly tak- 
ing the place of a dead prisoner in the ranks and re- 
sponding to his name when the roll was called for the 
men who were to be sent to the North. He is better 
known to the world of to-day as President Palmer of 
New York, lately of the Denver and Rio Grande Rail- 


way, and one of the fortunate and potential railroad 
magnates of the land. 

After the battle of Antietam and the retreat of Lee 
beyond the Potomac the border people began to breathe 
freely again, and felt that they were reasonably safe at 
least for a season, but twenty days after the retreat of 
Lee they were thrown into panic again, as General Stuart 
made the first great raid of the war clear around McClel- 
lan's army, crossing the Potomac near Hancock, swing- 
ing through Mercersburg and Chambersburg, and getting 
safely back to Lee again. It was on Friday evening, 
October 10, 1862, and I had gone home from Harrisburg 
after weeks of almost ceaseless labor night and day, ex- 
pecting a quiet rest until Monday morning. When I 
landed on the depot platform at Chambersburg, Mr. Gil- 
more, the telegraph-operator, called me into his private 
office and exhibited to me several dispatches he had just 
received from Mercersburg, stating that a strong Confed- 
erate force of cavalry was just entering that town, and 
other dispatches stating that they were moving from 
Mercersburg toward St. Thomas, which was on the 
direct line toward Chambersburg. I could not believe 
it possible that Stuart would venture to Chambersburg, 
when he must have known that part of McClellan's force 
was at Hagerstown, within one hour of us by railway, 
and that troops could be brought there to overwhelm him 
by the exercise of any reasonable military skill. I at 
once telegraphed to the commander at Hagerstown, who 
turned out to be General Wood, telling him that Stuart 
was approaching Chambersburg, to which I received an 
impertinent reply, saying in substance that Stuart was 
no such fool, and not to bother myself about it. I re- 
mained at the telegraph-office for two hours without com- 
municating the information to any one, as I hoped that 
Stuart would not get so far from his base as Chambers- 

(Photo by Brady, Washington.) - . 



burg, and that our people could be spared the panic that 
must follow the announcement of his coming. I soon 
learned that Stuart's force had reached the turnpike six 
or eight miles west of Chambersburg, and was moving 
toward us, and I urgently appealed to General Wood to 
throw a force into Chambersburg to protect the town. 
Even then he had ample time to do so, as the railway 
facilities were at his command, but the only answer I 
received was a repetition of the assumption that Stuart 
would not dare to venture into Chambersburg, and 
broadly intimating to me not to annoy him any further. 
Finding that nothing could be done to protect Cham- 
bersburg, I quietly went to my home, took tea, and re- 
turned to my office to await events. A cold, drizzling 
rain had been falling during the day, and between the 
clouds and fog darkness came unusually early. Some 
of the prominent citizens of the town had been advised 
of the approach of Stuart, but all agreed that it could do 
no good to make an alarm or to attempt defence. About 
seven o'clock in the evening there was a knock at my 
office-door, which I promptly opened, and in came three 
Confederate soldiers with a dirty rag tied to a stick which 
they called a flag of truce. Judge Kimmell and Colonel 
Thomas B. Kennedy were present. The Confederate 
officer said he had been sent in advance to demand the 
surrender of Chambersburg. We told him that there 
were no troops in the town and nobody to oppose the 
entrance of the insurgents. I asked who was in com- 
mand of the Confederate forces, but they refused to an- 
swer. I then asked where the forces were, which they 
also refused to answer. I then asked them whether they 
would take us to the commanding general and give us 
safe-conduct back. They assured us that they would do 
so, and we three mounted horses and rode out on the west- 
ern turnpike for nearly a mile, and were there brought 



up before a solid column of soldiers. General Wade 
Hampton came to the front and announced his name. 
He said he desired to take peaceful possession of the 
town, and in answer to our inquiries assured us that ,pri- 
vate citizens and private property would be respected, 
excepting such property as might be needed for the pur- 
poses of the army. Remembering that I was a commis- 
sioned officer, I said to General Hampton : ' ' There are 
several military officers in the town in charge of hos- 
pitals, recruiting service, etc. ; what will be done with 
them ?' ' He promptly answered : ' ' They will be paroled, 
unless there are special reasons for not doing so, but you 
must not give information to any of them, so that they 
may escape. ' ' As we were not in a position to quibble 
about the terms of surrender, and as General Hampton's 
proposition seemed reasonably fair, we decided to give 
him a town that he could take without opposition, and 
rode back into Chambersburg, with Hampton's command 
immediately following. 

In a short time the large square in the centre of the 
town was filled with soldiers in gray, the first our people 
had ever seen in fighting force. In crossing the square 
to my office through a crowd of the enemy, I was tapped 
on the shoulder, and, turning 'round, I recognized Hugh 
Logan, who was a Franklin county man, and to whom I 
had rendered some professional service when he was a 
resident of the county. His exclamation was : ' ' Why, 
colonel, what are you doing here? Don't you know that 
Stuart has orders to arrest a number of civilians, and you 
among them, and that we have half a dozen with us now, 
including Mr. Rice of Mercersburg ?' ' I answered that 
I had not been informed of that interesting fact. He 
advised me quietly to get out of the way, and I reminded 
him that I was a commissioned officer, and that under 
iny agreement with General Hampton I assumed that I 


would be entitled to parole if arrested. His answer was 
unpleasantly significant. He said: "If you are arrested 
and can reach Hampton he will parole you, for he's a 
gentleman ; but Jeb Stuart wants you, and I am not cer- 
tain that he would release you on parole. " As I lived a 
mile out of the centre of the town, I decided that I would 
return home and await events, rather than leave my fam- 
ily alone. When I reached there, I found that a detach- 
ment of Stuart's troops had been in advance of me and 
relieved me of the possession of ten fine horses. My 
house stood back from the highway some fifty yards and 
was largely hidden by shade trees, and I closed up the 
house, so as to leave no lights visible, and sat on the 
porch awaiting visitors, whom I sincerely hoped would 
not come. Shortly after midnight I heard the clatter 
of hoofs and the jingle of sabres coming down the road 
toward the town. Soon they arrived in front of my 
house. They saw corn-shocks on one side of the road, 
a large barn and water on the other side, and a paling 
fence that promised a quick fire. They halted, appa- 
rently about one hundred and fifty in number, and im- 
mediately proceeded to tumble the corn-shocks over to 
the horses and tear down the palings to start the fire. 
Seeing that their acquaintance was inevitable, I walked 
down to the gate and kindly said to them that if they 
wanted to make a fire they would find wood just a few 
feet from them, and showed them a short way to water. 
The commander of the detachment stepped up to me and 
very courteously inquired whether I resided there, with- 
out asking my name, and said he would be greatly 
obliged if he and some of his officers could get a cup 
of coffee. I told them that I had plenty of coffee, but 
that my servants were colored and had hidden. He as- 
sured me that they were not after negroes, whether slave 
or free, and that if I could find the servants and get them 


some coffee I could promise them absolute safety. My 
servants were hidden in the thicket but a little distance 
from the house, and I soon found some twenty negroes, 
who swarmed back and speedily had hot coffee and tea 
for the officers of the command. It was evident they 
had no idea at whose place they were stopping, but they 
were thinly clad, without their overcoats and blankets, 
in order to be in the lightest trim for rapid marching, 
and they were suffering from the cold rain of the entire 
day. They gladly accepted my invitation to come into 
the house and warm themselves, and they were not five 
minutes in the library, where the New York and Phila- 
delphia papers lay on my table with my name on them, 
before they all intuitively comprehended the fact that 
they had asked hospitality and were about to receive it 
in the house of a man whom they were ordered to take 
as a prisoner to the South. They were all Virginians 
and gentlemen of unusual intelligence and culture, as 
the young bloods of that State with fine horses filled up 
the ranks of the cavalry in the early part of the war. I 
watched with unusual interest to see what the effect 
would be when they discovered in whose house they 
were as guests, but they did not long leave me in doubt 
as to their appreciation of the peculiar condition in which 
they were placed. They at once took in the situation 
without opportunity to confer on the subject. It was 
soon evident that they had decided that, having asked 
and accepted hospitality, they would not permit them- 
selves to know that they were in the house of a host 
whom it was their duty to arrest as a prisoner. We sat 
at tea and over our pipes and cigars until at daylight the 
bugle called them to the march. Every phase of the 
war was discussed with the utmost freedom, but no one 
of them spoke the name of himself or any of his fellows, 
and not one assumed to know my identity. It was to 


me one of the most interesting events of the war, and I 
doubt whether the war itself was ever discussed with 
equal candor on both sides without a single exhibition 
of prejudice or passion. When the bugle sounded they 
arose and bade me good-bye, thanking me for my hospi- 
tality and earnestly expressing the hope that we should 
some time meet again under more pleasant auspices. 
Soon after I followed them into the town, and stood in 
the crowd close beside Jeb Stuart for some time before 
he started on his homeward march. He did not doubt 
that I was one of his prisoners, and it was not until he 
had crossed the Potomac that he learned that I was not 
among his captives, when, as I have since been told by 
officers who were present, he made the atmosphere blue 
with his profane lamentations. 

I much regretted that I had no clue whatever to the 
identity of any of the Virginia officers who had spent the 
night with me, and after the war had closed, and Presi- 
dent Johnson was breathing the fiercest vengeance against 
the South, I felt that I might be of some service to these 
men if I could discover who they were. I wrote to a 
newspaper in Winchester and also to the Richmond 
Whig, stating the facts and asking for information as to 
these officers, but there was then universal distrust in the 
South, and, as my property had been burned with Cham- 
bersburg but a year before, I infer that my suggestions 
were regarded as insincere, and no answers were received 
to either of my letters. It was not until ten years after 
the war that I accidentally learned the names of some of 
the officers who were with me. On a visit to Washing- 
ton I was in conversation with the late Heister Clymer 
on the floor of the House just before the meeting of the 
body, when he remarked to me that a Virginia member 
desired to renew his acquaintance with me, and asked 
permission to bring him and introduce him. I of course 


assented, and he brought up Colonel Whitehead, then a 
Congressman from the Lynchburg district, who informed 
me that he had spent a night with me at my house during 
Stuart's raid, and that he desired to renew his acquaint- 
ance of that evening under the more pleasant circum- 
stances which then surrounded us, and to thank me for 
the kindness they had all received. From him I learned 
that Lieutenant- Colonel James W. Watts commanded the 
detachment, and that Captain W. W. Tebbs, Captain 
Thomas W. Whitehead (himself), Lieutenant Kelso, and 
two others, whose names he did not then recall, consti- 
tuted the unique tea-party at Norland on the night of 
October 10, 1862. Judge Paxton of Chambersburg, who 
was on the list with myself from that town, was taken 
by Stuart's command, but released soon after he had 
reached Richmond. Perry A. Rice of Mercersburg, a 
prominent member of the bar, was held in Libbey Prison 
for some months, and died there. It was thus that I es- 
caped being Jeb Stuart's captive in the first and one of 
the most brilliant cavalry raids of the war. It is but just 
to Captain Hugh Logan, however, to state that he ad- 
vised me, when telling me of my danger, that if cap- 
tured and refused parole I should quietly submit and join 
the procession, and he would put me out of the ranks the 
first night. That he would have done so, even at the 
peril of his life, I do not doubt, and I am as grateful to 
him as if he had had occasion to perform that act of 
kindness to me. 

The Stuart raid of October, 1862, was the first actual 
experience of the border people of Pennsylvania with a 
Confederate force in their midst, but beyond the general 
panic and disturbance it produced, the loss of some twelve 
hundred horses by our farmers and the destruction of rail- 
road property, we felt none of the serious results of war. 
The Pennsylvania u emergency -men " followed to give 


protection when it was no longer needed, as they did 
again in 1863, after Lee had retreated, and again in 1864, 
after McCausland had burned Chambersburg. These 
suddenly-organized and undisciplined commands were 
inspired by patriotic purpose, but they really never ren- 
dered any service in protecting the people of the border, 
and at times were very destructive because of their want 
of discipline and properly-organized supplies. 

After the militia had been quietly disposed of, there 
was comparative peace along the border until after the 
defeat of Hooker at Chancellorsville and Lee commenced 
his movement northward. The first sullen murmurs of 
invasion came, as usual, from the Shenandoah Valley, as 
General Milroy was routed at Winchester and his stam- 
peded army scattered in fragments over the border region. 
With them came fleeing loyal fugitives from Virginia 
and swarms of negroes, creating panic in every direction, 
and on the evening of the i5th of June positive informa- 
tion was received that General Jenkins, commanding the 
cavalry advance of Lee's army, was approaching. They 
took possession of Chambersburg the same night, and 
General Jenkins exhibited the good taste of all com- 
manders of both armies by camping on my farm, and 
he further honored me by taking possession of my house 
as his headquarters. 

A short time before this advance of Lee a prominent 
citizen who lived just south of the Pennsylvania line in 
Maryland, who was a client and friend of mine, and 
whose release I had obtained after he had been con- 
demned by General Schenck and banished into the 
Southern lines, rode nearly all night from his home to 
Chambersburg to advise me that an invasion was inevit- 
able, and that I must not permit myself to be captured. 
He had spent some weeks within the Confederate lines 
after he had been banished by court-martial, and he felt 



it to be his duty to inform me of the excessive estimate 
the Southern leaders put upon me as a prisoner, as they 
supposed that with me as captive they could make un- 
usually good terms with Governor Curtin and President 
Lincoln. I heeded his advice, and thereafter did not 
remain in Chambersburg to extend hospitality to the 
sons of the South. General Jenkins was hospitably 
treated by my family, and his sick soldiers, for whom 
my barn had been improvised as hospital, were kindly 
ministered to by Mrs. McClure. It was this same com- 
mand that one year later, under General McCausland, 
burned Chambersburg and went a mile out of its way to 
burn my house and barn. Of course all stock and valu- 
ables that could be shipped away had been sent to Har- 
risburg or points beyond, and our people were living 
under many discomforts. Jenkins remained only a few 
days in Chambersburg, when he suddenly fell back toward 
the Potomac between Greencastle and Hagerstown, and 
from there sent out marauding parties to capture horses 
and supplies. The whole southern portion of Franklin 
county was mercilessly plundered while Jenkins was 
waiting the arrival of Lee's infantry. General Rhodes' 
division was the first to reach Pennsylvania, and with 
that command Jenkins again advanced and took posses- 
sion of Chambersburg. 

The history of the great Gettysburg campaign and 
battle is so familiar to all that I need not dwell on de- 
tails. Lee then commanded the largest and the most 
defiant army the Confederates ever had during the war. 
General Kwell's corps, over twenty thousand strong, en- 
camped on my farm, and thence Generals Rhodes and 
Early made their movements against York and Harris- 
burg. On the 26th of June, General Lee entered Cham- 
bersburg with his staff, and it is needless to say that his 
movements were watched with intense interest by all in- 


telligent citizens. Early and Rhodes were already ope- 
rating on the lines of the Susquehanna, and Lee's army 
was so disposed that it could be rapidly concentrated for 
operations in the Cumberland Valley and against Phila- 
delphia or thrown south of the South Mountain to ope- 
rate against Washington. Lee held a brief council in 
the centre square of Chambersburg with General A. P. 
Hill and several other officers, and when he left them 
intense anxiety was exhibited by every one who observed 
them to ascertain whether his movements would indicate 
the concentration of his army in the Cumberland Valley 
or for operations against Washington. When he came 
to the street where the Gettysburg turnpike enters the 
square, he turned to the right, went out a mile along 
that road, and fixed his headquarters in a little grove 
close by the roadside then known as Shetters' Woods. 
When Lee turned in that direction, Benjamin S. Huber, 
a country lad, happened to be present, and, as he had 
already exhibited some fitness for such work, he was 
started immediately overland for Harrisburg to commu- 
nicate to Governor Curtin the fact that Lee's movement 
indicated Gettysburg as his objective point. Lee was 
fated to lose three days of invaluable time at his head- 
quarters in the quiet grove near Chambersburg, as his 
cavalry had been cut off from him by encountering our 
cavalry forces in Eastern Maryland, and he could get no 
information whatever of the movements of the Union 

It was not until the 2Qth of June that he received in- 
formation from one of Longstreet's scouts of the position 
of the Army of the Potomac, and he immediately de- 
cided to cross South Mountain and accept battle on the 
line to Baltimore and Washington. On the night of 
Monday, June 29th, General Ewell's wagon-trains passed 
through Chambersburg and turned eastward on the Get- 


tysburg turnpike. This movement was carefully watched, 
and it soon became evident to intelligent observers that 
Lee's army was moving rapidly to concentrate south of 
the South Mountain. I was then at Harrisburg with 
Governor Curtin, and the only news we received of Lee's 
movement, and the only reliable news received at Meade's 
headquarters for some days, came from the several ener- 
getic young men who performed scout-duty between 
Chambersburg and Harrisburg by traversing the moun- 
tains north of the Cumberland Valley. It was known 
to us that Lee was in the Cumberland Valley with the 
largest Southern army ever organized, and the gravest 
apprehensions were felt by all as to the ability of the 
Army of the Potomac to meet it in battle. There was 
no sleep for the weary men at Harrisburg who were com- 
pelled to watch and to await events. 

The first intimation received of Lee's movement toward 
Gettysburg came from John A. Seiders of Chambersburg, 
who had entered the enemy's lines in Confederate uni- 
form and saw General Rhodes begin the movement from 
Carlisle in the direction of Gettysburg; but as Rhodes 
and Early were both moving from point to point, the 
fact that Rhodes was apparently retiring from Carlisle 
was no indication of Lee's movements in Chambers- 

I shall never forget the first dispatch received at the 
Executive Mansion at Harrisburg giving the information 
that Lee had moved toward Gettysburg. It was some 
time between midnight and morning on the ist of July, 
while a dozen or more were waiting with the intensest 
interest for news, that an unsigned dispatch was received 
by Governor Curtin from Port Royal in Juniata county, 
stating that the writer had left Chambersburg the day 
before at the request of Judge Kimmell to convey the 
information to the Governor that Lee was inarching 

A >A 



toward Gettysburg. The fact that the dispatch was un- 
signed threw doubt upon the value of the information, 
but as it described minutely the route the scout had trav- 
eled through Franklin and Juniata counties, with which 
I was personally quite familiar, I was able to give reason- 
able assurance that the dispatch was genuine. The tele- 
graph-office at Port Royal had been opened to send the 
dispatch, and was closed immediately after, so that no 
details could be obtained. General Couch, then in com- 
mand of the Union force at Harrisburg, was present in 
the Governor's room, and he immediately communicated 
with General " Baldy " Smith, giving the information 
received and asking him to see whether the enemy had 
retired from his front. Before noon the next day the 
correctness of the statement given by the unknown scout 
was fully verified; and it is a most remarkable fact that 
the identity of this man was never discovered by Gov- 
ernor Curtin until twenty years thereafter. 

This scout was Stephen W. Pomeroy, whose father had 
sat on the bench as associate with Judge Kimtnell, and 
Kimmell, knowing the trustworthiness of the young 
man, wrote the dispatch for Governor Curtin, cut a hole 
in the buckle-strap of Pomeroy 's pantaloons, and hid the 
telegram therein. Information came from so many quar- 
ters during the next day that the message of the young 
scout was almost forgotten, and the thrilling events that 
followed and the many conspicuous feats performed by 
the young men of the Cumberland Valley in scouting 
service prevented minute inquiry into the source of the 
important dispatch of the early morning. Twenty years 
later the Presbyterian Synod of that section met in Belle- 
fonte, and several ministers in attendance were guests of 
Governor Curtin. In the course of his reminiscent con- 
versations about the war he happened to mention the 
receipt of this important dispatch, and the fact that he 



had never been advised as to the author of it. To his 
surprise, Rev. S. W. Pomeroy, then his own guest, told 
him that he was the man, and at Curtin's request he 
wrote a letter that was given to the public stating the 
full particulars of his marvelous journey. * It was upon 

* MOUNT UNION, PA., Nov. 13, 1883. 

HON. A. G. CURTIN DEAR SIR : In compliance with your 
request, I send you the account of how I came to send you the 
telegram of the concentration of the Confederate army at Gettys- 
burg during the war. After being discharged from the nine 
months' service of the Pennsylvania volunteers, I happened to 
be home, at my father's Judge Pomeroy of Roxbury, Franklin 
county when the enemy were marching down the Cumberland 
Valley. There was, of course, great excitement, for the enemy 
were at our doors and taking what they would. Farmers hid 
their horses and other stock in the mountains as far as possible. 
One day three hundred cavalry marched into Roxbury. When 
we learned of their coming, ten of the men who had been out in 
the nine months' service armed ourselves as best we could and 
went out to intercept them ; but the odds were too great, so we 
retired. Anxious to hear the news and render what service we 
might to our country, a number of us walked to Chambersburg, 
a distance of fourteen miles, reaching there in the afternoon. 
That night the rebels were concentrated at Gettysburg. Next 
morning Judge F. M. Kimmell, with whom my father sat as 
associate judge, learned that a son of Thomas Pomeroy was in 
town. He sent for me to come to him at once. I found the judge 
on the street that leads to McConnellsburg, a short distance from 
the Franklin Hotel, where the Central Presbyterian Church now 
stands. As the town was full of rebels and a rebel had his beat 
near us, the judge asked me in a low tone if I was a son of Judge 
Pomeroy. I replied in the affirmative. With apparent unconcern 
he asked me to follow him. I did so, and he led me into a little 
dark back room and told me that the rebels were concentrating 
at Gettysburg and Governor Curtin did not know it. He said it 
was of the utmost importance that the Governor should know at 
the earliest possible moment, and asked me if I would take a tel- 
egram to the nearest point on the Pennsylvania Railroad and 
send it to him. He added: " It is of infinite importance to him 
and to our country." I replied that I would try it. The telegram 


this information that General Meade, then just placed in 
the command of the Army of the Potomac, hastened to 

was already written, so he cut a hole in the buckle-strap of my 
pantaloons and deposited there the telegram to be sent, and 
said: <( Get this safely and in the shortest time possible to the 
Governor." Assuming indifference, I came to the street and met 
the rebel guard, who did not disturb me. Some of those who 
came with me wishing to return to Roxbury, we set out together. 
We met many at the edge of the town returning who could not 
get through the guards, who were stationed around the town. 

Coming to the forks of the Strasburg and Roxbury roads, we 
found both cavalry and infantry. On the left there was a slight 
hollow, also several wheat-fields, and beyond these there were 
woods. This was the only way to hope for escape. At my pro- 
posal we crept along this hollow, at the end of which there were 
some wheat-fields; we kept these between us and the guard till 
we reached the woods. When getting over the fence into the 
woods we were seen by the enemy. They called, rode after us, 
and leveled their muskets at us, but we ran on, and, as they did 
not fire or follow far, we escaped. Still fearing capture, we kept 
to the fields. Before we reached Strasburg all had fallen behind 
but one. We must have walked about seventeen miles before we 
got to Roxbury. As the horses were hid in the mountains, I was 
in dread lest I should not get a horse; but I met Mr. L. S. Sent- 
man riding into town to get feed for his horses in the mountains. 
Telling him of the message I was carrying, he gave me his horse. 
Informing my father of my errand, I set out on my trip at once. 
It was about noon. The mountain-road to Amberson Valley 
was, I knew, blockaded with trees to prevent the marauders from 
entering the valley to steal horses. The Barrens below Concord 
were blockaded by citizens of Tuscarora Valley, many of whom 
knew me. The report having reached them that I was killed 
while trying to hinder the rebels from entering Roxbury, the ob- 
stacles and excitement of my friends at finding me alive hindered 
me about ten minutes. Free from them, I hastened down the 
Tuscarora Valley as fast as my horse could carry me. At Beal- 
town, Mr. Beal (now the Rev. D. J. Beal) speedily got me a fresh 
horse. When I reached Silas E. Smith's I did these two things: 
got lunch and proved to the future Mrs. Pomeroy that I was not 
dead, as she supposed, but good for many years to come. From 
thence I rode to my uncle's, Joseph Pomeroy, at Academia, found 


concentrate his army, and he ordered General Reynolds 
to make a recognizance in force at Gettysburg to ascer- 
tain the position of the enemy. The young men who 
performed the most important duty of maintaining com- 
munications between Harrisburg and Chambersburg by 
circuitous journeys through the mountains were Stephen 
W. Pomeroy, Thomas J. Grimison, Sellers Montgomery, 
J. Porter Brown, Anthony Holler, Shearer Houser, Ben- 
jamin S. Huber, and probably others whose names I can- 
not recall. 

