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Tspsfield Town Liibrary 


Article i. The Library and Reading Room will be 
open every Wednesday and Saturday evening from 7 
until q o'clock, and every Saturday afternoon from 2 until 
4.30 o'clock. 

Art. 2. All Residents of Topsfield, above the age 
of 12 years, shall have the right to take books from the 

Art. 3. No person shall be allowed more than two 
volumes at any one time ; and no book shall be kept out 
of the Library more than fourteen days, while the time 
may be limited to seven days when the book is in great 

Art. 4. Any person retaining a book longer than the 
specified time, shall incur a fine of five cents for every 
week it is so retained. 

Art. 5 All injuries to books, and all losses, shall 
be made good by the person responsible for the book. 

Art. 6. All books shall be returned to the Library 
for examination ten days before the Annual Town 
Meeting, under penalty of a fine of fifty cents. 

Art. 7. No person owing a fine or forfeiture shall 
receive books from the Library until the same is paid. 



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The Army at Harrison's Landing. — McClellan's Demands. 
Correspondence with Stanton 


McClellan's Harrison's Landing Letter, instructing the Presi- 
dent and Congress as to their Civil Duties. — A Bid for the 
Presidency, so framed as to satisfy the Anti-War Party. — 
Fitz John Porter's Confirmatory Statement of this in After 
Years 5 


Operations in Northern Virginia. — Defense of the Capital. — 
Rebel Operations in the Shenandoah Valley. — Pope's Com- 
mand. — He corresponds with McClellan. — The Latter de- 
mands 100,000 more Men 11 

Halleck made General-in-Chief. — He visits McClellan. — 
Perilous Situation of the Capital and of the Army under 
Pope. — McClellan ordered to withdraw his Army from the 
James River and unite it with the Army in Northern Vir- 
ginia. — The Order ignored for Eleven Days 14 



McClellan's Private Letters. — His Fears that he will be super- 
seded. — His Denunciations of Pope. — Predicts his Defeat, 
and his own Triumph as the Result 22 


McClellan at Alexandria. — His Insubordination and With- 
holding of Troops. — Only One Fifth of his Army succors 
Pope. — Consequent Loss of the Second Battle of Bull Run 
and of the Campaign 29 


Alarm at Washington. — McClellan's Removal advocated by a 
Majority of the Cabinet 36 


President Lincoln's Opinion of McClellan's Conduct. — He 
nevertheless continues him in Command under Compulsion. 
— The Reasons which governed him. — Stormy Cabinet 
Meeting. — Stanton refuses to issue the Order placing Mc- 
Clellan in Command 42 


Lee's Invasion of Maryland. — McClellan sent into the Field 
by the President. — Discovery of Lee's Plans. — Failure to 
act upon the Knowledge. — Battle of Antietam. — The 
Entire Enemy engaged against a Portion only of the Union 
Forces. — Porter not in the Action. — McClellan treats it as 
a Drawn Battle until after Lee's Escape into Virginia ... 49 


McClellan refuses to follow the Enemy. — His Varied Excuses 
shown to be without Foundation. — The President's Orders 
disobeyed. — Unable to overcome McClellan's Insubordina- 
tion, he removes him from Command. — McClellan's State- 
ment that he was urged to revolt and march against Wash- 
ington 58 




The Political Campaign of 1862. — Emancipation an Issue. — 
Schemes of the Peace Party as disclosed by its Leaders to 
the British Minister at "Washington. — They favored an 
Armistice, with Peace or Disunion. — Union Losses at the 
Polls 75 


Emancipation Proclamation. — Mr. Stanton on its Advantages 86 


Military Movements in the West. — Perry ville, Murfreesboro. 

— The Fall of Vicksburg 91 


Military Movements in the East. — Burnside and Hooker. — 
Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. — Lee's Invasion of 
Maryland and Pennsylvania. — Conference between Presi- 
dent Lincoln and Secretary Stanton on the Eve of the Battle 
of Gettysburg results in relieving Hooker, and the Appoint- 
ment of Meade to Command. — The Great Victory. — 
Meade's Failure to pursue Lee. — Mr. Lincoln at Gettys- 
burg. — His Speech at the Dedication of the National Cem- 
etery 95 


The New York Draft-Riots. — Unwise Provisions in Conscrip- 
tion Act utilized by the Anti-War Faction. — Active Mea- 
sures restored Order. — Mr. Stanton's Letter against sub- 
mitting the Constitutionality of the Law to the State Tribunal. 

— If States can obstruct Federal Laws, the Rebellion is 
consummated 104 



Suspension of the "Writ of Habeas Corpus. — Mr. Stanton's 
Letter and the Proclamation of the President. — The Rea- 
son for the Constitutional Provision on the Subject . . . 114 


The Elections of 1863. — Union Successes. — Attitude of the 
Opposition considered. — Many of its Leaders Conspirators. 

— Its Majority attached to the Union 118 


The War in the West. — The Disaster at Chickamauga. — 
Stanton's Plan for reinforcing Rosecrans, by which 23,000 
Troops were transported from Virginia to Chattanooga, 
Twelve Hundred Miles, in Seven Days 121 


Stanton meets General Grant at Louisville, Kentucky. — Grant 
placed in Command of the Armies of the Ohio, the Cumber- 
land, and the Tennessee, with Headquarters at Chattanooga. 

— Rout of Bragg's Army. — Grant on the Result. — Stan- 
ton's Summary of the Year's Operations. — Grant made 
Lieutenant-General with Headquarters in the East. — Sher- 
man succeeds him in the West 131 



The Presidential Campaign of 1864. — Its Vital Importance. 
— Lincoln and McClellan. — The Latter for the Union by 
Compromise and Conciliation. — Also for the War on a 
Peace Platform, and a Cessation of Hostilities for Peace 
Negotiations. — Machinations of the Copperheads. — Confer- 
ences between their Representative Men and the Rebel Emis- 
saries in Canada as reported to Mason and Slidell by Jacob 


Thompson. — Plots for a " Western Confederacy " which 
would dictate Terms to the United States 140 


A Voluntary Peace Commissioner. — Hon. Jeremiah S. Black 
visits the Rebel Commissioners, Thompson and Clay, in 
Canada. — His Correspondence with Mr. Stanton on the 
Subject 148 


The Presidential Election. — Stanton's Precautions against 
Rebel Raids from Canada, and the Colonization of Voters. — 
His Order to Department Commanders. — General Grant 
cooperates with him. — General Butler in Command in New 
York City. — Voting by Soldiers in the Field. — Reelection 
of Lincoln. — His Comments on the Result 154 


The Last Year of the War. — Sherman's March to the Sea. — 
Grant's Campaign against Lee's Army. — Early's Raid on 
Washington. — Sheridan's Brilliant Operations in the Shen- 
andoah Valley. — The Spring Campaign. — The Surrender 
of Lee's Army 162 


Flight of Jefferson Davis. — The Assassination of President 
Lincoln. — Accession of Andrew Johnson to the Presidency 168 

Jefferson Davis sues for Peace. — His Secretary of War con- 
ducts Negotiations with General Sherman, and presents 
Propositions approved by Davis. — Sherman's Substitute 
concedes more than was asked. — Terms agreed on Subject 
to Formal Approval of President Johnson and Jefferson 
Davis. — Sherman's Announcement to the Army .... 170 


The Sherman-Johnston Terms continued. — Disapproved by the 
President and his Cabinet and General Grant. — Stanton's 


Nine Reasons. — Comments by Senators Sherman, Trumbull, 
Fessenden, and Collamer, and George Bancroft. — Sher- 
man's Meeting with Secretary Stanton on the Reviewing- 
Stand at Washington 181 


National Rejoicings tempered by the Death of President Lin- 
coln. — Pursuit of the Assassins. — Death of Booth, their 
Leader. — Arrest, Trial, Conviction, and Execution of Sen- 
tences on the Others. — President Johnson overruled a 
Recommendation of Mercy for Mrs. Surratt 200 

Jefferson Davis. — The Causes of his Detention. — His Indict- 
ment in Virginia on the Charge of Treason. — His Trial 
prevented by Continued Military Rule. — His Release . . 207 


Final Surrender of Remaining Rebel Forces. — Rapid Muster- 
ing out of the Union Troops. — Stanton's Annual Report. — 
His Review of the War, and of the Operations of the War 
Department. — A Tribute to Stanton 212 




Attitude of the Belligerents after the War. — Questions as to 
the Status of the Rebel States and People 224 


Reconstruction. — Mr. Lincoln's Views on the Subject during 
the War and immediately after Lee's Surrender .... 233 


Stanton on Reconstruction. — His Draft of a Mode read in 
Cabinet Meeting on the Last Day of Mr. Lincoln's Life. — 


President Lincoln forbids the Assembling of the Rebel 
Legislature of Virginia after Lee's Surrender. — President 
Johnson's Order to Military Commanders to prevent the 
Exercise of Authority by any of the Rebel State Govern- 
ments 241 


President Johnson's Plan of Reconstruction. — His Declara- 
tions that the Governments to be organized under it would 
be Provisional only until approved by Congress 246 


Proceedings of the Southern State Conventions called under 
the President's Proclamation. — The President's Demands 
on those Conventions. — His Letter to Sharkey, of Missis- 
sippi, discloses a Change of Purpose. — He designates Union 
" Radicals " as the " Adversary " 256 


Results of the Johnson Policy. — Ex-Rebels in Control of the 
Conventions and Legislatures. — They act without Pressure 
from Northern Radicalism. — Unfriendly Legislation con- 
cerning the Freedmen 269 


The Conflict between Congress and the President. — The Latter 
demands the Admission of Senators and Representatives 
from the Late Confederate States before the Establishment 
therein of Lawful State Governments. — Claims Recognition 
of the Provisional Governments established by himself under 
Military Rule, Regardless of the Action of Congress . . . 276 


The President continues Military Rule in the States which he 
declares to be restored to all their Original Rights. — Treats 
them as still in Rebellion by refusing to annul the Suspen- 
sion of the Writ of Habeas Corpus. — Veto of the Freed- 
men's Bureau Bill. — His Assault upon Congress. — His 
Mob Speech at the White House. — Denounces Congres- 


sional Leaders by Name. — Congress declares the Ineligi- 
bility at that Time of Southern States to Representation . 285 


Trumbull's Civil Rights Bill a Peace Offering. — Supposed by 
him to be Satisfactory to the President. — Its Passage and 
Veto. — Passed over the Veto 293 

Divisions in the Cabinet. — A Johnson Party formed. — A 
Serenade to force Expression from Stanton which might 
give the President Excuse to remove him. — Stanton's 
Speech. — He remains in the Cabinet the only Opponent of 
the "Johnson Policy" 300 



A Riot in New Orleans. — Its Causes and its Leaders. — A 
Massacre by Supporters of the President. — Report of Gen- 
eral Sheridan 312 


Further concerning the New Orleans Riot. — Statement by 
Mr. Stanton. — The Underlying Cause of the Tragedy. — 
Commencement of the War to prevent Negro Enfranchise- 
ment 323 


The Congressional Campaign of 1866. — " Swinging around 
the Circle." — The President's Disorderly and Inflammatory 
Speeches from the Stump. — Increased Radical Majorities 
elected to Congress. — Tennessee restored to Representation 
upon ratifying the Fourteenth Amendment 329 



Importance of the War Department in the Great Struggle. — 
Stanton's Attitude as an Obstacle to the Reactionists. — 
They loudly demand his Resignation. — His Reasons for 
remaining in the War Office 337 


A Review of the Work of Congress. — The Fourteenth Amend- 
ment submitted to the States. — Its Terms. — Its Adoption 
would have ended the Long Controversy. — Moderation of 
the Majority in Congress up to the Time of Rejection. — 
The Military Reconstruction Act passed over the Veto. — 
Precautionary Measures by Congress 341 


The New Congress. — Supplementary Reconstruction Act. — 
Conflicting Constructions of the Law. — The President and 
his Attorney-General antagonized by Secretary Stanton and 
the Military Commanders 352 


Mr. Stanton and the Attorney-General. — Cabinet Proceedings 360 


Supplementary Reconstruction Act. — Original Draft made by 
Mr. Stanton. — It left no Room for Misconstruction. — 
Grant's Support of it 372 


General Grant's Conviction led him to Unqualified Support of 
the Policy of Congress. — His Correspondence with District 
Commanders. — His Latest Utterances on the Subject . . 376 


A Long Recess of Congress. — Tenure of Office Bill opposed 
by Stanton. — A Makeshift to avoid Impeachment. — Terms 
of the Military Reconstruction Act. — Repressive Policy dis- 
cussed. — Home Rule long since restored 383 





General Grant's Warning to President Johnson. — Stanton's 
Refusal to resign from the Cabinet at the President's Re- 
quest brings upon him Severe Criticisms and also Strong 
Indorsements 393 


Stanton suspended by the President. — Grant accepts Appoint- 
ment of Secretary of War ad interim. — Letters sustain- 
ing Stanton 405 


Mr. Stanton in New England. — Much depressed. — " One 
Interview with General Grant " would do much to set him 
Right. — A Letter to Professor Draper 409 


The Meeting of Congress. — The President informs the Sen- 
ate of Stanton's Suspension, and assigns Reasons therefor. — 
Stanton's Reply. — The Senate reinstates him in the War 
Office. — Stanton on the Suspension of Exchange of Prisoners 413 


Stanton again in the War Office. — Misunderstandings between 
him and General Grant. — Their Causes. — Controversy 
between Grant and the President. — President decides to 
remove Stanton 428 


President's Order removing Stanton and appointing a Secre- 
tary ad interim. — Stanton resists the Order and notifies 
the Two Houses of Congress. — The Senate on the Same 


Day sustains Stanton. — Stanton remains in Continuous Per- 
sonal Possession of the Department Night and Day for Sev- 
eral Weeks. — General Grant details a Military Guard to 
protect the Building and the Public Archives from Rumored 
Ruffianism. — The House votes to impeach the President . 438 

The Articles of Impeachment. — The Impeachment Trial in the 
Senate. — Outside Influences brought to bear on Senators. — 
General Schofield's Statement of what he learned on this 
Head from one of the President's Counsel. — The Vote in 
the Senate. — One Less than the Two Thirds necessary to 
convict. — A Tainted Verdict. — Mr. Stanton relinquishes 
the War Department. — The Impeachment Trial forced 
President Johnson to abandon his Rebellious Attitude . . 446 


The Duties of the Secretary of War. — Conflicts with the Gen- 
eraFof the Army. — Differences between Stanton and Grant. 
— Stanton's Views finally accepted by Grant. — General 
Schofield also adopted them when General-in-Chief . . . 458 


Mr. Stanton in Retirement. — Thanks of Congress. — Mr. 
Dana's Eloquent Tribute. — Speeches for Grant. — Practic- 
ing his Profession. — His Financial Condition. — President 
Grant's Friendly Attitude. — Stanton's Last Illness. — His 
Appointment as Justice of the Supreme Court. — The Plea- 
sure it gave him. — His Death 465 

Honors to Stanton's Memory. — President Grant's Announce- 
ment of his Death. — Order of War Department. — Action 
of Senators and Representatives. — Funeral Obsequies . . 476 


President Grant's Letter to Mrs. Stanton. — Proceedings in 
the Supreme Court of the United States in Relation to the 


Death of Mr. Stanton. — Eulogy by the Attorney-General. 

— Resolutions of the Bar. — Remarks of the Chief Justice . 479 

Conclusion 487 

Index 491 



Edwin M. Stanton. From a photograph by Brady in the Li- 
brary of the State Department at Washington Frontispiece 

Facsimile of Cabinet recommendation of General McClellan's 
removal, August, 1862 facing 40 

Facsimile of notes by Mr. Stanton of Cabinet Meeting on Eman- 
cipation, July 22, 1862 facing 78 

Map showing railroad route over which 23,000 troops were 
transported from Virginia to Tennessee in seven days facing 120 

Map to illustrate the Chattanooga campaign . . . facing 130 

Facsimile of letter from General Grant to Mr. Stanton, April 
21, 1865 facing 184 

Facsimile of letter from General W. T. Sherman to Mr. Stan- 
ton, April 25, 1865 facing 190 

Facsimile of part of letter from Senator John Sherman to Mr. 
Stanton, April 27, 1865 facing 196 

Facsimile of letter from Mr. Stanton to Senator John Conness, 
February 21, 1868 facing 440 

Facsimile of part of letter from Roscoe Conkling to Mr. Stan- 
ton, September 6, 1869 facing 468 

Facsimile of part of letter from Justice Grier to Mr. Stanton, 
October 13, 1864 facing 470 

Facsimile of letter from President Grant to Mrs. Stanton, 
January 3, 1870 facing 478 

Tablet placed on the house in which Mr. Stanton was born, 
Steubenville, Ohio, by the school-children of Jefferson 
County facing 490 





The Army at Harrison's Landing. — McClellan's Demands. — Cor- 
respondence with Stanton. 

July 1, 1862, Stanton telegraphed McClellan infor- 
mation that 5000 troops from McDowell's corps had 
been sent him and had reached Fort Monroe. 

On the same day McClellan telegraphed to Washing- 
ton that with 50,000 more men he would " retrieve our 
fortunes." He said more would be well, but that he 
thought with that number he could assume the offen- 
sive. The President replied to him that his demand 
was simply absurd, for the reason that he had already 
furnished him with all the available forces not needed 
for the protection of Washington, upon McClellan's 
own estimate of the number necessary for that purpose. 
Generals Hunter in South Carolina and Burnside in 
North Carolina were peremptorily ordered to send him 

vol. n 


July 3 McClellan telegraphed to the Secretary of 
War that to " accomplish the great task of capturing 
Richmond, and putting an end to this rebellion, rein- 
forcements should be sent rather much over than much 
less than one hundred thousand men." * 

He might as well have asked for a million, as he well 

General McClellan sent his chief of staff, General 
Marcy, to Washington to represent the condition of 
the army. Marcy telegraphed to McClellan on the 4th 
of July : — 

The President and Secretary of War speak very kindly of 
you and find no fault. 

July 5 Mr. Stanton telegraphed McClellan as fol- 
lows : — 

I have nominated for promotion General Sumner, as 
brevet major-general of the regular service, and major-general 
of volunteers ; Generals Heintzelman, Keyes, and Porter, as 
brevet brigadiers in the regular service, and major-generals 
of volunteers. The gallantry of every officer and man in 
your noble army shall be suitably acknowledged. 

General Marcy is here. He will take you cheering news. 
Be assured that you shall have the support of this depart- 
ment and the government as cordially and as faithfully as 
was ever rendered by man to man, and, if we ever live to see 
each other face to face, you will be satisfied that you have 
never had from me anything but the most confiding integ- 

1 But to his wife he wrote on the next day, July 4 : "I am ready for 
an attack now ; give me twenty-four hours even, and I will defy all se- 


On the same day Mr. Stanton addressed the follow- 
ing note to General Marcy : — 

I have to hasten to the country on account of the illness of 
one of my children, and must therefore forego the pleasure 
of your company. I leave a brief note for the general, hav- 
ing intended to write him at large ; but you can explain to 
him much that I would say. 

The following is the note to General McClellan, re- 
ferred to in the foregoing : — 

I have had a talk with General Marcy, and meant to have 
written you by him, but am called away to the country, where 
Mrs. Stanton is with her children, to see one of them die. 1 
I can therefore only say, my dear general, in this brief mo- 
ment, that there is no cause in my heart or conduct for the 
cloud that wicked men have raised between us for their own 
base and selfish purposes. No man ever had a truer friend 
than I have been to you, and shall continue to be. You are 
seldom absent from my thoughts, and I am ready to make 
any sacrifice to aid you. Time allows me to say no more 
than that I pray Almighty God to deliver you and your army 
from all peril, and lead you on to victory. 

To this General McClellan made a reply, July 8, evi- 
dently intended for posterity rather than for the person 
to whom it was addressed, for in it he repeated the oft- 
refuted charge that a large portion of his forces had 
been withheld from him after the commencement of his 
campaign, and complained that Mr. Stanton had given 
his concurrence to this action. He professed, however, 
to accept Mr. Stanton's assurances of friendship, and 
said he should resume the cordial confidence of the 
past. His words were as follows : — 

1 This was their infant son James. He died five days later. 


It is with a feeling of great relief that I now say to you 
that I shall at once resume on my part the same cordial con- 
fidence which once characterized our intercourse. 

And again : — 

I have been perfectly frank with you. Let no cloud here- 
after arise between us. 

Concerning this correspondence he wrote his wife on 
the 12th : — 

I inclose with this a letter from Stanton and my reply, 
which I want you to preserve very carefully with my other 
" archives,'' as it may be important. 

Having thus secured the safe-keeping of the letter 
to Stanton, which was intended for future publication, 
he wrote on the very next day to his wife what his real 
feelings were towards him. He said : — 

So you want to know how I feel about Stanton, and what 
I think of him now. I will tell you with the most perfect 
frankness. I think ... I may do the man injustice. God 
grant that I may be wrong. For I hate to think that human- 
ity can sink so low. But my opinion is just as I have told 

What he had told her is suppressed by the editor 
of his book, who seemed to think it unfit to print. 
The omission occurs just as represented in the above 
quotation. He concluded with the words : " Enough 
of the creature ! " It was thus that he resumed " the 
same cordial confidence " which once characterized his 
intercourse with Stanton. 


McClellan's Harrison's Landing Letter, instructing the President and 
Congress as to their Civil Duties. — A Bid for the Presidency, so 
framed as to satisfy the Anti-War Party. — Fitz John Porter's 
Confirmatory Statement of this in After Years. 

On the 8th of July, President Lincoln being on a 
visit to Harrison's Landing to look at matters for him- 
self, General McClellan delivered into his hands the 
following political letter. He read it in the general's 
presence, but uttered no word in reply, except " Thank 
you." 1 

Mr. President, — You have been fully informed that the 
rebel army is in the front, with the purpose of overwhelming 
us by attacking our positions or reducing us by blockading 
our river communications. I cannot but regard our condition 
as critical, and I earnestly desire, in view of possible con- 
tingencies, to lay before your Excellency, for your private 
consideration, my general views concerning the existing state 
of the rebellion, although they do not strictly relate to the 
situation of this army, or strictly come within the scope of my 
official duties. These views amount to convictions, and are 
deeply impressed upon my mind and heart. Our cause must 
never be abandoned ; it is the cause of free institutions and 
self-government. The Constitution and Union must be pre- 
served, whatever may be the cost in time, treasure, and blood. 
If secession is successful, other dissolutions are clearly to 
be seen in the future. Let neither military disaster, political 
1 Own Story, page 487. 


faction, nor foreign war shake your settled purpose to enforce 
the equal operation of the laws of the United States upon the 
people of every State. 

The time has come when the government must determine 
upon a civil and military policy covering the whole ground of 
our national trouble. 

The responsibility of determining, declaring, and support- 
ing such civil and military policy, and of directing the whole 
course of national affairs in regard to the rebellion, must now 
be assumed and exercised by you, or our cause will be lost. 
The Constitution gives you power sufficient even for the 
present terrible exigency. 

This rebellion has assumed the character of war ; as such 
it should be regarded, and it should be conducted upon the 
highest principles known to Christian civilization. It should 
not be a war looking to the subjugation of the people in any 
State in any event. It should not be at all a war upon popu- 
lation, but against armed forces and political organization. 
Neither confiscation of property, political executions of per- 
sons, territorial organization of States, or forcible abolition of 
slavery should be contemplated for a moment. In prosecut- 
ing the war, all private property and unarmed persons should 
be strictly protected, subject only to the necessity of military 
operations. All private property taken for military use 
should be paid for or receipted for ; pillage and waste should 
be treated as high crimes; all unnecessary trespass sternly 
prohibited, and offensive demeanor by the military towards 
citizens promptly rebuked. Military arrests should not be 
tolerated, except in places where active hostilities exist, and 
oaths not required by enactments constitutionally made 
should be neither demanded nor received. Military govern- 
ment should be confined to the preservation of public order 
and the protection of political rights. Military power should 
not be allowed to interfere with the relations of servitude, 


either by supporting or impairing the authority of the master, 
except for repressing disorder as in other cases. Slaves con- 
traband, under the act of Congress, seeking protection, should 
receive it. The right of the government to appropriate per- 
manently to its own services claims to slave labor should be 
asserted, and the right of the owner to compensation therefor 
should be recognized. 

This principle might be extended upon grounds of military 
necessity and security to all the slaves within a particular 
State, thus working manumission in such State ; and in Mis- 
souri, perhaps in Western Virginia also, and possibly even in 
Maryland, the expediency of such a measure is only a ques- 
tion of time. 

A system of policy, thus constitutional and conservative, 
and pervaded by the influences of Christianity and freedom, 
would receive the support of almost all truly loyal men, 
would deeply impress the rebel masses and all foreign nations, 
and it might be humbly hoped that it would commend itself 
to the favor of the Almighty. 

Unless the principle governing the future conduct of our 
struggle shall be made known and approved, the effort to 
obtain requisite forces will be almost hopeless. A declaration 
of radical views, especially upon slavery, will rapidly disinte- 
grate our present armies. The policy of the government 
must be supported by concentrations of military power. The 
national forces should not be dispersed in expeditions, posts 
of occupation, and numerous armies, but should mainly be col- 
lected into masses and brought to bear upon the armies of the 
Confederacy. Those armies thoroughly defeated, the political 
structure which they support would soon cease to exist. 

In carrying out any system of policy which you may form, 
you will require, as commander-in-chief of the army, one who 
possesses your confidence, understands your views, and who is 
competent to execute your orders, by directing the military 


forces of the nation to the accomplishment of the objects 
by you proposed. I do not ask that place for myself. I am 
willing to serve you in such position as you may assign me, 
and I will do so as faithfully as ever subordinate served 

I may be on the brink of eternity, and as I hope forgive- 
ness from my Maker I have written this letter with sincerity 
towards you and from love of my country. 
Very respectfully your obedient servant, 

George B. McClellan, 

Major- General Commanding, 

This letter afterwards placed McClellan in the field 
for the presidency, and gave him the hearty support 
of the Northern friends and sympathizers, open and 
covert, of the rebellion. They regarded him as a 
marvelously proper man. He was not only a strong 
candidate, but he was their only candidate. We have 
no less an authority than his bosom friend, General Fitz 
John Porter, for the statement that soon after this 
General McClellan was " the candidate apparent of the 
opposition for the presidency." In an application to 
President Grant for executive clemency, dated October 
28, 1874, — twelve years after these events, — General 
Porter explained that at the time of his own dismissal 
from the army, in 1862, he suffered from the prejudice 
which was entertained against his chief, whose attitude 
that year he thus describes : — 

He [McClellan] had written his Harrison Landing letter, 
in which he so severely arraigned the administration for the 
conduct of the war. He was the apparent or presumptive 
candidate of the opposition for the presidency. 


The anti-war faction — formidable and dangerous — 
nestled in the bosom of "the opposition/' eliciting 
from its " presumptive candidate " no murmur that 
would injure his chances for its nomination, which two 
years later he received and accepted. 

This pronunciamento, which so endeared McClellan 
to the enemies of the country when published by him 
some months later, necessarily operated in a contrary 
direction upon its friends. In it he had done his 
utmost to make it appear that the humane and other- 
wise creditable sentiments he uttered, as well as the pro- 
slavery opinions, were being antagonized by the party 
in power. He held himself up as one anxious to save 
the republic, not from the rebellion, but from the ad- 
ministration of Abraham Lincoln. This document was 
as audacious as it was mischievous. It dealt with mat- 
ters with which, as a military subordinate, he had no 
more right to interfere than he had with the legislation 
of Congress or the decisions of the Supreme Court, and 
it grossly misrepresented the course of the administra- 
tion. He wrote it, not for effect on the President, but 
to be afterwards used as an appeal to those voters of 
the country whose support of the Union cause was too 
feeble to survive any appearance, in the conduct of the 
war, of an intention to weaken the hold of rebel slave- 
holders upon their slaves. It threatened a revolt in 
the army, if emancipation should be attempted. A 
copy of the document was sent to his wife with the 
request that it be preserved carefully " as a very im- 
portant record." 1 

1 Own Story, page 446. 


The editor of McClellan's " Own Story " assures us 
that the letter never was seen by McClellan's friends 
" until after the general was finally relieved from com- 
mand." 1 Of course it was not. It was not until then 
that it could be useful for the purpose for which it was 

1 Own Story, page 489. 


Operations in Northern Virginia. — Defense of the Capital. — Rebel 
Operations in the Shenandoah Valley. — Pope's Command. — He 
corresponds with McClellan. — The Latter demands 100,000 more 

The President's order of March 11, 1862, which 
relieved General McClellan from the command of the 
armies of the United States, and limited his new com- 
mand to the Department of the Potomac, designated no 
successor as general-in-chief. All commanders of de- 
partments were ordered to " report severally and directly 
to the Secretary of War." By this order the President 
virtually assumed command of all the armies, with the 
Secretary of War as his chief of staff. 

On the 4th of April the Department of the Potomac 
was reduced in territorial extent by the creation of the 
Department of the Shenandoah under General Banks, 
and the Department of the Rappahannock under Gen- 
eral McDowell. The first covered the Shenandoah 
Valley, and the latter embraced all the region east of 
the Blue Ridge and west of the railroad from Richmond 
to Acquia Creek, and west of the Potomac above that 
point, and also the District of Columbia and the counties 
of Maryland bordering on the Potomac. 

This order followed immediately upon the discovery, 
April 2, by the Secretary of War that General McClellan 


had ordered to the peninsula a large portion of the 
force he had been imperatively required by the President 
to leave for the defense of Washington. Its wisdom 
was amply vindicated by the necessity which constantly 
arose afterwards for forces sufficient to meet and repel 
the advances of the enemy under General Stonewall 
Jackson, whose energetic campaign in the Shenandoah 
Valley — threatening an invasion of Maryland and an 
attack on the capital — was for a time the cause of well- 
grounded alarm throughout the country. 

It being difficult to secure harmonious action by the 
three department commanders in northern Virginia, the 
President made an order on the 26th of June by which 
all the forces under Banks, McDowell, and Fremont, 
and under Sturgis commanding the defenses in Wash- 
ington, were consolidated into one army, to be called 
the Army of Virginia, and placed under the command 
of Major-General John Pope, whose successful opera- 
tions in the west — notably against Island No. 10 in 
the Mississippi River — had brought him into promi- 
nence and favorable notice. He was to protect West 
Virginia and the capital, attack and overcome Jackson 
and Ewell, menace the enemy in the direction of Char- 
lottesville, and aim to relieve McClellan and aid in the 
capture of Richmond. Simultaneously with the assign- 
ment of General Pope to this command, the Seven Days' 
battles commenced on the peninsula. 

On the 4th of July, after McClellan' s army had re- 
treated to Harrison's Landing, General Pope wrote him 
of the extent and disposition of the Army of Virginia, 
assuring him of an earnest wish to cooperate with him in 


the heartiest and most energetic manner. In this letter 
General Pope thus summarized the relative positions of 
the two armies under their respective commands : — 

Your position on the James Eiver places the whole of the 
enemy's force around Richmond between yourself and Wash- 
ington. "Were I to move with my command direct on Rich- 
mond, I must fight the whole force of the enemy before I 
could join you, and at so great a distance from you as to be 
beyond any assistance from your army. If my command be 
embarked and sent to you by James River, the enemy would 
be in Washington before it had even accomplished the 
journey. 1 Under these circumstances my position here is dif- 
ficult and embarrassing, and whilst I am anxious to render 
you all the assistance in my power, the imperative necessity of 
insuring the safety of the capital must control my operations. 

To this General McClellan replied approvingly. His 
own army was, he said, in admirable spirit and disci- 
pline, — " it would fight better to-morrow than it ever 
did before." He was very persistent in his calls for 
reinforcements, and very strong in the opinion that his 
army was in the right place for a movement upon the 
rebel capital. In short, it was the old story. He had 
under his immediate command all but 75,000 of the 
entire forces of the East. He said he wanted 100,000 
more men for any successful movement. 

1 This view as to a movement by water is identical with that expressed 
by General Grant, when replying to critics of his campaign of 1864. He 
said : " If the Army of the Potomac had been moved bodily to the James 
River by water, Lee could have moved part of his forces back to Rich- 
mond, called Beauregard from the South to reinforce it, and with the 
balance moved on to Washington." Grant's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 141. 


Halleck made General-in-Chief. — He visits McClellan. — Perilous 
Situation of the Capital and of the Army under Pope. — McClellan 
ordered to withdraw his Army from the James River and unite 
it with the Army in Northern Virginia. — The Order ignored for 
Eleven Days. 

Lee's road to Washington being now obstructed only 
by the comparatively small force under Pope, it was 
obvious that, unless supported by McClellan, Pope's 
army must be overwhelmed by the combined force of 
the enemy, to whom the federal capital would then fall 
an easy prey. How to induce McClellan not only to 
move rapidly enough to overtake Lee in a race for the 
capital, — checked to some extent as the latter would 
be by Pope, — but to move at all, now became the su- 
preme question. It was absolutely necessary that the 
armies under McClellan and Pope should operate under 
one competent military mind. The appointment of a 
general-in-chief was, therefore, determined upon, and 
on the 11th of July the President assigned General Hal- 
leck to the command of the whole of the land forces of 
the United States. 

Although Halleck's career in the West had not been 
fruitful in performance, great military events in which 
he had borne but small part had been placed to his 
credit in his own official announcements of them from 


his office in St. Louis, and he had succeeded in secur- 
ing a large share of the public attention. President 
Lincoln and Secretary Stanton were doubtless impressed 
with the idea that he knew the laws of military science 
because he had been a military instructor at West 
Point, and thought he could be relied upon to point 
out the way to withdraw the Army of the Potomac 
from the peninsula, and to consolidate it with the forces 
of Pope in northern Virginia. 

Halleck arrived in Washington on the 23d of July, 
twelve days after he had been made general-in-chief . 

The number of men composing the Army of the 
Potomac on the 20th of July, as certified to by Mc- 
Clellan, was 158,314. Of these he said 101,691 were 
present for duty. According to his own theory, the 
practical defense of Washington was on the James 
Eiver, because Richmond would then be in such danger 
that the enemy must employ his entire force there for 
its protection. In the face of this view McClellan 
wrote President Lincoln on July 20 that Jackson's 
troops had commenced leaving Richmond one week be- 
fore, by rail, and that the movement had continued for 
three days and nights. He had permitted this move- 
ment to go on without sooner mentioning it, and with- 
out making any demonstration upon the enemy to keep 
him at home. He said the troops were moving either 
towards Gordonsville or Fredericksburg. He thought 
they might be destined for the West, or for the front 
of Washington. 

So far as any interference by him was concerned, it 
was perfectly safe for Lee to move his entire army upon 
Pope, which he finally did. 


Immediately upon the arrival of General Halleck 
at Washington, the President directed him to confer 
personally with General McClellan, which he did at 
Harrison's Landing on the afternoon of the 25th of 
July. In a memorandum for the Secretary of War he 
reported the result of this conference on the 27th. 

He said McClellan proposed to cross the James River, 
attack Petersburg, and cut off the enemy's communica- 
tions with the South, making no further demonstration 
for the time against Richmond, but that he finally 
agreed this plan would be dangerous and impracticable. 
General Halleck told him that it seemed a military 
necessity to concentrate his forces with those of Gen- 
eral Pope on some point where they could at the same 
time cover Washington and operate against Richmond, 
unless he felt strong enough to attack the latter place 
with such reinforcements as could be given him. 
McClellan then said that with 30 ? 000 reinforcements 
he could attack Richmond with a good chance of suc- 
cess. Halleck told him that he was authorized by 
the President to promise only 20,000, and that if he 
could not take Richmond with that number his troops 
must be withdrawn from the James River to some point 
where they could unite with those of General Pope 
without exposing Washington. McClellan thought 
this could be done without serious difficulty, but that it 
would have a demoralizing influence on his own troops, 
and wanted to hold his position where he was until 
sufficient reinforcements could be collected. General 
Halleck told him he had no authority to consider that 
proposition, " and that he must decide between advis- 


ing the withdrawal of his forces to some point to be 
agreed upon, to meet General Pope, or an advance on 
Eichmond with the reinforcements which the President 
had offered," namely, 20,000. 

General Halleck understood McClellan that he would 
prefer to withdraw and unite with General Pope, but 
would take the matter under advisement in order to 
consult his officers and give a final answer in the morn- 
ing. Says General Halleck : — 

The next morning, July 26, he informed me that he 
would attack Richmond with the reinforcements promised. 
He would not say that he thought the probabilities of success 
were in his favor, but that there was a chance, and he was 
willing to try it. 

McClellan informed Halleck that his own effective 
force was 90,000, and yet only five days before he had 
officially certified, as already stated, that he had present 
with him and ready for duty 101,691. Nothing had 
occurred to reduce the number. 

July 30 McClellan wrote that he was sure the enemy 
was being reinforced at Richmond. He said : — 

I still feel that our true policy is to reinforce the army by 
every available means and throw it again upon Richmond. 
Should it be determined to withdraw it, I shall look upon our 
cause as lost and the demoralization of the army certain. 

As the army under him had as yet never been thrown 
upon Richmond, his talk about throwing it " again " 
must have been intended for posterity and not for 
the government or the country, both of which were 
abundantly aware that Richmond had enjoyed entire 
immunity from assault by him. 



Halleck wrote McClellan on the 30th a general sort 
of an apology for being in command, assuring him that 
it was greatly against his will, but that, being ordered, 
he was obliged to come ; that in all that had occurred 
up to that time he had his " full approbation and 
cordial support." He assured him of his friendship 
and confidence, and asked that it be reciprocated. 

Thus invited, General McClellan unbosomed himself 
to some extent to General Halleck August 1. He cor- 
dially sympathized with Halleck ; he would fully and 
heartily support him in all things; he preferred him 
over everybody for the command; had no feeling or 
jealousy in his heart towards him ; thought that they 
two could save the country and bring the war to an 
early termination. His only fear was that selfish 
politicians would not allow them to do so. He feared 
the results of the civil policy inaugurated by recent 
action of Congress. 1 

He then proceeded to discuss the question of slavery. 
He wanted the South convinced that we were not 
making war upon that institution. He wanted the 
war conducted as a war between civilized nations. In 
short, it was a repetition of the sentiments in his letter 
to the President of the 7th of July, and, like that, 
seemed intended to meet the public eye at a future 
time, which the writer had in contemplation. 

It may be here remarked that at this time there had 
been no intimation of any purpose on the part of the 

1 An act to suppress insurrections, to punish treason and rebellion, 
to seize and confiscate the property of rebels, and for other purposes, 
approved July 17, 1862. 


government either to proclaim emancipation as a mili- 
tary measure, or to interfere with slavery in any manner. 
The stock in trade of the rebel sympathizers in the 
North was that the South had been driven into the 
rebellion in order to preserve their sacred domestic 
institution of slavery. A large portion of the Northern 
people were saturated with prejudice against the negro 
and benumbed with indifference as to his welfare. The 
surest way to retard enlistments and generally to ob- 
struct the prosecution of the war was by clamoring that 
the war against rebellion was an " abolition war." Dema- 
gogues harangued the Northern people with pretended 
Union speeches interlarded with denunciations of the 
party in power. It was a common phrase with such 
disturbers that the Democratic party would put down 
the rebellion, and would then turn their bayonets against 
the "abolitionists/' meaning the Republicans. In this 
very letter McClellan said : — 

I and the army under me are fighting to restore the Union 
and the supremacy of its laws, not for revenge. I therefore 
deprecate and view with infinite dread any policy which 
tends to render impossible the reconstruction of the Union 
and to make this test simply a useless effusion of blood. 

If this meant anything, it meant that he felt just 
as pleasantly towards the enemy in front of him as he 
would if he had been on the other side, and that if 
there was behind Union bayonets a feeling of anger 
towards treason, the fighting would be for revenge. 
His letters published in his "Own Story" show that 
at that very time he nursed all the hatred of which 
his nature was capable for his superior officers in the 


government to which his allegiance was due. His 
expression of dread of any policy which would render 
impossible the reconstruction of the Union was another 
way of saying that the war must not be conducted in a 
manner that would seriously offend the enemy. It was 
apparently the desire of his heart that the war should 
end by a compromise, by which the Union with slavery 
would be preserved, and with which the South would 
be pleased and the unconditional unionists of the 
North humiliated. 

It was this hope that restrained him from acting 
the part of a soldier and made him assume the role of 
a pro-slavery politician in the midst of a pro-slavery 
rebellion. That he was retained in command of the 
Army of the Potomac by Mr. Lincoln in the face of 
his insubordination, his unsoldierly meddling with civil 
affairs of the administration, and his total inefficiency, 
was the result of conditions which will be discussed in 
a future chapter. 

Nearly a month having elapsed since the Army of 
the Potomac retreated to Harrison's Landing, and 
McClellan having declined even to express the opinion 
that he could do anything with his army, even rein- 
forced with the 20,000 troops offered, he was told by 
General Halleck on the 30th of July to send away his 
sick. After waiting three days for an answer without 
receiving one, General Halleck repeated this order on 
the 2d of August, and on the following day directed 
him to withdraw his entire army from Harrison's Land- 
ing and bring it to Acquia Creek. Although these 
orders were imperative, McClellan treated them as mere 


suggestions, and replied by protesting against the move- 
ment under the pretext that further time was required 
for moving the sick. The withdrawal of his army was 
not commenced until the 14th of August, eleven days 

The following are extracts from a letter written by 
General Phil Kearney to a friend, dated at Harrison's 
Landing August 4 : — 

With Pope's army I would breathe again. . . . McClellan 
is the failure I ever proclaimed him. He will only get us 
into more follies — more waste of blood — fighting by 
driblets. He has lost the confidence of all, ... he is burnt 
out. Never once on a battlefield. You have nothing to hope 
from him as the leader of a column. . . . McClellan is dan- 
gerous from the want of digesting his plans. He positively 
has no talents. Adieu. Get me and my fighting division 
with Pope. 1 

1 MS. 


McClellan's Private Letters. — His Fears that he will be super- 
seded. — His Denunciations of Pope. — Predicts his Defeat, and 
his own Triumph as the Result. 

To know McClellan's real feelings, and to properly 
estimate his motives and intentions during this time, it 
is only necessary to read his private letters as they ap- 
pear in his " Own Story." From these it is perfectly 
evident that he was intensely jealous, weak, and egotis- 
tical ; that the sole question in his mind was himself. 
He was always threatening what he would do if he was 
removed from his command, and predicting calamity to 
the army if anything was done to wound his self-love. 

July 18 he wrote to his wife : — 

I am inclined now to think that the President will make 
Halleck commander of the army, 1 and that the first pretext 
will be seized to supersede me in command of this army. 
Their game seems to be to withhold reinforcements, and then 
to relieve me for not advancing, well knowing that I have 
not the means to do so. If they supersede me in command 
of the Army of the Potomac, I will resign my commission at 
once. . . . 

I owe no gratitude to any but my own soldiers here ; none 
to the government or to the country ; they are my debtors, 
not I theirs. 

1 Halleck's appointment, though made on the 11th of that month, had 
not yet been publicly announced. 


To William H. Aspinwall, of New York, he wrote 
July 19: — 

It is my opinion that I will be removed from command of 
this army in a short time. 

On the 20th he wrote his wife : — 

I believe it is now certain that Halleck is commander-in- 
chief. . . . This, of course, fixes the future for us. I cannot 
remain permanently in the army after this slight. ... It is 
grating to have to serve under the orders of a man whom I 
know by my experience to be my inferior. 

July 22 he wrote : — 

I see that the Pope bubble is likely to be suddenly col- 
lapsed. Stonewall Jackson is after him, and the young man 
who wanted to teach me the art of war will in less than a 
week either be in full retreat, or badly whipped. 

July 25, after saying that he had been out of head- 
quarters, he wrote : — 

Then I heard that Halleck was here, and was obliged to 
return to see my master. I think Halleck will support me 
and give me the means to take Richmond. I am not to be 
relieved from the command of this army — at least that does 
not seem to be the present intention. 

On the 28th he wrote : — 

I hear nothing as yet from Washington, and begin to be^ 
lieve that they intend and hope that I and my army may 
melt away under the hot sun. 

July 31 he and General Marcy had been discussing 
people in Washington, and concluded that they were 
" a mighty trifling set." 


August 1 he had received " a very friendly letter 
from Halleck." 

August 2 he wrote : — 

When you contrast the policy I urged in my letter to the 
President 2 with that of Congress and of Mr. Pope, you can 
readily agree with me that there can be little actual confi- 
dence between the government and myself. We are the anti- 
podes of each other ; and it is more than probable that they 
will take the earliest opportunity to relieve me from com- 
mand and get me out of sight. 

August 4 he wrote : — 

Halleck has begun to show his cloven foot already. 

He had received Halleck's second order to commence 
removing the sick, the first one having been ignored 
by him. 

August 8 he wrote : — 

I hope that the enemy will be foolish enough to attack me. 
Should they be so foolish as to do that, I shall surely beat 
them and follow them to Richmond ; but I fear they are too 
smart for that. I can hardly hope for so much good luck. 
If it is a possible thing to humbug them into an attack, I will 
do it. 

This he was going to do although he had not 
received the 100,000 indispensable reinforcements, nor 
the 50,000, nor the 30,000, nor the 20,000. 

In the same letter he wrote : — 

I will issue to-morrow an order, giving my comments on 
Mr. John Pope. I will strike square in the teeth of all his 
infamous orders, and give directly the reverse instructions to 

1 July 7, on civil polity. 


my army ; forbid all pillaging and stealing, and take the 
highest Christian ground for the conduct of the war. Let 
the government gainsay it if they dare. I am willing to fall 
in such a cause. I will not permit this army to degenerate 
into a mob of thieves, nor will I return these men of mine to 
their families as a set of wicked and demoralized robbers. 

All of this was directed against General Pope's per- 
fectly proper order that the army subsist on the coun- 
try during its movements. 

He also informed his wife that he had received his 
orders from Halleck, and added : — 

I have learned enough through private sources that they 
have not yet determined how to dispose of me personally. 
... I had another letter from Halleck to-night. I strongly 
suspect him. 

August 10 he wrote : — 

Halleck is turning out just like the rest of the herd. The 
affair is rapidly developing itself, and I see more clearly 
every day their settled purpose to force me to resign. I am 
trying to keep my temper. I have no doubt that I will [not] 
be with this army more than two or three weeks longer, and 
should not be surprised any day or hour to get my " walking 

Later the same day he wrote : — 

The absurdity of Halleck' s course in ordering the army 
away from here is that it cannot possibly reach Washington 
in time to do any good, but will necessarily be too late. 

This was seven days after the peremptory order for 
that movement. As he had not then taken any steps 
towards obeying the order, no one was better able than 
he to say that the army could not reach Washington 


" in time to do any good." Not only had he taken no 
step to obey the order, but he wrote : — 

I hope to be ready to-morrow afternoon to move forward 
in the direction of Richmond. I will try to catch or thrash 
Longstreet, and then, if the chance offers, follow into Rich- 
mond while they are lamming away at Pope. It is in some 
respects a desperate step, but it is the best I can do for the 
nation just now, and I would rather even be defeated than 
retreat without an effort to relieve Washington in the only 
way at all possible. ... I half apprehend that they will be 
too quick for me in Washington, and relieve me before I 
have the chance of making the dash. If so, well and good. 
I am satisfied that the dolts in Washington are bent on my 
destruction, if it is possible for them to accomplish it. 

He was evidently studying dramatic effects, and 
thought to escape public censure for disobedience to 
orders by some unimportant movement which could be 
made to do duty as an apparent advance upon Rich- 

At midnight he had received a very peremptory dis- 
patch from Halleck, which made him hesitate about 
persisting in his insubordination. He said : — 

Under the circumstances I feel compelled to give up the 
idea of my intended attack upon Richmond, and must retrace 
my steps. Halleck writes that all the forces in Virginia, 
including Pope, Burnside, etc., are to be placed under my 
command ; I doubt it. They are committing a vital error in 
withdrawing me from here, and the future will show it. I 
think the result of their machinations will be that Pope will 
be badly thrashed within ten days, and they will be very glad 
to turn over the redemption of their affairs to me. 

It was not " their machinations " that were to lead 


to results so acceptable to General McClellan. It is 
important to know from himself that he regarded the 
defeat of Pope as necessary to his own advantage, for 
then " they would be glad to turn over the redemption 
of their affairs " to him. 
August 11 he wrote : — 

I suppose Pope is having his hands kept full to-day. He 
is probably being hard pressed by Jackson. 

He seemed fully alive to the peril to which Pope 
was being exposed by the failure of the Army of the 
Potomac to move for his relief. 

On the 14th he complained bitterly that Halleck 
" was not a gentleman/' because he had not remained 
long enough at his office after midnight to engage in 
an argument by telegraph on the order which he 
(McClellan) was disobeying. 

August 17 he wrote : — 

I learn that all the troops in Virginia are to be placed 
under my command. Burnside came down to assure me 
from Halleck that he (H.) is really my friend. 

This coaxing of a subordinate to obey orders and 
offering him inducements to do so has in it an element 
of comedy. 

August 18 he wrote to his wife : — 

It will take a long time to embark this army and have it 
ready for action on the banks of the Potomac. 

On the 21st he wrote : — 

I still think they will place me on the shelf, or do some- 
thing disagreeable to get me out of the way. I shall be glad 
of anything that severs my connection with such a set. 


On the 22d he wrote : — 

I think they are all pretty well scared at Washington, and 
probably with good reason. I am confident that the disposi- 
tion to be made of me will depend entirely upon the state of 
their nerves in Washington. If they feel safe there, I will 
no doubt be shelved. . . . Their sending for me to go to 
Washington only indicates a temporary alarm. If they are 
at all reassured, you will see that they will soon get rid of me. 

The records tend to show that he took great care 
that the " state of their nerves in Washington " should 
be such as to serve his purposes. 

August 23 he wrote : — 

I take it for granted that my orders will be as disagreeable 
as it is possible to make them, unless Pope is beaten, in 
which case, they will want me to save Washington again. 
Nothing but their fears will induce them to give me any 
command of importance, or to treat me otherwise than with 

The letter from which this extract was taken was 
written while he was on the way from Fort Monroe to 
Acquia Creek, where he arrived August 24. 


McClellan at Alexandria. — His Insubordination and Withholding 
of Troops. — Only One Fifth of his Army succors Pope. — Conse- 
quent Loss of the Second Battle of Bull Eun and of the Cam- 

It is unnecessary to burden these pages with the 
details of McClellan's manoeuvres from the time he 
landed at Acquia Creek until the defeat of Pope's Army 
of Virginia, and its retreat upon the capital. 

Pope was at this time with difficulty holding the line 
of the Eappahannock against the repeated assaults of 
forces which were being rapidly augmented;, and was 
anxiously awaiting reinforcements from the Army of 
the Potomac. Whether the two Union armies or the 
two armies of the enemy should be first united was now 
the question, and its decision was obviously in McClel- 
lan's hands. The fact has long passed into history that 
he determined not to cooperate with Pope, and not to 
allow the Army of the Potomac to act with the Army 
of Virginia. In this he seemed to be seconded by his 
unwavering supporters, Generals Fitz John Porter and 
Franklin. In disobedience to Pope's orders, Porter 
failed to have his corps engaged in any battle until that 
of the 30th of August. McClellan kept back Sumner's 
corps of 10,000 men, saying it was not in a condition 
for fighting ; and kept back Franklin's corps on vari- 


ous inconsequential pretexts, so that neither reached 
Pope until after the decisive and disastrous second bat- 
tle of Bull Run, August 30. 

General Sumner testified before the Committee on 
the Conduct of the War as follows : — 

Had I upon landing at Alexandria been ordered forward 
immediately, I should have been in the second Bull Run bat- 
tle with my corps. 1 

Franklin was held back in open disobedience to 
orders often repeated. The record shows that on the 
26th General Halleck telegraphed to him at Alexandria 
to march his corps towards Warrenton and report to 
Pope. As he did not leave, General Halleck tele- 
graphed McClellan on the 27th : — 

Franklin should move out by forced marches. 

McClellan replied that he had sent orders to Franklin 
" to prepare to march at once ; " and in a second dis- 
patch asked if he could effect any useful purpose in 
front without his artillery or cavalry. 

On the same night (27th) McClellan visited Wash- 
ington and had a conference with Halleck. He wrote 
to his wife the next day concerning this interview as 
follows : — 

I find Halleck well disposed. He has much to contend 
against. I shall keep as clear as possible of the President 
and Cabinet ; endeavor to do what must be done with Halleck 
alone ; so I shall get on better. 

Halleck seems to have been easily persuaded by 
McClellan that he would do the very thing he was 

1 Report, part i. p. 367. 


determined not to do, namely, to send Franklin to the 
front as ordered, for on the morning of the 28th he 
telegraphed Franklin directly as follows : — 

On parting with General McClellan about two o'clock this 
morning, it was understood that you were to move with your 
corps to Manassas Junction, to drive the enemy from the rail- 
road. I have just learned that the general has not yet 
returned to Alexandria. If you have not received his order, 
act on this. 

Franklin made no reply and made no move, but 
waited for McClellan and delivered the above dispatch 
to him. The latter telegraphed Halleck : — 

The moment Franklin can be started with a reasonable 
amount of artillery he shall go. 

Later in the day, not doubting that Franklin was 
on the march in obedience to orders, General Halleck 
telegraphed McClellan to keep up telegraphic com- 
munication with him (Franklin), " so that we may 
determine how far to push him forward." 

McClellan replied : — 

General Franklin is with me here. I will know in a few 
moments the condition of artillery and cavalry. We are not 
yet in condition to move. May be by to-morrow morning. 

At 4.45 the same day McClellan telegraphed Hal- 
leck : — 

Your dispatch received. Neither Franklin nor Sumner's 
corps is now in a condition to move and fight a battle. It 
would be a sacrifice to send them out now. 

Halleck replied : — 

There must be no further delay in moving Franklin's corps 
towards Manassas. They must go to-morrow, ready or not 


ready. If we delay too long to get ready, there will be no 
necessity to go out at all, for Pope will either be defeated, or 
victorious without our aid. 

This brought the following assurance from McClel- 
lan : — 

Franklin's corps has been ordered to march at six o'clock 
to-morrow morning. 

At 10.30 a. m. the next day (29th) McClellan tele- 
graphed that Franklin's corps was in motion, but depre- 
cated the movement. He represented him as having 
insufficient ammunition, and no wagons to move more, 
and did not think he could accomplish much against 
strong resistance. He said he " would not have moved 
him but for the pressing orders of the night before." 
This assurance seemed rather superfluous in view of the 
fact that the order was only a repetition of similar ones 
which he had been disobeying for forty-eight hours. 

Halleck replied : — 

Wagons and ammunition must be sent to Franklin as fast 
as they arrive. 

He afterwards said to McClellan that he had learned 
that the quartermaster's department would have given 
him plenty of transportation if he had applied for it at 
any time after he arrived at Alexandria. 

McClellan persisted in his efforts to arrest Franklin's 
march towards Pope. At noon of the same day he 
telegraphed Halleck as follows : — 

Your telegram received. Do you wish the movement of 
Franklin's corps to continue ? He is without reserve ammu- 
nition and without transportation. 


A little later he telegraphed : — 

Franklin has only 10,000 or 11,000 men ready for duty. 
How far do you wish this force to advance ? 

An hour later he telegraphed for leave to do as 
seemed best to him with all the troops in the vicinity, 
including Franklin, who he thought " ought not under 
the present circumstances to proceed beyond Annan- 

To this Halleck replied in the following peremptory 
terms : — 

I want Franklin's corps to go far enough to find out some- 
thing about the enemy. Perhaps he may get such informa- 
tion at Annandale as to prevent his going further. Otherwise 
he will push on towards Fairfax. Try to get something from 
the direction of Manassas, either by telegraph or through 
Franklin's scouts. Our people must move actively, and find 
out where the enemy is. I am tired of guesses. 

Although Franklin obtained no information at An- 
nandale concerning the enemy, McClellan halted him 
there, in disobedience to the order which required him in 
such case to " push on towards Fairfax." Being called 
to account for this act, he declared that he simply exer- 
cised the discretion given him, and then asked for " dis- 
tinct orders in reference to Franklin's movements for 
to-morrow." At 10 p. m. of the same night he had 
at last ordered Franklin " to place himself in communi- 
cation with General Pope by advancing as soon as pos- 
sible." At 11 a. m. of the 30th he had instructed 
Franklin and Sumner "to join Pope as promptly as 
possible." At 5 p. m. he telegraphed that he had infor- 



mation that Franklin's corps was advancing rapidly at 
1.30, and that Sumner's corps moved at 1.45 p. M. 
They never reached Pope until the campaign was lost. 
General McClellan's predictions to his wife, already 
quoted, were thus fulfilled. On the 31st he wrote 
her that but two corps of his army were present at this 
battle, viz., those of Porter and Heintzelman. These 
numbered 18,000. 

General Pope says in his report : — 

It seems proper for me, since so much misrepresentation 
has been put into circulation as to the support I received 
from the Army of the Potomac, to state here precisely what 
forces of that army came under my command and were at 
any time engaged in the active operations of the campaign. 
Reynolds's division of Pennsylvania Reserves, about 2500 
strong, joined me on the 23d of August at Rappahannock 
Station. The corps of Heintzelman and Porter, about 18,000 
strong, joined me on the 26th and 27th of August at War- 
renton Junction. 

The Pennsylvania Reserves under Reynolds, and Heintzel- 
man's corps, consisting of the divisions of Hooker and Kear- 
ney, rendered most gallant and efficient services in all the 
operations which occurred after they had reported to me. 
Porter's corps, from unnecessary and unusual delays and fre- 
quent and flagrant disregard of my orders, took no part what- 
ever except in the action of the 30th of August. This small 
fraction of 20,500 men are all of the 91,000 veteran troops 
from Harrison's Landing that ever drew trigger under my 
command, or in any way took part in that campaign. 1 

The Union losses in this campaign of northern Vir- 

1 War Records, vol. xii. part ii. p. 46. 


ginia are officially reported as follows : killed, 1747 ; 
wounded, 8452 ; captured or missing, 4157 ; total, 

The rebel losses (official) were : killed, 1090 ; wounded, 
6154; total, 7244. 


Alarm at Washington. — McClellan's Eemoval advocated by a 
Majority of the Cabinet. 

McClellan's downright refusal to obey the order of 
the general-in-chief, to move Franklin's corps to the 
support of Pope, seemed to Stanton conclusive evidence 
that the public safety required a change in the command 
of the Army of the Potomac. All through the 27th 
and 28th of August, General Halleck had used the tele- 
graph wires in the War Department to reiterate the 
order, while General McClellan had used them as often 
to send insubordinate replies, showing his determination 
not to obey it. The President, General Halleck, and 
Mr. Stanton were together at the War Department, and 
no doubt anxiously discussed the telegrams sent to Mc- 
Clellan, and his answers to the same. They were con- 
fronted with the most important crisis of the war. The 
President and his general-in-chief had, during the ten 
days preceding the 13th of August, found themselves 
utterly unable, by the most imperative orders, to compel 
McClellan to take a single step towards withdrawing the 
Army of the Potomac from the peninsula, where it was 
entirely idle, although he knew that Lee was then 
marshaling his forces for the destruction of Pope's 
army, and the invasion of the capital. And now that 
he had arrived at Alexandria, he was manifesting the 


same determination not to participate in repelling the 
advance of the enemy. In order to have the record 
of these facts clearly presented, Secretary Stanton 
addressed the following letter to General Halleck, 
August 28 : — 

I desire you to furnish me information upon the following 
points : — 

1st. At what date you first ordered the general command- 
ing the Army of the Potomac to move from the James River. 

2d. Whether that order was or was not obeyed according 
to its purport with the promptness which, in your judgment, 
the national safety required, and at what date the movement 

3d. What order has been given recently for the move- 
ment of Franklin's corps, and whether it was obeyed as 
promptly as the national safety required. 

4th. You will furnish me copies of the orders referred to 
in the foregoing inquiries. 

Following are extracts from General Halleck's reply: 

In reply to your note of last evening I have to state — 
First. That on the 30th of July I directed General Mc- 
Clellan to send away his sick as quickly as possible, prepara- 
tory to his moving in some direction. Receiving no answer, 
the order was repeated August 2. On the 3d of August I 
directed him to withdraw his entire army from Harrison's 
Landing and bring it to Acquia Creek. 

Second. That the order was not obeyed with the prompt- 
ness I expected and the national safety in my opinion re- 
quired. It will be seen from my telegraphic correspondence 
that General McClellan protested against the movement, and 
that it was not actually commenced until the 14th instant. 

To the third question he replied by a summary of the 


dispatches which had passed between him and McClellan 
relative to the order for Franklin's corps to move to the 
support of Pope. These have been summarized in the 
preceding chapter. Further evidence of McClellan's 
frame of mind was given in a dispatch addressed by 
him to the President on August 29, in which he said : — 

I am clear that one of two courses should be adopted. 
First, to concentrate all our available forces to open commu- 
nications with Pope. Second, to leave Pope to get out of 
his scrape and at once use all our means to make the capital 
perfectly safe. 

As he had prevented large available forces under his 
command from opening communications with Pope, it 
was evident that of the two courses suggested by him 
his desire was to abandon Pope and turn him over to 
the enemy, while the Army of the Potomac should take 
refuge in the defenses of Washington under his own 

Mr. Stanton then prepared a letter to the President, 
to be signed by members of the Cabinet, recommending 
the immediate removal of General McClellan from all 
command as an act necessary for the safety of the nation. 
This letter was as follows : — 

Me. Pkesident, — The undersigned feel compelled by a 
profound sense of duty to the government and the people of 
the United States, and to yourself as your constitutional ad- 
visers, respectfully to recommend the immediate removal of 
George B. McClellan from any command in the armies of the 
United States. We are constrained to urge this by the con- 
viction that after a sad and humiliating trial of twelve months 
and by the frightful and useless sacrifice of the lives of many 


thousand brave men and the waste of many millions of 
national means, he has proved to be incompetent for any 
important military command, and also because by recent dis- 
obedience of superior orders and inactivity, he has twice im- 
periled the fate of the army commanded by General Pope, 
and while he continues in command will daily hazard the fate 
of our armies and our national existence, exhibiting no sign 
of a disposition or capacity to restore by courage and diligence 
the national honor that has been so deeply tarnished in the 
eyes of the world by his military failures. We are unwilling 
to be accessory to the destruction of our armies, the protrac- 
tion of the war, the waste of our national resources, and the 
overthrow of the government, which we believe must be the 
inevitable consequence of George B. McClellan being con- 
tinued in command, and seek, therefore, by his prompt removal 
to afford an opportunity to capable officers under God's 
providence to preserve our national existence. 

Mr. Chase states in his diary * that on the 30th he 
went to the War Department, where Watson showed 
him this paper. He adds : — 

I suggested modifications. Afterwards saw Stanton. He 
approved the modifications, and we both signed the paper. 

I then took it to Secretary Welles, who concurred in our 
judgment, but thought the paper not exactly right and did 
not sign it. Returned the paper to Mr. Stanton. 

Says Mr. Welles: 2 — 

I declined to sign the paper which was in the handwriting 
of Mr. Stanton, not that I did not disapprove of the course 
of the general, but because the combination was improper 
and disrespectful to the President. 

1 Warden's Life of Chase, page 456. 

2 Lincoln and Seward, by Ex-Secretary Welles, Sheldon & Company, 
page 193. 


No further attempt was made to obtain signatures 
to the protest in that form. Mr. Welles continues 
thus : — 

On Monday, the 1st of September, the paper somewhat 
modified and signed by four of the cabinet officers was 
brought to me. My refusal and perhaps my remarks pre- 
vented the matter from going further. . . . The President 
never knew of this paper. 

This document, which is in the handwriting of At- 
torney-General Bates, is as follows : — 

The undersigned, who have been honored with your selec- 
tion as a part of your confidential advisers, deeply impressed 
with our great responsibility in the present crisis, do but 
perform a painful duty in declaring to you our deliberate 
opinion that at this time it is not safe to intrust to Major- 
General McClellan the command of any army of the United 

And we hold ourselves ready at any time to explain to you 
in detail the reasons upon which this opinion is founded. 

Edwin M. Stanton, 

Secretary of War. 
S. P. Chase, 
Secretary of the Treasury. 
Caleb B. Smith, 

Secy. Interior. 
Edwd. Bates, 

Atty. Genl. 
To The President. 

The biographers of Mr. Lincoln support the statement 
of Mr. Welles that it was never sent to the President. 
Its signers doubtless knew that Mr. Lincoln shared their 
opinion that General McClellan had been unfaithful 





*/ /^<~S &sx*~^y aAZXjL Lyy^^Js^ d/U~i£j • 


to the national cause. We have the authority of his 
biographers that on the 30th of August he said, con- 
cerning General McClellan, to Mr. John Hay, then 
one of his secretaries, who recorded the words in his 
diary : — 

He has acted badly towards Pope ; he really wanted him to 
fail. 1 

1 Nicolay and Hay's Lincoln, vol. vi. p. 23. 


President Lincoln's Opinion of McClellan's Conduct. — He never- 
theless continues him in Command under Compulsion. — The 
Reasons which governed him. — Stormy Cabinet Meeting. — 
Stanton refuses to issue the Order placing McClellan in Com- 

Later, on the 31st of August, the following alarm- 
ing dispatch was received from General Pope : — 

I should like to know whether you feel secure in Wash- 
ington should this army be destroyed. I shall fight it as long 
as I can get a man to stand up to the work. You must 
judge what is to be done, having in view the safety of the 

Although the government had knowledge that a ter- 
rible battle had been fought the day before, this was 
the first information received as to the extent of the 
disaster. It was now evident that nothing stood be- 
tween Lee's forces and the capital but a routed and 
panic-stricken army. 

Two days later, the 2d of September, the President 
gave McClellan command of the defenses of Wash- 
ington, and shortly afterwards of Pope's defeated 

In his account of the cabinet meeting of that day, 
Mr. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, says : 1 — 

1 Lincoln and Seward, p. 194. 


At the stated cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the 2d of Sep- 
tember, while the whole community was stirred up and in 
confusion, and affairs were gloomy beyond anything that had 
previously occurred, Stanton entered the council room a few 
moments in advance of Mr. Lincoln, and said, with great 
excitement, that he had just learned from General Halleck 
that the President had placed McClellan in command of the 
forces in Washington. The information was surprising, and, 
in view of the prevailing excitement against that officer, 
alarming. The President soon came in, and in answer to an 
inquiry from Mr. Chase confirmed what Stanton had stated. 
General regret was expressed, and Stanton, with some feel- 
ing, remarked that no order to that effect had issued from 
the War Department. The President calmly, but with some 
emphasis, said the order was his, and he would be responsible 
for it to the country. . . . Before separating, the Secretary 
of the Treasury expressed his apprehension that the reinstate- 
ment of McClellan would prove a national calamity. 

Mr. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury, thus describes 
the scene : — 

The Secretary of War came in. In answer to some inquiry 
the fact was stated by the President or the Secretary that 
McClellan had been placed in command of the forces to 
defend the capital, — or rather, to use the President's own 
words, " he had set him to putting these troops into the forti- 
fications about Washington," believing that he could do that 
better than any other man. 

I remarked that this could be done equally well by the 
engineer who constructed the forts. 

The Secretary of War said that no one was responsible for 
the defense of the capital ; that the order to McClellan was 
given by the President direct to McClellan, and that General 
Halleck considered himself relieved from the responsibil- 
ity, although he acquiesced and approved the order ; that 


McClellan could now shield himself, should anything go 
wrong under Halleck, while Halleck could and would dis- 
claim all responsibility for the order given. 

The President thought General Halleck as much respon- 
sible as before, and repeated that the whole scope of the 
order was simply to direct McClellan to put the troops 
into the fortifications and command them for the defense of 

I remarked that I could not but feel that giving the com- 
mand to him was equivalent to giving Washington to the 
rebels. This and more I said. 

The President said it distressed him exceedingly to find 
himself differing on such a point from the Secretary of War 
and the Secretary of the Treasury ; that he would gladly 
resign his place, but he could not see who could do the work 
wanted as well as McClellan. I named Hooker, or Sumner, 
or Burnside, either of whom could do the work better. 

The order placing McClellan in command, as origi- 
nally drafted, was as follows : — 

Headquarters of the Army, 
Adjutant-General's Office, 
Washington, September 2, 1862. 

By direction of the President, Major-General McClellan 
will have command of the fortifications of Washington and 
all the troops for the defense of the capital. 
By order of the Secretary of War. 

E. D. Townsend, 
Assistant Adjutant-General. 

Secretary Stanton would not permit it to go out as 
having been issued " by order of the Secretary of War," 
and it was accordingly changed into the following 
form : — 


War Department, Adjutant-General's Office, 
Washington, September 2, 1862. 
Major-General McClellan will have command of the forti- 
fications of Washington and of all troops for the defense of 
the capital. 