When Lee had passed the South Mountain and the 
battle at Gettysburg had begun it was impossible to ob- 
tain any news from Lee's rear as to important movements 
between the two armies, and thenceforth until Lee's re- 
treat the only information received at Harrisburg and 
Chambersburg came from General Meade through Wash- 
ington. On the evening of the first day's battle we 
learned the sad news that Reynolds had fallen and that 

them likewise mourning my supposed death, and he supplied an- 
other horse, the fastest he had. That carried me to within a mile 
of my destination, when a soldier on guard called, "Halt!" I 
told the sergeant on guard my mission, and requested one of the 
guard to go with me, that I might get the telegram off to Harris- 
burg in the shortest time possible. 

Getting on the horse behind me, we rode in a few minutes to 
the office. Finding the operator, he cut the telegram out of the 
strap of my pantaloons and sent it at once to you. The excite- 
ment and journey being over and the telegram being off to you, 
I began to look at the time and found it about midnight. I had 
walked that day about seventeen miles and ridden about forty- 
one miles. Anxious as I was about the critical state of the coun- 
try, I was so tired I had to seek the house of my kinsman, Major 
J. M. Pomeroy, in Perryville (now Port Royal), for rest. 

The above is the history of that telegram that, I believe, first 
gave you notice of the concentration of the rebel troops at Gettys- 
burg just before the famous battle in that place. 

Respectfully yours, 



the Union troops had been badly defeated. On the sec- 
ond day no material news came, and for two days the 
government at Harrisburg and the people in the Valley 
were agonized by fearful suspense as to the issue of the 
conflict. Late in the evening of July 3d, Wayne Mac- 
Veagh, who had been with the Governor during the 
whole period of trial, and whose anxiety kept him close 
beside the telegraph-operator, rushed into the Executive 
Chamber with Meade's report of the repulse of Pickett 
on Cemetery Hill. It was the first silver lining of the 
dark cloud flung upon us by the Gettysburg invasion, 
and when the next morning it was known that Lee had 
retreated, while every loyal heart of the land was glad- 
dened, the border people felt a relief that was unknown 
in any other part of the country. 

One of the incidents of Lee's retreat I do not recall 
with pleasure, but it is due to the truth of history to tell 
the story of the fierce passions which ran riot in our civil 
war. Lee left thousands of his wounded scattered along 
the line of his retreat, and a number of them were gath- 
ered into a hospital in Chambersburg. Little attention 
was paid to the fact that there was a Confederate hospital 
in our midst, as "uncommon things make common 
things forgot." Some ten days after Lee's retreat, Dr. 
A. H. Senseny, my own family physician, came to me 
and informed me that he was attending the Confederate 
wounded in the hospital, and that they were in great 
need of some things which were not supplied by army 
regulations. He appealed to me to go in person and see 
them and take the lead to have them properly supplied, 
as he believed I could do it without suspicion of disloy- 
alty. I visited the hospital with him and found a num- 
ber of severely- wounded men who had great need of some 
delicacies necessary to their recovery or comfort. Mrs. 
McClure immediately took charge of the effort, and was 



heartily seconded by a number of estimable ladies. I 
became specially interested in a young Confederate, 
Colonel Carter, who resided in Texas, but who was a 
native of Tennessee. It was evident that his wound was 
mortal, and he fully understood it. When he was in- 
formed by the doctor that I had come to perform some 
kind offices for the wounded in that hospital, he thanked 
me effusively, and made a piteous appeal to me to assure 
him decent Christian burial after his death. I gave him 
the promise, little dreaming of the angry passions it 
would arouse in a Christian community. He died a few 
days thereafter, and I applied to the trustees of the Pres- 
byterian church I attended for permission to bury him in 
the graveyard attached to it. To my surprise it was 
refused. I made like application to the several other 
churches in the town which had cemeteries, and was 
refused in every instance. I then applied to a company 
that had recently started a new cemetery near the town, 
and proposed to purchase a lot for the burial of the dead 
Confederate colonel, but that was refused, and indigna- 
tion was expressed on almost every side because of my 
effort to give a Confederate soldier decent burial. I then 
announced that I would set apart a small lot in the corner 
of the field in front of my house to bury him there and 
dedicate it as his resting-place. Finally Mr. Burnett, an 
estimable Christian character, gave Colonel Carter's re- 
mains a resting-place in his own lot in the Methodist 
burial-ground. Such were the fierce passions of civil 
war in one of the most intelligent, generous, and Chris- 
tian communities of the North, and I recall it often as 
one of the saddest memories of our fraternal conflict. 

After the battle of Gettysburg the border people had 
seen war in its most horrible aspect. The constant peril 
from incursions of the enemy, and the possibility of other 
great battles being fought upon the border or north of 


the Potomac, destroyed all hope of tranquility in that 
region until the war closed. There was comparative 
peace and quiet during the winter of 1863-64, but when 
the spring of 1864 opened the border counties were almost 
constantly threatened by cavalry raids or hostile armies. 
Governor Curtin had taken the precaution to organize an 
ample force to protect the border from raids, but as these 
troops were mustered into the service of the national 
government, and thereby subject to the call of the War 
Department, they were ordered from the State to rein- 
force Hunter on the north side of the Potomac after his 
disastrous advance into Virginia. While Hunter was 
thus endeavoring to reorganize his demoralized forces 
and the border was threatened in the direction of Hagers- 
town, the startling news came to General Couch's head- 
quarters on the evening of July 29, 1864, that a Confed- 
erate force had entered Mercersburg and was marching 
toward Chambersburg. General Couch, although com- 
manding a department with headquarters at Chambers- 
burg, had but one hundred and fourteen men under his 
command, and they were scattered over half as many 
miles as scouts on the border. The troops that he could 
have summoned to repel invasion under ordinary circum- 
stances had passed through Chambersburg within twenty- 
four hours to join Hunter, in command of another de- 
partment, and were beyond his control. 

I remained with Couch the night of the 2Qth until 
three o'clock the next morning. He received frequent 
reports from the heroic Lieutenant McLean, who had just 
thirteen men with him, but who in the darkness of the 
night confronted McCausland at every cross-roads in his 
advance upon Chambersburg, and so hindered him that 
he did not arrive in front of the town until daylight. 
McCausland in his official report states that he was con- 
fronted by a regiment that fought him most gallantly and 


greatly delayed his advance, but I happened to know that 
the entire force opposed to him was the lieutenant and his 
thirteen men. It was .evident at three o'clock in the 
morning that the Confederate force would reach the town 
before daylight, and, as General Couch had no means 
whatever for defending the place, he ordered a special 
train to be in readiness to take himself, staff, and official 
records away when it became necessary. He urged me 
to go with him, believing that it was unsafe for me to 
remain at home, but I decided that I would not leave my 
family, perilous though it seemed to be, and left him to 
go to my own house. When I reached there and gave 
the condition of affairs, Mrs. McClure most earnestly 
urged me to go with General Couch, and while I was 
hesitating he sent a staff-officer to my house, saying that 
he felt it his duty to command me to accompany him out 
of the town, and to come at once and leave with him on 
the train. I still hesitated and sent his staff-officer away, 
but soon after Mr. Taylor, an old friend, drove up in his 
buggy and proposed to take me with him, and I accom- 
panied him to Shippensburg. 

Telegraphic communication was of course cut off, but 
the next morning I took the cars for Harrisburg, where 
I was greeted with the information that McCausland had 
burned the town and had sent a special detachment, com- 
manded by a son of Ex-Governor Smith of Virginia, to 
burn my house and barn, after having burned my print- 
ing-office and law-office in the town. Rev. Samuel J. 
Niccolls, now of St. Louis, was my immediate neighbor, 
and he came to my house when he found that a detach- 
ment of the enemy had entered it. Mrs. McClure was 
ill, confined to her room, but Captain Smith entered it 
and notified her to leave immediately, as he was going to 
burn the house in retaliation for the destruction of pri- 
vate property by Hunter in Virginia, and forbade her to 


take anything with her. Mr. Niccolls attempted to take 
some of my clothing on his arms, but it was grasped 
from him and cast into the flames. The only thing 
saved from the house was a portrait that Miss Virginia 
Riley seized, and with it ran out of the house through a 
back door, and the family Bible was taken charge of by 
Mrs. Gray, the mother of my wife. When Captain Smith 
was about to fire the room in which Mrs. McClure was 
an invalid, she opened a drawer in her bureau and handed 
him a letter she had received but a few days before and 
requested him to read it. It was from one of the same 
command who had been there under Jenkins the year 
before, and who had been ill and received generous min- 
istrations from her. It was a letter of thanks from one of 
Captain Smith's own associates for the kind offices she 
had given to an enemy when in distress, but it did not 
stop the vandal's work, and everything perished by the 
vandal's torch. 

I need not describe the brutality that is inevitable 
when a military command is ordered to play the barba- 
rian. Many of the men became intoxicated, and there 
were numerous records of barbarity which all would be 
glad to forget. A large brick house on another part of 
my farm was fortunately occupied by the family of Col- 
onel Boyd, one of our most gallant troopers and success- 
ful scouts. Learning that that property belonged to me, 
Colonel Harry Gilmore led a detachment to burn it. 
Colonel Boyd was absent on duty, but his wife was an 
heroic woman, and, when Colonel Gilmore entered the 
house and informed her of their purpose, she amazed 
them by her coolness of manner and much more by her 
defiance. She said : ' ' Do you know whose home this 
is ?" The answer was: u Yes, we know that this belongs 
to Colonel McClure, and we are ordered to burn it." 
Her answer was: "This is the home of Colonel Boyd, 


of whom you have some knowledge. I am now ready 
to walk out of it, and you can burn it if you choose, but 
don't forget that it is the home of Colonel Boyd." They 
knew of Colonel Boyd, and they knew also that if his 
home was burned it would make a hundred Virginians 
homeless before another month, as he would have given 
fearful retribution. Colonel Gilmore bowed to Mrs. Boyd, 
saying: " We will not burn the home of so gallant a sol- 
dier;" and thus the property was saved. He gives a dif- 
ferent account of the incident in his book, but all who 
remember Mrs. Boyd well know that she was not the 
whimpering dame he represents her. 

I need not describe the burning of Chambersburg. It 
was ordered by General Early upon the failure of the 
people to pay a tribute of $500,000, which was an impos- 
sible demand, and the order was executed in unexampled 
barbarity. It accomplished nothing in the war beyond 
making hundreds of homeless families in the South, and 
especially in Columbia, South Carolina, when Sherman 
was marching north, where the people learned to asso- 
ciate the cry of Chambersburg with sweeping destruc- 
tion. Every drunken Union soldier in Southern cities 
applied the torch as did the drunken soldiers of McCaus- 
land in Chambersburg, always preceding it with the cry 
of u Remember Chambersburg!" The fact remains that 
one of the most beautiful towns of the State had been 
ruthlessly destroyed by war; that the people of Cham- 
bersburg and of the border regions had suffered spoliation 
to the extent of not less than $4,000,000; and that the 
burning of Chambersburg was the direct result of the 
general government calling away the troops organized 
for State service that would have been ample to defend 
the town. It was not the accident of a lost battle; it 
was the result of the extreme necessities of the national 
government that deprived Pennsylvania of her own right- 


ful defenders, and it is a blistering stain upon the gov- 
ernment that it has not made reasonable restitution for 
the loss which resulted from the action of the govern- 
ment itself. The people of Chambersburg heroically 
struggled to rebuild their homes and revive their busi- 
ness, but soon after the war closed there was a general 
paralysis and depression of values, and many were hope- 
lessly bankrupted, while others struggled on for years in 
the vain effort to retrieve their fortunes. 

This fearful strain upon the people of the border con- 
tinued for four long years. Finally, on the night of 
April 9, 1865, when the long-suffering residents of Cham- 
bersburg were at rest in the homes they had improvised 
in their ashes, they were suddenly startled by the ringing 
of the courthouse bell, in which the chimes of several 
church bells were soon mingled. There had been no 
rumors of a raid, but the people hurried from their beds 
to inquire what new peril confronted them or what great 
victory had been achieved. In a very short time the 
streets resounded with the shouts: u Lee has surren- 
dered!" Soon the people of the town, young and old, 
were upon the streets, many of them weeping with joy, 
and all mingling in congratulations; and thus the fearful 
strain upon them was ended. To them it meant more 
than peace between the North and the South ; it meant 
much more than a restored nation: it meant the ending 
of the strife that entered their own homes and desolated 
the places where their affections centered, and it meant 
that at last, after the bloodiest war of modern history, 
they had rest. 



WHILE none will claim that the soldiers of the 
Pennsylvania Reserve Corps were more heroic 
than other scores of thousands of Pennsylvania soldiers 
who volunteered for the defence of the Union, it is none 
the less true that this organization, alike by reason of the 
peculiar circumstances under which it was created and 
because of its opportunities for the most heroic service 
in nearly every battle of the Army of the Potomac, oc- 
cupies a distinctive place in the history of Pennsylva- 
nia heroism. How it was organized has already been 
stated in these articles. How it was summoned by the 
patriotism and sagacity of Governor Curtin when the 
national government had not only not called for it, but 
refused to accept it; how the legislature was appealed to 
by the Governor, and a State organization effected alike 
for the protection of the State and the general govern- 
ment; how it was frantically called for by the same au- 
thorities who had rejected it when disaster fell upon the 
Union forces at Bull Run; how it promptly marched to 
Washington and ended panic by assuring the safety of 
the capital, are matters of history known to all; and 
when it is remembered that it had such commanders as 
McCall, Meade, Reynolds, Ord, . and Crawford, and bri- 
gade commanders who have shed lustre upon the skill 
and heroism of Pennsylvania soldiers, and that more 
than one-half of its entire force fell wounded or dead 


(Photo by Gutekunst. Philadelphia.) 


f / 


in battle, it is not surprising that the Pennsylvania Re- 
serve Corps occupies a unique position in the annals 
of Pennsylvania achievement and sacrifice in our civil 

The command of the Reserves was first offered to Gen- 
eral McClellan, and he had accepted, but on his way to 
Harrisburg he was stopped at Columbus, Ohio, where he 
was prevailed upon to accept the command of the Ohio 
State troops! It was then offered to General Franklin, 
but he declined, as he had been promoted to a colonelcy 
in the regular ariny. It was then tendered to General 
McCall of Chester county, Pennsylvania, a retired army 
officer, who proved to be an excellent disciplinarian and 
a most gallant soldier. General McCall earnestly devoted 
himself, and at once, to the organization for service of 
the division, to its drill and discipline, and gave to the 
Bucktails, or First Rifles, his especial care a regiment 
to become famous as skirmishers wholly unique, and 
whose value in thick woods, tangled overgrowth, streams, 
and mountain-passes was unequaled anywhere. Three 
brigades were formed, under Reynolds, Meade, and Ord 
names soon to become famous for ability and conspicu- 
ous service; and it cannot be questioned that the impres- 
sion left by these able soldiers of the highest class in 
their discipline and instruction was long effective and 
contributed greatly to the reputation of the division. 

Before the advance of our lines in front of Washington 
to a stronger position the Reserves were ordered to Lang- 
ley, at Camp Pierpoint, beyond the Chain Bridge, where 
McCall' s division constituted the right of the army, 
which it held until after the seven days' retreat on the 
Peninsula. Constantly in contact with the enemy, and 
always with credit to itself, it was preparing for the 
larger operations of war so soon to devolve upon it. A 
reconnaissance in force showed the presence of the enemy 



in uncertain numbers near Dranesville, and an attack 
from the direction of Centreville was anticipated, in re- 
gard to which McCall's division was warned. Had the 
reconnaissance to Dranesville resulted in holding that 
place, the disaster to Baker and his command at Ball's 
Bluff, and his subsequent rout, might have been avoided. 

From intelligence received by a scout it was learned 
that the enemy was in force at Dranesville, and that 
his object was to forage in the unoccupied country in 
his immediate front. He had advanced his pickets in 
front of his line, and was molesting Union men about 
him, when it was determined to drive his line back 
and take possession of the supplies of grain and forage 

On the 2Oth, Ord's brigade, with Kaston's battery 
and a detachment of cavalry, and with the Bucktails 
as skirmishers, was ordered to move up the Dranesville 
road. Reynolds with his brigade, in support, was to 
move in the same direction later, while Meade was held 
in reserve in camp. Ord reached Dranesville, and soon 
developed the enemy, who opened fire with his artillery. 
The brigade soon became closely engaged, Kaston's bat- 
tery coming rapidly into position and rendering most 
effective service through the battle. Ord's dispositions 
were admirable, and he directed in person the operations 
of his regiments, with Easton's guns and the Bucktails. 
In an attempt to turn the left of our position the enemy 
was repulsed by Easton's guns and the Sixth regiment. 
There was close firing along the line, when an advance 
was ordered and the enemy rapidly retreated toward 
Centreville. Meantime, Reynolds' brigade, followed 
by that of Meade, had come up, but the battle was 
over a most successful affair, hardly to be dignified 
with the name of a battle, and, in view of the immense 
issues of the future, insignificant, but in its moral as- 


pects immense. Young men gathered from all parts 
of Pennsylvania had assumed the panoply of war, and 
had gone into action and moved and fought with the 
confidence of veteran soldiers; and it was the first vic- 
tory of the Army of the Potomac. Pennsylvania was 
thrilled at the achievement of her sons, and not only 
through her Governor, but through the Secretary of 
War, himself a Pennsylvanian, congratulations and com- 
mendations, official and private, upon the conduct of 
the division came in profusion. 

The division now returned to its camp (Pierpoint) and 
made preparations to go into winter quarters. McClellan 
had been appointed to the command of the army, which 
for seven long months remained inactive confronting 
the enemy's lines. The Reserves under their competent 
officers were daily attaining efficiency in drill and in dis- 
cipline and in preparation for battle an efficiency that 
was never to leave them during their service. The 
whole heart of their State had gone out to them, and the 
patriotic Governor, who ever considered them his own 
special creation, never wearied in the exercise of his 
paternal care. 

McClellan now moved from Alexandria to Fortress 
Monroe, and the advance of the Army of the Potomac 
began. To reach Yorktown and the Peninsula the army 
embarked by divisions. McDowell's corps, with the 
Pennsylvania Reserves, was in the rear. But while all 
was in motion, the President, learning that Washington 
had not been protected by a sufficient force in accordance 
with his orders, detached McDowell's corps and ordered 
him to report to the Secretary of War. This conse- 
quently kept the Pennsylvania Reserves from the Penin- 
sula, and they accompanied their corps to Alexandria. 
Soon after another advance was made into Virginia to 
Falmouth and Fredericksburg. But when McDowell 


arrived and was about to take up the line of march, he 
received an order, directly from the President, forbidding 
him to cross the river. Here the Reserves remained for 
over a month, going through all the phases and vicissi- 
tudes of military life, and becoming hardened and thor- 
oughly fitted for the future service in store for them. 
They were directly on the road to Richmond. The gal- 
lant Bayard was made a brigadier-general on the 28th of 
April, and the flying brigade was organized under his 

Again a forward movement toward Richmond was 
ordered, and McDowell's corps had begun its movement 
by the advance of Bayard's brigade, and everything 
looked favorable to the speedy junction of McDowell and 
his corps with the Army of the Potomac, when the Presi- 
dent and his Cabinet arrived at Fredericksburg to confer 
with McDowell as to the movement. All was in readi- 
ness, the transportation secured, the men eager, and only 
awaited the final order. It was Saturday, the 24th of 
May. The next day being Sunday, the President ob- 
jected to beginning a campaign on that day, when Mon- 
day morning was fixed upon. Meantime a despatch was 
received by McDowell revoking the order and changing 
the whole plan of campaign. Jackson had again burst 
into the Valley of the Shenandoah and was in full march 
northward. The President personally interfered, Bayard 
was quickly recalled, and the three divisions of Shields, 
King, and Ord were hurried to the Shenandoah Valley 
to meet him. McCall with the Pennsylvania Reserves 
was to hold Fredericksburg temporarily, some troops of 
the cavalry only accompanying the expedition on their 
march. Bayard with his brigade encountered the enemy 
in Jackson's rearguard, other troops, from Fremont's 
command, joined him, and there was a brisk fight with 
the enemy. Bayard's brigade remained with Fremont. 


Meantime the Reserves remained at Fredericksburg under 
McCall, when, on the 4th of June, McClellan called ear- 
nestly for reinforcements, and the Reserves were prom- 
ised him to go to the White House. McClellan had 
assured the President that upon McCall' s arrival with 
his division, if the state of the ground permitted, he 
would advance. McDowell moved promptly with the 
division of the Reserves alone. By the I4th of June 
the division was united at Tunstall's Station. Stuart's 
Confederate cavalry had threatened an attack upon the 
depot and had opened fire upon a train at the station. 
Upon the appearance of Reynolds with his brigade the 
cavalry retreated. 

The Reserves, now united, mustered nearly ten thou- 
sand strong, of effective material. Fully organized, well 
drilled and equipped, under favorite and skilled com- 
manders, they marched on the i;th with enthusiasm to 
take their place on the right of the army. It was the 
place of honor; they occupied it upon the iQth, and 
almost at once came under the fire of the enemy. It 
was a position which should have never been chosen, 
but which McCall with admirable sagacity and judg- 
ment at once made strong and formidable, taking ad- 
vantage of the natural features of the ground and dis- 
posing his force with reference to the efficiency of its 
fire, putting two of his brigades in line and holding 
Meade's brigade in reserve. 

The enemy was in plain view. At three o'clock he 
threw forward his skirmishers, which were at once 
driven back. Advancing his main body under cover 
of his artillery fire, he attacked the Reserves along their 
whole front. The fighting was long continued, and 
from the right centre to the left was hotly maintained. 
Various attempts were made by the enemy to find weak 
places in our line, but without success. The Reserves 


maintained their position, inflicting great losses upon 
the enemy, who finally retired at nine o'clock p. M. 
McCall at once prepared for a renewal of the attack in 
the morning, when he received McClellan's order to fall 
back to Games' Mills. Jackson was marching from the 
direction of Gordonsville upon the right flank and rear 
of our army. This compelled an immediate change to 
one definite side of the Chickahominy, the right bank. 
The movement was executed with skill and success. 
The Reserves moved speedily, and the spectacle of an 
army with an impassable boggy stream flowing through 
its centre was no longer seen. 

The command fell back with regret, in perfect order, 
behind the lines of Games' Mills at ten A. M., June 
27th a movement which the corps commander doubted 
his ability to accomplish. Here it was held in reserve. 
No veteran troops could have behaved with any greater 
distinction than did the Pennsylvania Reserves in this 
battle of Mechanicsville, and the glowing approbation 
of their commander, McCall, was w r holly deserved. 
They had met most honorably every requirement of 
their position with a devotion and courage worthy of 
any troops in any army; and Mechanicsville will ever 
remain one of their proudest achievements. 