By order of Major-General Halleck. 

E. D. Townsend, 
Assistant Adjutant- General. 

It will be observed that it is not stated in the order 
as finally issued that it was made by direction of the 
President. General Halleck was required to assume his 
proper responsibility. In a letter to General Pope, of 
October 10, 1862, Halleck said : — 

The assignment of General McClellan to the command, or 
rather his retention in it, was not my act, nor that of the 
War Department. It was the act of the President alone. I 
did not even know of his decision in the matter until he 
himself announced it to General McClellan. 

From all this it is quite evident that the retention of 
McClellan in command of the Army of the Potomac 
was a surprise to all ; even Secretary Welles, who had 
refused to sign the protest, on grounds of taste only, 
declared that it was not only surprising, but alarming. 
The fact that his removal was so confidently expected 
must have caused the withholding of the cabinet pro- 
test. Its authors might well have deemed it unneces- 
sary and supererogatory to recommend the President 
to do that which they could not doubt he would do 
without their advice. 

What had caused this change in the President's 
mind ? Why was it that, on the 30th of August, he 


believed McClellan was false to the army and that he 
had contributed willfully to its defeat, and yet that, on 
the 2d of September, he alone could safely command 
that army ? If, as he had said, McClellan really 
"wanted Pope to fail," the fact could have been known 
to the President only by the acts and omissions by 
which he aided to produce the failure ; and these were 
manifest enough by his refusal to send reinforcements. 
We have the testimony of Mr. Lincoln's biographers 
that he had not, on the 2d of September, changed his 
opinion as to McClellan's desire to see Pope's army 
defeated. They say : — 

After he had placed him again in command of the Army 
of the Potomac he repeated this severe judgment, but he 
added : " There is no one in the army who can man these 
fortifications and lick these troops of ours into shape half as 
well as he can." 1 

This could not have been Mr. Lincoln's reason, nor 
does it appear to have been given as such by him. It 
was merely his remark. It is beyond belief that, with- 
out compulsion, he would have intrusted the defense 
of the capital and the command of the army to one 
who, in his estimation, had already dishonored himself 
by desiring the Army of Northern Virginia, under 
Pope, to fail, and by contributing to its failure. 

Two considerations undoubtedly controlled Mr. Lin- 
coln in this crisis, both having an important bearing 
on the national safety. One of these was the protec- 
tion of the national capital from immediate danger. 
For this purpose he deemed it necessary to avoid the 

1 Nicolay and Hay's Lincoln, vol. vi. p. 23. 


dissatisfaction in the army which might have followed 
the removal of McClellan at that time. The latter was 
exceedingly popular with a large portion of the army, 
and his partisans among the general officers had spared 
no efforts to create the feeling that McClellan was the 
greatest commander of his generation, and would have 
easily suppressed the rebellion before that time, if he 
had not been prevented by " politicians " like Lincoln 
and Stanton. For a second time the country had been 
stunned by a defeat at Bull Run. However clear it 
was to the President that McClellan was responsible for 
this defeat, through the causes already recited, the fact 
existed that the defeated army had been commanded by 
General Pope. The McClellan faction among army 
officers, the McClellan press throughout the country, 
and the whole party of the opposition industriously 
diverted attention from the course of McClellan by 
denunciations of Pope. The public wrath aroused by 
this disaster easily made the latter its victim. 

The remaining consideration in Mr. Lincoln's mind, 
and not the least important, was the state of the public 
mind throughout the country, and how it would be 
affected by the retirement of McClellan. The leaders 
of the opposition were making tremendous efforts to 
carry the approaching elections for congressmen. They 
were for peace by compromise, wherever that would 
secure the most support, and they professed to be for 
war for the Union where they could by that course 
divide the Union element and unite a portion of it with 
the sympathizers of the rebellion. In the powerful and 
loyal State of New York they took bold ground " for 


a more vigorous prosecution of the war." As half of 
them had been continuously denouncing the war as 
" unholy," because it endangered the sacred cause of 
slavery, a humorist of the day 1 had it that they were 
in favor of " a more vigorous prosecution of this unholy 
war." This party was loud in its praises of McClellan 
and bitter in its denunciations of the administration. 
Mr. Lincoln knew that thousands of patriotic men 
believed in McClellan and were stoutly prejudiced against 
himself. He deemed it of the highest importance that 
these men should be saved to the Union party in the 
coming struggle at the polls, for the loss of the lower 
house of Congress and its capture by the enemy would 
have been a greater disaster than the loss of a military 
campaign. And so, with a self-restraint which few 
men have attained, he chose between the two evils, and 
deemed the lesser one to be that which was most gall- 
ing to himself and his counselors, and most unjust 
towards some high military officers who had rendered 
faithful and able service. 

The retention of McClellan under such circumstances 
was, therefore, Mr. Lincoln's submission to what he 
deemed the inevitable. McClellan was enjoying all 
the power of a military conqueror, and the President 
was, for the time being, virtually his captive in war. 
1 Newell, — " Orpheus C. Kerr." 


Lee's Invasion of Maryland. — McClellan sent into the Field by the 
President. — Discovery of Lee's Plans. — Failure to act upon the 
Knowledge. — Battle of Antietam. — The Entire Enemy engaged 
against a Portion only of the Union Forces. — Porter not in the 
Action. — McClellan treats it as a Drawn Battle until after Lee's 
Escape into Virginia. 

General Lee followed up his victory over Pope by 
the invasion of Maryland, — crossing the Potomac on 
the 5th of September, and occupying the city of Fred- 
erick on the 6th. The Confederate army encamped 
unmolested for five days on a line between Frederick 
and the Potomac Kiver, and rebel recruiting offices 
were opened in Frederick. On the 8th General Lee 
issued a proclamation, assuring the people of Maryland 
that he was only there to aid them in throwing off the 
foreign yoke, and to assist them in regaining their 
rights. The expectation of the Confederate authorities 
was that Maryland would fall into the arms of the 
Confederacy at once, if relieved from the pressure of 
Federal force. In this they were entirely disappointed. 
They obtained neither recruits nor contributions worthy 
of mention. 

The advance of Lee towards the Potomac created an 
imperative necessity for the utmost activity on the part 
of the Union army. On the 3d of September the 



President ordered General Halleck to immediately com- 
mence and proceed with all possible dispatch to organize 
an army for active operations. On the same day Gen- 
eral Halleck wrote to General McClellan that there 
was every probability that the enemy, baffled in his 
intended capture of Washington, would cross the Poto- 
mac and make a raid into Maryland or Pennsylvania, 
and that a movable army must be immediately organ- 
ized to meet him. He directed him to report what 
force could be prepared within the next two days to 
take the field, supplied and ready for service. 

On the 5th General Halleck informed McClellan 
that there was no doubt the enemy were crossing the 
Potomac in force, and that he had better dispatch 
General Sumner and additional forces to follow. "If 
you agree with me," he wrote, " let our troops move 

On the same day the President relieved from their 
respective commands Generals Fitz John Porter, Frank- 
lin, and Griffin until charges against them could be 
investigated by a court of inquiry. The armies of the 
Potomac and northern Virginia were consolidated, and 
Major-General Pope was ordered to report to the Secre- 
tary of War as a witness before the court of inquiry. On 
the following day (6th) McClellan wrote to Halleck : — 

It will save a great deal of trouble and invaluable time if 
you will suspend the operation of the order in regard to 
Franklin and Porter until I can see my way out of this 
difficulty. I wish to move Franklin's corps to the front at 

Of course McClellan was given his way. 


Although on the 2d he had been assigned only to 
the command of the defenses of Washington, he was, 
on the 7 th, placed in command of the troops that were 
to go into the field. General Halleck, in his testimony 
before the Committee on the Conduct of the War, stated 
that this order was given verbally to General McClellan 
by the President, at McClellan' s house, on the morning 
of the day that he left the city for Rockville. General 
Halleck said : — 

The question was discussed by the President for two or 
three days as to who should take command of the troops that 
were to go into the field. The decision was made by himself 
and announced to General McClellan in my presence. 

The instruction given him by the President was : 
" You must find and hurt this enemy now." 

On the 8th of September McClellan' s headquarters 
were at Rockville, seventeen miles from Washington, 
from whence he telegraphed to General Wool at Balti- 
more that his information regarding the enemy's move- 
ments was very vague and conflicting, and requesting 
that general's cooperation. McClellan's movements 
were characteristically slow. 

Lee's army had resumed its march northward on the 
10th, a portion under General Jackson being ordered to 
move upon the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at Mar- 
tinsburg ; another under General Longstreet to Boones- 
boro ; another to seize Maryland Heights and capture 
Harper's Ferry ; while yet another under General 
Walker was to take possession of Loudon Heights. 

McClellan advanced towards Frederick with such 
deliberation that he did not arrive there until the 12th, 


after the departure therefrom of Lee's rear-guard. Here 
he had the good fortune to have brought to him by 
one of his officers the special order of General Lee, 
dated September 9, in which the rebel commander fully 
disclosed his plans. 

This had been found by a private soldier in the 
army. General McClellan makes the following refer- 
ence to it : — 

On the 13th an order fell into my hands issued by General 
Lee which fully disclosed his plans, and I immediately gave 
orders for a rapid and vigorous forward movement. 1 

This gave McClellan an opportunity probably never 
before given to a commander, namely, to know, with 
precision, the disposition of the enemy's forces without 
having his own known to his antagonist. 

Concerning this disposition of his army by Lee, and 
McClellan's failure to take advantage of it, the Con- 
federate General Longstreet, thirty years later, made 
the following criticism, while revisiting the battle 
ground : — 

He, McClellan, lost a great opportunity here on this 
Sharpsburg field. No general could ask for a better. Com- 
manding a greatly superior army, opposing an enemy divided 
by the Potomac, the Shenandoah, and the Blue Ridge, into 
four weak isolated parts, whose location he absolutely knew 
from General Lee's dispatches, which had actually fallen into 
his hands, McClellan's failure, not only to relieve Harper's 
Ferry, but to destroy at least one of the segments of General 
Lee's army, must be considered about the most disastrous 
failure of the war on either side. 

Properly General McClellan should have fallen upon Gen- 
1 Own Story, page 572. 


eral D. H. Hill at Traver's Pass, and poured his troops through 
Cumberland Gap upon McLaw's and Anderson's rear, with 
the Potomac River at Harper's Ferry rising in front of them. 
There was no escape for them, and by this movement Harper's 
Ferry would have been wrested from us that day. Instead, 
McClellan elected to turn forward upon us and fight at 
Traver's Pass, where he lost eighteen hours, and then, after 
another delay of thirty-six hours, he attacked me in a chosen 
position beyond the Antietam. Sharpsburg 1 was the greatest 
single day's battle of the war, and involved the greatest losses 
on both sides. 2 

Harper's Ferry was surrendered on the morning of 
the 15th. The conduct of the officers who surrendered 
it became the subject of an investigation by a military 
commission, of which Major-General David Hunter was 
president. In its report that commission said : — 

The general-in-chief (Halleck) has testified that General 
McClellan, after having received orders to repel the enemy 
invading the State of Maryland, marched only six miles a 
day, on an average, when pursuing this invading enemy. 

The general-in-chief also testifies that in his opinion he 
could and should have relieved and protected Harper's Ferry, 
and in this opinion the commission fully concur. 

The battle of South Mountain was fought on the 
14th, in which the Union forces were victorious, and 
the enemy, as usual, successful in getting away without 
interruption during the night which followed. 

McClellan now had two days in which to avail him- 
self of the knowledge he had of Lee's plans. He knew 

1 In Union reports known as the battle of Antietam. 

2 Interview of General Longstreet with Leslie Perry of the War Rec- 
ords Bureau of the War Department, published in the Washington Post of 
June 11, 1893. 


that Lee's army was divided, and that a large portion 
of his force was across the Potomac. He could, on the 
15th or the 16th, have fought a portion of Lee's army 
with the whole of his own. He chose to wait until 
the 17th, when the enemy's forces were reunited, and 
then was fought the battle of Antietam. one of the 
most desperate battles in the history of warfare ; but in 
the fighting of which he did not deem it necessary 
to engage the whole of his own forces. The corps of 
General Fitz John Porter was not brought into the 
action at all. Says the Committee on the Conduct of 
the War : — 

General Hooker testifies that he had been given to under- 
stand that there were to be attacks simultaneously on the 
right, centre, and left of our army. He attacked at dawn. 
But General Burnside, on the left, was not ordered to attack 
until ten o'clock, and there was no attack made in the centre 
by General Porter. 1 

General Sumner testified : — 

I have always believed that instead of sending these troops 
into that action in driblets, as they were sent, if General Mc- 
Clellan had authorized me to march these forty thousand men 
on the left flank of the enemy, we could not have failed to 
throw them right back in front of the other divisions of our 
army on our left, — Burnside, Franklin, and Porter's corps. 
As it was, we went in division after division until even one 
of my own divisions was forced out. The other two drove 
the enemy and held the positions. M} r intention at the time 
was to have proceeded entirely on by their left and move 
down, bringing them right in front of Burnside, Franklin, 
and Porter. 

1 Report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, part i. 
p. 41. 


This, lie testified, would have made the escape of the 
enemy impossible. 

The Union losses were over 12,000, and the Con- 
federate losses over 11,000. 

In a private letter of September 18 McCiellan 
wrote : — 

Those in whose judgment I rely tell me that I fought the 
battle splendidly, and that it was a masterpiece of art. 1 

He said also : — 

The general result was in our favor — that is to say, 
we gained a great deal of ground and held it. It was a suc- 
cess, but whether a decided victory depends on what occurs 
to-day. 2 

Hooker, Burnside, and Franklin all advised McCiel- 
lan to renew the battle on the 18th. He took their 
advice under consideration, and while he was still 
endeavoring to make up his mind, Lee successfully 
withdrew his entire army across the Potomac and out 
of further danger. McCiellan then indulged in trans- 
ports of exultation by telegraph to the authorities at 
Washington, — that the enemy had left for Virginia, 
and Maryland and Pennsylvania were saved. Not to 
have been whipped was always victory enough for him, 
and not to have been driven from his position was the 
only fruit he ever cared to gather as the result of a 

Major John J. Key, a brother to Colonel To M. 
Key, of McClellan's staff, being asked why the rebel 
army was not captured after the battle of Antietam, 
replied : — 

1 Own Story, page 612. 2 Ibid. 


That was not the game. That we should tire the rebels 
out and ourselves — that was the only way the Union could 
be preserved ; we come together fraternally and slavery be 

President Lincoln called Major Key before him, with 
the officer (Major Turner) to whom the remark had 
been made, and examined them. He dismissed Key 
from the military service upon the ground stated by 
himself in the record, that, " if there was a game, even 
among Union men, to have our army not take advan- 
tage of the enemy when it could do so, his object was to 
break up that game." He afterwards said to Mr. Hay, 
one of his secretaries : " I dismissed Major Key because 
I thought his silly, treasonable expressions were 6 staff 
talk,' and I wished to make an example." 1 

The valor of our troops at Antietam electrified the 
country, and the great losses sustained were accepted 
by many as evidence of the greatness of McClellan. 

On the 20th he wrote his wife : — 

Our victory was complete, and the disorganized rebel army 
has rapidly returned to Virginia. 2 

Later in the day he wrote : — 

I feel that I have done all that can be asked in twice sav- 
ing the country. If I continue in its service, I have at least 
the right to demand a guarantee that I shall not be inter- 
fered with. I know that I cannot have that assurance as 
long as Stanton continues in the position of Secretary of 
War and Halleck as general-in-chief . 3 

He must have been surprised at his own moderation 

1 Abraham Lincoln — A History, vol. vi. p. 188. 

2 Own Story, page 613. 3 Ibid. 


in not including President Lincoln in the list of those 
to be removed. 

On the 22d he wrote that he looked upon the cam- 
paign as substantially ended ; that he would go to work 
and reorganize the army somewhere near Harper's 
Ferry or Frederick for another campaign. He would 
not, he said, go to Washington. 1 

On the 25th he wrote : — 

It is very doubtful whether I shall remain in the service 
after the rebels leave this vicinity. 2 

He continued : — 

The President's late proclamation, and the continuation of 
Stanton and Halleck in office, render it almost impossible for 
me to retain my commission and self-respect at the same 

The proclamation was the preliminary one relative to 
emancipation, and was dated September 22. 

Concerning this he wrote to his wife on the 5th of 
October, the day following the conclusion of the Presi- 
dent's visit : — 

Mr. Aspinwall is decidedly of the opinion that it is my 
duty to submit to the President's proclamation, and quietly 
continue at my duty as a soldier. I presume he is right, and 
am at least sure he is honest in his opinion. I shall surely 
give his views my full consideration. 3 

1 Own Story, page 614. 2 Ibid., page 615. 3 Ibid., page 655. 


McClellan refuses to follow the Enemy. — His Varied Excuses shown 
to be without Foundation. — The President's Orders disobeyed. 
— Unable to overcome McClellan's Insubordination, he removes 
him from Command. — McClellan's Statement that he was urged 
to revolt and march against Washington. 

From the 18th of September to the 5th of November 
General McClellan pursued his fixed policy of inaction, 
procrastination, and insubordination. He would neither 
do nor attempt anything to embarrass the safe retreat 
of Lee and the recuperation of his army. His conduct 
fully vindicated the opinion which Mr. Stanton and a 
majority of his cabinet associates had expressed the last 
of August, and as it compelled Mr. Lincoln finally to 
remove him from command, a brief statement of it is 
here given. 1 

At eight o'clock on the morning of September 18 
McClellan telegraphed Halleck that the battle would 
probably be renewed that day, and requested him to 
send all the troops he could. This was at once re- 
sponded to. At the same time the railroads were 
crowded with ammunition and supplies forwarded to 
Frederick and Hagerstown. Special trains were put on, 
with orders to make express passenger time. Secretary 

1 The dispatches cited in this chapter are from vol. xix. of the War 


Stanton devoted himself to this work, receiving special 
reports of the movements of trains, and remaining in 
his office through most of the night for that purpose. 
The battle was not renewed. 

On the 19th McClellan telegraphed Halleck that the 
enemy had abandoned his position, — "We are again in 
pursuit," and " We may safely claim a complete vic- 
tory." And later he telegraphed : " Our victory is 
complete ; the enemy is driven back into Virginia." 

McClellan had a superior force, but neither that 
advantage nor Lee's distance from home furnished 
inducement for him to pursue the retreating enemy. 1 

On the night of the 20th, however, he telegraphed 
Halleck, suggesting that, inasmuch as Lee was depend- 
ent upon Kichmond for supplies of ammunition and 
provisions, General Banks, who commanded the de- 
fenses of Washington, should send out a cavalry force 
to embarrass Lee's operations. 

Halleck had telegraphed him earlier on that day : — 

We are still left entirely in the dark in regard to your own 
movements and those of the enemy. This should not be so. 
You should keep me advised of both so far as you know 

This reasonable requirement by his superior elicited 
the following reply from him : — 

1 The relative strength of the two armies at Antietam was as follows : 
McClellan certified that on the morning of the 20th of September there 
were in his entire command and present for duty 164,359, of which 
71,210 were in the defenses of Washington, leaving his command outside 
of Washington over 93,000. As our loss at Antietam on the 17th was 
12,000, his strength in that battle must have been 105,000. Lee in his 
report states his force at less than 40,000. 


I regret that you find it necessary to couch every dispatch 
I have the honor to receive from you in a spirit of fault-find- 
ing, and that you have not found leisure to say one word of 
commendation of the recent achievements of this army, or 
even to allude to them. 

To this General Halleck replied that the government 
had been most anxious for two days to obtain the infor- 
mation that the enemy had crossed the Potomac into 

On the 22d McClellan telegraphed to General Hal- 
leck : — 

The army corps have been badly cut up and scattered by 
the overwhelming numbers brought against them in the bat- 
tle of the 17th, and the entire army has been greatly ex- 
hausted by unavoidable overwork, hunger, and want of sleep 
and rest. When the enemy recrossed the Potomac, the means 
of transportation at my disposal were inadequate to furnish a 
single day's supplies of subsistence in advance. 

For this reason he did not feel authorized to cross 
the river in pursuit of the retreating enemy, and place 
that stream between his army and its base of supplies. 
He said he would reorganize the army. He announced 
his purpose of pushing a large force into the Shenan- 
doah Valley. A large body of the enemy was still 
quite near. 

On the 23d he telegraphed that there were indi- 
cations of heavy reinforcements moving towards Lee 
and Jackson. He thought that the fact of the enemy 
remaining so long in his front, and the indications of 
reinforcements, were evidence that he would soon give 
battle with all his available forces. For this reason he 


wanted all the reinforcements that could be dispensed 
with around Washington and other places. He thought 
a defeat at this juncture would be ruinous to the cause. 
He was sure Washington was in no danger, and that 
his army was. He said : — 

I cannot think it possible that the enemy will bring any 
forces to bear upon Washington till after the question is 
decided here. But, if he should, troops can be sent back 
from this army by rail to reinforce the garrisons there. 

Just what question was to be decided there is not 
very clear. It hardly seemed to be a question whether 
a retreating army of less than half the strength of his 
own, and dependent upon Kichmond for ammunition 
and supplies, would turn back, recross the upper Poto- 
mac, and give him another battle in Maryland. Later 
on the same day he telegraphed further to the same 

On the 24th he made a call for twenty new regi- 
ments. He said he " would be glad to have more than 
double that number with the least possible delay." On 
the same day he called upon Halleck for the construc- 
tion of a permanent double-track bridge over the Poto- 
mac at Harper's Ferry, 900 feet long, to be built on 
crib piers filled with stone. Until such a bridge was 
finished, he thought it scarcely possible to advance from 
Harper's Ferry in force ; and, as that was clearly our 
true line of operations, he thought the importance of 
the bridge would be obvious ! 

On the 25th he again learned that the entire rebel 
army was expected to give us another battle, and 
" were anxious for us to cross the river." Halleck 


replied to MeClellan that before authorizing the build- 
ing of bridges over the Potomac, he must know more 
definitely of his plans. He reminded him that the 
enemy were at that time threatening the capital and 
the army there. He was unwilling to supply him with 
reinforcements with which to drive Lee towards Wash- 
in o^ton. 

On the 26th General Halleck called upon General 
MeClellan for a full understanding in regard to his 
future operations. He especially desired to know 
whether he intended to move his force up the Shenan- 
doah Valley, leaving Lee free to move upon Washing- 
ton through any gap in the mountains, or whether he 
would so regulate his movements as to cover Washing- 
ton. MeClellan replied that it was his purpose to hold 
the army where it was, and attack the enemy if he 
should attempt to cross into Maryland. He dwelt upon 
the weakness of his army, and, of course, wanted large 
reinforcements. As soon as the river was high he 
would concentrate the army somewhere near Harper's 
Ferry, and " then act according to circumstances, 
namely, moving on Winchester, if from the position 
and attitude of the enemy we are likely to gain a great 
advantage by doing so ; or else, devoting a reasonable 
time to the organization of the army and instruction of 
the new troops, preparatory to an advance on whatever 
line may be determined." That is to say, he had no 
plan whatever, and would therefore sit still, clamor 
for reinforcements, drill »new troops, and defend if at- 
tacked. He had no fears for Washington, and the 
fears of his superior officer were not worth considering. 


He wanted to strip Washington of all but a force 
necessary to garrison its defenses and be allowed to 
take his own course. Under these conditions, he would 
hold himself responsible for the safety of Washington. 

It is strange reading to-day, — McClellan's letter to 
Halleck of September 27, 1862, calling for the troops 
needed for the safety of Washington to be sent to him 
fifty miles away, after definitely stating that he had no 
use for these reinforcements ; that he had no intention 
of making any advance ; and that if Lee should attack 
the capital he could send troops for its defense. He 
could send to its defense the troops which, without any 
purpose whatever, he had called away from there. 

Inconsequential dispatches were received from him 
the last three days in September, and on the 1st of 
October the President visited him at his headquarters. 
The object of this visit was to endeavor to make Mc- 
Clellan do something. It was a fruitless mission. To 
a friend the President remarked that the forces under 
McClellan were not the Army of the Potomac, but only 
" McClellan's body-guard." 

On the 4th General Halleck telegraphed McClellan 
of rumors that Longstreet was moving to Leesburg, 
intending to cross the river there, while Jackson would 
remain to hold our army in check at Harper's Ferry. 
This elicited no reply. On the 6th of October, sug- 
gestions and persuasions having resulted in nothing, 
the President decided to command. General Halleck 
wrote as follows : — 

Major-General McClellan, — I am instructed to tele- 
graph you as follows : The President directs that you cross 


the Potomac and give battle to the enemy or drive him South. 
Your army must move now while the roads are good. If you 
cross the river between the enemy and Washington and cover 
the latter by your operations, you can be reinforced with 
30,000 men. If you move by the valley of the Shenandoah, 
not more than 12,000 or 15,000 can be sent you. The Presi- 
dent advises the interior line between Washington and the 
enemy, but does not order it. He is very desirous that your 
army move as soon as possible. You will immediately report 
what line you adopt, and when you intend to cross the river ; 
also to what point reinforcements are to be sent. It is neces- 
sary that the plan of your operations be positively determined 
on before orders are given for building bridges and repairing 
railroads. I am directed to add that the Secretary of War 
and the general-in-chief fully concur with the President in 
these instructions. 

It was just twenty days after this peremptory order 
before McClellan made a move. Indifferent to the Pre- 
sident's authority, and indifferent to the great advantage 
gained by the enemy by his delay, he dealt with the 
situation as he pleased ; and he pleased to deal with it 
in the manner that would be most injurious to the 
national cause. The moral effect of his delay upon the 
country was little better than as though he had marched 
his army in retreat to Philadelphia. If " actions speak 
louder than words," inaction sometimes speaks louder 
than either. The invasion of Maryland had created a 
panic throughout the country. The invasion of Penn- 
sylvania had seemed imminent. If the battle of An- 
tietam was a Federal victory, McClellan had at first 
treated it as something less. He had stood as if para- 
lyzed, pleading for reinforcements to protect him from 


another encounter which he feared the enemy was about 
to seek. These twenty days of insubordinate idleness 
and sullen defiance of authority were occupied by 
McClellan in demands for horses, tents, clothing, and 
supplies of all kinds, of which it was demonstrated he 
already had all that he needed. 

Although he did not move, he busily wrote about 
moving. On the 7th of October he assured General 
Halleck that not an hour should be lost in carrying his 
instructions of the 6th into effect. He said he should 
cross into Virginia at Harper's Ferry. Three corps 
would, however, be unable to move until they received 
shoes and other articles of clothing. He also wanted 

The War Department had, on the 24th of September, 
published the President's proclamation of September 
22, announcing his purpose of issuing an emancipation 
proclamation on the 1st of January unless the rebels 
should in the mean time lay down their arms. McClel- 
lan, on the 7th of October, issued a general order refer- 
ring to this proclamation, and defining the relations 
between persons in the military service and the civil 
authorities of the government. In this order he stated 
the duty of the armed forces to sustain the civil author- 
ities in making, expounding, and executing the federal 
laws. He said the civil authorities must determine the 
objects of the war and the armies must receive all orders 
through the President. 

Discussions by officers and soldiers concerning public mea- 
sures determined upon and declared by the government, when 
carried at once beyond temperate and respectful expressions 



of opinion, tend greatly to impair and destroy the discipline 
and efficiency of troops. . . . The remedy for political errors, 
if any are committed, is to be found only in the action of the 
people at the polls. 

This might fairly be taken, and was undoubtedly 
intended, as a stump speech against the proclamation, 
and an appeal to the people to vote it down the follow- 
ing month. 

The following letter to Secretary Stanton from F. B. 
Cutting, a distinguished citizen and eminent lawyer of 
New York, is interesting and instructive in this con- 
nection. Its date, October 4, is three days prior to 
the order of General McClellan above referred to : — 

On Thursday last in Baltimore (after I last saw you) I 
heard from authority satisfactory to me that General McClel- 
lan, in the presence of his staff and of a visitor, openly 
denounced the President's proclamation, and declared in sub- 
stance that the army would not fight under it, and that if 
persisted in, he would not serve. My informant promised, 
as I understood him, to communicate the particulars to the 
President, whom he expected to meet in camp near Antietam 
the afternoon of the same day. If he has failed to meet the 
President, the facts, I think, can be ascertained by making 
inquiries of General Burnside or General McClellan himself. 
The general in command of an army may have his own opin- 
ion of the measures and policy of the administration, but if 
in time of war, and in the field, when unanimity of action 
is so indispensable, he should openly discuss and denounce 
them, it is certain that he gives aid and comfort to the 
enemy, creates political discussions among the troops, destroys 
their harmony and efficiency, and paralyzes the efforts of the 
government to subdue the rebellion. Prompt measures, it 
seems to me, ought to be adopted, if upon inquiry the infor- 


mation given to me should prove to be correct, to arrest the 
further diffusion of this poison in the camp. 

On the 10th of October General Halleck notified 
McClellan of a rebel raid made into Pennsylvania, 
and the temporary occupation of Chambersburg. Mc- 
Clellan replied that every disposition had been made to 
cut off the retreat of the enemy's cavalry. The next 
day he telegraphed that he had given every order neces- 
sary to insure the capture or destruction of these forces. 
On the 12th he reported to Halleck that the rebel 
cavalry under Stuart had been entirely around his army 
and safely escaped. He loudly called for more horses. 

As the McClellan press was busy spreading the 
report that McClellan could not move for the want of 
cavalry horses, Mr. Stanton, on the 13th of October, 
called upon Quartermaster-General Meigs for informa- 
tion, in the following letter : — 

General complaint is made by General McClellan of the 
inadequate supply of cavalry horses for his command. Your 
authority has been for a long time unrestricted in that regard, 
and you are expected to spare no effort to secure an ade- 
quate supply. You will please report what efforts have been 
made and are now making by your department for that 
purpose, and whether any and what authority, aid, or instruc- 
tions can be given by the Secretary of War to accomplish the 

To this General Meigs replied that from the 1st of 
September to the 11th of October, he had supplied to 
the Army of the Potomac 8754 horses. This was at 
the rate of 1459 a week ; General McClellan had in- 
formed General Halleck that he had received an aver- 


age of only 150 per week. Instead of 150 a week, he 
had received more than 200 a day. This statement 
was contradicted by McClellan, upon the alleged author- 
ity of a lieutenant-colonel and assistant quartermaster. 
To this General Meigs replied that his own statement 
and that of the lieutenant-colonel were both correct and 
not inconsistent. He said : — 

Both depend upon official reports, but reports of very differ- 
ent transactions. One is a whole, the other a part only of 
the issues. 

To General Halleck McClellan telegraphed October 
21 that ever since he had received the President's order 
(October 6) to move on the enemy, he had been mak- 
ing every exertion to get his army supplied with cloth- 
ing. In fact, he wanted almost everything. Obedience 
by him to the President's order seemed out of the ques- 
tion as long as there was stationery on which to make 
requisitions for what he already had. General Meigs 
replied to this complaint in great detail in a letter to 
General Halleck of October 21, showing that his bureau 
had done its entire duty. That there had been some 
delay in the transportation of such an immense amount 
of supplies as was required by a vast army, he said, was 
unavoidable. But the measures resorted to to expedite 
the movements of the trains were shown to be most effi- 
cient. Indeed, McClellan admitted that he was pretty 
fully supplied on the 21st. On the 22d he telegraphed 
that he had decided to move upon the inner line indi- 
cated by the President in his letter of the 13th. 

On the 25th of October the following letter was 
addressed by Mr. Stanton to General Meigs : — 


It has been publicly alleged that the army under the com- 
mand of General McClellan has been unable to move for 
want of shoes, which it is the duty of the quartermaster's 
department to furnish. You will please report whether there 
has been any failure or neglect to furnish shoes or other sup- 
plies to that army, or meet promptly any requisition for its 
supply upon your department. 

To this General Meigs replied that every requisition 
of General McClellan' s had been promptly met ; that 
special agents had been sent with every shipment to 
prevent delay. He said : — 

Ten days ago, I was assured that every such requisition 
had been filled and forwarded. Within the last two days, 
however, new and large requisitions have been received, which 
are being shipped as rapidly as possible. 

That is to say that while McClellan had informed 
Halleck on the 21st that his wants were substantially 
all supplied, he had two days afterwards made " new 
and large requisitions." Of course the supply had to 
be constant, and, as Meigs said, " continuous, like that 
of a great city whose population it equals in number. 
Were every man well shod and clothed to-day, many 
would be in want to-morrow." After a complete inves- 
tigation of the subject, the general-in-chief, in a let- 
ter to the Secretary of War on the 28th of October, 
said : — 

In my opinion there has been no such want of supplies in 
the army under General McClellan as to prevent his compli- 
ance with the orders to advance against the enemy. 

Mr. Lincoln telegraphed McClellan on the 25th, as 
follows : — 


I have just read your dispatch about sore tongue and 
fatigued horses. Will you pardon me for asking what the 
horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam 
that fatigues anything? 

McClellan replied that they had been " making reeon- 
noissances, scouting, and picketing. ,, 

McClellan would not yet move any of his troops 
until he had renewed a discussion as to the best line to 
take. This he did in a letter to General Halleck of 
October 25, and concluded by saying : — 

An important element in the solution of this problem is 
the fact that a great portion of Bragg' s army is probably now 
at liberty to unite itself with Lee's command. I commence 
crossing the river at Berlin in the morning, and must ask a 
prompt decision of the questions proposed herein. 

Halleck declined to give him any orders as to the 
line he should adopt in advancing upon Lee. He 
said : — 

The government has intrusted you with defeating and 
driving back the rebel army in your front. I shall not 
attempt to control you in the measures you may adopt for 
that purpose. You are informed of my views, but the Presi- 
dent has left you at liberty to adopt them or not, as you may 
deem best. 

I do not think that you need have any fear of Bragg's 
army. You are within twenty miles of Lee's, while Bragg is 
distant about four hundred miles. 

At eight o'clock on the evening of October 26 Mc- 
Clellan at last telegraphed to Halleck that two divisions 
and one brigade of cavalry had crossed the Potomac. 
It was not until November 1, six days later, that he 


telegraphed the President that all of the army except 
Franklin's corps had crossed the Potomac ; that corps 
would follow on that day. Lee and his army had 
crossed forty-four days before. 

On the 6th General Lee wrote to Jefferson Davis 
that McClellan's whole army was moving towards the 
Rappahannock. On the 7th the Federal forces occupied 

Meanwhile, Longstreet had safely reached Culpeper 
Court House, news of which President Lincoln received 
on the 5th of November. It was then forty-nine days 
since the battle of Antietam and Lee's uninterrupted 
retreat. It was thirty days after the President had 
peremptorily ordered McClellan to cross the Potomac 
and give battle. Mr. Lincoln's biographers say : — 

The general's inexplicable slowness had at last excited the 
President's distrust. He began to think before the end of 
October that he had no real desire to beat the enemy. He 
set in his own mind the limit of his forbearance. He adopted 
for his guidance a test which he communicated to no one 
until long afterwards, on which he determined to pass his 
final judgment of McClellan. If he should permit Lee to 
cross the Blue Ridge and place himself between Richmond 
and the Army of the Potomac, he would remove him from 

In a note to this it is stated that " these are the 
President's own words, taken down at the time they 
were uttered." This is upon the authority of the diary 
of Mr. John Hay, one of the President's secretaries at 
the time. 1 

1 Abraham Lincoln : a History, vol. vi. p. 188. 


On the 7th of November the following order was 
delivered to General McClellan at his headquarters near 
Rectortown : — 

By direction of the President of the United States, it is 
ordered that Major-General McClellan be relieved from the 
command of the Army of the Potomac, and that Major-Gen- 
eral Burnside take the command of that army. 

By order of the Secretary of War. 

The following letter from General Halleck was deliv- 
ered to McClellan at the same time : — 

General, — On receipt of the order of the President, sent 
herewith, you will immediately turn over your command to 
Major-General Burnside, and report to Trenton, N. J., re- 
porting on your arrival at that place, by telegraph, for fur- 
ther orders. 

These orders were made upon the general authority 
contained in the following executive order made by 
President Lincoln November 5 : — 

By direction of the President, it is ordered that Major- 
General McClellan be relieved from the command of the 
Army of the Potomac, and that Major-General Burnside take 
the command of that army. Also, that Major-General Hun- 
ter take command of the corps in said army which is now 
commanded by General Burnside. 

That Major-General Fitz John Porter be relieved from the 
command of the corps he now commands in said army, and 
that Major-General Hooker take the command of said corps. 

The general-in-chief is authorized, in his discretion, to issue 
an order substantially as the above, forthwith or so soon as 
he may deem proper. 

A. Lincoln. 


In his " Own Story/' McClellan says : — 

The order depriving me of the command created an im- 
mense deal of deep feeling in the army. So much so that 
many were in favor of my refusing to obey the order, and of 
marching upon Washington and taking possession of the gov- 
ernment. 1 

Graciously declining to do this, he remained until the 
10th ? at Burnside's request, and then disappeared from 
the military field forever. 

Mr. Stanton's old friend, Rev. Heman Dyer, wrote 
him November 11 for some information concerning 
the reasons for McClellan's removal from the command. 
To this Mr. Stanton replied as follows : — 

Dear Sir, — Your note of the 11th instant has remained 
unanswered because of the pressure of business which has left 
me neither time nor strength to respond. 

When General McClellan failed to obey the order of the 
President to move against the enemy, given on the 6th of 
October, I thought he ought to be removed upon the spot. 
Nearly a month's time — enough to have had a victorious cam- 
paign — was lost by his disobedience of orders. When his 
creatures and those who are enemies of the country undertook 
to apologize for his delay by the false pretense that he had 
needed supplies that were withheld from him by the War De- 
partment, my duty to the country required the exposure of 
the falsehood, and I demanded a report on the subject from 
the general-in-chief . 

It is not my fault that he was not removed before the New 
York election, after his disobedience of orders. The loss of 
three weeks' time rests not on my shoulders. In respect to 
any combination by Mr. Chase, Mr. Seward, and myself 
against General McClellan, it is utterly false, for reasons 

1 Own Story, page 652. 


needless to mention ; fire and water would as soon combine. 
Each does his duty as he deems right. In respect to the 
imputation of selfish or ambitious motives, denial is useless. 
Those who make the imputation do it ignorant of my princi- 
ples of action, or with prejudiced feelings, and, like all other 
public men, I must expect and patiently bear misconception 
and false report. 

In respect to the present position of affairs all I can say is 
that the whole power of the government is being put forth 
with more vigor and I think more earnestness on the part of 
military commanders than at any former period. Treason is 
encouraged in the Northern States by the just discontent of 
the people. But believing our national destiny is as immedi- 
ately in the hands of the Most High as ever was [that of] 
the children of Israel, I am not only undismayed, but full of 

For myself, turning neither to the right hand nor the left, 
serving no man and at enmity with none, I shall strive to 
perform my whole duty in the great work before us. Mis- 
takes and faults I no doubt may commit, but the purpose of 
my action shall be single to the public good. 




The Political Campaign of 1862. — Emancipation an Issue. — 
Schemes of the Peace Party as disclosed by its Leaders to the 
British Minister at Washington. — They favored an Armistice, 
with Peace or Disunion. — Union Losses at the Polls. 

During the political campaign of 1862 the Northern 
enemies of the government substantially abandoned all 
discussion of the issues at stake between the rebellion 
and the Union, and devoted their energies to sowing 
dissensions among Union men, with the object of break- 
ing down the administration of Abraham Lincoln. 

During that summer a question of vital importance 
forced itself upon him for final consideration and de- 
termination, and this was the question of emancipation. 
From the commencement it had been evident to all the 
world that slavery, if not the real cause of the war, was 
at least the subject upon which the disunionists had 
been able to bring the body of the Southern people to 
the support of their cause. President Lincoln, himself 
a native of the border slave State of Kentucky, had been 
keenly alive to the fact that a considerable Union senti- 
ment existed in the northern tier of slave States, and 


he had labored to foster that sentiment by a policy 
which should make it entirely possible for patriotic pro- 
slavery men to sustain the government in its struggle 
with the rebellion. In the free States also there was a 
large element of patriotic men who, by force of habit 
and long political training and association, were not 
only tolerant of slavery, but also intolerant of all shades 
of political opinion in opposition to it. He believed, 
during the first year of the war, that a union of all 
Union men without regard to their views on slavery 
was of the highest importance, and that the rebellion 
could be weakened only by dividing the friends of that 
institution. The second year of the war brought very 
marked changes of opinion on the slavery question, and 
the manner in which it should be dealt with. It was 
found that the exactions of the border State pro-slavery 
men could not be conceded without alienating the great 
body of the Northern unionists. The President urged 
these slave-owners to consent to emancipation with com- 
pensation in the border States. At his suggestion the 
following joint resolution was adopted by Congress and 
approved by him on the 10th of April, 1862 : — 

JResolved, That the United States ought to cooperate 
with any State which may adopt gradual abolishment of 
slavery, giving to such State pecuniary aid, to be used by 
such State, in its discretion, to compensate for the inconven- 
iences, public and private, produced by such change of system. 

He continued these efforts up to July, 1862, but his 
overtures were all declined. On the 12th of that month 
the members of Congress from the border States had an 


interview with him on the subject, but his labor with 
them was in vain. 

As late as August, 1862, Mr. Lincoln wrote to Horace 
Greeley : — 

My paramount object is to save the Union, and not either 
to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union with- 
out freeing any slave, I would do it ; and if I could save it 
by 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. ... I have here stated my purpose according to my 
view of official duty, and I intend no modification of my oft- 
expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free. 

There was by this time but little division among the 
Union men at the North. The great body of them 
believed the destruction of slavery to be a necessary 
measure for the successful prosecution of the war, and 
their judgment in this regard was no doubt arrived at 
all the easier from the strong feeling of resentment 
against the institution in behalf of which the rebellion 
was being waged. 

Congress had moved slowly in its anti-slavery legisla- 
tion, but it had moved. In August, 1861, it passed a 
law giving freedom to all slaves who had been employed 
by their masters in aid of military purposes. In March, 
1862, it enacted an article of war dismissing from the 
service military officers who should surrender fugitive 
slaves escaping into Federal camps within the enemy's 
lines. In April, 1862, it abolished slavery in the Dis- 
trict of Columbia. In June, 1862, it prohibited slavery 
in all the Territories, and in July, 1862, it authorized the 
organization of negro troops. The Confiscation Act of 


July, 1862, freed all slaves of rebels who might come 
into the Federal lines or be captured from their masters. 
The disastrous peninsular campaign resulted in inten- 
sifying anti-slavery sentiment in the North. As the 
Union cause waned in the border slave States, the cause 
of emancipation gathered momentum in the free States. 
On the 22d of July the President read at a meeting 
of his Cabinet the draft of a preliminary emancipation 
proclamation. In this document he proposed merely to 
give notice that unless the rebels should lay down their 
arms and submit to the national authority before the 
1st of January following, he would on that day issue 
a proclamation emancipating the slaves within the 
enemy's lines. The following is an exact copy of rough 
minutes of the proceeding on that occasion, in the hand- 
writing of Mr. Stanton : — 

Tuesday, July 22. 

The President proposes to issue an order declaring that, all 
slaves in States in rebellion on the . . . day of . . . 

The Attorney-General and Stanton are for its immediate 

Seward against it ; argues strongly in favor of cotton and 
foreign governments. 

Chase silent. 

Welles . . . 

Seward argues . . . That foreign nations will intervene to 
prevent the abolition of slavery for sake of cotton. Argues 
in a long speech against its immediate promulgation. Wants 
to wait for troops. Wants Halleck here Wants drum and 
fife and public spirit. We break up our relations with foreign 
nations and the production of cotton for sixty years. 

Chase . . . Thinks it a measure of great danger, and would 
lead to universal emancipation. . . . The measure goes beyond 
anything I (Chase) have recommended. 



ites of cabinet muling on Emancipation. July 22. fS62~) 

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Mr. Lincoln decided to postpone the proclamation ; he 
preferred to issue it after a military success rather than 
after a series of military disasters. It was published 
on the 22d day of September, — three days after the 
battle of Antietam. 

This of course introduced the slavery issue directly 
into the political campaign. Although emancipation 
was not to be proclaimed if the rebels should lay down 
their arms, it was not believed in any quarter that the 
rebels would submit to the federal authority. A vote 
for the Union Republican party would, therefore, be a 
vote for emancipation. An appeal was made to the 
laboring people to vote against emancipation, because it 
would bring the emancipated slaves to the North to 
compete with white labor. Like all the war measures 
which had preceded it, it encountered the opposition of 
the anti-war orators and writers, who professed to see in 
it a dangerous assault upon the Constitution. They 
could not bear to see the rebellion hindered from de- 
stroying both the Union and the Constitution, because 
all forms of opposition to the rebellion seemed to them 
to be forbidden by the Constitution. 

As shown in the last chapter, General McClellan, in 
an order referring to the proclamation, delivered a 
homily to the army as to the " remedy for political 
errors, if any are committed." In conversations also he 
threw the weight of his influence against the proclama- 
tion. In short, McClellanism was a demoralizing politi- 
cal force throughout the entire political campaign of 
1862, and immediately afterwards made its alliance with 
the other elements of opposition to the administration. 

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The elections resulted in the triumph of the anti-war 
party in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, 
Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin ; the Union party pre- 
vailed, however, by securing a reduced majority in the 
House of Eepresentatives. There were genuine union- 
ists who were not Eepublicans, and there were professed 
unionists who always voted on the other side. To 
distinguish between these two classes the term " Uncon- 
ditional Unionists " came into use. 

The strength of the Unconditional Unionists elected as 
Representatives in Congress was 102 ; that of all shades 
of the opposition was 86, — a clear majority of only 16. 1 

At no period during the war was the Union cause in 
such imminent peril as during the political campaign of 
1862. Had the election been for a President, the result 
would have given but 82 electors to the Union party, 
and 133 to the opposition. The outburst of patriotic 
enthusiasm which followed Mr. Lincoln's first call for 
troops in 1861, and which a friendly French writer 2 
wrote of as " the uprising of a great people," had been 
dulled by the plots and counterplots of political and 
military factionists, who thought their own personal 
ambitions and interests could best be promoted by the 

1 This same House of Representatives, however, on the 31st of January, 
1865, gave 119 votes in favor of the resolution to abolish slavery by a 
constitutional amendment, the negative vote being 56. Eight of the oppo- 
sition did not vote. Had they voted, the vote would have stood 119 to 64, 
and the amendment would have been defeated for the want of a two 
thirds' vote. Such had been the progress of public sentiment that seven- 
teen members elected in opposition to the administration in 1862 acted 
with the Republicans on this important occasion in 1865, while eight of 
the opposition abstained from voting. Five were absent. 

2 Count Emile Gasparin. 


failure of the Union armies. Mingling with these were 
rebel emissaries operating under the names of conserva- 
tives and Democrats. A single case serves as an illus- 
tration. Clement L. Vallandigham, of Ohio, a distin- 
guished citizen and an ex-member of Congress, was 
arrested in May, 1863, upon a charge of "publicly 
expressing sympathy for those in arms against the gov- 
ernment of the United States, and declaring disloyal 
sentiments and opinions with the object and purpose of 
weakening the powers of the government in its efforts 
to suppress an unlawful rebellion." He was found 
guilty by a military tribunal, and sentenced to close 
confinement in some fortress during the continuance 
of the war. President Lincoln caused him to be sent 
South into the enemy's lines with an order that, in case 
of his return, he should serve out the above sentence. 
In reply to a remonstrance against these proceedings 
Mr. Lincoln said : — 

Mr. Vallandigham's views are hostile to the war on the part 
of the Union, and his arrest was made because he was laboring 
with some effect to prevent the raising of troops, to encourage 
desertions from the army, and to leave the rebellion without 
any adequate military force to suppress it. . . . He was war- 
ring upon the military, and this gave the military constitu- 
tional jurisdiction to lay hands upon him. 

Vallandigham ran the blockade and made his way 
to Windsor in Canada, from whence he conducted a 
political campaign for the governorship of Ohio, for 
which office he was nominated by the Democratic con- 
vention of that State on the 11th of June. He was 
defeated at the polls by a majority of 101,000. 



A law of Ohio, as of some other States, allowed 
volunteer troops from the State to cast their votes 
wherever they might be located in the field, and send 
them home to be counted. Notwithstanding the conduct 
of Vallandigham, and the disabilities under which he 
labored, 2391 Ohio volunteers in the field were induced 
to cast their votes for him. The soldier votes cast for 
his opponent were 41,453. 

But nowhere were the purposes of the Northern sym- 
pathizers with the rebellion more completely exposed 
than in a letter from their friend, Lord Lyons, then the 
British minister at Washington, to Earl Russell, the 
British Premier, dated at Washington, November 17, 
1862. This missive was on the subject of mediation, 
and the writer was informing his government as nearly 
as possible of the relative strength of the United States 
government and its domestic enemies. The reader need 
not be reminded of the eagerness with which the British 
ministry was at that time watching for a favorable 
opportunity for intervention in behalf of the Southern 

Lord Lyons starts out by observing that " the success 
of the Democratic, or (as it now styles itself) the con- 
servative party, has been so great as to manifest a change 
in public feeling, among the most rapid and the most 
complete that has ever been witnessed, even in this 

He continues : — 

On my arrival at New York on the 8th instant, I found 
the conservative leaders exulting in the crowning success 
achieved by the party in that State. 


Among the results which leaders expected from their 
victory within the State, " they seemed/' he said, " to 
be persuaded that the result of the elections would be 
accepted by the President as a declaration of the will of 
the people ; that he should increase the moderate and 
conservative element in his Cabinet ; that he would seek 
to terminate the war, not to push it to extremity ; that 
he would endeavor to effect a reconciliation with the 
people of the South, and renounce the idea of subju- 
gating or exterminating them." 

His Lordship thus records the disastrous ending of 
this dream. He says : — 

On the following morning, however, intelligence arrived 
from Washington which dashed the rising hopes of the con- 
servatives. It was announced that General McClellan had 
been dismissed from the command of the Army of the Potomac, 
and ordered to repair to his home ; that he had in fact been 
removed altogether from active service. The general had 
been regarded as the representative of conservative principles 
in the army. Support of him had been made one of the arti- 
cles of the conservative electoral programme. His dismissal 
was taken as a sign that the President had thrown himself 
entirely into the arms of the extreme radical party, and that 
the attempt to carry out the policy of that party would be 
persisted in. The irritation of the conservatives at New York 
was certainly very great; it seemed, however, to be not 
unmixed with consternation and despondency. 

Here is the testimony of a friendly witness that Gen- 
eral McClellan represented " the conservative principles 
in the army," such as would oppose pushing the war to 
extremity, and would place men like Vallandigham and 
Seymour at the head of state administrations. 


Lord Lyons continued : — 

Several of the leaders of the Democratic party sought in- 
terviews with me, both before and after the arrival of the 
intelligence of General McClellan's dismissal. The subject 
uppermost in their minds while they were speaking to me was 
naturally that of foreign mediation between the North and 

They were " afraid it would come too soon/' and 
" afford the radical party a means of reviving the vio- 
lent war spirit, and of thus defeating the peaceful plans 
of the conservatives." They thought it had better be 
" deferred until the control of the executive government 
should be in the hands of the conservative party/' — 
that is to say, until Governor Seymour should be inau- 
gurated as governor in New York. The British diplo- 
mat gave no opinion, but listened attentively. He tells 
us that he gathered from the declared plans and hopes 
of the conservative party what he thought to be a desire 
to put an end to the war even at the risk of losing the 
Southern States altogether, but it was plain that it was 
not thought prudent to avow this desire. Some hints, 
he said, of this, " dropped before the election, were so ill 
received that a strong declaration in the contrary sense 
was deemed necessary by the Democratic leaders." 

He continues : — 

At the present moment, therefore, the chiefs of the con- 
servative party call loudly for a more vigorous prosecution of 
the war, and reproach the government with slackness as well 
as with want of success in its military measures. 

He stated the conservative programme to be an armis- 
tice followed by a convention to amend the Constitution 


in a manner pleasing to the South, in order to restore 
peace and harmony between the sections. He expressed 
the opinion that the more sagacious members of the party 
were well aware that Southern independence would fol- 
low an armistice, and that they preferred this to prose- 
cuting a a cruel and hopeless war." These patriotic 
" conservatives " impressed Lord Lyons with the idea 
that he might injure the rebel cause by offering foreign 
mediation " at an unpropitious moment/' because " it 
might increase the virulence with which the war is 
prosecuted." With their own party in power, they told 
him that they would desire that the offer of mediation 
should come from the great powers of Europe jointly, 
and in particular that as little prominence as possible 
should be given to Great Britain. 

Upon the whole Lord Lyons advised his government 
against an offer of mediation. He thought it might 
" embarrass the peace party, and even oblige them, in 
order to maintain their popularity, to make some decla- 
ration against it, and this might make it difficult for 
them to accept a similar offer at a more propitious time." 

His Lordship was evidently well informed as to the 
inflexible purpose of the unionists to preserve the gov- 
ernment. He seemed to be under the impression that 
the House of Representatives just elected, and which 
would come in on the 4th of the following March, would 
be controlled by the Democratic or conservative party. 
But the election returns were not then all in. The 
letter is a most instructive one, as showing the length 
to which the anti-war party leaders were willing to go. 1 

1 McPherson's History of the Rebellion, page 357. 


Emancipation Proclamation. — Mr. Stanton on its Advantages. 

On the 1st of January, 1863, Mr. Lincoln executed 
the purpose announced by him on the 22d of Septem- 
ber preceding, by the issuance of his proclamation of 
emancipation. By it all the slaves within the rebel 
lines as defined by the proclamation were declared to be 
free. The military and naval authorities were required 
to recognize and maintain their freedom. The eman- 
cipated people were enjoined to abstain from violence 
except in self-defense, and recommended to labor faith- 
fully for reasonable wages. The proclamation declared 
that " such persons of suitable condition will be received 
into the armed service of the United States to garrison 
forts, positions, stations, and other purposes, and to man 
vessels of all sorts in said service." The proclamation 
was based upon military necessity. 

Up to this time the slaves of the rebels had been to 
them an element of strength. They cultivated the 
fields as they had always done, faithfully guarded the 
homes of their owners who were absent in the military 
service of the Confederacy, and served as teamsters and 
laborers in that service, their only pay being their 
coarse rations and clothing. The people of the South, 
who looked with brave composure on the slain of their 
youth and manhood, and who accepted the devastation 


of their property as the natural result of war, could not 
bring themselves to contemplate such a thing as break- 
ing the bonds of the slaves. The loyal people of the 
North were greatly divided upon the subject. While a 
large element had from the outset favored the imme- 
diate crippling of this strong arm of the South, another 
large element labored under the strange hallucination 
that while it was the duty of the government to utterly 
destroy the rebel cause by destroying its army, it would 
be wrong to free their slaves. Mr. Stanton was one of 
those who found no guarantees in the national Consti- 
tution which could protect a public enemy from a blow 
that would weaken his resources and strengthen the 
government for the preservation of the Union. In his 
annual report of 1862 he gave the following powerful 
array of the advantages which emancipation offered the 
Union cause : — 

It is seen that force has been placed by the United States 
at the command of the government to maintain its authority 
more mighty in all the elements of warfare than was ever 
before arrayed under one banner. How shall that force be 
employed ? To smite the enemy on every hand, to attack his 
armies and strongholds, to occupy his ports, clear the great 
rivers of the West from his obstructions, and pause not 
until he is subdued, is our great duty. Above all it is our 
legitimate duty to disdain no legitimate aid that may save 
the lives of our gallant soldiers, diminish their labors, pro- 
vide for their wants, and lessen the burdens of our people. 
No aphorism is more universally received than that " the sole 
object of a just war is to make the enemy feel the evils of his 
injustice, and by his sufferings amend his ways ; he must, 
therefore, be attacked in the most accessible quarter." The 


power of the rebels rests upon their peculiar system of labor, 
which keeps laborers on their plantations to support owners 
who are devoting their time and strength to destroy our 
armies and destroy our government. Whenever that system 
is in hostility to the government, it is, in my opinion, the duty 
of those conducting the war to strike down the system and 
turn against the rebels the productive power that supports 
the insurrection. Rightly organized in the recovered terri- 
tory, the laborers of the rebel States will not only aid in hold- 
ing fortified positions, but their labor will, as in India, free 
the white soldiers from the most unwholesome exposure of 
the South. They will cultivate the corn and forage which 
will feed our cavalry and artillery horses, and save the coun- 
try a portion of the enormous burden now attending their 
purchase and transportation from the North. This cultiva- 
tion would have been of greater advantage to us on the south- 
eastern coast than even that of the great staple of the Sea 
Islands. Probably the people who remained upon these 
islands, within protection of our armies, could, under wise 
control, have supplied all the forage needed this year by the 
forces in the Department of the South. The full ration for 
a horse weighs twenty-six pounds, that of a soldier three 
pounds. An army well organized and equipped for active 
operations, with a due proportion of cavalry, artillery, and 
baggage trains, will have not less than one horse or mule to 
every four soldiers, so that the weight of food for the animals 
is more than double that of the rations for the men. How 
important an aid, how great an economy, in a long contest, 
therefore, there would be in raising by this cheap labor the 
greater part of the forage alone for the Southern depart- 
ment, — thus, for a great portion of our wants, transferring 
the base of supplies now at New York to Hilton Head or 
New Orleans. 

This department has found it difficult to transfer this labor 
from one part of the seat of war to another. Local and 


family ties seem to be very strong with these people, and, 
with all their faith in the power and good will of our military 
commanders, it was found difficult to get volunteer laborers 
to leave Port Royal for other depots. 

A population of four millions, true to the interests of the 
Union, with a slight assistance from the army, will, under 
proper regulation and government, be of the greatest assist- 
ance in holding the territory once recovered. The principal 
staples of the South are the products exclusively of their 
labor. If protected upon the lands they have heretofore cul- 
tivated, with some organization, and with support from loyal 
detachments of colored troops, they would not only produce 
much of what is needed to feed our armies and their trains, but 
that would forever cut off from the rebellion the resources of 
a country thus occupied. 

The rebel armies move with ease through portions of the 
border States, living upon the country in which our com- 
manders find no supplies. The people bring forth their 
hoards and offer them to the rebels for sale or gift. Protect 
the laboring population, who are the majority in the greater 
part of the South, in possession of the land and its products, 
and this great advantage will, for whatever portion of the 
country we occupy, be transferred to us. As soon as the 
coast is thoroughly occupied and the people organized, trade 
will revive. Cotton, rice, sugar, and other products will be 
exchanged by the producer for what he needs. Their wants 
will be supplied direct from the Northern factories, and the 
cultivation of the great staples will pay for what they use. 
A perfectly free trade may thus again grow up between the 
North and South, and, with greater or less rapidity, it will 
spread over the whole country as our forces succeed in meet- 
ing and dispersing the rebel armies. 

The greater part of the whole country which formerly pro- 
duced the sea-island cotton is now thoroughly restored to the 
Union. The laborers are there — the soil and climate. It 


needs only assurances of protection to revive the cultivation 
of the staple, as well as to produce vast quantities of corn 
and forage for our troops. Since this war must be conducted 
by marches, and battles, and sieges, why neglect the best 
means to make them successful and their results permanent? 
It is worthy of notice that thus far the portions of terri- 
tory which, once recovered, we have most firmly held, are 
precisely those in which the greatest proportion of colored 
men are found. By their assistance our armies will be able 
permanently to operate in and occupy the country ; and in 
labor for the army in raising its and their own supplies, full 
occupation can be given them, and with this there will be 
neither occasion nor temptation to them to emigrate to a 
northern and less congenial climate. Judging by experience, 
no colored man will leave his home in the South if protected 
in that home. All possibility of competition from negro 
labor in the North is avoided by giving colored men protec- 
tion and employment upon the soil which they have thus far 
cultivated, and the right to which has been vacated by the 
original proprietors, deeply involved in the crimes of treason 
and rebellion. No great territory has been permanently 
reduced without depriving the leaders of its people of their 
lands and property. It is these that give power and in- 
fluence. Few men have the commanding genius and talent 
to exercise dangerous influence over their fellow-men without 
the adventitious aid of money and of property. By striking 
down this system of compulsory labor, which enables the 
leaders of the rebellion to control the resources of the people, 
the rebellion would die of itself. 

Under no circumstances has any disposition to servile 
insurrection been exhibited by the Southern colored popula- 
tion in any Southern States, while a strong loyalty to the 
federal government has been displayed on every occasion and 
against every discouragement. 


Military Movements in the West. — Perryville, Murfreesboro. — 
The Fall of Vicksburg. 

While Lee was advancing into Maryland early in 
September, after the defeat of our armies in northern 
Virginia under Pope, General Bragg led a Confederate 
movement into Kentucky. He was followed by Gen- 
eral Buell, but eluded him, and succeeded in occupying 
Frankfort, the capital of the State, on the 4th of Octo- 
ber, long enough to go partially through the motions 
of inaugurating a Confederate governor of the pre- 
tended Confederate State of Kentucky. This comedy 
was interrupted by the approach of Buell. On the 
8th of October the hard-fought battle of Perryville 
resulted in driving Bragg and his army from the State. 
Buell's failure to meet the President's expectation by 
occupying east Tennessee resulted in his removal from 
the command on the 24th of October. Rosecrans, who 
succeeded him, established himself at Nashville early 
in November. 

A second northward movement of Bragg was met by 
Rosecrans. The battle of Murfreesboro or Stone River, 
one of the most deadly battles of the war, resulted in 
Bragg' s defeat and the abandonment of the Confeder- 
ate hope of crossing the Ohio River. The fighting 
commenced on the 31st of December, continuing until 


night, paused during the whole of New Year's Day, 
and was resumed and finished on the 2d of January, 
1863. The rebel losses were 14,700; the Federal 
losses 13,500, of which there were 1500 killed, and 
7000 wounded. Each army lost about one fourth of 
its number. Secretary Stanton, in his annual report 
of 1862, gave the following summary of what had been 
accomplished by the Union armies up to that time : — 

From a survey of the whole field of operations, it is appar- 
ent that, whatever disasters our arms may have suffered at 
particular points, a great advance has nevertheless been made 
since the commencement of the war. When it began, the 
enemy were in possession of Norfolk and every part of the 
Southern coast. They held the Mississippi from Cairo to 
New Orleans. Now, the blockaded ports of Charleston and 
Mobile alone remain to them on the seaboard, and New Or- 
leans and Memphis have been wrested from them. Their 
possession of Vicksburg obstructs the Mississippi, but it is to 
them of no commercial use. Their strongholds on the Ten- 
nessee and Cumberland rivers have been captured. General 
Andrew Johnson, as military governor of Tennessee, holds 
Nashville. The enemy have been driven from Kentucky, 
west Tennessee, Missouri, part of Arkansas, are fleeing be- 
fore Grant in Mississippi, and all their hopes in Maryland 
are cut off. In commercial, political, and strategical points 
of view, more success has attended the Union cause than was 
ever witnessed upon so large a theatre in the same brief 
period against so formidable an enemy. 

The military operations in the West during the first 
half of 1863 were directed by General Grant for the 
control of the Mississippi River by a campaign against 
Vicksburg. The object was achieved by a long siege, 


a succession of brilliant movements, and the capture of 
the city and the army defending it on the 4th of July 
of that year. It is not within the scope of this work 
to follow these vast operations. 

General Grant's official summary of the operations 
against Vicksburg is as follows : — 

The result of this campaign has been the defeat of the 
enemy in five battles outside of Vicksburg ; the occupation 
of Jackson, the capital of the State of Mississippi, and the 
capture of Vicksburg and its garrison and munitions of war ; 
a loss to the enemy of thirty-seven thousand (37,000) prison- 
ers, among whom were fifteen general officers ; at least ten 
thousand killed and wounded, and among the killed, Generals 
Tracy, Tilghman, and Green ; and hundreds, and perhaps 
thousands, of stragglers, who can never be collected and reor- 
ganized. Arms and munitions of war for an army of sixty 
thousand men have fallen into our hands, besides a large 
amount of other public property, consisting of railroads, loco- 
motives, cars, steamboats, cotton, etc., and much destroyed to 
prevent our capturing it. 

He reported the Federal losses at 243 killed, 7095 
wounded, and 507 missing, and said : — 

Of the wounded many were but slightly wounded and con- 
tinue on duty. Many more required but a few days or weeks 
for their recovery. Not more than half of the wounded were 
permanently disabled. 

General Halleck, in his annual report, said of Gen- 
eral Grant's operations : — 

When we consider the character of the country in which 
this army operated, the formidable obstacles to be overcome, 
the number of forces and the strength of the enemy's works, 
we cannot fail to admire the courage and endurance of the 


troops, and the skill and daring of their commander. No 
more brilliant exploit can be found in military history. 

The fall of Vicksburg was followed by the fall of 
Port Hudson, which had been invested by General 
Banks in May. 


Military Movements in the East. — Burnside and Hooker. — Fred- 
ericksburg and Chancellorsville. — Lee's Invasion of Maryland 
and Pennsylvania. — Conference between President Lincoln and 
Secretary Stanton on the Eve of the Battle of Gettysburg results 
in relieving Hooker, and the Appointment of Meade to Com- 
mand. — The Great Victory. — Meade's Failure to pursue Lee. — 
Mr. Lincoln at Gettysburg. — His Speech at the Dedication of 
the National Cemetery. 

General A. E. Burnside had, in November, 1862, 
succeeded McClellan in the command of the Army of 
the Potomac. On the 13th of December was fought 
the battle of Fredericksburg, resulting in disaster to the 
Federal arms, the Union losses being more than 13,000, 
and those of the Confederates over 5000. 

On the 26th of January, 1863, General Burnside was 
superseded by General Hooker. The latter succeeded no 
better than his predecessor. The battle of Chancellors- 
ville, after three days' fighting, — May 2, 3, and 4, — 
resulted in the retreat of the Army of the Potomac to 
the north bank of the Rappahannock on the 6th. Mr. 
Stanton, on the 8th of May, sent the following dis- 
patch to the governors of the Northern States for the 
obvious purpose of reassuring the Northern people : — 

The President and general-in-chief have just returned from 
the Army of the Potomac. The principal operations of Gen- 
eral Hooker failed, but there has been no serious disaster to 


the organization and efficiency of the troops. It is now occu- 
pying its former position on the Rappahannock, having re- 
crossed the river without any loss in the movement. Not 
more than one third of General Hooker's force was engaged. 
General Stoneman's operations have been a brilliant success. 
Part of his force advanced to within two miles of Richmond, 
and the enemy's communications have been cut in every direc- 
tion. The Army of the Potomac will speedily resume offensive 

The Army of the Potomac remained inactive, after 
the battle of Chancellorsville in May, for more than 
a month. Its ranks had been depleted by losses in 
the latter battle, and by the expiration of the terms of 
service of about 20,000 of its men. Early in June a 
reconnoissance in force made it evident that Lee was 
preparing for a movement to the northward. A large 
body of the enemy had moved into the Shenandoah 
Valley. Winchester and Martinsburg, then occupied 
by our forces, were captured, the former on the 13th, 
and the latter on the 14th of June. On the 15th a 
cavalry force of the rebels, estimated at 2000, crossed 
the Potomac and advanced to Chambersburg in Penn- 
sylvania. On the same day the President issued a 
proclamation, announcing that inroads into the States 
of Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio 
were threatened, and that an immediate additional 
force was necessary. He therefore called for 100,000 
militia from these four States : 10,000 from Maryland, 
50,000 from Pennsylvania, 30,000 from Ohio, and 
10,000 from West Virginia. 

On the same day he telegraphed to Governor Sey- 


mour calling for 20,000 militia. The governor's 
promptness in responding to this call was acknow- 
ledged by the Secretary. 

A call upon the State of New Jersey was responded 
to with equal promptness. Within five days 20,000 
citizens of Pennsylvania had taken the field. 

Meanwhile General Hooker occupied the position 
which he deemed necessary for the protection of Wash- 
ington. On the 24th of June General Lee crossed the 
Potomac into Maryland with the main body of his 
army, and advanced rapidly into Pennsylvania. Car- 
lyle, Kingston, Gettysburg, York, and Chambersburg 
were speedily occupied by his forces. The Confeder- 
ates moved on the west side of the Blue Ridge, while 
Hooker moved the Army of the Potomac on the east 
side, thus covering Washington. While the last of 
the Confederates were crossing the river at Williams- 
port and Shepherdstown on the 26th, General Hooker 
was crossing it at Edwards's Ferry. 