The withdrawal had been successfully accomplished, 
and Porter's corps was in strong position at Games' Mill 
by noon on the 27th of June, its flanks resting on the 
creeks. The Pennsylvania Reserves, in justice to them 
after their continued and gallant fighting, were held at 
first in reserve and rear. But the enemy in strong 
columns commenced his attack at four o'clock, and it 
was so determined and persistent that the second line 
had been moved up by the corps commander's order; 
and the Second and Third brigades were ordered at once 
to the support of the left centre, now severely engaged. 


The conflict became desperate, and the men fought with- 
out regard to anything but the enemy in their front and 
the officers who commanded them. Other troops were 
moved up and much confusion prevailed. Again and 
again the enemy was repulsed, only to re-form, and, 
being reinforced, to again attack. 

On our side the troops held their position bravely 
until every cartridge had been fired. One regiment on 
the left was repulsed and driven across the Chickahominy. 
Regiments of different corps were gotten together, led 
on a charge into the woods, and advanced against the 
enemy, when their flanks were assailed and broken, and 
in disorder they fell back to their old position. The 
Bucktails, by their unerring fire, forced a Confederate 
battery to change its position, and finally drove it from 
the field. One regiment that had gone to the relief of 
another then in line remained fighting until, its ammu- 
nition exhausted, with half its number captured, and 
with the enemy all around it, it was forced to surrender. 
Hasten, after most heroic fighting, his support gone, his 
gunners killed at their pieces, his retreat cut off, lost 
four of his guns and two caissons. 

The action had now become general, and for four hours 
raged furiously. The left, unable to withstand the re- 
peated and desperate attacks upon it, had broken and 
was falling back in confusion, when McCall by his per- 
sonal efforts partially restored order. It was now after 
sunset. The enemy, after forcing our left, had cut off 
the retreat of the Eleventh regiment and the Fourth New 
Jersey, to whose relief Reynolds had gone. While at- 
tempting to regain our lines the next morning he was 
captured with his adjutant-general. The enemy, believ- 
ing that reinforcements had reached us, made no further 
attack. He had before displayed no such strength or de- 
termination. The Reserves fought against superior num- 


bers and bravely, wholly "supporting the character they 
had previously gained," as was justly said by their com- 
mander. Reynolds had been everywhere, and in the ex- 
ercise of that personal magnetism so characteristic of him 
was of the greatest influence in restoring order. We lost 
twenty-two guns in the battle, and the Pennsylvania Re- 
serves alone had lost, including the affair at Beaver Dam 
Creek, fourteen hundred men. The enemy had been 
held in check, and this, the commanding general said, 
was all that he proposed, to secure his changed base on 
the James River. 

But there was to be no rest yet for the division. On 
the 27th of June, after the affair at Gainesville, the Penn- 
sylvania Reserves crossed the Chickahominy. It was 
late before their orders reached them to move to White 
Oak Creek as an escort and protection to Hunt's reserve 
artillery. It was an important and hazardous service, 
and it seemed to fall to the lot of the Reserves, as other 
details had done, without much reference to justice or 
routine. The transfer of so important an element of his 
fighting material might well occasion anxiety to the com- 
manding general, and he had especially entrusted its care 
to McCall's division of Pennsylvanians. He had been 
satisfied with its brilliant service, and his unjust criti- 
cisms upon its action at New Market road had not yet 
been made. 

The demoralization at Savage Station was great; every- 
thing was in confusion; nearly three thousand sick and 
wounded men were in tents and under any shelter that 
could be found, and all sorts of rumors of the approach 
of the enemy tended to demoralize the men. Upon their 
arrival the Reserves at once sought out and ministered to 
the wants of their comrades as far as they were able to do. 
The wounded and sick were to be left behind, and when 
this became known it occasioned a feeling that moved 


the stoutest heart. McCall had crossed the swamp with 
the artillery train, and had formed his division in line 
of battle, when he was relieved from his escort duty and 
ordered forward on the Quaker road toward the James 
River. The division moved with its corps. When on 
the march some confusion and delay took place in regard 
to the exact location of the Quaker road. The whole 
command was countermarched, except the Reserve divis- 
ion, to whom Porter, in command of the corps, sent no 
instructions, leaving the division in front and in sight 
of the enemy. His explanation was that he did not con- 
sider the division then under his command. The enemy 
had now discovered McClellan's intention to change his 
base, and resolved to go in pursuit. The army was 
formed in line of battle, and Sumner with the rearguard 
held Savage Station, the point of honor, and nobly re- 
pulsed a determined attack of the enemy. 

Porter with his corps, including the Reserves, was in 
line of battle, with the remainder of the army across the 
roads and facing Richmond. The position originally 
taken by McCall was at the crossing of the Quaker road 
and the New Market road. Ordered back from this posi- 
tion, McCall received orders from McClellan himself to 
form his division on the New Market road, and to hold 
that position until our trains had passed on toward the 
James River. There was no continuous line of battle. 
The divisions were disjointed and McCall held the centre. 
He had formed his division with his usual ability. Meade 
with the Second brigade was on his right; Seymour on 
the leftj Simmons with the First brigade in reserve, and 
his batteries were strongly posted. The Confederates 
had determined to seize the point where the Charles City 
and New Market roads crossed each other, and thus place 
themselves on our line of retreat. This movement, if 
successful, would have divided McClellan's army. Hill's 



Confederate division, that had been repulsed by the 
Reserves at Mechanicsville, was again to attack, and 
McCall's division of Pennsylvania Reserves was again 
to meet it. 

At half-past two o'clock the battle began by the driv- 
ing in of our skirmishers. The enemy threw forward 
two regiments to feel McCall's line. Colonel Sickel with 
the Third and Colonel Harvey with the Seventh drove 
them back, when the enemy moved a large column upon 
our left flank and made a determined assault with his 
artillery and infantry. For two long hours the battle 
raged fiercely. The brave Simmons fell and the enemy 
was driven back. Our batteries, under Kern and Cooper, 
were well served, and a reckless and desperate charge 
made upon Randall's guns was bravely repulsed, the 
enemy coming up to the muzzles of the guns. Our men 
crossed bayonets with the Alabama troops, and a hand- 
to-hand fight occurred, a rare thing at any time in war. 
But there were no supports; every man had been put in; 
our lines were broken and could not re-form, and fell 
back in disorder. At once McCall began to re-form his 
line, to get his scattered men together, and to present 
again his front to the enemy. But all was changed: his 
brigade commanders had gone ; his staff had all been dis- 
abled or killed, and even his personal escort wounded or 
dispersed, and he himself exhausted. While riding for- 
ward, unaccompanied by any of his staff, to look for one 
of his officers, he was captured. 

At no previous battle had there been so many instances 
of hand-to-hand fighting, no such display of personal 
courage. Well might the enemy regard this battle as 
one of the most stubborn and long-contested that had 
yet occurred, and say, as L,ongstreet did, that if McCall's 
division had not fought as it did they would have cap- 
tured our army. The Reserves had met the divisions of 


Longstreet and A. P. Hill, among the best of the Con- 
federate troops, and from eighteen to twenty thousand 
strong. The conduct of the Reserve division, as its 
commander said, was worthy of all praise. It had 
added to its laurels by as devoted and valiant a service 
as had ever been rendered by any troops. Meade had 
been wounded, but remained for a while, when he finally 
left the field. Seymour became separated from his com- 
mand, and retired. In his official report the division 
commander thanks Colonels Roberts, Sickel, Hays, Jack- 
son, and others. Three stands of colors, with two hun- 
dred prisoners, were captured, while the loss of the di- 
vision in the three battles of the 26th, 27th, and 3oth of 
June amounted to 3180; the killed and wounded amounted 
to 650 out of the 7000 who went into battle at Mechanics- 
ville on the 26th of June. 

The Reserve commander and Reynolds being now pris- 
oners in the hands of the enemy, and Meade wounded, 
the command of the division devolved upon Seymour 
temporarily as the senior. Porter with the Fifth corps 
reached Malvern Hill only on the 3oth of June, and took 
position to cover the passage of our trains and reserve 
artillery to the river behind Malvern Hill. 

Lee, failing to break our centre on the New Market 
road, now determined to turn our left flank at Malvern 
Hill. A strong line was formed by our troops, and in 
front of it the enemy appeared on the morning of the ist 
of July. Porter's corps held the left of the line. The 
Pennsylvania Reserve division was held in reserve be- 
hind Porter and Couch. In the attacks upon these com- 
mands the Reserves were not engaged. At the conclusion 
of the fight McClellan withdrew his army to Harrison's 
Landing, which had been previously determined upon, 
but which was received with regret by both officers and 


The condition of the Reserves was not an encouraging 
one. Reduced in numbers, many sick, their officers 
gone, the severe service imposed upon them had affected 
their well-being and touched their morale. They were 
broken down, and their losses in men and officers had 
affected them; many were sent to hospitals only to die; 
many never again returned to their commands. But 
there was no giving up. Early in August, McCall, Rey- 
nolds, and the prisoners captured in the previous fights 
were exchanged and returned to the army. McCall 's re- 
turn was warmly welcomed by the division, but he too, 
broken down in health, was obliged to seek relief at his 
home. Failing to regain his strength, he resigned his 
commission, when Reynolds assumed command of the 
division, and was welcomed by the men with every ex- 
pression of gratification and joy. 

The government had now determined upon a new plan 
of operations. The Peninsula campaign had failed; a 
junction of the corps of Banks, Fremont, and McDowell 
had taken place, and Major-General Pope placed in com- 
mand. While Pope protected Washington and made 
demonstrations toward Gordonsville, the Army of the 
Potomac was to be withdrawn from Harrison's Landing 
and to join him. The Confederates soon learned what 
was contemplated, and by the i8th their united forces 
were in Pope's front. An order to McClellan required 
him to withdraw his army to the Potomac. There 
was unaccountable delay. The Pennsylvania Reserves 
took the advance on the nth of August, and by the 
1 5th were en route to join Burnside. They were pushed 
forward with the greatest promptness, and on the 25th 
joined Pope's forces at Warrenton Junction, to resume 
their old position as a division of McDowell's corps. 
With Kearney's division they were the only organized 
troops that joined Pope until the 26th of August. 


Pope was now on the Rapidan, but the concentration 
and force of the enemy on the south bank, the failure to 
receive reinforcements again and again demanded, both 
flanks exposed, and his communications with Fredericks- 
burg threatened by which his relief was to arrive, com- 
pelled him to fall back to the Rappahannock. Lee fol- 
lowed with his army, and extended his line far beyond 
Pope's right. There was now constant fighting and skir- 
mishing, and Pope's position again became untenable. 
The enemy was crossing to his left, when the river rose 
in floods and became an impassable barrier. Reynolds 
had now joined Pope, who fell back to Warrenton Junc- 
tion and Manassas. Pope believed that he had thrown 
his force between Jackson and Longstreet, and he deter- 
mined at once to force the fighting on the 28th and to 
attack Jackson. Reynolds, without waiting for formal 
orders from his chief, formed on Sigel's left, and on the 
march to Manassas came under the enemy's fire, which 
he repulsed with his artillery. 

The Reserves, in connection with McDowell's other 
divisions and with Sigel, had succeeded in getting be- 
tween Jackson and Thoroughfare Gap, and on the 29th 
Reynolds with his division was at once engaged with the 
enemy all day. On the morning of the 3oth, Reynolds 
posted his division with all of his artillery on the left. 
Pushing forward his skirmishers and their support, he 
found a large force of the enemy ready for attack. He 
was ordered to resist this attack, and other troops were 
to support him. Porter's corps had been repulsed, and 
the Reserves were to form a line behind which it could 
rally. Heintzelman's corps was in retreat amid much 
confusion, leaving but one brigade of the Reserves under 
Anderson, with its batteries, to resist the attack. Here 
the command suffered great loss. Kern lost four of his 
guns; he himself was wounded and left on the field. ' 


Colonel Hardin of the Twelfth was severely wounded. 
The command now fell back by order to the right of the 
Henry House, where Meade's and Seymour's brigades, 
with Ransom's batteries, "gallantly maintained their 
position." It was in this battle, when our left was forced 
back and the troops on the right of the Reserves had 
given way, that the brave Reynolds, seizing the flagstaff 
of the Second regiment, dashed along his line, cheering 
on his men with magnetic effect. The bridge over Bull 
Run was saved to the army. 

Thus ended another battle most creditable to the 
Reserves, wholly sustaining their reputation. Well 
might the army commander say in his official report: 
' ' The Pennsylvania Reserves under Reynolds . . . 
rendered most gallant and efficient service." In this 
campaign they lost 4 officers and 64 privates killed, 
31 officers and 364 privates wounded, which makes an 
aggregate loss of 463 men. 

The army had hardly become reunited in the defences 
of Washington when the Confederates crossed the Poto- 
mac in force and marched toward Maryland. The Army 
of the Potomac at once took the field. The Pennsylvania 
Reserves were now a division in the First army corps, 
commanded by Hooker. Meantime the Governor of 
Pennsylvania had called out 75,000 of the militia, and 
Reynolds had been relieved of his command of the Re- 
serves and ordered to Harrisburg to assist the Governor. 
General Meade now took command of the division, and 
on the 1 3th of September they crossed the Monocacy. 
The enemy, pushing northward, had taken position on 
South Mountain. McClellan at once made his disposi- 
tions to attack him, and if possible to throw Franklin 
with the Sixth corps and Couch's division between 
the main body of the enemy and Jackson at Harper's 
Ferry. Franklin forced the enemy to take position on 


the top of South Mountain, where he strongly posted 
himself at Turner's Gap. Burnside reported the fact 
to McClellan, when the whole army was ordered to 
move to the attack. 

At one o'clock the Reserves were in position on our 
right, with orders to create a diversion in favor of Reno, 
who was pressed on our left by the enemy. They were 
to advance and turn the enemy's flank. Seymour's bri- 
gade, under Meade's order, took the crest of the first 
ridge, and, forming line of battle with the other bri- 
gades, advanced upon the enemy, the Bucktails leading. 
The enemy was engaged, and after determined fighting 
was driven from the walls and rocks and thick under- 
growth. Reinforcements came up, but too late to open 
fire, when the enemy, who was not in large force, retired 
amid the loud shouts of our men. 

The Reserves lost in this battle an aggregate of 392 
officers and men. In his official report Meade states his 
indebtedness to the Bucktails, which he says u have al- 
ways been in the advance," for ascertaining the exact 
position of the enemy. The battle was not renewed in 
the morning. During the night the enemy had fallen 
back across the Antietam Creek to Sharpsburg. Push- 
ing through Boonesboro' and Keedysville, the enemy 
was found in force on the Antietam in front of Sharps- 
burg, and an attack in the morning was determined 
upon. The enemy had meantime changed his position 
to one of more strength, and had strongly posted his 

Hooker with his corps, including the Pennsylvania Re- 
serves, was to cross the Antietam and was to attack the 
enemy's left; Meade with the Reserves led the advance 
and opened the battle. The Bucktails soon found the 
enemy, and Meade at once ordered in Seymour with his 

brigade and posted his batteries. The engagement be- 




came general, when the remaining brigades were ordered 
up, and the fight continued until dark, with active artil- 
lery firing from Cooper's and Simpson's batteries. The 
opposing forces were almost hand to hand. 

At daylight on the i;th the battle was renewed. Fresh 
troops had come up and the line was strengthened. The 
Reserves were at once engaged on the left. Cooper and 
Simpson, on the enemy's left flank, served their batteries 
actively. Warner with the Tenth Reserves was ordered 
to join Crawford's division of Mansfield's corps in his 
attack upon the enemy in the morning. The now noted 
cornfield was carried, then lost, again reoccupied with 
cheers, when their ammunition became exhausted, and 
the enemy, reinforced, pressed them again back and 
came on in heavy force; again the enemy was driven 
back, and not an inch of ground was lost. 

The struggle was for the possession of the cornfield. 
Hooker with part of Mansfield's corps determined to take 
it. While in the act of initiating the movement he was 
wounded in the foot, and Meade took command of the 
corps, while Seymour assumed command of the Reserves. 
The Reserves were relieved at noon, after having been 
engaged for five hours and having exhausted their am- 
munition. Mansfield had now come up with all of his 

In his official report Meade gives to Ransom's battery 
the credit of repulsing the enemy in the cornfield at one 
of the most critical periods. He highly commends Sey- 
mour for his admirable service. In this battle the Re- 
serves lost 573 men 9 officers and 96 men killed; 22 
officers and 444 men wounded; and 2 missing. 

Constant fighting and marching had now reduced the 
strength of the division to little more than a third of 
its effective strength. It was desired by Governor Curtin 
that it should be sent back to the State to be reorgan- 


ized and recruited. This was not acceded to, and the 
work went on in the field; other regiments were added 
to the Second brigade. Colonel Biddle Roberts, who 
had done excellent service in every capacity, now re- 
signed to assist Governor Ctirtin, and was placed on his 
staff. Reynolds upon his return was given the First 
army corps, while Meade went back to his division. 

The army now rested at Sharpsburg and Harper's 
Ferry. But the President and authorities became anx- 
ious, and after repeated orders to move, the President, on 
the 6th of October, directed that McClellan should u cross 
the Potomac and give battle to the enemy or dVive him 
southward " a very positive military order, but in which 
the Secretary of War and the General-in-Chief concurred. 
At last, on the 26th of October, the army moved. The 
Reserves under Meade marched with their corps to War- 
renton, arriving on the 6th of November. Meantime, 
McClellan was relieved from his command by Burnside 
unwillingly, and later resigned his position in the army. 
Seymour had been relieved and sent South. The army 
was now formed into three grand divisions, and the Re- 
serves were attached to the left grand division, under 

In accordance with a plan of campaign of the new 
general, the army was to march to Fredericksburg by a 
forced movement, having made a feint toward Gordons- 
ville. This was ordered, and on the i6th of November 
the movement commenced. By another blunder the 
pontoon bridges were not forwarded, and valuable time 
was lost while others were constructing, and the enemy 
had strongly occupied Fredericksburg. Finally, the 
river was crossed and the Reserves were placed on the 
extreme left of the army, and Meade was designated to 
lead the charge that was to break through the enemy's 
line. No description of their heroic service can be better 


than the testimony of General Meade himself: "The 
attack was for a time perfectly successful. The enemy 
was driven from the railroad, his rifle-pits, and breast- 
works for over half a mile. Over three hundred pris- 
oners were taken and several standards, when the ad- 
vancing line encountered the heavy reinforcements of 
the enemy, who, recovering from the effects of our as- 
sault, and perceiving both our flanks unprotected, poured 
in such a destructive fire from all three directions as to 
compel the line to fall back, which was executed without 
confusion;" and he subsequently says that "the best 
troops would be justified in withdrawing without loss of 
honor." The list of his losses, which he subsequently 
corrected, was not less than 14 officers and 161 men 
killed; 59 officers and 1182 men wounded; 12 officers 
and 425 men captured or missing. 

It was the old story again of hesitancy and slowness 
of movement upon the part of the supporting forces at a 
critical time. No support, all in confusion from their 
attack, the enemy all around them, their work accom- 
plished, their ammunition gone, broken, destroyed al- 
most, they were driven from the hills to the low grounds, 
where they re-formed, and had left 176 killed, 1197 
wounded, and 400 missing. Jackson of the Third bri- 
gade was killed while in command of his men: a most 
excellent and gallant officer was thus lost to the division. 

No proper account of the battle can fail to mention the 
service of Captain O'Rourke of the First regiment, who 
had command of the ambulance corps, and a voluntary 
testimonial to his coolness, energy, and efficiency was 
tendered to him by the division and brigade surgeons. 
On Monday the army recrossed the river, having lost ten 
thousand men. Hooker relieved Burnside. The Reserves 
were now encamped at Belle Plaine. Meade had mean- 
time been promoted to a major-generalcy, and was as- 


signed to the command of the Fifth corps, while Colonel 
Sickel, and subsequently General Doubleday, took tem- 
porary command of the division. 

The effort to withdraw the Reserves from the army to 
recruit them was again made, and was again unsuccessful. 
Hooker reorganized the army and prepared for a forward 
movement. But before this, on the 8th of February, the 
Reserves under the command of Sickel were ordered to 
Washington and assigned to stations in the defenses 
under the command of Heintzelman, and were thus 
absent from Chancellorsville. They were placed on duty 
to guard the railroads, and the troops they relieved took 
their place as the Third division of the First corps of the 
Army of the Potomac. Finally, they were withdrawn 
from the railroad and assigned to duty at Upton Hill, 
Fairfax Courthouse, and Alexandria. Strong recom- 
mendations for their withdrawal to rest and recruit were 
again made to the authorities. Meade, just before his 
relief from their command, had made a strong represen- 
tation to Franklin, and Colonel Sickel had made a sim- 
ilar statement to Governor Curtin; but the Secretary of 
War did not see his way to consent, as similar applica- 
tions had been made by other States, and all could not 
be granted. Everything was now done to recall the ab- 
sentees, those who had recovered from wounds and sick- 
ness, and to recruit and refit the command. Brigadier- 
General S. W. Crawford, an officer of the regular army 
and a Pennsylvanian by birth, who had served at Fort 
Sumter, who had commanded a brigade and division 
after Cedar Mountain, and who had been severely 
wounded at Antietam, although not yet wholly recov- 
ered from his wounds, was in Washington, and upon the 
request of Governor Curtin, Senator Cameron, and my- 
self was placed in command of the division on the 3d of 
June, and made his headquarters at Upton Hill, with the 


First brigade under McCandless. Here the division 
rested through the month of June, preparing for further 

Meantime, elated with his success at Chancellorsville, 
the enemy under his ablest general had crossed the 
Rapidan and was moving northward. As soon as the 
movement was known Hooker promptly crossed the Po- 
tomac at Edwards' Ferry and the Point of Rocks on the 
24th of June, and moved upon Fredericksburg, where he 
got his army together. As soon as it was known among 
the Reserves that the enemy was moving in the direction 
of their State some of the regiments at once asked for 
orders to accompany the Army of the Potomac into 
Maryland. Crawford earnestly and repeatedly urged, 
both by letter and in person, upon the government and 
upon the Governor of the State the necessity that the 
Reserves should be ordered to join the army. On the 
2oth of June he went at night to Hooker's headquarters, 
a considerable distance off, and in person induced him to 
ask for the division. This was successful, and at once, 
upon the receipt of the order, Crawford moved his com- 
mand on the 25th of June toward Leesburg, crossing the 
Potomac at Edwards' Ferry to the Monocacy, leaving his 
camp and garrison equipment and his trains to follow 

Early on the 28th the division reached Fredericksburg. 
Meantime, Hooker had been relieved and Meade assigned 
to the command of the army. This caused the greatest 
joy and satisfaction to the Reserves, who loved the gen- 
eral who had shared all of their dangers and successes 
with them. At Fredericksburg, Crawford reported at 
first to General Meade, who expressed his* gratification 
at the return of his old division, which again became the 
Third division of the Fifth corps, under General Sykes. 
The division joined the corps on Rock Creek in the rear 


of our right, after a severe night-march to Hanover and 
Bonnoughtown, and prepared at once for the coming 
struggle. As it crossed the boundary-line of Maryland 
at Silver Springs its commander addressed it in a few 
stirring words of congratulation and encouragement. 
At three o'clock the corps moved to take its positions 
on our left. The Reserves arrived upon the field so 
promptly as to elicit the commendation of the corps 

After some contradictory orders, made necessary by the 
enemy's movements, the Reserves were drawn up in line 
of battle on the slopes and near the crest of the L,ittle 
Round Top, on the edge of the woods and undergrowth. 
Fisher's brigade had been sent to Big Round Top to sup- 
port Vincent, when Crawford retained the Eleventh regi- 
ment under Jackson, attached it to McCandless's brigade, 
and took personal command. Seeing the advance of the 
enemy over the wheatfield and his approach to the Round 
Top, the retreat and confusion of our troops, and the fall- 
ing back of the Second division of Ay res' s regulars, 
Crawford, who had been left to act in accordance with 
his own judgment, rode forward and ordered the com- 
mand to advance. The line moved at once, after open- 
ing fire; the Bucktails and the Sixth regiment, being in 
the rear of each flank, were subsequently deployed, and 
the line moved forward. Seizing the colors of the First 
regiment, near which he was, Crawford took them upon 
his horse and led on his men. The enemy was ad- 
vancing irregularly, and had crossed the stone wall on 
the side of the wheatfield, when he was met by the 
Reserves and driven back to the stone wall, for the pos- 
session of which there was a short and active struggle, 
when he was driven across the wheatfield and made 
no further attempt at any advance. 

On the left, Colonel Taylor of the Bucktails was killed 


while leading his regiment. The line of the stone wall 
was firmly held by the Reserves until the afternoon of 
the next day, after Pickett's charge, when Crawford, in 
carrying out the direct orders of General Meade, who 
with other general officers was present, directed an ad- 
vance. During the night the enemy had established 
himself in the woods opposite the Round Tops. Ander- 
son's brigade of Hood's division lay in line, his left flank 
resting on the wheatfield, while Benning's brigade was 
in the rear in support. The presence of these troops was 
unknown to Meade or to Sykes. Crawford in person di- 
rected McCandless's movements. The command moved 
steadily, but in a wrong direction, when orders were sent 
to McCandless to halt, change front, and move toward 
the Round Top. When he entered the woods, striking 
the flanks of Anderson's brigade, which was behind tem- 
porary breastworks, that brigade gave way, involving 
Benning's brigade in its flight, and retiring to a dis- 
tance of a mile, where it strongly entrenched itself 
along the general line of the army. 

It was the last of the fighting upon the field of Gettys- 
burg, and done by Pennsylvania troops, as the battle had 
been opened by the Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania regiment 
on the right. Had the force of the enemy been known, 
it were foolhardy to send such a force unsupported under 
such circumstances. Meade himself declared that there 
was no force in the woods but sharpshooters and stragglers 
only. The result was the capture of over two hundred 
prisoners, the battle-flag of the Fifteenth Georgia regi- 
ment, and the retaking of a great portion of the ground 
lost the previous day by our troops, and the recovery of 
one gun, two caissons, and over seven thousand stand of 
arms. Our picket-line was largely advanced. 

And thus ended the battle of Gettysburg, the Pennsyl- 
vania Reserves adding largely to their well-earned repu- 


tation upon the soil of their own State. Their losses 
were between two hundred and three hundred men. The 
enemy maintained his front until Sunday night, when he 
fell back to the Potomac and strongly entrenched at Fall- 
ing Waters in Virginia. The army followed, and . on 
the 1 4th a reconnaissance was made by three selected 
divisions of the Second, Fifth, and Sixth corps, under 
Caldwell, Crawford with his Reserves, and Wright. The 
enemy had retreated. The Reserves alone followed to 
the river with the cavalry. The army soon after re- 
crossed the Potomac and advanced into Virginia, ma- 
noeuvring and skirmishing for position, while detach- 
ments were sent to various points of importance. 

While on the Rappahannock, on the 28th of August, 
advantage was taken of a moment of inaction to present 
to General Meade, upon the part of the officers and men 
of the division, a costly sword of the finest workmanship, 
with sash and belt and a pair of golden spurs. A large 
number of distinguished people had been assembled. 
General Crawford in a few appropriate - and stirring 
words made the presentation. General Meade replied, 
referring touchingly to his association with the division, 
justifying its action at New Market road, and regard- 
ing its service generally said ' ' that no division in this 
glorious army is entitled to claim more credit for its uni- 
form gallant conduct and for the amount of hard fighting 
it has gone through than the division of the Pennsylva- 
nia Reserve Corps." 

Finally, the enemy determined upon a forward move- 
ment, apparently to seize the line of the Rapidan. He 
occupied Culpepper and its vicinity in great force. It 
was the middle of October when Meade concluded that 
the enemy's intention was to seize the heights of Centre- 
ville. By a rapid movement Meade succeeded in seizing 
the strong position at Bull Run, where on the i4th the 


Fifth corps under Warren came up with the Confederates 
under Heth at Bristoe Station and engaged the enemy, 
when the Pennsylvania Reserves fell upon the left flank 
of the enemy and completely routed him, capturing 
some pieces of artillery and a large number of prisoners. 
Lee then fell back to the Rapidan, extending to Bart- 
lett's Mills on Mine Run. Meade then commenced his 
movement to attack Lee's scattered forces. This Lee 
anticipated, and concentrated on Mine Run, which he 
strongly fortified. Meade determined to attack, and sent 
Warren with a strong force to feel the enemy's line and 
flanks. Warren had 24,000 men under his command. 
All was in readiness, and on the 3oth the batteries opened 
upon the whole line. But Warren, finding the enemy 
more strongly posted than he had anticipated, took the 
responsibility of suspending his movements until further 
orders. The attack was not made, and Meade again fell 
back across the Rapidan. 

In these operations the Reserves had been sent in sup- 
port of Gregg's cavalry, and were ordered to attack the 
position which had proved too strong for our cavalry. 
The Sixth regiment, under Knt, rapidly advanced, driv- 
ing in the skirmishers, when the enemy retired a work 
that elicited the approval of Sykes, not at all partial to 
the division. On the 3d they had moved to the right 
into the woods with the large body of infantry under 
Sedgwick, anticipating the storming of the enemy's 
works. It was intensely cold, and many perished then 
and from the subsequent effects. Finally, they fell back 
with the army to Bristoe Station and Manassas, where 
they guarded the Orange and Alexandria Railroad until 
the end of April, 1864. 

Grant, who had on the 22d of March been appointed 
General-in-Chief of all the armies, made his headquar- 
ters with the Army of the Potomac. The army was 


again to move, and the Reserves now entered upon their 
last campaign. Sykes had been relieved and Warren 
placed in permanent command of the Fifth corps. On 
the 3d of May the army crossed the Rapidan, the Re- 
serves crossing at Gennania Ford, and they moved out 
to the old Wilderness Tavern on the 4th. On this day 
the Ninth regiment was relieved, as it had completed its 
term of service, and it was ordered home. Warren moved 
out toward Parker's Store, with Hancock on his left and 
Sedgwick on his right. The enemy moved promptly, 
and lyongstreet was ordered to attack at the Wilderness 
Tavern, and fell heavily on Warren's corps. Griffith 
successfully resisted the attack, and was supported by 
some of Crawford's division of the Reserves, and also by 
the divisions of Wadsworth and Robinson. 

The Reserve division had been ordered to Parker's 
Store on the plank road. Upon advancing the enemy 
was found in force. It was when the regiments under 
McCandless were supporting Wadsworth that a gap had 
been opened between the Reserves and the other divis- 
ions: the enemy pushed into this gap and nearly sur- 
rounded the Reserves, which were extricated with dif- 
ficulty, McCandless coming in with only two of his 
regiments and losing many of his men. Colonel Bol- 
linger with the Seventh regiment, pressing too far to the 
front, was surrounded by the enemy; he was wounded 
and captured with a large portion of his regiment. The 
battle raged with varying success. Warren advanced his 
division in the centre, with the Reserves on his right, 
with some losses. The attack upon the right of the 
Sixth corps had driven Shaler's and Seymour's brigades, 
and, the enemy getting into the rear, Sedgwick was cut 
off. At this juncture the Reserves were ordered to the 
support of Sedgwick. The country was most difficult 
of passage, but the men pushed on and found Sedgwick, 



who had meantime restored his line, when the Reserves 
returned to their former position at Lacy Farm. The 
army again was in motion to the left, the fight of Gregg 
and Curtis at Todd's Tavern having opened the way 
to Spottsylvania. Warren's corps, with the Reserves in 
front, marched all night. The great effort now making 
was to secure the heights of Spottsylvania, which were 
gained by the enemy. 

Meantime all of the divisions of the Fifth corps had 
come up, and the enemy had concentrated his forces to 
attack them. The Reserves and Coulter with Wads- 
worth's division were ordered to attack, which resulted 
in driving the enemy upon his second line of entrench- 
ments. McCandless, commanding the First brigade, was 
wounded and left the field. After a short respite the. 
Reserves were again ordered to form in two lines under 
Tally, and a determined assault on the enemy's lines was 
again made three times, but without success. Again and 
again the assault was renewed at different portions of the 
line and with varied success day after day. The enemy 
had been driven from the Wilderness, his right flank 
turned, and Spottsylvania relinquished. Meade on the 
1 3th issued a complimentary order to his army, and an- 
nounced the enemy's loss to be 18 guns, 22 stands of 
colors, and 8000 prisoners. 

Again a movement to the left was made, and again the 
enemy was encountered, and assaults, again and again 
repeated, were made, fighting along the whole line often 
for days at a time. The enemy, losing a position, would 
make desperate efforts to retake it; and u so terrific," says 
a writer, "was the death-grapple that at different times 
of the day the rebel colors were planted on one side of the 
works and ours on the other." On the izj-th the Fifth 
corps changed its position, and the Reserves became 
again the extreme right of the army. Again marched 


to the left, they were constantly engaged, until the rains 
and impassable roads gave the army a temporary respite. 

On Thursday, May i9th, an attempt was made to turn 
our left. Tyler's heavy artillery regiments were the only 
troops at the point threatened. They were new and had 
just arrived from Washington, but they behaved gal- 
lantly and repulsed the enemy, when- Crawford with his 
Reserves was sent to their support and to take com- 
mand. They moved at once, but the enemy had rapidly 
retreated. Spottsylvania was now to be abandoned, and 
once more a flank movement to the left decided upon. 
On the 22d the Fifth corps marched toward Bowling 
Green, Crawford's division in advance. On Monday, the 
23d, the Fifth corps removed to the North Anna. The 
enemy had fortified his position on both flanks. Griffin's 
division had crossed, and the Reserves were formed on 
his left. The enemy assaulted the lines, but were re- 
pulsed. Warren had taken a strong position. On Tues- 
day the Reserves were ordered to advance to support 
Hancock. Early on Tuesday, General Warren had or- 
dered Crawford to send a small detachment along the 
river-bank to open communication with Hancock's 
troops. This detachment was finally supported by an- 
other regiment under Colonel Stewart. It was a hazard- 
ous movement. Crawford had asked to move with his 
division. The enemy was in force, and had welmigh 
cut off the regiment sent in advance, when Warren, see- 
ing that his orders had isolated the regiment, directed 
Crawford to move to its position. Crittenden's division 
of Hancock's corps had not crossed, and seemed to have 
gone astray, when Crawford and his Reserves opened 
comrmmications, and Crittenden crossed, followed shortly 
by the rest of his corps, to a firm position on the south 

Finding the enemy's position too strong for attack, 


Grant on Thursday recrossed the North Anna. The 
Reserves moved with their corps in advance, crossed the 
Pamunkey at Hanover, advanced on the Mechanicsville 
road, and entrenched. By night the whole army had 
concentrated, when the enemy took up a new line to 
oppose the advance. On the 3oth of May the Fifth 
corps crossed the Tolopotamy. The Reserves moved 
forward on the Mechanicsville road to connect with 
Griffin, who, finding himself a mile north of the ene- 
my's outposts, determined to seize the road by a vigorous 
movement, and advanced upon Mechanicsville. The 
Bucktails in their advance drove back the enemy's cav- 
alry to Bethesda Church. Hardin's brigade was ad- 
vanced, but exposed his flank, when Crawford ordered 
Kitchen's brigade of heavy artillery to support him. 
Together these brigades drove back the enemy's right 
wing and centre. Fisher with the Third brigade was 
now ordered up to defend the right, and the whole divis- 
ion was posted on strong and irregular ground and light 
defenses were thrown up hastily. Two pieces of Rich- 
ardson's batteries were placed in position on Hardin's 
left and two on his right. 

Crawford had hardly made his dispositions when the 
enemy opened with his artillery, and soon after his in- 
fantry advanced, and the whole line engaged. In this 
attack on the Fifth corps Crawford with the Reserves 
was on the left. On came the enemy with his assaulting 
column, opening with artillery and infantry fire. Three 
times the attack was renewed, and as often repulsed. 
The men, now veterans, reserved their fire until the 
enemy's lines were close to them, and thus secured the 
result. The enemy was driven back with loss. The 
Reserves then advanced, captured seventy prisoners, and 
compelled the retreat of the enemy in confusion; a col- 
onel, five commissioned officers, and three hundred pri- 



vates were left upon the field. The Richmond papers, 
in commenting upon this affair, pronounced it u sad and 
distressing. ' ' 

This brilliant success of the Pennsylvania Reserves 
marked the close of their service. They had fought a 
successful battle when within a few hours they were to 
be free. All around them were souvenirs of their early 
and devoted service, Beaver Dam Creek and Mechanics- 
ville, and now the whole was crowned by a brilliant suc- 
cess due alone to them and to their officers. On the 
3ist of May the Reserves were relieved from all further 
service with the army. Taking farewell of Warren, they 
crossed the Tolopotamy, and soon after, on June ist, de- 
parted with the remnant of that brave and devoted body 
of men who had been the first to offer themselves to the 
government. But even now they were not all to return. 
Nearly two thousand men re-enlisted to follow the for- 
tunes of the army. About twelve hundred officers and 
men were all that returned to the State. The two thou- 
sand that were veteranized were organized into two regi- 
ments, the One-Hundred-and-Ninetieth and One-Hun- 
dred-and-Ninety-first, by General Crawford at Peebles 
Farm, and remained in service till the end of the war. 
Before their march their general issued the following 
farewell to the faithful men who had so nobly borne 
themselves under his command: 

Soldiers of the Pennsylvania Reserves: To-day the connection 
which has so long existed between us is to be severed for ever. 

I have no power to express to you the feelings of gratitude and 
affection that I bear to you, nor the deep regret with which I now 
part from you. 

As a division you have ever been faithful and devoted soldiers, 
and you have nobly sustained me in the many trying scenes 
through which we have passed with an unwavering fidelity. 
The record of your service terminates gloriously, and "the Wil- 
derness," " Spottsylvania Courthouse," and " Bethesda Church" 


have been added to the long list of battles and of triumphs that 
have marked your career. 

Go home to the great State that sent you forth three years ago 
to battle for her honor and to strike for her in the great cause of 
the country; take back your soiled and war-worn banners, your 
thin and shattered ranks, and let them tell how you have per- 
formed your trust. Take back those banners, sacred from the 
glorious associations that surround them, sacred with the mem- 
ories of our fallen comrades who gave their lives to defend them, 
and give them again into the keeping of the State for ever. 

The duties of the hour prevent me from accompanying you, 
but my heart will follow you long after you return, and it shall 
ever be my pride that I was once your commander, and that side 
by side we fought and suffered through campaigns which will 
stand unexampled in history. Farewell! 

Upon their return to the capital of their State they 
were received by the civil and military authorities and 
the people with a welcome and a demonstration wholly 
unprecedented. Nothing was omitted to show them the 
loving appreciation in which they were held, how warmly 
their services had been appreciated, and of the affection 
in which they must ever be cherished, and the State 
pride that was to continue to follow them; and all this 
was renewed at their homes. After a short rest many 
of the officers and men returned to the army in various 
regiments and batteries', and remained until the end of 
the war. 

The Second brigade had been divided at Alexandria, 
and two of the regiments had been ordered to West Vir- 
ginia, where they served creditably in all the relations 
they were called upon to fulfill under General Crook. 
Their term of service having expired in June, they were 
in turn transferred to their State to be mustered out of 
service. An effort was made to preserve the organiza- 
tion, but failed, as the authorities at Washington could 
only act for all regiments and organizations. Before 
separating at Harrisburg the Reserves sent for their old 


commander, McCall, and abundantly testified to him 
their enduring confidence and affection. 

And thus passed into history the record of one of the 
most extraordinary bodies of men that had ever assem- 
bled for any single purpose. I have from time to time 
alluded to the peculiar conditions, the peculiar associa- 
tions and characteristics, and their constant and heroic 
source. It is not now intended to enlarge upon this. To 
no other body of troops was it given to secure so entirely 
distinct a reputation that will go into history. Whatever 
credit may arise to them as a simple division, they will 
be known as the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, as under 
that appellation they achieved their fame. To this title 
they ever adhered with a tenacity that assured it. Give 
them that, and you might add the name of any body to 
the division, and, although in accordance with orders, 
they were called by the name of the general command- 
ing them, they ever retained among themselves their 
favorite title of Pennsylvania Reserves. 

And what a peculiar soldiery they became! For all 
purposes of drills and discipline and in preparation for 
battle they ever gave the readiest acquiescence and obe- 
dience; but to all the special detail that went to make 
up the technical soldier they never would and never did 
yield until the last. They believed that they were ever 
citizens in arms for the nation's life, and they never lost 
sight of their coming return to their homes and the pur- 
suits of peace. As to their service, it makes but little 
difference as to the necessity of their employment: the 
fact remains that they were constantly called upon for 
every variety of service, thrown into critical positions 
without hesitancy, and their services but poorly acknow- 
ledged. There was no murmur or complaint; they ac- 
cepted every detail of the service required of them from 
Dranesville to Bethesda Church, and how they performed 



it let the official reports of their commanders and the sad 
lists of their losses attest. 

It is not pretended that in this imperfect sketch any- 
thing like justice has been done to the living or the dead. 
Most is merely reference; honored names that will be re- 
membered in history have not been mentioned, and many 
instances of personal valor unrecorded. If, however, the 
memory of their deeds has been recalled at all, and has 
again awakened a feeling of appreciation and gratitude 
upon the part of their fellows, with praise for those who 
yet survive and an affectionate memory for the self-sacri- 
ficing dead, then my object will not have been wholly 
lost in recalling the memory of their conspicuous service 
to the minds of a new generation. 



[From The Philadelphia Times, July 6, 1891.] 

THE death of Hannibal Hamlin, one of the few lingering pict- 
uresque characters of the political revolution that conquered 
armed rebellion and effaced slavery, has inspired very free dis- 
cussion of the early conflicts of Republicanism and of the rela- 
tions which existed between Lincoln and Hamlin. Hamlin was 
one of the central figures of the first national Republican battle 
in 1856; he was the first elected Republican Vice-President ; his 
personal relations with President Lincoln were admittedly of the 
most agreeable nature; his public record while Vice-President 
had given no offense to any element of his party; and his then 
unexpected and now apparently unexplainable defeat for renomi- 
nation with Lincoln in 1864 has elicited much conflicting dis- 

Looking back over the dark days of civil war, with their often 
sudden and imperious necessities in field and forum, and in po- 
litical directions as well, it is often difficult to explain results in 
accord with the sunnier light of the present; and as yet we have 
seen no explanation of the rejection of Vice-President Hamlin 
in 1864 that presents the truth. Most of our contemporaries 
which have discussed the question have assumed that the defeat 
of Hamlin was accomplished against the wishes of Lincoln. This 
point is taken up in the elaborate Life of Lincoln by Nicolay and 
Hay, and they assume to settle it by stating that Mr. Lincoln 
was accused by members of the Baltimore Convention of prefer- 
ring a Southern or a new man for Vice-President, and Mr. Nicolay 
communicated with Lincoln on the subject and reported a denial 
of Lincoln's purpose to interfere in the contest. 




The Evening Telegraph of this city, usually accurate in the 
presentation of political history, states that "it was not the 
President's (Lincoln's) doings that his trusted and cherished 
coadjutor was deposed; it was a piece of politics, pure and sim- 
ple; a mistaken attempt to placate Southern feeling before the 
time was ripe for it." In the same article it is assumed that " if 
Mr. Hamlin had been renominated President Lincoln would 
have lived through his second term," and the motive for Lin- 
coln's assassination is ascribed to " the fact that a Southern man 
was to succeed as a result of his (Booth's) murderous deed." The 
theory that Lincoln was murdered to bring a Southern man to 
the Presidency is clearly refuted by the well-known historical 
fact that of all men North or South no one was at that time more 
execrated in the South than Andrew Johnson. 

It is true that Hamlin, an entirely unobjectionable Vice-Presi- 
dent and a leader w r ith peculiar claims upon the Republican 
party, was rejected as Vice-President by the Republican Conven- 
tion of 1864 to place a Southern man in that office, and it is 
equally true that it would not and could not have been done had 
President Lincoln opposed it. So far from opposing it, Lincoln 
discreetly favored it; indeed, earnestly desired it. The writer 
hereof was a delegate at large from Pennsylvania in the Balti- 
more Convention of 1864, and in response to an invitation from 
the President to visit Washington on the eve of the meeting of 
the body, a conference was had in which Lincoln gravely urged 
the nomination of Johnson for Vice-President. It was solely in 
deference to Lincoln's earnest convictions as to the national and 
international necessities which demanded Johnson's nomination 
for the Vice-Presidency that the writer's vote was cast against 
Hamlin, and other Pennsylvania delegates were influenced to the 
same action by the confidential assurance of Lincoln's wishes. 

It should not be assumed that Lincoln was ambitious to play 
the role of political master or that he was perfidious to any. His 
position was not only one of the greatest delicacy in politics, but 
he was loaded with responsibilities to which all former Presidents 
had been strangers. His one supreme desire was the restoration 
of the Union, and he would gladly have surrendered his own 
high honors, and even his life, could he thereby have restored 
the dissevered States. The one great shadow that hung over 
him and his power was the sectional character of the ruling 
party and the government. It weakened his arm to make peace ; 
it strengthened European hostility to the cause of the Union; 


and it left the South without even a silver lining to the dark 
cloud of subjugation. Lincoln firmly believed that the nomi- 
nation of Johnson, an old Democratic Southern Senator who had 
been aggressively loyal to the Union, and who was then the Mili- 
tary Governor of his rebellious but restored State, would not only 
desectionalize the party and the government, but that it would 
chill and curb the anti-Union sentiment of England and France, 
and inspire the friends of the Union in those countries to see a 
leading Southern statesman coming from a conquered insurgent 
State to the second office of the Republic. 

Such were Lincoln's sincere convictions, and such his earnest 
arguments in favor of the nomination of Johnson in 1864, and 
but for Lincoln's convictions on the subject Hamlin w r ould have 
been renominated and succeeded to the Presidency instead of 
Johnson. It is easy, in the clear light of the present, to say that 
the nomination of Johnson was a grave misfortune, and to specu- 
late on the countless evils which could have been averted; but 
the one man who was most devoted to the endangered nation, 
and who could best judge of the sober necessities of the time, 
believed that it was not only wise, but an imperious need, to 
take a Vice-President from the South, and that is why Hannibal 
Hamlin was not renominated in 1864. 

[Telegram given to Associated Press.] 

WASHINGTON, July 7, 1891. 

The editorial statement from The Philadelphia Times, printed 
in this morning's news dispatches, to the effect that President 
Lincoln opposed Mr. Hamlin's renomination as Vice-President, 
is entirely erroneous. Mr. Lincoln's personal feelings, on the 
contrary, were for Mr. Hamlin's renomination, as he confiden- 
tially expressed to me, but he persistently withheld any opinion 
calculated to influence the convention for or against any candi- 
date, and I have his written words to that effect, as fully set forth 
on pages 72 and 73, chapter 3, volume ix. of Abraham Lincoln: 
A History^ by Nicolay and Hay. 

Permit me, in addition, to express my deepest sympathy in 
yours and the nation's loss through Mr. Hamlin's death. 



[From Nicolay and Hay's Life of Lincoln, vol. ix., pages 72, 73.] 