On the 27th the startling announcement was made 
that Hooker had resigned, and that General Meade had 
been placed in command. There was no criticism upon 
General Hooker's movements or the disposition of 
his troops. It was given out that he had demanded to 
be reinforced by the troops at Harper's Ferry; that 
Halleck, then the general-in-chief, had refused them ; 
that Hooker had at once tendered his resignation of 
the command, and it had been promptly accepted. Be- 
neath the single incident of the refusal of Hooker's 
request there were stronger reasons. An authentic 
account of a conference between the President and 



Secretary Stanton on the subject of superseding Gen- 
eral Hooker was furnished to the author some years 
ago by a well-known and highly respected citizen and 
banker of Pittsburg. 1 It indicates the reason for so 
readily accepting Hooker's resignation. The narrator 
says : — 


I learned some facts after this battle from James A. 
Hutchison, Mr. Stanton's brother-in-law, who related them to 
me, having received the information from the Secretary of 
War himself. I made no memorandum then, which I regret 
that I did not do. I will try and reproduce the substance of 
the conversation as near as I can in Mr. Hutchison's words, 
from memory, which you know from the lapse of time is rather 
fallacious. Gettysburg battle was the great event that broke 
the back of the rebellion. I had a dear son in it, who was an 
officer of the 6th corps, and did his duty. Every circum- 
stance relating to it made an impression at the time upon my 

The eve of the battle of Gettysburg was in one of the dark- 
est periods in our country's history. The loss of the battle 
of Chancellorsville had raised to exultation the spirits of the 
South, and depressed in the same measure the Northern 
heart. General Lee and his legions crossed the Potomac, 
marched over Maryland, and threatened Pennsylvania. The 
Confederates were on the advance, and the Union army corps 
were on their march from the Potomac, keeping Washington 
on their right for its protection. 

It was night in Washington. The President wore a 
gloomy face as he entered the War Department by the 
urgent request of Secretary Stanton. Neither spoke for a 
while. Mr. Lincoln at last said: "Stanton, you want to 

1 John Harper. 


speak to me ; you have something to communicate ; let us 
calmly counsel with each other : I am ready to listen." The 
Secretary replied : " Yes, I do want to say something to you. 
I want to tell you the trouble that oppresses me at this time ; 
I '11 not mince words, for I feel you want to know the worst." 
" I do," said Mr. Lincoln ; " speak out, then, I '11 be listener." 
Mr. Stanton in brief language told him that he dreaded the 
issue of the coming battle, with Lee's conscious ability and 
the animating spirit of his army, on the one side, and Hooker, 
a beaten general, commanding men who still remembered 
their defeat in Virginia, on the other side. " In short," said 
Mr. Stanton, " I have not confidence in General Hooker, 
though his personal courage I do not question." " I don't 
disagree with you," said the President, " but you recollect the 
old saying, ' While crossing a stream it is too late to swap 
horses.' Stanton, have you any other general to suggest ? " 
He replied : " I have thought of General Sedgwick, but you 
know he will not accept. I have thought of others, and 
arrived at the same conclusion. The best of them are not 
without detractors. There is one that I would suggest, Gen- 
eral Meade, with whose record and ability I could find no 
fault ; and as a Pennsylvanian he has patriotism enough to 
draw out all the latent energies of his nature." " And will 
fight well on his own dunghill," interposed the President. 
" Yes, yes, he would never disgrace the State ! " " Stanton, 
there is no time to be lost. You must have conceived a plan. 
If you can satisfy my judgment that this expedient will prove 
a master-stroke, and lead to success, I will cooperate with you, 
and give it my approval." Secretary Stanton then detailed 
his plans. The orders and papers, all written out, were 
taken up seriatim and discussed, and the papers executed. A 
locomotive engine was in readiness, fired up ; orders were 
placed in the hands of a tried officer of the regular army, 
who had precise instructions how to proceed. The first was 
to go forward to the headquarters of General Meade, who 


was ordered by a paper delivered to him to take command 
of the army ; the second was to deliver to General Hooker 
orders which informed him that he was superseded by Gen- 
eral Meade ; and all conditions were fully arranged to give 
simultaneous intelligence to the corps and division command- 
ers in the field, of the President's order for the change, so 
that immediate intelligence to all subordinate officers might 
be given to the soldiers under their command. These orders 
were announced and acquiesced in, and a new spirit wakened 
among the rank and file of the army. 

All the world knows the story of Gettysburg. It 
was to the rebels the greatest disaster of the war up 
to that time. To the Army of the Potomac it was a 
compensation for all the disasters and hardships it had 
suffered. The exaltation of the country was at a high 
pitch, and higher yet rose the tide of rejoicing when, 
on the 7th, dispatches were received at Washington 
containing the news of the surrender of Vicksburg on 
the 4th. 

It is true that General Meade was severely criticised 
for having permitted Lee to escape with his army. 
General Halleck wrote him that this had " created dis- 
satisfaction in the mind of the President," and that 
this impression could only be removed by an active 
and energetic pursuit of the enemy. 

To a friend in Pennsylvania Mr. Stanton wrote on 
the 22d of July, as follows : — 

As long as General Meade remains in command he will 
receive the cordial support of the department, but since the 
world began no man ever lost so great an opportunity of 
serving his country as was lost by his neglecting to strike his 
adversary at Williamsport. 


General Meade had allowed his antagonist to cross 
the Susquehanna River with his entire army unmolested, 
a seeming want of enterprise equaled only by that of 
General McClellan after the battle of Antietam. It 
became known almost immediately afterwards that the 
enemy had exhausted his ammunition, and would have 
been compelled to surrender if General Meade had fol- 
lowed up his victory. 

The National Cemetery located on the battlefield of 
Gettysburg was dedicated on the 19th of November 
following the battle. Mr. Lincoln's speech on that 
occasion is immortal. It is printed as often as its pro- 
duction is deemed to be justified by the surroundings. 
Following this example, it is here inserted : — 


Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth 
upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and 
dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. 
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether 
that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can 
long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. 
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final 
resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that 
nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that 
we should do this. But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, 
we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The 
brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have conse- 
crated it far above our power to add or detract. The world 
will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it 
can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, 
rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which 


they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It 
is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task re- 
maining before us, that from these honored dead we take 
increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last 
full measure of devotion ; that we here highly resolve that 
these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, 
under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that 
government of the people, by the people, and for the people, 
shall not perish from the earth. 

The following are characteristic both of Mr. Lincoln 
and Mr. Stanton : — 

War Department, Washington City, 
November 17, 1863. 

Mr. President, — It is proposed by the B. and O. Koad, — 

1st. To leave Washington Thursday morning at six A. M., 

2d. To leave Baltimore at eight a. m., arriving at Gettys- 
burg at twelve noon, thus giving two hours to view the grounds 
before the dedication ceremonies commence. 

3d. To leave Gettysburg at six p. M. and arrive at Wash- 
ington at midnight, thus all done in one day. 

Mr. Smith says the Northern Central Koad agrees to this 

Please consider it, and if any change is desired let me 
know so that it can be made. 

Yours truly, 

Edwin M. Stanton. 

Mr. Lincoln's reply in his own handwriting is indorsed 
on the back of this letter, as follows : — 

I do not like this arrangement. I do not wish to so go, 
that by the slightest accident we fail entirely ; and, at the best, 


the whole to be a mere breathless running of the gauntlet. 
But, any way. 

A. Lincoln. 

November 17, 1863. 

His objections prevailed, and the party went to 
Gettysburg on the 18th ? returning on the following 


The New York Draft-Riots. — Unwise Provisions in Conscription 
Act utilized by the Anti-War Faction. — Active Measures re- 
stored Order. — Mr. Stanton's Letter against submitting the 
Constitutionality of the Law to the State Tribunal. — If States 
can obstruct Federal Laws, the Rebellion is consummated. 

One of the modes most relied upon by the Northern 
sympathizers with the rebellion to serve that cause in 
1863 was resistance to the draft. This movement was 
on foot while Lee was yet gayly marching into Mary- 
land and Pennsylvania, and before his campaign had 
resulted in the Union victory at Gettysburg ; indeed, 
it seemed a part of the Confederate summer campaign. 

In the hope of filling the ranks of the army more 
rapidly than could be done by volunteering alone, 
Congress, on the 3d of March, 1863, had enacted an 
enrollment and conscription act which authorized the 
President, when necessary, to obtain recruits by draft- 
ing ; and early in May a draft of 300,000 men was 

The Northern aiders and abettors of the rebellion 
counted upon large reinforcements to the ranks of the 
anti-war party through the prejudice they would be 
able to arouse among the people against the draft. 
There were two features in the law which were well 
calculated to create a hostile feeling : one was the 


extreme difficulty of equalizing the quotas among the 
several districts, and the other was the provision which 
allowed drafted men to pay $300 in lieu of rendering 

The law required an enrollment of all persons sub- 
ject to military service, to commence in April. To 
carry this act into effect, the office of provost marshal 
general was created, forming a bureau of the War 
Department. Each congressional district, territory, 
and the District of Columbia was made a military dis- 
trict, for which a provost marshal was appointed by 
the President and placed under the orders of the pro- 
vost marshal general. In each district the provost 
marshal, together with a licensed physician and one 
other person appointed by the President, constituted 
the district board, with authority to divide the district 
into as many sub-districts as were deemed necessary, and 
to appoint an enrolling officer for each. The intention 
was to ascertain how many men were liable to military 
service in the United States on the 1st of July, and who 
they were. 

The quotas under which the troops had been raised 
in 1861 and 1862 were based upon population. The 
quotas for 1863 were to be based, not upon population, 
but upon the number of men in the several districts 
liable to military service. Previous enlistments were 
to be credited. These previous enlistments, which had 
been based on an apportionment according to popula- 
tion, were now to be credited on a basis of the number 
of persons subject to military duty. It was impossible 
to ascertain with certainty what number of drafted men 


in each district would, when added to the number of 
previous enlistments, constitute the equal quota of that 
district upon the new basis. This was because it could 
not be shown what proportion of the population of 
any given district had been subject to military service 
in 1861 and 1862. A district in which the female 
population was the largest, or in which the number 
of foreigners who had not yet declared their intention 
of becoming citizens was very large, contained a less 
proportion of persons subject to military service than 
districts of less population where these conditions were 
reversed. This led to serious disagreements between 
federal and state authorities in some districts as to the 
number of troops required to fill out their quotas. 

More serious still was the $300 clause, by which the 
man who could pay that sum was thereby released from 
military duty, while the man unable to do so must 
go into the ranks. This odious provision was never 
approved by Secretary Stanton, but was doubtless one 
of those conditions in legislation by which alone the 
Conscription Act could secure the votes necessary for 
its passage. Armed with these mischievous provisions 
in the law, the enemies of the government succeeded 
in inaugurating a terrible riot in the city of New York 
on the 13th of July. The vast army of criminals who 
thrive at such times formed a part of the mob by which 
the city was terrorized for six days. On the 14th of 
July the governor declared the city to be in a state 
of insurrection. The Secretary of War ordered home 
the New York militia regiments that had been sent into 
Pennsylvania to aid in repelling the invasion of that 


State. The city authorities passed a relief measure 
to pay the $300 necessary to obtain a substitute for 
every man of the poorer classes. The regular troops, 
the militia, and the police finally reduced the extreme 
violence of the rioters, and a sufficient military force 
was kept on duty to guard against a renewal of the 
riots. Governor Seymour stated in his annual message 
that the number of killed and wounded was estimated 
by the police to be at least 1000. The damages were 
estimated at two and a half millions by a committee 
appointed by the authorities for the purpose. 

On the 17th of July, 1863, Mr. Stanton addressed 
the following letter to Hon. E. D. Morgan, of New 
York : — 

From the tenor of your letter of the 15th instant, just 
received, I apprehend that you have been very much misin- 
formed as to the matters therein referred to. Seymour more 
than two months ago was informed by me that I was very 
anxious to consult with him on matters relating to the draft, 
and requested him to afford me an opportunity for a personal 
conference, to which he replied, after considerable delay, that 
he expected to be in Washington and would confer with me. 
In the second place, I am informed by the provost marshal 
general that he notified Governor Seymour of the number of 
drafted men required from the districts in which the draft 
was to be made ; and also his readiness to furnish to him 
for his examination at any time the data upon which the 
draft was made. From the commencement of his adminis- 
tration until the present hour, this department has treated 
Governor Seymour with the utmost deference and respect, 
and has availed itself of every opportunity to secure his 
cooperation. The $300 exemption clause was always, in 
my judgment, a highly objectionable feature of the bill, but 


it was created by Congress, and no alternative is left the 
department but to observe the laws. 

On the 17th of July Mr. Stanton addressed the fol- 
lowing letter to Hon. David Dudley Field, of New 
York: — 

Your telegram and letter were duly received. General 
Dix will be in command of the department, with General 
Canby, an officer of judgment, courage, and ability unsur- 
passed by any one in the service of the United States, as 
second in command. Whatever force they require to execute 
the law of the United States will be given them. 

The riot commenced just one week after the victory 
at Gettysburg. Mayor Opdyke wrote to Mr. Stanton 
on the 18th of July : — 

It is the opinion of many that the danger will be renewed 
in an intensified form whenever the draft is resumed. I do 
not share in these fears if the proper precautions are taken ; 
though I think that, to prevent any miscarriage and to avoid 
all danger, you should have at least 10,000 reliable troops, 
with a strong force of light artillery, and that the resumption 
of the draft should be delayed a few days, to the end that 
your preparations may be perfect, and that the angry passions 
of the mob may have time to subside. 

Secretary Stanton's old friend, James T. Brady, an 
eminent member of the New York bar, wrote him 
under date of July 18 that he thought the riot was 
the result of premature development of an organized 
scheme to resist the draft. He characterized as infa- 
mous the speech of Governor Seymour in which he 
addressed the mob as his " friends." He said nothing 
but the armed forces of the government, strong enough 


to compel silent and unquestioning submission to the 
law, could prevent a still more extensive riot when the 
draft should be resumed. He feared a collision between 
the state and federal authorities, and to avert this he 
suggested that the government propose to Governor 
Seymour a submission of the constitutionality of the 
act to the Court of Appeals of the State of New York. 
To this Mr. Stanton replied as follows, under date of 
July 23 : — 

I have carefully considered the views presented by your 
letter of the 18th instant, received yesterday. 

It has always been my purpose to submit the constitution- 
ality of the conscription law to judicial investigation whenever 
a case would arise in which the point could properly be pre- 
sented before a competent tribunal. But it seemed to me — 

1st. That until the draft was made and some individual 
arrested for resistance, it would be premature to present any 
question for judicial action, as the Executive is bound in its 
ministerial measures to assume the law to be constitutional. 

2d. That a federal tribunal is the proper tribunal to decide 
the question, and made so by the Constitution. For myself I 
have equal confidence and respect for a state tribunal. But 
if submitted to them in one State it must be in all others, 
leading to interminable delay and a virtual suspension or 
repeal of the act of Congress, — for after all, the federal 
courts are organized for the trial of questions under acts of 

In regard to addressing Governor Seymour on the ques- 
tion, many points requiring grave consideration arise. If 
the national Executive must negotiate with state executives in 
relation to the execution of an act of Congress, then the 
problem which the rebellion desired to solve is already deter- 
mined. The rebellion started upon the proposition that there 


is no national government, but only an agency determinable 
at the will of the respective States manifested by the action 
of the state authorities. The governor of New York stands 
to-day on the platform of Slidell, Davis, and Benjamin ; and 
if he is to be the judge whether the Conscription Act is consti- 
tutional and may be enforced or resisted as he or other state 
authorities may decide, then the rebellion is consummated, 
and the national government abolished. I will, however, 
consider the matter further before adopting any but precau- 
tionary measures, and in the mean time would be glad to hear 
from you. 

David Dudley Field wrote to Mr. Stanton on the 
19th of July that he had no doubt himself of the 
constitutionality of the Conscription Act, and was con- 
fident it would be sustained by the proper tribunal. 
He said : — 

I would recommend that the draft should be immediately 
put in execution, and the names drawn, and the act enforced 
at all hazards against violent resistance, but that no impedi- 
ment should be offered, and, on the other hand, every facility 
to the decision of a test case before the Circuit Court of the 
United States here, with an appeal, of course, by either party 
to the Supreme Court of the United States ; it being under- 
stood that such a decision should be obtained at the earliest 
possible period, and that in the mean time the provost mar- 
shals shall not be harassed with other writs of habeas corpus 
except on other questions. If you would permit me to say to 
Governor Seymour that you are willing to adopt this course, 
I believe the opposition to the law would be greatly dimin- 
ished. He thinks it would cease altogether. 

General Dix had assumed command of the Depart- 
ment of the East on the 18th of July, relieving General 
Wool. He wrote to Mr. Stanton on the 20th : "lam 


in constant communication with General Canby, whose 
coolness and sound judgment are admirable. The 
command in this city could not be in better hands." 
He had seen Governor Seymour, and stated that, with- 
out apprising him that he was authorized to declare 
martial law, he referred to it as an alternative to be 
adopted when it should become manifest that the draft 
could not be otherwise enforced. 

Preston King wrote on the 29th to Mr. Stanton : — 

I think there cannot be a doubt that whatever may happen 
the draft already begun should be carried out fully and with 
entire impartiality according to law. 

The government might as well abdicate as to suspend the 
draft or give its consent to the non-execution of the law 
because it is resisted by violence or threats of violence. 

To this Mr. Stanton replied as follows, August 1 : — 

You need have no apprehension that the draft in New York 
will be suspended. Delay has occurred in making the neces- 
sary preparations and arranging a military force to meet the 
contingencies that may arise. That is now nearly accom- 
plished ; and the rebellion is likely to have the same bad luck 
in New York that it has had at Yicksburg, Port Hudson, and 
other places. 

On the 15th of August Mr. Stanton wrote to General 
Dix as follows : — 

Inclosed herewith I send you by the hand of Colonel 

1. A proclamation by the President, to be used in case of 
any necessity arising for the employment of military force to 
overcome unlawful combinations against the authority of the 
general government in the executing the act of Congress to 


enroll and call out the national force. Of this necessity you 
are authorized to be the judge, and if it arises you will fill up 
the blank and promulgate the proclamation. The original, 
with the great seal, remains with the archives of the govern- 
ment in the State Department. 

2. A call upon the governor of New York by the President, 
notifying him that the militia are called forth, and requesting 
him to issue an order to Major-General Sanford (Charles W.). 

The use of this paper is left to your discretion. It has 
occurred to the President that it may be proper and service- 
able to put upon Governor Seymour a call for assistance, and 
let him render it or shoulder the responsibility of refusing. 
It is not supposed that this call is essential to the authority 
of the President, or that the assent or obedience of Governor 
Seymour affects the right or power of the President to issue 
an order to General Sanford directly. But it may be an 
expedient courtesy of which you are to judge, and which you 
should have the means of employing if you think proper. 

A blank is left for you to fill up with the State of New 
York or any specific districts, as the case may require, and 
also a blank for a date to be filled. 

3. An order by the President upon General Sanford to 
report to you. 

The date and also the blank for state or specific districts 
are to be filled up. 

You will be apprised by the provost marshal general what 
reinforcements will be sent forward. He will confer with 
you. Any further aid or direction you may require will, on 
notice, be given, if in the power of the government. 

In your energy, courage, and discretion the utmost confi- 
dence is placed by the government. 

There were no further serious disturbances. 
This organized resistance to the methods of the 
government for the reinforcement of the army was 


doubtless planned for a very different situation than 
the one during- which it was launched. It was prob- 
ably the expectation of its authors that the invasion of 
Maryland and Pennsylvania by Lee would be success- 
ful, and that in the panic which would follow, the 
government would be paralyzed and the rebellion 
transferred to the Middle and Northwestern States. 
The ferocious spirit which characterized the rioters, 
even under the adverse circumstances of the great 
disasters to the rebel armies a few days before the out- 
break, may well be regarded as an indication of the 
extent to which it might have been carried had the 

military results at Gettysburg been reversed. 
vol. n 


Suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus. — Mr. Stanton's Letter 
and the Proclamation of the President. — The Reason for the 
Constitutional Provision on the Subject. 

One of the methods used by the enemies of the gov- 
ernment to sow dissensions among its supporters was 
the loud outcry against the suspension of the privilege 
of the writ of habeas corpus. Never had the sacred- 
ness of the great writ been so emphasized as when it 
was thus invoked for the benefit of persons resisting 
the draft, encouraging desertions, and discouraging 

Although the Constitution provides for the suspen- 
sion of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus 
" when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public 
safety may require it/' the enemies of the government 
professed to be unable, from the commencement of the 
rebellion, to see that its suspension under any circum- 
stances could be constitutional. Whether this was 
because they were unable to see in the rebellion a " case 
of rebellion," or were unable to see any menace to " the 
public safety " in the network of spies and active trai- 
tors which existed in the North, as illustrated by the 
New York riots, certain it is that the suspension of the 
writ by the President was held by them to be one of 
their most serious grievances. No provision is made in 


the Constitution as to exercising the power of suspen- 
sion. Congress had enacted no statute on the subject. 
The President first suspended the writ within the 
military line between Philadelphia and Washington in 
April, 1861. In July he extended the order to the line 
between New York and Washington. In September, 

1862, the writ was suspended as to all persons impris- 
oned by military authority. On the 3d of March, 

1863, Congress settled the dispute as to where the 
power was lodged, by an act authorizing the President 
during the rebellion to suspend the writ whenever in 
his judgment the public safety might require it. This 
united the power of the President and Congress on 
the subject. During the summer of 1863 resistance to 
the draft and general obstruction to volunteering was 
encouraged by the decisions of certain state courts, the 
judges of which felt called upon to determine the con- 
stitutionality of the war measures of the general gov- 
ernment. This method of opposition went to such 
a dangerous extent that on September 13, 1863, Sec- 
retary Stanton addressed the President the following 
letter : — 

I have the honor to submit herewith the letter of the pro- 
vost marshal general of this date, asking instructions in 
regard to the proceedings by the state tribunals, in the State 
of Pennsylvania, in the discharge of deserters and the exercise 
of jurisdiction over persons held in military custody. There 
appears to be an evident design on the part of some individ- 
uals holding judicial stations in different States, including 
Pennsylvania, to exercise their powers in hostility to the gen- 
eral government in its efforts to repress the rebellion, and 
especially with the view to prevent the operation of the draft 


and encouraging desertion. The provost marshal general in- 
quires whether the interference of state courts with persons 
held in military custody shall be acquiesced in or resisted by 
force. The gravity of this question imposes upon me the 
duty of submitting the matter for your consideration for such 
instructions as you may be pleased to give in the premises. 

The response to this letter was the issuance by the 
President, two days later, of his proclamation suspend- 
ing the writ of habeas corpus throughout the United 
States, " where, by the authority of the President of 
the United States, military, naval, and civil officers of 
the United States, or any of them, hold persons under 
their command or in their custody, either as prisoners 
of war, spies, or aiders or abettors of the enemy, or of- 
ficers, soldiers, or seamen enrolled, or drafted, or mus- 
tered, or enlisted in or belonging to the land or naval 
forces of the United States, or as deserters therefrom, 
or otherwise amenable to the military law or the Rules 
and Articles of War, or the rules or regulations pre- 
scribed for the military or naval service by authority of 
the President of the United States, or for resisting a 
draft, or for any other offense against the military or 
naval service." 

The exercise of the constitutional power to suspend 
the writ of habeas corpus seriously interrupted the 
Northern aiders and abettors of the rebellion, and in- 
creased the difficulties in the way of their giving aid 
and comfort to the enemy. The power was evidently 
conferred by the Constitution expressly to enable the 
government to protect itself against interference with 
the war powers by the courts, in time of war, either of 


invasion or rebellion. It enabled the Executive to ar- 
rest and imprison dangerous enemies of the govern- 
ment, and to deny to them the speedy trial to which 
in time of peace they would be entitled, but which in 
time of war might be impracticable, or might be so 
conducted as to increase the public danger. 

It was but natural that the exercise of this great 
power should be jealously watched, and nearly always 
condemned by some ; and it is well that the restraining 
force of public opinion and the reverence for personal 
liberty should always make themselves felt against its 
unnecessary exercise. The Constitution and the law 
enacted under it made the President the sole judge of 
the extent to which courts, both state and federal, 
should be closed against the appeals of men imprisoned 
for acts against the government. " Arbitrary arrests " 
were complained of not only by the enemy, but by many 
friends of the government. But since the excitement 
of those times has passed away, no traces are left which 
show that other than patriotic purposes animated the 
President or his Secretary of War in causing arrests, 
while, on the contrary, there is abundant evidence of 
an endeavor by them to limit the exercise of power as 
much as seemed consistent with the public safety. 

Mr. Stanton's letter of September 13, followed by 
the President's proclamation of the 15th, above quoted, 
were both doubtless the result of serious consideration 
by their respective authors, and show that before the 
letter was written both had arrived at the conclusion 
that the proclamation had to be issued. It was one of 
the most important executive acts of the war. 


The Elections of 1863. — Union Successes. — Attitude of the Oppo- 
sition considered. — Many of its Leaders Conspirators. — Its 
Majority attached to the Union. 

The splendid achievements of the armies, the pre- 
servation of law and order in New York, and the 
advanced position of the administration on the slavery 
question, so strengthened the Union cause throughout 
the country that in the election of 1863 in New York 
the Union candidates had a majority of over 29,000, as 
against an adverse majority the previous year of nearly 
11,000. In Pennsylvania the Union majority was over 
15,000, in place of a majority for the opposition in 
1862 of more than 3500. In 1862 the opposition car- 
ried Ohio by a majority of more than 5000 ; in 1863 
John Brough, the Union candidate for governor in that 
State, defeated Vallandigham by 101,000 votes. In 
Illinois the Union majority was over 29,000 ; the oppo- 
sition had carried the State the year previous by more 
than 16,000. 

The enormous proportion, in numbers, of the minor- 
ity party to the whole body of voters in the North dur- 
ing the war must not be understood as representing 
intelligent and intentional opposition to the govern- 
ment. It represented many elements. Strongest of 
these was the strong attachment to the Democratic 


party name. There is no doubt that a great majority 
of that party were strongly attached to the Union, and 
anxious for its preservation. They scouted the idea that 
unionism could be inconsistent with Democracy. Art- 
ful men, however, who were in full sympathy with the 
rebellion, found it easy to confuse the minds of those 
Democrats who saw no difference between the rights of 
slave-holders in rebellion against the nation and slave- 
holders peaceably asserting their rights under the Con- 
stitution. From the beginning of the war, the public 
ear was familiarized with the expression, " I am a Union 
man, but am no Abolitionist " or " Black Republi- 
can." Union men friendly to slavery found themselves 
in time compelled to choose whether they would sup- 
port the Union without slavery, or slavery without the 
Union. Candidates for office appealed to the body of 
Democratic voters to stand by the Constitution as well 
as the Union, and explained to their own satisfaction 
how unconstitutional were all the measures adopted by 
the government for the preservation of the government 
itself. The most malignant Northern enemies of the 
government provided themselves with this formula, and 
labored for the election of congressmen who would 
show their devotion to the Union by refusing to vote 
supplies for the armies. On the other hand, hundreds 
of thousands of Democrats enlisted in the army and 
fought bravely, while others of them, equally true to 
the country's cause, were chosen to seats in Congress, 
and in all essentials cooperated with the supporters of 
Mr. Lincoln. 

Of course the party in power made mistakes which 


were industriously dwelt upon by its opponents. The 
draft was unnecessary, and the $300 clause was most 
offensive. Of the two and a half millions of enlist- 
ments during the war, but an insignificant proportion 
were obtained by conscription. The people had been 
often sorely discouraged by military failures where suc- 
cesses had been promised. They felt at times that the 
burdens placed upon them could be justified only by 
clearer evidence than they had yet seen that their 
sacrifices were to lead to the preservation of the Union. 

The secret and organized machinations of the ene- 
mies of the government in the North are matters of 
record. Organized opposition to enlistments, organized 
encouragement to desertions, traitorous communication 
of important information to the enemy, and efforts to 
incite insurrections in centres of population were crimes 
committed both openly and in secret, secrecy being 
used where it would secure the cooperation of some 
who still professed to support the war. 

In the face of all these adverse influences, and 
stronger than all crimes, all accidents, and all mistakes, 
stood the sturdy common sense of the people, trusting 
in that embodiment of common sense and high pur- 
pose, Abraham Lincoln, and sustaining the great war 
minister in his double task of marshaling the military 
resources of the nation in the field and stamping out 
treason in the rear. 


The War in the West. — The Disaster at Chickamauga. — Stanton's 
Plan for reinforcing Rosecrans, by which 23,000 Troops were 
transported from Virginia to Chattanooga, Twelve Hundred 
Miles, in Seven Days. 

On the 19th of September, 1863, Bragg, reinforced 
from Lee's army, attacked General Rosecrans at Chick- 
amauga, and the battle continued throughout the day. 
It was renewed by the rebels on the following day, 
resulting in the defeat of the Federal forces and their 
retreat to Chattanooga. They were saved from utter 
rout by the courage and tenacity of General George H. 
Thomas, who, with less than half the army around him, 
was left to receive the blows of the whole Confederate 
force. Under the influence of his unbending will the 
troops stood by him, and simply refused to give way. 
Night came and he still remained unshaken. He left 
the field with deliberation and in good order, and 
"though the moon was up and very bright," says a 
report, the enemy made no pursuit. The Federal 
losses in this battle in killed and wounded and missing 
were 16,850. The enemy's losses were variously re- 
ported at from 18,000 to 21,000. Bragg lost forty per 
cent, of his army, and Rosecrans lost thirty per cent, of 

General Rosecrans reported to the President on the 


evening of the second day's battle that there had 
been a serious disaster. On the following day he 
said : — 

Our loss is heavy and our troops worn down. We have no 
certainty of holding our position here. 

On the 22d Charles A. Dana telegraphed Secretary 
Stanton from Chattanooga as follows : — 

General Eosecrans is considering the question of retreat 
from here. . . . That part of the army which was routed on 
Sunday is much demoralized. If you have any advice to 
give, it should come to-night. 

Mr. Lincoln addressed himself most encouragingly to 
Eosecrans, telling him to be of good cheer, and assur- 
ing him of the utmost possible assistance. On the 23d 
General Eosecrans appealed urgently for reinforce- 
ments. The President had directed Burnside at Knox- 
ville on the 21st not to lose a moment in going to the 
assistance of Eosecrans. 

On the 23d Secretary Stanton determined upon send- 
ing reinforcements to Chattanooga from the Army of 
the Potomac, — a scheme which he immediately im- 
pressed upon the President by the force of his will, 
against the opposition of General Halleck, and which 
he proceeded to execute with his accustomed energy 
through the proper instrumentalities. The biographers 
of Mr. Lincoln say : — 

Immediately on receipt of Eosecrans's dispatch (23d) Mr. 
Stanton sent one of the President's secretaries, who was stand- 
ing by, to the Soldier's Home, where the President was sleep- 
ing. A little startled by the unwonted summons, — for this 


was "the first time," be said, " Stanton had ever sent for him," 
— the President mounted his horse and rode in through 
the moonlight to the War Department, to preside over an 
improvised council to consider the subject of reinforcing 

There were present General Halleck ; Stanton, Seward, and 
Chase of the Cabinet ; P. H. Watson and James A. Hardie 
of the War Department; and D. C. McCallum, superin- 
tendent of military transportation. After a brief debate it 
was resolved to detach the 11th and 12th corps from the 
Army of the Potomac, General Hooker to be placed in com- 
mand of both. 

Following are extracts from an interesting account of 
the proceedings of this council by Mr. W. H. Whiton, 
who was first assistant to Colonel D. C. McCallum, 
chief of the government railway department during 

the war : — 

Major Eckert, the chief of the military telegraph depart- 
ment, rushed in to see me one evening, and said that there 
was a meeting of the President and his Cabinet in Mr. Stan- 
ton's room, discussing the question of transferring General 
Hooker's corps with all its equipments to Nashville, Ten- 
nessee, and as either Colonel McCallum or myself would no 
doubt be sent for before the meeting was over, we had better 
study the problem and be prepared to speak. I busied my- 
self with time tables and calculations about trains and the 
time it would take to make the transfer. Just as I had 
reached a conclusion that it could be completed in about 
eight or nine days, Colonel McCallum appeared. He looked 
over my calculations carefully, and then declared that the 
movement could be completed inside of seven days. At this 
moment an orderly rushed in with an order to report to the 
Secretary at once. 


I will tell you what took place as was afterwards told me 
by Colonel McCallum. 

The moment Colonel McCallum entered, the President said : 
" Colonel McCallum, we are discussing a very serious propo- 
sition, and have sent for you who are at the head of the rail- 
way department, to learn your views as to the time it will 
take to complete a certain movement." He then stated the 

As Colonel McCallum was supposed to have never heard of 
the proposition until that moment, it would not do for him to 
instantly give an off-hand opinion. He therefore said : " Mr. 
President, if you will permit me, I will make a few figures," 
and sat down at a table and began making them. While so 
engaged not one word was spoken in the room, and the silence 
became so oppressive that to end it he arose and said : " The 
transfer can be begun and fully completed within seven days." 
No sooner had he said seven days than Mr. Stanton jumped 
up in great excitement, and bringing his clenched fist down 
on the top of the table, exclaimed in a voice of thunder : 
" Good, I knew it could be done, and it shall be." 

Here Colonel McCallum represented Mr. Stanton as 
giving expression to much impatience and displeasure 
towards General Halleck for having estimated that the 
proposed movement would require forty days. 

This outburst of indignation over. President Lincoln 
quietly said : — 

" Colonel McCallum, are you sure about this ? There must 
be no mistake. Are you certain that the movement can be 
completed within the time you have named?" Colonel Mc- 
Callum replied : " With the whole power of the government 
brought to bear in the movement, I will pledge my life to 
accomplish it inside of seven days." Whereupon the Presi- 
dent, after a few moments of silent reflection, turned to Mr. 


Stanton and said : " Mr. Secretary, you are the captain. 
Give the necessary orders and I will approve them." 

This was at eleven o'clock p. m. of the 23d of 
September. At 9.45, and while this council was still 
being held, Mr. Stanton had received a telegram from 
Mr. Dana which said : — 

The first great object of the campaign — the possession of 
Chattanooga on Tennessee River line — still remains in our 
hands, and can be held by this army for from fifteen to twenty 
days against all efforts of the enemy, unless he should receive 
reinforcements of overwhelming strength. No time should be 
lost in pushing twenty to twenty-five thousand effective troops 
to Bridgeport. If such reinforcements can be got through in 
season, everything is safe, and this place, indispensable alike 
to the defense of Tennessee and as a base of future operations 
in Georgia, will remain ours. 

Secretary Stanton replied at once : — 

Your telegram of to-day received. Every nerve is being 
strained to strengthen General Rosecrans and his gallant 
army. If General Rosecrans holds his ground for half the 
time stated in your dispatches, there can be no doubt that 
ample reinforcements can reach him within that period. 

It was not until an hour later than this that the 
President's authority for the transfer of the troops was 
secured. Mr. Stanton remained at his office throughout 
that night, and during the first three days and nights 
of the movement, directing its execution. To the presi- 
dents of railroads he telegraphed requests to come to 
Washington immediately, as also to Thomas A. Scott, 
who had been an Assistant Secretary of War, and whose 
assistance he greatly relied on in such an emergency. 


At 3.30 a. m. of the 24th he sent the following dis- 
patch to Charles A. Dana : — 

We have made arrangements to send fifteen thousand 1 
infantry under General Hooker from here, and will have 
them in Nashville in five or six days from to-day, with 
orders to push on immediately, wherever General Rosecrans 
wants them. 

At 2.30 of the same morning General Meade was 
telegraphed to, to know if he had determined upon any 
immediate movement in Virginia, and if not to prepare 
the 11th and 12th corps to send to Washington. Cars 
would be ready for him by the next morning. General 
Meade answered half an hour later : — 

I contemplate an immediate movement, although until your 
telegraph the decision was not positive, awaiting information 
to be obtained to-day. The 12th corps is in front on picket, 
and could not well be withdrawn and got ready in the time 
you mention. 

It is evident that the general was not accustomed to 
such rapid operations. There is a humorous element in 
the thought that he had not decided upon an immediate 
movement until it was proposed to diminish the number 
of his idle troops. No answer was made to him until 
9.30 of the same morning, because General Halleck 
wanted the President's order in the matter. He was 
then directed to immediately prepare the 11th and 
12th corps to be sent to Washington. General Halleck 
added to this the following confusing words : " As 
conditionally ordered before." Fifteen minutes later he 
explained this dispatch in another, as follows : — 

1 The number actually sent was 23,000. 


It is intended by my last dispatch that the 11th and 12th 
corps shall positively be sent here with the least possible delay. 

At 11.30 General Meade replied that every effort 
would be made to have the troops ready by the following 
day as ordered. 

The telegrams received and transmitted in connection 
with this movement would make a considerable volume. 
Arrangements for the utilizing of all accessible railroad 
equipments and the employment of the proper agents of 
the government to render these arrangements certain 
were made in detail by Mr. Stanton, who secured the 
necessary experts along the whole line from Virginia to 
Tennessee. No man contributed more to the success 
of the enterprise than Colonel Thomas A. Scott, of 
the Pennsylvania railway system. Having served as 
Assistant Secretary of War under Mr. Stanton, he well 
understood the Secretary's tremendous force, and what 
he expected of those who were cooperating with him. 
One of his exploits was the change of the gauge of the 
Louisville and Lexington Railroad, authority for which 
was promptly given him by Mr. Stanton upon his recom- 

On the 26th General Hooker telegraphed to General 
Rosecrans's chief of staff : — 

The head of the column left last night. I hope to have it 
in Nashville by the 1st proximo. 

The celerity with which repairs were made when 
necessary is illustrated by the following dispatch to Mr. 
Stanton from Colonel McCallum, received at the War 
Department at ten o'clock of the 26th : — 


Pope's Head bridge destroyed by the enemy last night. 
Will be completed in a few minutes. 

This bridge was in Virginia. The failure to have 
thus rapidly restored it would have caused serious delay. 

At 8.45, 9.15 ? and 9.45, on the morning of the 26th, 
the first three trains of over sixty cars, with over 2000 
men, passed Martinsburg, West Virginia, one hundred 
miles west of Baltimore. At 11 a. m. of the same day 
twelve trains, with nearly 7000 troops, passed the Relay 
House, thirty miles from Washington. The railroad 
officials of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad sent fre- 
quent bulletins to Secretary Stanton of the progress 
made by the troops. 

Such of the railroad officials as were necessary were 
put into the military service of the government, with 
commissions, in order that they might have the proper 
authority to execute military orders. Colonel McCallum, 
the superintendent of transportation, was given su- 
preme control of the movement, with authority to arrest, 
if necessary, any who should impede it, whatever their 
rank might be. 

The following telegrams were sent by Mr. Stanton : 
To John W. Garrett, president of the Baltimore and 
Ohio Railroad, September 27 : — 

All your proceedings are cordially approved, and the energy 
and skill manifested by you and your assistants and subordi- 
nates receives the admiration and thanks so well merited. 

To Thomas A. Scott, at Louisville, on the 29th: — 

Your work is most brilliant. A thousand thanks. It is a 
great achievement. 


To Mr. Dana, at Nashville, on the 30th: — 

If Hooker's command goes safely through, all that the 
Army of the Cumberland will need will be a competent com- 
mander. The merit of General Thomas — and the debt of 
gratitude the nation owes to his policy and skill — is fully 
appreciated here, and I wish you to tell him so. It was not 
my fault he was not in chief command many months ago. 1 

To Major-General Hooker, at Nashville, "or wher- 
ever he may be," October 2, 1863 : — 

Thanks for your telegram of yesterday. The movement is 
satisfactory. Any one would be hard to please that is not 
satisfied, except the enemy, who only found two days ago 
where you were gone. All success attend you and your 

Colonel McCallum had kept his word, and the trans- 
portation of 23,000 troops had been accomplished in 
less than seven days. The troops themselves were not 
aware of their destination, Mr. Stanton having at the 
outset required Colonel McCallum to give no informa- 
tion on the subject. And thus it was, as stated by Mr. 
Stanton, that the enemy knew not of the destination of 
the troops until after their arrival there. 

On the 11th of October General Hooker telegraphed 
Mr. Stanton : — 

If you projected the movement of the 11th and 12th corps, 
you may justly claim the merit of having saved Chattanooga 
to us. 

In his " Memoirs," vol. ii. p. 24, General Grant thus 

1 He referred of course to the command of the Army of the Cumber- 



describes the consequences that would have followed the 
loss of Chattanooga : — 

A retreat at that time would have been a terrible disaster. 
It would not only have been the loss of a most important 
strategic position to us, but it would have been attended with 
the loss of all the* artillery still left with the Army of the 
Cumberland, and the annihilation of that army itself, either 
by capture or demoralization. 

General Sherman in his "Memoirs/' at page 400, 
refers to this remarkably rapid movement of troops as 
one of the two best examples known to him of the 
transfer of large armies by rail from one theatre of 
action to another. 

The movement was originated by Mr. Stanton, and 
its success was the result of the combined work of 
numerous agencies ; but these agencies were all set in 
motion and energized by the force of his will. In a 
letter to General Hooker, of the date of December 21, 
Secretary Chase said : — 

I cannot tell you how much I have been gratified by your 
brilliant achievements in Tennessee and Georgia. How pro- 
vidential it was that you were sent West at the head of the 
11th and 12th corps. It seems clear now that but for Mr. 
Stanton's determination in insisting on these reinforcements 
going promptly, and going under you, Rosecrans's army would 
have experienced the greatest disaster. 


Stanton meets General Grant at Louisville, Kentucky. — Grant 
placed in Command of the Armies of the Ohio, the Cumberland, 
and the Tennessee, with Headquarters at Chattanooga. — Rout 
of Bragg's Army. — Grant on the Result. — Stanton's Summary 
of the Year's Operations. — Grant made Lieutenant-General 
with Headquarters in the East. — Sherman succeeds him in the 

General Rosecrans's dispatches to Washington 
were most discouraging, and showed that his mind was 
filled with alarm. He had not recovered from the 
shock he received at Chickamauga. On the 16th of 
October Mr. Dana wrote to Secretary Stanton : — 

With plenty of zealous and energetic officers ready to do 
whatever can be done, all this precious time is lost because 
our dazed and mazy commander cannot perceive the catas- 
trophe that is close upon us and fix his mind upon the means 
of preventing it. I never saw anything which seemed so 
lamentable and hopeless. 

In response to a telegram from Secretary Stanton, 
General Grant, though still suffering from lameness, 
caused by a fall from his horse in New Orleans nearly 
two months before, arrived at Cairo, Illinois, on the 
16th of October, and on the following morning was 
directed to proceed from there to Louisville, Kentucky, 
to meet an officer of the War Department with in- 


structions. The officer of the War Department was 
Secretary Stanton himself. General Grant gives the 
following account of their first meeting : — 

Just as the train I was on was starting out of the depot 
at Indianapolis, a messenger came running up to stop it, say- 
ing the Secretary of War was coming into the station and 
wanted to see me. 

I had never met Mr. Stanton up to that time, though 
we had held frequent conversations over the wires the year 
before, when I was in Tennessee. Occasionally at night he 
would order the wires between the War Department and my 
headquarters to be connected, and we would hold a conversa- 
tion for an hour or two. On this occasion the Secretary was 
accompanied by Governor Brough, of Ohio, whom I had 
never met, though he and my father had been old acquaint- 
ances. Mr. Stanton dismissed the special train that had 
brought him to Indianapolis, and accompanied me to Louis- 

Up to this time no hint had been given me of what was 
wanted after I left Vicksburg, except the suggestion in one 
of Halleck's dispatches that I had better go to Nashville and 
superintend the operation of the troops sent to relieve Rose- 
crans. Soon after we started, the Secretary handed me two 
orders, saying that I might take my choice of them. The 
two were identical in all but one particular. Both created 
the " military division of the Mississippi " (giving me the 
command), composed of the departments of the Ohio, the 
Cumberland, and the Tennessee, and all the territory from 
the Alleghanies to the Mississippi River north of Banks's 
command in the southwest. One order left the department 
commanders as they were, while the other relieved Rosecrans 
and assigned Thomas to his place. I accepted the latter. 
We reached Louisville after night, and, if I remember 
rightly, in a cold, drizzling rain. The Secretary of War told 


me afterwards that lie caught a cold on that occasion from 
which he never expected to recover. He never did. 

A day was spent in Louisville, the Secretary giving me 
the military news at the capital and talking about the disap- 
pointment at the results of some of the campaigns. By the 
evening of the day after our arrival, all matters of discussion 
seemed exhausted, and I left the hotel to spend the evening 
away, both Mrs. Grant (who was with me) and myself having 
relatives living in Louisville. In the course of the evening 
Mr. Stanton received a dispatch from Mr. C. A. Dana, then 
in Chattanooga, informing him that unless prevented, Eose- 
crans would retreat, and advising peremptory orders against 
his doing so. 

If a retreat had occurred at this time, it is not probable 
that any of the army would have reached the railroad as an 
organized body, if followed by the enemy. 

On the receipt of Mr. Dana's dispatch Mr. Stanton sent 
for me. Finding that I was out, he became nervous and ex- 
cited, inquiring of every person he met, including guests of 
the house, whether they knew where I was, and bidding them 
find me and send me to him at once. About eleven o'clock 
I returned to the hotel, and on my way, when near the house, 
every person met was a messenger from the Secretary, appar- 
ently partaking of his impatience to see me. I hastened to 
the room of the Secretary, and found him pacing the floor 
rapidly, in his dressing gown. Saying that the retreat must 
be prevented, he showed me the dispatch. I immediately 
wrote an order, assuming command of the military division 
of the Mississippi, and telegraphed it to General Eosecrans. 
I then telegraphed to him the order from Washington, assign- 
ing Thomas to the command of the Army of the Cumberland ; 
and to Thomas that he must hold Chattanooga at all hazards, 
informing him at the same time that I would be at the front 
as soon as possible. A prompt reply was received from 
Thomas, saying, " We will hold the town till we starve." I 


appreciated the force of this dispatch later when I witnessed 
the condition of affairs which prompted it. It looked, in- 
deed, as if but two courses were open, — one to starve, the 
other to surrender or be captured. 

The condition to which he referred was Bragg's 
possession of the heights west of Chattanooga, which 
commanded the railroad, the river, and the best wagon 
roads from Chattanooga to Bridgeport. All supplies 
had to be brought from Nashville. From Nashville to 
Bridgeport the government was in full possession of 
the railroad, but between Bridgeport and Chattanooga, 
a distance of twenty-six miles, " owing to the possession 
of Bragg, all supplies for Rosecrans had to be hauled 
by a circuitous route north of the river and over a 
mountainous country, increasing the distance to over 
sixty miles." Nearly six thousand animals had starved, 
and the command had been on half rations of hard 
bread for a considerable time. Shoes and food were 
lacking, and even fuel. 

Mr. Stanton's account of these events is contained in 
the following dispatches to General Halleck : — 

October 19 General Grant accepted the command at once, 
and has already issued his orders to Thomas. He considers 
it indispensable that Kosecrans should be relieved because he 
would not obey orders. His health and spirits are very good, 
but he is still quite lame, and moves with difficulty on a 
crutch. Meigs is here. 

October 20, Sunday night, General Grant issued his 
orders taking command. Generals Burnside, Eosecrans, and 
Thomas reported last night. General Grant has gone for- 
ward with General Meigs, and will reach Chattanooga to- 
night or to-morrow. Thomas says if the supply wagons now 


on the road arrive safely, they will be all right to the first of 
November at least. . . . 

General Meigs has taken with him a large supply of tools 
for blasting and opening the road across the mountains, and 
everything possible has been done for railroad transporta- 

On the 21st General Grant going South met Gen- 
eral Roseerans on his way North. In his " Memoirs " 
General Grant says of this meeting : — 

He came into my car and we held a brief interview, in 
which he described very clearly the situation at Chattanooga, 
and made some very excellent suggestions as to what should 
be done. My only wonder was that he had not carried them 

General Grant established his headquarters at Chat- 
tanooga on the 22d of October ; he was still on 
crutches. At his request General Sherman was as- 
signed to the command of the Army of the Tennessee. 
Within five days Grant had opened the way from Chat- 
tanooga to Bridgeport and raised the siege. Supplies 
of food, clothing, and ammunition came in abundance. 
Bragg's Confederate report of the condition during the 
siege said : — 

These dispositions, faithfully sustained, insured the enemy's 
speedy evacuation of Chattanooga for want of food and for- 
age. Possessed of the shortest route to his depot, and the 
one by which reinforcements must reach him, we held him at 
our mercy, and his destruction was only a question of time. 

Referring to this in his " Memoirs," General Grant 
says : — 

The dispositions were not " faithfully sustained." 


General Grant ordered General Sherman to join him, 
which he did on the 15th of November. Bragg felt 
so confident in his positions that he sent Longstreet 
with 20,000 of his men against Burnside at Knoxville, 
Tennessee. The government was much alarmed for the 
safety of Burnside's command. But Grant's method 
of relieving him was to fight the enemy at Chatta- 

Nothing in the annals of the civil war surpassed 
Grant's brilliant Chattanooga campaign. Missionary 
Ridge, Lookout Mountain, and Chattanooga made him 
the choice of every Union man in the land for the com- 
mand of all the forces of the United States. The 
names of Sherman, Thomas, and Hooker were, by their 
share in these great operations, still further assured 
high places on the scroll of fame. 

Upon the final defeat of Bragg at the battle of 
Chattanooga, General Grant telegraphed to General 
Halleck at 1 a. m. on the 27th as follows : — 

I am just in from the front. The rout of the enemy is 
complete. Abandoned wagons, caissons, and occasional pieces 
of artillery are everywhere to be found. I think Bragg' s loss 
will fully reach 60 pieces of artillery. Large numbers of 
prisoners have fallen into our hands. 

Commenting on these results in his " Memoirs," Gen- 
eral Grant says : — 

It would have been a victory for us to have got our army 
away from Chattanooga safely. It was a manifold greater 
victory to drive away the besieging army ; a still greater one 
to defeat that army in his chosen ground and nearly annihi- 
late it. 


He further says : — 

Then, too, Chattanooga falling in the same half year with 
Gettysburg in the East, and Vicksburg in the West, there 
was much the same feeling in the South at this time as there 
had been in the North the fall and winter before. 

Knoxville was at once relieved, eliciting from Pres- 
ident Lincoln a telegram of warmest recognition. 
On the 20th of December General Grant moved his 
headquarters to Nashville, Tennessee, leaving General 
Thomas in command at Chattanooga. 

These were the last military operations of importance 
conducted by General Grant in the West. 

In his annual report of December, 1863, Secretary 
Stanton thus summarized the military operations of the 
year : — 

The victories of Stone River and of Gettysburg, the opera- 
tions before Vicksburg and Port Hudson, the occupation of 
east Tennessee, the battle of Chickamauga, and the recent 
splendid successes before Chattanooga, and other engage- 
ments of less note, are events that evince skill, courage, and 
loyal patriotism, and a brilliancy of military achievement by 
the forces of the United States unsurpassed in any age, while 
the less fortunate battle of Fredericksburg and Chancellors- 
ville manifested the spirit and fortitude of our troops in a 
degree worthy of the highest admiration. 

By the reduction of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, the navi- 
gation of the Mississippi River has been opened, and the 
national commerce is rapidly and securely returning to that 
great highway of the continent. The rebel territory has been 
cut in twain; the States west of the Mississippi no longer 
furnish their ample supplies to the rebels. 

The genius and ability which had been displayed by 


General Grant were so fully appreciated by the people 
and by their representatives in Congress that on the 
26th of February, 1864, Congress enacted a law restor- 
ing the grade of lieutenant-general in the army. On 
the 1st of March General Grant was nominated for that 
office by the President, and confirmed by the Senate the 
next day. On the 3d of the same month the general 
was ordered to Washington. On the 9th his commis- 
sion was delivered to him by the President at the exec- 
utive mansion. In doing this the President in fitting 
terms expressed the fullest appreciation of General 
Grant, and the country's reliance upon him for what 
yet remained to be done. In accepting the commission 
the general expressed his gratitude for the high honor 
conferred, and praised the noble armies that had fought 
in so many battles, concluding with these words : — 

I feel the full weight of the responsibilities now devolved 
upon me, and I know if they are met, it will be due to those 
armies, and above all to the favor of that Providence which 
leads both nations and men. 

General Sherman succeeded General Grant in chief 
command at the West. Almost immediately after- 
wards General Grant returned to the West for a brief 
visit, and for a conference with General Sherman, 
whom he telegraphed to meet him at Nashville. They 
rode from Nashville to Cincinnati together on Grant's 
return to Washington, discussing on the way the coop- 
eration of their commands when the spring campaign 
should open. Grant's objective was to be Lee's army 
and incidentally the rebel capital, while Sherman's was 
to be the army of Johnston, which was defending At- 


lanta and the interior of Georgia. General Grant was 
given entire control of military operations, and in his 
"Memoirs," as well as in his statement before the Com- 
mittee on the Conduct of the War, bears willing testi- 
mony to this fact. On the 1st of May he wrote to Mr. 
Lincoln from his headquarters at Culpeper, Virginia : — 

From my first entrance into the volunteer service of the 
country to the present day I have never had cause of com- 
plaint, have never expressed or implied a complaint, against 
the administration or the Secretary of War for throwing any 
embarrassment in the way of my vigorously prosecuting what 
appeared to be my duty. 

In his " Memoirs " he says : — 

While my headquarters were at Culpeper, from the 26th 
of March until the 4th of May, I generally visited Washing- 
ton once a week to confer with the Secretary of War and the 

On the 4th of May Grant opened the campaign 
in Virginia, and Sherman opened his campaign in 




The Presidential Campaign of 1864. — Its Vital Importance. — 
Lincoln and McClellan. — The Latter for the Union by Compro- 
mise and Conciliation. — Also for the War on a Peace Platform, 
and a Cessation of Hostilities for Peace Negotiations. — Machi- 
nations of the Copperheads. — Conferences between their Repre- 
sentative Men and the Rebel Emissaries in Canada as reported 
to Mason and Slidell by Jacob Thompson. — Plots for a " Western 
Confederacy " which would dictate Terms to the United States. 

While the two great generals of the war were inau- 
gurating in perfect concert the great military operations 
East and West which were to end in the destruction of 
the Southern Confederacy, plans were being made of 
equal importance for marshaling the contending armies 
of voters who were to determine at the presidential 
election, six months later, whether the war for the 
Union should be further prosecuted or ingloriously 

The Union national convention assembled at Balti- 
more on the 7th of June. The call for this convention 
was addressed to " all qualified voters who desire the 


unconditional maintenance of the Union, the supremacy 
of the Constitution, and the complete suppression of 
the existing rebellion, with the cause thereof, by vigor- 
ous war and all patriotic and efficient means." 

The convention adopted a platform opposing com- 
promise with the rebels and demanding their uncondi- 
tional surrender and a return to their allegiance to the 
Constitution and laws of the United States as the only 
terms of peace. It upheld the Emancipation Procla- 
mation, and furthermore demanded an amendment to 
the Constitution of the United States forever prohibit- 
ing slavery within the limits of the nation. Abraham 
Lincoln was renominated by the unanimous vote of the 
convention. Andrew Johnson was nominated for the 

The Democratic national convention assembled at 
Chicago on the 29th of August. Governor Horatio 
Seymour, of New York, was made its permanent presi- 
dent. In addressing the convention he declared that 
" this administration cannot now save the Union if it 
would. It has, by its proclamations, by vindictive 
legislation, by displays of hate and passion, placed 
obstacles in its pathway which it cannot overcome, and 
has hampered its own freedom of action by unconstitu- 
tional acts." 

The platform of the convention declared in favor of 
the " Union under the Constitution," but also declared 
that " after four years of failure to restore the Union 
by the experiment of war, . . . justice, humanity, 
liberty, and the public welfare demand that immediate 
efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities, with a 


view to an ultimate convention of the States, or other 
possible means, to the end that at the earliest prac- 
ticable moment peace may be restored on the basis of 
the federal union of the States." It finally declared 
"that the sympathy of the Democratic party is fully 
and earnestly extended to the soldiery of our army and 
the sailors of our navy," and promised protection for 
them in the event of the success of the Democratic 

General George B. McClellan was nominated for the 
presidency, and George H. Pendleton, of Ohio, for the 
vice-presidency. The vote was 202| for McClellan to 
28J for Thomas H. Seymour, of Connecticut. Upon the 
motion of C. L. Yallandigham, 1 McClellan's nomination 
was made unanimous. The nomination of Mr. Pendle- 
ton was unanimous on the second ballot. McClellan 
accepted the nomination in a letter dated September 
8. In this letter he declared that the war should 
have been conducted solely for the preservation of the 
Union ; and that " thus conducted, the work of recon- 
ciliation would have been easy." He declared that the 
Union must be preserved and restored by conciliation 
and compromise. 

Instead of adjourning sine die at the conclusion of its 
proceedings, the convention unanimously adopted the 
following resolution : — 

1 In a letter to the editor of the New York News, Mr. Vallandigham 
stated that he wrote the resolution of the convention which declared the 
war a failure, and which advocated an armistice and a convention of the 
States. In the same letter he said he had fulfilled as many engagements 
to speak in support of the Democratic candidates as any Democratic 
speaker in the State. He was then canvassing in the State of Illinois. 


Resolved, That this convention shall not be dissolved by 
adjournment at the close of its business, but shall remain 
organized, subject to call at any time and place that the 
executive national committee shall designate. 

The reason assigned for this resolution was thus 
stated by Mr. Wyckliffe, of Kentucky, by whom it was 
offered : — 

The delegates from the West are of the opinion that some- 
thing may occur between noon of to-day and the 4th of 
March next, which will make it proper for the Democrats of 
the country to meet in convention again. 

The resolution was eminently suggestive of the pos- 
sibility of a post-election revolutionary struggle for the 
presidential succession, in the event of anything like a 
close contest at the polls. 

That there was a connection between the peace party 
in the North and the Southern Confederate govern- 
ment, at this time, is clearly shown by the following 
extracts from a letter written by Jacob Thompson from 
Toronto, Canada, August 23, 1864, to John Slidell and 
James M. Mason. Slidell and Mason were respectively 
the Confederate emissaries to France and Great Britain. 
Thompson had left the Cabinet of Mr. Buchanan in 
1861, to join the rebellion. 1 

Mr. Thompson informed Messrs. Mason and Slidell 
that in May preceding he and Clement C. Clay, of Ala- 
bama, had been commissioned by Jefferson Davis, and 
by him provided with funds, to " proceed to Canada 
without delay, and ascertain the public sentiment and 

1 This letter appeared in the January number, 1887, of the Southern 


the feeling of the people of the United States, and, so far 
as practicable and honorable, to utilize the prejudices 
existing against the conduct of the war in the advance- 
ment of the interests of the Confederate States." He 
thus continued : — 

At Montreal we had various conferences with representative 
men of the North, with a view to forming in the outset some 
basis which should govern our opinion as to the best course 
to pursue thereafter. 

As the advancement of the rebel interests was the 
object of Mr. Thompson's visit to Canada, the " repre- 
sentative men of the North " who were consulted as to 
the best course to pursue must have been Northern 
men representative of Confederate interests. 

Mr. Thompson referred to the battles of Spottsyl- 
vania, the Wilderness, and Cold Harbor, and the North- 
ern belief that " Grant's masterly flank movements 
would eventually result in destroying Lee's army in 
front of Richmond ; that Sherman was advancing on 
Atlanta in sufficient force, and that he would inevitably 
defeat Johnston in Georgia." 

He then said : — 

All things considered, the result of the conferences we had 
held at Montreal led me to conclude that Lincoln would be 
reelected overwhelmingly, and thus would be continued the 
present iniquitous policy of the administration for four years 
more. In discouragement I went to Windsor, where an 
arrangement had been made with Hon. C. L. Vallandigham, 
who expressed the sentiment of the peace party of the United 
States, that if Grant failed before Richmond and Sherman 
was not successful in Georgia, a peace candidate might be 
elected to the presidency. 


He appears to have been much encouraged by this 
information. He says in his letter : — 

Our armies are strong enough to meet and repulse the 
present organized Federal force, and this is confessed by the 
action of Mr. Lincoln in the present draft for 500,000 more 
men. These, however, if raised, will not be able to partici- 
pate in the fall and winter campaigns. Grant will be bound 
to withdraw from in front of Petersburg, and even if Sher- 
man should succeed in capturing Atlanta, it is improbable 
that his great army can escape destruction in its present 
perilous position. 

These were the words of a hopeful man. 

But the expected failure of Grant and Sherman was 
to be reinforced by another powerful element of 
strength for the Confederacy. This was to be no- 
thing less than a rebel organization in the Northwest- 
ern States. That a treasonable conspiracy existed in 
that region for the inauguration there of a revolution 
against the government in aid of the Confederate cause 
was not a matter of conjecture or of irresponsible 
rumor. An account of that conspiracy, of the ob- 
jects which it hoped to accomplish, and the conditions 
deemed necessary for its success, was given to Mr. 
Thompson in his interview with Vallandigham. Mr. 
Vallandigham was accepted by Mr. Thompson as good 
authority for the extent and objects of this organiza- 
tion. Continuing his account of his interview with 
Mr. Vallandigham, he says : — 

He informed me of the existence, in the Western States, 
of an order known as the "Sons of Liberty," the basis of 
whose organization was state sovereignty, state rights, and 


individual freedom, and whose rank and file could be relied 
upon to obey the orders of officers placed over them. The 
United States government held Confederate prisoners at 
Chicago and Rock Island amounting to about 15,000, and at 
Indianapolis, Indiana, about 5000. 1 The membership of the 
" Sons of Liberty " is, in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, in the 
aggregate about 170,000 men. It can be, I confidently feel, 
so arranged that these States shall be organized into a West- 
ern Confederacy, with such advantages as will enable them 
to dictate terms of peace to the United States government. 
To this end I am addressing every energy that is practicable 
and reasonable to assist the Northwestern people, and every- 
thing justifies the belief that success will ultimately attend 
the undertaking. 

It is proposed by the Northwestern people to take posses- 
sion of the present organized governments of the three States 
mentioned, and organize provisional governments for the pur- 
poses in view. The severity of military orders, and a total dis- 
regard of private rights and personal liberty in the Western 
States of Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio, 
have aroused the people to madness, and prepared them in 
their desperation to seize upon the first glimmer of hope to 
dare all, and in doing so to regain what they have lost. In 
order to arouse the people, political meetings, called peace 
meetings, have been held, and inflammatory addresses deliv- 
ered, and whenever orators have expressed themselves for 
peace with the restoration of the Union, and, if that cannot 

1 Lieutenant Bennet H. Young, C. S. A., reported to General Cooper, 
adjutant-general, C. S. A., from Chicago, Illinois, under date of August 
31 of that year, giving the following explanation of the reasons why the 
plan to release the Confederate prisoners at that time failed of execu- 
tion : — 

" The augmentation of Federal troops here and the fears of some of the 
so-called ' peace Copperheads ' in the convention prevents the carrying out 
of our plans to release the prisoners in the Federal bastile here." 


be, then peace on any terms, the cheers and clamor of the 
masses have known no bounds. 

On the 28th of September Secretary Stanton as- 
signed General Hooker to the command of the North- 
ern Department, embracing the States of Michigan, 
Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, with headquarters at Colum- 
bus, Ohio. He was directed to look to the proper 
defense of the camps at which prisoners of war were 
confined, and especially the camp at Johnson's Island. 
Frequent efforts had been made prior to that time by 
rebels in Canada to liberate these prisoners. He was to 
diligently inspect all dangerous points on the northern 
frontier, and adopt measures of protection against hos- 
tile inroads from rebel marauders from Canada. Judge 
Holt, the head of the bureau of military justice of the 
War Department, made a report to Secretary Stanton 
on the 8th of October, 1864, " in regard to the secret 
associations and conspiracies against the government 
formed principally in the Western States by traitors and 
disloyal persons." The official report fully confirmed 
the statement made by Mr. Vallandigham to Mr. Thomp- 
son, the rebel emissary in Canada of Jefferson Davis. 
The secret orders on which such high hopes were built 
were shown by abundant evidence to have been partially 
placed on a war footing. 1 

1 The trial of Milligan and others by a military commission at Indi- 
anapolis in September and October for conspiracy against the govern- 
ment, and in aiding in the organization of the order of " American 
Knights" or order of " Sons of Liberty," brought to light the records and 
proceedings of those treasonable combinations, and exhibited the purposes 
of the so-called peace Democrats, who had succeeded in controlling for the 
time the organization of the Democratic party, and who were seeking 
the control of the government through the election to the presidency of a 
discredited warrior mounted upon a peace platform. 


A Voluntary Peace Commissioner. — Hon. Jeremiah S. Black visits 
the Rebel Commissioners, Thompson and Clay, in Canada. — His 
Correspondence with Mr. Stanton on the Subject. 

Late in August Hon. Jeremiah S. Black made a visit 
to Canada for the purpose of consulting with the rebel 
commissioners, Jacob Thompson and Clement C. Clay. 
In the letter of Thompson to Mason and Slidell of 
August 23, referred to in the preceding chapter, Mr. 
Thompson made the following statement concerning 
Judge Black's visit : — 

You are aware of the former intimacy existing between 
Judge Black, of Pennsylvania, Mr. Stanton, and myself. 

Stanton has acted in many respects shamefully, and has 
forfeited much of that respect that Judge Black formerly 
entertained for him. 

Three days ago, however, Judge Black visited me in 
Toronto, delegated by Mr. Stanton to do so, and stated to me 
that Mr. Stanton was convinced of the present prospect of 
Mr. Lincoln's overthrow in November, and of the necessity 
of something being done which, in that event, would allay 
the exasperated state of public feeling at this time. 

Mr. Stanton does not believe that anything except a deter- 
mined favorable turn in military affairs will prevent the 
defeat of the Kepublican party at the next election, and 
Judge Black has come to me to learn the state of feeling in 
the Confederate States, and to know whether I was able to 


say if negotiations for peace could be opened without the 
ultimatum of final separation. 

I am given to understand that a proposition will be con- 
sidered which will secure us in all our rights, present and 

Judge Black has returned to Washington, however, promis- 
ing to communicate with me without further delay. 

A dispatch to the New York " Herald " of August 
22 stated that Judge Black had visited the rebel com- 
missioners in Canada on behalf of the administration ; 
that he had labored unsuccessfully to obtain the ulti- 
matum of the rebel representatives ; that the question 
of an armistice and a convention of the States had been 
talked over. It was represented that Thompson and 
Clay had made a reply, the terms of which were not 
public, but that Judge Black had given the rebels to 
understand that the administration was willing to enter 
into negotiations for an armistice. 

Judge Black went from Canada to his home in York, 
Pennsylvania, from whence he addressed a letter to Mr. 
Stanton, dated August 22, commencing as follows : — 

Agreeably to the wish expressed by you in our last conver- 
sation (but not in consequence of it), I saw Mr. Thompson, 
of Mississippi. 

He then proceeded to set forth the substance of the 
conversation which took place between them. Judge 
Black had told Mr. Thompson that " though he was in 
no sense an agent of the federal government, yet if he 
learned any fact from him which it was important that 
the public authorities should know, he would regard it 
as his duty to communicate it to some member of the 


administration at Washington." He then gives in his 
own language what he understood to be the opinions 
of Mr. Thompson. Judge Black discovered that the 
rebels regarded " the abolitionists as being considerably 
worse than so many fiends from the bottomless pit," 
and that they were "false, faithless, and treacherous, 
as well as cruel and rapacious." He thought that 
" suspension of active hostilities for three or four 
months, and the employment of that time in fair nego- 
tiations, would settle the business." He foreshadowed 
the demands which would be made by the South, the 
central idea being the guarantee of state rights as 
understood by the rebels, meaning, of course, state 
supremacy in determining what such rights were. He 
made the following suggestion to Mr. Stanton : — 

I do not presume to advise you, but if I were in your place, 
I would advise the President to suspend hostilities for three 
or six months and commence negotiations in good earnest, 
unless he has irrevocably made up his mind to fight it out on 
the emancipation issue. 