The principal names mentioned for the Vice-Presidency were, 
besides Hannibal Hamlin, the actual incumbent, Andrew John- 
son of Tennessee and Daniel S. Dickinson of New York. Be- 
sides these General L. H. Rousseau had the vote of his own 
State. Kentucky. The Radicals of Missouri favored General B. 
F. Butler, who had a few scattered votes also from New England. 
But among the three principal candidates the voters were equally 
enough divided to make the contest exceedingly spirited and 

For several days before the convention the President had been 
besieged by inquiries as to his personal wishes in regard to his 
associate on the ticket. He had persistently refused to give the 
slightest intimation of such wish. His private secretary, Mr. 
Nicolay, was at Baltimore in attendance at the convention, and 
although he was acquainted with this attitude of the President, 
at last, overborne by the solicitations of the chairman of the Illi- 
nois delegation, who had been perplexed at the advocacy of 
Joseph Holt by Leonard Swett, one of the President's most in- 
timate friends, Mr. Nicolay wrote a letter to Mr. Hay, who had 
been left in charge of the executive office in his absence, contain- 
ing, among other matters, this passage: " Cook wants to know 
confidentially whether Swett is all right; whether in urging Holt 
for Vice-President he reflects the President's wishes; whether the 
President has any preference, either personal or on the score of 
policy; or whether he wishes not even to interfere by a confiden- 
tial intimation. . . . Please get this information for me if pos- 
sible." The letter was shown to the President, who indorsed 
upon it this memorandum: "Swett is unquestionably all right. 
Mr. Holt is a good man, but I had not heard or thought of him 
for V.-P. Wish not to interfere about V.-P. Cannot interfere 
about platform. Convention must judge for itself." 

This positive and final instruction was sent at once to Mr. 
Nicolay, and by him communicated to the President's most inti- 
mate friends in the convention. It was, therefore, with minds 
absolutely untrammeled by even any knowledge of the Presi- 
dent's wishes that the convention went about its work of select- 
ing his associate on the ticket. 


[From The Philadelphia Times, July 9, 1891.] 

The ignorance exhibited by John G. Nicolay in his public tele- 
gram to the widow of ex-Vice-President Hamlin is equaled only 
by his arrogance in assuming to speak for Abraham Lincoln in 
matters about which Nicolay was never consulted, and of which 
he had no more knowledge than any other routine clerk about 
the White House. I do not regret that Mr. Nicolay has rushed 
into a dispute that must lead to the clear establishment of the 
exact truth as to the defeat of Hamlin in 1864. It will surely 
greatly impair, if not destroy, Nicolay's hitherto generally ac- 
cepted claim to accuracy as the biographer of Lincoln, but he 
can complain of none but himself. 

I saw Abraham Lincoln at all hours of the day and night 
during his Presidential service, and he has himself abundantly 
testified to the trust that existed between us. Having had the 
direction of his battle in the pivotal State of the Union, he 
doubtless accorded me more credit than I merited, as the only 
success in politics and war is success; and the fact that I never 
sought or desired honors or profits from his administration, and 
never embarrassed him with exactions of any kind, made our 
relations the most grateful memories of my life. 

In all of the man y grave political emergencies arising from the 
new and often appalling duties imposed by internecine war, I 
was one of those called to the inner councils of Abraham Lin- 
coln. He distrusted his own judgment in politics, and was ever 
careful to gather the best counsels from all the varied shades of 
opinion and interest to guide him in his conclusions; and there 
were not only scores of confidential conferences in the White 
House of which John G. Nicolay never heard, but no man ever 
met or heard of John G. Nicolay in such councils. He was a 
good mechanical, routine clerk; he was utterly inefficient as the 
secretary of the President; his removal was earnestly pressed 
upon Lincoln on more than one occasion because of his want of 
tact and fitness for his trust, and only the proverbial kindness of 
Lincoln saved him from dismissal. He saw and knew President 
Lincoln; the man Abraham Lincoln he never saw and never 
knew; and his assumption that he was the trusted repository of 
Lincoln's confidential convictions and efforts would have been 
regarded as grotesque a quarter of a century ago, when Lincoln 
and his close surroundings were well understood. His biography 


of Lincoln is invaluable as an accurate history of the public acts 
of the Lincoln administration, but there is not a chapter or page 
on the inner personal attributes of the man that is not burdened 
with unpardonable errors. Nicolay was a plodding, precise, me- 
chanical clerk, well fitted to preserve historical data and present 
them intelligently and correctly; but there his fitness as a biog- 
rapher ended. 

I now repeat that, in obedience to a telegraphic request from 
President Lincoln, I visited him at the White House the day 
before the meeting of the Baltimore Convention of 1864. At that 
interview Mr. Lincoln earnestly explained why the nomination 
of a well-known Southern man like Andrew Johnson who had 
been Congressman, Governor, and Senator by the favor of his 
State would not only nationalize the Republican party and the 
government, but would greatly lessen the grave peril of the recog- 
nition of the Confederacy by England and France. He believed 
that the election to the Vice-Presidency of a representative states- 
man from an insurgent State that had been restored to the Union 
would disarm the enemies of the Republic abroad and remove the 
load of sectionalism from the government that seemed to greatly 
hinder peace. No intimation, no trace, of prejudice against Mr. 
Hamlin was exhibited, and I well knew that no such consider- 
ation could have influenced Mr. Lincoln in such an emergency. 
Had he believed Mr. Hamlin to be the man who could best pro- 
mote the great work whose direction fell solely upon himself, he 
would have favored Hamlin's nomination regardless of his per- 
sonal wishes ; but he believed that a great public achievement 
would be attained by the election of Johnson; and I returned to 
Baltimore to work and vote for Johnson, although against all my 
personal predilections in the matter. 

Mr. Nicolay's public telegram to Mrs. Hamlin, saying that the 
foregoing statement " is entirely erroneous," is as insolent as it 
is false, and the correctness of my statement is not even inferen- 
tially contradicted by Nicolay's quotation from Lincoln. On the 
contrary, Nicolay's statement given in his history (vol. ix. pages 
72, 73) proves simply that Nicolay was dress-parading at Balti- 
more and knew nothing of the President's purposes. True, he 
seems to assume that he had responsible charge of the Executive 
duties, as he says that " Mr. Nicolay wrote a letter to Mr. Hay, 
who had been left in charge of the Executive office," asking 
whether Leonard Swett, "one of the President's most intimate 
friends," was "all right" in urging the nomination of Judge- 


Advocate-General Holt for Vice President. Had Nicolay ever 
learned anything in the White House, he would have known 
that of all living men Leonard Swett was the one most trusted 
by Abraham Lincoln, and he should have known that when 
Swett was opposing Hamlin, Lincoln was not yearning for Ham- 
lin's renomination. Then comes Lincoln's answer to Nicolay's 
bombastic query, saying: "Swett is unquestionably all right;" 
and because Lincoln did not proclaim himself a fool by giving 
Nicolay an opportunity to herald Lincoln's sacredly private con- 
victions as to the Vice-Presidency, he assumes that he has Lin- 
coln's "written words " to justify his contradiction of a circum- 
stantial statement and an executed purpose of which he could 
have had no knowledge. When Leonard Swett was against 
Hamlin, none could escape the conclusion that opposition to 
Hamlin was no offense to Lincoln. I saw and conferred with 
Swett almost every hour of the period of the convention. We 
both labored to nominate Johnson, and Swett made Holt, who 
was an impossible candidate, a mere foil to divide and conquer 
the supporters of Hamlin. Had Lincoln desired Hamlin's nomi- 
nation, Swett would have desired and labored for it, and Hamlin 
would have been renominated on the first ballot. The conven- 
tion was a Lincoln body pure and simple, and no man could have 
been put on the ticket with Lincoln who was not known to be 
his choice. It was not publicly proclaimed, but it was in the 
air, and pretty much everybody but John G. Nicolay perceived 
and bowed to it. 

Of the few men who enjoyed Lincoln's complete confidence, 
Charles A. Dana was conspicuous, and his statement is as cred- 
ible testimony as could now be given on the subject. He was 
trusted by Lincoln in most delicate matters political and mili- 
tary, and he logically tells of Johnson's " selection by Lincoln " 
for the Vice-Presidency in 1864. With Dana's direct corrobo- 
ration of my statement added to the strongly corroborative facts 
herein given, I may safely dismiss John G. Nicolay and the dis- 
pute his mingled ignorance and arrogance have thrust upon me. 

A. K. M. 


To the Editor of The Philadelphia Times : 
I will not reply to your personal abuse; it proves nothing but 



your rage and wounded vanity at being exposed in a gross his- 
torical misstatement. 

You asserted that President Lincoln opposed the renomination 
of Hannibal Hamlin for Vice-President. I refuted that assertion 
by calling attention to the written record wherein Lincoln in his 
own handwriting explicitly states to the contrary. You now re- 
assert your statement, or, to put it in other words, you accuse 
President Lincoln of acting a low political deceit and with his 
own hand writing a deliberate lie. The country will not believe 
the monstrous implication. 

Allow me to restate the facts. I was at the Baltimore Conven- 
tion as a spectator. The chairman of the Illinois delegation, 
Hon. B. C. Cook, had a conversation with me about the course 
of certain disaffected leaders in Illinois. That conversation I 
reported to the President in a letter to Major Hay, my assistant 
private secretary, in part as follows: 

" What transpired at home and what he has heard from several 
sources have made Cook suspicious that Sw r ett may be untrue to 
Lincoln. One of the straws which lead him to this belief is that 
Swett has telegraphed here urging the Illinois delegation to go 
for Holt. . . . Cook wants to know confidentially whether Swett 
is all right; whether in urging Holt for Vice-President he reflects 
the President's wishes; whether the President has any preference, 
either personally or on the score of policy; or whether he wishes 
not even to interfere by a confidential indication." 

Upon this letter President Lincoln made the following indorse- 
ment in his own handwriting : 

"Swett is unquestionably all right. Mr. Holt is a good man, 
but I had not heard or thought of him for V.-P. Wish not to 
interfere about V.-P. Cannot interfere about platform conven- 
tion must judge for itself." 

This written evidence is quoted in our history, and no amount 
of denial or assertion to contrary can overturn it. 

In trying to evade its force you assert that Lincoln called you 
to Washington and urged the nomination of Johnson, and that 
you returned to Baltimore to work and vote in obedience to that 
request, against your personal predilections. Let us examine 
this claim. The official proceedings of the convention show that 
you were one of the four delegates at large from Pennsylvania, 
the others being Simon Cameron, W. W. Ketchum, M. B. Lowry, 
while the list of district delegates contains the names of many 
other eminent Pennsylvanians. The proceedings also show that 


you acted an entirely minor part. You were a member of the 
Committee on Organization and presented its report recommend- 
ing the permanent officers which were elected. With that pres- 
entation your service and influence ended, so far as can be gath- 
ered from the proceedings. 

Of other Pennsylvania delegates, William W. Ketchum was 
one of the vice-presidents of the convention. E. McPherson was 
on the Committee on Credentials, A. H. Reeder on the Committee 
on Organization, M. B. Lowry on the Committee on Resolutions, 
S. F. Wilson on the Committee on Rules and Order of Business, 
S. A. Purviance on the National Committee, while General Simon 
Cameron held the leading and important post of chairman of the 
Pennsylvania delegation. So again, among those who made 
motions and speeches were Cameron, Thaddeus Stevens, A. H. 
Reeder, C. A, Walborn, Galusha A. Grow, and M. B. Lowry, but 
beyond the presentation of the routine report I have mentioned 
your name did not give forth the squeak of the smallest mouse. 
Is it probable that Lincoln among all these men would have 
called you alone to receive his secret instructions? 

It is a matter of public history that Simon Cameron was more 
prominent and efficient than any other Pennsylvanian in the 
movement in that State to give Lincoln a second term, and that 
on the I4th of January, 1864, he transmitted to the President the 
written request of every Union member of the Pennsylvania Leg- 
islature to accept a renomination. This and his subsequent open 
and unvarying support left no doubt of Cameron's attitude. How 
was it with you? I find among Lincoln's papers the following 
letter from you: 


CHAMBERSBURG, PA., May 2, 1864. 

SIR: I have been amazed to see it intimated in one or two jour- 
nals that I am not cordially in favor of your renomination. I 
shall notice the intimations no further than to assure you that 
you will have no more cordial, earnest, or faithful supporter in 
the Baltimore Convention than your obedient servant, 

To the President. 

That is, only a month before the Baltimore Convention you 
felt called upon to personally protest against accusations of party 
dislo3'alty. But this is not all. When the time came to make 
the nominations for Vice-President, Simon Cameron, chairman 


of the Pennsylvania delegation and one of the earliest and most 
persistent friends of Lincoln, himself nominated Hannibal Ham- 
lin for Vice-President, while the whole vote of Pennsylvania was 
on the first ballot cast for Hamlin's nomination. So also the 
Illinois delegation cast its entire vote for Hamlin on the first 
ballot. Does it stand to reason that Lincoln called upon you to 
defeat Hamlin and nominate Johnson, and gave no intimation of 
this desire to the chairmen of the Pennsylvania delegation and 
of the Illinois delegation ? 

And once more, is it probable that if Lincoln had desired the 
nomination of Johnson he would have allowed Swett, "one of the 
President's most intimate friends,", to urge the nomination of 
Holt ? Dare you venture the assertion that Lincoln was deceiv- 
ing Cameron, deceiving Cook, carrying on a secret intrigue 
against Hamlin and another secret intrigue against Holt, and 
that on top of the whole he was writing a deliberate lie to us ? 
That may be your conception of Abraham Lincoln, but it is not 
mine. That may be your system of politics, but it was not his. 


[From The Philadelphia Times, July 12, 1891.] 


The public will be greatly surprised that such an undignified 
and quibbling letter as yours addressed to me could come from 
one who claims to be the chosen biographer of Abraham Lincoln. 
It niUvSt so generally offend the dispassionate opinion of decent 
men that answer to it is excusable only to expose several se- 
verely-strained new falsehoods you present, either directly or by 
the suppression of the vital parts of the truth. 

Had you known anything about the inside political movements 
in the White House in 1864, you w r ould have known that my let- 
ter to Lincoln, quoted in your defense, was written because of a 
suddenly-developed effort in this State to divide the lines drawn 
by the then bitter Cameron and Curtin factional war for and 
against Lincoln. The Cameron followers claimed to be the 
special supporters of Lincoln, and attempted to drive Curtin and 
the State administration into hostility to the President. My 
justly-assumed devotion to Curtin was the pretext for declaring 
me as either restrained in my support of Lincoln or likely to be 


in the opposition. The moment I saw the statement in print I 
wrote the letter you quote to dismiss from Lincoln's mind all 
apprehensions about either open or passive opposition from Cur- 
tin's friends. Had you stated these facts you would have been 
truthful. As you probably did not know of them, you may be 
excused for not stating them ; but your ignorance can be no ex- 
cuse for the entirely false construction you put upon my letter. 

Equally indeed even more flagrantly false is your statement 
of only a minor part of the truth about the action of the Penn- 
sylvania delegation at Baltimore in 1864. You say that General 
Cameron cast the solid vote of the State for Hamlin. Had you 
told the whole truth, ignorant as you seem to be of the force of 
important political facts, you would have known that your as- 
sumption that Johnson had no votes in the delegation was untrue. 
Had you desired to be truthful, you would have added that Gen- 
eral Cameron cast the solid vote of the delegation for Johnson 
before the close of the first ballot. Were you ignorant of this 
fact ? or have you deliberately attempted to so suppress the truth 
as to proclaim a palpable falsehood ? 

The Pennsylvania delegation was personally harmonious, al- 
though divided on Vice-President. In the Pennsylvania caucus 
an informal vote put Johnson in the lead, with Hamlin second 
and Dickinson third. Cameron knew that Hamlin's nomination 
was utterly hopeless, and he accepted the result without special 
grief. He urged a solid vote as a just compliment to Hamlin, 
and it was given with the knowledge that it could not help Ham- 
lin and that a solid vote for Johnson would follow. The solid 
vote for Johnson was the only vital vote cast for Vice-President, 
and that record, accessible to every schoolboy, you studiously 
suppress to excuse a falsehood. 

I was a doubly-elected delegate to the Baltimore Convention, 
having been first unanimously chosen as a district delegate with- 
out the formality of a conference, and when a district delegate I 
was one of two delegates elected at large on the first ballot by 
the State Convention. What I did or did not, or how important 
or unimportant I was as a member of the convention, is an issue 
that I have not raised or invited. I stated the simple fact that 
Lincoln had sent for me, had urged me to support Johnson, and 
that I had done so. Had Lincoln chosen to confide his wishes to 
another than myself, I would not have imitated his secretary and 
charged him with deceit and falsehood because he did not tell me 
all his purposes. He did not trust you with what you probably 


could not have understood had he told you, but that is no reason 
why you should accuse him of deceit, intrigue, and "writing a 
deliberate lie." He wrote you the exact truth in the only paper 
you have as the basis of your inexcusable misconception of his 
language. In it he says that " Swett is unquestionably all 
right;" and the only thing he could have been right about in the 
matter was in his active opposition to Hamlin's renomination. 
Your history is quite right in quoting Lincoln, but he cannot be 
justly held responsible for the want of common understanding 
of one of his biographers more than a quarter of a century after 
his death. 

For answer to your undignified and unmanly efforts to belittle 
my relations W 7 ith Lincoln, I refer you to your more discreet co- 
biographer, Mr. Hay. He refused to sustain your interpretation 
of Lincoln's note on the Vice-Presidency. He added that the 
dispute is a question of veracity between you and me, and he 
speaks of me as ' ' evidently armed with his enviable record of 
close intimacy with our illustrious Lincoln." One of you is 
lying on this point : is it Mr. Hay or is it you ? 

Had you sought the truth as an honest biographer, you could 
have obtained it without offensive disputation, not only from me 
so far as I knew it, but from such living witnesses as Charles A. 
Dana and Murat Halstead, and from the recorded testimony of 
General Cameron, Colonel Forney, and others who know much 
of Lincoln and but little of you. Instead of seeking the truth, 
you flung your ignorance and egotism with ostentatious inde- 
cency upon the bereaved household of the yet untombed Hamlin, 
and when brought to bay by those better informed than yourself, 
you resent it in the tone and terms of the ward-heeler in a wharf- 
rat district battling for constabulary honors. I think it safe to 
say that the public judgment will be that it would have been 
well for both Lincoln's memory and for the country had such a 
biographer been drowned when a pup. Dismissed. 

A. K. M. 


WASHINGTON, July 11, 1891. 
To COL. A. K. McCLURE, Editor Philadelphia Times : 

I will not allow you to retreat in a cloud of vituperation from 
full conviction of having made a misstatement of history. I 
need only to sum up the points of evidence. 


You allege that Mr. Lincoln called and instructed you to op- 
pose Hamlin and nominate Johnson. 

1. This is proven to be a misstatement by Lincoln's written 
words: " Wish not to interfere about V.-P.; cannot interfere about 
platform convention must judge for itself." 

It is not a question between your assertion and my assertion, 
but between your assertion and Lincoln's written word. 

It is proven to be a misstatement by the testimony of Hon. 
B. C. Cook, chairman of the Illinois delegation, who says : " Mr. 
Nicolay's statement that Mr. Lincoln was in favor of Hannibal 
Hamlin is correct. The dispatch which is published this morn- 
ing was sent to me in reply to an inquiry to Mr. Lincoln in re- 
gard to the matter. It read: 'Wish not to interfere about V.-P. 
Cannot interfere about platform convention must judge for 

" I went to see Mr. Lincoln personally, however. There are 
always men who say the Presidential candidates prefer this man 
or that, and they do it without the slightest authority. It was 
so in this campaign. It was reported that Andrew Johnson was 
Mr. Lincoln's choice, and it was my business to find out whether 
it was or not. We were beyond all measure for Mr. Lincoln first, 
last, and for all time. Had he desired Mr. Johnson he would 
have been our choice, but he did not. 

" As the dispatch indicates, Mr. Lincoln was particularly anx- 
ious not to make known his preferences on the question of his 
associate on the ticket. But that he had a preference I positively 
know. After my interview with him I was as positive that Han- 
nibal Hamlin was his favorite as I am that I am alive to-day. 
The fact is further proven by the action of the entire Illinois 
delegation, which was a unit for Mr. Hamlin, and, as I stated 
before, we were at his service in the matter." 

2. It is proven to be a misstatement by Colonel Hay, who says: 
" I have nothing to say about Mr. Nicolay's assertion nor about 
this telegram, but I do corroborate the statement that Mr. Lin- 
coln withheld all opinion calculated to influence the Baltimore 
Convention of 1864." And further: "I stand simply by the 
proposition contained in our History. . . . For several days be- 
fore the convention the President had been besieged by inquiries 
as to his personal wishes in regard to his associate on the ticket. 
He had persistently refused to give the slightest intimation of 
such wish. ... It was therefore with minds absolutely untram- 
meled by any knowledge of the President's wishes that the con- 


vention went about the work of selecting his associate on the 

3. It is proven to be a misstatement by the action of Simon 
Cameron, chairman of the Pennsylvania delegation, in nomina- 
ting Hamlin as a candidate for Vice-President and casting for 
him the whole fifty-two votes of the Pennsylvania delegation. 

4. It is proven to be a misstatement by your own action in the 
Baltimore Convention, when, at the first vote for Vice-President, 
after the supposed instructions which you claim to have received 
from Lincoln, and having, as you say, "returned to work and 
vote for Johnson," you as a member of the Pennsylvania dele- 
gation voted for Hannibal Hamlin for Vice-President. If you 
did this willingly, you betrayed Lincoln's confidence and instruc- 
tions which you alleged to have received. If you did it unwill- 
ingly, you proved yourself a political cipher a pretended agent 
to manipulate a national convention who had not influence 
enough in his own delegation to control his own vote. The first 
roll-call was decisive in showing Johnson's strength against the 
Pennsylvania vote (yourself included), and it shows that you 
contributed nothing for, but everything against, the result you 
say you were commissioned to bring about. Subsequent changes 
still on the first ballot (for there was no second) were simply the 
usual rush to make the choice unanimous, in which Pennsylvania 
did not lead, but only joined after the rush became evident, just 

as Maine and Illinois did. 



[From The Philadelphia Times, Aug. I, 1891.] 

HON. S. NEWTON PETTIS, who was an active supporter of Lin- 
coln at the conventions of 1860 and 1864, and who has been Con- 
gressman, Judge, and Foreign Minister, was personally advised 
by Lincoln in 1864 to support Johnson for Vice-President. The 
following is his testimony on the point: 

MEADVILLE, July 20, 1891. 
HON. A. K. McCivURE: 

DEAR SIR: Your favor of last week reached me at Washington, 
asking for a copy of Mr. Hamlin's letter to me in. 1889, and in- 


stead of a copy I enclose the original, which you can return to 
me at your convenience. 

You will remember the circumstances connected with it, for we 
spoke about it shortly after. On the morning of the meeting of 
the Baltimore Convention in 1864 which nominated Mr. Lincoln, 
and immediately before leaving for Baltimore, I called upon Mr. 
Lincoln in his study and stated that I called especially to ask 
him whom he desired put on the ticket with him as Vice-Presi- 
dent. He leaned forward and in a low but distinct tone of voice 
said, " Governor Johnson of Tennessee." 

In March, 1889, I spent an hour with Mr. Hamlin in Washing- 
ton at the house of a friend with whom he was stopping while 
attending the inauguration of President Harrison in March of 
that year. 