In a postscript he said : — 

I made up my mind some weeks ago to pay Mr. Thompson 
a visit, impelled mainly by motives arising out of our past 
intimacy and long personal friendship. When I saw you 
last, I mentioned that intention in the course of mere casual 
conversation. You expressed your approbation of it and 
your wish that I should carry it out. This is all the con- 
nection that any member of the administration had with the 

He also stated that "in the conversation with 
Thompson nothing positive or very direct was said 


about the restoration of the Union." But he con- 
sidered it certain that the rebels would at once " agree 
to a close commercial arrangement and a military 
alliance, offensive and defensive, for the protection of 
American interests." He thought a six months' truce 
and a proposal from our government to secure the 
States in their rights would " come like oil upon the 

The letter was a long one, and would have occupied 
two columns of a newspaper. It was not marked 
" private " or " personal," and might well have been 
intended for publication. It commenced and closed 
with the statement that Mr. Stanton had expressed the 
wish that he (Black) should see Thompson. This con- 
tained the suggestion that so dark was the outlook 
for the Union cause at that time that even the reso- 
lute spirit of Stanton, which nothing had ever before 
daunted, was at last not only beginning to quail, but 
had become so despondent that he had sent his old 
friend Black to their old friend Thompson to see what 
terms he could obtain for the United States, if they 
felt compelled to yield the struggle. The letter pro- 
ceeded upon the assumption that the war was not for 
the Union, but only for the abolition of slavery. The 
rebellion he characterized as the " struggle for free- 
dom." The discussion of the armistice was in such 
a tone as would have been adopted if Judge Black 
had been sent to Canada to negotiate for one. Judge 
Black's letters corresponded with the sensational news- 
paper statements of what occurred during his visit to 


Secretary Stanton replied to Judge Black's letter as 
follows : — 

Your account of your recent interview with Mr. Thompson 
reached me a few days ago, but until now I have not had 
time to examine it. In my view it clearly proves that the 
rebel leaders desire and at present will accept no peace but 
upon the terms of absolute independence of the Confederate 
government, the dissolution of the Union, and the establish- 
ment of two or more governments within the territorial limits 
of the United States. Upon whatever other points they may 
chaffer, this appears to be with them, at the present time, 
an indispensable condition, without which they will continue 
the war as long as they can. Believing this to be their pur- 
pose, I am not disposed to give the President the advice 
you recommend ; and see no occasion to accept your offer to 
be cross-examined, especially as you frankly acknowledge that 
your report in respect to Thompson's views may have been 
influenced by your desire " helping you to a conclusion." 

It seems a little curious, the pains taken to connect your 
visit to Thompson with my "wish" and my "approbation." 
As our old friend Jim Dunlop used to say, this appears a 
"little previous." I do not suppose anybody cares when 
or how often you visit Thompson, nor what you talk about 
with him ; but when you called in the morning to pay me, 
as you professed, a private, friendly visit, I did not suspect 
you would afterwards talk about it as a visit to a " cabinet 
officer ; " and while we were talking of public persons and 
things, past and present, and you expressed a desire to see 
Thompson, and your belief that he would tell you the truth 
about Southern feeling, I did not imagine you were making 
out credentials as an agent of my " wishes " or a seeker of 
my " approbation." 

But this is a matter of trifling importance. You have seen 
Thompson and no harm is done to anybody ; but as in what 


you report of him your desire niay have " helped you to the 
conclusion," so the wish to see him may have helped you to 
the belief that I wished what was to me a matter of perfect 
indifference, and approved what I did not care about one 
way or the other. The upshot of it all is that you go for 
an armistice, which is nothing more and nothing else than 
what South Carolina wanted when the rebellion began. You 
and I then opposed it as fatal to our government and our 
national existence ; I still oppose it on the same ground. 

In his reply to this Judge Black admitted that Mr. 
Stanton was in no wise responsible for his visit to Mr. 
Thompson, nor for anything said or done by him on 
that occasion. This was a complete contradiction of 
Thompson's assurances to Messrs. Mason and Slideli 
that he (Black) professed to have been " expressly dele- 
gated by Mr. Stanton." He repeated, however, the 
statement — denied by Stanton — that he visited 
Thompson in accordance with the latter s wish and 
with his approbation. Other contentions in his letter 
were so contrary to any right recollection of recorded 
facts that it may well be set aside entirely and charged 
to a defective memory. 


The Presidential Election. — Stanton's Precautions against Rebel 
Raids from Canada, and the Colonization of Voters. — His Order 
to Department Commanders. — General Grant cooperates with 
him. — General Butler in Command in New York City. — Voting 
by Soldiers in the Field. — Reelection of Lincoln. — His Com- 
ments on the Result. 

In October information, the truth of which seemed 
apparent, came to the War Department that the rebel 
agents in Canada were arranging for colonizing voters 
on a large scale in the States on the northern border, 
and for raids for purposes of plunder. Accordingly 
the following order was made by Secretary Stanton on 
the 24th of that month to General Dix at New York 
city, commanding the Department of the East, and to 
General Hooker at Columbus, Ohio, commanding the 
Department of the North : — 

This department has received information that the rebel 
agents in Canada design to send into the United States, about 
this time, a large number of refugees, deserters, and enemies 
of this government, and to colonize them at different points 
for the purpose of voting at the approaching presidential elec- 
tion, and also, perhaps, with a view of organizing a system of 
robbery and incendiarism in such cities, towns, villages, and 
districts as they may find unprotected. You are therefore 
directed to take any measures that may be in your power to 
defeat this nefarious scheme, and to bring to justice those 


who may participate therein. The persons who have come 
into the United States from Canada upon this business belong 
to one or the other of the following classes : — 

First. Citizens of insurgent States who have been engaged 
in the rebel service, or in acts of hostility against the United 
States during the present rebellion. 

Second. Deserters from the military service of the United 

Third. Persons who have been drafted or subject to draft 
for military service, and have fled to escape their obligation 
to their country. 

All of these persons are liable to punishment under mili- 
tary law for the offenses they have already committed. Al- 
though you may be unable to prevent such persons from 
coming within the United States, and perhaps from voting at 
the election, yet their presence here will afford an opportunity, 
with proper vigilance, for their arrest and punishment. You 
will therefore direct your attention especially to the adoption 
of measures to prevent their escape from the States or dis- 
tricts into which they may come, and for their capture. All 
provost marshals in the States within your command are sub- 
ject to your order. You will give to them such directions 
as your judgment may dictate, and apply for such force as 
may be required to establish on the Canadian frontier a per- 
fect cordon, through which the miscreants will not be able to 
escape. It will be proper also for you to give timely notice 
to the electors within your district of the dangers threatened 
from the sources above referred to, so as to enable them to 
take measures for their own security and to aid the military 

On the 23d of October Secretary Stanton addressed 
the following letter to General Grant on the subject of 
preserving order in New York during the elections and 
strengthening the condition of the forts in New York 
harbor : — 


The aspect of affairs in New York city and State urgently 
demands attention, as well for the security of the forts in the 
harbor of New York, the defense of the Lake frontier from 
invasion, and for the purity of the ballot-box from rebels 
imported from Canada. I have just had a conference with 
General Dix, who was called here for a conference upon this 
subject. He informs me he has already, in a communication 
to you as general commanding all the forces of the United 
States, reported the insecure condition of the forts in New 
York harbor. You are aware that there are no troops in 
Washington or elsewhere at the disposal of the department 
to meet this necessity. General Dix informs me that during 
the coming week he will be able to send you five thousand 
new recruits, but, for want of organization, and also for local 
reasons, they are not a proper force to place in garrison. 
Allow me to suggest whether, in view of their accession to 
your army, you can spare two or three thousand men tempo- 
rarily, to be sent to New York and placed under his com- 
mand ? I see no other way of meeting the emergency. By 
the 15th of November the necessity will have passed away, 
or, by troops from other States, those now to be forwarded 
can be replaced. Please favor me with your views on this 
subject at your earliest convenience. 

To this General Grant replied on the 24th : — 
The very significant dispatches sent by private hands, and 
your letter in relation to affairs in New York, are received. 
It is consoling to know that Sheridan defeated the first part 
of the rebel programme so signally. 1 I am at a loss to know 
what was expected to be done in the North further than to 
colonize voters, unless it is to control the polls by violence at 
stated points where these imported voters are colonized. I 
had ordered another regiment of regulars to report to General 
Dix before receiving your letter. I see the absolute necessity 
1 By his thorough operations in Shenandoah Valley. 


of further reinforcing him, and it must be done. I do not 
like the idea of sending troops from here, but if they cannot 
be spared from elsewhere, they must go. Cannot two or three 
of the new regiments now raised in the North be sent there ? 
I would not advise taking new New York regiments, but 
those from Pennsylvania or the New England States would 

Senator E. D. Morgan, of New York, wrote to Mr. 
Stanton on the 29th of October, as follows : — 

The near approach of the presidential election and the 
more than probable result of the reelection of Mr. Lincoln is 
producing among many of his opponents a very desperate 
feeling, and both their press and their public men use expres- 
sions of violence which have alarmed many of our most staid 
citizens. For these reasons several gentlemen of the highest 
respectability have to-day conferred together upon the sub- 
ject, and have come to the conclusion that the presence in the 
neighborhood of a military force, in addition to the militia 
regiments in this city and Brooklyn, would be of most essen- 
tial service. Therefore at their solicitation that I should do 
so, and in accordance with my own judgment, I respectfully 
request that (3000) three thousand troops be sent here with- 
out delay. If there is to be any outbreak, this city and State 
is where it will occur. The expense and the trouble which 
will be thereby incurred ought not to preclude our putting 
this matter beyond all hazard. 

On the 4th of November Major-General Dix, com- 
manding the Department of the East, announced in a 
general order that Major-General Butler had been 
assigned to duty in that department, and would take 
command of the troops arriving there to meet existing 
emergencies, and that such troops in service for the 
State of New York would be subject to his orders. 


The election laws in several of the States had been 
so amended as to allow citizens of those States absent 
and on duty as soldiers in the field to cast their ballots 
at the presidential election, and have them returned to 
state election officers. 

In furtherance of these laws Secretary Stanton, on 
the 1st of October, issued the following regulations in 
respect to election tickets in the army : — 

In order to secure a fair distribution of tickets among sol- 
diers in the field who, by the laws of their respective States, 
are entitled to vote at the approaching elections, the following 
rules and regulations are prescribed : — 

First. One agent for each army corps may be designated by 
the state executive or by the state committee of each political 
party, who, on presenting the credentials from the state execu- 
tive, or from the chairman of said committee, shall receive 
from this department a pass to the headquarters of the corps 
for which he is designated, with tickets which may be placed 
by him in the hands of such person or persons as he may 
select for distribution among officers and soldiers. 

Second. One inspector of each political party for every 
brigade may in like manner be designated, who shall receive 
passes on application to the adjutant-general to be present on 
the day of the election to see that the elections are fairly 

Third. No political speeches, harangues, or canvassing 
among the troops will be permitted. 

Fourth. Commanding officers are enjoined to take such 
measures as may be essential to secure freedom and fairness 
in the elections, and that they may be conducted with due 
regard to good order and military discipline. 

Fifth. Any officer or private who may wantonly destroy 
tickets, or prevent their proper distribution among legal vot- 


ers, interfere with the freedom of the elections, or make any 
false or fraudulent returns, shall be deemed guilty of an 
offense against good order and military discipline, and be 
punished by summary dismissal or court martial. 

Every legal voter, therefore, from the States referred 
to was given a fair opportunity to vote either for Mr. 
Lincoln or General McClellan. Agents of each party 
were admitted to corps headquarters, where they could 
place tickets in the hands of persons of their respective 
parties for distribution. Each political party was rep- 
resented in conducting the elections, and commanding 
officers were required to secure freedom of choice to 
every soldier. 

The precautions taken by Stanton prevented any seri- 
ous disorder on election day at New York or elsewhere. 
The result was an overwhelming Union victory, which 
was accepted as an expression of the unconquerable 
determination of the Union masses that the war should 
cease only with the end of the rebellion and the resto- 
ration of national authority throughout the land. 

Mr. Lincoln received the electoral votes of all the 
States voting except New Jersey, Delaware, and Ken- 
tucky. These cast their votes for General McClellan. 

The Union majorities in Congress were so increased 
that a little more than a year later each house had the 
two thirds majority which events in the mean time had 
rendered necessary. In his annual report of December, 
1865, Secretary Stanton made the following reference 
to the presidential election of 1864 : — 

The result of the election of 1864 exerted an important 
influence upon the war. Intercepted letters and dispatches 


between the rebel leaders showed that their hopes of success 
rested greatly upon the presidential election. If the Union 
party prevailed, the prosecution of the war until the national 
authority should be restored appeared inevitable, and the 
rebel cause desperate. Even on the battlefield the influence 
of the election was felt. The overwhelming voice of the peo- 
ple at the presidential election encouraged the heroic daring 
of our own troops, and dismayed those who were fighting in 
the rebel cause. 

Although the Northern enemies of the Union cause 
had manipulated the convention of the Democratic 
party, and declared the war a failure, they paid the 
tribute which vice is said to pay to virtue, — of profess- 
ing devotion to the Union, while lending aid and com- 
fort to the rebellion. They knew that the great masses 
of the Democratic party could not be held to its nomi- 
nations unless, while voting for them, they could also 
reaffirm their devotion to the Union. To afford this 
opportunity to the voters, General McClellan was al- 
lowed to say in his letter of acceptance that the Union 
must be preserved. To satisfy the peace men, he said 
that if the war had been conducted for the preser- 
vation of the Union, reconciliation would have been 
easy; and that to restore the Union, the spirit of concil- 
iation and compromise must prevail. By this device 
Democratic voters were enabled to vote for a candidate 
who declared himself opposed to disunion, and who had 
been chosen by a convention dominated by the leaders 
of the anti-war faction. He was for the war, and also 
for a compromise. 

In his annual message Mr. Lincoln thus referred to 
the result of the election : — 


Not only all those who supported the Union ticket (so- 
called), but a great majority of the opposing party also, may 
be fairly claimed to entertain and to be actuated by the same 
purpose. It is an unanswerable argument to this effect that 
no candidate for any office whatever, high or low, has ven- 
tured to seek votes on the avowal that he is for giving up the 
Union. There has been much impugning of motives, and 
much heated controversy as to the proper means and best 
mode of advancing the Union cause ; but in the distinct issue 
of Union or no Union, the politicians have shown their instinc- 
tive knowledge that there is no diversity among the people. 
In affording the people a fair opportunity of showing to one 
another, and to the world, this firmness and unanimity of 
purpose, the election has been of vast value to the national 

This view was both charitable and wise. It was a 
considerable exercise of charity to recognize the union- 
ism of those who supported a presidential candidate 
whose nomination had been made unanimous upon the 
motion of C. L. Vallandigham, in a convention which 
opposed the continuance of the war against the rebel- 
lion. But it is doubtless true that the great majority 
of McClellan's votes would have been lost to him if 
he had not professed a dissent from portions of the 
platform of his party. It was wise in Mr. Lincoln to 
emphasize this fact, and to show that the Northern 
abettors of rebellion had found it necessary to masquer- 
ade as the supporters of a Union candidate in order 
to secure for the party they were engineering a respect- 
able minority of the votes of the North. 


The Last Year of the War. — Sherman's March to the Sea. — 
Grant's Campaign against Lee's Army. — Early's Raid on "Wash- 
ington. — Sheridan's Brilliant Operations in the Shenandoah Val- 
ley. — The Spring Campaign. — The Surrender of Lee's Army. 

The military operations of 1864 in the West em- 
braced Sherman's campaign against Atlanta and his 
famous march "from Atlanta to the sea/' culminating 
with his " Christmas gift " of Savannah to the Presi- 
dent ; Thomas's operations in Tennessee, — including 
Schofield's hard-fought battle of Franklin, — and the 
utter rout of Hood's army by Thomas after long wait- 
ing, deemed necessary by him, but which had led 
General Grant at one time to contemplate relieving him 
from command. 

In the East Grant's fierce attacks upon Lee's army 
were met by stubborn resistance, but the government 
and the people, inspired by Grant's courage, tenacity, 
and composure, accepted with absolute confidence his 
assurance : " I will fight it out on this line, if it takes 
all summer." Fresh calls for troops constantly rein- 
forced the army, in numbers far greater than the losses 

The rebel raid into Maryland under the lead of 
General Early, in July, created alarm for the safety of 
Washington. Grant states in his "Memoirs" that 


General Hunter, in command of the forces in the 
Shenandoah Valley, had been compelled to retire before 
Early for the want of ammunition on the 18th of June. 
He had been obliged to take a roundabout way through 
West Virginia, up the Ohio River, and thence by the 
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to Harper's Ferry. Says 
General Grant : — 

A long time was consumed in making this movement. 
Meantime the valley was left open to Early's troops and 
others in that quarter, and Washington, also, was uncovered. 
Early took advantage of this condition of affairs and moved 
on Washington. 

In the absence of Hunter, General Lew Wallace, with 
headquarters at Baltimore, commanded the department in 
which the Shenandoah lay. His surplus of troops with which 
to move against the enemy was small, and most of these were 
new and consequently very much inferior to our veterans or 
the veterans which Early had with him. But the situation of 
Washington was precarious, and Wallace moved with com- 
mendable promptitude to meet the enemy at the Monocacy. 
He could hardly have expected to defeat and hurt him badly, 
but he hoped to be able to cripple and delay him until Wash- 
ington could be put in a state of preparation for his recep- 
tion. I had previously ordered General Meade to send a 
division to Baltimore for the purpose of adding to the de- 
fenses of Washington, and he had sent Ricketts's division 
of the 6th corps (Wright's), which arrived in Baltimore on 
the 8th of July. Finding that Wallace had gone to the front 
with his men, Ricketts immediately took the cars and fol- 
lowed him to the Monocacy with his entire division. They 
met the enemy, and, as might have been expected, were 
defeated, but they succeeded in stopping him for the day on 
which the battle took place. The next morning Early started 


on his march for the capital of the nation, arriving before 
it on the 11th. Learning of the gravity of the situation, I 
had directed Meade to also order Wright, with the rest of 
his corps, directly to Washington for the relief of that place, 
and the latter reached there the very day that Early arrived 
before it. The 19th corps, which had been stationed in Lou- 
isiana, having been ordered up to reinforce the armies about 
Richmond, had about this time reached Fortress Monroe, 
where they were to join us. I diverted them from that 
point to Washington, which place they reached almost simul- 
taneously with Wright on the 11th. The 19th corps was 
commanded by General Emory. 

Early made his reconnoissance with a view of attacking 
on the following morning, the 12th. But the next morning 
he found our intrenchments, which were very strong, fully 
manned. He at once commenced his retreat, Wright fol- 
lowing. There is no telling how much this result was con- 
tributed to by General Wallace's leading what might well be 
considered a forlorn hope. If Early had been but one day 
earlier, he might have entered the capital before the arrival 
of the reinforcements I sent. Whether the delay caused by 
a battle amounted to a day or not, General Wallace con- 
tributed on this occasion, by the defeat of the troops under 
him, a greater benefit to the cause than often falls to the lot 
of a commander of an equal force to render by means of a 

It will be observed that, although Washington had 
been left uncovered by General Hunter on the 18th of 
June, it was not until the 8th of July that any addi- 
tion was made to its defenses. It was not stated how 
long a time elapsed between General Grant's order to 
General Meade for this purpose and its execution by 
the latter. General Grant tells us that the situation 


was so much more serious than he supposed that he 
ordered the remainder of Wright's division to the 
relief of the capital. The arrival of the 19th corps 
from the Gulf appears to have been providential rather 
than provident. It seems probable that the national 
capital would have been occupied by the rebel force of 
Early, if only for a few hours, had it not been for the 
heroic action of General Wallace in giving battle to the 
enemy with certain defeat staring him in the face, in 
order to postpone the attack upon the capital until the 
arrival of the hoped-for reinforcements. 

This is mentioned as justifying Mr. Stanton for the 
anxiety sometimes manifested by him, — and criticised 
by General Grant in his " Memoirs," — lest the safety 
of the national capital might not always be assured 
by offensive movements against the army guarding the 
Confederate capital. It is possible that General Grant 
did not realize the serious consequences that might 
have resulted from the rebel occupation of Washington 
for however brief a time. These consequences would 
almost certainly have embraced the recognition of the 
Southern Confederacy by France and England, both of 
which governments were understood to be extremely 
desirous of even a slight pretext for such action. 

In September General Grant placed General Sheridan 
in command in the Shenandoah Valley, with instruc- 
tions to prevent the further use of that region as a 
source of supplies for the enemy or an easy approach 
to Washington. In thirty days these objects had been 
accomplished in the most thorough manner, after hard 
fighting. It was in recognition of brilliant services in 


this field of operations that General Sheridan received 
his promotion as a major-general to fill the vacancy 
occasioned by the resignation of General McClellan on 
the 8th of November. 

The spring campaign, which ended the war, was of 
short duration. Sherman supplemented his march to 
the sea by a movement, which met with slight resist- 
ance, through the Carolinas in February and March. 
General Grant was anxious lest Lee should escape him 
and join the army of Johnston to give battle to Sher- 
man. His anxiety was not as to the military result of 
such a movement, but because he was very desirous 
that the Army of the Potomac should defeat and cap- 
ture Lee's army without the cooperation of the army 
under Sherman. He thought this would be an equal 
division of the honors of the war between the soldiers 
of the East and of the West, and that it would pre- 
vent any future disputes between these two sections as 
to their relative importance in the suppression of the 
rebellion. 1 

General Sherman passed through Columbia, Charles- 
ton, and Fayetteville, reaching Goldsboro on the 23d 
of March. There he was to remain some time for sup- 
plies before he could continue his march. The 18th of 
April had been fixed for his movement northward from 
Goldsboro. Long before that (April 2) Richmond had 
fallen ; and Lee's army, foiled in desperate efforts to 
escape, had been defeated in hotly contested battles, 
and on the 9th had surrendered to General Grant at 

1 Grant's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 460. 


The story of these great events is best told in the 
direct, simple, and yet dramatic narrative of the illus- 
trious commander who had thus brought the war to 
a close a little more than a year after being given full 


Flight of Jefferson Davis. — The Assassination of President Lin- 
coln. — Accession of Andrew Johnson to the Presidency. 

The surrender of Lee was accepted by all the world 
as the deathblow to the Southern Confederacy, although 
it left the Confederate army under General Johnston, 
and other Confederate forces, still in the field. 

Upon the fall of Richmond, April 2, Jefferson Davis 
with his Cabinet had fled to Danville, Virginia, taking 
with them the rebel archives. That place was the seat 
of government until official information reached there, 
April 12, of Lee's surrender. Upon this the fugitive 
government moved on to Goldsboro, North Carolina. 
Upon its arrival there, the military situation had be- 
come so hopeless that, when General Johnston and 
General Beauregard were summoned for a conference 
with the rebel chief, they told him that the war could 
no longer go on, and in this all the Cabinet concurred, 
except Judah P. Benjamin, his Secretary of State. 

No longer able to command, Davis reluctantly con- 
sented to the initiation by General Johnston of nego- 
tiations for peace, and himself dictated a letter on 
the 13th of April, which that officer signed and sent to 
General Sherman, asking for a conference. 

The narrative of these events must give place to the 


brief record of a story so sad that in its presence all 
other sorrows seemed light, — a tragedy which over- 
topped all other horrors of the war. 

On the 14th of April, while the hearts of all the 
patriotic people throughout the land were rejoicing in 
the triumph of the Union cause, and while the nation's 
stage was being cleared of the drama of the rebellion, 
the bullet of an assassin pierced the brain of Abraham 
Lincoln, and in a few hours the hand that had written 
the sublime words of the inaugural of 1861, the Eman- 
cipation Proclamation, and the address at Gettysburg, 
was pulseless, and the great heart that had prompted 
them had ceased to beat. 

The world was appalled. Grief and rage contended 
for the mastery in the minds of the people. Amid the 
sobs of the nation the remains of the noble dead — the 
gentlest and most Christlike mortal that ever wielded 
power in all the tide of time — were borne to his West- 
ern home. 

Mr. Lincoln died shortly after seven o'clock on the 
morning of the 15th of April, and at eleven o'clock of 
that day the oath of office was administered by Chief 
Justice Chase to Vice-President Johnson, upon whom 
the powers and duties of the presidential office then 
devolved under the Constitution. 


Jefferson Davis sues for Peace. — His Secretary of War conducts 
Negotiations with General Sherman, and presents Propositions 
approved by Davis. — Sherman's Substitute concedes more than 
was asked. — Terms agreed on Subject to Formal Approval of 
President Johnson and Jefferson Davis. — Sherman's Announce- 
ment to the Army. 

The letter of General Johnston to General Sherman, 
dictated by Jefferson Davis, was received by General 
Sherman at Raleigh, N. C, on the 14th of April. It 
was as follows : — 

General, — The results of the recent campaign in Virginia 
have changed the relative relations of the belligerents. I am, 
therefore, induced to address you in this form the inquiry, 
whether, in order to stop the further effusion of blood and 
devastation of property, you are willing to make a temporary 
suspension of active operations, and to communicate to Lieu- 
tenant-General Grant, commanding the armies of the United 
States, the request that he will take like action in regard to 
other armies ; the object being to permit the civil authorities 
to enter into the needful arrangements to terminate the exist- 
ing war. 

The following is the answer of General Sherman : — 

General, — I have this moment received your communica- 
tion of this date. I am fully empowered to arrange with you 
any terms for the suspension of further hostilities as between 
the armies commanded by you and those commanded by 


myself, and will be willing to confer with you to that end. 
I will limit the advance of my main column to-morrow to 
Morrisville and the cavalry to the university, and expect that 
you will also maintain the present position of your forces 
until each has notice of a failure to agree. That a basis of 
action may be had, I undertake to abide by the same terms 
and conditions as were made by Generals Grant and Lee at 
Appomattox Court House on the 9th instant, relative to our 
two armies ; and, furthermore, to obtain from General Grant 
an order to suspend the movement of any troops from the 
direction of Virginia. General Stoneman is under my com- 
mand, and my order will suspend any devastation or destruc- 
tion contemplated by him. I will add that I really desire to 
save the people of North Carolina the damage they would sus- 
tain by the march of this army through the central or western 
parts of the State. 

On the following day General Sherman addressed a 
letter to the authorities at Washington, which com- 
menced as follows : — 

General U. S. Grant and Secretary of War, — I send 
copies of a correspondence begun with General Johnston 
which, I think, will be followed by terms of capitulation. 
I will accept the same terms as General Grant gave General 
Lee, and be careful not to complicate any points of civil 

On the 16th a meeting between the two generals was 
arranged for the day following. 

If General Sherman had confined himself at his 
meetings with General Johnston to the purely military 
business described in his letter, and if, as therein pro- 
posed, he had made the terms of Lee's surrender to 
Grant the basis of the surrender of Johnston, he would 


have avoided the unpleasant consequences of what he 
freely admitted was a great mistake. He allowed him- 
self, however, to " complicate points of civil policy," 
which he had assured Grant and Stanton he would 
not do. 

It will be observed that Jefferson Davis's letter, 
signed by General Johnston, asked for an armistice 
pending negotiations between the civil authorities of 
the United States and of the Confederacy. But the 
existence of the Southern Confederacy as a civil power 
with which negotiations could take place had from the 
very commencement, as all men knew, been treated by 
every department of the federal government as totally 
inadmissible. General Lee had made an attempt early 
in March to draw General Grant into a similar trap, by 
requesting a meeting between them for the purpose of 
considering terms of peace. Instead of complying with 
the request, General Grant forwarded it to the War 
Department for instructions. In reply Mr. Lincoln 
directed the Secretary of War to say to General Grant 
that he must not decide, discuss, or confer upon any 
political question. General Grant had refused on the 
instant to consider General Lee's request to discuss 
with him the terms of peace upon which the war 
should be terminated. The instructions sent him by 
the President on the subject merely confirmed him in 
the action he had already taken. Replying to these 
instructions, he wrote to Secretary Stanton March 3: — 

It was because I had no right to meet General Lee on the 
subject proposed by him that I referred the matter for in- 


In the narrative which follows, it will be seen 
that General Sherman pursued a different course. He 
undertook not only to share the great responsibility 
of the civil power, but, in advance and alone, to mark 
out an agreement with the enemy as to the manner in 
which he thought the civil power should act. It will 
also appear that he sought to bring pressure to bear 
upon the President to cause him to adhere strictly to 
the terms he had agreed on with Johnston. The Presi- 
dent himself could not have guaranteed such terms 
without usurping the powers vested by the Constitution 
exclusively in Congress. Finally he issued a special 
order to the army, in which he treated the presidential 
approval as a mere formality which would surely fol- 
low, and in which he expressed the belief that the 
army had but to wait a few days before returning to 
their homes. 

The terms were immediately disapproved by the 
President and every member of his Cabinet, and by 
General Grant. The reasons for this disapproval were 
stated by Secretary Stanton in a dispatch to General 
John A. Dix, commanding in the Department of New 
York, and by him furnished to the press. This was 
deemed an imperative necessity in order to allay public 
feeling in the North and possible disturbance in the 
army, which might have followed the unexplained re- 
fusal of the President to allow peace to be established 
upon terms which seemed good to General Sherman. 
The general allowed himself to become greatly inflamed 
towards Secretary Stanton on this account, and made 
many exhibitions of this feeling. It occupies a large 


space in his " Memoirs." For these reasons it is proper 
that the biography of Mr. Stanton should contain the 
documentary history of the matter. 

The fugitive government of the Confederacy was at 
the time referred to temporarily located at Greensboro, 
North Carolina. General Johnston's army was between 
that place and Hillsboro. The place arranged for the 
meeting of the two generals was near Durham Station, 
twenty-six miles from Raleigh, and the time was April 17. 

General Johnston was informed by General Sherman 
that he could surrender upon the same terms given to 
General Lee by General Grant. General Johnston, 
with the purpose clearly in mind of bringing Jefferson 
Davis into the negotiations, and probably acting under 
the latter' s instructions, made a suggestion that it would 
be very desirable if the terms of surrender could be 
made to include the remaining armies of the Con- 
federacy, including the army west of the Mississippi. 
General Sherman asked him if he was empowered to 
surrender all the Confederate forces. He replied he was 
not at that time, but thought he could obtain the neces- 
sary authority during the night. General Sherman did 
not demur to the proposition, although it was mani- 
fest that General Johnston sought the adjournment 
expressly for the purpose of consulting with Jefferson 
Davis, who alone could even claim the right to confer 
such authority. 

On the next day, at the appointed hour, they met 
again. General Johnston was accompanied by John C. 
Breckenridge and John H. Reagan, — the Confederate 
Secretary of War and Postmaster-General. He did not 


bring them into the presence of General Sherman, but 
requested that they might be invited in. Here General 
Sherman attempted to draw the distinction between the 
civil and military authorities, and at first declined to 
see either of the civil officers named, because, he said, 
he could deal only with military men. Upon General 
Johnston's suggestion to him that Breckenridge was a 
major-general in the army as well as a cabinet officer, 
he consented to have him join them, but declined to 
see Reagan. The latter, however, made his presence 
in the vicinity felt by communicating, through Brecken- 
ridge, a plan for peace. It was as follows : — 

As the avowed motive of the government of the United 
States for the prosecution of the existing war with the Con- 
federate States is to secure a reunion of all the States under 
one common government, and as wisdom and sound policy 
alike require that a common government should rest on the 
consent, and be supported by the affection, of all the people 
who compose it, now in order to ascertain whether it be prac- 
ticable to put an end to the existing war and to the conse- 
quent destruction of life and property, having in view the 
correspondence and conversation which has recently taken 
place between Major-General "W. T. Sherman and myself, I 
propose the following points as a basis of pacification : — 

1st. The disbanding of the military forces of the Con- 
federacy ; and — 

2d. The recognition of the Constitution and authority of 
the government of the United States, on the following condi- 
tions : — 

3d. The preservation and continuance of the existing state 

4th. The preservation to the people of all the political 
rights and rights of person and property secured to them by 


the Constitution of the United States and of their several 

5th. Freedom from future prosecution or penalties for 
their participation in the present war. 

6th. Agreement to a general suspension of hostilities 
pending these negotiations. 

There was little of a military character in this beyond 
the joint exercise of military power in declaring a 
truce. All the rest was matter for legislation. General 
Sherman did not object to it on that ground. The 
only objection stated by him is in these words : — 

While we were in consultation, a messenger came with a 
parcel of papers, which General Johnston said were from 
Mr. Reagan, Postmaster-General. He and Mr. Breckenridge 
looked over them, and after some side conversation he handed 
one of the papers to me. It was in Reagan's handwriting, 
and began with a long preamble and terms so general and 
verbose that I said they were inadmissible. 1 

And yet for this document, which he objected to 
only on account of its length and lack of details, he 
substituted one differing substantially only in being 
much longer. It is here given : — 

Memorandum or basis of agreement made this ISih day of April, A. D. 1865, 
near Durham's Station, in the State of North Carolina, by and between 
General Joseph E. Johnston, commanding the Confederate army, and 
Major-General William T. Sherman, commanding the army of the United 
States in North Carolina, both present : — 

First : The contending armies now in the field to maintain 
the status quo until notice is given by the commanding gen- 
eral of any one to its opponent, and reasonable time — say 
forty-eight hours — allowed. 

1 See Sherman's Memoirs, page 353. 


Second: The Confederate armies now in existence to be 
disbanded and conducted to their several state capitals, there 
to deposit their arms and public property in the state arsenal ; 
and each officer and man to execute and file an agreement to 
cease from acts of war and to abide the action of the state 
and federal authorities. The number of arms and munitions 
of war to be reported to the chief of ordinance at Washing- 
ton city, subject to the future action of the Congress of the 
United States, and in the mean time to be used solely to 
maintain peace and order within the borders of the States 

Third: The recognition by the Executive of the United 
States of the several state governments, on their officers and 
legislatures taking the oaths prescribed by the Constitution 
of the United States, and where conflicting state governments 
have resulted from the war, the legitimacy of all shall be 
submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States. 

Fourth : The reestablishment of all the federal courts in 
the several States, with powers as defined by the Constitution 
and laws of Congress. 

Fifth : The people and inhabitants of all the States to be 
guaranteed, so far as the Executive can, their political rights 
and franchises, as well as their rights of person and property, 
as defined by the Constitution of the United States and of 
the State respectively. 

Sixth : The executive authority of the government of the 
United States not to disturb any of the people by reason of 
the late war, as long as they live in peace and quiet, abstain 
from acts of armed hostility, and obey the laws in existence 
at the place of their residence. 

Seventh : In general terms, — the war to cease, - — a gen- 
eral amnesty so far as the Executive of the United States can 
command, on condition of the disbandment of the Confederate 
armies, the distribution of the arms, and the resumption of 


peaceful pursuits by the officers and men hitherto composing 
said armies. 

Not being fully empowered by our respective principals to 
fulfill these terms, we individually and officially pledge our- 
selves to promptly obtain the necessary authority and to carry 
out the above programme. 

This was, of course, at once agreed to and signed by 
General Sherman and General Johnston. 

The following opinion of these terms was expressed 
by Jefferson Davis on the 23d of April, 1865, while 
he was waiting for the action of the government at 
Washington. The letter was among papers captured 
shortly afterwards : — 

General Johnston had several interviews with Sherman, 
and agreed on a suspension of hostilities and the reference of 
terms of pacification. They are secret and may be rejected 
by the Yankee government. To us they are hard enough, 
though freed from wanton humiliation, and expressly recog- 
nizing the state governments, and the rights of person and 
property as secured by the constitutions of the United States 
and the several States. 

General Breckenridge was a party to the last consulta- 
tion and to the agreement. Judge Reagan went with him 
and approved the agreement, though not present at the con- 

General Sherman seemed to regard the terms as cer- 
tain of approval. There seemed to be no secrecy about 
them, for he states that, immediately upon the agreement 
being signed, the Confederates mingled freely with the 
officers about him, and that the mutual rejoicing over 
the final termination of the war was very great. 1 

1 Sherman's Memoirs, page 353. 


That a general in the field should, without authority, 
have undertaken the vast responsibility of civil negotia- 
tions with the enemy, and of committing himself to any 
terms of peace to be submitted to the civil power, was 
certainly extraordinary. That he should concede terms 
which furloughed the Confederate army with their 
arms in their hands ; which undertook instantaneously 
to give illegal Confederate state governments the full 
power of state governments within the United States ; 
and which promised executive immunity to all who had 
been in rebellion, both as to their persons and property 
(necessarily including slaves, of which no exemption 
had been made), was unaccountable. If this had all 
been done privately between the two generals, and if 
secrecy had been maintained until their respective su- 
periors had spoken, the proceeding would have been 
less dangerous ; but instead of this there was a general 
rejoicing over an assumed finality, and on the day fol- 
lowing the signing of the agreement, before its terms 
were known to the general government at Washington, 
General Sherman issued a special order to the army, 
which contained the following paragraph : — 

The general commanding announces to the army a suspen- 
sion of hostilities, and an agreement with General Johnston 
and other high officials which, when formally ratified, will 
make peace from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. 

As a great soldier and an ardent patriot, General 
Sherman had earned and enjoyed the confidence of the 
whole army, and especially of his immediate command. 
Herein lay the great danger of what he had done. It 


would require powerful reasons to satisfy his army and 
the country that further hostilities were necessary in 
the face of the above order. It was an assurance from 
him that he had agreed to terms which, in his opinion , 
the government at Washington ought to approve. 


The Sherman-Johnston Terms continued. — Disapproved by the 
President and his Cabinet and General Grant. — Stanton's Nine 
Reasons. — Comments by Senators Sherman, Trumbull, Fessen- 
den, and Collamer, and George Bancroft. — Sherman's Meeting 
with Secretary Stanton on the Reviewing-Stand at Washington. 

Major Hitchcock of General Sherman's staff was 
immediately sent to Washington with the agreement. 
He also carried from General Sherman a letter to Gen- 
eral Grant, another to whoever might be in command 
of the armies in Virginia, and a third to General Hal- 

The letter to General Grant was as follows : — - 

I inclose herewith a copy of an agreement made this day 
between General Joseph E. Johnston and myself, which, if 
approved by the President of the United States, will produce 
peace from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. 

Mr. Breckenridge was present in his capacity as major- 
general, and satisfied me of the ability of General Johnston to 
carry out to their full extent the terms of this agreement, and 
if you will get the President simply to indorse this copy, and 
commission me to carry out the terms, I will follow them to 
the conclusion. 

You will observe that it is an absolute submission of the 
enemy to the lawful authority of the United States, and dis- 
perses his armies absolutely, and the point to which I attach 
most importance is that the dispersion and disbandment of 


these armies is done in such a manner as to prevent their 
breaking up into guerrilla bands. 

On the other hand, we can retain just as much of an army 
as we please. I agreed to the mode and manner of the sur- 
render of arms set forth, as it gives the States the means of 
repressing guerrillas, which we could not expect them to do 
if we stripped them of all arms. 

Both General Johnston and Breckenridge admitted that 
slavery was dead, and I could not insist on embracing it in 
such a paper because it can be made with the States in 
detail. I know that all the men of substance, South, sin- 
cerely want peace, and I do not believe they will resort to 
war again during this century. I have no doubt that they 
will in the future be perfectly subordinate to the laws of the 
United States. 

To the general in command of the armies in Vir- 
ginia he wrote : — 

I have agreed with General Joseph E. Johnston for a tem- 
porary cessation of active hostilities to enable me to lay before 
our government at Washington the agreement made between 
us, with the full sanction of Mr. Davis and in the presence 
of Mr. Breckenridge, for the disbandment of all the armies 
of the Confederacy from here to the Rio Grande. 

To General Halleck he wrote : — 

Please give all orders necessary according to the views the 
Executive may take, and influence him if possible not to vary 
the terms at all, for I have considered everything, and believe 
that the Confederate armies once dispersed, we can adjust all 
else fairly and well. 

From these it is evident that General Sherman had 
thrown his whole strength into the work of carrying- 
through, without change, the plan he had agreed on, 


and which, as the reader can see by comparison, was in 
all respects the very proposition of the Confederate 
chief and his Cabinet, brought from them by their asso- 
ciate, Mr. Reagan, with the added, unheard-of, and 
unasked-for concession of the retention by the rebels 
of their arms, to be deposited by them in their state 

General Sherman's special messenger arrived at 
Washington on the evening of April 21, and at once 
delivered his dispatches to General Grant. Immediately 
upon reading them, the latter addressed the following 
letter to Secretary Stanton : — 

Sir, — I have received and just completed reading the 
dispatches brought by special messenger from General Sher- 
man. They are of so much importance that I think imme- 
diate action should be taken on them, and that it should be 
done by the President in council with his whole Cabinet. 

I would respectfully suggest whether the President should 
not be notified, and all his Cabinet, and the meeting take 
place to-night. 

The cabinet meeting so urgently recommended by 
General Grant for that night was called and held ac- 
cordingly. Following is General Grant's report of 
what occurred at this meeting, contained in a letter 
from him to General Sherman, written immediately after 
its adjournment : — 

General, — The basis of agreement entered into between 
yourself and General Joseph E. Johnston for the disbandment 
of the Southern army and the extension of the authority of 
the general government over all the territory belonging to it, 
sent for the approval of the President, is received. 


I read it carefully myself before submitting it to the Presi- 
dent and Secretary of War, and felt satisfied that it could 
not possibly be approved. My reasons for these views I will 
give you at another time in a more extended letter. 

Your agreement touches upon questions of such vital 
importance that as soon as read I addressed a note to the 
Secretary of War, notifying him of their receipt and the 
importance of immediate action by the President, and sug- 
gested in view of their importance that the entire Cabinet 
be called together, that all might give an expression of their 
opinions on the matter. The result was a disapproval by the 
President of the basis laid down, a disapproval of the negoti- 
ations altogether, and directions to me to notify you of this 
decision. I cannot do so better than by sending you the 
inclosed copy of a dispatch (penned by the late President, 
though signed by the Secretary of War) in answer to me 
on sending a letter received from General Lee proposing to 
meet me for the purpose of submitting the question of peace 
to a convention of officers. 

Please notify General Johnston immediately on receipt of 
this of the termination of the truce, and resume hostilities 
against his army at the earliest moment you can, acting in 
good faith. 

On the same night General Grant started for Gen- 
eral Sherman's headquarters in North Carolina to exe- 
cute the following order of the President, signed by 
Secretary Stanton : — 

Lieutenant-General Grant. 

General, — The memoranda or basis agreed upon between 
Sherman and General Johnston having been submitted to the 
President, they are disapproved. You will give notice of the 
disapproval to General Sherman and direct him to resume 
hostilities at the earliest moment. 

\_General Grant to Mr. Stanton] 

gitaMNrfers %xmm of % Inifeb States, 





The instructions given to you by the late President Abra- 
ham Lincoln on the 3d of March by my telegraph of that 
date, addressed to you, expresses substantially the views of 
President Andrew Johnson, and will be observed by General 
Sherman. A copy is herewith appended. The President 
desires that you proceed immediately to the headquarters of 
Major-General Sherman and direct operations against the 

Upon General Grant's arrival at Sherman's head- 
quarters, the latter notified the rebel general of the 
action of the government, and on the 26th Johnston 
surrendered his army on the terms which Grant had 
given Lee at Appomattox. 

These records show that General Grant was the first 
to declare that General Sherman's terms were inadmis- 
sible ; that he was prompt in sounding the alarm to 
Stanton ; urgent for the immediate action of the Presi- 
dent and the Cabinet ; energetic in pushing forward 
the work of setting aside the agreement; and that he 
lost no time in starting for North Carolina. His opin- 
ion of the Sherman- Johnston agreement was his own. 
He so wrote to Sherman in the letter above quoted. 
" I read it carefully," he says, " before submitting it to 
the President and Secretary of War, and felt satisfied 
that it could not possibly be approved." 

It cannot be said, therefore, that the action of Gen- 
eral Sherman was objected to by civilians only. The 
first to disapprove what he had done was a soldier, his 
own superior officer and his warm personal friend. 

On the next morning, April 22, Secretary Stanton 
sent the following dispatch to General John A. Dix at 


New York city, by whom it was, in the usual manner, 
furnished to the press : — 

Yesterday evening a bearer of dispatches arrived from 
General Sherman. An agreement for a suspension of hostil- 
ities and a memorandum of what is called a basis of peace 
had been entered into on the 18th instant by General Sher- 
man with the rebel General Johnston, the rebel General 
Breckenridge being present at the conference. A cabinet 
meeting was held at eight o'clock in the evening, at which 
the action of General Sherman was disapproved by the Presi- 
dent, by the Secretary of War, by General Grant, and by 
every member of the Cabinet. General Sherman was ordered 
to resume hostilities immediately, and he was directed that 
instructions given by the late President in the following tele- 
gram which was penned by Mr. Lincoln himself at the Capi- 
tol, on the night of the 3d of March, were approved by the 
President, Andrew Johnson, and were reiterated to govern 
the action of military commanders. 

On the night of the 3d of March, while President Lincoln 
and his Cabinet were at the Capitol, a telegram from General 
Grant was brought to the Secretary of War, informing him 
that General Lee had requested an interview or conference, 
to make an arrangement for terms of peace. The letter of 
General Lee was published in the message of Davis to the 
rebel Congress. General Grant's telegram was submitted to 
Mr. Lincoln, who, after pondering a few minutes, took up 
his pen and wrote with his own hand the following reply, 
which he submitted to the Secretary of State and Secretary 
of War. It was then dated, addressed, and signed by the 
Secretary of War, and telegraphed to General Grant. 

Lieutenant-General Grant, — The President directs 
me to say to you that he wishes you to have no conference 
with General Lee, unless it be for the capitulation of General 


Lee's army, or on some minor and purely military matter. 
He instructs me to say that you are not to decide, discuss, or 
confer upon any political question. Such questions the Presi- 
dent holds in his own hands, and will submit them to no mil- 
itary conferences or conventions. Meantime you are to press 
to the utmost your military advantages. 

The orders of General Sherman to General Stoneman to 
withdraw from Salisbury and join him will probably open the 
way for Davis to escape to Mexico or Europe with his plun- 
der, which is reported to be very large, including not only the 
plunder of Richmond banks, but previous accumulations. A 
dispatch received by this department from Richmond says : x 

" It is stated here by respectable parties that the amount 
of specie taken South by Jeff Davis and his partisans is 
very large, including not only the plunder of the Richmond 
banks, but previous accumulations. They hope, it is said, to 
make terms with General Sherman or some other Southern 
Union commander, by which they will be permitted with 
their effects, including this gold plunder, to go to Mexico or 
Europe. Johnston's negotiations look to this end." 

After the cabinet meeting last night, General Grant started 
for North Carolina, to direct operations against Johnston's 

Accompanying this dispatch, and published as a part 
of it, were the Sherman-Johnston terms, and the follow- 
ing nine reasons, furnished by Secretary Stanton, why 
they had been disapproved : — 

1. It was an exercise of authority not vested in General 
Sherman, and on its face shows that both he and Johnston 
knew that General Sherman had no authority to enter into 
any such agreement. 

1 This dispatch, dated April 22, was from General Halleck. 


2. It was a practical acknowledgment of the rebel govern- 

3. It undertook to reestablish the rebel state governments 
that had been overthrown at the sacrifice of many thousand 
loyal lives and an immense treasury, and placed the arms and 
munitions of war in the hands of rebels at their respective 
capitals, which might be used as soon as the armies of the 
United States were disbanded, and used to conquer and sub- 
due the loyal States. 

4. By the restoration of rebel authority in their respective 
States they would be enabled to reestablish slavery. 

5. It might furnish a ground of responsibility for the fed- 
eral government to pay the rebel debts, and certainly subject 
the loyal citizens of rebel States to debts contracted by rebels 
in the State. 

6. It would put in dispute the existence of loyal state gov- 
ernments, and the new State of West Virginia, which had 
been recognized by every department of the United States 

7. It practically abolished the confiscation laws, and re- 
lieved the rebels of every degree, who had slaughtered our 
people, from all pains and penalties for their crimes. 

8. It gave terms that had been deliberately, repeatedly, 
and solemnly rejected by President Lincoln, and better terms 
than the rebels had ever asked in their most prosperous con- 

9. It formed no basis of true and lasting peace, but re- 
lieved the rebels from the pressure of our victories, and left 
them in condition to renew their efforts to overthrow the 
United States government and subdue the loyal States when- 
ever their strength was recruited and any opportunity was 

It had been the habit of Mr. Stanton thus to pub- 
lish in an official form whatever he deemed the public 


interests demanded. He realized on this occasion that 
the general's great name would make the disapproval 
of his plan disturbing, and perhaps dangerous to the 
peace of the country and the morale of the army, unless 
the people and the army could be made to clearly see 
how serious a mistake had been made by their popular 
idol of " the march to the sea." He knew how great 
would be the disappointment of the soldiers and of 
their friends to have a resumption of hostilities ordered 
from Washington, instead of the peace which was so 
soon to have restored the soldiers to their homes. It 
was to guard against the consequences of this that he 
placed before the country the unanswerable and invin- 
cible arguments contained in his nine reasons. To 
these he never added a word of further argument or 
explanation. They expressed both the law and the 
common sense of the case. The great soldier who had 
blundered must be shown to have blundered. There is 
nothing in Mr. Stanton's dispatch that was not deemed 
by him an imperative public necessity. He had been 
at all times the friend of General Sherman, rejoicing 
in his great successes. 

General Sherman was exceedingly restive under the 
order setting aside the terms he had made. He wrote 
to Mr. Stanton April 25 : — 

Dear Sir, — I have been furnished a copy of your letter 
of April 21 to General Grant, signifying your disapproval 
of the terms on which General Johnston proposed to disarm 
and disperse the insurgents on condition of amnesty, etc. I 
admit my folly in embracing in a military convention any 
civil matters, but unfortunately such is the nature of our sit- 


uation that they seem inextricably united, and I understood 
from you at Savannah that the financial state of the country 
demanded military success, and would warrant a little bend- 
ing to policy. When I had my conference with General 
Johnston, I had the public examples before me of General 
Grant's terms to Lee's army, and General Weitzel's invita- 
tion to the Virginia legislature to assemble. 

I still believe the government of the United States has 
made a mistake, but that is none of my business ; mine is a 
different task, and I had flattered myself that by four years' 
patient, unremitting, and successful labor I deserved no 
reminder such as is contained in the last paragraph of your 
letter to General Grant. You may assure the President that 
I heed his suggestion. 

He was still more incensed upon reading the reasons 
published by Mr. Stanton. In his " Memoirs " (page 
353), published eleven years afterwards, and seven years 
after Mr. Stanton's death, he makes the following state- 
ment of his feelings on the occasion : — 

The publication of this bulletin by authority was an out- 
rage on me, for Mr. Stanton had failed to communicate to 
me in advance, as was his duty, the purpose of his adminis- 
tration to limit our negotiations to purely military matters ; 
but, on the contrary, at Savannah he had authorized me to 
control all matters, civil and military, 

By this bulletin he implied that I had previously been fur- 
nished with a copy of his dispatch of March 3 to General 
Grant, which was not so ; and he gave warrant to the impres- 
sion, which was sown broadcast, that I might be bribed by 
banker's gold to permit Davis to escape. 1 . . . 

1 There was nothing in Mr. Stanton's dispatch to justify this state- 
ment. He did express the fear that Sherman's withdrawal of Stone- 
man from Salisbury, North Carolina, would "open the way for Davis to 









[General Sherman to Mr. Stanton] 

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I regarded this bulletin of Mr. Stanton as a personal and 
official insult, which I afterward publicly resented. 

As General Sherman, on the 15th of the same month, 
had assured Mr. Stanton voluntarily that he would limit 
his negotiations to purely military matters, and as he 
had written him on the 25th an admission of his "folly" 
in exceeding that limit, it is difficult to conceive why 
he thought it was Mr. Stanton's " duty " to communi- 
cate to him " the purpose of the administration " to 
place upon him the limit which he had already placed 
upon himself, and which the military character of his 
office clearly placed upon him. 

It nowhere appears in his " Memoirs," nor in any re- 
cord, that Mr. Stanton had authorized him at Savannah 
" to control all matters civil and military." He gives a 

escape to Mexico or Europe with his plunder ; " and he quoted Halleck's 
dispatch from Richmond, saying that the rebel chief and his friends 
hoped to " make terms with General Sherman or some other Southern 
Union commander " by which they might thus escape ; but there was no 
word or syllable of his or Halleck's which could be distorted into an 
intimation or an innuendo that bribery was thought of as a possible ele- 
ment in the terms. 

That General Sherman did not look with disfavor upon the idea of 
allowing Davis to escape is clearly shown by his own testimony. In his 
account of the negotiations with Johnston and Breckenridge (Sherman's 
Memoirs, page 351), he says, of conferences with his own general offi- 
cers : — 

" We discussed all the probabilities, among which was, whether, if 
Johnston made a point of it, I should assent to the escape from the 
country of Jefferson Davis and his fugitive Cabinet ; and some one of my 

general officers, either or , insisted that, if asked for, we should 

even provide a vessel to carry them to Nassau from Charleston." 

He further says : " I remember telling Breckenridge that he had bet- 
ter get away." {Ibid., page 353.) " I may have also advised him that 
Mr. Davis too should get abroad as soon as possible." (Ibid., page 354.) 


very full account of Mr. Stanton's visit to him at Savan- 
nah in January, from which it appears that, at Mr. Stan- 
ton's request and with his approval, he prepared and 
published Special Field Orders No. 15, providing for 
the treatment of slaves within the Federal lines. He 
also appealed to Sherman as " a soldier and a patriot to 
hurry matters so as to bring the war to a close, urging 
financial troubles as a reason for his anxiety." * 

There certainly was nothing in this claiming to con- 
fer authority upon General Sherman to make terms of 
peace with General Johnston, nor could Mr. Stanton 
have conferred such authority. 

It was entirely immaterial whether General Sherman 
had knowledge of the instructions from President Lin- 
coln to General Grant of March 3, forbidding any con- 
ference with General Lee on non-military questions. 
A copy of these instructions was incorporated in the 
order disapproving the Sherman-Johnston terms, as 
expressing the views of President Johnson on the same 
subject, and was made a part of that order. It was 
not assumed or intimated that General Sherman had 
seen them before. Neither in his letter to Stanton of 
April 25 in reply to that order, nor in his letter to 
Grant of the same date, did he take any exception to 
the use made of those instructions in the communica- 
tions with him. His later complaints on the subject 
were wholly inconsistent with his admission of his 
" folly in embracing in a military convention any civil 
matters." Surely his lack of information as to what 
instructions had been given to General Grant was not 

1 Memoirs, pages 250-252. 


a justification of this admitted folly. He knew that no 
such folly had been committed by Grant, who was his 
superior officer. 

The foregoing embraces substantially all that General 
Sherman ever said in explanation of his part in this 
remarkable and unfortunate episode. He claimed to 
be justified by General Grant's liberal terms to General 
Lee at Appomattox ; but Grant did not undertake to 
arrange terms of peace with the civil authorities of the 
Confederacy. He cited the fact that the Virginia legis- 
lature had been permitted to reassemble after General 
Lee's surrender ; but President Lincoln merely author- 
ized the individuals who composed it to be invited to 
come together in their private capacity and exercise 
their influence in the direction of submission to national 
authority. He admitted to General Grant that the 
terms with General Johnston " were not clear enough 
on the point well understood," — that the " negotia- 
tions did not apply to any parties outside the officers 
and men of the Confederate armies ; " but this state- 
ment is not justified by the fifth and sixth articles of 
the agreement, which extended to " the people of all the 
States," and pledged the Executive of the government 
" not to disturb any of the people by reason of the late 
war," etc., etc. In the face of these stipulations, in 
his letter to General Grant of April 25 he pledged his 
" influence that rebels shall suffer all the punishment 
prescribed by law, as also the civil disabilities arising 
from their past acts." He agreed upon an entire plan 
of reconstruction subject to presidential approval, and, 

on the next day, before the plan could by any possi- 
vol. n 


bility have reached Washington, he announced in an 
order to his army, which was immediately published in 
the press of the country, that he had agreed upon terms 
which, "when formally ratified, " would send them to 
their homes. The rational inference was that their 
approval was regarded by him as a mere formality and 
a foregone conclusion. The least reflection would have 
taught him that their disapproval might create a dan- 
gerous discontent in the army and at the North. He 
embarrassed the government by lending his powerful 
name to a scheme which, though in form dependent on 
approval, might from the nature of the case extort 
unwilling acquiescence as a choice of evils. It did not 
disarm the enemy, nor dismantle the States which had 
formed the hostile Confederacy. It did not even pro- 
vide in terms for the disappearance of the Confederate 
army. At the very best, the Confederate States were 
to survive the Confederate government, and each was 
for the time being to retain its quota of Confederate 
arms in its own state capital. 

General Sherman found himself almost without de- 
fenders among the adherents of the government. His 
terms were disapproved by the Union masses, as they 
had been by General Grant, and by the President and 
his Cabinet. Perhaps no popular idol was ever before 
so discredited. His motives were not questioned, nor 
his great military services forgotten for a moment. He 
was regarded as wanting in judgment, and much too 
confiding towards a vanquished enemy. His sentimen- 
tal conception of magnanimity towards a fallen foe 
seemed to impress him with a fanciful idea that they 


had been humbled by defeat, and that they would be 
free from all guile in their relations to the government 
in the immediate future. The Union press was well- 
nigh unanimous in its condemnation of his negotiations. 
A volume could easily be compiled of their utterances. 
Following are extracts from private letters to Mr. Stan- 
ton at that time. The writers are among the most con- 
servative of the prominent men of that period. Senator 
John Sherman wrote as follows, April 27, 1865 : — 

I am distressed beyond measure at the terms granted Gen- 
eral Johnston by General S. They are inadmissible. There 
should now be literally no terms granted. We should not 
only brand the leading rebels with infamy, but the whole 
rebellion should wear the badge of the penitentiary, so that, 
for this generation at least, no man who has taken part in it 
would dare to justify or palliate it. 

Yet with these views I feel that gross injustice has been 
done General Sherman, especially by the press. The most 
that can be said about him is that he granted the rebels too 
liberal terms. The same may be said, but to a less degree, 
of Mr. Lincoln and General Grant in their arrangement with 
Lee. General Sherman had not understood the political 
bearing of that agreement. It is his misfortune that he 
believes the promises of these men, and looks upon the whole 
contest in a simple military view. He thought the disband- 
ing of cheir armies the end of the war, while we know that to 
arm them with the elective franchise and state organizations 
is to renew the war. 

I feel so troubled at this matter following so closely upon 
the death of Mr. Lincoln that I was inclined to drop every- 
thing and go to Raleigh, but I promised to join the funeral 
cortege here, and on Saturday week have agreed to deliver a 
eulogy of Mr. Lincoln at Mansfield. This over, I will gladly 


go to Washington, or anywhere else where I can render the 
least service. I do not wish General Sherman to be unjustly- 
dealt with, and I know that you will not permit it, and espe- 
cially I do not want him driven into fellowship with the Cop- 
perheads. His military services have been too valuable to 
the country to be stained by any such fellowship. If you can 
in your multiplied engagements drop me a line, pray do so. 
You can, if you choose, show this to the President, or indeed 
to any one. 

The value of this letter lies largely in his testimony 
that he was sure Mr. Stanton would not allow his bro- 
ther, the general, " to be unjustly dealt with." As 
Mr. Stanton's nine reasons for setting aside the Sher- 
man-Johnston terms had then been in print in the 
newspapers five days, this was a distinct declaration by 
Senator Sherman that he did not consider the publica- 
tion of them as doing the general any injustice. 

Senator William P. Fessenclen wrote to Mr. Stanton 
on the 28th of May, strongly condemning General Sher- 
man's terms with Johnston as a " stupendous blunder." 

George Bancroft wrote as follows from New York 
on the 11th of June : — 

General Sherman passed through our city. His own 
labored defense proved to be a thorough justification of your- 
self. This was felt by all his friends. As far as I heard, 
and I had good opportunities for observing, he was perfectly 
silent on the subject of his convention and his consequent 
complaints. Nobody wished to hear a word from him on the 
subject. No political party rallied about him. To me he 
seemed pressed down by chagrin and disappointment. He 
had expected to have filled all mouths with his praise ; and 
he found every one willing and wishing to recognize his mili- 

[Senator John Sherman to Mr. Stanton, April 21, 1865] 

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tary merits ; and no one, as far as I know, no single one, 
disposed to approve his political movement. 

The result has been to place you on a firmer foundation 
than before his insubordination, and left your friends very 
little to do. 

Senator Jacob Collamer, of Vermont, wrote June 14, 
from Woodstock, Vermont : — 

General Sherman promulgated to his army and to the 
world his arrangement with Johnston. Indeed, the armistice 
could be no other way accounted for, and the army were grat- 
ified with expectation of immediate return home. 

To reject that arrangement was clearly necessary, and to 
do it without stating any reasons for it would have been a 
very dangerous experiment both to the public and to 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 ? 

The counsels of Mr. Collamer were given much 
weight at that time because of his force of character, 
wise moderation, and large experience. It will be 
observed that he not only justified the course of Mr. 
Stanton in publishing the " conclusive reasons " for 
disapproving the texms given to General Johnston by 
General Sherman, but maintained that the public safety 
demanded their publication. 

More than a month before the date of Senator Col- 
lamer' s letter, Mr. Stanton had himself privately given 
reasons for his action which were identical with those 
named in that letter. This he did in an interview with 
General 0. 0. Howard, who thus reported it to General 
Sherman on May 12 : — 


I saw the Secretary of War, who told me he sent for me 
in order to place me in charge of the Freedmen's Bureau. 
And after I had conversed with him about that for some 
little time, he inquired where you were, and talked with me 
quite at length respecting your terms of settlement with 
Johnston. I told him that you were incensed at the publica- 
tion that appeared over his signature. He said in reply that 
you put the government entirely on the defensive by announ- 
cing in orders that the terms had been agreed upon which 
would give peace from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, etc. 
This order appeared in the morning papers, and on account 
of it, in order to show the people why the government broke 
the peace established, he deemed it proper to publish some of 
the reasons for disapproving the terms. He deprecated the 
spirit of the press, but said that he thought he himself had 
had to bear his share of newspaper abuse. 

Senator Lyman Trumbull wrote as follows from Chi- 
cago on May 26 : — 

I have just read with indignation the inclosed telegraph to 
the West, and published in the " Tribune " of this morning. 
I hope for General Sherman that what is stated is not true ; 
if it is and I were President, I would dismiss him from his 
command at once. As a private individual, General Sherman 
of course has the right to be discourteous, if such are his 
tastes, but at the head of his army, in the discharge of official 
duties, he has no right to exhibit his spleen towards those in 
authority. 1 

1 The newspaper paragraph referred to in this letter was a dispatch 
from Washington containing the statement that General Sherman refused 
the proffered hand of Secretary Stanton at the grand review of May 23. 
This statement has been denied by two eyewitnesses on that occasion, 
— one of them the Secretary's son, Edward L. Stanton, and the other 
Charles A. Dana, then an Assistant Secretary of War. Both positively 
declared that Mr. Stanton did not proffer his hand. 


While writing, allow me to express the hope that the report 
of your being about to leave the War Department is not true. 
The country has derived too much benefit from your efficient 
management of the department during the great rebellion to 
be willing to dispense with your services till the thing is 
finally closed up and the armies are disbanded. 


National Rejoicings tempered by the Death of President Lincoln. 
— Pursuit of the Assassins. — Death of Booth, their Leader. — 
Arrest, Trial, Conviction, and Execution of Sentences on the 
Others. — President Johnson overruled a Recommendation of 
Mercy for Mrs. Surratt. 

The surrender of all the rebel forces, the collapse 
of the Confederacy, the flight and capture of its chief, 
and the grand review of the victorious Union armies 
at the nation's capital before returning to the occu- 
pations of peace inspired a national exultation, mani- 
festations of which would have been unlimited and 
unrestrained, but for the dark pall which hung over 
the land because of the violent death of President 
Lincoln. The absence of the great leader so loved of 
the people was deeply felt by every loyal heart, and 
the martial tones of victory and the rejoicings over a 
preserved Union were tempered by the minor key of 
mourning for the illustrious dead. 

President Lincoln received his fatal wound in a pri- 
vate box at the National Theatre, during an evening 
performance, at about ten o'clock. His assassin was 
John Wilkes Booth, a son of the great tragedian, 
Junius Brutus Booth, and a brother of the equally 
renowned actor, Edwin Booth. He was the only mem- 
ber of his family who sympathized with the rebellion. 


His brother Edwin had voted for Mr. Lincoln the pre- 
ceding November. After committing the bloody deed, 
Booth shouted, " Sic semper tyrannis" and leapt from 
the box to the stage. One of his spurs caught in the 
flag with which the box was draped, and caused him to 
so miss his intended footing that in striking the stage 
he broke his leg. Notwithstanding this impediment, he 
reached and mounted a fleet horse, which awaited him 
near the alley entrance to the theatre, at the rear of 
the stage, and made his escape from the city across the 
eastern branch of the Potomac into Maryland. He 
was quickly pursued by detectives in the service of 
the War Department, but succeeded in eluding them 
for twelve days. At the end of that time, having been 
tracked through southern Maryland and across the 
Potomac and the Rappahannock, he was finally discov- 
ered, on the 26th of April, in a barn on a Virginia 
farm in which he had taken refuge. Refusing to sur- 
render, the barn was fired to compel him to leave it. 
A young sergeant, 1 seeing that Booth had a gun in his 
hand, fired upon him without orders and inflicted a 
mortal wound. Booth was removed from the building, 
and died in a few hours. Harold, one of his accom- 
plices, who had followed him in his flight from the 
city and soon overtaken him, was in the barn with 
him, and promptly surrendered to the officer in charge 
of the pursuing party. The body of Booth was 
brought back to Washington. 

The civil and military authorities had meanwhile 
been energetic in their efforts to obtain evidence which 

1 Boston Corbett. 


would discover all who were concerned in the crime. 
On the 20th of April Secretary Stanton made an order 
that " the investigation concerning the murder of Presi- 
dent Lincoln and the attempt to murder the Secretary 
of State shall be conducted under the direction of 
Brigadier-General Joseph Holt, chief of the bureau of 
military justice." 

It was speedily discovered that the assassination was 
the result of a conspiracy, and that there was cause for 
believing that the following persons were implicated 
therein with Booth, who was the leader : Mrs. Mary 
E. Surratt, and John H. Surratt, her son, David E. 
Harold, George A. Atzerodt, Louis Payne, Michael 
O'Laughlin, Edward Spangler, Samuel Arnold, and 
Samuel A. Mudd. These persons (with the exception 
of John H. Surratt, who had fled from the country) 
were speedily arrested. 

On the 1st of May the President made an order for 
the trial of the prisoners by military commission, in 
which it was recited that the Attorney-General of the 
United States had given his opinion, "that the per- 
sons implicated in the murder of the late President 
Lincoln, and the attempted assassination of the Hon. 
William H. Seward, Secretary of State, and in an 
alleged conspiracy to assassinate other officers of the 
federal government at Washington city, and their 
aiders and abettors, were subject to the jurisdiction of, 
and lawfully triable before, a military commission." 

On the 6th of May, by order of the President, a 
military commission was appointed, which assembled on 
the 9th of May. The trial commenced on the 13th, 


and was concluded on the 29th of June. The persons 
arraigned and tried were David E. Harold, George A. 
Atzerodt, Louis Payne, Mary E. Surratt, Michael 
O'Laughlin, Edward Spangler, Samuel Arnold, and 
Samuel A. Mudd. 

It was proven on the trial that the house of Mrs. 
Surratt in Washington had been the rendezvous of the 
conspirators while they prepared for the crime. Also 
that a tavern at Surrattsville, in the lower part of 
Maryland, which belonged to her, and was leased by 
one Lloyd, had been made a place for the concealment 
of a gun, a cartridge-box, and a field-glass, which were 
to be given, and were so given by Lloyd, to Booth and 
Harold on the night of their flight from Washington. 
The order for their delivery to Booth was given to 
Lloyd by Mrs. Surratt in person on the afternoon of 
that day, she having visited Surrattsville at that time 
and apparently for that purpose. Payne was arrested 
at her house on the second day after the assassination. 

The prisoners were all convicted, and Harold, Payne, 
Atzerodt, and Mary E. Surratt were sentenced to death, 
O'Laughlin, Arnold, and Mudd to imprisonment at 
hard labor for life, and Spangler for six years. 

The sentence was approved by Andrew Johnson on 
the 5th of July, and the death sentence was executed 
on the 7th, in obedience to his orders. 

A portion of the commission had joined in a recom- 
mendation to the President, that in consideration of the 
age and sex of Mary E. Surratt, her death sentence 
might be commuted to imprisonment for life. It was 
charged that the judge advocate-general had with- 


held this recommendation from the President, and, as 
the bureau over which he presided was under the War 
Department, Secretary Stanton was credited with hav- 
ing been a party to this. The charge was utterly false, 
both as to Judge Holt and Secretary Stanton, and was 
clearly shown to be so on the trial, two years later, of 
John H. Surratt. 1 

At the beginning of that trial Mr. Edwards Pierre- 
pont, of New York, assistant counsel for the prosecu- 
tion (afterwards Attorney-General), said : — 

It has likewise been circulated through all the public jour- 
nals that after the former convictions, when an effort was 
made to go to the President for pardon, men active here at 
the seat of government prevented any attempt being made, or 
the President being even reached, for the purpose of seeing 
whether he would not exercise clemency ; whereas the truth, 
and the truth of record which will be presented in this court, 
is that all this matter was brought before the President and 
presented to a full cabinet meeting, where it was thoroughly 
discussed; and after such discussion, condemnation and exe- 
cution received not only the sanction of the President, but 
that of every member of his Cabinet. 2 

Mr. Eichard Merrick, of counsel for the defense, re- 
ferred to this in an argument to the jury, and remarked 
that the record of the military commission had not 
been introduced in evidence. 3 

1 Surratt was arrested in a foreign land and brought home in 1867. 
He was indicted in a criminal court in the District of Columbia for par- 
ticipation in the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, and, after a trial which 
occupied two months, the jury failed to agree. 