Among other matters I casually mentioned the expression of 
Mr. Lincoln the morning of the meeting of the Baltimore Con- 
vention in 1864, not supposing for a moment that it was any- 
thing that would surprise him. You can imagine my annoyance 
at the remark that it called out from Mr. Hamlin, which was: 
"Judge Pettis, I am sorry you told me that." I regretted having 
made the statement, but I could not recall it. 

Later in the year I noticed a published interview had with you 
in which you had made substantially the same statement from 
Mr. Lincoln to you very shortly before the meeting of the con- 
vention, which I clipped and with satisfaction enclosed to Mr. 
Hamlin in verification of mine to Mr. H., stating that your state- 
ment to the same effect as mine made to him in the March before 
had relieved me from fear that he, Mr. Hamlin, might have some- 
times questioned the accuracy of my memory, and the letter I 
now send you was Mr. Hamlin 's reply. 

Yours very truly, 



THE following is Mr. Hamlin's letter to Judge Pettis, the orig- 
inal of which is now in our possession : 

BANGOR, September 13, 1889. 

MY DEAR SIR: Have been from home for several days, and did 
not get your letter and newspaper slip until last evening. Hence 
the delay in my reply. 


When I met and conferred with you in Washington, and you 
told me of your interview with Mr. L. (Lincoln), I had not the 
slightest doubt of your correctness. The remark that I made 
was caused wholly because you made certain statements of Mr. 
L. which I had seen, but which I did not believe until made posi- 
tive by you. I was really sorry to be disabused. Hence I was 
truly sorry at w r hat you said and the information you gave me. 

Mr. L. (Lincoln) evidently became some alarmed about his re- 
election and changed his position. That is all I care to say. If 
we ever shall meet again, I may say something more to you. I 
will write no more. Yours very truly, 


HON. S. N. PETTIS, Meadville, Pa. 


THE following letter from General Butler, and the added ex- 
tract from his magazine article on the same subject, explain 
themselves : 

BOSTON, July 14, 1891. 

MY DEAR SIR: A few years ago I was asked to write, as my 
memory serves me, for the North American Review, while under 
the editorial management of Mr. Allen Thorndike Rice, my 
reminiscences of the facts in relation to the interview between 
Mr. Cameron and myself which took place at Fort Monroe some 
time in March, 1864, as I remember. It might have been a little 
later, but it must have been before the 4th day of May, 1864, be- 
cause I went into the field on that date, and did not see Mr. 
Cameron during the campaign. My recollection is that the arti- 
cle was entitled "Vice-Presidential Politics in 1864." I should 
say that the article was written five or six years ago. 

I cannot now add anything that I know of to what I said then. 
I meant to tell it just as it lay in my memory, and certainly did 
so, wholly without any relation to Mr. Hamlin, because I under- 
stood it had been determined on by Mr. Lincoln and his friends 
that somebody else, if it were possible, should be nominated in- 
stead of Mr. Hamlin. Of the reasons of that determination I 
made no inquiry, because the whole matter was one in which I 
had no intention to take any part. Yours truly, 


A. K. McCiyURE, Esq. 


[From the North American Review for October, 1885.] 

"Within three weeks afterward a gentleman (Cameron) who 
stood very high in Mr. Lincoln's confidence came to me at Fort 
Monroe. This was after I had heard that Grant had allotted to 
me a not unimportant part in the coming campaign around Rich- 
mond, of the results of which I had the highest hope, and for 
w T hich I had beert laboring, and the story of which has not yet 
been told, but may be hereafter. 

" The gentleman informed me that he came from Mr. Lincoln; 
this was said with directness, because the messenger and myself 
had been for a considerable time in quite warm friendly relations, 
and I owed much to him, which I can never repay save with 

" He said: ' The President, as you know, intends to be a candi- 
date for re-election, and as his friends indicate that Mr. Hamlin 
is no longer to be a candidate for Vice-President, and as he is 
from New England, the President thinks that his place should be 
filled by some one from that section; and aside from reasons of 
personal friendship which would make it pleasant to have you 
with him, he believes that being the first prominent Democrat 
who volunteered for the war, your candidature w r ould add strength 
to the ticket, especially with the War Democrats, and he hopes 
that you will allow your friends to co-operate with his to place 
you in that position.' 

"I answered: 'Please say to Mr. Lincoln that while I appre- 
ciate with the fullest sensibility this act of friendship and the 
compliment he pays me, yet I must decline- Tell him,' I said 
laughingly, ' with the prospects of the campaign, I would not 
quit the field to be Vice-President, even with himself as Presi- 
dent, unless he will give me bond, with sureties, in the full sum 
of his four years' salary, that he will die or resign within three 
months after his inauguration.' " 


THE following is an extract from an interview with General 
Cameron taken by James R. Young, now Executive Clerk of the 
Senate, in 1873, revised by Cameron himself and published in the 
New York Herald in the summer of that year: 


"Lincoln and Stanton thought highly of Butler, and I will 
now tell you of another fact that is not generally known, and 
which will show you how near Butler came to being President 
instead of Andrew Johnson. In the spring of 1864, when it was 
determined to run Mr. Lincoln for a second term, it was the de- 
sire of Lincoln, and also that of Stan ton, who was the one man 
of the Cabinet upon whom Lincoln thoroughly depended, that 
Butler should run on the ticket with him as the candidate for 
Vice-President. I was called into consultation and heartily en- 
dorsed the scheme. Accordingly Lincoln sent me on a mission 
to Fort Monroe to see General Butler, and to say to him that it 
was his (Lincoln's) request that he (General Butler) should allow 
himself to be run as second on the ticket. 

" I, accompanied by William H. Armstrong, afterw r ard a mem- 
ber of Congress from the Williamsport district, did visit General 
Butler and made the tender according to instructions. To our 
astonishment, Butler refused to agree to the proposition. He 
said there was nothing in the Vice-Presidency, and he preferred 
remaining in command of his army, where he thought he would 
be of more service to his country." 


THE following interview with General Cameron, taken by 
Colonel Burr a few years before his death, was carefully revised 
by Cameron himself. It is not only a repetition of General But- 
ler's statement, but it tells how, after Butler declined the Vice- 
Presidency, Lincoln carefully considered other prominent War 
Democrats, and finally agreed with Cameron to nominate John- 

" I had been summoned from Harrisburg by the President to 
consult with him in relation to the approaching campaign," said 
General Cameron. " He was holding a reception when I arrived, 
but after it was over we had a long and earnest conversation. Mr. 
Lincoln had been much distressed at the intrigues in and out of 
his Cabinet to defeat his renomination; but that was now assured, 
and the question of a man for the second place on the ticket was 
freely and earnestly discussed. Mr. Lincoln thought, and so did 
I, that Mr. Hamlin's position during the four years of his admin- 
istration made it advisable to have a new name substituted. Sev- 
eral men were freely talked of, but without conclusion as to, any 


particular person. Not long after that I was requested to come 
to the White House again. I went and the subject was again 
brought up by the President ; and the result of our conversation 
was that Mr. Lincoln asked me to go to Fortress Monroe and ask 
General Butler if he would be willing to run, and, if not, to con- 
fer with him upon the subject. 

"General Butler positively declined to consider the subject, 
saying that he preferred to remain in the military service, and he 
thought a man could not justify himself in leaving the army in 
the time of war to run for a political office. The general and 
myself then talked the matter over freely, and it is my opinion 
at this distance from the event that he suggested that a Southern 
man should be given the place. After completing the duty as- 
signed by the President, I returned to Washington and reported 
the result to Mr. Lincoln. He seemed to regret General Butler's 
decision, and afterward the name of Andrew Johnson was sug- 
gested and accepted. In my judgment, Mr. Hamlin never had a 
serious chance to become the Vice-Presidential candidate after 
Mr. Lincoln's renomination was assured." 


MAJOR BENJAMIN C. TRUMAN, a well-known Eastern journalist, 
and now manager of the California exhibit for the coming Chicago 
Fair, testifies in the following conclusive manner on the subject: 

CHICAGO, July 25. 

We met in New Orleans the year of the fair, as you may re- 
member. I am the man recently quoted in the Tribune in rela- 
tion to the Lincoln-Hamlin controversy, but I did not wish to 
volunteer conspicuously in the dispute. I was private secretary 
of Andrew Johnson in Nashville in 1864. I saw and handled all 
his correspondence during that time, and I know it to be a fact 
that Mr. Lincoln desired the nomination of Johnson for Vice- 
President, and that Brownlow and Maynard went to Baltimore at 
request of Lincoln and Johnson to promote the nomination. 

Forney wrote to Johnson saying that General Sickles would be 
in Tennessee to canvass Johnson's availability, and that Lincoln, 
on the whole, preferred Johnson first and Holt next. I do not 
know that General Sickles conferred with Johnson on the sub- 
ject, and it is possible that General Sickles was not advised by 



Lincoln at the time he sent him on the secret mission what he 
had in view, for Lincoln may at that time have been undecided 
in his own mind. It is certain, however, that after General 
Sickles returned and reported to Lincoln, Lincoln decided to 
favor the nomination of Johnson. 

I went out to Tennessee with Johnson in March, 1862, and had 
charge of his official and private correspondence for four years. 
I wrote at his dictation many letters to Mr. Lincoln, and was 
cognizant of all Mr. Lincoln's communications to him. 

When he was made Military Governor and Brigadier-General, 
I was appointed on his staff along with William A. Browning of 
Baltimore, who died in '66. It was Colonel Forney who obtained 
the position for me, and he was in close confidential relations 
with Johnson during the entire period I speak of. 

Very truly, 


HENRY J. RAYMOND was editor of the New York Times in 
1864, of which George Jones was then, as now, the chief owner, 
and their relations were of the most confidential character. Ray- 
mond was the Lincoln leader and the master-spirit of the Balti- 
more Convention of 1864. He framed and reported the platform; 
he was made chairman of the National Committee; he wrote the 
Life of Lincoln for the campaign ; and it was his leadership that 
carried a majority of the New York delegation for Johnson even 
against Dickinson, from Raymond's own State, because he was 
in the confidence of and acting in accord with the wishes of Lin- 
coln. Raymond has long since joined the great majority beyond, 
but Jones thus incisively speaks for him: 

SOUTH POLAND, ME., July 17, 1891. 

MY DEAR COLONEL McCLURE: Your letter has been forwarded 
to me here. I have read the contention about the Vice-Presi- 
dency, and do not hesitate to. say that you are absolutely in the 
right in your statement of the facts. 

I had many talks with Raymond on the subject. Dickinson's 
friends never forgave him, although he made Dickinson U. S. 
District Attorney afterward to compensate him for the loss of the 
Vice-Presidency. Seward and Weed were also with Raymond in 
that fight. Faithfully yours, 




CARLSBAD, BOHEMIA, August 16, 1891. 

DEAR SIR: The question of preference of President Lincoln in 
1864 as to who ought to be placed on the national ticket with 
himself is one of doubt, I observe from reading the American 
newspapers, and one which has, since the death of Ex- Vice-Presi- 
dent Hamlin, given rise to much controversy. At this distance 
of time from the exciting events of that period I had thought 
that no fact was better established than Mr. Lincoln's politic 
preference as a strategic skirmish from the beaten path to give 
strength to the party and discouragement to the South. He was 
decidedly in favor of a Southern man for Vice-President. And 
of all men South, his preference, as he expressed himself to pru- 
dent friends, was for Andrew Johnson. This he could not con- 
sistently make public, for he occupied a delicate position before 
the people, and was apprehensive of giving offense to Hamlin's 
united New England constituency. 

To discreet and trusted friends with whom he deemed it pru- 
dent to confer he urged that such a nomination would disarm our 
enemies of the Union abroad, and be a check to the recognition 
of the Confederacy by England and France to a greater extent 
than anything in our power to do at that time, and if judiciously 
and quietly effected would, in his opinion, in no wise jeopardize 
the success of the party. 

He believed that the election of one of the candidates on the 
national ticket from an insurgent State, from the heart of the 
Confederacy, that had been restored to the Union and had re- 
pented of the sin of rebellion, would not only be wise, but expe- 
dient; and Johnson being a lifelong representative Southern man, 
who had been Governor, a member of Congress, a United States 
Senator, and was then Military Governor of the State of Tennes- 
see, it was fitting, and \vould have more influence in proving the 
success of the Union arms against the Confederate rebellion than 
anything that had been accomplished. 

I recall to mind the fact that Mr. Lincoln sent for you, Mr. 
Editor, the day before the National Convention was to meet, for 
consultation on this veritable subject. To the best of my recol- 
lection, you were not in sympathy with the scheme; that you 
opposed it and declared yourself in favor of the old ticket of 
1860; and I am confident that at first you were opposed to the 


nomination of Johnson. But after some discussion and hearing 
Mr. Lincoln's earnest reasoning in favor of his position, you 
yielded your prejudices and seemed convinced that there was 
philosophy and, perhaps, sound politics in the proposition. The 
late lamented Leonard Swett of Illinois was also sent for and 
consulted before the convention met; Mr. Lincoln always had 
great faith and confidence in Mr. Swett' s political wisdom. The 
proposition took Swett by surprise. He had made up his mind 
that the old ticket of Lincoln and Hamlin would be again renomi- 
nated as a matter of course. Swett said to him: " Lincoln, if it 
were known in New England that you are in favor of leaving 
Hamlin off the ticket it would raise the devil among the Yankees 
(Mr. Swett was born in Maine), and it would raise a bumble-bee's 
nest about your ears that w r ould appall the country." Swett con- 
tinued about in this strain: " However popular you are with the 
masses over the country, you are not so with the New England 
politicians, because of your tardiness in issuing your Emancipa- 
tion Proclamation and your liberal reconstruction policy. You 
must know that you have not recovered from what these people 
think two great blunders of your administration. In view of 
these facts I think it a dangerous experiment." 

Lincoln was serious, earnest, and resolute. He produced argu- 
ments so convincing to Swett that he shortly became a con- 
vert to the proposed new departure, and in deference to Mr. 
Lincoln's wishes he went to the convention as a delegate from 
Illinois, and joined Cameron, yourself, and others in supporting 

I recollect that Swett asked Mr. Lincoln, as he was leaving the 
White House, whether he was authorized to use his name in this 
behalf before the convention. The reply was, " No; I will address 
a letter to Lamon here embodying my views, which you, McClure, 
and other friends may use if it be found absolutely necessary. 
Otherwise, it may be better that I should not appear actively on 
the stage of this theatre." The letter was written, and I took it 
to the convention with me. It was not used, as there was no 
occasion for its use, and it was afterward returned to Mr. Lin- 
coln, at his request. 

Mr. Lincoln was beset before the convention by the friends of 
the Hamlin interest for his opinion and preference for Vice-Presi- 
dent. To such he invariably dodged the question, sometimes 
saying: "It perhaps would not become me to interfere with the 
will of the people," always evading a direct answer. 


However this conduct may subject him to the charge by some 
persons of the want of open candor, the success of the party and 
the safety of the Union were the paramount objects that moved 
him. He did not, by suppressing the truth to those whom he 
thought had no right to cross-question him, purpose conveying 
a false impression. If this is to be construed as duplicity, be it 
so; he was still " Honest old Abe," and he thought the end justi- 
fied the means. 

About this time, and for a short time before this convention 
was held, Mr. Lincoln was exceedingly anxious to bring Ten- 
nessee under a regular State government, and he argued that by 
emphasizing it by the election of Johnson to the Vice-Presidency 
(not that he had any prejudice against Mr. Hamlin) in no way 
could such rapid strides be made toward the restoration of the 

If the nomination of Johnson was a mistake, a misdemeanor, 
or a crime, the responsibility of it should rest where it belongs. 
Mr. Lincoln was undoubtedly blamable for the blunder. It may 
be that more calamitous mistakes happened in the lives of very 
many eminent and good men during those troublous times of our 
country's history. 

With all my affection, admiration, love, and veneration for Mr. 
Lincoln, I have never been one of those who believed him im- 
maculate and incapable of making mistakes. He was human 
and in the nature of things was liable to err, yet he erred less 
often than other men. He had amiable weaknesses, some of 
which only the more ennobled him. 

It is no compliment to his memory to smother from the closest 
scrutiny any of the acts of his life and transfigure him by full- 
some deification, so that his most intimate friends cannot recog- 
nize the Abraham Lincoln of other days. The truth of history 
requires that he should be placed on the record, now that he is 
dead, as he stood before the people while living. Whatever mis- 
takes he made were made through the purest of motives. All his 
faults, all his amiable weaknesses, and all his virtues should be 
written on the same pages, so that the world may know the true 
man as his friends knew him. With all the truth told of him he 
will appear a purer and better man than any other man living or 
any man that ever did live. 

With all that can truthfully be said of him, Abraham Lincoln 
has reached that stage of moral elevation where his name alone 
will be more beneficial to humanity at large than the personal 



services of any other man to the people of any country as their 
Chief Magistrate. Respectfully, 


[Gideon Welles, in the Galaxy, Nov., 1877.] 

MR. HAMUN, who was elected with Lincoln in 1860, had not 
displayed the breadth of view and enlightened statesmanship 
which was expected, and consequently lost confidence with the 
country during his term. Yet there was no concentration or 
unity on any one to fill his place. His friends and supporters, 
while conscious that he brought no strength to the ticket, 
claimed, but with no zeal or earnestness, that as Mr. Lincoln 
was renominated, it would be invidious not to nominate Hamlin 

The question of substituting another for Vice-President had 
been discussed in political circles prior to the meeting of the con- 
vention, without any marked personal preference, but with a 
manifest desire that there should be a change. Mr. Lincoln felt 
the delicacy of his position, and was therefore careful to avoid the 
expression of any opinion; but it was known to those who en- 
joyed his confidence that he appreciated the honesty, integrity, 
and self-sacrificing patriotism of Andrew Johnson of Tennessee. 

[General Sickles' Interview in New York Times.'] 

" WHEN I went South to visit Governor Johnson this sentiment 
was in the air," continued General Sickles. " I knew of it, but 
I considered from my past position that it would be indelicate for 
me to invite the President's confidence on purely political mat- 
ters. It was not my mission to undertake to bring about changes 
in Mr. Johnson's methods of administration which should affect 
his standing before the Baltimore Convention. The result of my 
visit may have had some such effect: I do not say that it did not. 
I reported to Mr. Lincoln and to Mr. Seward. 

"Now, what was the situation at Baltimore? Mr. Leonard 
Swett was President Lincoln's shadow. Whatever Mr. Swett did 
represented and reflected Mr. Lincoln's views. In the Baltimore 


Convention Mr. Swett at once came out for Judge Holt, a Border- 
State man. Mr. Nicolay sent word to Mr. Hay, who had been 
left to keep house, asking if the President approved of this. 
Now note Mr. Lincoln's reply: 

" ' Swett is unquestionably all right. Mr. Holt is a good man, 
but I had not thought of him for Vice-President. Wish not to 
interfere. ' 

"That tells the whole story. Mr. Lincoln knew that Mr. Swett, 
in bringing out a Border-State man, was doing precisely right. 
The indorsement on that note was for Mr. Nicolay 's eye. He was 
not one of the President's close advisers. He was but a clerk. 
He was not the man whom President Lincoln would send to Bal- 
timore to take a hand in shaping the convention. A tyro in poli- 
tics would see that if the President wanted a thing done, his own 
secretary would have been the last messenger sent to do it. It 
would have revealed the President's hand if Mr. Nicolay had 
been given a mission in the convention. 

" Colonel McClure, Governor Andrew G. Curtin, Simon Came- 
ron, and others of that stamp were the men whom Mr. Lincoln 
relied on. So that while the indorsement on the note gives Mr. 
Nicolay documentary evidence for his position, that very remark, 
'Swett is all right,' gives Colonel McClure good ground for his 
position if there were nothing else. 

"Mr. Seward and Mr. Stan ton were close advisers of Mr. Lin- 
coln. They spoke their sentiments in favor of a Border-State 
man. That they advised the choice of Mr. Johnson I do not 
know, or that the President had chosen Mr. Johnson I do not 
know, but the one expression, ' Swett is all right,' is the key that 
unlocks all the mystery there is in this present controversy." 


On pag-e 273, last line, the name Toombs should be Cobb. 


ADAMS, Charles Francis Eulogy of 
Seward, 52; as a candidate for 
President, 1872, 301. 

249, 250; Curtin's letter concern- 
ing, note, 250, 251. 

ANDERSON, Robert Relieved from 
command by Sherman, 212. 

ANDREW, John A. Changes vote of 
Mass, to Lincoln, 33 ; seconds 
Evarts' motion, 33 ; joins Altoona 
Conference, 249. 

ARMSTRONG, William H. Visits But- 
ler with Cameron, 106. 

of, 328. 

ARNOLD, Isaac N. On Lincoln and 
emancipation, 90; Lincoln's confi- 
dence in, 114. 

ASHLEY, James M. Saves constitu- 
tional amendment abolishing slav- 
ery from defeat, 98. 

BANKS, Nathaniel P. Vote for Vice- 
President in Chicago Convention, 
35 ; retreat across the Potomac, 
1862, 365. 

BANNAN, Benjamin Draft Commis- 
sioner in Schuylkill county, 73, 74. 

BARTLETT, W. O. Knowledge of the 
Lincoln-Bennett letter, 82. 

BATES, Edward Greeley's support of, 
24, 290; votes received in Chicago 
Convention, 33 ; in Lincoln's Cab- 
inet, 52. 

BAYARD, Geo. A. Given command of 
brigade Pa. Reserves, 396. 

BEAUREGARD, P. G. T. Threatens 
Washington, 59. 

BENNETT, James Gordon Offered 
French mission, 80 ; supports Lin- 
coln's re-election, 8l ; attitude to- 
ward Lincoln, 82. 

BIDDLE, Col. Charles J. Goes to re- 
lief of Col. Wallace, 237. 

BIDDLE, Craig On Gov. Curtin's 
staff, 237. 

BLACK, Jeremiah S. Becomes Bu- 
chanan's Secretary of State, 157, 
276 ; grieved by Buchanan's policy 
toward S. C, 277, 278 ; writes Bu- 
chanan's answer, 278. 

BLAINE, James G. Opinion of 111. 
Republican Convention, 1860, 23; 
support of Lincoln, 54. 

BLAIR, Frank P. Supports Bates at 
Chicago, 1860, 31; offers Gen. 
Sherman a Missouri brigadiership, 
2IO; secures Greeley's nomination 
for President, 302. 

BLAIR, Montgomery Supports Bates 
at Chicago, 1860, 31 ; offers Gen. 
Sherman a War- Department clerk- 
ship, 210. 

BOYD, William H. His home at 
Chambersburg saved, 389, 390. 

BROWN, B. Gratz Nominated for 
Vice-President, 302. 

BROWN, John In Chambersburg in 
1859, 307, 308, 362. 

BUCHANAN, James Stanton and Black 
in Cabinet of, 157; misconceptions 
regarding his administration, 273, 
274; estimate of, 274, 275; change 
of policy, 276 ; policy toward South 
Carolina, 277, 278; reinforcement 
of Southern forts, 278, 279 ; impos- 
sibility of reinforcement, 280 ; proofs 
of loyalty of, 280; patriotic letters 
of, 281-286; justice to, 286, 287. 

BUCKALEW, Charles A. Elected to 
the United States Senate, 138. 

BUELL, Don Carlos An unrewarded 
hero, 327 ; military career of, 353 
355 ; campaign against Chattanooga, 
355, 356; plan of campaign over- 




ruled, but censured by the War De- 
partment, 356 ; his removal asked, 
357; relieved, 358; asks for inves- 
tigation, 359 ; mysterious disappear- 
ance of the record, 359, 360. 

BURNSIDE, Ambrose E. What it 
would cost to capture Manassas, 

BUTLER, Benjamin F. Lincoln's first 
selection for Vice-President in 1864, 
106; Cameron's mission to, 106; 
nomination declined, 107 ; Came- 
ron's instructions to, regarding 
slaves, 147. 

CAMERON, Simon Candidate for Pres- 
ident, 1860, 29, 30; opposed for 
Secretary of War, 41 ; regarded war 
as inevitable, 52; David Davis' 
Cabinet promise, 79; advised arm- 
ing the slaves, 92, 147 ; mission to 
General Butler, 1864, 1 06; consents 
to Johnson's nomination, 107 ; rela- 
tions to Lincoln in 1864, 109, in, 
112; estimate of, 134; beginning 
of feud with Curtin, 135 ; defeats 
Forney for the Senate, 136, 137; 
defeated by Buckalew, 137; presi- 
dential aspirations, 1860, 138; the 
War Secretaryship, 401 ; Lincoln's 
hesitation and letters, 141-143; sub- 
sequent negotiations and appoint- 
ment, 143-146; administration of 
the War Department, 146, 147; 
official recommendation regarding 
slavery, 147149; retirement from 
Cabinet, 150; feels aggrieved, 150, 
151 ; subsequent relations to Lin- 
coln, 152; estimate of, 152-154; 
conducts campaign in Pa. in 1864, 
183-185; conference with Sherman 
at Louisville, 213; refuses to accept 
Pa. Reserves, 235 ; unites with 
McClure and Forney to ask foreign 
mission for Curtin, 244. 

CARTER, Colonel Story of his burial 
at Chambersburg, 385, 386. 

CASS, Lewis Resignation from Bu- 
chanan's Cabinet, 157, 276. 

CHAMBERSBURG Why destroyed, 
239, 240 ; description of, 307, 362 ; 
John Brown in, 308, 362 ; anti- 
slavery sentiment in, 311; Capt. 
Cook in, 316; the town in war- 
times, 363; Patterson's command 

at, 364; alarm at, 1862, 365; Stu- 
art's capture of, 1862, 370; flag of 
truce demanding surrender of, 371 ; 
surrendered to Gen. Hampton, 372 ; 
Gen. Jenkins in, 1864, 377; Gen. 
Lee in, 378 ; Lee's council in pub- 
lic square, 379; Christian burial re- 
fused to a Confederate officer in, 
385, 386; Gen. McCausland's ap- 
proach rumored, 387 ; captured and 
burned, 388 ; " Remember Cham- 
bersburg !" 390; no reimbursement, 
39 39 1 > a ft er the burning, 391. 

CHANDLER, Zach. Distrust of Lin- 
coln, 54. 

CHASE, Salmon P. Votes received in 
Chicago Convention, 33 ; believes in 
peaceable disunion, 52; nomination 
as chief-justice, 68; attitude toward 
Lincoln, 1861-64, 119, 120.; Lin- 
coln proposed to "decline," 122, 
123; strained relations with Lin- 
coln, 124; resigns from Cabinet, 
125; in retirement, 126; visits Lin- 
coln in 1864, 127; appointed chief- 
justice, 128; Lincoln's magnanimity 
toward, 130, 131 ; legal attainments 
of, note, 131 ; subsequent career of, 
131-133; bearer of Lincoln's letter 
removing Cameron from War De- 
partment, 150; Stevens on impeach- 
ment rulings of, 263. 

CHILDS, Geo. W. At luncheon with 
Grant, 189. 

CLAY, Cassius M. Vote for President 
in Chicago Convention, 33 ; for Vice- 
President, 34. 

COBB, Howell Leaves Buchanan's 
Cabinet, 276 ; his division at Hagers- 
town, 1862, 366. 

COFFROTH, Alexander H. Gives first 
Democratic vote in favor of consti- 
tutional amendment abolishing slav- 
ery, 99. 

COLLAMER, Jacob Votes received in 
Chicago Convention, 33 ; letter on 
Sherman's terms to Johnston, 226. 

COLUMBIA, S. C. The cry of retalia- 
tion for Chambersburg, 390. 

CONGRESS Acts prohibiting slavery, 
92 ; constitutional amendment abol- 
ishing slavery in, 98, 99. 

CONVENTION, Democratic National, 
1864 Declares the war a failure, 
208 ; anti-war platform, 299. 



CONVENTION, Republican National, 
1856 Character of, 21. 

CONVENTION, Republican National, 
1860 Character of, 21 ; Seward 
demonstration, 31, 32; ballots for 
President, 32, 33. 

CONVENTION, Republican National, 
1864 Representation of insurgent 
States in, 108. 

COOK, John E. Hazlitt mistaken for, 
310; romance of the capture of, 
311; reward for, 312; character- 
istics of, 313, 320-322; capture by 
Logan and Fitzhugh, 315, 316; 
taken to Chambersburg, 316; nego- 
tiations with Dan Logan, 317, 318; 
before Justice Reisher, 318; sent to 
jail, 319; plans for escape, 319- 
323 ; the romance of the requisition, 
324; surrender, trial, and execution, 

3 2 4, 325- 

COUCH, Darius N. In command at 
Harrisburg, 1863, 381 ; has no force 
to meet McCausland, 1864, 387; 
retires to Harrisburg, 388. 

CRAWFORD, Samuel W. Given com- 
mand of Pa. Reserves, 411; asks 
that his division rejoin the army, 
412; at Gettysburg, 413; with his 
division in Va., 415-421 ; farewell 
to Pa. Reserves, 421, 422. 

CUM MINGS, Alexander Represented 
Cameron at Chicago, 1860, 139. 

CURTIN, Andrew G. Supports Lin- 
coln at Chicago, 1860, 24, 25 ; can- 
didate for Governor of Pa., 26, 27 ; 
reasons for opposing Seward, 27-29 ; 
reasons for supporting Lincoln, 29, 
30 ; calls on Weed in Chicago, 35 ; 
campaign of 1860, 36; elected Gov- 
ernor, 37, 40; conference at the 
White House, 57, 58; not a party 
to Cabinet pledges, 79; guberna- 
torial declination, 1863, 79, 80; re- 
election, 80 ; beginning of feud with 
Cameron, 135; appeals to Stanton 
for Jere McKibben, 162; offers 
McClellan command of Pa. troops, 
194; brilliant services of, 229; in- 
augural address, 230; as a popular 
leader, 230, 231 ; early relations 
with Lincoln, 232 ; Pa. Reserves, 
the Governor's call, 233, 234; re- 
fused by the gove'rnment, 235 ; order 
recalled, but the corps authorized by 

the Legislature, 236 ; appeals to, by 
War Department, 237, 238; in Lin- 
coln's councils, 239; responsibilities 
and achievements, 239, 240; rela- 
tions to Stanton, 240; asks for ex- 
change of prisoners, 240, 241 ; Stan- 
ton's support of, for re-election, 241, 
242; suggests Gen. W. B. Franklin 
for Governor, 242 ; willing to retire, 
242-245 ; offered first-class foreign 
mission, 244; renomination and re- 
election, 245 ; devotion to the sol- 
diers, 245, 246; care of soldiers' 
orphans, conception of scheme, 246, 
247; appeals to the Legislature, 248; 
suggests conference of War Govern- 
ors, 248, 249 ; letter concerning the 
Altoona Conference, note, 250, 251; 
resolutions of thanks, 252; Presi- 
dent Grant thanked for nomination 
of, as minister to Russia, 253, min- 
ister to Russia and subsequent ser- 
vices, 254; complimentary vote in 
Cincinnati Convention, 302 ; orders 
Capt. Palmer's company to act as 
scouts, 366 ; advised of Lee's move- 
ment against Gettysburg, 379, 380; 
a mysterious dispatch to, 380, 381 ; 
identity of the sender, 381, 382; re- 
ceives Meade's report of Pickett's 
repulse, 385 ; care for the Pa. Re- 
serves, 395. 

DAVIS, David Supports Lincoln at 
Chicago, 1860, 31 ; visits Pa. Re- 
publican headquarters, 39; on Lin- 
coln's reticence, 65, 66; a Lincoln 
organizer, 78 ; Cabinet places prom- 
ised by, 79; negotiations with San- 
derson and Cummings, 139; the 
Cameron bargain, 145 ; as a candi- 
date for President, 1872, 301 ; not 
nominated, 302. 

DAVIS, Henry Winter Vote for Vice- 
President in Chicago Convention, 
35; distrusts Lincoln, 54; in op- 
position to Lincoln, 1864, 105, 126, 

DAVIS, Jefferson Instructions for 
Hampton Roads Conference, 95 ; 
Lincoln's wish for his escape, 

DAWES, Henry L. Investigates the 
War Department under Cameron, 



DAYTON, William L. Votes received 
in Chicago Convention, 33. 

DEFREES, John S. With Lane at 
Chicago, 1860, 27; at Cincinnati 
Convention, 1872, 302. 

DEMOCRATIC PARTY Strength of, in 
Pa., 1857-60, 26; anti-war platform 
of, 299. 

DENNISON, William Political mission 
to Pa.,. 1 864, 185; offers McClellan 
command of Ohio volunteers, 195. 

DICKINSON, Daniel S. War Demo- 
crat, 106, 107, 109, no. 

abolished in, 92, 258. 

Dix, John A. War Democrat, 106, 
107, 276. 

DOUBLEDAY, Abner At the begin- 
ning of the war, 341, 342. 

DOUGLAS, Stephen A. Sustains Lin- 
coln's administration, 54. 

DREXEL, Anthony J. Sympathizes 
with Republican cause, 1860, 36; 
at luncheon with Grant, 189. 

EARLY, Jubal A. Orders burning of 
Chambersburg, 390. 

EASTON, Captain His battery at the 
Chickahominy, 399. 

ELLSWORTH, Col. E. E. Death of, 

liminary proclamation, 89 ; States and 
districts not included in, 96 ; as a war 
measure, 97 ; talks with Lincoln on, 
as a political measure, 100-102 ; 
effects of, in State elections, 101 ; 
compensation for slaves, 223. 

EMERGENCY-MEN Reynolds sent to 
Pa. to organize, 367 ; never service- 
able, 377. 

EVARTS, William M. Nominates 
Seward at Chicago, 1860, 31; 
moves to make Lincoln's nomina- 
tion unanimous, 33 ; attitude on 
nomination for Vice-President, 34. 

EWELL, Richard S. Drives Banks 
across the Potomac, 365. 

FENTON, Reuben E. At Cincinnati 
Convention, 1872, 302. 

FITZHUGH, Cleggett Assists in the 
capture of Cook, 315. 

FLOYD, John B. In Buchanan's Cab- 
inet, 273, 276. 

FORNEY, John W. Defeated for 
United States Senator, 136, 137; 
asked to promote Curtin's retire- 
ment, 243, 244. 

FRANKLIN, William B. Suggested by 
Curtin for Governor of Pa., 242. 

FREMONT, John C. Nominated for 
President, 21, 22; vote for, in Chi- 
cago Convention, 33 ; candidature 
in 1863, 8l ; proclamation regard- 
ing slaves, 147. 

GETTYSBURG Lee's movement 
against, 378; Benjamin S. Huber 
sent to inform Gov. Curtin, 379; 
information from John A. Seiders, 
380; story of an unsigned message, 
380, 381 ; Lee's retreat from, 385; 
Pa. Reserves at, 413, 414. 

GlLMORE, Harry Refrains from burn- 
ing Colonel Boyd's home, 389, 390. 

GORHAM, George C. Letter on Sher- 
man's terms of surrender, 227. 

GRANT, Ulysses S. Virginia cam- 
paign, 1864, 112; magnanimous 
treatment of Admiral Porter, 130; 
Stanton's relations to, 155 ; early life, 
174, 175 ; colonel of the Twenty-first 
111. Vols., 175; service in Kentucky 
and Tennessee, 176; antagonized 
by Halleck and McClellan, 176; at 
Shiloh, 177; inflamed public senti- 
ment against, 177, 178; saved by 
Lincoln, 180-182; first acquaintance 
with Lincoln, 182, 183; Lincoln 
doubtful of his political sympathies 
in 1864, 186; fidelity to Lincoln, 
188; frank explanation, 189; as a 
conversationalist, 190; in war and 
peace, 190, 191 ; contrasted with 
McClellan, 200; thanked by Pa. 
Legislature for nomination of Cur- 
tin as minister to Russia, 253 ; indif- 
ference toward Greeley, 300 ; Meade 
contrasted with, 330; injustice to 
Meade, 333 ; orders Thomas to at- 
tack Hood, 337 ; requests relief of 
Thomas, 338 ; congratulates Thomas 
on victory at Nashville, 340; treat- 
ment of Fitz John Porter, 346, 348 ; 
appreciation of Buell, 355 ; asks for 
Buell's restoration, 359. 

GREELEY, Horace Opposed to Sew- 
ard in 1860, 24-34; supports Bates, 
24; chairman Oregon delegation, 



Chicago, 1860, 31 ; offers Gov. Mor- 
gan nomination for Vice- President, 
34; not in accord with Lincoln, 81 ; 
Lincoln's letter to, on emancipation, 
89 ; early hostility to Lincoln, 288 ; 
revolt against Seward, 289 ; support 
of Lincoln, 290 ; subsequent estrange- 
ment, 290, 291 ; in favor of peaceable 
secession, 291 ; " On to Richmond !" 
cry, 293 ; characteristics of, 294 ; 
differences with Lincoln, 294, 295 ; 
attitude toward slavery and emanci- 
pation, 295, 296; opposes Lincoln's 
renomination, 296; supports Wade 
and Davis's arraignment of Lincoln, 
297 ; part in the Jewett-Sanders ne- 
gotiations, 297, 298; later relations 
to Lincoln, 299; in political re- 
volt, 300 ; Grant's indifference, 300 ; 
choice of candidates at Cincinnati 
in 1872, 301 ; how nominated, 302, 
303; the Democratic endorsement 
of, 304; defeat and death, 305, 

HALLECK, Henry W. Made general- 
in-chief, 169; antagonizes Grant, but 
reverses his judgment, 176; ordered 
to the field by the President, 181 ; 
ordered to Washington as com- 
mander-in-chief, 182; belief in Gen. 
Sherman's imbecility, 213; assents 
to relief of Thomas at Nashville, 
338; injustice to Buell, Chattanooga 
campaign, 356 ; explains why Buell 
could not be restored, 359. 

HAMLIN, Hannibal Vote for Vice- 
President in Chicago Convention, 
34 ; Lincoln unfavorable to re-elec- 
tion of, 104; why nominated in 
1860, 105 ; forces demoralized, IIO; 
Lincoln's feelings toward, 116; no 
deceit toward, 117; knowledge of 
Lincoln's wishes, letter to Judge 
Pettis, 117, 1 1 8. 

HAMPTON, Wade Receives surrender 
of Chambersburg, 372. 

HATCH, O. M. A Lincoln organizer, 
7 8. 

HAZLEHURST, Isaac American can- 
didate for Governor of Pa., 26. 

HAZLITT, Albert Arrested in the 
Cumberland Valley, 310; the ro- 
mance of the requisition, 324. 

HERNDON, William H. On Lincoln's 
confidences, 65, 67. 

HICKMAN, JOHN Vote for Vice-Pres- 

ident in Chicago Convention, 34. 
HOLT, Joseph War Democrat, 106 ; 

receives Lincoln's ostensible support 

for Vice-President, 1864, no; in 

Buchanan's Cabinet, 276. 
HOOKER, Joseph Urges a dictator- 

ship on McClellan, 206. 
HUBER, Benjamin S. Carries news 

of Lee's movement against Gettys- 

burg to Gov. Curtin, 379. 
HUNTER, David Vandalism of, 239, 


INDIANA Doubtful in 1864, 114. 

JENKINS Captures Chambersburg, 
1863, 377, 378. 

JEWETT, William Cornell As a peace- 
maker, 297. 

JOHNSON, Albert E. H. Letter on 
Stanton, note, 161. 

JOHNSON, Andrew Lincoln favors, 
for Vice-President, 1864, 104; Gen- 
Sickles' mission to, 107 ; nomina- 
tion accomplished, no; Lincoln's 
reasons for his nomination, Il6, 
117; Stanton's hostility to, 172; 
admonished by Grant, 190; repudi- 
ates Stanton's violent treatment of 
Gen. Sherman, 222; Stevens' dis- 
like of, 259, 260; hostility of Ste- 
vens, 263, 264 ; attempt to supersede- 
Grant, 342. 

JOHNSTON, Joseph E. Surrenders to- 
Sherman, 216, 217; terms accorded 
by Sherman, 2 1 8. 

JONES, Lieutenant Reached Cham- 
bersburg from Harper's Ferry, 363. 

JUDD, Norman B. Supports Lincoln 
at Chicago, 1860, 31 ; attends Mrs. 
Lincoln at Harrisburg, 45 ; a Lin.' 
coin organizer, 78. 

KAGI, John Henry With Meriam in 
Chambersburg, 308, 309; killed at 
Harper's Ferry, 309. 

KIMMELL, Francis M. Method of 
sending news of Lee's invasion, 

LAMON, Ward H. Dines with Lin- 
coln and Curtin at Harrisburg, 44; 
accompanies Lincoln to Washing- 
ton, 46 ; on Lincoln's character, 67 ; 



Lincoln's letter "to, at Baltimore 
Convention, no. 

LANE, Henry S. Supports Lincoln at 
Chicago, 1860, 24, 25 ; candidate 
for Governor of Ind., 26, 27 ; rea- 
sons for opposing Seward, 2729 ; 
reasons for supporting Lincoln, 29, 
30; elected Governor of Ind., 37; 
not a party to Cabinet pledges, 79. 

LANE, Mrs. Henry S. Letter from, 
note, 24, 25. 

LEE, Robert E. Criticism of his cam- 
paigns, 200 ; Maryland campaign in 
1862, 365, 366; invasion of Pa. in 
J 863, 377> 378; council in public 
square in Chambersburg, 379; re- 
treat from Gettysburg, 385. 

LEWIS, Joseph J Protests against 
Chase for chief-justice, 128, 129. 

LINCOLN, Abraham His nomination 
unexpected, 21 ; character of his 
support, 2123; support of Curtin 
and Lane, 24; attitude toward slav- 
ery, 28 ; Pennsylvania's attitude 
toward, 30; enthusiasm for, 31, 32; 
nominated, 32 ; McClure's first visit 
to, 38 ; sends Davis and Swett to 
Pa., 39; letters to McClure de- 
stroyed, 41 ; invites McClure to 
Springfield, 41 ; the interview, 42 ; 
Curtin's guest on his way to Wash- 
ington, 43 ; fears of assassination, 
43, 44 ; reception and dinner, 44 ; 
arrangements for the journey, 44- 
46 ; the journey, 47, 48 ; his regrets, 
48 ; sensational stories, 49 ; arrival 
in Washington, 50; distrust of his 
ability, 51 ; his fitness for the Presi- 
dency, 52, 53; difficulty of formu- 
lating a policy,. 5 5 ; epigram on the 
spoilsmen, 56 ; conference with Cur- 
tin and McClure touching defence 
of Pa., 57,58; characteristics, 64; 
his confidence, how far given, 65 ; 
his reticence, 68 ; intellectual organ- 
ization, 69; a man of the people, j 
70; his political sagacity, 71 ; averts j 
a draft riot, 73, 74; in politics, 
76 ; Presidential aspirations, 77 ; no 
knowledge of Cabinet promises, 79 ; 
offers French mission to J. G. Ben- 
nett, 80 ; letter to General Sherman, 
83 ; solution of mustering-in diffi- 
culty in Pa., 84, 85 ; views of slav- 
ery, 88; Emancipation Proclamation, 

89; answer to Chicago clerical dele- 
gation, 90; waiting for victory, 91 ; 
plan of compensated emancipation, 
92, 93 ; Hunter's order revoked, 93 ; 
compensated emancipation at Hamp- 
ton Roads Conference, 95 ; congrat- 
ulated on achievement of emancipa- 
tion, 99; Johnson for Vice- President, 
1864, 104; leaders in opposition to, 
105 ; wants a War Democrat on 
ticket, 1 06; electoral purposes of, 
107, 108 ; manipulation of Cameron, 
109; interview with Lamon and 
Swett, no; relations to McClure 
and Cameron, in, 112; fears de- 
feat, 113, 114; reasons for Johnson's 
nomination, 1 1 6, 117; no deceit to- 
ward Hamlin, 117; Chase's attitude 
toward, 119-121 ; proposes to "de- 
cline" Chase, anecdote, 122; desire 
for renomination, 123; doubts, 124; 
strained relations with Chase, 124- 
1 26 ; discusses Stanton as a possible 
chief-justice, 129; magnanimity to- 
ward Chase, 130, 131 ; relations to- 
ward Cameron, 134; the War Sec- 
retaryship, 140; letters to Cameron, 
141-143 ; subsequent action, 143- 
146 ; exculpation of Cameron, 147 ; 
relieves Fremont, and recalls Cam- 
eron's report touching slavery, 147- 
149; letter removing Cameron from 
War Department, 150, 151 ; letter re- 
called, 151 ; appointment of Stanton, 
151, 152; Stanton's attitude toward, 
156-158; attitude toward Stanton, 
158; treatment of the McKibben 
case, 163-166; forbearance shown 
McClellan, 167, 168; visit to Gen. 
Scott at West Point, 168; gives 
McClellan command of the defences 
of Washington, 169; compels Stan- 
ton's obedience, 170; never con- 
templated removing Stanton, 171; 
pressure on, for Grant's removal, 
177-180; his method to save Grant, 
180-182; asks McClure and Mc- 
Veagh to co-operate with Republi- 
can State Committee in Pa. in 1864, 
184; solicitude in regard to result in 
Nov., 185, 186; McClure's inter- 
view with, regarding the soldier 
vote, 1 86, 187; Grant's fidelity to, 
188, 189; relations to McClellan, 
192, 193; McClellan's accusations, 



198, 199; trust in McClellan, 201 ; 
McClellan's political and military 
protests to, 202, 203 ; magnanimity 
toward Hooker, 206; fears success 
of McClellan's Presidential candi- 
dature, 207 ; views of the conse- 
quences, 208; first meeting with 
Gen. Sherman, 209; early estimate 
of Sherman, 212; later confidence 
in Sherman, 216; views of recon- 
struction, 218, 222, 223 ; instructions 
to Sherman, 218, 219; message to 
Gov. Vance, 219; compensation 
for slavery, 223 ; wish for Jefferson 
Davis's escape, 224 ; fears regarding 
the South, 224, 225 ; instructions to 
Gen. Weitzel, 225, 226; relations 
with Curtin, 232 ; Curtin in coun- 
cils of, 239; Curtin appeals to, for 
exchange of prisoners, 241 ; offers 
first-class foreign mission to Curtin, 
244; approved Altoona Conference, 
note, 25 1 ; contrasted with Stevens, 
255 ; methods in contrast with 
Stevens', 257, 258, 262, 263 ; early 
policy identical with Buchanan's, 
273, 280, 286; early hostility of 
Greeley to, 288; Greeley's support 
of, 290; subsequent estrangement 
of Greeley, 290, 291 ; embarrassed 
by Greeley, 291, 292; Greeley op- 
poses renomination of, 296; Wade 
and Davis's arraignment of, 297 ; 
share in Greeley-Jewett negotiations, 
298; Greeley's later relations to, 
299; dissatisfied with Meade after 
Gettysburg, 331, 332. 

LINCOLN, Mrs. Disinclined to the se- 
cret journey of the President-elect, 
45 ; passes through Baltimore, 48. 

LOGAN, Daniel Account of, 314; 
capture of Cook, 315 ; to allow Cook 
to escape, 317-319. 

LOGAN, Hugh Account of, 314; in 
Chambersburg with Stuart's cavalry, 
372 ; makes a bold promise, 376. 