2 Trial of John H. Surratt, vol. i. p. 27. 

3 Ibid., vol. ii. p. 1207. 


Mr. Pierrepont subsequently brought in the record 
and handed it to Mr. Merrick, after having made the 
following remarks : — 

I have not coine here for the purpose of proving that Mrs. 
Surratt was guilty, or that she was innocent ; and I do not 
understand why that subject was lugged into this case in the 
mode that it has been ; nor do I understand why the counsel 
denounced the military commission who tried her, and thus 
indirectly censured, in the severest manner, the President of 
the United States. The counsel certainly knew when they 
were talking about that tribunal, and when they were thus 
denouncing it, that President Johnson, President of the 
United States, when that record was presented to him, laid 
it before his Cabinet, and that every single member voted 
to confirm the sentence ; and that the President, with his own 
hand, wrote his confirmation of it, and with his own hand 
signed the warrant. I hold in my hand the original record, 
and no other man, as it appears from that record, ordered it. 
No other one touched this paper ; and when it was suggested 
by some of the members of the commission that in conse- 
quence of the age and the sex of Mrs. Surratt it might possi- 
bly be well to change her sentence to imprisonment for life, 
he signed the warrant for her death with the paper right 
before his eyes, — and there it is (handing the paper to Mr. 
Merrick). My friend can read it for himself. 1 

Mr. Pierrepont's statement above quoted was never 
denied by any one of Mr. Johnson's Cabinet of 1865, 
all of whom were then living, and all of whom were 
named as witnesses to the truth of the assertion. The 
proof is clear that the recommendation concerning Mrs. 
Surratt was presented to the President, considered by 
him, and overruled in the presence of his Cabinet. 

1 Trial of John H. Surratt, vol. ii. p. 1248. 


The determination of President Johnson that Mrs. 
Surratt should be executed was further shown by the 
following facts from the record. On the very day of 
her execution, her counsel sued out a writ of habeas 
corpus before Judge Wylie, and it was duly served on 
General Hancock, who was the officer charged with her 
custody and execution. He took it to the President, 
who made the following indorsement upon it, addressed 
to General Hancock : — 

I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, do 
hereby declare that the writ of habeas corpus has been here- 
tofore suspended in such cases as this ; and I do especially 
suspend this writ, and direct that you proceed to execute the 
order heretofore given you upon the judgment of the military 
commission ; and you will give this order in return to this 
writ. 1 

1 McPherson's History of Reconstruction, page 260. 


Jefferson Davis. — The Causes of his Detention. — His Indictment 
in Virginia on the Charge of Treason. — His Trial prevented by 
Continued Military Rule. — His Release. 

Jefferson Davis was arrested on the 10th of May, 
1865, and by order of the War Department was con- 
fined in Fortress Monroe to await such action as might 
be taken by the proper authorities of the United States 
government. He was indicted for the crime of high 
treason by the Grand Jury of the District of Columbia. 
He was " also charged with the crime of inciting the 
assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and with the mur- 
der of Union prisoners of war by starvation and other 
barbarous and cruel treatment towards them." So 
states a letter from Secretary Stanton to the President 
in January, 1866, transmitted to the Senate. In the 
same letter the Secretary said : — 

The President deemed it expedient that Jefferson Davis 
should first be put upon his trial before a competent court 
and jury for the crime of treason. He was advised by the 
law officers of the government that the most proper place for 
such a trial was the State of Virginia. The State is within 
the federal judicial circuit assigned to the Chief Justice of 
the Supreme Court, who has held no court there since the 
apprehension of Davis, and who declines for an indefinite 
period to hold any court there. 

The matters above stated are, so far as I am informed, the 


reason for holding Jefferson Davis in confinement, and why 
he has not been put upon his trial. 

Chief Justice Chase's reason for declining to hold 
the circuit court in his circuit, which embraced Vir- 
ginia, had been stated by him in a letter to the Presi- 
dent of the 12th of October, 1865. It was in response 
to a letter from the President of the 2d of that month 
as to whether a term of the circuit court would be 
held during the autumn or early winter of that year. 
He said : — 

I so much doubt the propriety of holding the circuit 
courts of the United States in States which have been 
declared by the Executive and Judicial Departments of the 
national government to be in rebellion and therefore subject 
to mere martial law before the complete restoration of their 
broken relations with the Union, and the supersedure of the 
military by the civil administration, that I am unwilling to 
hold such courts in such States within my circuit, which 
includes Virginia, until Congress shall have had an oppor- 
tunity to consider and act on the whole subject. A civil 
court in a district under mere martial law can only act by 
the sanction and under the supervision of the military power, 
and I cannot think it becomes the justices of the Supreme 
Court to exercise jurisdiction under such conditions. 

The Chief Justice further said that Justice Wayne, 
whose whole circuit was in the rebel States, concurred 
with him, and also, which seemed conclusive, that " the 
Supreme Court has hitherto declined to consider cases 
brought before it by appeal or writ of error from cir- 
cuit or district courts in the rebellious portions of the 

In May, 1866, the Grand Jury, sitting in Norfolk, 


Virginia, indicted Mr. Davis for treason. On the 22d 
of the same month Congress passed an act providing 
for a term of the circuit court, which should be held 
at Richmond, and also authorizing the transfer to that 
place of all the records then at Norfolk. On the 5th 
of June the court met at Richmond. Counsel for Mr. 
Davis appeared and asked for a speedy trial of their 
client. On the following day the Assistant District 
Attorney, having consulted with his principal, who was 
absent, stated that Mr. Davis was not in the custody of 
the court, but was a state prisoner at Fortress Monroe, 
under an order of the President, signed by the Secre- 
tary of War; and that the Attorney-General, who 
would be expected to try so important a case, could 
not be present at that term because of other pressing 
engagements. He moved the court for an adjourn- 
ment until the first Monday of October following. 
The court granted a motion to adjourn until the first 
Tuesday in October. 

Bail was refused on the ground that military juris- 
diction was still exercised and martial law enforced at 
that time in Virginia. The court said : — 

The civil authorities, state and federal, have been required 
or permitted to resume partially their respective functions, 
but the President, as commander-in-chief, still controls their 
action so far as he thinks such control necessary to pacifi- 
cation and restoration. In holding the district and circuit 
courts of Virginia I have uniformly recognized this condition. 

On the 20th of August, 1866, the writ of habeas cor- 
pus was restored throughout the Union by a proclama- 
tion of the President. Mr. Davis made no attempt to 



avail himself of this ; but early in October following, 
as the time drew near to which the United States cir- 
cuit court in Virginia had been adjourned, Attorney- 
General Stanbery proposed that he be released from 
military custody and transferred to the custody of the 
United States marshal in Virginia. This proposition, 
being under consideration at a meeting of the Cabinet 
October 5, Mr. Stanton gave his opinion in writing, a 
copy of which, over his signature, appears in his papers. 
It is as follows : — 

October 5, 1866. 
In Cabinet. 

In the matter of Jefferson Davis. 

I. I advise against the Attorney-General's proposition to 
release Jefferson Davis from his present custody and turn 
him over to the United States marshal for the district of Vir- 
ginia ; because the Attorney-General states that the United 
States District Attorney of Virginia is of opinion that the 
existing indictment is not good and valid in law, and that, 
by reason of the failure of the supreme judges to assign the 
circuits, a court competent to try Davis will not be held in 
Virginia this fall, so that whatever may be the purpose of 
turning him over to the marshal at this time, it is not for the 
purpose of a prompt and speedy trial, nor does there appear 
to have been any preparation made for this trial by the law 
officers of the government. 

II. The case is one which deeply concerns the national jus- 
tice, and ought to receive the attention and be under the con- 
trol of the highest law officer of the government, who should 
be responsible for the form of the indictment, the prepara- 
tion, and the proper conduct of the case in all its stages, 
and have ample time for a preparation, with authority to 
employ any assistant counsel he desires. I therefore advise 


that, for his safe-keeping, Jefferson Davis be restrained in the 
same custody where he has been held since his capture, and 
where he has the society of his family and personal communica- 
tion with his counsel, until the Attorney-General reports that 
a valid indictment against Mr. Davis has been prepared by 
the law officer of the government, due preparation for trial 
made, and the obstacles occasioned by the rebellion of Jeffer- 
son Davis, to holding courts and procuring a fair trial in 
Virginia, have been removed ; and that the Attorney-General 
is prepared and ready to proceed promptly with his trial 
before a competent tribunal, where, in his opinion, a trial 
may be had that will be fair to the government as well as to 
the prisoner. 

The recommendation of the Attorney-General did 
not prevail, and Mr. Davis continued in military cus- 
tody until the 13th of May following. He was then 
taken from Fortress Monroe to Richmond and delivered 
to the civil authorities. He was admitted to bail in the 
sum of one hundred thousand dollars, Horace Greeley 
being one of his bondsmen. 

He never was tried. At the term of the United 
States circuit court held at Richmond November, 1868, 
a nolle prosequi was entered, and he was discharged 
from custody. 

After his release Mr. Davis refrained from an appli- 
cation for the removal of the disabilities imposed upon 
him by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. 


Final Surrender of Remaining Rebel Forces. — Rapid Mustering 
out of the Union Troops. — Stanton's Annual Report. — His 
Review of the War, and of the Operations of the War Depart- 
ment. — A Tribute to Stanton. 

The surrender of Lee to Grant on the 9th of April, 
and the surrender of Johnston to Sherman on the 
26th of the same month, were followed by the surrender 
of all the remaining troops in the field east of the Mis- 
sissippi, under Lieutenant-Gen eral Richard Taylor, to 
Major-Gen eral Canby, on the 4th day of May ; and, on 
the 26th of that month, all of the Confederate armies 
west of the Mississippi, under General E. Kirby Smith, 
also surrendered to Major-General Canby. This ended 
all organized military resistance to the authority of the 
United States in the South. 

Within four days after the surrender of Lee all draft- 
ing and recruiting were stopped, and also the purchase 
of military stores. 

Two days after the surrender of Johnston the work 
of reducing and mustering out the volunteer forces was 
begun. The armies of the United States on the 1st day 
of May, 1865, numbered more than one million. Within 
two months and seven days 640,806 troops had been 
mustered out, and on the 15th of November, of the mil- 
lion of men in arms in May, more than 800,000 men 


had been mustered out, and had returned to their homes 
to resume the pursuits of peace. This vast change was 
wrought under the inspiration and direction of Secretary 
Stanton. The energy which he had displayed in raising 
armies for the national defense, and in directing the 
vast operations by which they were furnished with the 
materials of war, was fully equaled by that with which 
he caused them to disappear when they had accomplished 
their patriotic purpose. 

Nothing on this subject can equal in interest Secre- 
tary Stanton's own report of December, 1865. His 
opening paragraph in that document contains a volume. 
It is as follows : — 

The military appropriations by the last Congress amounted 
to the sum of five hundred and sixteen million two hundred 
and forty thousand one hundred and thirty-one dollars and 
seventy cents (1516,240,131.70). The military estimates for 
the next fiscal year, after careful revision, amount to thirty- 
three million eight hundred and fourteen thousand four hun- 
dred and sixty-one dollars and eighty-three cents (133,814, 

The maintenance of a great army until after the 
complete restoration of peace and order and local gov- 
ernment in the South, and the reunion of all the States 
in Congress, would have given Mr. Stanton vast power, 
and added greatly to his individual importance before 
the country and the world. The Southern people had 
been led to regard him as their most vindictive enemy, 
and the least willing of all public men to credit them 
with peaceable intentions. The reason given by him in 
his report for dissolving the great armies shows how mis- 
taken was their estimate of him. He said : — 


The disposition exhibited after the surrender of their armies 
in all the insurgent States to submit to the national authority 
dispensed with the necessity of keeping large armies on foot, 
and indicated the degree to which they might be reduced. 
So much only of the national military force has been kept in 
each State as is needed to keep the peace, protect the public 
property, and enforce the laws. 

Mr. Stanton said in this report : — 

It is proposed to reduce the military establishment to fifty 
thousand troops. 

Under this head he said : — 

This estimate has been made after conference and careful 
consideration, and is believed to be adequate for any national 
exigency, should the country be blessed with peace. 

He realized that this sudden dispersion of military 
power might create alarm in the public mind, because 
the temper and purposes of the defeated and disap- 
pointed rebels had not yet been made fully apparent. 
He had rather assumed their disposition to submit to 
the national authority than proven it. He believed that 
the best way to secure such submission was by thus 
assuming it. But in order to quiet public apprehension 
in the North, he presented to the country a showing of 
its immense military resources, and the rapidity with 
which, when occasion required it, they had been mar- 
shaled for defense, and could be again. 

The reduction of the national military forces [said he] in 
its rapidity and numbers is without example, and if there be 
any alarm in the public mind because this reduction is made 
while grave questions at home and abroad are unsettled, a 


brief consideration will show that there is no cause for appre- 

The force to be retained is small compared with that which 
was organized to subdue the rebellion. But the only reasons 
demanding greater force are — 1st, renewal of the insurrec- 
tion ; 2d, a foreign war. For either or both emergencies the 
national resources remain ample. The chief demands for 
war, as shown by our experience, are, 1st, troops ; 2d, arms 
and ammunition ; 3d, clothing ; 4th, transportation ; and 
5th, subsistence supplies. 

First. The troops disbanded were chiefly volunteers, who 
went to the field to uphold the system of free government 
established by their fathers, and which they mean to bequeath 
to their children. Their toils and sufferings, their marches, 
battles, and victories, have not diminished the value of that 
government to them ; so that any new rebellion would en- 
counter equal or greater force for its reduction ; and none 
can ever spring up with such advantages at the start, or be 
conducted with superior means, ability, or prospect of success. 
A foreign war would intensify the national feeling, and thou- 
sands, once misled, would rejoice to atone their error by rally- 
ing to the national flag. The question of time in which armies 
could be raised to quell insurrection or repel invasion is, there- 
fore, the only question relating to troops. Our experience in 
this point is significant. When Lee's army surrendered, 
thousands of recruits were pouring in, and the men were dis- 
charged from recruiting stations and rendezvous from every 
State. On several occasions, when troops were promptly 
needed to avert impending disaster, vigorous exertion brought 
them into the field from remote States, with incredible speed. 
Official reports show that after the disasters on the peninsula, 
in 1882, over eighty thousand troops were enlisted, organized, 
armed, equipped, and sent into the field in less than a month. 
Sixty thousand troops have repeatedly gone to the field within 


four weeks. And ninety thousand infantry were sent to the 
armies, from the five States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, 
and Wisconsin, within twenty days. 

When the rebellion commenced, the nation was a stranger 
to war. Officers had little experience, privates had none. 
But the present generation of men in this country are now 
veteran soldiers. For the battle, the march, or the siege they 
are already trained. They are as much at home in the tented 
field as in the farmhouse, the manufactory, or the shop. No 
time is required to train them ; and the speed of the railroad 
and the telegraph determines the time required to raise an 
army in the United States. 

Second. As to arms and ammunition. The disbanded 
armies were allowed to take home their arms at a nominal 
price. Rust is not likely to gather on the musket or sabre 
borne through the campaigns of 1864 and 1865. The gov- 
ernment retains in its arsenals more than a million of the best 
quality of arms and equipments. The artillery on hand tasks 
the department for its means of storage. The manufacture 
of ammunition requires materials for which we have in some 
degree relied upon other countries, because they could be had 
cheaper. For this reason, and to guard against any mischance, 
three years' stock of materials has always been kept in store, 
and the supply on hand is ample for any war that can be 
waged against us by any nation. 

Third. Clothing, transportation, and subsistence. After 
selling and distributing among freedmen and refugees all 
damaged or irregular clothing, the stock of clothing and 
material in the quartermaster's depots is sufficient for any 
armies that may be called into service. The water transports 
and rolling-stock, mules, wagons, and horses held by the gov- 
ernment were adequate to the movement and supply of larger 
forces, in less time, than had heretofore been known in war. 
The government has disposed or is disposing of this transpor- 


tation, but it remains in this country and can answer any 

Army subsistence is derived from the country in which 
military operations are carried on, or supplied from other 
markets. During the war this most vital branch of the service 
never failed. It answers to the demand, and is ever ready to 
meet the national call. 

It is plain, therefore, that the abundance of our means for 
war enables the government of the United States to reduce 
the standing force to a lower degree than any other nation. 
Unless war be actually raging, the military force can be 
brought within very narrow limits. However sudden the 
exigency calling for an exhibition of military power, it can 
be promptly met. With our education, habits, and experi- 
ence, the nation, while in the midst of peace, is prepared for 

The following general order by the Secretary of War 
of the 28th of April, only two days after the surrender 
of Johnston, and before the surrender of Taylor and 
E. Kirby Smith, will give an idea of the vast amount of 
labor which the reduction of the army imposed upon 
the various bureaus in his department : — 

General Order No. 77. 

Ordered : I. That the chiefs of the respective bureaus of 
this department proceed immediately to reduce the expenses 
of their respective departments to what is absolutely necessary, 
in view of an immediate reduction of the forces in the field 
and garrison, and the speedy termination of hostilities, and 
that they severally make out statements of the reduction they 
deem practicable. 

II. That the quartermaster-general discharge all ocean 
transports not required to bring home troops in remote de- 
partments. All river and inland transportation will be dis- 


charged except that required for necessary supplies to troops 
in the field. Purchase of horses, mules, wagons, and other 
land transportation will be stopped ; also purchase of forage, 
except what is required for immediate consumption. All pur- 
chases for railroad construction and transportation will also 
be stopped. 

III. That the commissary-general of subsistence stop the 
purchase of supplies in his department except for such as 
may, with what is on hand, be required for the forces in the 
field, to the first of June next. 

IV. That the chief of ordnance stop all purchase of arms, 
ammunition, and materials therefor, and reduce the manufac- 
turing of arms and ordnance stores in government arsenals 
as rapidly as can be done without injury to the service. 

V. That the chief of engineers stop work on all field for- 
tifications and other works, except those for which specific 
appropriations have been made by Congress for completion, 
or that may be required for the proper protection of works in 

VI. That all volunteer soldiers (patients) in hospitals, ex- 
cept veteran volunteers, veterans of the First Army Corps 
(Hancock's), and enlisted men of the Veteran Reserve Corps, 
who require no further medical treatment, be honorably dis- 
charged from service with immediate payment. 

All officers and enlisted men who have been prisoners of 
war, and now on furlough or at the parole camps, and all 
recruits in rendezvous, except those for the regular army and 
the First Army Corps (Hancock's), will likewise be honor- 
ably discharged. 

Officers whose duty it is, under the regulations of the ser- 
vice, to make out rolls and other final papers connected with 
the discharge and payment of soldiers, are directed to make 
them out without delay, so that this order may be carried 
into effect immediately. Commanding generals of armies 


and departments will look to the prompt execution of this 

VII. The adjutant-general of the army will cause immedi- 
ate returns to be made by all commanders in the field, garri- 
sons, detachments, and posts, of their respective forces, with 
a view to their immediate reduction. 

VIII. The quartermaster's, subsistence, ordnance, engineer, 
and provost marshal general's departments will reduce the 
number of clerks and employees to that absolutely required 
for closing the business of their respective departments, and 
will, without delay, report to the Secretary of War the num- 
ber required of each class or grade. 

The surgeon-general will make similar reductions of medi- 
cal officers, nurses, and attendants in his bureau. 

IX. The chiefs of the respective bureaus will immediately 
cause property returns to be made out of the public property 
in their charge, and a statement of the property in each that 
may be sold, upon advertisement and public sale, without pre- 
judice to the service. 

X. The commissary of prisoners will have rolls made out 
of the name, residence, time and place of capture, and occupa- 
tion of all prisoners of war who will take the oath of alle- 
giance to the United States, to the end that such as are disposed 
to become good and loyal citizens of the United States, and 
who are proper objects of executive clemency, may be released 
upon the terms that to the President shall seem fit and con- 
sistent with public safety. 

The disbanded troops were furnished with transpor- 
tation from the fields in the Southern States to their 
homes in the West, East, and North. The Army of 
the Potomac and nearly all of the Western army under 
General Sherman were marched to the vicinity of 
Washington, where a grand review took place on the 
22d and 23d of May. 


On the 4th of June an order was made for the gen- 
eral discharge of prisoners of war, and the quartermas- 
ter's department was directed to furnish transportation 
to all released prisoners to the nearest accessible point 
to their homes by rail or steamboat. 

Mr. Stanton's report states that the whole number 
of colored men enlisted into the service of the United 
States during the rebellion was 178,975. The losses 
among them during the war from all causes was 68,178. 
This was thirty-eight per cent. 

Secretary Stanton made the following reference to 
his subordinates : — 

By the heads of the respective bureaus of the War Depart- 
ment and their staffs the government has been served with a 
zeal and fidelity not surpassed by their brethren in the field. 
To them the honors and distinction of an admiring public 
have not been opened, but in their respective vocations they 
have toiled with a devotion, ability, and success for which 
they are entitled to national gratitude. 

Mr. Stanton closes his annual report with the follow- 
ing tribute to Mr. Lincoln, to Congress, to the loyal 
States and their patriotic governors, and to the people 
who, by their votes at the ballot-box, upheld the na- 
tional authority : — 

Beside the signal success vouchsafed to our arms, other 
causes contributed to overthrow the rebellion. Among the 
chief of these may be reckoned : — 

1. The steadfast adherence of the President to the mea- 
sures of emancipating the slaves in the rebel States. Sla- 
very was avowed by the leaders of the rebellion to be its 
corner-stone. By that system millions of people, constitut- 
ing nearly the whole working population of the South, were 


employed in producing supplies on the plantation, in the work- 
shops, and manufactories, and wherever labor was required, 
thus enabling the white population to fill the rebel armies. 
The hopes of freedom, kindled by the Emancipation Proclama- 
tion, paralyzed the industrial power of the rebellion. Slaves 
seized their chances to escape, discontent and distrust were 
engendered, the hopes of the slave and the fears of the master, 
stimulated by the success of the Federal arm, shook each day 
more and more the fabric built on human slavery. 

2. The resolute purpose of Congress to maintain the fed- 
eral Union at all hazards, manifested by its legislation, was 
an efficient cause of our success. Ample supplies appro- 
priated for the army and navy, revenue laws for supplying 
the treasury, careful revision and amendment of the laws for 
recruiting the army and enforcing the draft, gave practical 
direction to the patriotic purpose of the people to maintain a 
national existence that should afford protection and respect 
by means of the federal Union. 

3. Patriotic measures adopted by the governors of loyal 
States, and the efficient aid they rendered the War Depart- 
ment in filling up the ranks of the army and furnishing suc- 
cor and relief to the sick and wounded, largely contributed 
to the national preservation. Of these measures one of the 
most important was the aid tendered by the governors of 
Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan in 
the opening of the campaign of 1864. 

On the 21st day of April, 1864, Governors Brough, Mor- 
ton, Yates, Stone, and Lewis made an offer to the President 
to the following effect : — 

That these States should furnish for the approaching cam- 
paign infantry troops : 30,000 from Ohio, 20,000 from Indi- 
ana, the same number from Illinois, 10,000 from Iowa, and 
5000 from Wisconsin ; the term of service to be one hundred 
days ; the whole number to be furnished within twenty days ; 
the troops to be armed, equipped, and transported as other 


troops, but no bounty to be paid, nor any credit on any draft, 
and the pending draft to go until the state quota was filled. 

After full consideration and conference with the lieutenant- 
general, this offer was accepted by President Lincoln. The 
State of Ohio organized within four weeks, and placed in 
the field, 35,646 officers and men, being 5646 troops more 
than the stipulated quota. Other States, less able to meet 
the contingency, contributed with alacrity all that could be 

Although experience had shown that troops raised for a 
short term were more expensive and of less value than those 
raised for a longer period, these troops did important service 
in the campaign. They supplied garrisons and held posts 
for which experienced troops would have been required, and 
these were relieved so as to join the armies in the field. In 
several instances the three months' troops, at their own en- 
treaty, were sent to the front, and displayed their gallantry in 
the hardest battles of the campaign. 

4. The result of the presidential election of 1864 exerted 
an important influence upon the war. Intercepted letters and 
dispatches between the rebel leaders showed that their hopes 
of success rested greatly upon the presidential election. If 
the Union party prevailed, the prosecution of the war until 
the national authority should be restored appeared inevitable, 
and the rebel cause desperate. Even on the battlefield the 
influence of the election was felt. The overwhelming voice of 
the people at the presidential election encouraged the heroic 
daring of our own troops, and dismayed those who were fight- 
ing in a hopeless cause. 

5. The faith of the people in the national success, as man- 
ifested by their support of the government credit, also con- 
tributed much to the auspicious result. While thousands 
upon thousands of brave men filled the ranks of the army, 
millions of money were required for the treasury. These 
were furnished by the people, who advanced their money 


upon government securities, and freely staked their fortunes 
for the national defense. 

Looking to the causes that have accomplished the national 
deliverance, there seems no room henceforth to doubt the 
stability of the federal Union. These causes are perma- 
nent, and must always have an active existence. The majesty 
of the national power has been exhibited in the courage and 
faith of our citizens, and the ignominy of rebellion is wit- 
nessed by the hopeless ending of the great rebellion. 

The following from the pen of Charles A. Dana will 
be a fitting conclusion of this chapter : — 

When the war ended by the enforced surrender of the 
Confederacy, the United States had under arms, as we sup- 
pose, something more than a million of soldiers. . . . The 
supreme question of the time was the disbandment of that 
immense army, and the return of soldiers and officers to the 
walks of peace, without any friction or any danger to the 
republic. To maintain the superiority of the civil spirit over 
the military was one of the great cares of Mr. Lincoln's 
mind, and it was the great care of Mr. Stanton's. The war 
was over, the need for armies was gone, and if this million 
veterans could only be merged and lost in the mass of citi- 
zenship, a critical difficulty would be removed and dissi- 
pated. . . . 

The great work was finally accomplished ; the army was 
brought back to peaceful life without a struggle or an acci- 
dent. That tremendous martial array, which could have de- 
fied the world in arms, disappeared as if by magic ; and some 
future historian who may be able to penetrate deeply into the 
causes and the disguises of events, will record in his pages 
the circumstance that this unprecedented transformation, in 
which so many anxious patriots, soldiers, and statesmen alike 
labored together, was preeminently achieved by the heroic 
genius and statesmanship of Edwin M. Stanton. 




Attitude of the Belligerents after the War. — Questions as to the 
Status of the Rebel States and People. 

The end of armed hostilities by the defeat and sur- 
render of the rebel armies, and the consequent disin- 
tegration of the Southern Confederacy and the flight 
of its chief and his advisers, brought problems and 
embarrassments as difficult of solution as any that had 
accompanied the war itself. The fierce antagonisms 
which had caused the war had been intensified by it. 
It was impossible for the contending parties to take the 
same view of their respective rights and duties. Each 
really believed the other to have been wrong. North- 
ern patriotism seemed to the Southerner only tyranny. 
What was patriotism to the Southerner seemed to the 
Northerner only treason. In the North the national 
feeling was the dominant one, and the love of the 
Union was the passion which sent young men to the 
war. In the South the sovereignty of the States was 
apparently the object on which the sentiment of patri- 
otism was centred ; but deeper down than state pride and 


stronger than the claim of the right of secession was 
the devotion to property right in slaves and hatred of 
the abolitionists, a term which then embraced all who 
denied Southern claims on the subject of slavery. 

The Confederate States of America had represented 
all the power that could be summoned for the defense 
of slavery, not only against encroachment or restraint, 
but against the slightest unfriendly criticism. Bather 
than live in a Union which had elevated Mr. Lincoln 
to the presidency, the gage of battle had been thrown 
down by the defenders of slavery. They denied any 
binding obligation in the federal Constitution for any 
State to remain in the Union, if it preferred to go out 
of it, for whatever cause. A generation had been 
taught to regard that instrument as a convenient com- 
pact between the States with hardly the moral binding 
force of a treaty. 

On the other hand, the people of the North believed 
the Union of the States under the Constitution formed 
a nation, which could be dismembered only by an 
armed force stronger than the nation itself. They 
were unable to comprehend the doctrine of secession, or 
to credit its advocates with sincerity. They were never 
convinced that the South seriously intended to attempt 
disunion until the first gun of the war was fired at 
Fort Sumter. 

The war being inaugurated, it was waged by each 
side for the destruction of the other. The adherents 
of the nation united to destroy the Southern Con- 
federacy, and to restore United States authority in the 

territory which the new and hostile government had 
vol. n 


seized upon. They fought as any other people would 
have done for national existence. Those who warred 
upon the Union they regarded as public enemies. 
The rebels fought for the permanent conquest of that 
portion of the territory of the Union which was known 
as the Confederate States, and to make outlaws of all 
the citizens residing therein who chose to adhere to the 
old government. The sacrifices made by each of the 
belligerents gave the very best proof of the earnestness 
and sincerity of both. Mr. Lincoln had truly said in 
his second inaugural : " Both read the same Bible 
and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid 
against the other." Such a war could not change the 
opinions of the parties to it. 

The surrender of the Confederate armies immedi- 
ately raised the vital question as to what governmental 
authority should prevail in the States which had been 
in rebellion. Of course the federal laws were equally 
binding throughout the Union. But these applied to 
none of the domestic affairs, which, under our system, 
are controlled solely by the States. Were the old state 
laws in force in the rebel States, and if so, by what 
authority were they to be enforced ? Were the rebel 
state governments of the Confederacy to be recognized 
as legitimate successors to the ante-war governments 
of those States ? Those who had elected them had 
at the time of the election been the public enemies of 
the United States, by their own free will, by every rule 
of public law, and by the decisions of the United States 
Supreme Court. That the state governments of the 
Southern Confederacy could not survive the Confeder- 


acy itself was obvious to all but those governments 
themselves and their adherents. 

The defeated and disappointed party were disposed to 
treat the period of the war as only an interregnum, and 
to insist upon the right of the defunct state govern- 
ments of the Confederacy to immediately reappear as 
state governments of the Union. The national authori- 
ties regarded the governments in these States as only 
the remaining fragments of the late Southern Con- 
federacy, with no more right to exercise authority than 
had the Confederacy itself. The States still existed, 
but without state governments ; they were simply un- 
organized States. 

Undoubtedly they were still in the Union, so far as 
their territory and their names were concerned. They 
were no longer in the possession of the Southern Con- 
federacy. In the view of the United States government, 
that Confederacy had been merely a military organiza- 
tion. Its existence as a civil power was never recog- 
nized by this government. Its attempt to subjugate 
the authority of the United States in the rebel States 
had failed. The power which drew the sword had 
perished by the sword. The United States had con- 
quered its enemies. 

The rights of war include for the victor indemnity 
for the past and security for the future. No indemnity 
was sought ; but that the defeated Confederates should 
be permitted, without giving any security for the 
future, to exercise civil power as the governing class 
in the Southern States of the Union, because they had 
governed them as States of the Southern Confederacy, 


was deemed inadmissible by Congress, and by the masses 
of those who had sustained the war for the Union. 

How this momentous question was disposed of, and 
upon what grounds the legality of its settlement was 
based, forms one of the most interesting features in the 
political history of the government. 

The extent to which the people of the Confederate 
States had disabled themselves by the war they had 
unsuccessfully waged for independence was a prime 
element in the discussion of the question. The four 
years of armed conflict to determine whether the Union 
should be dismembered and eleven of its States erected 
into an independent nation became, in its progress, 
a public war, in which, to use the language of the 
Supreme Court of the United States, 1 " the insurgents 
were so thoroughly organized and formidable as to 
necessitate their recognition as belligerents," and " the 
usual incidents of a war between independent nations 
ensued." Continuing, the court said : — 

The rules of war as recognized by the public law of civil- 
ized nations became applicable to the contending forces. 
Their adoption was seen in the exchange of prisoners, the 
release of officers on parole, the recognition of flags of truce, 
and other arrangements designed to mitigate the rigors of 
warfare. The inhabitants of the Confederate States, on the 
one hand, and of the States which adhered to the Union, on 
the other, became enemies, and subject to be treated as such, 
without regard to their individual opinions or dispositions ; 
while during its continuance commercial intercourse was for- 
bidden, contracts between them were suspended, and the 
courts of each were closed against the citizens of the other. 
1 120 U. S. Reports, 227. 


The Supreme Court had decided, during the war, — 
in the prize cases/ — that in a civil war " hostilities 
may be prosecuted on the same footing as if those 
opposing the government were foreign enemies invad- 
ing the land." 

The public law thus asserted was but an application 
to a given case of the views uniformly held by the 
standard writers on international law. 

In the prosecution of the war each belligerent had, 
of course, exercised to the full extent the recognized 
belligerent right, "not only to coerce the other by 
direct force, but also to cripple his resources by the 
seizure and destruction of his property." 2 

Such is " grim-visaged war," as described by the 
highest authority in the land, on public as well as on 
municipal law. The citations are made to enable the 
reader to apply them to the conditions which prevailed 
in the Confederate States at the cessation of hostilities 
in May, 1865. 

Those conditions may be thus stated : — 

1. The Confederate States government had totally 
disappeared. It was not contended even by any of its 
late adherents that the least vestige of its authority 
had survived the surrender of its armies and the flight 
of its chief. 

2. The state governments which had respectively 
controlled local affairs within the several States of the 
Confederacy, subject to its constitution, and in hostility 
to the Constitution and government of the United 
States, had expired with the central government, of 

1 2 Black's Reports, 667. 2 Ibid., 671. 


which they were but parts, and to which they had 
acknowledged allegiance. 

3. The territory within which the rebels had set up 
their hostile government had passed under the military 
occupation of the government of the United States, 
and the inhabitants, being without local governments, 
were necessarily, for the time being, dependent upon 
federal military rule for the restoration and main- 
tenance of public order. 

4. There were fierce antagonisms among the white 
population growing out of conflicting views as to the 
war. The native Union minority were reinforced by 
Northerners, some of whom had been in the Union 
armies, while others came to push their fortunes in new 

5. The disbandment of the rebel armies and the 
return of their soldiers to their impoverished homes 
rather added to the general hopelessness of the time 
than to helpfulness in the amelioration of its condition. 

6. There were four million of negroes who had 
been slaves, but who were now nearly all free by reason 
of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the remainder 
of whom were certain to be made so very soon by the 
pending constitutional amendment. 

7. The natural resources of the South had been 
made almost entirely unavailable for the time being by 
the sudden destruction of its slave-labor system, for 
which free labor did not give promise of a substitute at 
an early day. 

8. The vastness of the amount of property consumed 
by the two armies, added to that destroyed by the 


exigencies of war, was beyond computation or even 

Add to these conditions the utter disappointment of 
the hopes of a confident and a masterful people, and 
their immediate subjection to the rule of the army by 
which they had been defeated, and some idea may be 
formed of the terrible trial to which the situation had 
brought them, even if their leaders could have been 
wise and strong in moderation and self-control. 

And what of the victors ? Were they united in pur- 
pose and calm in the consciousness of power? Was 
Andrew Johnson worthy to succeed Abraham Lincoln, 
whose magnanimity ever went abreast with his achieve- 

There were honest differences of opinion among the 
Union leaders as to the status of the Southern people, 
and as to the method of restoration of the Union that 
would conform to the Constitution. An extremely 
radical element insisted that the recovery of the eleven 
States from the grasp of the Confederacy was a con- 
quest which carried with it all the rights of a conqueror 
over the inhabitants. A larger element claimed that 
the rebellion had not destroyed the States, but had 
only deprived them of legal governments ; that the 
States, like the Union, were indestructible, and were 
guaranteed by the Constitution a republican form of 
government ; that this guarantee must be executed by 
Congress, which body alone could judge of the legiti- 
macy and sufficiency of the new governments to be 
erected in the places of those which had been displaced 
in 1861 by the rebel organizations. 


Under these conditions the work of reconstruction 
commenced. It would have been simple enough had 
the sole aim of all the parties been the restoration of 
the Union on the basis of equal protection to all per- 
sons in their civil rights. There would then have been 
small contention over forms, and little pride of opinion 
as to the inconsequential abstractions which concerned 
only the promoters of academic discussions. Indeed, 
it may well be doubted if the South would have deemed 
it wise to enter upon a new political struggle with the 
Union forces, if its people had not been invited to ig- 
nore the disabilities they had imposed upon themselves, 
and to follow the standard of a new leader in the person 
of the President of the United States. It was Andrew 
Johnson who led them into the wilderness of the re- 
construction era in which they wandered for years, and 
from which they emerged reluctantly admitting the 
validity of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments 
to the Constitution. It was he who inflamed their hopes 
that they might break the force of emancipation by 
withholding from the emancipated millions of black 
people the protection of the local law. 

With these observations we enter upon some account 
of the reconstruction period, in which the subject of 
these memoirs was destined to be a leading force, and 
during which the record shows his course to have been 
based upon no caprice or preconceived theory of his 
own, but upon the solid ground of the law, — which 
he certainly understood as well as any of those around 
him, — and of that justice which the law seeks to estab- 
lish and maintain. 


Reconstruction. — Mr. Lincoln's Views on the Subject during the 
War and immediately after Lee's Surrender. 

There had been much discussion during the war on 
the general subject of reconstruction. Mr. Lincoln, in 
his message of December, 1863, proposed a reconstruc- 
tion policy. As the attempt was persistently made dur- 
ing the reconstruction period, and afterwards, to make 
it appear that Mr. Lincoln favored a loose policy, under 
which those so lately in arms against the government 
would be certain of an advantage over those who had 
sustained it, it is well to see exactly what he did favor. 

He appended to his message of December, 1863, a 
proclamation of amnesty, in which he prescribed an 
oath of allegiance, upon taking which the Southern 
people, with certain named exceptions, might receive 
full pardon for their participation in the rebellion. 
The excepted persons were, " All who are, or shall have 
been, civil or diplomatic officers or agents of the so- 
called Confederate government ; all who have left 
judicial stations under the United States to aid the 
rebellion ; all who are, or shall have been, military or 
naval officers of said so-called Confederate government 
above the rank of colonel in the army, or of lieuten- 
ant in the navy ; all who left seats in the United 
States Congress to aid the rebellion ; all who resigned 


commands in the army or navy of the United States. 
and afterwards aided the rebellion ; and all who have 
engaged in any way in treating colored persons, or 
white persons in charge of such, otherwise than law- 
fully as prisoners of war, and which persons may have 
been in the United States service as soldiers, seamen, 
or in any other capacity." 

The proclamation declared that whenever in any of 
the rebel States, except Virginia (where a loyal pro- 
visional government had already been formed), "a 
number of persons not less than one tenth of the num- 
ber of votes cast in such State at the presidential elec- 
tion of the year of our Lord 1860, each having taken 
the oath aforesaid, and not having since violated it, and 
being a qualified voter by the election law of the State 
existing immediately before the so-called Act of Seces- 
sion, and excluding all others, shall reestablish a state 
government which shall be republican, and in no wise 
contravening said oath, it shall be recognized as the 
true government of the State, and the State shall re- 
ceive thereunder the constitutional benefits of the pro- 
vision which declares that 6 the United States shall 
guarantee to every State in this Union a republican 
form of government, and shall protect each of them 
against invasion ; and on application of the legislature, 
or of the governor when the legislature cannot be con- 
vened, against domestic violence.' " The proclamation 
stated that " whether members sent to Congress from 
any State shall be admitted to seats constitutionally 
rests exclusively with the respective houses, and not to 
any extent with the Executive." 


The oath of allegiance prescribed in this proclama- 
tion not only required those who took it to support the 
government, but to " abide by and faithfully support 
all acts of Congress passed during the existing rebellion 
with reference to slaves, so long and so far as not re- 
pealed, modified, or held void by Congress, or by decree 
of the Supreme Court." And also to " abide by and 
faithfully support all proclamations of the President 
made during the existing rebellion having reference to 
slaves so long and so far as not modified or declared 
void by the Supreme Court." In his message he ex- 
plained that the power of pardon included the right to 
withhold or to grant pardon on conditions. 

It will be observed that under this plan of Mr. Lin- 
coln, no citizen of a rebel State, who did not take the 
oath required, and who was not a voter by the election 
law of the State as it stood before secession, was to be 
permitted to participate in reestablishing a state gov- 
ernment. Every resident of the rebel States was, under 
the laws of war, a public enemy of the government. 
The laws of war prevailed because it had been decided 
by all three departments of the government that the 
rebellion was a civil war. The Supreme Court defined 
it to be " a territorial civil war." Only the President's 
pardon could relieve the people of the Confederacy 
of this legal consequence of the rebellion. This was 
equally true of those who were, and of those who were 
not, its willing supporters. 

Mr. Lincoln's plan proceeded upon the assumption 
that the rebel state governments were, like the Confed- 
eracy itself, wholly illegal usurpations ; that the rebel- 


Hod had not destroyed the States, but had destroyed 
the state governments ; that the constitutional obliga- 
tion of the United States to guarantee to every State 
a republican form of government was just as binding 
then as it had been before the war, and that, in order 
to make good this guarantee, Union state governments 
would have to be reestablished to take the place of the 
state governments of the Confederacy. 

As to the main question of whether the disloyal 
people of those States had a right without pardon to 
participate in the formation of state governments, he 
declared : — 

An attempt to guarantee and protect a revived state gov- 
ernment constructed, in whole, or in preponderating part, 
from the very element against whose hostility and violence it 
is to be protected, is simply absurd. 

He said there must be a test to separate the sound 
from the unsound, and he considered a sworn recan- 
tation of former unsoundness a sufficiently liberal test. 
In short, he held that no man in the rebel States had 
any right at that time to vote until he had secured the 
presidential pardon by taking the required oath. 

This plan was advanced in December, 1863, a year 
and four months before the end of hostilities. When- 
ever one tenth or more of the voting population would 
thus separate themselves during the war from the 
cause of the rebellion, they could be trusted, and in 
such States as were partially within the Federal lines, 
state governments might be formed and protected by 
the government. The utility of such movements would 
be in the encouragement given to the Union cause 


throughout the North, and in the influence they were 
sure to have with certain European nations in prevent- 
ing the execution of schemes for intervention in behalf 
of the rebellion. 

Mr. Lincoln's message was referred to a select Com- 
mittee of Congress, which, in May, 1864, reported a 
bill providing for the appointment of provisional gov- 
ernors in the rebel States for the purpose of civil 
administration until state governments should be recog- 
nized. No state governments were to be formed until 
after the suppression of military resistance to the 
United States, and the people " sufficiently returned to 
their obedience to the Constitution and laws." Dele- 
gates to conventions to act upon the reestablishment of 
state governments were then to be chosen by the white 
male citizens who would take the oath of allegiance, 
and who had not held or exercised any civil, military, 
state, or Confederate office under the rebel occupation, 
and who had not borne arms voluntarily against the 
United States. The bill provided that the assent of 
Congress should be necessary to authorize the Presi- 
dent to proclaim a state government as reestablished. 
It also provided that until such recognition no Sena- 
tors, or Representatives, or presidential electors could 
be elected in such State. Until such reorganization 
the provisional governor was to enforce the laws of 
the Union and of the State before rebellion. The bill 
emancipated all slaves, and disfranchised the high civil 
and military officers of the Confederacy. 

This bill passed the House of Eepresentatives on the 
4th of May, and passed the Senate July 2 with amend- 


ments. Mr. Lincoln failed to approve the bill. It was 
sent to him for his approval less than an hour before 
the final adjournment of the session. As he had no 
time to return it with his objections, he shortly after- 
wards issued a proclamation, in which he said that he 
was not prepared to be inflexibly committed to any sin- 
gle plan of reconstruction ; he was also unprepared to 
sign a bill which would set aside the free state con- 
stitutions and governments then recently adopted in 
Arkansas and Louisiana, or to declare a constitutional 
competency in Congress to abolish slavery in States. 
But he sincerely hoped and expected that a constitu- 
tional amendment abolishing slavery would be adopted. 
He was fully satisfied with the bill as one very proper 
for the loyal people of any State choosing to adopt it, 
and he declared his readiness to " give the executive 
aid and assistance to any such people as soon as mili- 
tary resistance to the United States shall have been 
suppressed in any such State, and the people thereof 
sufficiently returned to their obedience to the Constitu- 
tion and laws of the United States." " In each case," 
he said, " military governors will be appointed, with 
directions to proceed according to the bill." 

The President's objections to this bill did not include 
any objection to the provision that the assent of Con- 
gress should be a prerequisite to final restoration. He 
thought it unwise to have any unvarying rule for all of 
the States ; he was unwilling to displease or discourage 
the loyal citizens of Arkansas and Louisiana who had 
responded to his message of December and framed 
loyal state governments; and he was not willing to 


approve an act of Congress abolishing slavery in the 
States as the Constitution then stood. His Eman- 
cipation Proclamation had not abolished slavery or 
undertaken to do so. It had only made free the slaves 
within the Confederate lines at the time of its issue. 
His mental processes were much more deliberate than 
those of Congress as a body, but they differed really on 
nothing fundamental, and least of all upon the main 
proposition that the work of reconstruction must begin 
at the foundation, and that in it the existing rebellious 
state governments could have no place. 

After the surrender of Lee, and in his latest public 
address, on the 12th of April, two days before his 
death, Mr. Lincoln said : — 

By these recent successes and the reinauguration of the 
national authority, reconstruction, which has had a large 
share of thought from the first, is pressed much more closely 
upon our attention. It is fraught with great difficulty. 
Unlike the case of war between independent nations, there is 
no authorized organ for us to treat with. No man has the 
authority to give up the rebellion for any other man. We 
must simply begin with and mold from disorganized and dis- 
cordant elements. 

At the same time he referred to his message of 1863, 
and said, concerning the plan therein presented : — 

I distinctly stated that this is not the only plan which 
might possibly be acceptable, and I also distinctly protested 
that the Executive claimed no right to say when or whether 
members should be admitted to seats in Congress from such 

He declared that the question of whether the seceded 


States were in the Union or out of it was a merely 
pernicious abstraction and good for nothing at all. 
He said : — 

We all agree that the seceded States, so called, are out of 
their proper practical relation with the Union, and that the 
sole object of the government, civil and military, in regard 
to those States is again to get them into that proper practi- 
cal relation. I believe that it is not only possible, but, in 
fact, easier to do this, without deciding, or even considering, 
whether these States have ever been out of the Union than 
with it. Finding themselves safely at home, it would be ut- 
terly immaterial whether they had ever been abroad. Let us 
all join in doing the acts necessary to restoring the proper 
practical relations between those States and the Union, and 
each forever after innocently indulge his own opinion whether, 
in doing the acts, he brought the States from without the 
Union, or only gave them the proper assistance, they never 
having been out of it. 


Stanton on Reconstruction. — His Draft of a Mode read in Cabinet 
Meeting on the Last Day of Mr. Lincoln's Life. — President 
Lincoln forbids the Assembling of the Rebel Legislature of Vir- 
ginia after Lee's Surrender. — President Johnson's Order to Mili- 
tary Commanders to prevent the Exercise of Authority by any of 
the Rebel State Governments. 

Mr. Stanton's connection with reconstruction com- 
menced before Mr. Lincoln's death. He testified before 
the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representa- 
tives, on May 18, 1867, that on the day of that event, 
April 14, 1865, there was a cabinet meeting at which 
all of the Cabinet except Mr. Seward were present ; and 
that General Grant, who was also present, made a report 
of the condition of the country as he conceived that it 
was, and as it would be upon the surrender of Johnston's 
army, which was then regarded as certain. 

The subject of reconstruction being discussed at consider- 
able length, Mr. Stanton, at Mr. Lincoln's request, read a 
draft of a mode which he had prepared, whereby " the author- 
ity and laws of the United States should be reestablished 
and governments reorganized in the rebel States under the 
federal authority without any necessity whatever for the inter- 
vention of rebel organizations or rebel aid." 1 

The Cabinet adjourned without any definite action. 
Mr. Lincoln met his death that evening. 

1 From a manuscript memorandum by Mr. Stanton. 
vol. n 


The plan of reconstruction submitted at that time 
was afterwards claimed by President Johnson to have 
been the basis of his North Carolina proclamation of 
May 29, 1865, which was his first step in the direction 
of reconstruction. 

Mr. Lincoln's last telegram was one transmitted to 
Major-General Weitzel, in command at Richmond, on 
the 12th of April, in which he ordered that " the gen- 
tlemen who had acted as the legislature of Virginia in 
the support of the rebellion be not allowed to assemble 
even in their individual capacity." The following is the 
dispatch : — 

I have just seen Judge Campbell's letter to you of the 7th. 
He assumes, as it appears to me, that I have called the 
insurgent legislature of Virginia together, as the rightful 
legislature of the State, to settle all differences with the 
United States. I have done no such thing. I spoke of them 
not as a legislature, but as " the gentlemen who have acted 
as the legislature of Virginia in the support of the rebellion." 
I did this on purpose to exclude the assumption that I was 
recognizing them as a rightful body. I dealt with them as 
men having power de facto to do a specific thing, to wit; " to 
withdraw the Virginia troops and other support from resist- 
ance to the general government," for which, in the paper 
handed to Judge Campbell, I promised a special equivalent, 
to wit ; a remission to the people of the State, except in cer- 
tain cases, of the confiscation of their property. I meant this 
and no more. Inasmuch, however, as Judge Campbell mis- 
construes this, and is still pressing for an armistice, contrary 
to the explicit statement of the paper I gave him, and par- 
ticularly as General Grant has since captured the Virginia 
troops, so that giving a consideration for their withdrawal is 
no longer applicable, let my letter to you and the paper 


to Judge Campbell both be withdrawn or countermanded, 
and he be notified of it. Do not now allow them to assem- 
ble, but if any have come, allow them safe return to their 

On the 9th of May President Johnson issued an 
executive order recognizing the authority of the Pier- 
point administration in all of Virginia. Pierpoint had, 
during the war, been chosen governor at an election 
held by the loyal people of the State of Virginia within 
so much of its territory as was within the Federal lines. 
It was through the action of the state government so 
created, and recognized by Congress, that the constitu- 
tional assent was given by Virginia for the erection in 
a portion of her territory of the State of West Virginia. 
President Johnson in his order declared that " all acts 
and proceedings of the political, military, and civil or- 
ganizations which have been in a state of insurrection 
and rebellion, within the State of Virginia, against the 
authority of the United States, and of which Jefferson 
Davis, John Letcher, and William Smith were late the 
respective chiefs, are declared null and void. All per- 
sons who shall exercise, claim, pretend, or attempt to 
exercise any political, military, or civil power, authority, 
jurisdiction, or right, by, through, or under Jefferson 
Davis, late of the city of Kichmond, and his confeder- 
ates, or under John Letcher, or William Smith and their 
confederates, 1 or under any pretended political, civil, 
or military commission or authority issued by them, or 
either of them, since the 17th day of April, 1861, shall 

1 John Letcher and William Smith were successively governors of the 
rebel State of Virginia during the war. 


be deemed and taken as in rebellion against the United 
States, and shall be dealt with accordingly." 

It would be difficult to find language to more thor- 
oughly express the view that the rebel state government 
of Virginia had disappeared with the Confederacy of 
which it was a part, and that any attempt to act by its 
authority would be treason against the United States. 
No further attempt was ever made by any to act under 
such authority. 

In Mississippi, on the 10th of May, the rebel gov- 
ernor, Clark, called an extra session of the legislature 
for the 18th of May. President Johnson immediately 
directed the military commander of the department to 
" prevent, by force if necessary, any attempt of any of 
the legislatures of the States in insurrection to assemble 
for legislative purposes." 

Governor Brown, of Georgia, issued a call for a spe- 
cial session of the legislature, which was annulled by 
an order from Major-General Gilmore. 

On the 8th of May Governor McGrath, of South 
Carolina, summoned the state officers to resume their 
duties. On the 14th Major-General Gilmore issued an 
order nullifying the governor's acts. 

The Confederate and state governments having thus 
been entirely obliterated as a result of the war of the 
rebellion, there was no existing authority in that region 
for the preservation of peace and the protection of life 
and property, except the military authority of the United 

United States troops cannot " invade " any State, for 
the reason that they are at their home in any of them. 


That part of the United States which had been in 
rebellion had been occupied by a public enemy, who, 
according to the decision of the United States Supreme 
Court in the prize cases, 1 occupied a position analogous 
to that of foreign enemies invading the land. The 
exact language is as follows : — 

When the course of justice is interrupted by revolt, rebel- 
lion, or insurrection, so that the courts of justice cannot be 
kept open, civil war exists, and hostilities may be prosecuted 
on the same footing as if those opposing the government were 
foreign enemies invading the land. 

It became, therefore, the highest duty of the Presi- 
dent to make immediate provision for Southern military 
government until civil governments could be properly 
brought into existence. 

On the 10th of May General John M. Schofleld, 
commanding the Department of North Carolina, ad- 
dressed a lengthy letter to General Grant on the subject 
of reconstruction. It related almost wholly to the 
question of the qualification of voters in North Carolina 
at any election that might be held for the establish- 
ment of state governments. General Grant's reply to 
this letter was dated May 10, and was as follows : — 

Until a uniform policy is adopted for reestablishing civil 
governments in the rebellious States, the military authorities 
can do nothing but keep the peace. I have just received your 
letter of the 10th and agree with your views. 
1 2 Black's Reports, 667, 668. 


President Johnson's Plan of Reconstruction. — His Declarations that 
the Governments to be organized under it would be Provisional 
only until approved by Congress. 

Mr. Johnson's first step towards the partial restora- 
tion of civil power in the South was the appointment 
of William W. Holden as provisional governor for the 
State of North Carolina. The appointment was made 
in a proclamation by the President, countersigned by the 
Secretary of State, and dated May 29, 1865. It was 
as follows : — 

Whereas the fourth section of the fourth article of the Con- 
stitution o£ the United States declares that the United States 
shall guarantee to every State in the Union a republican 
form of government, and shall protect each of them against 
invasion and domestic violence ; and whereas the President 
of the United States is, by the Constitution, made commander- 
in-chief of the army and navy, as well as chief civil executive 
officer of the United States, and is bound by solemn oath 
faithfully to execute the office of President of the United 
States, and to take care that the laws be faithfully executed ; 
and whereas the rebellion which has been waged by a portion 
of the people of the United States against the properly con- 
stituted authorities of the government thereof, in the most 
violent and revolting form, but whose organized and armed 
forces have now been almost entirely overcome, has, in its 
revolutionary progress, deprived the people of the State of 
North Carolina of all civil government ; and whereas it be- 


comes necessary and proper to carry out and enforce the 
obligations of the United States to the people of North 
Carolina, in securing them in the enjoyment of a republican 
form of government : 

Now, therefore, in obedience to the high and solemn 
duties imposed upon me by the Constitution of the United 
States, and for the purpose of enabling the people of the 
said State to organize a state government, whereby justice 
may be established, domestic tranquillity insured, and loyal 
citizens protected in all their rights of life, liberty, and 
property, I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, 
and commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United 
States, do hereby appoint William W. Holden provisional 
governor of the State of North Carolina, whose duty it shall 
be, at the earliest practicable period, to prescribe such rules 
and regulations as may be necessary and proper for conven- 
ing a convention, composed of delegates to be chosen by that 
portion of the people of said State who are loyal to the United 
States, and no others, for the purpose of altering or amend- 
ing the Constitution thereof; and with authority to exercise, 
within the limits of said State, all the powers necessary and 
proper to enable such loyal people of the State of North 
Carolina to restore said State to its constitutional relations to 
the federal government, and to present such a republican form 
of state government as will entitle the State to the guarantee 
of the United States therefor, and its people to protection by 
the United States against invasion, insurrection, and domestic 
violence ; provided, that in any election that may be hereafter 
held for choosing delegates to any state convention as afore- 
said, no person shall be qualified as an elector, or shall be 
eligible as a member of such convention, unless he shall have 
previously taken the oath of amnesty, as set forth in the 
President's proclamation of May 29, A. D. 1865, and is a voter 
qualified as prescribed by the constitution and laws of the 
State of North Carolina, in force immediately before the 20th 


day of May, 1861, the date of the so-called ordinance of 
secession ; and the said convention when convened, or the 
legislature that may be thereafter assembled, will prescribe 
the qualification of electors and the eligibility of persons to 
hold office under the constitution and laws of the State, a 
power the people of the several States composing the federal 
Union have rightfully exercised from the origin of the gov- 
ernment to the present time. 

And I do hereby direct : — 

First. That the military commander of the department, and 
all officers and persons in the military and naval service, aid 
and assist the said provisional governor in carrying into effect 
this proclamation, and they are enjoined to abstain from, in 
any way, hindering, impeding, or discouraging the loyal peo- 
ple from the organization of the state government as herein 

Then followed directions for putting in force, by the 
various departments of the government, the laws of the 
United States within the geographical limits of North 

Like proclamations were made during the summer of 
1865 for the appointment of provisional governors in all 
the States lately in rebellion except Virginia, Louisiana, 
Arkansas, and Tennessee, in which States the work of 
reconstruction had been inaugurated during the lifetime 
of President Lincoln. 

The terms of Mr. Johnson's proclamation were in 
harmony with the attitude taken by Mr. Lincoln. It 
declared that the rebellion had deprived the people of 
North Carolina of all civil government. It cited the 
obligation of the United States to guarantee to every 
State a republican form of government. It made 


especial reference to the fact that the President of the 
United States is, by the Constitution, made commander- 
in-chief of the army and navy, as well as the chief 
civil executive officer of the United States. He based 
his authority for the action he was taking upon his 
military, as well as his civil, character ; and referred to 
his solemn oath of office and his duty to take care that 
the laws were faithfully executed. 

It is evident that the President considered that he 
was dealing with a totally unorganized people. He pro- 
ceeded to prescribe the duties of the provisional gov- 
ernor, the first of which was to call a convention for 
the purpose of altering or amending the constitution 
of the State. He required that the delegates to such 
convention " be chosen by that portion of the people of 
said State who are loyal to the United States, and no 
others," — the test of loyalty being the taking and sub- 
scribing to the oath of amnesty set forth in the Presi- 
dent's proclamation of the same date with the procla- 
mation appointing the governor. No person could vote 
until he first took the oath, nor then, unless he was 
a voter qualified by the Constitution and laws of the 
State of North Carolina in existence immediately before 
the so-called ordinance of secession. From this it 
appears that the President considered that the Consti- 
tution and laws of the State were still in existence, 
although no government existed to enforce them. He 
held all the people of the State as having forfeited their 
political rights by reason of the rebellion, and as being 
dependent upon the executive pardon for their resto- 
ration. He held, with Mr. Lincoln, that the power to 


pardon included the power to impose conditions, and 
the condition he imposed was an oath to support the 
Constitution of the United States, and to abide by and 
faithfully support all laws and proclamations which had 
been made during the rebellion with reference to the 
emancipation of slaves. He excepted, however, fourteen 
classes of persons from the operation of the proclama- 
tions of amnesty and pardon, and consequently from 
the right to vote for delegates, or to sit as delegates, 
in the state convention. These exemptions were as fol- 
lows : — 

1st. All who are or shall have been pretended civil or 
diplomatic officers or otherwise domestic or foreign agents of 
the pretended government: 2d. All who left judicial sta- 
tions under the United States to aid the rebellion : 3d. All 
who shall have been military or naval officers of said pre- 
tended Confederate government above the rank of colonel in 
the army, or lieutenant in the navy : 4th. All who left seats 
in the Congress of the United States to aid the rebellion : 5th. 
All who resigned or tendered resignations of their commis- 
sions in the army or navy of the United States to evade duty 
in resisting the rebellion : 6th. AH who have engaged in any 
way in treating otherwise than lawfully as prisoners of war, 
persons found in the United States service as officers, soldiers, 
seamen, or in other capacities : 7th. All persons who have been 
or are absentees from the United States for the purpose of 
aiding the rebellion : 8th. All military and naval officers in 
the rebel service, who were educated by the government in 
the Military Academy at West Point or the United States 
Naval Academy: 9th. All persons who held the pretended 
offices of governors of States in insurrection against the 
United States : 10th. All persons who left their homes within 
the jurisdiction and protection of the United States, and 


passed beyond the Federal military lines into the pretended 
Confederate States for the purpose of aiding the rebellion : 
11th. All persons who have been engaged in the destruction 
of the commerce of the United States upon the high seas, and 
all persons who have made raids into the United States from 
Canada, or been engaged in destroying commerce of the 
United States upon the lakes and rivers that separate the 
British Provinces from the United States : 12th. All persons 
who, at the time when they seek to obtain the benefits hereof 
by taking the oath herein prescribed, are in military, naval, or 
civil confinement, or custody, or under bonds of the civil, 
military, or naval authorities, or agents of the United States 
as prisoners of war, or persons detained for offenses of any 
kind, either before or after conviction : 13th. All persons 
who have voluntarily participated in said rebellion, and the 
estimated value of whose taxable property is over twenty 
thousand dollars : 14th. All persons who have taken the oath 
of amnesty as prescribed in the President's proclamation of 
December the 8th, a. d. 1863, or an oath of allegiance to the 
government of the United States since the date of said procla- 
mation, and who have not thenceforward kept and maintained 
the same inviolate. 

Provided, that any special application may be made to the 
President for pardon by any person belonging to the excepted 
classes ; and such clemency will be liberally extended as may 
be consistent with the facts of the case and the peace and 
dignity of the United States. 

There was yet a large class of people in the State to 
whom the right of suffrage was not extended by the 
proclamation upon any terms whatever, and this was 
the emancipated slaves. The President believed that 
only the Constitution and laws of the State could con- 
fer that right, and that while he might, by his pardon, 


restore the white inhabitants to their right to vote, 
which, prior to the rebellion, they had enjoyed under 
the constitution of the State, but which by the rebellion 
they had forfeited, he had not the power to confer even 
temporarily the right to vote upon those (the blacks) 
who had not possessed it under that constitution. On 
this subject he said in his proclamation : — 

And the said convention, when convened, or the legislature 
that may be thereafter assembled, will prescribe the qualifi- 
cation of electors, and the eligibility of persons to hold office 
under the constitution and laws of the State, — a power the 
people of the several States composing the federal Union 
have rightfully exercised from the origin of the government 
to the present time. 

This was well understood to be in the nature of an 
explanation of the omission of any provision for voting 
by any portion of the emancipated slaves. It was 
strongly contended by those who were termed " radi- 
cals " that slavery had died by the war, and that the 
emancipated slaves were thus made " people" and a 
part of the body politic. They thought that if the 
great body of those who had voluntarily engaged in 
the rebellion could be pardoned for this offense, the 
loyal black man could be pardoned for the color of his 
skin. They had no scruples about disregarding the 
limitations of the election laws which existed at the 
time of secession. They did not understand how local 
laws could survive the destruction of all civil govern- 
ment, — four years of suspended animation, and the 
change wrought, by emancipation, in the legal status 
of the blacks. They distrusted the efficiency of an 


amnesty oath to allay the fierce passions which the war 
had engendered. To them it seemed to be dangerous 
to hold out to a disappointed and embittered enemy the 
civil control of the State in exchange for such oaths ; 
and it seemed absurd to expect that peace and har- 
mony should instantly take the place of violence and 
discord, because one of the parties to a four years' war 
had become exhausted. These " radicals " embraced a 
powerful element in the Union party. They watched 
with much apprehension the progress of Mr. Johnson's 

There was, however, a general disposition among the 
Union masses and their leaders to reserve their judg- 
ment, and be governed in their final decision by the 
course pursued by the Southern people in the election 
of the provisional state governments. Mr. Johnson 
had been among the most intense of the Southern 
unionists. In all his interviews and speeches in Wash- 
ington, from the time of his inauguration as Vice-Presi- 
dent until the death of Mr. Lincoln, he had strenuously 
insisted that " rebels must take back seats in the work 
of reconstruction." When he became President, the 
fear among the leaders of his party had been that he 
would be too violent rather than too moderate. It was 
the knowledge of all these things that led many to 
believe that if the operations under his plan should 
make it evident that the civil power in the South, when 
finally restored, would be in the hands of men who 
would attempt to nullify emancipation, and withhold 
suitable protection from white and black unionists, he 
would set aside the work, and require it to be recom- 


menced, as many times as might be necessary to accom- 
plish the object he declared he had in view. 

Although the President's proclamations appointing 
provisional governors in the several States were coun- 
tersigned by the Secretary of State and issued from the 
State Department, it must not be inferred that the 
provisional governments were free from a military char- 
acter. In a letter to Governor Holden, of North Caro- 
lina, Secretary Seward informed him that the expense 
attending the organization of the State of North Caro- 
lina would be " paid out of the War Department as an 
expense incident to the suppression of the rebellion." 

Nor must it be assumed that it was any part of Presi- 
dent Johnson's purpose at that time to claim the power 
of determining the sufficiency of the work that might 
be done pursuant to his proclamations. On the con- 
trary, the record makes it perfectly clear that he did 
not believe he possessed such power, but that Congress 
alone, under the Constitution, could decide whether the 
new governments were legally organized, and republi- 
can in form, and, therefore, entitled to the guarantee 
of the Constitution. His proclamation required such 
alterations and amendments to the state constitutions 
as he thought would entitle the States to the guarantee 
of the Constitution and the protection of the federal 
government, which could be given only by Congress. 
There were two dispatches from Mr. Seward to provi- 
sional governors, by the President's directions, in which 
the declaration was definitely made that the new state 
governments would continue to be temporary and pro- 
visional only, until approved by Congress. One of 


these telegrams, dated July 14, 1865, was to William 
L. Sharkey, provisional governor of Mississippi, and 
said : — 

The government of the State will he provisional only until 
the civil authorities shall be restored, with the approval of 
Congress. Meanwhile military authority cannot be with- 

The other, to Provisional Governor Marvin, of Flor- 
ida, dated September 12, 1865, said: — 

Your excellency's letter of the 29th ultimo, with the accom- 
panying proclamation, has been received and submitted to 
the President. The steps to which it refers, towards reor- 
ganizing the government of Florida, seem to be in the main 
judicious, and good results from them may be hoped for. . . . 
It must, however, be distinctly understood that the restora- 
tion to which your proclamation refers will be subject to the 
decision of Congress. 1 

1 McPherson's History of Reconstruction , page 25. 


Proceedings of the Southern State Conventions called under the 
President's Proclamation. — The President's Demands on those 
Conventions. — His Letter to Sharkey, of Mississippi, discloses a 
Change of Purpose. — He designates Union " Radicals " as the 
" Adversary." 

The North Carolina convention, held in October, 
1865, under the proclamation of the President, adopted 
ordinances repealing the secession ordinance of 1861 ; 
ordering an election of a general assembly, represen- 
tatives in Congress, and governor of the State; and 
declaring vacant all offices of the State from the 26th of 
April, 1865, the day of the surrender of General John- 
ston. The convention declared void all debts and obli- 
gations incurred by the State in aid of the rebellion. 
A commission was appointed to report to the legislature 
a code of laws on the subject of freedmen, and it peti- 
tioned the President for total amnesty. It declared 
the Southern Confederacy a military usurpation from 
which the good people of North Carolina had been 
relieved " by the lawful action of the United States 
government under the powers delegated to it by the 
laws to suppress insurrection and repel invasions/' and 
asserted the willingness of the people to resume their 
duty of allegiance and support of the Constitution and 
the Union. It announced that all purpose of resistance 


to the United States government had ceased, and that 
no attempt would be made to renew it in any form. It 
requested the discontinuance of the operation of mili- 
tary power in North Carolina, a proclamation by the 
President of the full restoration of the State to its 
rights and privileges under the Constitution, the removal 
from the State of all colored troops in the service of 
the United States, and the repeal of the test oath as a 
qualification for a seat in Congress, or to hold office 
under the federal government. 

Pending action on slavery, Mr. Seward wrote the 
provisional governor that " the President sincerely 
trusts that North Carolina will, by her legislature, 
promptly accept the congressional amendment to the 
Constitution of the United States abolishing slavery." 
An amendment to the state constitution, by which 
slavery would be abolished, was not regarded by the 
President a sufficient guarantee on the subject. The 
demand was universal among Union men for the rati- 
fication of the amendment to the Constitution of the 
United States abolishing slavery, which had been sub- 
mitted by Congress to the States. The abolition of 
slavery by the States only might be reversed by them 
at any time. There was no fear that the requisite three 
fourths of all the States in the Union could ever be 
secured to reestablish slavery, if it could be abolished 
by an amendment to the fundamental law of the na- 
tion. The North Carolina legislature ratified the Thir- 
teenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United 
States on the 1st of December. 

The President made no response to the request of 



tlie North Carolina convention that he should proclaim 
the restoration of the State. On the 4th of December 
he relieved the provisional governor from the office he 
held, and directed him to transfer the papers and pro- 
perty of the State to the governor-elect so soon as he 
should qualify. A letter of similar purport was, at the 
same time, addressed to the governors of South Caro- 
lina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. 

In Mississippi, where a provisional governor was 
appointed June 13, 1865, General Slocum, the military 
commander, arrested a man for murder. The accused 
applied to a judge at Vicksburg for a writ of habeas 
corpus for the surrender of the prisoner to the civil 
authorities. General Slocum refused to obey it on the 
ground that the State was still under martial law. Pro- 
visional Governor Sharkey called upon the President to 
interfere. The President refused in a dispatch from 
Mr. Seward, hitherto quoted from, in which he said : — 

The President sees no reason to interfere with General 
Slocum's proceedings. The government of the State will be 
provisional only until the civil authorities shall be restored 
with the approval of Congress. 

This was on the 24th of July. Governor Sharkey did 
not rest with this. On the 12th of August he sent the 
entire record of the case to the end that the suspension 
of the writ of habeas corpus might be rescinded, and 
military control be ended. Secretary Seward responded 
as follows : — 

Upon due consideration of the state of affairs in Missis- 
sippi, as well as several of the other States which have been 
afflicted by the evils of insurrection, the President is of the 


opinion that it is inexpedient at present to rescind the sus- 
pension of the writ of habeas corpus in the case, which, in the 
papers named, you have submitted to him. Anarchy must 
in any case be prevented, as the process of reorganization, 
though seemingly begun very well, nevertheless is yet only 

The Mississippi convention, called and held under 
President Johnson's proclamation, met on the 14th of 
August. The next day the President sent the following 
personal telegram to Provisional Governor Sharkey : — 

I am gratified to see that you have organized your conven- 
tion without difficulty. I hope that without delay your con- 
vention will amend your state constitution abolishing slavery, 
and denying to all future legislatures the power to legislate 
that there is property in man ; also that they will adopt the 
amendment to the Constitution of the United States abolish- 
ing slavery. 

If you could extend the elective franchise to all persons 
of color who can read the Constitution of the United States 
in English and write their names, and to all colored persons 
who own real estate valued at not less than two hundred and 
fifty dollars, and pay taxes thereon, you would completely 
disarm the adversary, and set an example the other States 
will follow. This you can do with perfect safety, and you 
thus place the Southern States, in reference to free persons 
of color, upon the same basis with the free States. I hope 
and trust your convention will do this, and as a consequence, 
the radicals, who are wild upon the negro franchise, will be 
completely foiled in their attempts to keep the Southern 
States from renewing their relations to the Union by not 
accepting their senators and representatives. 

It is obvious that this dispatch was never intended 
for the public eye, but merely for Governor Sharkey's 


private use among those who could be moved by it. It 
was in an entirely different tone from that which had 
characterized all of President Johnson's previous utter- 
ances. It was evidently a declaration of war against 
all who favored the enfranchisement of the black race, 
and was notice to their opponents that the President 
was on their side, and that, in common with them, he 
regarded the friends of the negro as the " adversary." 
It invited the color line in politics. He favored the 
extension of the franchise to classes of colored persons 
so few in number that he said it could be done " with 
perfect safety " to the element whose political purposes 
were such as the negroes would for self-preservation 
naturally oppose. He urged the convention to give the 
ballot to the colored men who could read the Constitu- 
tion, and who owned two hundred and fifty dollars' worth 
of real estate, for the express purpose, as he avowed, of 
foiling the " radicals " in the attempt which he assumed 
they would make to retard the restoration of the rebel 
States to representation in Congress. 

Compare this dispatch with the North Carolina pro- 
clamation of May 29, upon which all the others were 
modeled. Then, " that portion of the people of said 
State who are loyal to the United States and no 
others " were to take part in the work of reconstruc- 
tion. If he had then looked for the " adversary," he 
would have been found among those recently in arms 
against the government. Now the only "adversary," 
to be circumvented was that portion of the Union ele- 
ment which, whether wisely or unwisely, believed that 
all the people in the Southern States, without regard to 


color, who were friendly to the government, ought to 
have a voice in reconstruction equally with those who 
might simulate loyalty through the form of an oath, 
regarded by many of them as taken under duress, and 
therefore not binding, and which would give them the 
political power of the State. 

President Johnson was well aware that whatever 
friendly disposition the Southern people had for their 
slaves as such, emancipation had naturally made a great 
change in the feeling towards them. Free negroes 
had always been an abomination in the South during 
the existence of slavery. The repugnance to them 
was intensified when the whole black population was 
suddenly transformed into free negroes through the 
conquering power of the nation. They were a standing 
monument to national power, and a witness to the sub- 
jugation and destruction of the Southern Confederacy. 

It was but natural that the Southern people should 
devote themselves to the work of proving emancipation 
a failure both for the blacks and their emancipators. 
They really believed the black race to be totally unfit 
for freedom. On the other hand, the protection of the 
negro against unequal laws became the duty of the 
government ; and those of the people who believed in 
this duty arrayed themselves against any plan of resto- 
ration which did not contain sufficient guarantees of 
fair treatment to the emancipated race. 

The real struggle, therefore, was whether the policy 
to be pursued toward the freedmen should be marked 
out by their enemies, or by the supporters of the gov- 
ernment which had made his emancipation a military 


weapon for the suppression of the rebellion. In this 
struggle President Johnson suddenly placed himself on 
the side of the deposed slave-masters. His intense 
hatred of secessionists and rebels, which had made him 
one of the most conspicuous of the Southern loyalists, 
gave way to his greater hatred of the negro. His tele- 
gram to Governor Sharkey, above quoted, was a sur- 
render on conditions too weak and trivial to be taken 
into account as conditions at all. The South gave up 
slavery because the war had dissipated it as absolutely 
as water is lost when spilled upon the ground. But 
the abolition of slavery was one thing, and the congres- 
sional legislation deemed appropriate for its enforce- 
ment and the establishment of freedom was quite 
another. The rebel debt gave the defeated rebels but 
little concern. The owners of the Confederate bonds 
had staked their money on Confederate success, and 
lost. The two conditions, therefore, upon which Mr. 
Johnson joined hands with the enemy of the negro, 
namely, the abolition of slavery and the repudiation 
of the rebel debt, were the mere recognition of accom- 
plished facts. Upon these light conditions he soon 
parted company with all who had supported the Union 
during the war, and who were either radicals, or mod- 
erates continuing their political association with the 

The Mississippi convention abolished slavery in the 
State on the expressed ground that that institution had 
already been destroyed, and declared the secession ordi- 
nance null and void. An election was held in October, 
and the new legislature met on the 18th of that month. 


The anti-slavery amendment to the federal Constitu- 
tion was referred to a joint committee, which reported 
against ratifying it, and the report, and not the amend- 
ment, was adopted. The principal reason given was 
that the amendment to the state constitution was suffi- 
cient. The committee especially objected to the second 
section of the thirteenth article, which gave to Con- 
gress the power to enforce it by appropriate legislation. 
They said : — 

The committee cannot anticipate what construction future 
Congresses may put upon this section. It may be claimed 
that it would be appropriate for Congress to legislate in re- 
spect to freedmen in the State. This committee can hardly 
conceive of a more dangerous grant of power than one which, 
by construction, might admit federal legislation in respect to 
persons, denizens and inhabitants of the State. If there 
be no danger now, the committee fear the time may come 
that the public mind might be influenced on this subject to 
the degree of endangering the reserved rights of the States. 

They declared that the " radicals and extremists" 
might " further vex and harass the country on the pre- 
tension that the freedom of the colored race is not perfect 
and complete until it is elevated to a social and politi- 
cal equality with the whites." The Thirteenth Amend- 
ment never was ratified by the State of Mississippi. 

Georgia held her convention, repealed the secession 
ordinance, and finally declared void the state debt 
incurred in aid of the rebellion. Even this latter was 
not done without aid from the administration. Pro- 
visional Governor Johnson telegraphed to the Presi- 
dent October 27, 1865 : — 


We need some aid to repeal the war debt ; send me some 
word on the subject. What should the convention do ? 

To Mr. Seward he telegraphed : — 

We are pressed on the war debt. What should the con- 
vention do ? 

The President sent a strong exhortation for proper 
action. Mr. Seward telegraphed more imperatively. 
He said : — 

The President of the United States cannot recognize the 
people of any State as having resumed the relations of loyalty 
to the Union that admits, as legal, obligations contracted or 
debts created in their name to promote the war of the rebellion. 

It will be seen from this dispatch that the President 
did not then say, as he did a few months later, that the 
people of any rebel State could resume their relations 
to the Union at will and as of right. 

On the 5th of December the legislature ratified 
the amendment to the federal Constitution concerning 

The Alabama convention met September 12, 1865, 
and ordered a state election for the first Monday in 
November. September 20 the convention abolished 
slavery on the expressed ground that it had already 
been destroyed in the State. It declared that the seces- 
sion ordinance was null and void and repudiated the 
rebel state debt. 

On the 2d of December the legislature ratified the 
anti-slavery amendment to the federal Constitution, with 
the condition, " that it does not confer upon Congress a 
power to legislate upon political rights of f reedmen in 


this State." Secretary Seward thereupon sent Provi- 
sional Governor Parsons the President's congratulations 
" upon the acceptance of the congressional amendment 
to the Constitution of the United States by the State 
of Alabama, which vote being the twenty-seventh, fills 
up the complement of two thirds, and gives the amend- 
ment finishing effect as a part of the organic law of the 

The convention of South Carolina met September 13, 
1865, repealed the secession ordinance, declared slavery 
abolished, and ordered a state election. The legislature 
met in October. 

The President urged the adoption of the anti-slavery 
amendment to the Constitution and the repudiation of 
the rebel state debt. Mr. Seward notified the gov- 
ernor that the acceptance of the amendment by South 
Carolina was " indispensable to the restoration of her 
relations with the other States of the Union." The 
legislature then ratified the anti-slavery amendment, 
accompanying the same with a protest against any 
attempt by Congress towards legislating upon the po- 
litical status of former slaves. Mr. Seward, speaking 
for the President, again insisted upon the repudiation 
of the rebel debt, to which Provisional Governor Perry 
replied that the convention had been dissolved, and 
that he " thought it wrong to keep a revolutionary 
body in existence, and advised their immediate dissolu- 
tion." Mr. Seward insisted that the legislature should 
express itself, which it did somewhat sarcastically, by 
referring the subject to the committee on foreign re- 
lations, to report the next year. 


The convention of Florida met October 25, 1865, 
annulled the secession ordinance, and repudiated the 
rebel debt. A legislature was elected which ratified the 
anti-slavery amendment. 

The alacrity with which most of the conventions and 
legislatures in the States lately in rebellion responded 
to President Johnson's demands for amendments to 
their own constitutions, and the ratification of the 
federal anti-slavery amendment, gave evidence that the 
governing classes of the late Confederacy believed that 
the President was cooperating with them in an earnest 
and well-conceived movement for the restoration of civil 
power in the respective States in virtually the same 
hands that had controlled the destinies of those States 
during the war. That such was to be the result of 
his plans was well illustrated by what occurred in the 
State of North Carolina, where the most conservative 
action might have been expected. Provisional Gov- 
ernor Holden telegraphed the President on the 1st of 
December, 1865, concerning the legislature which was 
to choose United States senators : " There appears to 
be a clear anti-administration or secession majority on 
joint ballot." He believed Governor Graham would be 
elected, and had not changed his opinion with regard 
to him. Graham had, in September, taken the ground 
that unpardoned persons could sit in the convention. 
This was in direct resistance to the President's procla- 
mation on the subject. Three days after the governor's 
dispatch as above, Graham was elected by 138 votes to 
14 scattering. 

In Mississippi Provisional Governor Sharkey com- 


menced the organization of militia companies to sup- 
press crime. General Slocum peremptorily stopped it. 
The governor protested, and claimed that his authority 
was derived from an interview with the President. The 
President telegraphed to General Carl Schurz at Vicks- 
burg, saying he presumed General Slocum would issue 
no order interfering with Governor Sharkey without 
first consulting with the government. He then pro- 
ceeded to give reasons why a militia should be organized 
in each county. He thought it would enable the fed- 
eral government to reduce the army, and to a large ex- 
tent withdraw its forces from the States. He remarked 
that " if there was any danger from any organization 
of the citizens, for the purposes indicated, the military 
would be there to suppress it on the first appearance of 
any movement insurrectionary in its character. One 
great object is to induce the people to come forward in 
defense of the state and federal governments." This 
was more than a month previous to the election of 
state officers. Governor Sharkey was the only civil 
officer in the State, and General Slocum was the mili- 
tary commander. It would be difficult to conceive of 
a more anomalous condition of affairs than that under 
which, in the absence of any civil government, the mili- 
tary force to restore order should be divided between 
a militia, organized out of the body of the lately re- 
bellious people, and the military force of the United 
States, which had suppressed the rebellion. The Presi- 
dent recognized the danger that the militia thus organ- 
ized might develop " insurrectionary " purposes, for he 
suggests that in that case the federal military would be 


there to suppress them. How they could be there to 
suppress the militia raised to enable the government to 
withdraw them from there is certainly most confusing. 

In November the governor offered to bargain with 
the President that, if he would order the United States 
troops from the State, the legislature would extend to 
freedmen the right to testify in court. 

Provisional Governor Johnson, of Georgia, telegraphed 
the President November 1, as follows : — 

No members of Congress elected can take the oath. Shall 
I issue certificates of election ? The legislature will probably 
be to some extent impracticable and refractory. I am in- 
clined to think a suspension of pardons might have a salutary 

The President responded, advising that " no certifi- 
cates of election to members of Congress elect be issued 
for the present." 

Provisional Governor Hamilton, of Texas, telegraphed 
the President February 11, 1866, that the radical Union 
men were in the minority in the convention in that 


Results of the Johnson Policy. — Ex-Rebels in Control of the Conven- 
tions and Legislatures. — They act without Pressure from Northern 
Radicalism. — Unfriendly Legislation concerning the Freedmen. 

The record contained in the preceding chapter estab- 
lishes the fact that Mr. Johnson's policy had utterly- 
failed to place the work of reconstruction in the rebel 
States in the hands of the loyal people thereof, or of 
men well disposed to the government of the United 
States. The oath of allegiance, including the oath to 
respect all laws and proclamations of the federal gov- 
ernment concerning slaves, had not operated as a bar- 
rier against its implacable enemies. By this it is not 
meant that any of the Southern people contemplated a 
renewal of hostilities against the government. They 
undoubtedly accepted the Union as an accomplished 
fact, and yielded their enforced consent to the main- 
tenance of such federal laws as they could not evade 
on the pretense of their unconstitutionality. We have 
already seen that in some cases the States ratified the 
anti-slavery amendment upon the condition that it 
should not be enforced by federal legislation. Those 
who had been excluded by the President from the bene- 
fits of his amnesty proclamation were not even embar- 
rassed by it. They made themselves candidates for 
seats in the legislatures and in the conventions, and, the 


President being furnished with lists of such persons by 
the provisional governors, promptly extended to them 
by the wholesale the pardon which gave them front 
instead of " back seats in the work of reconstruction.'' 
To make a long story short, there did not seem to be 
any material difference politically between the rebel 
state governments which were snuffed out with the 
Confederacy, and the provisional state governments, 
known as the Johnson governments, which came into 
existence during the summer and autumn of 1865. 

The legislatures of North Carolina, South Carolina, 
Mississippi, and Alabama convened before the assem- 
bling of Congress in December, 1865. The character 
of their legislation fully realized the gloomiest expecta- 
tions of the so-called " radicals " of the North, desig- 
nated by the President in his communications with his 
new political associates as the " adversary." At that 
time there had been no session of Congress since the 
4th of March, — nine months before, and more than 
a month before Lee's surrender. Nothing had been 
done, therefore, by that body calculated to irritate the 
defeated rebels. The government had only spoken to 
them through the President, — Mr. Lincoln first and 
then Mr. Johnson. Mr. Lincoln's single public address 
of April 12 was full of his accustomed kindness and 
consideration. It was an appeal for peace and an era 
of good feeling. Mr. Johnson while Vice-President 
gave utterance in several interviews to very severe lan- 
guage against those who had been in rebellion. To 
Governor 0. P. Morton and other citizens of Indiana 
he said, on the 21st of April, 1865 : — 


Treason against a State, treason against all the States, 
treason against the government of the United States, is the 
highest crime that can be committed, and those engaged 
in it should suffer all penalties. ... It is not promulging 
anything that I have not heretofore said, to say that traitors 
must be made odious, that treason must be made odious, that 
traitors must be punished and impoverished. They must not 
only be punished, but their social power must be destroyed. 
If not, they will still maintain an ascendency, and may again 
become numerous and powerful ; for, in the words of a for- 
mer senator of the United States, " when traitors become 
numerous enough, treason becomes respectable." 1 

To a number of Southern refugees he said, April 24, 
1865 : — 

Surely the Constitution sufficiently defines treason. It 
consists in levying war against the United States, and in 
giving their enemies aid and comfort. With this definition 
it requires the exercise of no great acumen to ascertain who 
are traitors. It requires no great perception to tell us who 
have levied war against the United States, nor does it require 
any great stretch of reasoning to ascertain who has given aid 
to the enemies of the United States. And when the gov- 
ernment of the United States does ascertain who are the 
conscious and intelligent traitors, the penalty and the forfeit 
should be paid. 

These extreme utterances alarmed some of the most 
radical, for they seemed to foreshadow wholesale prose- 
cutions and executions. 

But Mr. Johnson entertained and expressed far dif- 
ferent views as his experiments towards civil govern- 
ments in the South progressed during the summer and 

1 John C. Breckenridge, of Kentucky. 


fall. Long before the assembling of Congress, it had 
become perfectly evident that he had conquered his 
prejudices, and was looked upon in the South as the 
deliverer of its people from even the reasonable re- 
straints which they had expected the victorious nation 
to place upon them. Northern opinion as expressed 
through the press was, of course, divided, — some in- 
sisting upon constitutional amendments which should 
give permanent guarantees of protection to the freed- 
men, to the public creditors, and to the integrity of 
the nation itself. But the general tone of Northern 
feeling was that of great relief from the tension of the 
war, and faith in the speedy restoration of tranquillity 
throughout the land. 

Under such conditions the newly chosen Southern 
legislatures, free from all external pressure, proceeded 
during the autumn of 1865 to make laws to meet the 
new relations between the white and black races. The 
State of Mississippi enacted laws, some provisions of 
which are here cited as representative of what the de- 
feated slave power believed could yet be done for the 
subjection of those who had been made free by the 
Emancipation Proclamation of Mr. Lincoln, — now cer- 
tain to be supplemented by the ratification of the anti- 
slavery amendment to the federal Constitution. 

" An act to regulate the relation of master and ap- 
prentice, and relative to freedmen, free negroes, and 
mulattoes," passed November 22, provided that the 
probate courts should apprentice all negro orphans, and 
all whose parents did not provide for them, under the 
age of eighteen, to some competent and suitable person, 


"provided that the former owner of said minors shall 
have preference " when deemed suitable by the court. 
The act provided for moderate corporal punishment by 
the master, and punishment also for leaving him. 

The vagrant act, passed November 24, provided 
among other things that all freedmen, free negroes, 
and mulattoes over the age of eighteen found without 
any lawful employment or business should be deemed 
vagrants and fined fifty dollars, and imprisoned not 
exceeding ten days. Justices of the peace, mayors, and 
aldermen of incorporated towns were given jurisdiction 
to try vagrants and punish them as above. All negroes 
between the ages of eighteen and sixty were, under 
penalty of a fine, to pay a tax of a dollar annually to 
the Freedmen's Bureau Fund for the support of free 
negroes and mulattoes. Any free negro or mulatto 
failing to pay any tax or fine under the act was to be 
hired out by the sheriff " to any person who will for the 
shortest period of service " pay said tax, fine, or for- 
feiture, and all costs. 

An act " to confer civil rights on freedmen " was 
passed November 25. It allowed freedmen to sue in 
courts, "provided that the provisions of this section 
shall not be so construed as to allow any freedman, 
free negro, or mulatto to rent or lease any lands or 
tenements, except in incorporated towns and cities, in 
which places the corporate authorities shall control the 
same." Under this proviso the negro could not rent a 
patch of land in the country on which to raise food, 
either for his own consumption or for sale. Every 
freedman was required to have a lawful city home or 



employment, to be evidenced by an official license or a 
written labor contract. All contracts for labor made 
with negroes for a longer period than one month were 
to be in writing, and if one should quit the service of 
his master before the expiration of his time of service, 
without good cause, he was to " forfeit his wages for 
that year up to the time of quitting." But this was 
not all. Every civil officer, and every person, was 
authorized to arrest and carry back to his master any 
free negro thus quitting his or her master, and was to 
receive for such arrest five dollars, and also ten cents 
per mile, to be paid by the master and kept back from 
the negro's wages. Warrants could be obtained by 
which the fugitive laborer could be pursued into any 
county in the State and returned to his master. An- 
other section provided that any person giving to such 
deserting free negro any food, raiment, or other thing, 
should be punished by a fine of at least twenty-five 
dollars, and, if not immediately paid, be imprisoned for 
two months in the county jail. 

Another act, of November 29, prohibited any free 
negro from keeping any weapons at any place without 
a license. "Insulting gestures" by any free negro 
were made punishable by a fine of not less than ten 
dollars, and he might be imprisoned not exceeding 
thirty days. And, finally, the entire black code of the 
State, " defining offenses and prescribing the mode of 
punishment for crimes and misdemeanors committed by 
slaves, free negroes, or mulattoes," was reenacted, as it 
had existed in the days of slavery. Any default in the 
payment of a fine was to be followed by the hiring out 


of the offender by the sheriff at public outcry to any 
person who would pay the fine and costs and take the 
negro for the shortest time. 

The act to " confer civil rights upon freedmen " 
made it lawful for any negro to charge any white or 
black person with any criminal offense against him or 
his property. " In order to more fully confer " these 
" civil rights upon freedmen/' a law was passed a week 
later, supplementary to this, in which it was provided 
that " in every case where any white person has been 
arrested and brought to trial by virtue of the provisions 
of the tenth section of the above recited act " (to con- 
fer civil rights upon freedmen), "upon sufficient proof 
being made to the court or jury upon the trial before 
said court that any freedman, free negro, or mulatto has 
falsely and maliciously caused the arrest and trial of 
said person or persons, the court shall render up a judg- 
ment against such freedman, free negro, or mulatto for 
all the costs of the case, and impose a fine not to exceed 
fifty dollars, and imprisonment in the county jail not to 
exceed twenty days." Then followed a short provision 
for selling the labor of the negro at auction by the 
sheriff to whoever would pay the fine and costs for the 
shortest time of service. 

McPherson's " History of Eeconstruction " contains 
many of the acts passed by these governments in 1865 
and 1866. Those of Mississippi are here cited because 
it is presumed that Congress had information of them 
upon the assembling of its regular session in December, 
1865, and that upon such information it ordered an 
investigation of Southern affairs by a joint committee 
on reconstruction. 


The Conflict between Congress and the President. — The Latter 
demands the Admission of Senators and Representatives from 
the Late Confederate States before the Establishment therein of 
Lawful State Governments. — Claims Recognition of the Provi- 
sional Governments established by himself under Military Rule 
Regardless of the Action of Congress. 

Congress met on the 4th of December, 1865. Among 
its first proceedings was the reading in the House of 
Representatives of a dispatch to Secretary Seward from 
the provisional governor of Alabama, stating that the 
legislature in that State had ratified the anti-slavery 
amendment. He referred to the fact that Alabama was 
the twenty-seventh State, making the requisite three 

It was well known that the newly assumed attitude 
of the President was that reconstruction was then com- 
plete ; that the States lately in rebellion were then as 
fully entitled to representation in the two houses of 
Congress as though they had never been in rebellion, 
and that no power over the subject existed in Congress 
beyond the power to judge of the election, returns, 
and qualifications of senators and members from those 
States. The President's attitude had been foreshadowed 
in a speech made by Secretary Seward at his home in 
Auburn during the preceding autumn, in which he 
treated the restoration of the rebel States as complete, 


and Congress as having no other voice in the matter 
than to pass upon the credentials of the senators and 

On the other hand, it was the opinion of the Union 
members of the two houses, with very few exceptions, 
that none of these States were entitled to representation 
in Congress until their temporary governments had been 
made permanent by the approval of that body, and 
thereby recognized as being republican in form, and as 
the work of the people of the State. This extended the 
issue beyond the mere eligibility of senators and repre- 
sentatives to the eligibility of the States themselves for 
representation. This view was concurred in by Mr. 
Stanton, and by him maintained to the end with all the 
force of his powerful personality. 

The Republicans of the House conferred upon this 
subject before the opening of the session, and agreed 
upon the course Congress ought to pursue. This course 
was made known on the first day by the introduction of 
the following resolution in the House by Mr. Thaddeus 
Stevens, of Pennsylvania : — 

Resolved, By the Senate and House of Representatives in 
Congress assembled, That a joint committee of fifteen mem- 
bers shall be appointed, nine of whom shall be members of 
the House and six members of the Senate, who shall inquire 
into the condition of the States which formed the so-called 
Confederate States of America, and report whether they or 
any of them are entitled to be represented in either House 
of Congress, with leave to report at any time by bill or other- 
wise ; and until such report shall have been made and finally 
acted upon by Congress, no member shall be received into 
either House from any of the said so-called Confederate 


States ; and all papers relating to the representation of said 
States shall be referred to the said committee without debate. 

This was at once adopted under a suspension of the 
rules, by a vote of 133 to 36. It was amended in the 
Senate by striking out all after the word " otherwise." 
This was because the Senate was unwilling to commit 
itself to allowing the other House any voice in the 
question of seating senators. The House accepted the 
Senate amendment, so that as the resolution stood when 
adopted by both houses, it provided for a joint com- 
mittee of inquiry into the condition of the late rebel 
States, and a report by that committee, by bill or other- 
wise, as to whether any of them were entitled to repre- 
sentation in Congress. As this left the question of the 
eligibility of the States an open one, it committed all 
who voted for it against the admission of any senators 
or members from any of these States until it should be 
ascertained that valid state governments existed therein. 
The vote in the Senate stood 33 to 11. 

The action of the House was taken before the Presi- 
dent had communicated his annual message, which did 
not come in until the second day of the session. There 
was some strategic advantage to the House in the fact 
that its position on the subject of reconstruction was 
not taken in opposition to any official utterance by the 
President of his views, while his message, coming in 
afterwards, raised a direct issue with that body. The 
passage in the President's message which embraced his 
position was as follows : 1 — 

1 It will be observed that with all his vaunted devotion to state rights, 
he took the ground that, but for the adoption of the anti-slavery amend- 
ment, the States in question would not have been entitled to representation. 


The amendment to the Constitution being adopted, it would 
remain for the States, whose powers have been so long in 
abeyance, to resume their places in the two branches of the 
national legislature, and thereby complete the work of resto- 
ration. Here it is for you, fellow citizens of the Senate, and 
for you, fellow citizens of the House of Representatives, to 
judge, each of you for yourselves, of the elections, returns, and 
qualifications of your own members. 

This was certainly true as far as it went. But what 
it omitted was of vastly more consequence in the dis- 
cussion than what it contained. Of course " it would 
remain for the States " to " resume their places " in 
Congress, and of course that could alone "complete the 
work of restoration." It was also true that they could 
resume their places in Congress only by the consent of 
that body. It was true, as he said, that it was for the 
Senate and House respectively to decide upon the cre- 
dentials of members from these States. The vital truth 
and legal proposition omitted by him was the fact that 
if claims to seats in Congress were rejected on the ground 
that the state governments, through the agency of which 
senators and members had been chosen, were not legal 
and valid, then this decision was binding upon all the 
other departments of the government. 

A declaration by Congress that no legal state gov- 
ernment existed in any or either of the States which 
had been in rebellion would be binding upon the Presi- 
dent, and from that time he would have no more right 
to recognize these discredited state governments than 
he would have had, during the rebellion, to recognize the 
state governments of the Confederacy. This view of 


constitutional law had been laid down by the Supreme 
Court of the United States more than twenty years 
before, in the case of Luther v. Borden, reported in 
7 Howard, 1, Chief Justice Taney rendering the opinion 
of the court. The following extract from this opinion 
utterly denies the pretensions upon which Mr. Johnson 
based his issue with Congress, and completely sustains 
the power of Congress over the whole subject of deter- 
mining what government is established in a State : — 

The fourth section of the fourth article of the Constitution 
of the United States provides that the United States shall 
guarantee to every State in the Union a republican form of 
government, and shall protect each of them against invasion ; 
and on application of the legislature or of the executive 
(when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic 

Under this article of the Constitution it rests with Congress 
to decide what government is the established one in a State. 
For, as the United States guarantees to each State a republican 
form of government, Congress must necessarily decide what 
government is established in a State before it can determine 
whether it is republican or not. And when senators and 
representatives of a State are admitted into the councils of 
the Union, the authority of the government under which they 
are appointed, as well as its republican character, is recognized 
by the proper constitutional authority, and its decision is 
binding on every other department of the government, and 
could not be questioned in a judicial tribunal. 

This case arose out of what was known as the Dorr 
Rebellion in Rhode Island in 1842, in which an attempt 
was made, under the leadership of Thomas W, Dorr, to 
establish a state government, under a new constitution, 


in opposition to the state government under the old 
charter. Rhode Island had never adopted a constitu- 
tion, but had continued the form of government estab- 
lished by the charter of Charles II. in 1663. The 
rebellion was unsuccessful, and no senators or members 
were ever elected under the pretended new state gov- 
ernment. And, therefore, the court said, "Congress 
was not called upon to decide the controversy ; yet the 
right to decide is placed there, and not in the courts." 

Upon the constitutional authority of the general gov- 
ernment to interfere in the domestic affairs of a State, 
the court said that "the Constitution of the United 
States, so far as it provided for an emergency of this 
kind and authorized the general government to interfere 
in the domestic concerns of a State, has treated the sub- 
ject as political in its nature, and placed the power in 
the hands of that department." That Congress is the 
political department of the government has always been 
held by the Supreme Court, and has never been called 
in question. 

The issue was now fully joined between Congress and 
the President. That issue was whether civil power in 
the lately rebel States had already lawfully and irrevo- 
cably passed into the hands of the leaders of the rebel- 
lion, or whether the military authority of the United 
States could lawfully continue until state governments 
could be established which would be approved by Con- 
gress as republican in form and as having been legally 
adopted by the people. 

The congressional resolution to which reference has 
been made rendered it perfectly apparent that the John- 


son governments would not be recognized, nor senators 
or members representing their authority be admitted 
to seats in Congress, until some guarantee should be 
given, by further constitutional amendment, for the pro- 
tection of the lives and rights of all the people, white 
and black, who by their support of the government had 
excited the hostility of those in rebellion. The debates 
in Congress and the discussions throughout the country 
very soon made it clear that those in the South who had 
made war upon the government, and those in the North 
who had, either openly or covertly, sympathized with 
them, were arrayed on the side of the President and 
constituted a political party under his leadership; while 
all who had supported the government during the war, 
with very few exceptions, and those almost invariably 
either persons holding office or seeking office under the 
President, were arrayed on the side of Congress. It 
seems to have been the President's idea that if the 
extremists of the late Southern Confederacy could con- 
trol all the Southern States, that fact would serve as 
a great stimulant to their friends in the other States to 
elect enough senators and members, joined with them, 
to secure the control of the government. General Grant 
testified concerning this before the Committee on the 
Judiciary of the House of Representatives, on the 18th 
of January, 1867. 

Being asked by Mr. Bout well, — 

Have you at any time heard the President make any remark 
in reference to admission of members of Congress from rebel 
States into either House? — 

he replied, — 


I cannot say positively what I have heard him say on that 
subject. I have heard him say as much perhaps in his public 
speeches last summer as I ever heard him say upon that sub- 
ject. I have heard him say — and I think I have heard him 
say it twice in his speeches — that if the North carried the 
elections by enough members to give them, with the Southern 
members, a majority, why would they not be the Congress of 
the United States ? I have heard him say that several times. 

Mr. Williams asked him : — 

When you say "the North," you mean the Democratic 
party of the North ; or, in other words, the party enforcing 
his policy ? 

General Grant answered : — 

I mean if the North carried enough members in favor of 
the admission of the South. I did not hear him say that he 
would recognize them as Congress. I merely heard him ask 
the question, " Why would they not be the Congress ? " 

General Grant further said : — 

I heard him say that in one or two of his speeches, I do not 
recollect where. 

Mr. Boutwell asked him : — 

Have you heard him make a remark kindred to that else- 
where ? 

General Grant replied : — 

Yes. I have heard him say that, aside from his speeches, 
in conversation. I cannot say just when. It is probable 
about the same time. 

It was obvious that those who had engineered the 
Southern Confederacy had high hopes at this time of 
soon controlling the government of the United States. 


Their motive was to escape from the consequences of 
the war, and to transfer the humiliation of their defeat 
to those by whom they had been vanquished. To ac- 
complish this they wrought with both the force and 
finesse of which so many among them were masters. 
Their force had been used in that aggressiveness in the 
elections in their States which made opposition to them 
seem puerile and absurd. Their finesse displayed itself 
in turning the head of the President by seeming to 
accept his leadership, and to have forgotten his violence 
towards them in the past. The fourteen classes who 
had been excepted from amnesty in his proclamation, 
and to whom, in that instrument, he gave assurance 
that special applications would be favorably considered, 
swarmed around him, some in person and more by letter. 
Many of these were among the foremost men in the 
South. To have them pay court to him, receive favors 
at his hands, and profess to feel under high obligations 
to him, was doubtless most gratifying. He had never 
been of their class. He rather prided himself on his 
humble origin, and publicly recited in his speeches his 
early life as " a tailor " and his small beginning as " an 
alderman in his native village." To himself he appeared 
as "the stone which the builders rejected," but which 
they now accepted as " the head of the corner." Add 
to these suppliants the political parasites and mercenaries 
who sought offices and contracts under the government, 
and that large portion of the commercial element of the 
North which in the interest of trade desired the pacifi- 
cation of whichever seemed likely to be the most turbu- 
lent party, and it no doubt seemed to him that he was 
carrying the country with him. 


The President continues Military Eule in the States which he de- 
clares to be restored to all their Original Rights. — Treats them 
as still in Rebellion by refusing to annul the Suspension of the 
Writ of Habeas Corpus. — Veto of the Freedmen's Bureau Bill. 
— His Assault upon Congress. — His Mob Speech at the White 
House. — Denounces Congressional Leaders by Name. — Con- 
gress declares the Ineligibility at that Time of Southern States 
to Representation. 

We now come to the consideration of the legislation 
of Congress for the protection of the rights of persons 
in the South. In this connection it is well to keep 
constantly in view the fact that the President continued 
to exercise military authority in that region, and to 
deal with the people there as being still in insurrection. 
On the 1st of December, 1865, he issued a proclama- 
tion, in which, after referring to the suspension of the 
writ of habeas corpus throughout the United States 
by President Lincoln in 1863, he declared that the 
" suspension aforesaid and all other proclamations and 
orders suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas 
corpus in the States and Territories of the United 
States are revoked and annulled excepting as to the 
States of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Caro- 
lina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mis- 
sissippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas, the District 
of Columbia, and the Territories of New Mexico and 
Arizona." As the privilege of the writ of habeas 


corpus can be suspended under the Constitution only 
when, "in cases of invasion or rebellion, the public 
safety may require it," this declaration continuing the 
suspension of the writ in the States and other places 
named was the best evidence that seven months after 
the cessation of hostilities he did not consider the state 
of rebellion as having ended. On the 2d of April, 
1866, four months later, he issued a proclamation de- 
claring the rebellion at an end in all of the late rebel 
States except Texas, and yet he continued martial law 
and trials by military tribunals during the rest of the 

Notwithstanding all this, on the 18th of December, 
1865, the President, in reply to a message of the Senate 
of the 12th, had informed that body that the rebellion 
had been suppressed ; that " the people in North Caro- 
lina, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, 
Arkansas, and Tennessee had reorganized their respec- 
tive state governments, and that in nearly all of them 
measures had been adopted or were pending to confer 
upon freedmen rights and privileges which were essen- 
tial to their comfort, protection, and security." He 
referred to disorders local in character, and not fre- 
quent in occurrence, resulting from the demoralizing 
effects of the war. He reported a generally favorable 
condition of affairs. 

His message was accompanied by a report made to 
him by General Grant, who, after a tour of inspection 
through some of the Southern States, reported that 
" the mass of thinking men of the South accept the 
present situation of affairs in good faith." He thought, 


however, that the war had left "the people possibly 
in condition not to yield that ready obedience to civil 
authority the American people have generally been in 
the habit of yielding. This would render small garri- 
sons throughout the States necessary until such time as 
labor returns to its proper channels and civil authority 
is fully established." 
He further said : — 

I did not meet any one, either those holding office under 
the government, or citizens of the Southern States, who think 
it practicable to withdraw the military from the South at the 
present. White and black mutually require the protection 
of the government. 

He thought the mere presence of a military force, 
without regard to numbers, would be sufficient to main- 
tain order. He considered the Freedmen's Bureau an 
absolute necessity in some form until civil law was es- 
tablished and enforced, securing to the freedmen their 
full rights of protection. 

He said furthermore : — 

It cannot be expected that the opinions held by men of the 
South for years can be changed in a day. And, therefore, 
the freedmen require for a few years not only laws to protect 
them, but the fostering care of those who will give them good 
counsel, and in whom they can rely. 

The first measure passed by Congress relating to 
Southern affairs was " An Act to amend an Act, to 
establish a Bureau for the Relief of Freedmen and 
Refugees and for other purposes." This was a bureau 
in the War Department, created by the act of March 


3, 1865. To it was committed the supervision and 
management of all abandoned lands, and the control 
of all subjects relating to refugees and freedmen in 
rebel States. The bill was manifestly adapted only to 
a military condition of affairs. The President vetoed 
it February 19, 1866, on the ground that the rebellion 
was at an end, although the privilege of the writ of 
habeas corpus — sacred except in cases of rebellion and 
invasion — continued, by his will, to be suspended until 
the following April. He also objected to the bill be- 
cause at the time of its passage there were no senators 
or representatives in Congress from the eleven States 
mainly to be affected by its provisions. He referred to 
the right of representation, and said : — 

I would not interfere with the unquestionable right of 
Congress to judge, each House for itself, " of the elections, 
returns, and qualifications of its own members." But that 
authority cannot be construed as including the right to shut 
out, in time of peace, any State from the representation to 
which it is entitled by the Constitution. 

He assumed the position that as the President is 
chosen by the people of all the States, and that as the 
late rebel States were not then represented in Congress, 
" it would seem to be his duty on all proper occasions 
to present their just claims to Congress," or, in other 
words, to act as their representative before Congress. 
He lectured Congress upon its duty in this regard " in 
the interest of peace," and said : — 

It is plain that an indefinite or permanent exclusion of 
any part of the country from representation must be attended 
by a spirit of disquiet and complaint. It is unwise and dan- 


gerous to pursue a course of measures which will unite a very- 
large section of the country against another section of the 
country, however much the latter may preponderate. 

And, finally, he said : — 

The bill under consideration refers to certain of the States 
as though they had not "been fully restored in all their 
constitutional relations to the United States." If they have 
not, let us at once act together to secure that desirable end at 
the earliest possible moment. It is hardly necessary for me 
to inform Congress that, in my own judgment, most of these 
States, so far, at least, as depends upon their own action, have 
already been fully restored, and are to be deemed as entitled 
to enjoy their constitutional rights as members of the Union. 

This was a pronounced and aggressive intrusion 
upon the field which Congress only could properly 
occupy. As Congress alone could decide the question 
he was discussing, he would be bound by whatever 
decision Congress might make ; and that question was 
not whether the rebellion had destroyed the right of 
the rebel States to representation, but whether those 
States had legally constituted governments through 
which elections of senators and members of Congress 
could be provided for, and their election certified. 

The language quoted was not only disturbing, but, 
under the conditions then existing, it aroused an ap- 
prehension that he desired to provoke disturbance. 

The veto message was dated the 19th of February. 
On the 21st a vote was taken in the Senate on passing 
the bill over the veto. The yeas were 30 and the nays 
18, and so the bill was lost for the want of a two 
thirds vote. 



The two Houses promptly met the President's chal- 
lenge on the subject of the right of the unorganized 
States to be then represented. On the day following 
the veto, Mr. Stevens, of the committee on reconstruc- 
tion, reported the following concurrent resolution : — 

Itesolved, By the House of Representatives, the Senate 
concurring : That, in order to close agitation upon a question 
which seems likely to disturb the action of the government, as 
well as to quiet the uncertainty which is agitating the minds 
of the people of the eleven States which have been declared 
to be in insurrection, no senator or representative shall be 
admitted into either branch of Congress from any of said 
States until Congress shall have declared such State entitled 
to such representation. 

On this the vote in the House stood 109 yeas and 
40 nays. The Senate did not act upon the resolution 
until March 2, when it was adopted by a vote of 29 
yeas and 18 nays. 

Between the date of the action of the President and 
that of the Senate, an extraordinary demonstration had 
been made by the former. On the 22d of February, 
the day following the vote in the Senate of 30 to 18 in 
favor of the passage of the Freedmen's Bureau Bill, 
notwithstanding the President's objections, the latter 
made a speech from the steps of the White House 
in response to resolutions indorsing his policy which 
had been presented to him by a political committee. 
During the course of his speech, he said that " the re- 
bellion had been put down by the strong arm of the 
government in the field," and that " we are now almost 
inaugurated into another rebellion." Referring to the 


resolution of Congress just quoted, he declared it to be 
the work of an " irresponsible central directory/' refer- 
ring to the joint committee on reconstruction. This 
resolution, which the House of Representatives had 
adopted by an overwhelming majority, he treated as 
the work of that committee, which he declared had 
thereby virtually taken away from the two respective 
branches of the national legislature that great principle 
under the Constitution which makes the Senate and 
House the judges of the elections, returns, and qualifica- 
tions of their own members. He declared that the re- 
solution assumed that the States were out of the Union, 
while, in fact, it had been settled that the " States 
had neither the right nor the power to go out of the 

Of course this was a mischievous and confusing per- 
version of what the resolution did really contain. A 
State may be " in the Union " without a state gov- 
ernment through the authority of which senators and 
representatives can be chosen. This very condition 
then existed in the South. Mr. Johnson himself had 
declared, in all his proclamations appointing provisional 
governors and authorizing elections in these States, 
that the war had left them without any civil govern- 
ment whatever. The question whether legal state gov- 
ernments had since been established in these States was 
one which he was as powerless to decide as any private 
citizen in the land. He could report to Congress the 
steps he had taken as military ruler to enable the peo- 
ple to move in the direction of creating new state gov- 
ernments. Beyond that he could not go. He himself 


had informed two of his provisional governors that 
the work of restoration must be submitted to Congress 
and be entirely temporary and provisional until ap- 
proved by that body. For him to take a contrary 
position now was not only to violate the Constitution, 
but was the grossest self-stultification. 

After naming certain of the leading rebels in his 
speech, he said : — 

But when I perceive, on the other hand, men still opposed 
to the Union, I am free to say to you that I am still with the 

Here the President was called upon to give the 
names of the men referred to as being opposed to the 
Union, to which he responded : — 

The gentleman calls for three names. I am talking to you, 
my friends and fellow citizens here. Suppose I should name 
to you those whom I look upon as being opposed to the fun- 
damental principles of this government, and as now laboring 
to destroy them. I say Thaddeus Stevens, of Pennsylvania ; 
I say Charles Sumner, of Massachusetts ; and I say Wendell 
Phillips, of Massachusetts. 

He became very much excited as he progressed, and 
charged that efforts were being made to have him 
assassinated. His speech was exceedingly inflamma- 

The Freedmen's Bureau Bill was supported by Mr. 
Stanton in the Cabinet, and he advised the President 
against the veto of it. This fact was announced by 
him in the President's hearing in a public serenade 
speech on the 23d of May, 1866. 


Trumbull's Civil Eights Bill a Peace Offering. — Supposed by him 
to be Satisfactory to the President. — Its Passage and Veto. — 
Passed over the Veto. 

While these exciting events were occurring, sub- 
committees of the joint committee on reconstruction 
had been busily engaged in taking testimony on the 
condition of affairs in the South. The whole commit- 
tee was as follows : — 

Senators Fessenden, of Maine, Grimes, of Iowa, Har- 
ris, of New York, Howard, of Michigan, and Williams, 
of Oregon. 

Representatives Stevens, of Pennsylvania, Washburne, 
of Illinois, Morrill, of Vermont, Bingham, of Ohio, Conk- 
ling, of New York, and Boutwell, of Massachusetts. 

Partial reports of the testimony were made from time 
to time and printed. The testimony was conclusive of 
the fact that the white unionists as well as the freed- 
men in the South were mainly dependent upon the 
military authorities for the protection of their lives and 
of their plainest civil rights. 

On the 5th of January Senator Trumbull, of Illinois, 
introduced " a bill to protect all persons in the United 
States in their civil rights." The bill was referred to 
the judiciary committee, of which Mr. Trumbull was 
the chairman. On the 11th of January he reported it 


back to the Senate with amendments and a recom- 
mendation that it pass. After full debate the bill 
passed the Senate February 2 by a vote of 33 to 12. It 
passed the House March 13 by 111 to 38. The Presi- 
dent vetoed the bill on the 27th of March. Mr. Stan- 
ton advised its approval. The Senate passed it over the 
veto on the 6th of April by a vote of 33 to 15, and 
the same action was taken by the House on April 9 by 
a vote of 122 to 41. 

The bill had been carefully drawn by Mr. Trumbull, 
one of the ablest lawyers of the Senate, and, indeed, 
of the whole country. In his speech upon the veto, of 
April 4, he based the power of Congress to pass the 
bill upon the second section of the Thirteenth Amend- 
ment, abolishing slavery, which conferred upon Congress 
the power to enforce that amendment by appropriate 
legislation. He said : — 

Whatever may have been the opinion of the President 
at one time as to "good faith requiring the security of the 
freedmen in their liberty and their property," it is now 
manifest, from the character of his objections to this bill, 
that he would approve no bill that would surely accomplish 
the object. That the second clause of the constitutional 
amendment gives this power, there can be no question. 

Mr. Trumbull was a moderate man, conservative in 
his opinions and temperate in their expression. He 
was a man of marked individuality, and was never 
forced or hurried into the support of any measure at 
the behest of his party. It therefore meant a great 
deal for him to say of the President that the " charac- 
ter of his objections to this bill made it manifest that he 


would approve no measure " that would accomplish the 
object of securing to the freedmen their liberty. Ac- 
cording to his view, the Civil Eights Bill might properly 
have been entitled a bill to enforce the Thirteenth 
Amendment, abolishing slavery. He believed that the 
legislatures of the Johnson governments in the South 
had set this amendment at naught, and that unless 
protected the blacks would not, in fact, be freedmen. 
The disabilities thus sought to be imposed upon them 
created a new form of slavery, — not one which made 
slaves of individuals, but one which subjected the black 
race to the white race. He said : — 

If the bill now before us, and which goes no further than 
to secure civil rights to the freedmen, cannot be passed, then 
the constitutional amendment proclaiming freedom to all the 
inhabitants of the land is a shadow and a delusion. 

As to the necessity for such legislation by Congress, 
he cited a report from Texas, dated December 15, 1865, 
stating that the pass system of slavery days was still in 
force, and that freedmen found at large without a pass 
were " taken up and whipped." He cited legislative 
enactments of Mississippi prohibiting the holding, leas- 
ing, or renting of real estate by freedmen, and giving 
mayors and boards of police the authority to prevent 
freedmen from doing any independent business. He 
quoted from an order from Major-General Terry at 
Richmond as late as January 24, 1866, in which that 
officer, referring to the vagrant law just passed, said: — 

The ultimate effect of the statute will be to reduce the 
freedmen to a condition of servitude worse than that from 
which they have been emancipated, — a condition which 
will be slavery in all but name. 


As to the President's denial of the rightful power 
of the United States to interfere for the protection of 
freedmen against such hostile legislation, he cited very- 
recent military orders, issued under presidential au- 
thority, in which were embodied, as he said, the very 
provisions of this bill. He quoted from an order of 
January 12, 1866, to Major-General Canby at New 
Orleans, which directed the discontinuance of all prose- 
cutions in state courts against colored persons charged 
with offenses for which white persons were not prose- 
cuted. District commanders were by him required to 
enforce the order, which was based upon one which had 
been issued by General Grant for the protection of col- 
ored persons being discriminated against by the courts. 

He quoted General Terry as having directed that no 
magistrate in Virginia should apply the provisions of 
the vagrant law to any colored person in that depart- 
ment. He quoted an order issued by General Sickles 
as late as January 17, 1866, in North Carolina, in 
which he prohibited penalties for the freedmen differ- 
ent from those applied to the whites, and on the 4th 
of March of that year he had ordered that provost or 
military courts should continue in operation and have 
exclusive jurisdiction in all cases where negroes were 
concerned until these should be admitted to " the state 
courts as parties and witnesses with the same rights 
and remedies accorded to other persons." 

He explained that the pending measure simply de- 
fined crimes against the Thirteenth Amendment, and 
properly conferred jurisdiction upon the federal courts 
to try the offenders. 


A most important part of Mr. Trumbull's speech was 
that in which he declared that the bill " was proposed 
with a view to carry out what we supposed to be the 
views of the President, and was submitted to him 
before its introduction in the Senate." He referred to 
the " difference of opinion between the President and 
some members of Congress in regard to the condition 
of the rebel States and the rights to be secured to 
freedmen." He sought to promote harmony between 
them, and had frequent interviews with the President 
for that purpose. He had prepared the Civil Rights 
Bill in the belief that it would relieve anxiety in the 
North and induce the Southern States to secure the 
civil rights of all by local laws, " and thereby remove 
many obstacles to an early reconstruction." A copy of 
the Civil Rights Bill was furnished the President, with 
the request that if " he had any objections to any of its 
provisions, he would make them known to its friends, 
that they might be remedied if not destructive of the 
measure." The President never indicated the least 
objection. " The bill was framed," said Senator Trum- 
bull, " as was supposed, in entire harmony with what he 
was then and has since been doing in protecting freed- 
men in their civil rights all through the rebellious 
States." It conferred no political privileges and inter- 
fered with none. It merely declared equality of civil 
rights among all classes of citizens, and equality in the 
punishment of offenses. 

Mr. Trumbull then asked : — 

In view of these facts, who is it that is breaking down the 
barriers of the States and making strides towards centraliza- 
tion? Is it Congress, by the passage of this bill, or the 


President, who, without law, is arrogating to himself far 
greater powers than any conferred by the bill ? 

The debates demonstrated that while the President 
was apparently contending for the rights of all the 
States lately in rebellion, and was professing to defend 
their provisional governments in all the rights enjoyed 
by the established governments of the other States, he 
had, in fact, held them all in subjection to his own 
personal will, as a military dictator, from the time of 
his accession to office up to the very time of the veto of 
this bill. He had measured out to them the powers 
they might exercise, and had withheld all other powers 
at his pleasure. He had, without other authority than 
that of pure military power, appointed provisional gov- 
ernors for them, bound by no statute, either federal 
or state. Through these provisional governors he had 
permitted those who were white voters under the old 
laws to vote for constitutional delegates if they would 
take the oath prescribed by him, which included obe- 
dience to the Emancipation Proclamation, — a purely 
military measure. He denied the right of any man in 
these States to vote unless he secured pardon by taking 
the oath. All others he claimed he had the right to 
outlaw. When conventions assembled, he dictated to 
them amendments to the state constitutions and the 
ratification of an amendment to the federal Constitu- 
tion. There is no form of despotism under w T hich an 
emperor's will has been enforced in provinces more 
fully than were Andrew Johnson's military and arbi- 
trary orders, issued to the people of the South through 
the rulers he had appointed over them. 


But these acts of his created no discontent in the 
South. On the contrary, the leaders of the rebellion, 
and all whom they could control, became his obedient 
and enthusiastic supporters and admirers. They took 
the oath with alacrity, filled the conventions with those 
who had been most exasperated by the overthrow of the 
Confederacy, and rushed through these bodies amend- 
ments to the state constitutions, abolishing slavery, 
repudiating rebel debts, and denying the right of seces- 
sion. In all cases but one they crowned the proceed- 
ings by the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment 
to the federal Constitution, though sometimes declaring 
their opposition to its second section because it gave 
Congress the power to protect the freedom of the 

The eagerness with which the disappointed rebels 
made these professions of humiliating obedience to 
hateful conditions was fully explained by the Presi- 
dent's letter to Governor Sharkey in August as to 
what was the surest way to " foil the radicals " and 
overthrow " the adversary." They simply did the 
things which they believed would immediately give them 
civil power, and give their new friend, the President, 
at once the right to withdraw the military. They 
would, perhaps, have immediately succeeded in this but 
for their revival of the black codes, in their impatience 
to satisfy themselves, as well as the people at large, that 
emancipation was a failure and the negro still virtually 
a slave. 


Divisions in the Cabinet. — A Johnson Party formed. — A Sere- 
nade to force Expression from Stanton which might give the 
President Excuse to remove him. — Stanton's Speech. — He re- 
mains in the Cabinet the only Opponent of the " Johnson Policy." 

The bewildering rapidity with which President John- 
son had transferred himself from the head of the party 
of the Union to a position of hostility to it, and of 
entire amity with enemies lately in rebellion, was con- 
fusing to the general mind. Many of the Republican 
leaders had, during the summer of 1865, predicted that 
if the Southern people did not meet the President's 
advances in a proper spirit, and aid him in reestablish- 
ing the Union and guaranteeing justice and liberty in 
their States, he would be the first to realize the fact and 
would retrace his steps. 

Mr. Stanton became satisfied as early as September, 
1865, that under the Johnson policy the civil power of 
the South was going into the hands of the enemies of 
the government. He determined, however, to remain 
at his post and see that the duties directly intrusted 
to him by law were faithfully performed. When Con- 
gress assembled and measures were brought forward for 
the protection of the white and black unionists of the 
South, he left the President in no doubt as to his atti- 
tude in the great crisis. All cabinet proceedings were 


of course secret. There was naturally much specula- 
tion as to the standing of various members, and whether 
or not the Cabinet would hold together. 

In May, 1866, a political club was organized in Wash- 
ington, under the name of the " National Union Club," 
consisting of the supporters of the President without re- 
gard to previous party affiliations. This was the initiative 
of the attempted formation of a new party of which Mr. 
Johnson should be the head, and which he hoped would 
swallow up all of the Democracy, and as many of the 
Republicans as could be attracted to his standard. The 
officers of this club determined upon a movement to 
force the members of the Cabinet to give public expres- 
sion to their opinions, and to that end they arranged a 
serenade to the President and his Cabinet on Wednes- 
day, the 23d of May. These high officials accordingly 
collected at the White House to receive them. The 
President first appeared, and limited his utterances to 
thanks for the approbation of the club. Secretary 
Seward was absent. He had already expressed his full 
support of the President's course in a speech at his 
home in Auburn. Secretary Welles, of the Navy Depart- 
ment, expressed his approval of the President's policy. 
Secretary McCulloch, of the Treasury Department, fol- 
lowed in the same line. Postmaster-General Dennison 
did not believe the differences between the President 
and Congress were irreconcilable. He was of the 
opinion that time and discussion were " bringing the 
President and Congress rapidly together on a basis of a 
common platform of action." Mr. Speed, the Attorney- 
General, excused himself by letter, in which he said that 


the want of time and pressing engagements would not 
permit him to prepare a fitting address. He expressed 
no opinion. Mr. Harlan, of Iowa, Secretary of the 
Interior, responded in a letter, in which he said that the 
newspapers had asserted that the serenade was intended 
to furnish the heads of departments with an opportu- 
nity to announce their opinions on political subjects. 
He thought it unnecessary for him to do so, as he had 
been doing it for ten years in the Senate. He should 
do nothing to defeat, weaken, or demoralize the great 
Union party. 

The only speech which really contained anything of 
interest was that of Mr. Stanton. It was well under- 
stood that the occasion was mainly intended to embar- 
rass him. The hope was entertained that he would be 
compelled to publicly disclose the wide differences of 
opinion between himself and the President, and that 
the divergence between them would be such as in the 
public mind would justify his removal. Mr. Stanton 
carefully prepared the speech that he was to deliver on 
the occasion. It was as follows : — 

Gentlemen, — On the afternoon of Thursday, the 17th of 
this month, I received a note from the secretary of the Na- 
tional Union Johnson Club, telling me it was the design of 
the association to serenade the President and his Cabinet, and 
that I would be called upon at my residence. Immediately 
on the receipt of this note, reply was sent to the secretary 
expressing my thanks for the compliment, and declining the 
honor of the serenade. A similar compliment by the patriotic 
association of the Soldiers and Sailors' League had previously 
been declined. Two reasons induced my action. The last 
time a public speech was made from this spot in answer to a 


serenade was the night of Friday, the 14th of April, 1865. 
At that moment, when we were rejoicing over the downfall 
of the rebellion, one of its instruments was murdering Mr. 
Lincoln. You will not think it strange that a complimentary 
occasion fraught with such associations should not be coveted. 
Besides, as the head of a department, my public duties have 
been simply executive ; and it has always been my aim to 
avoid trenching upon duties devolved upon others, and to 
avoid mischief by premature discussion of matters intrusted 
to the legislative branch of the government and under its con- 
sideration. But the call of this evening relieves me from any 
imputation of intruding my opinions upon you. I shall, 
therefore, declare them briefly and plainly ; and to the end 
that it may be neither accidentally misunderstood nor willfully 
misrepresented, what it is my purpose to say on this occasion 
has been written. 

After four years of war, the authority of the federal gov- 
ernment was established throughout the whole territory of 
the United States, at a sacrifice of over three hundred thou- 
sand lives of loyal soldiers, and a cost of more than three 
thousand million dollars. Nearly every household in eighteen 
loyal States is mourning its loved ones slain by rebels ; a tax, 
which may last for generations, is laid upon the food and 
raiment and necessities of every family, and in the price of 
their daily bread, the twenty million inhabitants of the loyal 
States feel, and will long continue to feel, what it cost to 
uphold their government against rebellion. The office of 
President devolved upon Mr. Johnson at the death of Mr. 
Lincoln on the 15th day of April, 1865. Thirteen days be- 
fore that time Richmond, the seat of the rebel government, 
had been captured, and six days later the rebel commander- 
in-chief, Robert E. Lee, routed and vanquished, surrendered 
his army as prisoners of war to General Grant and the forces 
under his command. By these rapidly succeeding events the 
rebel government was overthrown, its strength and hope 


exhausted, and, in every State, its armed forces and official 
authorities gave themselves up as prisoners of war. The 
President's annual message to the present Congress thus 
clearly states the condition of the country, and the question 
thereby imposed upon him : — 

" I found the States suffering from the effects of a civil 
war. Eesistance to the general government appeared to have 
exhausted itself. The United States had recovered posses- 
sion of their forts and arsenals ; and their armies were in the 
occupation of every State which had attempted to secede. 
Whether the territory within the limits of those States should 
be held as conquered territory, under military authority ema- 
nating from the President as the head of the army, was the 
first question that presented itself for decision." 

After stating the objections to the continuance of merely 
military rule, the alternative course, chosen by him and sup- 
ported by his Cabinet, is thus clearly set forth : — 

" Provisional governors have been appointed for the States, 
conventions called, governors elected, legislatures assembled, 
and senators and representatives chosen to the Congress of 
the United States. At the same time, the courts of the 
United States, as far as could be done, have been reopened 
so that the laws of the United States may be enforced through 
their agency. The blockade has been removed and custom 
houses reestablished in ports of entry, so that the revenue of 
the United States may be collected. The Post-Office Depart- 
ment renews its ceaseless activity, and the general govern- 
ment is thereby enabled to communicate promptly with its 
officers and agents. The courts bring security to persons and 
property ; the opening of the ports invites the restoration of 
industry and commerce ; the post-office renews the facilities 
of social intercourse and of business.' ' 

No one better than Mr. Johnson understood the solemn 
duty imposed upon the national Executive to maintain the 
national authority vindicated at so great a sacrifice, and the 


obligation not to suffer the just fruits of so fierce a strug- 
gle, and of so many battles and victories, to slip away or 
turn to ashes. In many speeches to delegations from loyal 
States, in dispatches to provisional governors acting under his 
authority, there was no disguise of his purpose to secure the 
peace and tranquillity of the country on just and sure foun- 

These measures received the cordial support of every mem- 
ber of the Cabinet, and were approved by the sentiments 
declared in conventions in nearly all of the States. One 
point of difference presented itself, namely, the basis of repre- 
sentation. By some it was thought just and expedient that 
the right of suffrage in the rebel States should be secured, in 
some form, to the colored inhabitants of those States : either 
as a universal rule or to those qualified by education, or by 
actual service as soldiers who ventured life for their govern- 
ment. My own mind inclined to this view, but, after calm 
and full discussion, my judgment yielded to the adverse argu- 
ments resting upon the practical difficulties to be encountered 
in such a measure, and to the President's conviction that to 
prescribe the rule of suffrage was not within the legitimate 
scope of his power. The plan of organization embodied in 
the proclamation to the people of North Carolina, and the 
instructions to the provisional governor of that State, exhibit 
the system and principles prescribed by the President for the 
substitution of civil authority in the place of universal mili- 
tary rule in the insurrectionary States. In this plan, two 
things, presented by the proclamation and by the President's 
instructions, are worthy of special notice : — 

First. That the exercise of the organizing power is speci- 
fically and absolutely restricted to the people " who are loyal 
to the United States, and no others." This is in accordance 
with the views often declared by Mr. Johnson, from the com- 
mencement of the rebellion, and under the most impressive 


Secondly. The choice of delegates was not only limited to 
loyal people, and no others, but constitutional guarantees 
were required in respect to the emancipation of slaves and 
the repudiation of the rebel debt. A sound reason for such 
guarantees in respect to slavery is stated by the President in 
his message, namely, the necessity of " the evidence of sincer- 
ity in the future maintenance of the Union." 

These views, expressed by the President in his messages, 
received, and continue to receive, my cordial acquiescence and 
support. Who are loyal people is a question that ought not 
to be difficult of decision. After full explanation of the steps 
taken by him to restore the constitutional relations of the 
States, the President in his annual message proceeds to state, 
with equal distinctness, what remains to be done, and to 
whom the authority and duty of doing it belongs, in the fol- 
lowing words : — 

" The amendment to the Constitution being adopted, it 
would remain for the States whose powers have so long been 
in abeyance to resume their places in the two branches of the 
national legislature, and thereby complete the work of resto- 
ration. Here it is for you, fellow citizens of the Senate, and 
for you, fellow citizens of the House of Representatives, to 
judge, each of you for yourselves, of the elections, returns, 
and qualifications of your own members." 

Whoever doubts that the authority and duty of judging for 
itself the elections, returns, and qualifications of its members 
belongs to each House of Congress may have his doubt re- 
moved by the federal Constitution, which declares, in the fifth 
section of the first article, that " each House shall be the judge 
of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own mem- 
bers." In thus distinctly recognizing the constitutional rights 
of each House of Congress to judge of the elections, returns, 
and qualifications of its members, the President has con- 
formed to the plain letter of the Constitution. It being the 
function of each House to judge of the elections, returns, and 


qualifications of its own members, the obligation is implied 
of taking testimony, weighing evidence, and deciding the 
question of membership. What testimony has been taken, or 
what evidence has been presented on the question to either 
branch of Congress, or what judgment will be given, is not 
known to me ; nor have I the right of inquiring, for neither 
the right nor the duty of deciding is devolved upon me. But 
the course of the President in thus referring the question of 
its own members to the judgment of each House of Congress 
received, and continues to receive, my cordial support. 

Besides the steps taken by the Executive to restore the con- 
stitutional relations of the States, his annual message called 
the attention of Congress to the necessity of insuring the 
security of the freedmen, reminding Congress that while he 
had not doubted that the general government could not ex- 
tend the elective franchise, " it is equally clear that good faith 
requires the security of the freedmen in their liberty and 
their property, their right to labor, and their right to claim 
the just return of their labor ; " and observing further that 
" the country is in need of labor, and the freedmen are in 
need of employment, culture, and protection." In connection 
with this subject the President further remarks : — 

" Slavery was essentially a monopoly of labor, and as such 
locked the States where it prevailed against the incoming of 
free industry. Where labor was the property of the capital- 
ist, the white man was excluded from employment, or had but 
the second best chance of finding it, and the foreign emigrant 
turned away from the region where his condition would be so 
precarious. With the destruction of the monopoly, free labor 
will hasten from all parts of the world to assist in developing 
various and immeasurable resources which have hitherto lain 
dormant. The eight or nine States nearest the Gulf of Mex- 
ico have a soil of exuberant fertility, a climate friendly to 
long life, and can sustain a denser population than is found 
as yet in any part of our country. And the future influx of 


population to them will be mainly from the North, or from 
the most cultivated nations in Europe." 

These views of the President in relation to the freedmen 
received, and continue to receive, my hearty concurrence. 
They have guided the action of the War Department, and 
were substantially advocated in its annual report. In what 
I believed an honest desire to conform to them, a bill was 
passed by Congress regulating the Freedmen' s Bureau. But 
the provisions of the bill did not meet the President's ap- 
proval, because he believed the powers conferred upon him, 
and upon the agents to be appointed by him, to be unwise and 
unconstitutional. Concurring in the object of the bill, and 
regarding the power as temporary, and safe in his hands, 
I advised its approval. But having been returned to Con- 
gress with the President's objections, and having failed the 
needful support, it is no longer a living measure, nor the 
subject of debate or difference of opinion. 

Another congressional measure, called the Civil Rights 
Bill, has been the subject of conflict. That bill, now a law, 
has for its object the security of civil rights in the insurrec- 
tionary States. It was well observed by the President in his 
annual message, that " peaceful emigration to and from that 
portion of the country (the Southern States) is one of the 
best means that can be thought of for the restoration of har- 
mony." Its possible interference with such emigration was 
one of the chief objections to military rule. And by some it 
is thought that the influence of class legislation in favor of 
the slave-holding monopoly heretofore existing in the Southern 
States would still be strongly exerted to prevent peaceful 
emigration into those States, and would exclude the laboring- 
population of the North from that soil of exuberant fertility 
and friendly climate, that productive region embracing the 
eight or nine States nearest the Gulf of Mexico ; and that 
hence civil rights in those States should be vigilantly pro- 
tected by federal laws and federal tribunals. Although the 


measures enacted by Congress for this purpose failed to re- 
ceive the executive sanction, yet, having been adhered to by a 
two thirds vote in each House, they have now passed to the 
statute-book, and ceased to be the subject of debate. 

Another measure or series of measures of prime impor- 
tance, now pending before Congress, merits a brief remark ; 
namely, the plan of restoration or reconstruction as it is some- 
times called. To the plan reported by the joint committee, I 
have not been able to give my assent. It contemplates an 
amendment to the federal Constitution, the third section of 
the proposed article being in these terms : — 

" Sec. 3. Until the fourth day of July, in the year one thou- 
sand eight hundred and seventy, all persons who voluntarily 
adhered to the late insurrection, giving it aid and comfort, 
shall be excluded from the right to vote for representatives in 
Congress, and for electors for President and Vice-President 
of the United States." 