LOGAN, John A. Political services in 
1864, 83; sent to relieve Thomas at 
Nashville, 339. 

McCALL, Geo. A. Given command 
of Pa. Reserves, 393 ; ordered to 
hold Fredericksburg, 1862, 396; 
skillful conduct at Games' Mills, 
398; at Savage Station, 401, 402; 

captured, 402; exchanged and re- 
signs, 404. 

MCCANDLESS, Wm. Wounded at the 
Wilderness, 418. 

McCAUSLAND, General Threatens 
Chambersburg, 387 ; seizes and 
burns the town, 388, 389. 

MCCLELLAN, George B. Called to 
the command, 61, 195 ; Burnside on 
his tardiness, 62 ; candidature in 
1864, 8 1 ; could have defeated Lin- 
coln, 112; Stanton's relations to, as 
Secretary of War, 151, 152; Stan- 
ton's relations to, 155-167; petulant 
message to Stanton, 168; in com- 
mand of the defenses of Washing- 
ton, 169, 170, 203; antagonizes 
Grant, 176; as a military com- 
mander, 192; explanations of fail- 
ure, 193, 194; offered command of 
Pa. troops, 194, 393; accepts com- 
mand of Ohio Volunteers, 195 ; be- 
lieves himself victim of a conspir- 
acy, 196-198; compared with Lee 
and Grant, 200 ; affection of his sol- 
diers for, 201 ; Lincoln's trust in, 
201, 202 ; caustic political criticism, 
202; personal feeling toward Lin- 
coln, 202, 203; Lincoln's treatment 
of, 203, 204; contemplates a dicta- 
torship, 205-207; candidate for 
President, 207, 208 ; Lincoln's view 
of consequences of election of, 208 ; 
Stevens' hatred of, 260; information 
of Lee's movements before Antie- 
tam, 366; orders McClure to ob- 
struct Lee's advance, 367 ; after 
Antietam, 409; Fredericksburg re- 
port, 400. 

McCLURE, Alexander K. With Cur- 
tin at Chicago, 1860, 27; calls on 
Weed in Chicago, 35; discourage- 
ments in Pa. campaign in 1860, 35, 
36 ; calls on Seward, 36 ; first visit 
to Lincoln, 38; meets Davis and 
Swett at Republican headquarters, 
39; visits Lincoln at Springfield, 
1861, 41 ; the interview, 42, 140, 
141; meeting at Harrisburg, 43; 
conference at the White House, 57, 
58 ; on Lincoln's characteristics, 67, 
68 ; organizes draft in Pa., 7 1 ; efforts 
to muster conscripts, 84 ; interview 
with Lincoln, 84, 85; Lincoln's so- 
lution, 85, 86; talks with Lincoln 



on Emancipation Proclamation, 100- 
102 ; instructions for, in letter to La- 
mon, no; delegate-at-large from 
Pa., ill ; interview with Lincoln 
political prospects, 1864, 113, 114; 
Johnson's nomination, interview with 
Lincoln, 115, 116; Chase's candi- 
dature, Lincoln on, 121-123; Lin- 
coln's letter removing Cameron from 
War Department shown to, 150; es- 
timate of Cameron, 152154; appeals 
to Lincoln on behalf of Jere McKib- 
ben, 163-166; interview with Stan- 
ton, 164-166; finds Stanton gracious, 
1 66, 167 ; belief in Grant's failure at 
Shiloh, 178, 179; asked by Lincoln 
to co-operate with Republican State 
Committee in Pa. in 1864, 184; in- 
terview with Lincoln regarding the 
soldier vote in 1864, 186, 187; testi- 
fies to Grant's fidelity to Lincoln, 
188; meeting with Grant in Phila., 
189; anecdote of Lincoln and Sher- 
man, 217; tribute to Curtin, 229; 
seeks to promote Curtin's retirement, 
243, 244 ; relations to Stevens, 269 ; 
in Cincinnati Convention, 1872, 300; 
attitude in regard to Greeley's nomi- 
nation, 300, 301 ; supports Charles 
Frances Adams, 302 ; disappointed 
with Greeley's nomination, 304; 
Greeley's last letter to, 305 ; draws 
Meriam's will, 308, 309; counsel 
for Captain Cook, 311-318; meet- 
ing with Cook, 318, 319 ; interviews 
in the jail, 319-322; first meeting 
with Gen. Meade, 331 ; with Gen. 
Thomas, 341 ; as a military com- 
mander, 1862, 366, 367 ; ordered 
by McClellan to obstruct Lee's ad- 
vance, 367 ; warns Capt. Palmer at 
Antietam, 368 ; plan to prevent Pal- 
mer's identification, 369; hears of 
Stuart's intended raid, 370; surren- 
der of Chambersburg demanded of, 
372; meets Gen. Hampton, 372; 
meets Hugh Logan, 372 ; arrest by 
Stuart ordered, 372, 373 ; experi- 
ence with a detachment of Stuart's 
cavalry, 373-375 ; identity of his 
Confederate guests, 375, 376 ; how 
advised of Lee's invasion, 1863, 
377 ; arrest of, again ordered, 378 ; 
fails to obtain Christian burial for a 
Confederate officer, 385, 386; house 

at Chambersburg burned by McCaus- 
land's cavalry, 388. 

MCDOWELL, Irwin Pa. Reserves in 
corps of, 395, 396. 

McKiBBEN, Jere Stanton's treatment 
of, 162-166. 

McLEAN, John Votes received in 
Chicago Convention, 33 ; reasons 
for Stevens' support of, 259. 

McVEAGH, Wayne Assists Republi- 
can State Committee in Pa. in 1864, 
184; bears Meade's report of Pick- 
ett's repulse to Gov. Curtin, 385. 

MEADE, George G. Furloughs Pa. 
soldiers in 1864, 187; an unre- 
warded hero, 327 ; military career 
of, 328; Gettysburg campaign, 328- 
330; contrasted with Grant, 330; 
characteristics of, 331 ; loss of the 
Lieutenant-Generalship, 331, 332; 
confidence and disappointment, 333, 
334 ; contrasted with Thomas, 334 ; 
given command of brigade, Pa. Re- 
serves, 393 ; at Dranesville, 394 ; 
wounded at Savage Station, 402 ; in 
command of Pa. Reserves, 406; 
with the Reserves at South Moun- 
tain, 407 ; at Antietam, 407, 408 ; 
back to his division, 409 ; in com- 
mand of Fifth corps, 410, 411; 
sword presented by Pa. Reserves, 


MEDILL, Joseph A Lincoln organ- 
izer, 78. 

MEREDITH, William M. Presses for 
exchange of prisoners, 241. 

MERIAM, Francis J. Makes his will, 
308, 309; escapes, 310. 

MILROY, Gen. Stampede into Pa., 


MORGAN, Edwin D. Supports Sew- 
ard at Chicago, 1860, 31 ; offered 
nomination for Vice-President, 34; 
remains at head of National Com- 
mittee, 35 ; declined to join Altoona 
Conference, note, 251. 

MORTON, Oliver P. Elected Gov- 
ernor of Ind., 83 ; hostility to Buell, 

NEW YORK HERALD Supports Lin- 
coln's re-election, 81. 

NEW YORK TRIBUNE Influence of, 
in 1860, 23 ; not in accord with 



Lincoln, 81; in campaign of 1860, 
289, 290; favors peaceable seces- 
sion, 291. 

NICCOLLS, Samuel J. At the burning 
of Mr. McClure's house, 388, 389. 

ORD, E. O. C. Given command bri- 
gade Pa. Reserves, 393 ; at Dranes- 
ville, 394 ; ordered to the Shenan- 
doah Valley, 396. 

O'RouRKE, Captain Testimonial of 
Pa. Reserves to, 410. 

PACKER, William F. Elected Gov- 
ernor of Pa., 1857, 26. 

PALMER, Capt. W. J. Serves as a 
scout in Maryland in 1862, 366; 
continues to enter Lee's lines in 
Va., 368; arrested, but escapes 
identification, 368, 369. 

PARKER, John B. On Gov. Curtin's 
staff, 237. 

PATTERSON, Robert Asks for more 
soldiers, note, 234; his army at 
Chambersburg, 364. 

PENNSYLVANIA Campaign of 1860, 
36-40; defence of, 57, 58; draft in, 
71 ; opposition in Schuylkill county, 
72, 73; Lincoln on politics in, 76, 
77; State draft of 1862, 83, 84; 
doubtful in, 1864, 114; law regu- 
lating elections in the army, 162; 
Republican party beaten in October 
elections, 1864, 183 ; Lincoln's so- 
licitude in regard to result in, in 
Nov., 185, 186; the soldier vote, 
186, 187. 

tin's call, 233 ; Gen. Patterson's let- 
ter, note, 234 ; their acceptance re- 
fused, 235 ; the command author- 
ized, 236 ; begin active service, 237, 
238 ; organization of, 392 ; com- 
mand given to Gen. McCall, 393; 
at Dranesville, 394; with McDow- 
ell's corps, 394; on the right of 
McClellan's army, 397 ; in the bat- 
tle of Games' Mills, 397-399; at 
Savage Station, 400; in the battle, 
401-403 ; losses before Richmond, 
403 ; Reynolds succeeds McCall, 
404 ; join Pope at Warrenton Junc- 
tion, 404, 405 ; at the second battle 
of Manassas, 405, 406; Meade in 
command, 406; at the battle of 

South Mountain, 407 ; at Antietam, 
407, 408; at Fredericksburg, 409, 
410; effort to withdraw for reorgan- 
ization, 411 ; Gen. Crawford in com- 
mand of, 411, 412 ; march into Md. 
and Pa., 412, 413; at Gettysburg, 
413, 414; again in Va., 415 ; brisk 
action at Bristoe Station, 416; at the 
battle of the Wilderness, 417, 418; 
continued fighting, 419-421 ; ser- 
vices ended, 421 ; Gen. Crawford's 
farewell, 421, 422; their return 
home, 422 ; tribute to, 423, 424. 

PINKERTON, Allan Convinced of 
Lincoln's danger, 43. 

POMEROY, Stephen W. Sender of the 
mysterious Kimmell message, 381 ; 
letter telling the history of, 382- 


POPE, John Given command of Army 
of Virginia, 169; military incompe- 
tency of, 345 ; prefers charges against 
Fitz John Porter, 346; falls back 
from the Rapidan, 405. 

PORTER, David D. Grant's magna- 
nimity toward, 130; testimony to 
Lincoln's instructions to Sherman, 

PORTER, Fitz John Lincoln and 
Stanton on judgment against, 171 ; 
an unrewarded hero, 327 ; military 
injustice to, 343, 344; antebellum 
and early war record, 344, 345 ; 
alleged disobedience of Pope's 
orders, 345 ; services at Antietam, 
345, 346; Pope's charges, 346; 
fruitless efforts to obtain justice, 346, 
347 ; censure removed, 347 ; Gen. 
Terry's generous conduct toward, 
348; career since the war, 348, 


POTTS, Joseph E. On Gov. Curtin's 
staff, 237. 

RAYMOND, Henry J. In Lincoln's 
confidence in 1864, 109. 

READ, John M. Vote received in 
Chicago Convention, 33. 

REEDER, Andrew H. For Cameron 
for President, 1860, 29; vote re- 
ceived for Vice-President in Chicago 
Convention, 33. 

21, 22; in Pa. in 1860, 25, 26; in 
Ind., 1860, 26; campaign in Pa., 



1860, 36; discord in, 52; leaders 
distracted in 1864, 105. 

REYNOLDS, John F. Sent to organ- 
ize emergency-men, 1862, 367; at 
Gettysburg, 384; given command 
of brigade Pa. Reserves, 393 ; at 
Dranesville, 394 ; captured, 399 ; 
exchanged and in command of Pa. 
Reserves, 404 ; at the second battle 
of Manassas, 405, 406 ; relieved and 
ordered to Harrisburg, 406; with 
First army corps, 409. 

RICE, Perry A. One of Stuart's Pa. 
prisoners, 372 ; death in Libby 
Prison, 376. 

ROBERTS, R. Biddle On Gov. Cur- 
tin's staff, 237, 409. 

ROSECRANS, William S. Succeeds 
Buell in Tennessee, 358. 

SANDERS, George N. As a peace- 
maker, 297. 

SANDERSON, John P. Represented 
Cameron at Chicago, 1860, 139; 
confers with Lincoln at Springfield, 

143, 144- 

SCHOFIELD, John M. Joins Thomas 
at Nashville, 337 ; order to relieve 
Thomas, 338; reviews judgment 
against Fitz John Porter, 347. 

SCOTT, Thomas A. Dines with Lin- 
coln, 44 ; arranges for Lincoln's 
journey to Washington, 45, 46; 
Lincoln's letter removing Cameron 
from War Department shown to, 
150; believed Gen. Sherman a lu- 
natic, 212; on Gov. Curtin's staff, 


SCOTT, Winfield Warns Lincoln, 43 ; 
estimate of, in 1861, 57, 58; on the 
military situation, 59, 60 ; in his 
dotage, 61 ; Lincoln's visit to, at 
West Point, 168; urges Buchanan 
to reinforce Southern forts, 278, 279. 

SEIDERS, John A. Reports Rhodes' 
movement from Carlisle toward Get- 
tysburg, 380. 

SEWARD, William H. Before Chi- 
cago, 1 860, 22 ; why opposed by 
Curtin and Lane, 27, 28; earnest- 
ness of the contest, 31 ; indifference 
of, in campaign of 1 860, 35 ; warns 
Lincoln, 43 ; meets the President- 
elect. 50 ; accepts and then declines 
office under Lincoln, 51, 52; disbe- 

lief in civil war, 52; favors a for- 
eign war, 53; favors Johnson for 
Vice- President, 1864, 109; favors 
Cameron for War portfolio, 145 ; 
Greeley's revolt against, 289. 
SEYMOUR, Horatio Nominated for 
President, 1868, 132. 

SEYMOUR, Truman At Savage Sta- 
tion, 403 ; at South Mountain, 407 ; 
at Antietam, 408. 

SHERIDAN, Philip H. Victories in 
1864, 112; furloughs Pa. soldiers 
in 1864, 187; appointment as Lieu- 
tenant-General, 331-333; accusa- 
tions against Warren at Five Forks, 
351 ; persistent injustice to Warren, 
352, 353- 

SHERMAN, John Support of Lincoln, 
54 ; visits Lincoln with Capt. Sher- 
man, note, 219; on Lincoln's views 
of the restoration of State govern- 
ments in the South, note, 220 ; urges 
acceptance of Pa. Reserves, 235. 

SHERMAN, William T. Furloughs 
soldiers to vote, 1864, 83; captures 
Atlanta, 112; first meeting with 
Lincoln, 209 ; declines clerkship in 
War Department and a Missouri 
brigadiership, 210; appointed col- 
onel Thirteenth regiment U. S. A., 
211; character of, 211, 212; Lin- 
coln's early estimate of, 212; re- 
garded as a lunatic, 212, 213; rea- 
sons for the assumption, 213, 233; 
conference with Cameron, 213, 214 ; 
military services of, 214-216; Lin- 
coln's later confidence in, 216; 
Johnston's surrender to, 216, 217; 
terms of, 218; Lincoln's views and 
instructions, 218, 219; John Sher- 
man's letter, note, 220 ; assassina- 
tion of Lincoln, 221; Stanton's 
violent rejection of Sherman's terms, 
222 ; Gorham's letter, note, 227. 

SICKLES, Daniel E. Mission to Ten- 
nessee, 1864, 107. 

SIMMONS, Col. Goes to relief of Col. 
Wallace, 237. 

SLAVERY Lincoln's early attitude to- 
ward, 28 ; position toward, as Presi- 
dent, 88 ; Emancipation, preliminary 
proclamation and letter to Greeley, 
89; destruction by Congressional 
action, 92 ; in the Border States, 
93> 94 > constitutional emancipation, 



98 ; constitutional amendment abol- 
ishing, 98, 99 ; Democratic votes for 
amendment, 99; amendment rati- 
fied, 100; compensation for eman- 
cipation, 114, 115; Lincoln's atti- 
tude on Cameron's and Fremont's 
actions, 147-149; compensated 
emancipation, 223. 

SMITH, C. F. Named by McClellan 
to succeed Grant, 176. 

SMITH, Caleb B. In Lincoln's Cabi- 
net, 52. 

SMITH, Captain Burns Mr. McClure's 
house at Chambersburg, 388. 

chanan's policy, 277, 278. 

STANTON, Edwin M. Nomination as 
Secretary of War, 68; orders the 
military to Schuylkill county, 72; 
orders superseded, 74; supports 
Chase for chief-justice, 128; con- 
sidered by Lincoln for chief-justice, 
1 29 ; reasons for appointment to 
War Department, 151, 152; cha- 
racter of, 155, 156; attitude toward 
Lincoln, 156-158, 197, 198; ser- 
vices in Buchanan's Cabinet, 156, 
157; virulent letters to Buchanan, 
J 57> !58; change of tone, 159; as 
Secretary of War, 159-162; tele- 
graphic facilities, note, 161 ; hatreds, 
162 ; treatment of Jere McKibben, 
162-166; hatred of McClellan, 167; 
hostility to McClellan's reinstate- 
ment, 169, 170; disobedience to 
Lincoln, 170; more resentments, 
170, 171; conflict with President 
Johnson, 172; in retirement, 172, 
173; McClellan's accusations, 197, 
198; on dictatorship, 206; violent 
rejection of Sherman's terms to 
Johnston, 222 ; Curtin's relations to, 
240; supports Gov. Curtin for re- 
election, 241 ; subsequent unfriend- 
liness, 241, 242; influence in Bu- 
chanan's Cabinet, 276; dissatisfac- 
tion with Thomas, 337 ; hatred of 
Buell, 355, 359, 360. 

STATES' RIGHTS Question of, 54. 

STEPHENS, Alex. H. Demands rec- 
ognition of the Confederacy at 
Hampton Roads Conference, 95. 

STEVENS, Thaddeus Supports Mc- 
Lean for President, 1 860, 29 ; closes 
debate on constitutional amendment 

abolishing slavery, 99; attitude to- 
ward Lincoln, 1864, 114; contrasted 
with Lincoln, 255 ; courageous for 
justice, 256; as the Commoner of 
the republic, 256, 257 ; methods In 
contrast with Lincoln's, 257, 258; 
abolition of slavery in District of 
Columbia, 258, 259; reasons for 
supporting McLean in 1860, 259; 
reluctant vote for Johnson for Vice- 
President at Baltimore, 259, 260; 
eagerness of, to enter Lincoln's Cab- 
inet, 260, 261 ; protests against 
Cameron's appointment, 261 ; pre- 
vious Cabinet disappointment, 261 ; 
conflicts with Lincoln, 262 ; hostile 
attitude toward Johnson, 263, 264; 
his disappointment over his own 
career, 264; love for his mother, 
265 ; the measures formulated by, 
265, 266 ; reconstruction policy, 
266-269 > as a lawyer, 270 ; death, 
271, 272; estimate of two com- 
manders, 367, 368. 

STUART, J. E. B. Raid into the 
Cumberland Valley, 370; arrest of 
civilians in Pa., 1862, 372. 

SUMNER, Charles Vote for in Chicago 
Convention, 33 ; distrusts Lincoln, 
54 ; supports Chase for chief-justice, 
127, 128; tribute to Stevens, 272. 

SUMNER, Col. Disappointment over 
Lincoln's departure from Harris- 
burg for Washington, 46. 

SWETT, Leonard Letter to Mr. 
Drummond, 23; supports Lincoln 
at Chicago, 1 860, 3 1 ; visits Pa. Re- 
publican headquarters, 39; on Lin- 
coln's characteristics, 66 ; a Lincoln 
organizer, 78; reluctant support of 
Johnson at Baltimore, 1864, no; at 
Cincinnati Convention, 1872, 302. 

TANEY, Roger B. Death of, 127. 
TAYLOR, Col. Killed at Gettysburg, 

4I3 414. 

TENNESSEE Represented in Repub- 
lican National Convention, 1864, 
1 08. 

TERRY, A. H. Reviews judgment in 
case of Fitz John Porter, 347 ; gen- 
erous conduct toward Porter, 348. 

THOMAS, George H. An unrewarded 
hero, 327 ; contrasted with Meade, 
334; military record of, 335, 336; 


his position at Nashville and im- 
pending removal, 337-339; Gen. 
Logan's mission, 339; battle of 
Nashville, 339, 340; vindicated by 
the result, 340, 341 ; characteristics 
of, 341, 342; refuses nomination as 
General by brevet, 342 ; career after 
the war, 342, 343 ; requests recall 
of order relieving Buell, 357, 358. 

THOMAS, Philip Succeeds Cobb in 
Buchanan' , Cabinet, 276. 

THOMSON, John Edgar Soldiers' or- 
phans schools, 247. 

TILDEN, Samuel J. Controls Demo- 
cratic National Convention, 1868, 

TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-Gen- 
eral Mission to Harrisburg, 73. 

TRUMBULL, Lyman Distrust of Lin- 
coln, 54; reports constitutional 
amendment abolishing slavery, 98. 

VIRGINIA Lincoln's instructions to 
Weitzel, 225 ; order revoked, 226. 

VOORHEES, Daniel W. Defends Cap- 
tain Cook, 325. 

WADE, Benjamin F. Votes received 
in Chicago Convention, 33 ; distrusts 
Lincoln, 54; in opposition to Lin- 
coln, 1864, 105, 126, 297, 299. 

WAR FOR THE UNION In 1864, 105 ; 
military and political situation, 112; 
declared a failure by Democratic 
National Convention, 208; Gree- 
ley's war issues, 293, 294. 

WARREN, G. K. An unrewarded 
hero, 327 ; military career of, 349- 
351 ; Sheridan's allegations at Five 
Forks, 351 ; ineffectual efforts to se- 
cure justice, 352, 353; death, 353. 

WASHBURNE, Elihu B. Meets Lin- 
coln on his arrival in Washington, 
50; justifies Grant's conduct at Shi- 
loh, 178. 

WASHINGTON Threatened, 59; Mc- 
Clellan in command of defenses of, 
169, 170. 

WEED, Thurlow Greeley's relations 
toward, 1860, 24; seeks to control 
Lane, note, 25 ; Seward leader at 
Chicago, 31 ; displeasure over Lin- 
coln's nomination, 34-36; favors 
Johnson for Vice-President, 1864, 
109; favors Cameron for War port- 
folio, 145 ; relations to Seward and 
Greeley, 290. 

WELLES, Gideon In Lincoln's Cab- 
inet, 52 ; on Lincoln's policy of re- 
construction, 224-226. 

WEITZEL, Godfrey Lincoln's order 
regarding Virginia Legislature, 225 ; 
order revoked, 226. 

WHITEHEAD, Thomas W. Mr. Mc- 
Clure's two meetings with, 376. 

WILLARD, Governor Captain Cook's 
brother-in-law, 317; efforts in Cook's 
behalf, 325. 

WILMOT, David Republican candi- 
date for Governor of Pa., 26 ; sup- 
ports Lincoln at Chicago, 1860, 29. 

WILSON, James F. Offers amend- 
ment to the Constitution abolishing 
slavery, 98. 

WILSON, William W. Services as a 
military telegrapher, 366. 

WISE, Henry A. Offers reward for 
Cook's arrest, 312; insists on Cook's 
execution, 325. 

WOOD, General Incredulity regard- 
ing .Stuart's raid, 1862, 370, 371. 

WOODWARD, George W. Opposes 
Curtin for Governor of Pa., 1863, 

WRIGHT, John A. On Gov. Curtin's 
staff, 237. 

YATES, Richard Appoints Grant col- 
onel Twenty first Illinois Volun- 
teers, 175; hostility to Buell, 357.