It is urged by the advocates of this plan that this third 
section is the vital one, without which the others are of no 
value. Its exclusive action will no doubt commend it to the 
feelings of many as a wise and just provision. But I am 
unable to so regard it, because for four years it binds Con- 
gress to exclude from voting for representatives or presiden- 
tial electors " all persons who voluntarily adhered to the late 
insurrection, giving it aid and comfort." No matter what 
may be the condition of the country, nor what proofs of pre- 
sent and future loyalty may be given, an absolute constitu- 
tional bar is to be erected for four years against a large class 
of persons. Change of circumstances and condition often 
work rapid change in party or political sentiment ; and no- 
where with more marked results than in the South. It is 
believed that elements of change are now at work there, stim- 
ulating on one side to loyalty, and on the other tending to 
continued hostile feelings. In my judgment every proper in- 
citement to union should be fostered and cherished, and for 


Congress to limit its own power by constitutional amendment 
for four years might be deplorable in its results. To those 
who differ, I accord the same honesty and perhaps greater 
wisdom than I can claim for myself. As the proposed plan 
now stands, I am unable to perceive the necessity, justice, 
or wisdom of the measure. But having no place nor voice 
in the body before which the measure is pending, I disclaim 
any purpose to interfere beyond the expression of my own 
opinion. 1 

Having thus declared my views as they have heretofore 
been declared to those who had a right to know them, I trust 
that your purpose on this occasion is answered, and I shall be 
glad if their expression may have any beneficial influence on 
questions, the right disposition whereof is a matter of soli- 
citude to every patriotic man, and is deeply important to the 
peace and tranquillity of the country. Eecognizing the con- 
stitutional power of all the coordinate branches of the govern- 
ment, — legislative, judicial, and executive, — and entertain- 
ing for each the respect which is due from every loyal citizen, 
they are entitled to and shall receive, according to my best 
judgment, the support which is required by that Constitution 
which, after an unexampled conflict, has been upheld and 
sanctified by Divine favor, and through the sacrifice of so 
much blood and treasure. 

Although Mr. Stanton stated in his speech that he 
had advised the approval by the President of the Freed- 
men's Bureau Bill, and of the Civil Rights Bill, both of 

1 The resolution containing the section (3) above quoted had been 
adopted by the House of Representatives on the 10th of May, by a vote 
of 128 to 37. It was still pending in the Senate when Mr. Stanton made 
his speech on the 23d of the same month. It came up for consideration 
in that body on the 29th, and a motion to strike out the section so 
strongly objected to by him was unanimously adopted. The measure thus 
amended was adopted in the Senate by a vote of 33 to 11, and in the 
House by a vote of 138 to 36. 


which the President had vetoed, and had referred with 
emphasis to the powers of Congress on the subject of 
representation therein, there was nothing in the manner 
or matter of the speech that would have justified the 
President in an open rupture with him. Of course 
a removal would have been out of the question while 
the Senate was in session, because that body would not 
have confirmed a successor. 

Congress adjourned on the 27th day of July. Dur- 
ing the last few days of its session the Senate had 
confirmed A. W. Randall, of Wisconsin, as Postmaster- 
General in place of William Dennison, resigned ; Henry 
Stanbery, of Ohio, as Attorney-General in place of 
James Speed, resigned ; and 0. H. Browning, of Illinois, 
as Secretary of the Interior in place of James Harlan, 
resigned. Mr. Randall was the president of the John- 
son Club which had given the serenade referred to in 
this chapter. His appointment was a promotion, — evi- 
dently for merit as a political organizer. He became 
the general political manager of the Johnson party, and 
of a national convention held at Philadelphia in August, 
which was so largely composed of federal office-holders 
and office-seekers that it was derisively termed the 
" Bread and Butter Brigade." Messrs. Stanbery and 
Browning were lawyers of great ability, and proved 
themselves to be wholly devoted to Mr. Johnson's pol- 
icy. All the members of the Cabinet were now in full 
concurrence with the President, with the exception of 
Mr. Stanton. Never did any man remain faithful to 
the performance of great public duties under circum- 
stances more difficult than those which surrounded him 
from that time to the end of his service. 




A Riot in New Orleans. — Its Causes and its Leaders. — A Mas- 
sacre by Supporters of the President. — Report of General Sheri- 

The State of Louisiana had the misfortune early to 
bring forth the evil fruits of President Johnson's policy 
in the form of a fearful riot at New Orleans, which 
occurred on the 30th of July, 1866, — only three days 
after the adjournment of Congress. 

A state convention had been held in that State in 
April, 1864, in pursuance of a proclamation of General 
Banks, then commanding the Department of the Gulf. 
It had been called in conformity with the message of 
Mr. Lincoln of December, 1863. The proclamation 
stated the object of the convention to be " that the 
organic law of the State might be made to conform to 
the will of the people and harmonize with the spirit of 
the age, as well as to maintain and preserve the ancient 
landmarks of civil and religious liberty." The conven- 
tion agreed on a constitution, which was submitted to 
a vote of the people then residing within the Federal 


military lines, and was ratified by them on September 
5, 1864. State elections had been held under this con- 
stitution, and all the machinery of a provisional state 
government was in existence under it. The constitu- 
tion had not been approved by Congress, nor had sena- 
tors or members of Congress been admitted from the 
State, which still continued under the military authority 
of the United States. 

The legislature of 1866 had considered a bill to take 
the sense of the people on the expediency of calling 
a convention to form a new constitution, and to pro- 
vide for the election of delegates and for the holding 
of the convention. It was declared in the preamble 
of this bill that the constitution of 1864, under which 
that very legislature was sitting, " was the creation of 
fraud and violence, and in no sense the expression of 
the will of the people of the State." This was merely 
an unfriendly form of expressing the fact that the con- 
stitution was framed by Union men in the presence and 
under the protection of Federal forces then engaged in 
the suppression of the rebellion. The bill passed the 
Lower House of the legislature. When it was laid 
before the Senate telegrams were presented from cer- 
tain Louisianians then in Washington, who had gone 
there to consult with President Johnson as to the best 
course to be pursued. These dispatches were dated 
March 8, and stated that after interviews with the Presi- 
dent and Secretary Seward their authors were satisfied 
that further agitation of the convention question would 
seriously embarrass the President's reconstruction policy. 
The bill was at once laid on the table, and never again 


taken up. It should be borne in mind that about two 
weeks before this action was taken the President had 
finally separated from his own party, by the veto of 
the Civil Rights Bill and his speech from the steps of 
the White House of February 22. 

Some time after, another political element in the 
State made a movement for a change in the consti- 
tution. The convention of 1864 had resolved that 
"when the convention adjourn it shall be at the call 
of the President, whose duty it shall be to reconvoke 
the convention for any cause, or, in case the constitu- 
tion should not be ratified, for the purpose of taking 
such measures as may be necessary for the formation 
of a civil government for the State of Louisiana." It 
was contended by this element that the powers of the 
convention had not been exhausted by the ratification 
of the constitution it had framed, and that its authority 
was still sufficient for a call for its reassembling. The 
terms of the resolution made " any cause " sufficient 
which might be so deemed by the president of the con- 
vention. That officer declined to preside at a meeting 
of delegates to the convention held on the 26th of 
June, assigning as a reason his expected absence from 
Louisiana. Judge Howell, of the Supreme Court of 
the State, was elected president pro tempore, and issued 
a proclamation, on the 7th of July, for the reassem- 
bling of the convention at Mechanics Institute Build- 
ing in New Orleans on Monday, July 30, at noon. The 
proclamation also called upon the governor to issue 
writs of election to choose delegates to fill vacancies ; 
the provisional governor concurred in this action, and 


issued writs for the election to be held September 3. 
As soon as the whole State should be represented in 
the convention, the declared intention was to submit to 
the people certain amendments to the constitution, and 
if these were ratified, the constitution as amended was 
to be submitted to Congress for its approval. 

The legality of this proceeding was called in ques- 
tion. On the 25th of July the mayor of New Orleans, 
Monroe, who had been mayor prior to the capture of 
the city in 1862, called upon General Baird, then in 
command during the temporary absence of General 
Sheridan, and informed him that it was his intention to 
disperse the convention when it attempted to assemble 
on the 30th, provided the convention was to meet with- 
out the sanction of the military authorities. That is 
to say, unless the military commander would make 
himself the indorser of the convention, it would be 
suppressed by the arrest of its members for alleged 
violation of local laws. General Baird replied that the 
military commanders had " held themselves strictly 
aloof from interference with the political movements of 
the citizens of Louisiana." He said, however, that if 
the assembly had a legal right to remodel the state 
government, it should be protected in so doing ; if not, 
its labors would be but harmless pleasantry. He told 
him he did not understand how the mayor of the city 
could " undertake to decide so important and delicate a 
question as the legal authority upon which a conven- 
tion, claiming to represent the people of an entire State, 
bases its action." He thought if there was to be any 
interference, it should be by the governor. He offered 


to render any aid necessary to restrain lawlessness and 
preserve the peace. This was on Wednesday. 

On Friday, the 27th, a public meeting was held, advo- 
cating negro enfranchisement. It was well understood 
that this would be adopted by the convention and sub- 
mitted to a vote of the people. On Saturday, the 28th, 
the mayor and the lieutenant-governor called upon 
General Baird, and informed him that the police would 
not interfere with the convention, but that, on an in- 
dictment by the Grand Jury, the sheriff would make 
arrests. Objection was made to this course by the 
general, who thought the convention could lawfully 
assemble, at least ; and an understanding was had that 
each should communicate with the authorities at Wash- 
ington. Whereupon General Baird telegraphed the 
Secretary of War as follows : — 

A convention has been called, with the sanction of Governor 
Wells, to meet here on Monday. The lieutenant-governor 
and city authorities think it unlawful, and propose to break it 
up by arresting the delegates. I have given no orders on the 
subject, but have warned the parties that I should not coun- 
tenance or permit such action without instructions to that 
effect from the President. Please instruct me by telegraph. 

No reply was made to this, and General Baird was 
left to act upon orders then in force and according to 
instructions then existing. He had already informed 
the lieutenant-governor and the mayor that under a 
recent order of Lieutenant-General Grant, designed for 
the protection of the citizens of the United States, he 
would suppress any lawless violence that might occur. 
On the same day the lieutenant-governor and the attor- 


ney-general of the State, who were in agreement with 
the mayor and other opponents of the convention, tele- 
graphed the President as follows : — 

Radical mass meetings composed mainly of large numbers 
of negroes last night, ending in a riot ; the committee of 
arrangements of said meeting assembling to-night. Violent 
and incendiary speeches made ; negroes called to arm them- 
selves. You bitterly denounced. Speakers : Field, Dostie, 
Hawkins, Henderson, Hiestand, and others. Governor Wells 
arrived last night, but sides with the convention movement. 
The whole matter before the Grand Jury ; but impossible to 
execute civil process without certainty of riot. Contemplated 
to have the members of the convention arrested under pro- 
cess from the criminal court of this district. Is the military 
to interfere to prevent process of court ? 

The President responded on the same day in a dis- 
patch to the lieutenant-governor, as follows : — 

The military will be expected to sustain and not to obstruct 
or interfere with the proceedings of the court. A dispatch 
on the subject of the convention was sent to Governor Wells 
this morning. 

This was not a military order, nor did the President 
give any order whatever to General Baird. 

On the night of Sunday, the 29th, the police were 
called together and given orders for the following day. 
Early on Monday morning, the day of the assembling 
of the convention, the whole force, numbering between 
four and five hundred men, were massed at their dif- 
ferent stations. They were ordered to come armed. 
The riot referred to accompanied the assembling of 
this convention. 


On the 4th of August the President telegraphed to 
General Sheridan, who was in command of the Depart- 
ment of the Gulf ? and who had returned to New 
Orleans after a temporary absence, for information as 
to the riot. His reply was as follows, under date of 
August 6 : — 

I have the honor to make the following reply to your 
dispatch of August 4. A very large number of colored 
people marched in procession on Friday night, July 27, and 
were addressed from the steps of the city hall by Dr. Dostie, 
ex-Governor Hahn, and others. The speech of Dostie was 
intemperate in language and sentiment. The speeches of the 
others, as far as I can learn, were characterized by modera- 
tion. I cannot give you the words of Dostie's speech, as the 
version published was denied, but from what I have learned 
of the man, I believe they were intemperate. 

The convention assembled at twelve M. on the 30th, the 
timid members absenting themselves because the tone of the 
general public was ominous of trouble. I think there were 
about twenty-six members present. In front of the Me- 
chanics Institute, where the meeting was held, there were 
assembled some colored men, women, and children, perhaps 
eighteen or twenty, and in the Institute a number of colored 
men, probably one hundred and fifty. Among these, outside 
and inside, there might have been a pistol in the possession of 
every tenth man. About one P. M. a procession of say from 
sixty to one hundred and thirty colored men marched up 
Burgundy Street and across Canal Street towards the con- 
vention, carrying an American flag. These men had about 
one pistol to every ten men, and canes and clubs in addition. 
While crossing Canal Street, a row occurred. There were 
many spectators on the street, and their manner and tone 
towards the procession unfriendly. A shot was fired, by 
whom I am not able to state, but believe it to have been by 


a policeman or some colored man in the procession This led 
to other shots and a rush after the procession on arrival at 
the front of the Institute. There was some throwing of 
brickbats by both sides. The police, who had been held well 
in hand, were vigorously marched to the scene of disorder. 
The procession entered the Institute with a flag, about six to 
eight remaining outside. A row occurred between a police- 
man and one of these colored men, and a shot was again fired 
by one of the parties, which led to an indiscriminate fire on 
the building through the windows by the policemen. This 
had been going on for a short time when a white flag was 
displayed from the windows of the Institute, whereupon the 
firing ceased and the policemen rushed into the building. 
From the testimony of wounded men and others who were 
inside the building, the policemen opened an indiscriminate 
fire upon the audience until they had emptied their revolvers, 
when they retired and those inside barricaded the doors. A 
door was broken in and the firing again commenced, when 
many of the colored and white people either escaped through 
the door or were passed out by policemen inside ; but as they 
came out the policemen, who had formed a circle nearest 
the building, fired upon them, and they were again fired upon 
by the citizens, who formed the outer circle. Many of those 
wounded and taken prisoners, and others who were prisoners 
and not wounded, were fired upon by their captors and by 
citizens. The wounded were stabbed while lying on the 
ground and their heads beaten with brickbats. In the yard 
of the building, whither some of the colored men had escaped 
and partially secreted themselves, they were fired upon and 
killed or wounded by policemen. Some were killed and 
wounded several squares from the scene. Members of the 
convention were wounded by the police while in their hands 
as prisoners, some of them mortally. 

The immediate cause of this terrible affair was the assem- 
blage of this convention. The remote cause was the bitter 


and antagonistic feeling which has been growing in this 
community since the advent of the present mayor, who, in 
the organization of this police force, selected many desperate 
men and some of them known murderers. People of clear 
views were overawed by want of confidence in the mayor and 
fear of the thugs, many of whom he had selected for his 
police force. I have frequently been spoken to by prominent 
citizens on this subject, and have heard them express fear 
and want of confidence in Mayor Monroe. 

Ever since the intimation of this last convention movement 
I must condemn the course of several of the city papers for 
supporting by their articles the bitter feelings of bad men. 
As to the merciless manner in which the convention was 
broken up, I feel obliged to confess strong repugnance. It is 
useless to attempt to disguise the hostility that exists on the 
part of a great many here towards Northern men, and this 
unfortunate affair has so precipitated matters that there is 
now a test of what shall be the status of Northern men, — 
whether they can live here without being in constant dread, 
and whether they can be protected in life and property and 
have justice in the courts. 

If this matter is permitted to pass over without a thorough 
and determined prosecution of those engaged in it, we may 
look out for frequent scenes of the same kind, not only here, 
but in other places. No steps have as yet been taken by the 
civil authorities to arrest citizens who were engaged in this 
massacre, or policemen who perpetrated such cruelties. The 
members of the convention have been indicted by the Grand 
Jury, and many of them arrested and held to bail. As to 
whether the civil authorities can mete out ample justice to 
the guilty parties on both sides, I must say that it is my 
opinion unequivocally that they cannot. Judge Abell, whose 
course I have watched for nearly a year, I now consider one 
of the most dangerous men that we have here to the peace 
and quiet of the city. The leading men of the convention, 


King, Cutler, Hahn, and others, have been political agitators 
and are bad men. I regret to say that the course of Gov- 
ernor Wells has been vacillating, and that during the late 
troubles he has shown very little of the man. 

Secretary Stanton replied to this by the following, 
which was addressed to Major- General Sheridan, on the 
7th of August : — 

The President directs me to acknowledge your telegram of 
the 6th in answer to his inquiries of the 4th instant. On the 
3d instant instructions were sent you by General Grant, 
in conformity with the President's directions, authorizing 
you to " continue to enforce martial law so far as might be 
necessary to preserve the public peace, and directing you 
not to allow any of the civil authorities to act if you deem 
such action dangerous to the public safety, and also that no 
time be lost in investigating the causes that led to the riot 
and also the facts which occurred." By these instructions the 
President designed to vest in you as the chief military com- 
mander full authority for the maintenance of the public peace 
and safety, and he does not see that anything more is needed 
pending the investigation with which you are intrusted. But 
if, in your judgment, your powers are inadequate to pre- 
serve the peace until the facts connected with the riot are 
ascertained, you will please report to this department for 
the information of the President. 

On the 13th of August General Sheridan sent the 
following dispatch to General Grant : — 

The military board called by General Baird to investigate 
the occurrences in this city of July 30 is progressing as 
rapidly as possible. I see in the papers, by reports of officials 
here, an attempt made to cast blame on the military for not 
being present on the 30th. There could have been no object 
in its being present, except to keep the police from perpe- 

vol. u 


trating a revolting massacre. Its absence for this reason I 
regret. From the accounts of my own scouts, who saw the 
affair from first to last, from my own officers, and from dis- 
interested and truthful persons I believe that at least nine 
tenths of the casualties were perpetrated by the police and 
citizens stabbing and smashing in the heads of many who 
had already been wounded or killed by policemen. 

These events were made the subject of an investi- 
gation by the United States House of Representatives 
through a select committee of that body, consisting of 
Messrs. Elliott, of Massachusetts, Shellabarger, of Ohio, 
and Boyer, of Pennsylvania. Testimony was taken at 
Washington and also in New Orleans ; 197 witnesses 
were examined. Of these 159 were examined at New 
Orleans, — 47 of them at the request of the citizens of 
that city ; 74 persons testified to the riot and massacre. 

The report of the committee verified the facts as 
stated by General Sheridan. 


Further concerning the New Orleans Riot. — Statement by Mr. 
Stanton. — The Underlying Cause of the Tragedy. — Commence- 
ment of the War to prevent Negro Enfranchisement. 

The question will be asked why the military did not 
interfere to prevent this riot. The reason was stated 
by General Baird in his testimony before the House 
committee. He narrated in great detail his intercourse 
with the mayor and the lieutenant-governor, who was 
cooperating with the mayor. It had long been the 
custom to keep the Federal troops outside of the city 
to avoid any offensive appearance of overawing the 
city authorities. He had the promise of the mayor 
that there would be no violence, and no interference 
with the convention by the police. The arrests, if 
any, would be made by the sheriff, and not then until 
the general had indorsed the warrants. He had no 
doubt that the police, controlled by the mayor, would 
protect the convention against assault until the troops 
could come to their assistance. He " did not," he said, 
" anticipate that the police themselves would become 
the assailants." On the very morning of the day of the 
riot he received a call from the lieutenant-governor, 
with whom he made arrangements that a few companies 
of troops should be brought into the city, and posted, 
not adjoining the convention, but at a short distance 


from it. The lieutenant-governor assured him that 
his motives would not be misconstrued, and "parted 
pleased with the arrangement." The general believed, 
through misinformation from some source, that the 
convention was to assemble at six o'clock, and gave 
orders for four companies of troops to be brought up 
to the city at an hour before that time. The riot com- 
menced at half past one. 

General Baird had simply refrained from assenting 
to the attack on the convention ; had cautioned the 
mayor against such action, and had expressed his deter- 
mination to preserve the peace should it be disturbed. 
He had stated to the Secretary of War the position 
thus assumed by him, and, as the Secretary had no 
desire to change it, he made him no reply, and made 
no communication to the President, as none seemed 
necessary. Meanwhile the President, unbeknown to 
the War Department, or to the general of the army, 
had sent to the lieutenant-governor the dispatch of 
the 28th quoted in the preceding chapter, encouraging 
thereby the belief that the convention would have no 
military protection from any assaults that might be 
made upon it. 

The fact that the telegram from General Baird to the 
Secretary of War had not been communicated to the 
President was the subject of subsequent comment and 
inquiry, and Mr. Stanton made the following statement 
in regard to it : — 

That on the forenoon of Sunday, the 29th of July last, I 
received at my residence in this city a telegram from General 
Baird, commanding at New Orleans, a copy of which is hereto 


attached. This telegram was the first information communi- 
cated to me that a convention was to be held at New Orleans, 
or that there was any difference or controversy on the subject 
of a convention or assemblage to be held there. From the 
telegram of General Baird it appeared that the convention 
was to meet with the sanction of the governor of Louisiana, 
that its legality was questioned by persons who proposed to 
break it up by arresting the members, and that General 
Baird had warned the city authorities that he would not per- 
mit this to be done without instructions from the President, 
and he applied to me for instructions. There was no intima- 
tion in the telegram that force or violence was threatened by 
those opposed to the convention, or that it was apprehended 
by General Baird. Upon consideration, it appeared to me 
that his warning to the city authorities was all that the case 
then required, for I saw no reason to instruct him to with- 
draw protection from a convention sanctioned by the gov- 
ernor, and in the event of any attempt at arrest, General 
Baird's interference would bring up the case with all the facts 
for such instructions as might be proper, and in the mean 
time, under his general authority, he would take measures to 
maintain the peace within his command. On Tuesday, the 
31st of July, the morning papers contained telegraphic dis- 
patches in respect to the occurrences at New Orleans, and on 
the same day I was informed of the communications that had 
passed between the President and Governor Wells, Lieuten- 
ant-Governor Yoorhies, and Attorney-General Herron. 

However wanting in authority the Louisiana conven- 
tion of 1864 may have been in 1866, it was at least a 
body of "the people" exercising their constitutional 
right " to peaceably assemble and petition for a redress 
of grievances." Its object was to propose a new con- 
stitution for the State, extending the right of suffrage 


to the blacks, secure for it if possible the approval of 
a majority of the loyal people, and then present it to 
Congress with a petition that it be declared the consti- 
tution of the State. The riot was without any other 
apparent cause than the fear that Congress might heed 
such a petition. Besides the fear of the result of this 
particular effort, there was an apparent determination 
to make an example of those engaged in it. 

The rioters were probably mainly composed of the 
worst elements of the city, who loved violence for its 
own sake, especially when directed against negroes. 
To whatever extent it was participated in or counte- 
nanced by citizens of respectability, we can well imagine 
that their feelings had been wrought up by false repre- 
sentations of immediate danger from the violence and 
lawlessness of the blacks. 

As the radical leaders of the Southern people who 
fomented the rebellion laid aside all hindrances to its 
success, counting nothing right that stood in their way 
and nothing wrong that aided them ; as they shrunk 
from no sacrifice and pressed ever forward toward the 
goal of their hopes ; so in defeat, with equal resolution 
and equal disregard of all consequences, they devoted 
themselves to saving out of the wreck which war had 
made their own absolute and undivided political domi- 
nation in the States they inhabited. 

On the other hand, those who had supported the 
emancipation policy as a war measure could not, in 
common decency and humanity, leave the slave helpless 
in the hands of those from whose possession they had 
wrested him by force. They could not as honorable 


men desert four millions of slaves, who, without pro- 
tection, would be in a condition vastly more miserable 
than that from which, by no agency of their own, they 
had been emancipated. 

This new issue, like that of slavery itself, was rather 
ordained by fate than willingly created by either side. 
Northern statesmen thought they had but two methods 
to choose from, in attempting to enforce their policy of 
protection. One was the continuance of military rule ; 
and the other was placing the ballot in the hands of 
the emancipated slaves. The former was impracticable 
because of adverse public sentiment in the North, thus 
rendering the latter imperative. 

The Southern leaders had consented to the Thir- 
teenth Amendment, abolishing slavery, and to repu- 
diation, in their state constitutions, of the rebel debt. 
They had given up their secession doctrine, and an- 
nulled their ordinances of secession. They had accepted 
the amnesty and pardon of the President and taken the 
oath which it involved. These things they did at the 
bidding of President Johnson, although each act was 
regarded by them as doing violence to the rights of 
their States, which seemed to them unimpaired by the 
war. But they stooped to conquer. They gained the 
President to their side by complying with his demands. 
They thought the power of his administration, and the 
desire for restoration of trade with the South, would 
carry enough Northern States, added to their own, to 
overthrow the Union party of Lincoln and Grant, and 
they doubted not their own power to absolutely control 
the victorious opposition. They would in time turn 


out their enemies in Washington, and themselves re- 
sume the power which they had so unwisely thrown 
away in I860, when they divided the Democratic party 
at the Charleston convention. Once bent upon this 
policy, they never deflected from it by the breadth of 
a hair. They had nothing to fear but the extension of 
suffrage to the black race in whole or in part. This 
they would oppose by every means at their command, 
including whatever amount of force and violence mi^ht 
be necessary to utterly stamp it out. This resolve they 
pursued as relentlessly as they had any of their severest 
war measures. They never professed any regard for 
the blacks except as slaves, and were utterly incapable 
of deeming them fit to exercise political rights. As 
for their civil rights, - — that is, the ordinary rights of 
living, moving, and having their being, — these were to 
be measured out to the negroes by their enemies alone. 

The Civil Rights Bill was an attempt to enforce the 
Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. It was 
opposed as violently in the South as was the Fifteenth 
afterwards to give the ballot to the emancipated slaves. 
The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, then 
pending for the action of the States respectively, was 
hateful to them because it proposed to remove all 
doubts as to the constitutionality of the Civil Rights 
Bill, and to take all citizens in all the States under the 
protecting care of the federal government, to the ex- 
tent of insuring the equality of all men before the law. 

This seems to be a fair statement of the attitude of 
the ex-Confederates of the South in July, 1866. 


The Congressional Campaign of 1866. — " Swinging around the 
Circle." — The President's Disorderly and Inflammatory Speeches 
from the Stump. — Increased Radical Majorities elected to Con- 
gress. — Tennessee restored to Representation upon ratifying the 
Fourteenth Amendment. 

While the things were happening which are narrated 
in the two preceding chapters, the President was arran- 
ging for a journey to Chicago, ostensibly to attend the 
dedication of a monument to Stephen A. Douglas, but 
really to make a stumping tour, which was referred to 
ever afterwards as his " swinging around the circle." 
The following note was addressed to Secretary Stanton 
by Mr. Seward on August 8 : — 

In conversing this morning with the President about the 
Chicago excursion, I learn that he desires that you accompany 
him, and that General Grant should be invited with his family 
and staff, as he pleases. The President proposes also to have 
Admiral Farragut invited. Will you have the goodness to 
make the President's wishes known to General Grant ? 

It is also expected that you will invite Dr. Barnes. 

It is understood that the ladies of our families and guests 
go with us. 

Mr. Stanton did not go. The presence of General 
Grant and Admiral Farragut, who did go, was desired 
by the President that these illustrious personages and 
popular idols might thereby seem to countenance the 


things he intended to say. During this journey the 
most extraordinary exhibitions of bad temper and worse 
taste were made by the President. He denounced 
Congress, and charged it with trying to break up the 
government. He charged that the New Orleans mas- 
sacre had its origin in the " radical Congress." Ex- 
pressions like these were common : — 

I have been called Judas Iscariot and all that. . . . There 
was a Judas Iscariot, and he was one of the twelve Apostles. 
Oh, yes ; the twelve Apostles had a Christ. The twelve 
Apostles had a Christ, and he never could have had a Judas 
unless he had had twelve Apostles. If I have played the 
Judas, who has been my Christ that I have played the Judas 
with? Was it Thad Stevens? Was it Wendell Phillips? 
Was it Charles Sumner ? These are the men that stop and 
compare themselves with the Saviour ; and everybody that 
differs with them in opinion, and to try to stay and arrest 
their diabolical and nefarious policy, is to be denounced as a 

Well, let me say to you, if you will stand by me in this 
action, if you will stand by me in trying to give the people a 
fair chance — soldiers and citizens — to participate in these 
offices, God being willing, I will kick them out. I will kick 
them out just as fast as I can. 

Let me say to you, in concluding, that what I have said I 
intended to say. I was provoked into this, and I care not for 
their menaces, taunts, and the jeers. I care not for threats. 
I do not intend to be bullied by my enemies nor overawed by 
my friends. But, God willing, with your help, I will veto 
their measures when any of them come to me. 

In a speech made by him in the White House to a 
committee of citizens on the 18th of August, he used 
the following language : — 


We have witnessed in one department of the government 
every endeavor to prevent the restoration of peace, harmony, 
and union. We have seen hanging upon the verge of the 
government, as it were, a body called, or which assumes to 
be, the Congress of the United States, when in fact it is a 
Congress of only a part of the United States. 

In his speeches throughout the country the Presi- 
dent indulged in the most unseemly altercations with 
citizens in the audiences whose anger he had aroused, 
and together they created much disorder. The result 
was an entire abandonment of the dignity befitting his 
station. His tour was an appeal from Congress to the 
people. He excused all that was being done in the 
South by those who had seized the control of the tem- 
porary state governments, and he thought to array the 
people against Congress for having placed impediments 
in his way. Never did any man so entirely misjudge 
the temper of the people whom he addressed. He 
gained no new support, but, on the contrary, greatly 
weakened his cause by the violence of his language and 

It was clear to the dullest comprehension that a 
President who publicly denied the existence of a lawful 
Congress could not feel himself bound by the laws 
enacted by what he termed a body " hanging upon the 
verge of the government," and falsely assuming to be 
the Congress of the United States. If there was no 
Congress, all the enactments of the body calling itself a 
Congress were invalid, and binding upon none. Appro- 
priation bills passed by it conferred no authority upon 
the Treasury Department to pay out money for any 


purpose whatever. With the people of eleven States, 
habituated by four years of rebellion to disregard the 
authority of the federal government, and with a large 
element in the North habituated to regard all legislation 
by a republican Congress as of doubtful constitutionality 
when conflicting with their own wishes, some idea can 
be formed of the danger to the public peace involved 
by the announcement by the President from the stump 
that the legislative department of the government was 
a revolutionary and tyrannical body, which, therefore, 
no citizen was bound to respect. His utterances in this 
direction were subsequently made the subject of one of 
the articles of his impeachment by the House of Repre- 

Never in any period of the country's political his- 
tory — not even during the rebellion — did excitement 
run higher than during the campaign for the election 
of members of Congress in 1866. Into that campaign 
the President precipitated himself in the manner above 

The opposing plans of reconstruction were debated 
on every stump and in every newspaper. The people 
listened and read, and, at the election, gave their deci- 
sion upon the presidential appeal from the " radical 
Congress," as he termed it, in the form of increased 
majorities in both Houses. 

This result was a new commission to Congress from 
the people in the organized States to adhere to the 
policy of excluding unorganized States from represen- 
tation until they presented themselves for admission 
under governments republican in form and approved by 


Congress, and until the proposed Fourteenth Amend- 
ment should be ratified by three fourths of the States. 
This would require the assent of some of the ex-rebel 
States to make up the necessary three fourths. 

These overwhelming majorities destroyed the hope, 
if any such had been entertained, that the President 
would attempt, in the following March, the organiza- 
tion of a Congress which should embrace the senators 
and representatives from his provisional governments 
in the Southern States, and those from the remainder 
of the States who favored the President's policy. Such 
a combination would not have made a constitutional 
majority in either House. 

The result did not, however, suffice to convince the 
Southern leaders of the utter hopelessness of his efforts 
to reinstate them in possession of the government with- 
out conditions. They seemed to still have faith in his 
ultimate power to give them a victory, and therefore 
made no change in their policy. As the best evidence 
that they did not desire the restoration of their States 
to practical relations to the Union upon the basis of the 
Fourteenth Amendment, it is only necessary to state that 
they had before them the example of Tennessee with its 
attendant result. That State had adopted and ratified 
a constitution on the 22d of February, 1865, had organ- 
ized a state government under that constitution, and 
had ratified both the Thirteenth and Fourteenth amend- 
ments to the federal Constitution ; whereupon, on the 
23d of July, 1866, by a vote of 28 to 4 in the Senate, 
and 93 to 26 in the House of Representatives, it was 
resolved by Congress, that — 


The State of Tennessee is hereby restored to her former 
practical relations to the Union, and is again entitled to be 
represented by senators and representatives in Congress. 

Her senators and five of her representatives were 
admitted to Congress within the next three days, and 
her three remaining representatives were admitted at 
the opening of Congress in the following December. 

It is worthy of note that the ratification of the Four- 
teenth Amendment by his own State was very displeas- 
ing to the President. Indeed, in his special message 
which accompanied the approval of the joint resolution 
for her restoration, he denied the right of Congress to 
pass it, and reiterated his declaration that all the States 
were already entitled to representation without con- 
gressional action. He controverted some of the state- 
ments contained in the preamble of the joint resolution, 
on the ground that they were " without foundation in 
fact, especially the assertion that the State of Tennessee 
has ratified the amendment to the Constitution of the 
United States proposed by the Thirty-ninth Congress." 
"No official notice of such ratification," he added, "has 
been received by the Executive or filed in the Depart- 
ment of State. On the contrary, unofficial informa- 
tion from the most reliable sources induces the belief 
that the amendment has not yet been sanctioned by 
the legislature of Tennessee." But the legislature of 
Tennessee had, on the 19th of July, ratified the Four- 
teenth Amendment, despite the known hostility of the 
President to such action. 

In his message he took the ground that if Tennessee 
had not been entitled to representation in Congress, she 


had not been in a condition to ratify a constitutional 
amendment. In other words, that a State not entitled 
to representation could not lawfully ratify a constitu- 
tional amendment as a condition precedent to restoration. 
This was a characteristic stultification of the position 
he had himself taken with reference to the ratification 
of the Thirteenth Amendment. He had demanded and 
secured the ratification of that amendment by all but 
one of the provisional governments of the South cre- 
ated under his proclamations, as a condition precedent 
to their restoration to their true legal relations to the 
Union. On the 1st of November, 1865, Mr. Seward had 
telegraphed to Provisional Governor Marvin, of Florida, 
as follows : — 

Your letter of October 7 was received and submitted to 
the President. He is gratified with the favorable progress 
towards reorganization in Florida, and directs me to say that 
he regards the ratification by the legislature of the congres- 
sional amendment of the Constitution of the United States 
as indispensable to a .successful restoration of the true legal 
relations between Florida and the other States, and equally 
indispensable to the return of peace and harmony throughout 
the republic. 

In his annual message of 1865 the President had 
referred to his invitation to the Southern States "to 
participate in the high office of amending the Constitu- 
tion " as one of the steps taken by him " to restore the 
constitutional relations of the States." It is clear from 
these expressions of his that at that time he had no doubt 
that a State not yet restored to its relations with the 
Union could nevertheless, and indeed as a condition to 


such restoration, vote upon the ratification of a consti- 
tutional amendment. The act would be validated by 
the admission of the State. 

The restoration of Tennessee by the joint resolution 
of Congress in July, 1866, was an assurance to the ten 
remaining States which had been in rebellion that the 
ratification by them of the Fourteenth Amendment, and 
the repeal of all their enactments in conflict therewith, 
would remove all barriers to the recognition of their 
new state governments by Congress, and to the admis- 
sion from them of senators and representatives. Up 
to that time the white people of the South had not 
been called upon by Congress to share political power 
with the emancipated blacks or any portion of them. 
This is an important and vital fact, which must be 
considered in any attempt to make a just estimate of 
the terms finally imposed by the victors in the great 
civil war. The terms just stated were rejected. 1 

The radical terms which followed this decision by 
the South must be regarded as of the South' s own 
making. The immense responsibility for the results 
of emancipation rested upon the emancipators, who, as 
heretofore shown, had found the late masters unwilling 
to protect the freedmen in the most common personal 
rights by local legislation, while they firmly denied the 
constitutional right of Congress to afford such protec- 
tion under the Constitution as it was. 

1 They were rejected because President Johnson publicly urged their 
rejection, and because he lured the Southern people into a hopeless 
struggle by inflammatory assurances that the Northern people would 
sustain them in their opposition to the ratification of the Fourteenth 


Importance of the War Department in the Great Struggle. — Stan- 
ton's Attitude as an Obstacle to the Reactionists. — They loudly 
demand his Resignation. — His Reasons for remaining in the 
War Office. 

In the political storm which raged in 1866, the party 
of reaction had thrust upon it by circumstances the 
leadership of the man who, two years before, had been 
chosen Vice-President by the Union party, and after- 
wards made President by the act of an assassin. An 
apostate from his party, he had all the zeal of a new 
convert in the service of its enemies. On the side of 
Congress there were many leaders. Among them all, 
the name of Edwin M. Stanton was probably as poten- 
tial as that of any one in the land, as the representative 
of patriotism, of high courage, and of indomitable will. 
He was heard, however, only in the performance of his 
official duties. 

If one might judge by the hostility he excited among 
his opponents, and by the volume of obloquy which was 
poured out upon him, certainly the President and his 
party must have regarded Mr. Stanton as an obstacle 
for the removal of which all their powers were to be 
concentrated. The differences between himself and 
the President, which he had stated so mildly and yet so 
clearly in the serenade speech of May 23, were claimed 



to be differences which made it impossible for him to 
remain in the Cabinet with propriety. His resignation 
was loudly demanded by the administration organs, 
and as loudly predicted by them. He was represented 
by their correspondents as meanly debating what for- 
eign office he would accept in exchange for the office 
he held. The lowest motives were ascribed to him be- 
cause he did not vacate his place, and allow the Presi- 
dent to fill it with some willing instrument who would 
aid him in resistance to the policy of Congress. He 
was sustained throughout this ordeal by hundreds of 
letters from friends, expressing their appreciation of 
the great public service he was rendering by refusing 
to be moved from his duty by the outcry around him. 
Extracts from a few are given. 

The Hon. William P. Fessenden, senator from the 
State of Maine, wrote him from Portland in that State 
on the 20th of October, 1866, as follows : — 

Rumor has it that you are going out of office and out of 
the country. So far as I am concerned, and still more for 
the country's good, I hope it is not so. 

Governor Morton, of Indiana, wrote him November 
19: — 

It is a matter of gratification to your loyal friends that you 
have remained in the Cabinet, and I can assure you that 
you have not suffered the least prejudice by it. It has given 
confidence to the people of the North, and is justly regarded 
as another evidence of your courage and devotion to the 

United States District Judge Bond, of Maryland, 
wrote him on the 18th of October, as follows : — 


I hope and trust, for the sake of humanity and the country 
at large, there is not a word of truth in the rumor of to-day 
that you are to leave the War Department. . . . 

I hope, having with indomitable energy and great fortitude 
stood at the helm so long, and amid such a terrible storm, you 
will not voluntarily relinquish it until we are safe in harbor. 

Mr. Stanton's treatment of these rumors as to his pro- 
posed resignation and acceptance of a foreign appoint- 
ment may be seen by the following extract from a letter 
written by him to his old-time friend, General Sickles : — 

Your note has been received. It is not my design or desire 
to go to Spain, Paris, or any foreign country, and nothing 
could induce me to accept any foreign mission. When I 
leave the department, the remainder of my life will be de- 
voted to the education of my children and the pursuits of 
private life. Neither the Senate * nor any other public em- 
ployment has any attraction for me when my duties here are 
ended, and I shall forever renounce and abjure all official 
station. I am thankful to you for your kind and good wishes, 
and cordially reciprocate them. 

The following is a letter he addressed to Governor 
Morehead, of Pennsylvania, September 21 : — 

I have heard it intimated that some of the delegates to the 
Pittsburg convention contemplated offering a complimentary 
resolution in favor of myself, and asking me to retain my 
position in the War Department. General Owen, of Phila- 
delphia, and General Brisbin, of Ohio, have been mentioned 
as having the disposition. It must be obvious to you, as it is 
to me, that any personal allusion favorable to me would be 
prejudicial to any good influence I may be able to exert. I 
desire no indorsement — and personal compliments are mat- 

1 The general had suggested to him a seat in the Senate from Pennsyl- 


ters for which I have no taste. I wish you would therefore 
see that nothing of that kind is done in respect to me. 

On the 17th of September Senator Wilson, of Mas- 
sachusetts, wrote from his home, inclosing a letter from 
Ticknor & Fields, offering to publish in the "Atlantic 
Monthly " any statement Mr. Stanton might choose to 
make of his views of public matters. They assumed 
that he would soon leave the Cabinet, and it might be 
agreeable to him to make some public statement. To 
this Mr. Stanton replied as follows, under date of Sep- 
tember 20 : — 

I return herewith the letter of Messrs. Ticknor & Fields, 
and beg you to give them my sincere thanks for their kind- 
ness. In the grave and solemn condition of public affairs 
now existing, it is not likely that I shall seek to withdraw the 
attention of the people from what so deeply concerns them- 
selves to any personal considerations or explanations. While 
esteeming the good opinion of my fellow men, I count every- 
thing relating to myself of little moment compared with the 
great issues now pending in public judgment. 


A Eeview of the Work of Congress. — The Fourteenth Amendment 
submitted to the States. — Its Terms. — Its Adoption would have 
ended the Long Controversy. — Moderation of the Majority in 
Congress up to the Time of Rejection. — The Military Recon- 
struction Act passed over the Veto. — Precautionary Measures by 

The session commencing the first Monday in De- 
cember, 1866, was the second and last session of the 
Congress elected in 1864 simultaneously with the reelec- 
tion of Mr. Lincoln. Up to this time that body had 
pursued a waiting policy, leaving the States lately in 
rebellion free to work out their own restoration to the 
Union, through acquiescence in the laws of the land, 
and through such legislation by their own provisional 
legislatures as would create a sense of security through- 
out the North that they were willing to submit in good 
faith to the necessary consequences of their defeat. 

The action of Congress up to this time can be briefly 
summarized. It had passed the Civil Rights Bill over 
the veto of the President. It had voted that no sena- 
tor or representative should be admitted from either 
of the eleven States which had been in insurrection 
until the right of such State to representation had been 
agreed to by both Houses of Congress. And, finally, on 
the 13th of June, 1866, it had submitted to the States 


a proposed Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution 
of the United States. 

This amendment defined national citizenship, and 
made the rights of all citizens equal before the law. It 
conferred no political privileges. It was based upon 
the report of the joint committee on reconstruction 
which had been appointed the preceding December. 
The necessity for it had been emphasized by the denial 
by the President and his supporters of the power of 
Congress to protect the freedmen in their civil rights. 
The power of the federal government to enforce the 
freedom of slaves was conferred by the Thirteenth 
Amendment. Attempts had been made by the provi- 
sional governments in the South to impose upon the 
freedmen many of the disabilities under which they 
had suffered as slaves. To affirm the citizenship of 
the freedmen j and to secure them in the enjoyment 
of the usual privileges and immunities of citizens, not 
including the right to vote, was deemed by Congress an 
imperative obligation. The Civil Rights Act covered 
these objects, and seemed a rational and proper exer- 
cise of the power to enforce the amendment abolishing 
slavery. If the insurrectionary States had acquiesced 
in that act, and made it the standard of their own legis- 
lation, the Union would have been practically restored 
during the summer of 1866, without any condition as 
to the right of suffrage. It was to remove all doubts 
as to the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act for 
the enforcement of the Thirteenth Amendment that the 
ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment was insisted 


It is true that other questions were covered by this 
amendment. It provided for the reduction of represen- 
tation in Congress in proportion to the denial to male 
citizens of the right to vote, except for participation in 
the rebellion. It excluded from office a certain limited 
class of ex-rebels until their disabilities were removed 
by a two thirds vote of Congress. It prohibited the 
calling in question of the national war debt, and pro- 
hibited the payment by the United States or any State 
of any portion of the Confederate debt. But it seems 
improbable that these provisions would have been made 
conditions to restoration, if the major proposition of 
recognizing the federal power under the Thirteenth 
Amendment to guarantee equality of non-political civil 
rights to the blacks had been conceded in the begin- 
ning. It was obviously the intention, however, of the 
ruling class in the Southern States to contest this power 
with the federal government to the extent of all their 
resources. This was made evident by the objections 
in some of the States to the second clause of the Thir- 
teenth Amendment, giving Congress the power to en- 
force the same by appropriate legislation. 

When it is considered that there was a powerful cur- 
rent of public opinion in favor of the extension of the 
right of suffrage to the blacks, or at least to a portion 
of them, and that many of its advocates were among 
the ablest and most influential leaders of the Union 
party, of both Republican and Democratic antecedents, 
it must be admitted that the majority in Congress had 
maintained an even and moderate temper on the ques- 
tions of the day. 


On the other hand, no one is able to say what the 
Southern people would have done if President Johnson 
had not dazzled them with the opportunity which his 
desertion from his party seemed to open to them. The 
death of Mr. Lincoln was surely the greatest calamity 
that ever befell them, except the firing of the first gun 
of the rebellion. They had been led to believe during 
the war that submission to the federal government 
meant to them the utter loss of political freedom, the 
destruction of the rights of the States, and the flight or 
execution of their favorite leaders. Instead of all this 
they were simply called upon to acquiesce in the aboli- 
tion of slavery, which they admitted had already been 
accomplished by the war, and to allow the freedmen the 
right, equally with the white men, to earn their living in 
peace, to have the right to make and enforce contracts, 
and, without the right to vote, to be subject only to 
such laws as the white people passed for themselves. 

It is hardly possible to imagine that this mild offer 
of peace and restoration would have been rejected, or 
even criticised, by those who were then able to lead 
public opinion in the South, if Andrew Johnson had 
not appeared, as the marplot of all the centuries, to sow 
dissension and ill will. As he had in February vetoed 
the Civil Rights Bill, so in June he threw the weight 
of his influence against the ratification by the Southern 
States of the Fourteenth Amendment. On the 22d 
of that month he sent in a message to Congress, trans- 
mitting a report of the Secretary of State informing the 
President that, in accordance with the request of that 
body, he had transmitted copies of the proposed amend- 


ment to the governors of the several States for submis- 
sion to their legislatures. It was in this message that 
he took occasion to call in question the validity of the 
proceedings of Congress on the subject, and to make 
plain his hostility to the amendment. He complained 
that the joint resolution had not been submitted for his 
approval. Congress did not deem such approval neces- 
sary. As required by the Constitution, the resolution 
had already received the two thirds vote in each House, 
which, if it had been a resolution requiring the Presi- 
dent's approval, would have been sufficient to give it 
force notwithstanding his objections. 

He called in question anew the legitimacy of Con- 
gress, because States lately in rebellion were not therein 
represented. He doubted whether the amendment was 
in harmony with the sentiments of the people, and de- 
clared that the transmission of the amendment to the 
governors of the States by the Secretary of State was 
" purely ministerial, and in no sense whatever commit- 
ting the Executive to an approval or a recommendation 
of the amendment to the state legislatures or to the 
people." The amendment was rejected by ten of the 
eleven insurrectionary States, — the President's own 
State of Tennessee being the only one in favor of it. 

On the 17th of January, 1867, Governor Parsons, 
who had been the provisional governor of Alabama, 
telegraphed from the capital of that State to the Presi- 
dent as follows : — 

Legislature in session. Efforts making to reconsider vote 
on constitutional amendment. Eeport from Washington 
says it is probable an enabling act will pass. We do not 
know what to believe. I find nothing here. 


The provisional legislature had, in conformity with 
the Johnson policy, rejected the Fourteenth Amendment 
on the 7th of the previous month, by a vote of 27 to 
2 in the Senate and 69 to 8 in the House. It was a 
proposed reconsideration of this vote of rejection con- 
cerning which Governor Parsons sought the President's 
advice. The " enabling act " to which he referred was 
a reconstruction measure like that which was finally 
enacted less than three months later. Governor Par- 
sons was anxious to know whether the reconsideration 
of the vote of rejection would have a tendency to save 
the State from such a measure. President Johnson's 
reply was as follows : — 

What possible good can be obtained by reconsider ing the 
constitutional amendment? I know of none in the present 
posture of affairs; and I do not believe the people of the 
whole country will sustain any set of individuals in attempts 
to change the whole character of our government by enabling 
acts or otherwise. I believe, on the contrary, that they will 
eventually uphold all who have the patriotism and courage to 
stand by the Constitution, and who place their confidence in 
the people. There should be no faltering on the part of those 
who are honest in their determination to sustain the several 
coordinate departments of the government, in accordance 
with its original design. 

The legislature, following this emphatic declaration 
by the President, continued its opposition to the ratifi- 
cation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the end. Not 
until the provisional government had disappeared and 
a new state government had taken its place did Ala- 
bama give her consent to that amendment. 1 

1 January 13, 1868. 


Three fourths of the States being necessary to the 
ratification of the amendment, the requisite number 
could not be had if the ten insurrectionary States con- 
tinued in opposition. Besides, Kentucky had rejected 
it, and Delaware and Maryland could be depended upon 
for similar action, which they subsequently took. With 
the Southern States in the hands of the late rebel 
leaders, upheld by President Johnson, its adoption was 
impossible. This made inevitable the inauguration of a 
" reconstruction policy " by Congress. 

The experiment had already been made, under " the 
President's plan," of allowing the lately rebellious 
States to be their own security, and had failed. It 
remained for Congress to exercise its power, until then 
withheld, not only to enact that the existing provisional 
governments were not valid state governments and 
could not be approved by Congress, but to place them 
in subordination to the military power, and at the same 
time to enact a law providing the conditions under 
which elections might be held for members of conven- 
tions to organize state governments republican in form, 
and to submit their work to the sovereign power of the 
government, by which alone such political questions can 
be settled. 

Such legislation would be the plain dictate of com- 
mon sense, and of public necessity. The Johnson gov- 
ernments, so called, were obstructions to the restoration 
of the Southern States to practical relations with the 
Union. Four years of war had been followed by two 
years of disregard of the clearest rights of the govern- 
ment by the controlling portion of those lately in rebel- 


lion, and the interest of both sections required a termi- 
nation of existing conditions. If Congress had up to 
that time been slow to act, and had made no demand 
on the vanquished foe for " indemnity for the past," 
it had not at any time waived the government's indis- 
putable right to " security for the future." The people 
at the fall elections had spoken in unmistakable terms 
in favor of the strongest measures necessary for the 
accomplishment of the desired end. Accordingly, after 
due deliberation and long debate, the Military Recon- 
struction Act was finally passed over the veto of the 
President on the 2d of March, 1867. 

This act declared that no legal state governments 
existed " in the rebel States of Virginia, North Carolina, 
South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisi- 
ana, Florida, Texas, and Arkansas," and provided for 
the enforcement of "peace and good order in these 
States until loyal and republican state governments 
could be legally established." It divided them into five 
military districts, and made them subject " to the mili- 
tary authority of the United States." It required the 
President to assign a general to the command of each 
district, and made it the duty of such commanders " to 
protect all persons in their rights of person and pro- 
perty, to suppress insurrection, disorder, and violence, 
and to punish or cause to be punished all disturbers of 
the public peace, and criminals." They were authorized 
to either allow the local civil tribunals then in existence 
to try offenders, or to organize military commissions for 
that purpose when they deemed it necessary. 

The bill created a purely military government for the 


South, to supersede the Johnson provisional govern- 
ments which had also been the offspring of military 
authority. This was simply the exercise of the power 
which the President himself, through his Secretary of 
State, had informed the governors of Florida and Mis- 
sissippi was vested alone in Congress. There was no 
disagreement between the President and Congress at 
the time the provisional governments were erected as to 
the legal proposition that they would not be valid unless 
approved by Congress. 

The vehemence with which President Johnson had 
subsequently stultified himself and denied the power 
of Congress to call in question these provisional gov- 
ernments, taken together with his loud and angry chal- 
lenges of the legality of Congress itself, rendered it 
probable that he would not administer the law in ac- 
cordance with its intent. As a measure of protection, 
therefore, a law was passed changing the time for 
the assembling of Congress from the first Monday in 
December to the 4th of March. Instead of a recess of 
nine months' duration, during which time the President 
would be free from such constitutional control as Con- 
gress has while in session, that body would reassemble 
immediately upon the adjournment of the existing Con- 
gress on the 4th of March. 

As further measures of protection which seemed to 
Congress to be demanded by the situation, the Tenure 
of Office Act was passed, mainly to prevent a change 
in the head of the War Department ; and a clause was 
inserted in the Army Appropriation Bill by which all 
military orders of the President or Secretary of War 


were to be issued through the general of the army, and 
which provided that the general of the army should not 
be removed, suspended, or relieved from command, or 
assigned to duty elsewhere than at headquarters, except 
at his own request, without the previous approval of 
the Senate. The clause made it a misdemeanor for any 
officer to issue orders or instructions contrary to its 
provisions, or for any army officer to transmit or obey 
any orders or instructions contrary to such provisions. 
Another section of the same act required the disband- 
ment of the local military forces in Virginia, North 
Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, 
Mississippi, and Texas, and prohibited the calling of 
any such militia into service under any circumstances 
unless authorized by Congress. 

These acts had an important bearing on the conduct 
of affairs during the ensuing year. They are only 
referred to here in their chronological order to exhibit 
the record of the Thirty-ninth Congress. 

The measures referred to in this chapter were all 
passed over the veto of the President, the Republicans 
in the two Houses voting for them with substantial 
unanimity. On the passage of the reconstruction bill 
of March 2, in the House it received 138 Republican 
votes, while only 7 Republicans voted against it. In 
the Senate it received 37 Republican votes besides the 
vote of Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, only three 
Republicans voting against it. On the passage of the 
Civil Tenure Bill over the veto of the President in the 
House, it received the votes of 112 Republicans, while 
only 4 Republicans voted against it. In the Senate it 


received the votes of 35 Republican senators, while 
only 3 Republicans voted against it. The three Repub- 
lican senators who voted in the negative in each case 
were Cowan (Pennsylvania), Dixon (Connecticut), and 
Doolittle (Wisconsin), all of whom ceased thencefor- 
ward to act with the Republican party. 


The New Congress. — Supplementary Reconstruction Act. — Con- 
flicting Constructions of the Law. — The President and his At- 
torney-General antagonized by Secretary Stanton and the Military 

The wisdom of the act convening Congress in regu- 
lar session on the 4th of March instead of in the fol- 
lowing December was made manifest upon the very 
eve of the adjournment of the Thirty-ninth Congress. 
The language and spirit of the President's message of 
March 2, vetoing the reconstruction act, gave strong 
indications of an intention to thwart the will of Con- 
gress by failing to execute the law. He declared the 
measure to be "without precedent and without au- 
thority, — in palpable conflict with the plainest provi- 
sions of the Constitution.' ' The bill which he vetoed 
contained a section prescribing in general the method 
and conditions under which the people of the ex-rebel 
States, or any of them, might form constitutions to be 
submitted to Congress for its approval, and for the 
restoration of such States to their relations with the 
Union, upon the ratification of the Fourteenth Amend- 
ment, and its final incorporation in the Constitution. 
But it contained no provision fixing a time for the 
election of delegates to frame constitutions, and made 
no provisions for the registration of voters. The veto 


message of the President determined Congress to 
supply these omissions by passing a supplementary 
reconstruction act, at the first session of the Fortieth 
Congress, which assembled March 4. In this bill a time 
was fixed for the registration of voters, to be had under 
the direction of the commanding general in each dis- 
trict, and their qualifications were prescribed. It also 
provided for the holding of elections for delegates to 
constitutional conventions in the several States, at such 
times and places as the commanding general should 
appoint and direct. At the election for delegates the 
people were also to vote for or against the holding of 
a convention. If a majority voted for a convention, 
then the delegates elected should assemble in conven- 
tion, provided, however, that such convention should not 
be held unless a majority of all the registered voters 
in the State had voted on the question of holding the 
same. The constitution framed by the convention was 
to be submitted to the registered voters of the State for 
their approval or rejection. 

Congress, having thus provided how the military au- 
thority of the United States should be exercised until 
valid state governments could be formed in the South, 
and having opened the way to the people of these 
States for the formation of state constitutions and the 
erection of state governments, adjourned on the 30th 
of March until the 3d of July. 

The power of the President to prevent the execution of 
the reconstruction laws was now narrowed down to eva- 
sion, through strained construction of its provisions, or to 

open disregard of them. He selected the former course. 
vol. n 


Pursuant to the reconstruction act of March 2 the 
President assigned commanders to each of the five dis- 
tricts of the South created by the act, as follows : — 

First District, State of Virginia, General John M. 

Second District, States of North Carolina and South 
Carolina, General Sickles. 

Third District, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, Gen- 
eral Thomas. 1 

Fourth District, Mississippi and Arkansas, General 

Fifth District, Louisiana and Texas, General Sheri- 

In his veto message the President had construed the 
reconstruction act as giving to the commanding officer 
over all of the people of each district the power of an 
" absolute monarch." His will was to take the place, 
he declared, of all law. He said : " It is plain that the 
authority here given to the military officer amounts to 
absolute despotism." "No master," said he, "ever had 
a control so absolute over his slaves as this bill gives 
to the military officers over both white and colored 
persons." He declared that the measure wiped away 
every vestige of republican government, and placed " the 
life, property, liberty, and honor of all the people and 
each of them under the domination of a single person 
clothed with unlimited power." All this and much 
more to the same effect was the construction placed 
upon this great measure by President Johnson. It 

1 At the request of General Thomas his assignment was revoked, and 
General Pope was assigned in his place. 


seemed to leave no room for any indirection on his 
part. There stood the law upon the statute-book, the 
language of which he had himself construed in his veto 
message. If that message was an honest expression of 
his opinion, he seemed to have only the alternative of 
executing it faithfully, or refusing to do so. 

In this dilemma he resorted to the expedient of 
calling upon the Attorney-General for an opinion by 
which it might be made to appear that the act had not 
the directness with which he had credited it. Ques- 
tions had arisen upon inquiries from the military com- 
manders as to their duties under it. These related 
principally to the power of removal, by military com- 
manders, of officers under the provisional governments, 
and to the qualifications of voters. These inquiries 
were referred to the Attorney-General, Mr. Henry Stan- 
bery, of Ohio, for his opinion. 

The power of the military commanders to remove 
officers under the provisional governments became a 
very important question. 

On the 27th of March, 1867, eight days after assum- 
ing command of the Fifth District, — Louisiana and 
Texas, — General Sheridan issued an order removing 
A. S. Herron, attorney-general of the State of Louisiana, 
J. S. Monroe, mayor of the city of New Orleans, and 
Edwin Abell, judge of the first district court of the 
city of New Orleans. On the 19th of April he wrote 
to General Grant that these removals were made under 
powers granted by the reconstruction act of March 2. 
He said he had not deemed it necessary to give any 
reasons for these removals in view of the investigation 


of the massacre of July 30, 1866, and the military and 
civil reports thereon. But as some inquiry had been 
made as to the cause of removal, he submitted the fol- 
lowing statement to the general : — 

The court over which Judge Abell presided is the only 
criminal court in the city of New Orleans, and for a period 
of at least nine months previous to the riot of July 30, he 
had been educating a large portion of the community to the 
perpetration of the outrage, by almost promising no prose- 
cution in his court against the offenders, in case such an 
event occurred. The records of his court will show that he 
fulfilled his promise, as not one of the guilty has been pro- 

In reference to Andrew S. Herron, attorney-general of the 
State of Louisiana, I considered it his duty to indict these 
men before his criminal court. This he failed to do, but went 
so far as to attempt to impose on the good sense of the whole 
nation by indicting the victims of the riot instead of the 
rioters; in other words, making the guilty innocent and the 
innocent guilty. He was, therefore, in my belief, an able 
coadjutor with Judge Abell in bringing on the massacre of 
July 30. 

Mayor Monroe controlled the element engaged in this riot, 
and when backed by an attorney-general who would not 
prosecute the guilty, and a judge who advised the Grand Jury 
to find the innocent guilty and let the murderers go free, felt 
secure in engaging his police force in the riot and massacre. 

With these three men exercising a large influence over 
the worst elements of the population of this city, giving to 
those elements an immunity for riot and bloodshed, the gen- 
eral-in-chief will see how insecure I felt in letting them 
occupy their respective positions in the troubles which might 
occur in registration and voting in the reorganization of this 


He also removed the Board of Levee Commissioners 
at New Orleans; and almost immediately afterwards 
removed Governor J. Madison Wells. In his dispatch 
to General Grant of June 4, 1867, informing him of 
this latter removal, he said : — 

I found it necessary yesterday to remove Governor Wells. 
He has embarrassed me very much since I came in command 
by his subterfuge and political chicanery. This necessary act 
will be approved here by every class and shade of political 
opinion. He has not a friend who is an honest man. 

I inclose by mail copy of order removing him. 

On the 6th he telegraphed that he had appointed 
B. F. Flanders in Wells's place. 

On the 22d of May General Pope removed the mayor 
of Mobile, Alabama. The following communication 
from Secretary Stanton to the President was a practical 
application of his view of the power of removal vested 
by law in the district commanders : — 

Sir, — I have the honor to acknowledge the reference by 
you for my comment of the reports of Major-General Pope, 
General Swayne, and Colonel Shepherd relating to the recent 
occurrences at the city of Mobile. In regard to the criminal 
conduct on that occasion by some persons whereby some lives 
were lost and many endangered, there can be no difference 
of opinion. The action of Major-General Pope in removing 
the mayor and chief of police and appointing others in their 
place would seem to be the only points presented by the 
reports for comment. 

The act " To provide for a more efficient government of 
the rebel States " enacts among other things, in its third sec- 
tion, " that it shall be the duty of each officer assigned as 
aforesaid (viz. : the commanders of military districts estab- 


lished by Congress) to protect all persons in their rights of 
person and property, to suppress insurrection, disorder, and 
violence, and to punish or cause to be punished all disturbers 
of the public peace and criminals," etc. 

In my opinion the power is by this section vested in the 
commanders of military districts to suspend or remove from 
office any municipal or police officer and appoint others in 
their place, if such action in the exercise of a reasonable 
discretion be necessary " to protect persons or property, or 
to suppress insurrection, disorder, or violence." A rash or 
wanton exercise of the authority would be an abuse of the 
power not justified by the act. 

From a consideration of the reports I am unable to dis- 
cover any evidence of rash or wanton exercise of authority 
by General Pope, but only a desire to do what, with all the 
lights before him, he deemed to be the most certain and 
peaceable means of protecting persons and property and sup- 
pressing disorder and violence. He gives as the reason for 
removing Mayor Withers, his lack of diligence and care to 
prevent disorder and violence, as manifested by his absence 
from a meeting where he " apprehended disturbance," instead 
of being present with the necessary police force and arrange- 
ments to keep the peace, and leaving the peace of the city 
in the hands of a chief of police who either sympathized with 
the rioters, or was wholly inefficient. This want of proper 
force and arrangements to keep the peace at a public meeting 
where disturbance was apprehended, General Pope regards in 
his report as criminal misconduct on the part of the mayor 
and chief of police, and he states that there is not likely 
to be " confidence of any security whatever hereafter whilst 
they retain their office." 

In the absence of any conflicting proof in the department, 
the official report of a military commander is presumed to be 
true, and, if true, there seems to be no good ground for over- 
ruling the action of General Pope. 


General Swayne in his report says : " I do not find that 
any graver charge than timidity or inefficiency can be sus- 
tained against the police authorities of the city of Mobile." 
But it is hard to conceive what more grave charge, short of 
actual participation in crime, could be made against officers 
charged with the preservation of the public peace than timid- 
ity and inefficiency in the suppression of disorder and vio- 
lence ; and General Swayne asserts that " freedom of speech 
and public order have been greatly outraged by an element 
which is active in the spirit of the rebellion, and presumes 
upon the sympathy of the police in this regard, and that this 
view is supported by the antecedents of the police," etc. 

Colonel Shepherd in his report, while speaking of the vio- 
lent and disorderly spirit existing to some extent at Mobile, 
takes quite a different view of the conduct and character of 
Mayor Withers, speaks of the " repression exercised by his 
impartial justice," and believes him to be " the only man in 
the city of Mobile qualified by disposition to temper with 
proper discretion his official acts." Creditable as this testi- 
monial may be to Mayor Withers, it indicates no gratifying 
condition of things, if there be in Mobile one man only 
" qualified by disposition " to temper official acts with dis- 

The reports of General Swayne and Colonel Shepherd 
were before the commanding general, whose duty it was to 
consider the case in all its bearings ; and whether the removal 
of Mayor Withers was a measure that would contribute to 
the security of persons and property and suppress disorder 
and violence was in my opinion a question the general was 
authorized to determine in a reasonable and discreet manner, 
subject to the approval of the President, and the reports to 
my mind justify his action. I would therefore respectfully 
recommend that his action be allowed to stand. 


Mr. Stanton and the Attorney-General. — Cabinet Proceedings. 

On the 24th of May the Attorney-General, in re- 
sponse to the President's call, gave an opinion upon 
questions relating to the qualifications of voters, follow- 
ing it up on the 12th of June with one of much greater 
length, and at its close summarizing the first one. 

His opinion was made the subject of Cabinet con- 
sideration, the proceedings commencing on the 18th of 
June and extending through three days. Mr. Stanton's 
memorandum of the first day's proceedings says : — 

After the usual routine business of Cabinet had been fin- 
ished, the President said he desired to bring two matters 
before the Cabinet. 1st. The instructions to be given to 
military commanders in the Southern States in respect to 
their powers under the opinion of the Attorney-General. 2d. 
The powers of the President over the military commanders 
and their action. He observed that it was very important to 
have unanimity of action by the Cabinet, but it was rumored 
that differences on these important subjects existed between 
members of the Cabinet, and the time had come when the 
matter should be finally settled, and for that purpose he pro- 
posed to take the sense of the Cabinet on the different points 
of the Attorney-General's opinion. 

There were nineteen points. Twelve were approved 
unanimously, while seven received the votes of all except 


Mr. Stanton. The points upon which he dissented from 
all the other members of the Cabinet were those which 
he thought broke down the barriers against the claim 
of disfranchised rebels to the right to be registered and 
to vote. The construction placed upon the reconstruc- 
tion acts by the Attorney-General, with the approval of 
a majority of the Cabinet, plainly tended to defeat the 
objects of Congress. 

Following are extracts from the proceedings of the 
second day, June 19, as recorded in the memorandum 
by Mr. Stanton: — 

The Cabinet met at the Executive mansion at twelve o'clock, 
pursuant to adjournment. 

Present : The President and all the heads of departments 
except the Secretary of the Interior. 

After the transaction of some routine business, the Presi- 
dent exhibited a list of interrogatories which he said he 
had prepared, and upon which he said he wanted the answers 
of the members of the Cabinet, remarking also, as on other 
occasions, the necessity for uniformity of opinion in the 

The Secretary of War remarked that at the adjournment 
yesterday afternoon, the Attorney-General said he would pre- 
pare and bring to the Cabinet this morning drafts of the 
orders or instructions which he proposed to have given by 
the President to the district commanders, and they would 
be submitted to the consideration of the Cabinet ; that if the 
Attorney-General had his orders or instructions ready, it 
would be easier and better to act upon them as practical 
measures than to give answers to abstract questions ; he then 
asked the Attorney-General if he was ready to submit the 
orders or instructions which he intended to recommend to be 
issued to the military commanders. The Attorney-General 
replied that he had not had time to prepare them. 


The President then handed the Attorney-General the list 
of interrogatories, and asked him to read them. 

The Attorney-General having read them all over, the Sec- 
retary of War said this mode of proceeding rather surprised 
him. The opinion and conclusions of the Attorney-General 
had been read and discussed fully, and it was stated yesterday 
that special orders and instructions founded thereon would 
be submitted this morning, but instead thereof a string of 
general questions carefully and deliberately prepared were 
brought forward, and gentlemen required to make immediate 
answer. He (the Secretary of War) thought that each mem- 
ber of the Cabinet should be furnished with a copy of the 
questions, and afforded time to understand their import, and 
make deliberate and specific answer. The Attorney-General 
replied that the questions were very plain and such as he could 
answer at once, and he thought any one else could answer 
them. Mr. Seward said he, for his part, was ready to answer 
them. Mr. McCulloch said the same. The Secretary of War 
said that although the proceeding was very extraordinary and 
in his opinion the course of the Attorney-General exception- 
able, yet he should ask for no delay, but would make imme- 
diate answer for himself, stating first his general views of 
the reconstruction acts, which were expressed in a few points 
which he had prepared last night. The Secretary of War 
then read the annexed paper containing his views of the re- 
construction acts. In the course of the reading he was inter- 
rupted by the President and the Attorney-General's adverse 
comments, and the reading was followed by the dissenting 
criticism of all the other members of the Cabinet, of which the 
Secretary of War took no notice. 

The Attorney-General then read the first interrogatory, 
which was answered as stated in the annexed minute marked 
B., made in Cabinet by the Secretary of War and compared 
with the record or minute which the Attorney-General assumed 
to keep of the proceedings. 


The second interrogatory was then read and answered as 
appears in the minute. 

The third interrogatory being read, it did not please Mr. 
Seward, who wished it changed. After discussion between 
him and the Attorney-General, in which the President and 
McCulloch, Welles, and Randall participated, the interroga- 
tory presented was changed to the form expressed in the min- 
ute B., and so propounded and answered as set forth in said 

The fourth and fifth interrogatories as presented were also 
objected to by Mr. Seward, and discussed by him and the 
Attorney-General, and altered to the form in which they 
appear in minute B., and were so propounded and answered. 

After these interrogatories had been answered as set forth 
in the minute, the Attorney-General said he could not go any 
further to-day. The Secretary of War urged that the matter 
should be closed to-day. It had been under discussion, he 
said, many weeks, and ought to be concluded. The Attorney- 
General said it was impossible to do anything more until he 
had prepared some other papers which he could not have ready 
until to-morrow. The Cabinet then adjourned. While in the 
cabinet room the Secretary of War asked the Attorney-Gen- 
eral if he had not prepared the interrogatories produced by 
the President and changed in the Cabinet as above mentioned. 
The Attorney-General replied that he did prepare them and 
gave them to the President. 


June 19, 1867. 

In Cabinet. 

The special interrogatories hereinafter mentioned being 
presented by the President to the Cabinet for their considera- 
tion, the Secretary of War read to the President and Cabinet 
the following statement of his views ; • — 


In respect to the interpretation of what are called the re- 
construction acts of Congress, I am of opinion : 

1st. That by the act to provide for the more efficient gov- 
ernment of the rebel States and its supplement Congress 
designed to establish, and did establish, a military government 
in the ten rebel States paramount to all other government 
whatsoever, and made those States "subject" to military 

2d. That to the commanding general assigned in each dis- 
trict is given command over all persons, private or official, in 
his respective district; that command to be sustained by 
military force adequate to enable the commander to perform 
his duties under the act. 

3d. That the duties of the military commanders are : — 

To protect all persons in their rights of person and pro- 

To suppress all insurrection, disorder, and violence. 

To punish all disturbers of the public peace and criminals, 
and to this end (viz. : punishment) they may allow local tri- 
bunals to try offenders, or may organize military commis- 

It is also their duty under the supplemental act to cause 
a registration to be made and an election to be held as pre- 
scribed by the act of Congress and its supplement. 

4th. That, as the power thus vested in the military com- 
manders embraces the exercise of absolute military " com- 
mand " in their respective districts, it therefore comprehends 
the removal from office of any person who may hinder, 
obstruct, or oppose the execution of the specified acts of 
Congress, or occasion disorder in the command, and also 
the appointment of any officer whose functions are necessary 
to afford protection to persons and property, or to suppress 
insurrection, disorder, and violence within the command. 
And hence the military commander may, by virtue of the 
acts of Congress, remove from office any provisional gov- 


ernor, judge, or other public officer or agent, and substitute 
others, whenever in the exercise of reasonable discretion he 
deems such acts needful for carrying into effect the provi- 
sions of the act of Congress. 

5th. That the powers before mentioned are vested by the 
acts of Congress immediately and directly in the command- 
ing generals assigned in the several districts, and cannot be 
exercised by the President in person any more than he can 
take upon himself in his own person any other duty of mili- 
tary service vested in a specific officer by law ; as for example 
the duties of the quartermaster-general, commissary-general, 
surgeon-general, chief of engineers, or chief of ordnance. 

6th. As commander-in-chief, and under his authority to 
see the laws faithfully executed, the President may remove 
the commander of a district for any willful neglect or wanton 
abuse of his authority ; but such removal should be for good 

7th. That the power of removal being vested in the gen- 
eral commanding the district, the President cannot order the 
reinstatement of any officer removed by the commanding 
general, unless it appear that such removal was a wanton 
abuse of authority by the commanding general. 

The special interrogatories presented by the President 
were then read by the Attorney-General and answered as 
follows : — 

1. Is the power vested in the President to see that the 
reconstruction acts are faithfully executed? 

All except the Secretary of War answer in the affirmative. 
The Secretary of War answers as follows : — 

1st. Under the limitations and qualifications expressed in 
my general view of the acts of Congress under consideration 
just read to the President and Cabinet, and which is made a 
part of my answer, I answer this interrogatory in the affirm- 

2. Has the President a supervision over the military com- 


manders, and are they bound to perform their duties in con- 
formity with his instructions ? 

All except the Secretary of War answer affirmatively, and 
that the President has the same supervision and right of in- 
struction as he has to other acts of Congress. 
The Secretary of War answers as follows : — 
2d. The President has as commander-in-chief a supervi- 
sion over the military commanders to see that there is no 
willful neglect or wanton abuse of authority by the generals 
commanding. But in my opinion the duties assigned to the 
military commanders in the act to provide for the more effi- 
cient government of the rebel States and its supplement are 
specifically intrusted to them, and they are not bound to per- 
form these duties in conformity to his (the President's) 
instructions unless they are in accordance with the acts of 

3. If any one of the military commanders assumes and 
exercises powers not conferred by these acts or any other acts 
of Congress, and the error is injurious to the execution of 
these laws or the public welfare, is it the duty of the Presi- 
dent (if he deem it proper and expedient) to cause the error 
to be corrected ? 

All answer in the affirmative, except the Secretary of War, 
who answers as follows : — 

3d. I answer this question that if the supposed wrongful 
act of the commanding general be a willful neglect of duty or 
a wanton abuse of authority that would obstruct or prevent the 
execution of the acts of Congress under consideration, it would 
in my opinion be the duty of the President to correct it. 

4. Is an unlimited power conferred on the military com- 
manders to abolish, modify, control, or supersede the laws of 
the State ? 

All answer in the negative that Congress has not conferred 
such unlimited power, except the Secretary of War, who an- 
swers as follows : — 


4th. I answer that Congress in the preamble of the act to 
provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States 
has declared, among other things, that no legal state govern- 
ments exist in said States, and has made them subject to mil- 
itary authority, and given command in each district to the 
military commander assigned by the President, and has also 
provided that any civil government which may exist therein 
shall be deemed provisional only ; I am therefore of opinion 
that the military authority is paramount, and if the general 
commanding shall find any state law obstructing, impeding, 
or inconsistent with the due execution of the acts of Congress 
under consideration, he has unlimited power to abolish, mod- 
ify, control, or supersede the state law. 

5. Has a military commander the power to order the es- 
tablished courts of the State or of the United States exercis- 
ing criminal jurisdiction, to sentence a criminal to a different 
mode or a degree of punishment than is provided by the law 
of the State or by the federal law ? 

All answer in the negative, except the Secretary of War, 
who answers as follows : — 

5th. I answer this question that I have no knowledge of 
any interference or authority having been assumed by any 
district commander over the action of the federal courts ; 
nor have I any knowledge of any such case in respect to a 
state court, as is assumed by the question. But inasmuch as 
the State is subject to military authority, I am of opinion 
that a district commander may prohibit the execution of cor- 
poral punishment by the sentence of a state court. I am not 
aware of any case in which he has authority to command a 
judge to impose any particular sentence, although he may 
remove the judge for good cause. 

At the adjourned cabinet meeting of June 20, ac- 
cording to Mr. Stanton's notes of the same : — 


After the transaction of the routine business the Attorney- 
General presented his minutes of the action of the Cabinet 
on the reconstruction acts, which were read over by him. 

After the reading the President observed that it was now 
to be determined what form of order should be issued ; and 
said that he thought it ought to be prefaced by a preamble, 
setting forth that the military commanders had applied for 
instructions ; that the acts of Congress had been referred to 
the Attorney-General, and his opinion with the acts of Con- 
gress having been considered, the President and Cabinet had 
agreed upon the summary of points made out by the Attor- 
ney-General as the true interpretation of the law, — or that 
something of that sort should be stated by way of explana- 

The Secretary of War said he could not issue an order 
stating that the Cabinet had agreed upon the Attorney- 
General's summary, because the Cabinet as a whole had not 
agreed upon the summary, for he had dissented upon several 
of the points. 

The President asked if the decision of a majority of the 
Cabinet was not the decision of the Cabinet ? The Secretary 
of War answered that in legal effect the decision of a major- 
ity was the decision of the Cabinet, but that such a recital as 
was proposed was the statement of a fact which was not true 
in fact. 

The Secretary of State said he thought there should no- 
thing be said in regard to any agreement by the Cabinet, for, 
under our system, all executive orders were by the President. 
We had no Cabinet in the proper sense of that term. There 
were heads of departments with whom the President con- 
sulted, and through whom he acted, but their acts were the 
acts of the President, and that whatever order was issued 
should be issued as the order of the President. 

In this view the Attorney-General concurred. 

Mr. Seward then asked the Attorney-General to prepare 


and submit such an order as he thought should be issued. 
The President said he would like to see what form the Sec- 
retary of War thought it should be issued in. The Secretary 
of War said, if the President desired, he would put in form 
what he understood to be the views of the President and a 
majority of the Cabinet. The President said he wished the 
Secretary of War would do so. 

The Attorney-General and the Secretary of War then each 
prepared a form which was read to the President and the 

At this point Mr. Welles said that he was rather of opinion 
it would be better to issue no instructions ; Congress would 
probably soon be in session, and could pass an explanatory 
act ; that he was inclined to agree with the Secretary of War 
that the reconstruction acts were military laws vesting the 
power in the military commanders, and if they wanted in- 
struction, Congress should give it. 

The President then addressed the Secretary of War, and 
asked what he thought on the question of giving any instruc- 
tions ? 

The Secretary of War answered that he had already given 
the opinion that military authority was established over the 
rebel States, and the power vested in the commanding gen- 
erals, who should interpret the law for themselves, and, there- 
fore, that no instructions should be given them but to follow 
the acts of Congress. 

The Secretary of State, Treasury, Postmaster-General, and 
Attorney-General said that as the generals had asked for in- 
structions, it was the duty of the President to instruct them, 
and that in no other way could there be any uniformity of 

The forms prepared by the Attorney-General and Sec- 
retary of War were then again read over, and compared. 
Some verbal changes in the form prepared by the Secretary 
of War were suggested by the President, Mr. Seward, Mr. 



Welles, Mr. McCulloch, and Mr. Eandall, which being made, 
the form prepared by the Secretary of War, so corrected, was 
agreed to by all, except Mr. Stanbery, and was adopted by 
the President, who directed that it be issued as early as pos- 
sible, saying he would like to see it again before final issue. 

The following is a copy of a draft, in Mr. Stanton's 
handwriting, of what he understood to be the views 
of the President : — 

Whereas, several commanders of military departments, 
created by the acts of Congress known as the reconstruction 
acts, have expressed their doubts as to the proper construc- 
tion thereof, and in respect to some of their powers and 
duties under said acts, and have applied to the Executive for 
information in relation thereto, and — 

Whereas, the acts of Congress have been referred to the 
Attorney-General for his opinion thereon, and the said acts 
and the opinions of the Attorney-General have been carefully 
and fully considered by the President in conference with the 
heads of the respective departments, the President has con- 
cluded that the following is the correct and practical inter- 
pretation of the acts of Congress aforesaid on the points 
therein presented, and directs the same to be transmitted to 
the said commanders for their information, in order that there 
may be uniformity in the execution of the said acts. 

Then followed the summary of Mr. Stanbery's opin- 

In the official letter as finally issued, no material 
alterations were made from Mr. Stanton's draft. Of 
course the views of the Attorney-General, and not the 
dissent therefrom by Mr. Stanton, were adhered to in 
the summary of points. The letter related solely to 
the qualifications of voters, and did not touch upon the 


other matters which had been the subject of cabinet 
consultation, namely, the power of removal in the 
commanding generals, and the accountability of these 
generals to the President. 1 

1 The fact that the cabinet proceedings contained in this and the pre- 
ceding chapter were in part given out for publication at the time, by the 
administration, removes any objection there might otherwise be to the 
entire report of them. There is nothing in the manuscript to indicate 
that Mr. Stanton preserved them for publication. 


Supplementary Reconstruction Act. — Original Draft made by Mr. 
Stanton. — It left no Room for Misconstruction. — Grant's Support 
of it. 

In the conclusions arrived at by the Attorney-General 
concerning the qualifications of voters under the recon- 
struction acts, he had aimed with great precision at the 
vitals of the law. He denied the right of the boards 
of registration to adopt any measures for protecting 
the ballot against false oaths of applicants for registra- 
tion. Under his instructions, none who had participated 
in the rebellion could be excluded from voting unless 
they had been first convicted by a court and sentenced 
for the crime. Those who held office under the Southern 
Confederacy during the rebellion were not disqualified 
unless their official duties were directly connected with 
the war. In short, under his instructions, the question 
of disqualification was to be left exclusively to the dis- 
qualified. No man was to be disqualified who was 
willing to swear that he was qualified. The lists of 
registered voters could not be purged of disqualified 
persons between the time of registration and election 
day, however overwhelming the testimony might be 
that great numbers of them were disqualified under the 

The circular based upon the Attorney-General's opin- 


ion went out under date of the 20th day of June. 
Registration was then in progress in the South. Con- 
gress was to assemble, pursuant to adjournment, on the 
3d of July. It would be for that body to determine 
whether its power over the subject of reconstruction 
should be nullified by construction, or made so clear by 
explanatory legislation that no room would be left to 
doubt its meaning or evade its commands. The latter 
course was adopted. 

The firm stand taken by Mr. Stanton in the Cabinet 
in support of the laws, against the President's determi- 
nation to obstruct them, had been published in part 
in the newspapers of the country, although not in 
such detail as has been given in these pages. That the 
majority of Congress availed itself of his counsel in this 
crisis is evidenced by a comparison of the supplementary 
reconstruction act, passed over the veto of the President 
on the 19th of July, with a draft of such a bill drawn 
by Mr. Stanton, and left among his papers. They are 
nearly identical. 

This act not only obliterated the Attorney-General's 
construction of previous legislation, but it expressly 
exempted the military commanders from any obligation 
to accept the opinion of any civil officer of the United 
States as their rule of action. It made the military 
commanders the direct instruments of the law for its 
execution. In short, it asserted the powers of Congress 
to preserve order in the lately rebellious districts until 
civil governments were erected which it could approve. 
It brought the President face to face with a law the 
terms of which could not be misunderstood, and which 
he must either obey or defy. 


On the day after the passage of this act General 
Grant addressed the following letter to Mr. Stanton : — 

I leave this evening for Governor's Island, New York 
harbor. On Monday evening I will go to Long Branch, 
New Jersey, where any communication will reach me for the 
balance of the week. If it is desirable to send any dis- 
patches in cipher, Major Leet can send them to General 
Porter, who will be with me. 

As soon as I receive a copy of the bill which passed Con- 
gress yesterday over the President's veto, I will make such 
orders as seem to me necessary to carry out the provisions of 
the bill, and direct that they be shown to you before being 

The following letter written to Mr. Stanton four days 
after this by General Grant shows how cordial the rela- 
tions were between them at that time : — 

Every day that I am absent from Washington I see some- 
thing in the papers, or hear something, that makes me feel 
that I should be there. At the same time I am very anxious 
to remain absent all that public duty will allow this summer, 
and write now to ask you if you will not inform me when you 
think it essential that I should go back, and allow me to remain 
absent until it is. Even with permission to be absent all the 
time, I will go back for a day or two at a time occasionally. 

The few orders necessary to give under the recent supple- 
mentary reconstruction law I can write here and send to 
Washington to be issued by the adjutant-general. I cannot 
do this, however, until I receive an official copy of the law. 
I think it will be well, however, for the adjutant-general to 
notify all the district commanders except Ord, in my name, 
to continue the orders now in force until otherwise directed. 
General Ord should change his registration order at once, 
so as to authorize registrars to take testimony and reject all 


persons not entitled to the register, even if they are willing to 
take the required oath. 

If at any time you wish to leave Washington, I will go back 
with great pleasure, and will be glad to see you go on your 
account, because I feel that your health requires it. For my- 
self, my health does not require rest, but I have got so tired 
of being tied down that I am nearly ready to desert. Things 
might so easily have been different now and given repose to 
the country and consequently rest to all interested in admin- 
istering the laws. 


General Grant's Conviction led him to Unqualified Support of the 
Policy of Congress. — His Correspondence with District Com- 
manders. — His Latest Utterances on the Subject. 

It is both interesting and important to here record 
the concurrence of General Grant with the views of 
Mr. Stanton upon the subject of reconstruction, and 
upon the true intent and meaning of the acts of Con- 
gress in relation thereto. 

As early as November, 1865, the general made a 
tour of inspection through some of the Southern States 
" to see what changes were necessary to be made in the 
disposition of the military force of the country," and 
66 to learn as far as possible the feelings and intentions 
of the citizens of these States towards the general gov- 
ernment." This tour was made with the approval of 
the President and the Secretary of War. On the 16th 
of December, the Senate having called upon the Presi- 
dent for information on the subject, General Grant was 
requested by President Johnson to make a report, 
which the latter transmitted to the Senate on the 18th. 
The substance of this report is contained in the follow- 
ing extracts : — 

I am satisfied that the masses of thinking men of the South 
accept the present situation of affairs in good faith. 

Pour years of war, during which law was executed only at 


the point of the bayonet throughout the States in rebellion, 
have left the people possibly in a condition not to yield that 
ready obedience to civil authority the American people have 
generally been in the habit of yielding. This would render 
the presence of military garrisons throughout these States 
necessary until such time as labor returns to its proper chan- 
nels and civil authority is fully established. I did not meet 
any one, either those holding places under the government or 
citizens of the Southern States, who think it practicable to 
withdraw the military from the South at present. The black 
and white mutually require the protection of the general 

He thought the citizens of the Southern States were 
anxious to return to self-government within the Union 
as soon as possible, and that they " were in earnest in 
wishing to do what they thought was required by the 
government, not humiliating to them as citizens." He 
referred to the universal acquiescence in the authority 
of the general government throughout the parts of the 
country visited by him as " rendering the mere presence 
of military forces, without regard to number, sufficient 
to maintain order." 

The temperate tone of this report was disappointing 
to a large class of people, who measured the firmness 
of opinions by the vehemence with which they were 
expressed. Like all that General Grant wrote, it was 
extremely good tempered, conciliatory, and calculated 
to aid in allaying the feeling which yet remained in the 
South, and which he alluded to as an indisposition to 
" yield ready obedience to civil authority." 

His well-known reticence left everything to the 
imagination, in 1866, as to what he thought of the 


President's course in breaking with the party which 
elected him. When he accepted the latter' s invitation 
to accompany him on his Western journey in the sum- 
mer of that year, many were apprehensive that it betok- 
ened political sympathy with him. Nothing could have 
been further from the truth. The President availed 
himself of the courtesy due from all officials, civil and 
military, to a presidential invitation, and General Grant 
was made a member of his party probably for the pur- 
pose of making as many people as possible believe that 
there was a political sympathy between them, when in 
truth, as the record shows, none existed. 

General Grant was, from the time of the passage of 
the first reconstruction act, March 2, 1867, constant in 
his support of it. On the 7th of April of that year 
General Pope, commanding the third military district, 
— Alabama and Georgia, — wrote to him for his opin- 
ion as to whether officers of the rebel army paroled at 
the conclusion of the war would violate their parole if 
they attempted to obstruct the operation of the recon- 
struction acts of Congress. The questions as put were 
an expression by General Pope that such conduct would 
be a violation of the parole. On the 13th General 
Babcock, aide-de-camp to General Grant, wrote from 
Washington saying : " In reply to your communication 
of April 7 the general-in-chief desires me to say that 
your views upon the obligations of a parole are in 
strict accordance with his own." The parole required 
the officers to go to their homes and obey the laws. 
General Grant's reply to General Pope was a declara- 
tion that the reconstruction laws of Congress must be 


obeyed by those claiming the privilege of the parole. 
This was the very issue between the President and 
Congress. The President was denouncing Congress 
as an illegitimate body, and its acts as not only un- 
constitutional in themselves, but void because of their 

General Grant agreed with Mr. Stanton that the 
original reconstruction act conferred upon the district 
commanders the power to remove officers of the pro- 
visional governments. Provisional Governor Jenkins, 
of Georgia, had issued an address to the people, 
urging them not to vote for the restoration of the 
government of that State under the congressional plan. 
General Pope reported the matter to General Grant. 
Immediately after he had done so, he received and 
forwarded to General Grant an explanation from the 
governor and assurances for the future that were satis- 
factory, so that no further consideration of the order 
was necessary. General Grant forwarded both docu- 
ments to the Secretary of War for his information, 
with this comment : — 

The conduct of Governor Jenkins demonstrates, however, 
how possible it is for discontented civil officers of the recon- 
structed States to defeat the laws of Congress, if the power 
does not exist with the district commanders to suspend their 
functions for cause in some way. It seems clear to me that 
the power is given in the bill " for the more efficient govern- 
ment of the rebel States," to use or not, at the pleasure of 
district commanders, the provisional machinery set up with- 
out the authority of Congress in the States to which the 
reconstruction act applies. There being doubt, however, on 


this point, I would respectfully ask an early opinion on this 
subject. If the power of removal does not exist with district 
commanders, then it will become necessary for them to take 
refuge under that section of the bill which authorizes military 

General Grant also agreed with Mr. Stanton on the 
subject of registration. General Ord, in command of 
the fourth district, — Mississippi and Arkansas, — for- 
warded to General Grant his final order instructing 
boards of registration. To this the general replied on 
the 23d of June : — 

Copy of your final instructions to boards of registration of 
June 10, 1867, is just received. I entirely dissent from the 
views contained in paragraph iv. Your view as to the duty 
of registrars to register every man who will take the required 
oath, though they may know the applicant perjures himself, 
is sustained by the views of the Attorney-General. My 
opinion is that it is the duty of the board of registration 
to see, so far as lies in their power, that no unauthorized 
person is allowed to register. To secure this end registers 
should be allowed to administer oaths and examine witnesses. 
The law, however, makes district commanders their own inter- 
preters of the power and duty under it ; and, in my opinion, 
the Attorney-General or myself can no more than give our 
opinion as to the meaning of the law; neither can enforce 
their views against the judgment of those made responsible 
for the faithful execution of the law, the district commanders. 

The latter part of this dispatch shows that General 
Grant agreed also with Mr. Stanton in his opinion that 
the district commanders were not subject to any direc- 
tions from the President as to their powers and duties 
under the law, but were to enforce their own judgment 


upon their sole responsibility. When the opinion of 
the Attorney-General as to the qualifications of voters 
under the reconstruction law was promulgated on the 
2d of June, as related in a preceding chapter, General 
Pope wrote to him, asking to be informed whether the 
circular contained in the Attorney-General's opinion 
was to be treated as a presidential order to him to 
conform his action to that opinion. To this General 
Grant replied as follows : — 

Your dispatch of yesterday received. Enforce your own 
construction of the military bill until ordered to do other- 
wise. The opinion of the Attorney-General has not been 
distributed to district commanders in language or manner 
entitling it to the force of an order ; nor can I suppose that 
the President intended it to have such force. 1 

General Sheridan wrote him on the 28th of June on 
the same subject, saying : — 

The form and phraseology is not that of an order, but I 
may be mistaken, and ask for information whether I am to 
regard it as an order. 

To this General Grant replied in exactly the same 
language as that contained in the dispatch last above 
quoted to General Pope. 

Nothing better illustrates the views of General Grant 
as to the duties imposed by the reconstruction acts 
upon military commanders than the following extract 
from a dispatch from him to General Pope, under date 
of August 3, 1867 : — 

1 As already shown, Mr. Stanton had formulated the communication 
transmitting this opinion to district commanders, and the President had 
approved it, while the Attorney-General had not. 


I think your views are sound, both in the constructions 
which you give to the election laws of Congress and the 
duties of the supporters of good government, to see that, 
when reconstruction is effected, no loophole is left open to 
give trouble and embarrassment hereafter. It is certainly 
the duty of district commanders to study what the framers of 
the reconstruction laws wanted to express, as much as what 
they do express, and to execute the law according to that 
interpretation. This, I believe, they have generally done, 
and, so far, have the approval of all who approve of the 
congressional plan of reconstruction. 

Seventeen years later, at the close of his lif e, General 
Grant thus refers to this period in his " Memoirs/' vol. 
ii. p. 512 : — 

There being a solid South on one side that was in accord 
with the political party in the North which had sympathized 
with the rebellion, it finally, in the judgment of Congress 
and of the majority of the legislatures of the States, became 
necessary to enfranchise the negro in all his ignorance. In 
this work I shall not discuss the question of how far the 
policy of Congress in this particular proved a wise one. It 
became an absolute necessity, however, because of the fool- 
hardiness of the President and the blindness of the Southern 
people to their own interest. As to myself, while strongly 
favoring the course that would be least humiliating to the 
people who had been in rebellion, I had gradually worked up 
to the point where, with the majority of the people, I favored 
immediate enfranchisement. 


A Long Recess of Congress. — Tenure of Office Bill opposed by 
Stanton. — A Makeshift to avoid Impeachment. — Terms of the 
Military Reconstruction Act. — Repressive Policy discussed. — 
Home Rule long since restored. 

On July 20, 1867, the day after the passage of the 
final supplementary reconstruction act, Congress ad- 
journed until the 3d of November. This adjournment 
was strenuously resisted by many who thought the pub- 
lic safety demanded the continuous presence of that 
body, in order that its power might be used if necessary 
to prevent the President from executing his seeming 
purpose of defeating the operation of the reconstruc- 
tion laws. 

The exercise of the power of impeachment had been 
suggested as early as the 7th of January of that year. 
On that day the House of Representatives had adopted 
a resolution authorizing an inquiry into charges pre- 
ferred against the President. Under this resolution the 
Judiciary Committee of the House reported on the 2d 
of March that the evidence taken was of such a charac- 
ter as to justify a continuance of the investigation by 
the succeeding Congress. Accordingly, on the 7th of 
the same month, almost immediately after the assembling 
of the new Congress, a resolution was adopted that the 
Committee on the Judiciary be requested to report on 


the charges preferred against the President, on the first 
day of the meeting" of the House after the next recess. 
Although the committee made no report at the time 
then appointed, its chairman, Mr. Boutwell, deemed it 
of the highest importance that no considerable recess 
should be taken which would prevent an early report. 

A majority of the House did not share, however, in 
the apprehension that the progress of congressional 
reconstruction could be seriously retarded by the Presi- 
dent. The Secretary of War and the general of the 
army were earnest in their support of Congress; the 
Tenure of Office Act made it unlawful for the President 
to remove the Secretary of War, or to suspend him for 
anything less than misconduct in office ; and a clause 
in the Army Appropriation Bill required all military 
orders to be issued through the general of the army, 
who could not be removed, suspended, or relieved from 
command, or assigned to duty elsewhere than at head- 
quarters, except at his own request, without the previ- 
ous approval of the Senate. The execution of the 
reconstruction acts did not depend upon the President, 
for the additional legislation of that session devolved 
the duty of their execution upon the military com- 

It cannot be denied that these measures were intended 
to deprive the President of powers usually exercised by 
his predecessors, and essential to the maintenance of the 
proper independence of the Executive Department as 
a coordinate branch of the government. Mr. Stanton 
himself opposed the Tenure of Office Bill, and while it 
was yet pending advised against its passage. It was 


defended in Congress as a necessity for the protection 
of the Secretary of War against the President's desire 
to remove him, and because his removal was regarded 
by Congress as a menace to the public safety. When 
the bill reached the President, Mr. Stanton advised him 
against its approval ; when it was vetoed, he desired its 
reconsideration and defeat in Congress ; but when it 
became a law, he denied the President's right to disobey 
it. The requirement that the President should not issue 
orders to military officers, except through the general 
of the army, was no doubt technically within the con- 
stitutional power of Congress to pass all laws necessary 
for carrying into execution the powers vested in any 
officer ; but it was an unseemly thing thus to degrade 
the presidential office instead of removing its incumbent. 
Certainly, if the President had become so dangerous as 
to require these restraints to be placed upon him, he 
must have been guilty of conduct which made his im- 
peachment a duty. 

But impeachment was opposed by many on the ground 
that the " high crimes and misdemeanors " for which 
alone the President or any other officer may be im- 
peached under the Constitution must be included within 
the criminal code, and must be acts designated by law 
as crimes. The broader interpretation given by many 
of the ablest men of the Senate, as members of the 
High Court of Impeachment, was that it was for that 
tribunal to determine whether the acts of the President 
were such violations of duty, and such dangerous mani- 
festations of hostility to the law-making power, as to 
constitute high crimes and misdemeanors within the 



meaning of the Constitution. The practical fact was 
that a majority of the House was at that time opposed 
to impeachment, while a vast majority of both Houses 
were determined that the reconstruction laws should be 
enforced. Those, therefore, who objected to the Ten- 
ure of Office Law, and to the limitation upon the military 
authority of the President, as commander-in-chief of 
the armies, felt constrained to waive their objections 
and give their consent to this legislation as the only 
alternative to what they deemed the revolutionary and 
destructive course of the President. 

Before proceeding further, it is well to call the atten- 
tion of the reader to the conditions of the first recon- 
struction act under which the people of the South were 
to proceed with the work of organizing state govern- 
ments. Section 5 of that act reads as follows : — 

Sec. 5. That when the people of any one of said States 
shall have formed a constitution of government in conformity 
with the Constitution of the United States in all respects, 
framed by a convention of delegates elected by the male citi- 
zens of said State twenty-one years old and upward, of what- 
ever race, color, or previous condition, who have been resident 
in said State for one year previous to the day of such election, 
except such as may be disfranchised for participation in the 
rebellion, or for felony at common law, and when such consti- 
tution shall provide that the elective franchise shall be enjoyed 
by all such persons as have the qualifications herein stated 
for electors of delegates, and when such constitution shall be 
ratified by a majority voting on the ratification who are quali- 
fied as electors for delegates, and when such constitution 
shall have been submitted to Congress for examination and 
approval, and Congress shall have approved the same, and 


when said State, by a vote of its legislature elected under said 
constitution, shall have adopted the amendment to the Con- 
stitution of the United States proposed by the Thirty-ninth 
Congress, and known as Article Fourteen, and when said arti- 
cle shall have become a part of the Constitution of the United 
States, said State shall be declared entitled to representation 
in Congress, and senators and representatives shall be admitted 
therefrom on their taking the oaths prescribed by law, and 
then and thereafter the preceding sections of this act shall be 
inoperative in said State : Provided, That no person excluded 
from the privilege of holding office by said proposed amend- 
ment to the Constitution of the United States shall be eligible 
to election as a member of the convention to frame a consti- 
tution for any of said rebel States, nor shall any such person 
vote for members of such convention. 

In this law, approved March 2, 1867, — nearly two 
years after the surrender of Lee, — the negro was for 
the first time given a voice at the ballot-box as to what 
disposition should be made of himself. Up to that 
time the Southern white people, under the Johnson 
plan, had full sway, and their course showed that they 
were still of the opinion that u the negro had no rights 
which any white man was bound to respect." Harsh 
as were the conditions of the reconstruction act, it is a 
part of the history of those times that they could easily 
have been avoided by acquiescence in the ratification of 
the Fourteenth Amendment. When that was rejected, 
the great body of the Union party of the United States 
believed, with Congress, and Mr. Stanton, and General 
Grant, that the nation could honorably pursue no other 
course than to insist that, in the work of reconstruction, 
the freedmen should have the right to defend, with 


their own vote, in the South at least, the inalienable 
rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness 
which the stronger race persistently refused them. 

Congress claimed and exercised the power to recognize 
the changed condition of the blacks, and to confer upon 
them the right to participate in reconstruction with all 
others who had not participated in the rebellion. Upon 
the question of exclusion of the ex-rebels from this work 
President Johnson expressed himself affirmatively with 
much vehemence at the White House on the 21st of 
April, 1865, in response to an address by Governor 0. 
P. Morton, heading a delegation of citizens from Indiana. 
In a speech at Nashville, June 9, 1864, he said : — 

But in calling a convention to restore the State, who shall 
restore and reestablish it? Shall the man who gave his in- 
fluence and his means to destroy the government ? Is he to 
participate in the great work of reorganization? Shall he 
who brought this misery upon the State be permitted to con- 
trol its destinies ? If this be so, then all this precious blood 
of our brave soldiers and officers so freely poured out will 
have been wantonly spilled. All the glorious victories won 
by our noble armies will go for nought, and all the battle- 
fields which have been sown with dead heroes during the 
rebellion will have been made memorable in vain. Why all 
this carnage and devastation ? It was that treason might be 
put down and traitors punished. Therefore I say that traitors 
should take a back seat in the work of restoration. If there 
be but five thousand men in Tennessee loyal to the Constitu- 
tion, loyal to freedom, loyal to justice, these true and faithful 
men should control the work of reorganization and reformation 
absolutely. I say that the traitor has ceased to be a citizen, 
and in joining the rebellion has become a public enemy. He 


forfeited his right to vote with loyal men when he renounced 
his citizenship and sought to destroy our government. 1 

All this must seem very strange to the present gen- 
eration. It is difficult to realize that for four years the 
great body of the Southern people refused to be con- 
sidered citizens of the United States, and fought dur- 
ing those years to wrest from national jurisdiction the 
territory of eleven States of the Union, in which, for 
that length of time, they had maintained a hostile cen- 
tral government. 

Happily the nation has long since been restored, and 
peace reigns throughout its borders. All the States are 
fully enjoying the exercise of their rights under the 
Constitution, and by common consent each is working 
out its own destiny without pressure from the general 

The constitutional amendments prohibiting the States 
from denying to any citizen equal civil rights, or po- 
litical rights on account of race or color only, form the 
test by which the party that sustained Congress is to be 
judged by posterity. As to the policy under which 
these constitutional rights could best be secured, there 
was for a time a wide difference of opinion. Energetic 
federal intervention seemed to President Grant, and his 
supporters, to be imperatively demanded by then exist- 
ing conditions. As time elapsed, public opinion, which 
had previously sustained a repressive policy, changed, 
and the newly enfranchised people were left to the 
ordinary remedies of judicial proceedings, and to pub- 
lic opinion in the several States. 

1 McPherson's Reconstruction, page 46. 


The men who wrought for justice to the emancipated 
race during the decade following the war accomplished 
the great results above described. Not only this, but 
they held in check to a considerable extent, during 
that period, a passionate people whose pride had been 
wounded and whose resentment had been aroused by 
defeat, and who would, if not thus restrained, have been 
almost certain to work permanent harm to themselves 
and to the nation. This would have resulted from their 
unwillingness to allow the abolition of slavery to be 
followed by the real freedom of the negro. Disturbing 
as negro enfranchisement was, the negro would have 
been a still more disturbing factor had his emancipators 
left him balancing between freedom and slavery in the 
land of his former master and of himself. His virtual 
reenslavement, under black codes enacted by the States, 
was attempted and promptly prevented by the federal 
government. His presence in the South as a freeman, 
and his legal right to vote, taken together with the 
intense race prejudice of which he is the object, and 
which he resents, constitute one of the most difficult 
problems in modern civilization. 

The immediate emergency under which the ballot was 
placed in the hands of the negro passed away when the 
Fourteenth Amendment became a part of the Constitu- 
tion. There was no danger that three fourths of the 
States would ever consent to the repeal of this benefi- 
cent provision. But it was certain that, had recon- 
struction stopped at this, a struggle would have been 
precipitated in the Southern States for the elimination 
of black suffrage from their new state constitutions. 


It cannot be doubted that at this juncture of affairs the 
question of political power became an important and 
controlling element. With white suffrage only, there 
was no hope in the South for the party of the Union. 
The leaders of that party thought there would be 
danger in this. A solid political South might secure 
enough allies in the North to make a majority of sen- 
ators and representatives, and of presidential electors. 
Southern rule so soon after the war was regarded by 
many as dangerous to the public peace, and as likely to 
reverse the results ; and so, after much deliberation and 
the consideration of many propositions, Congress sub- 
mitted to the States the Fifteenth Amendment in its 
present form, and it was ratified. It did not impose 
any suffrage test, but provided that the right to vote 
should not be denied " on account of race, color, or 
previous condition of servitude." Any other tests than 
these the States might impose. Illiteracy, pauperism, 
immoral character, or any of the known tests for insur- 
ing a safe and prudent limit upon the elective franchise, 
might be established by any State without conflicting 
with the Fifteenth Amendment, but such tests must be 
applied equally to whites and blacks. It was evidently 
the purpose of the framers of the amendment to avoid 
the wholesale extension of suffrage to ignorant negroes; 
but they were driven by the logic of the case to exclude 
ignorance in the same degree among the whites. 

There is a provision in the Fourteenth Amendment 
which bears upon this subject. It reduces the basis of 
representation in Congress, of any State, proportionately 
with the reduction of the number of voters, for any 


other cause than age, sex, crime, or participation in 
rebellion. This applies equally to all the States of the 

As the constitutional amendment leaves the States 
entirely free to give the ballot to the superior portion 
of each race, and to withhold it from the ignorant, the 
ill-conditioned, and the ill-behaved of each, the friction 
caused by negro suffrage ought easily to be reduced to 
the minimum. 

The grave troubles which are due to mere race antip- 
athies are far more difficult of treatment. Their solu- 
tion has not yet been found. 




General Grant's Warning to President Johnson. — ■ Stanton's Refusal 
to resign from the Cabinet at the President's Request brings 
upon him Severe Criticisms and also Strong Indorsements. 

Congress having construed its own acts by the final 
supplementary reconstruction act of July 19, 1867, 
— the terms of which were incapable of a doubtful 
construction, — and having adjourned, the President 
determined upon displacing Mr. Stanton as Secretary of 
War, and making new assignments of commanders to 
the military districts of the South. The work of re- 
construction under the law might yet be retarded, if 
placed under the supervision of unfriendly or lukewarm 
commanding officers. He deemed it prudent before 
taking any decisive step in this direction to consult 
General Grant, which he did on the 1st of August. 
The result of this conference is given by General Grant 
in the following letter to the President later on the 
same day, which he marked " private : " 1 — 

1 It subsequently became a public document. 


Sir, — I take the liberty of addressing you privately on 
the subject of the conversation we had this morning, feeling, 
as I do, the great danger to the welfare of the country should 
you carry out the designs then expressed. 

First. On the subject of the displacement of the Secre- 
tary of War. His removal cannot be effected against his 
will without the consent of the Senate. It is but a short 
time since the United States Senate was in session, and why 
not then have asked for his removal, if it was desired ? It 
certainly was the intention of the legislative branch of the 
government to place cabinet ministers beyond the power 
of Executive removal, and it is pretty well understood that so 
far as cabinet ministers are affected by the " Tenure of Office 
Bill," it was intended specially to protect the Secretary of 
War, whom the country felt great confidence in. The mean- 
ing of the law may be explained away by an astute lawyer, 
but common sense and the views of loyal people will give to 
it the effect intended by its framers. 

On the subject of the removal of the very able commander 
of the fifth military district, 1 let me ask you to consider the 
effect it would have upon the public. He is universally and 
deservedly beloved by the people who sustained this govern- 
ment through its trials, and feared by those who would still 
be enemies of the government. It fell to the lot of but few 
men to do as much against an armed enemy as General 
Sheridan did during the rebellion, and it is within the scope 
of the ability of but few in this or any other country to 
do what he has. His civil administration has given equal 
satisfaction. He has had difficulties to contend with which 
no other district commander has encountered. Almost, if not 
quite, from the day he was appointed district commander to 
the present time, the press has given out that he was to be 
removed ; that the administration was dissatisfied with him, 

1 General Philip H. Sheridan. 


etc. This lias emboldened the opponents to the laws of Con- 
gress within his command to oppose him in every way in 
their power, and has rendered necessary measures which other- 
wise may never have been necessary. In conclusion, allow 
me to say, as a friend, desiring peace and quiet, the welfare 
of the whole country, North and South, that it is in my 
opinion more than the loyal people of this country (I mean 
those who supported the government during the great rebel- 
lion) will quietly submit to, to see the very men of all others 
whom they have expressed confidence in removed. 

I would not have taken the liberty of addressing the Execu- 
tive of the United States thus but for the conversation on the 
subject alluded to in this letter, and from a sense of duty, 
feeling that I know I am right in this matter. 

Unable to secure General Grant's concurrence to the 
removal of Secretary Stanton, President Johnson de- 
manded the latter' s resignation in the following note, 
dated August 5 : — 

Sir, — Public considerations of a high character constrain 
me to say that your resignation as Secretary of War will be 

This was not a request for the resignation of a cabi- 
net officer on the ground of a merely personal objec- 
tion. It carried with it the assertion that his continu- 
ance in the Cabinet would injuriously affect public 
interests. Secretary Stanton immediately replied as 
follows : — 

Sir, — Your note of this day has been received, stating 
that public considerations of a high character constrain you 
to say that my resignation as Secretary of War will be ac- 

In reply I have the honor to say that public considerations 


of a high character, which alone have induced me to con- 
tinue at the head of the department, constrain me not to 
resign the office of Secretary of War before the next meeting 
of Congress. 

This was equivalent, of course, to saying that Mr. 
Stanton believed the public interests might be endan- 
gered by his resignation before the assembling of Con- 
gress. It was obvious that the President desired to 
place at the head of the department a secretary who 
would aid him in retarding the work of reconstruction. 
Otherwise he would have sent to the Senate a nomina- 
tion for the place while it was yet in session, only 
sixteen days before. The President did not want a 
Secretary of War whose nomination could receive the 
approving votes of a majority of the Senate. 

A dominant reason for this may easily be seen. 
There was nothing compulsory upon the people of the 
South in the reconstruction measures as to when state 
governments should be organized. These acts simply 
provided the methods which should be followed, and 
prescribed the qualifications for voters ; but these voters 
were to determine at the polls whether to remain under 
military rule or frame civil governments preparatory to 
being restored to representation in Congress. The 
President had a lingering hope that by the aid of a 
subservient Secretary of War, and new military com- 
manders devoted to his cause, he might control the 
elections, defeat all movements for new state govern- 
ments, and thereby continue military rule, until he 
could make another effort in a congressional campaign 
to reverse the policy of Congress. Mr. Stanton's con- 


tinuance in the War Department would extinguish this 

The publication of the President's demand for Stan- 
ton's resignation brought to the latter a flood of let- 
ters, earnestly calling upon him to stand firmly at his 
post. These came from people in all walks of life. For 
a cabinet minister to insist upon remaining in office 
against the desire of his chief was of course unpre- 
cedented ; it reversed all preconceived ideas of official 
propriety ; but the occasion which prompted Mr. Stan- 
ton's course was also unprecedented. 

The President had boisterously denounced Congress, 
questioned its legitimacy, and denied its power to legis- 
late upon the terms of peace which should be imposed 
upon the defeated enemy. His message accompanying 
the veto of the final reconstruction act of July 19, 
1867, was if possible more defiant than those which had 
preceded it, and clearly showed it to be his intention to 
prevent the execution of the laws. Three of the Cabi- 
net had resigned soon after his purpose became appar- 
ent. Mr. Stanton had been urged by the Union leaders 
not to leave the War Department to the control of those 
who had organized and sustained the Confederate cause. 

Congress, under a clearly defined granted power, had 
enacted the laws it deemed " necessary and proper " for 
carrying into execution the power vested in the Presi- 
dent to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. 
This they had done to meet the strange emergency of 
his avowed purpose to take care that the laws should 
not be faithfully executed. Having thus, as they sup- 
posed, bound him by statutes, they looked upon Sec- 


retary Stanton and General Grant as the safeguards 
against Executive usurpation. 

Of course the President and his supporters in the 
South, faithfully echoed as they had ever been in the 
North, were very much shocked at Mr. Stanton's re- 
fusal to resign his great trust. He was then fifty-three 
years of age. He had been district attorney during his 
twenty-first year in a county in Ohio, and had in early 
life been for three years reporter of the decisions of 
the Supreme Court of that State. This had been the 
extent of his office-holding up to December, 1860. His 
life had been devoted to his professional labors, and he 
had attained a leading position at the bar. He had 
consented to enter the Cabinet of Mr. Buchanan dur- 
ing the last two and a half months of its existence, 
and had there rendered services to the country of incal- 
culable value. His call to that position, neither sought 
nor desired by him, was without previous notice. His 
appointment to Mr. Lincoln's Cabinet was not sought 
by him, and was made without consultation with him 
in the face of a strong and unconcealed prejudice he 
entertained against Mr. Lincoln at that time. He had 
now for six years labored beyond the natural powers of 
any man, and in the performance of his duties and in 
the protection of public interests had been compelled to 
make many enemies. Office had been to him desirable 
only as it enabled him to aid the patriotic cause dur- 
ing the war, and during the period of the issues which 
naturally grew out of it. Despite all these facts, his 
enemies sought to force his resignation by belittling his 
motives, and seeking to create a public impression that 


a mere desire for office governed his action. But he 
was made of sterner stuff than they had calculated 
upon. He would not desert his post. He would not 
facilitate the revolutionary purposes of the President 
by making way for some supple and servile instrument. 
Had he resigned, the President could have appointed 
any person he pleased, and, under the Constitution, the 
appointee would have held until the close of the next 
session of the Senate, unless sooner displaced by some 
other person nominated by the President and confirmed 
by the Senate. There was no probability that the 
President would appoint any man who could be con- 
firmed. He need only present one objectionable candi- 
date after another until the adjournment of the Senate, 
and then select another equally pliable instrument to 
act during the recess. 

Mr. Stanton earned and received the gratitude of the 
great body of the patriotic people of the country for 
the heroic stand he took at that time. His high pur- 
pose, strong will, and tremendous force of character 
at this most important crisis defeated the reactionary 
plans of the President, and left the way open for the 
measures which preserved the results of the war, and 
which imbedded in the Constitution of the nation the 
principles of universal freedom and the equality of all 
men before the law. 

From the numerous letters received by Mr. Stanton 
expressing the gratitude of the writers for his refusal 
to resign his office, some extracts are given to show the 
esteem in which he was held, and the motives by which 
he was believed to have been governed. 


Hon. William B. Allison, of Iowa, wrote him Au- 
gust 11 : — 

I thank you in the name of my constituents for the firm 
position you have taken against the obstinate and unjust man 
who holds the Executive power of the nation. I can say that 
for myself, so far as I have any power, it shall be used faith- 
fully to uphold you. 

Senator Howard, of Michigan, wrote August 10 : — 

" Being in," stand firm and don't yield an inch. The 
country is with you. 

Hon. Marcus L. Ward, governor of New Jersey, 
wrote August 5 : — 

The rumors of your resignation and retirement from the 
Cabinet have disquieted me. As long as Stanton and Grant 
stand together in defense of the loyal policy of the country, 
regardless of clamor, so long, have I said to myself, will we 
have a breakwater against the mad waves of faction. I know 
there may be circumstances which compel a man of honor to 
withdraw from an administration, but yours is a case which 
rises above such circumstances. I know, and the country 
knows, that your continuance in office has been a sacrifice on 
your part. There was a time when it was misconstrued, but 
that period has passed. 

Cortlandt Parker wrote from Newark, New Jersey, 
August 6 : — 

The country appreciates the sacrifices you have made in 
remaining there, and your high motives in doing so. There 
are many things Mr. Johnson would have attempted, but 
dared not think of them, because you are at the head of the 

Professor John W. Draper wrote as follows, August 7 : 


So the President has perpetrated his folly, and you have 
answered him as we all thought you would. It should 
strengthen you in your vexatious contest to feel that the 
intelligence and patriotism of the nation are with you. He 
may annoy you at the present, but he can never touch the 

Bellamy Storer, writing from Cincinnati August 7, 
said : — 

Do not, under any circumstances, consent to withdraw 
from the Cabinet. The people will sustain you to the full- 
est extent in vindicating, as you have always done, the honor 
of the nation and your own self-respect. 

John Jacob Astor, Jr., wrote from New York Au- 
gust 8 : — 

At the risk of being considered intrusive, I cannot refrain 
from telling you how deeply your friends sympathize with 
you at the present moment, and with what great satisfaction 
they have watched your course during the events that have 
lately transpired. I can only say that you have added to our 
feelings of security, and have strengthened our hopes for the 
future of our country. 

J. P. Usher, who was Secretary of the Interior under 
Mr. Lincoln, wrote : — 

I am aware of the extreme difficulty and unpleasantness of 
your present position, but hope that no consideration of per- 
sonal convenience to yourself will induce you to swerve from 
your declared purpose. I believe that the reason assigned, 
which constrained you from surrendering your office, entirely 
justifies, nay more, that it imperatively demands, that you 
should hold steadfast to your purpose. 

Senator Howe, of Wisconsin, wrote August 9 : — 
vol. n 


The newspapers say that the President wants you to resign. 
I presume that is true. They also say that you will not 
resign. I hope to God that is true. My judgment is, you 
ought not to resign, and my hope is, you will not resign. 

Hon. Lot M. Morrill, senator from Maine, wrote 
August 9 : — 

I do not hesitate to assure everybody that you will not 
voluntarily abandon nor be driven from your post of duty. 
The interests at stake are not different nor less important 
now than when rebellion was flagrant. 

Hon. Samuel Hooper, of Massachusetts, wrote Au- 
gust 8 : — 

I shall be quite satisfied with whatever your judgment 
determines to be right in this matter, but as I see it now, I 
cannot but hope you will determine to sacrifice your incli- 
nations for the good of the country, as the feeling is very 
general at the North that your being at the War Department 
prevents much mischief. 

Judge Leavitt, an old and valued Ohio friend, wrote 
August 9 : — 

Your friends and the great party with which you are iden- 
tified fully appreciate your disinterested patriotism in contin- 
uing in your present place under circumstances which cannot 
be otherwise than distasteful to you, and which must involve 
a sacrifice of personal comforts. 

Thomas Evans, a Pennsylvania Friend, wrote from 
Philadelphia August 8 : — 

Many are looking to thee and to thy remaining in the Cab- 
inet as an important safeguard to the government, exercising 
a very salutary check upon the carrying out of measures 
which would prove injurious to the country. . . . The good 


you have done as well as the mischief you have prevented 
entitles you to the gratitude of the country, and making this 
last sacrifice of retaining your position in the Cabinet will 
greatly enhance your claims upon it. 

Senator Cragin, of New Hampshire, wrote : — 

I desire to thank you, in the name of the loyal people of 
New Hampshire, for the bold and patriotic stand you have 
taken in refusing to resign your office at the request of a man 
who has shamefully betrayed the interests of his country, and 
the party that elevated him to power. 

Hon. F. A. Pike, of Maine, wrote August 10 : — 

I know it is disagreeable and uncomfortable to the last 
degree to retain your position, but still you ought to do it 
until all the preliminary reorganization steps are taken by 
the rebel States and the elections got through with. 

Hamilton Ward, a representative from New York, 
wrote August 7 : — 

I do not presume to advise you as to the course you should 
take in case the President seeks to " muster you out," but 
allow me to express the firmest hope (which is also the feel- 
ing of the loyal millions of this land) that you will stand at 
your place and retain the place that the law gives you, the 
President to the contrary notwithstanding. 

Ex- Governor Clifford, of Massachusetts, wrote Au- 
gust 8 : — 

Your reply to the Executive rescript is received everywhere 
with a sense of grateful and refreshing feeling that the " most 
important public considerations " are still recognized as 
among the obligations resting upon public men in determin- 
ing their course, however much they may conflict with private 
ease or personal comfort. 


E. Littell, the publisher of " Littell's Living Age," 
wrote from Boston August 7 : — 

I cannot send away the envelope addressed to your office 
without giving expression to the hearty respect and sympathy 
of a loyal man, and praying you to keep your feet firmly at 
your post. Congress only expressed the national dependence 
upon your tried virtue. 


Stanton suspended by the President. ■ — Grant accepts Appointment 
as Secretary of War ad interim. — Letters sustaining Stanton. 

It took the President just one week to decide upon 
his next step. He was unwilling to ignore the loud 
protest of General Grant against the Secretary's re- 
moval. He well knew that the general was right when 
he said that " the Tenure of Office Bill was intended 
specially to protect the Secretary of War." The second 
section of that act provided for the suspension of offi- 
cers who " were shown by evidence satisfactory to the 
President to be guilty of misconduct in office, or crime, 
or for any reason incapable or legally disqualified to 
perform its duties." In cases of suspension, some suit- 
able person was required to be designated to perform 
temporarily the duties of such office until the next 
meeting of the Senate, and until the case should be 
acted upon by that body. It further provided that if 
the Senate at its next session should refuse to concur 
in such suspension, the officer so suspended should 
forthwith resume the functions of his office. On the 
12th of August the President addressed the following 
communication to Mr. Stanton : — 

Sik, — By virtue of the power and authority vested in me as 
President by the Constitution and laws of the United States, 
you are hereby suspended from office as Secretary of War, 


and will cease to exercise any and all functions pertaining 
to the same. You will at once transfer to General Ulysses 
S. Grant, who has this day been authorized and empowered 
to act as Secretary of War ad interim, all records, books, 
papers, and other public property now in your custody and 

General Grant transmitted a copy of his assignment 
as Acting Secretary to Mr. Stanton, accompanying the 
same with a note ? the conclusion of which was in the 
following language : — 

In notifying you of my acceptance, I cannot let the oppor- 
tunity pass without expressing to you my appreciation of the 
zeal, patriotism, firmness, and ability with which you have 
ever discharged the duties of Secretary of War. 

The Secretary addressed the following reply to Presi- 
dent Johnson : — 

Sir, — Your note of this date has been received, informing 
me that, by virtue of the power and authority vested in you as 
President by the Constitution and laws of the United States, 
I am suspended from office as Secretary of War, and will 
cease to exercise any and all functions pertaining to the 
same, and also directing me at once to transfer to General 
U. S. Grant, who has this day been authorized and empow- 
ered to act as Secretary of War ad interim, all records, 
books, papers, and other public property now in my custody 
and charge. 

Under a sense of public duty I am compelled to deny your 
right, under the Constitution and laws of the United States, 
without the advice and consent of the Senate, and without 
legal cause, to suspend me from office as Secretary of War, 
or the exercise of any or all functions pertaining to the same, 
or without such advice and consent to compel me to transfer 


to any person the records, books, papers, and public property 
in my custody as Secretary. But inasmuch as the general 
commanding the armies of the United States has been ap- 
pointed ad interim, and has notified me that he has accepted 
the appointment, I have no alternative but to submit, under 
protest, to superior force. 

It should be especially observed that Mr. Stanton 
held that he had been suspended " without legal 
cause," — in violation of the Constitution and laws of 
the United States. No cause had been named in the 
order of suspension. He would surrender the depart- 
ment under protest, because the general of the armies, 
who had accepted the appointment, represented a supe- 
rior force, which could not be resisted. To General 
Grant Secretary Stanton wrote on the same day in sim- 
ilar terms, transmitting also a copy of the above letter. 
He concluded his note as follows : — 

You will please accept my acknowledgment of the kind 
terms in which you have notified me of your acceptance of 
the President's appointment, and my cordial reciprocation of 
the sentiments expressed. 

W. E. Dodge, of New York, wrote Mr. Stanton Au- 
gust 13 : — 

I am living up the North Kiver twenty-five miles, and 
daily go up and down with a very large crowd of our city 
merchants, and for some days your position has been the sub- 
ject of daily conversation, and I am pleased to say that I 
have not heard a word from any man other than approbation 
of your course, and condemnation of the course of the Presi- 
dent, and you may rest assured that you never before had 
more of the confidence and sympathy of the best portion of 
the American people, and your devotion and self-sacrifice 


during our years of national struggle will never be forgotten. 
Keep up good courage and your course will be fully vindi- 

Governor Buckingham, of Connecticut, wrote him 
August 13 : — 

As a telegram announces your suspension from official 
duty, I cannot refrain from expressing my personal obliga- 
tions to you for continuing until this time to occupy the posi- 
tion of Secretary of War, under circumstances which were 
uncongenial to your taste and antagonistic to your personal 

To your incorruptible patriotism, sleepless vigilance, untir- 
ing zeal, and executive efficiency are we, under God, indebted 
more than to the services of any other living man for the tri- 
umph over the rebellion. Impartial history will so make the 
record, a record which will be indorsed by the great mass of 
loyal citizens, and which cannot be defaced by the President. 

Governor Morton, of Indiana, wrote to a friend Sep- 
tember 9 : — 

I was deeply grieved by the suspension of Stanton, but am 
sure it will result in giving him a glorious triumph through 
the Senate. When Congress meets I shall take an early 
opportunity to give the country my opinion of his great and 
invaluable services, and think my opportunities to understand 
them have been good. 


Mr. Stanton in New England. — Much depressed. — " One Inter- 
view with General Grant " would do Much to set him Right. 
— A Letter to Professor Draper. 

The suspension of Mr. Stanton afforded him the 
first opportunity he had had for a rest from work since 
January, 1862, — a period of more than five years and 
a half. What this work had been could be estimated 
only by those who had opportunities to observe it. 
Senators and members who had access to the depart- 
ment at all times found him at his desk at the earliest 
official morning hour, never knowing any limit to the 
duration of his daily labors. He worked all the day, 
and a great deal of the time far into the night. 

Mr. Stanton accepted the invitation of Representa- 
tive Hooper, of Massachusetts, to visit him at Cotuit 
Port in that State, and with his wife and daughter 
visited Boston on the way to that place. On the 22d 
of August the mayor and common council of Boston 
tendered him the ceremonial hospitalities of the city in 
resolutions eulogizing his patriotic services in the Cabi- 
nets of Presidents Buchanan, Lincoln, and Johnson. 
This Mr. Stanton declined in a letter expressive of his 
high appreciation of the testimonial. He said : — 

My purpose in visiting your ancient commonwealth was 
truly stated in the preamble to your resolutions, namely, for 


the reestablishment of my health. I hope, therefore, to be 
excused from any public ceremony or attention, and that this 
will be received as an appropriate acknowledgment of the 
hospitalities tendered me by the municipal authorities of 

On the 22d of August he wrote his son : — 

In respect to public affairs I am entirely content so far as 
they have been disclosed. I see that Sheridan has been re- 
moved, as could not fail to be the case after Grant consented 
to aid Johnson. Every day increases my satisfaction at being 
out of Johnson's administration, and the mode of leaving it 
could not have been approved more highly. On all sides I 
have letters and invitations requesting me to visit particular 
places, all of which I decline. I shall probably pursue my 
professional designs and leave public cares to others. 

On the 29th of September Mrs. Stanton wrote to 
Edwin L. Stanton from Hoboken, New Jersey, as fol- 
lows : — 

Among the letters received yesterday was one from you to 
your father, which was overlooked by him. Some time after, 
I saw it lying on the table, and took the liberty of opening it 
to see if it was any more cheerful in its tone than those al- 
ready received from you. Finding it but a detailed account 
of the interview between Governor Morton and General Grant, 
I destroyed it. Your father is in very bad spirits ; the least 
thing upsets him, and I do not see any use in troubling him 
about matters which he cannot attend to until he returns 
home. I think one interview with General Grant would do 
more to set matters right than all the letters that could be 
written. In the mean time do whatever you think best, and 
I have no doubt it will be satisfactory to him. 

Mr. Stanton returned to Washington on the 8th of 


October. The following letter addressed by him to Pro- 
fessor John W. Draper, November 20, is interesting : — 

Your note of the 24th ultimo reached here during my 
absence in Ohio, and the few days that have elapsed since my 
return have been taken up by engagements requiring immedi- 
ate attention. Please accept my thanks for the copy of your 
physiology, which is not only prized for its own merit, but as 
an additional token of regard that is very dear to me. If I 
rightly comprehend your idea as to the place and manner in 
which you proposed to treat the subject of the forces engaged 
in the war, it commends itself very strongly to my judgment 
as the most appropriate method of treatment. 

As to the historical events which occurred from the time I 
went into the department in January, 1862, until January, 
1863, the period that closes the second volume of your his- 
tory, there do not occur just now to my mind many incidents 
of much interest that are not fully disclosed in the official 
reports and telegrams and correspondence that have already 
in some form been published, or are readily accessible. In 
order to revive the subject fully in my mind with accurate 
order and date, I shall at the earliest possible period arrange 
my own papers, and look over the official records, so as to 
furnish anything you may have overlooked or failed to obtain. 
In respect to myself and my official action, a telegram of 
General McClellan's which I think is omitted by him in his 
report, and a speech made by Mr. Lincoln at the Capitol 
about the time of the Peninsula disasters, or shortly after, 
furnish a full answer to McClellan's complaints. 

While I assent to your maxim that a public officer owes 
something to himself in seeing that the truth is told con- 
cerning his acts, yet I have never been able to overcome the 
feeling that in a great contest like ours, involving the life of 
a nation and the welfare of a race in all that concerns life, 
liberty, and happiness, merely individual action is too insig- 


nificant to waste time and labor in its vindication. And 
hence I have felt it the better part to bear in silence what 
might easily be answered or repelled, without regard to the 
source or motive of the accusation. But of this we can talk 
more at large when we meet, as I hope to see you here soon. 
It is my purpose to devote a few weeks of leisure before 
reentering actively upon professional labors to the arrange- 
ment of such papers as appear worthy of preservation, and 
whatever information they contain or I possess will be at 
your service. 

The following expression in a letter to the Hon. 
David Paul Brown, of Philadelphia, dated November 
14, is one of the many similar ones in which he forbade 
his friends to think of him in connection with any 
office : — 

Your kind sentiments towards myself I have had frequent 
occasion gratefully to acknowledge, and they are cordially 
reciprocated. It may not be improper to add that while duly 
estimating the personal preference expressed in your note, no 
possible contingency can induce me to be a candidate for any 
official station. 


The Meeting of Congress. — The President informs the Senate of 
Stanton's Suspension and assigns Reasons therefor. — Stanton's 
Reply. — The Senate reinstates him in the War Office. — Stan- 
ton on the Suspension of Exchange of Prisoners. 

On the 12th of December, 1867, the President sent 
a communication to the Senate relating to the suspen- 
sion of Mr. Stanton. The reasons assigned by him for 
this act are stated in Mr. Stanton's reply, which is as 
follows : — 

To the Senate of the United States : — 

The President having sent to the Senate a message relating 
to my suspension from the office of Secretary of "War, I beg 
leave respectfully to submit an answer thereto, in terms which 
shall be tempered by the self-restraint and decorum due to 
the dignity of the Senate and the high office from which I 
have been suspended. 

The reasons assigned for my suspension are in substance : 
1st. That my answer to the President, declining to resign 
before the meeting of Congress, and my protest against sus- 
pension were defiant. 

2d. That I advised the President to veto the bill regulat- 
ing the tenure of civil officers, and now insist upon com- 
pliance with its provisions. 

3d. That I was the author of, and approved, but now 
oppose what is called the President's reconstruction policy. 

4th. That I gave no instructions to General Baird in 
answer to his telegram to me dated the 28th of July, and did 


not communicate it to the President before the New Orleans 
riot, and that I did not exculpate the President from the 
charge of responsibility for the riot. 

These accusations will be answered in their order, omitting 
notice of covert and irrelevant insinuations, purposeless ex- 
cept for aggravation and insult. 

I. Mr. Johnson's letter to me of the 5th of August last 
stated that public considerations of a high character con- 
strained him to say that my resignation, if tendered, would 
be accepted. The professed constraint, by public considera- 
tions, indirectly imputed official delinquency on my part, so 
that my resignation would be equivalent to a resignation 
under charges, and with a view to escape their consequences 
by taking advantage of a gracious tender of mercy, and I be 
exposed to the assaults of enemies and deprived of all chance 
of investigation by the Senate or of public vindication by any 
mode. I did not choose to become the victim of such astute 
device. But my response, if defiant, defied only unjust impu- 
tation ; and in declining to resign I did no more than accept 
an option in Mr. Johnson's letter, preferring to abide such 
alternative action as might be held in reserve against me. 
Nor is the protest in my second letter any justification of Mr. 
Johnson's act, because it was made after the order of suspen- 
sion to exclude any imputation of assent to his act, and was 
a proper measure of self-defense to compel specification and 
obtain the hearing which the Tenure of Office Act secured. 
This was due to those who had sustained my official action, 
and had a right to know for what fault Mr. Johnson sus- 
pended me. 

But that my letters, besides not justifying, did not even 
occasion Mr. Johnson's hostility, but are now put forth as 
pretexts, is proved by General Grant's private letter to him, 
which shows that as early as the 1st of August he had 
resolved to displace me from the War Department. The mes- 
sage also confesses that this conclusion had been determined 


upon prior to any correspondence, because " mutual confi- 
dence and accord had ceased." This being, by Mr. Johnson's 
confession, the reason for my suspension, I had as much right 
and as good grounds as he to claim for my conduct the merit 
of public considerations, and no obligation of duty required me 
to resign or accord with him against my judgment of right. 

Surprise is expressed in the message that I did not resign 
at the meeting of Congress. If Mr. Johnson had suspended 
his action until the meeting of Congress, he might have 
reasonably expected my resignation, but his movement against 
me, under the Tenure of Office Act, made the duty imperative 
to compel specification of charges. 

II. My alleged opposition to the bill regulating the tenure 
of civil offices presents the singular complaint of agreement 
in one instance with Mr. Johnson. I did oppose the Tenure 
of Office Bill ; so did he. But when it became a law by a 
two thirds vote over the veto objections, it was his duty and 
mine, as executive officers, to respect and obey it. 

If, however, it is inconsistency for one who has opposed a 
bill to take advantage of its provisions after it has become 
a law, Mr. Johnson is the first and chief offender. He made 
the first appeal to the Tenure of Office Act. He might have 
taken the responsibility of removing me instead of arguing 
against the law ; by suspending instead of removing me, he 
was the first to resort to an act which he had vetoed. 

My disapproval of the measure when it was but a bill, and 
especially to that part which retained members of the Cabi- 
net, was no secret, in or out of Cabinet. When the bill was 
before Congress, I advised against its passage. It was pub- 
licly advocated in the debates in Congress as necessary to 
protect the Secretary of War against Mr. Johnson's hostility. 
But while thankful for the confidence this evinced, I asked no 
protection ; Mr. Bingham 1 was requested to ask my friends 

1 A representative from Ohio. 


to have that provision stricken out ; and after the bill passed, 
I hoped it would be reconsidered and fail after veto, and 
would cheerfully have stated my objections in the form of 
a veto, had time and health permitted. If, then, the pur- 
pose of this charge is to degrade me by the insinuation of 
disingenuous opposition in Cabinet to a bill favored by me 
outside, that purpose fails ; because the charge is untrue in 

The argument based upon my objections to the measure 
when it was only a bill, open to discussion and criticism, has 
no relevancy to the case before the Senate. As Congress, in 
spite of Mr. Johnson's opposition and mine, reserved the 
right of final judgment on the removal or suspension of an 
officer, it was no misconduct to protest against the violation 
of the Tenure Act in my person, unless it be wrong to conform 
to a law disapproved before its passage. This seems to be 
Mr. Johnson's view, and forms an aggravation of my offense. 
Yet, having vetoed it, he claimed the first benefit of the 
Tenure Act to displace the head of a department. 

The course pursued by Mr. Johnson in the period between 
the time when the Tenure Bill was under consideration and 
the time when I declined to resign may also be referred to in 
this connection. His disposition and intention in respect to 
the laws relating to reconstruction are indicated in his mes- 
sages to Congress during that period, and in the nullification 
of two of the laws by construction. This certainly made it 
not less incumbent upon me to conform to the law and to 
carry out the desire of Congress, as twice declared in the 
passage of the Tenure Act. 

III. The accusation concerning my alleged participation 
in Mr. Johnson's reconstruction policy and subsequent an- 
tagonism to it is disposed of by references to well-known his- 
torical facts and public documents. 

In considering the charge, care must be taken to distinguish 
between Mr. Johnson's paper or proclaimed policy antecedent 


to the 12th of September, 1865, and his policy as afterwards 
announced and actually carried into practice in the rebel 
States. The first I supported ; the other I opposed. The 
prominent feature of his earlier policy, as proclaimed, was 
the control of Congress over reorganization, and the protec- 
tion of loyal citizens in their lives, persons, and property. 
The North Carolina proclamation indicated on its face that 
the Executive action was provisional only, and therefore sub- 
ject to the control of Congress; the governor was called 
provisional, and the new constitution was to be presented for 
the national guarantee which Congress only could give. And 
upon application, on one occasion by Governor Sharkey, of 
Mississippi, and on another by Governor Marvin, of Florida, 
for instructions on different points, with a view to consist- 
ently carrying out the President's policy as then announced, 
twice did specific orders from Mr. Johnson, through Mr. 
Seward, who, as Secretary of State, was charged with recon- 
struction, officially declare, with the most solemn sanction, the 
paramount power of Congress over the provisional action 
of the Executive. The Executive instructions upon this 
point to Governor Sharkey were sent on July 24, 1865, and 
those to Governor Marvin on September 12, 1865. Another 
point of difference between the earlier policy as proclaimed, 
which I favored, and that which was carried out and after- 
wards announced, which I opposed, is in respect to admis- 
sion of loyal citizens in the rebel States to the franchise, 
not excluding colored people therefrom. I advised that this 
should be done in the Executive orders or proclamations upon 
the subject of provisional reorganization in the rebel States ; 
and, though Mr. Johnson was immovably opposed to bring- 
ing it about in that way, he yet professed that his objection 
was that such action would transcend Executive authority, and 
that his desire was that that result should be accomplished in 
what he considered the constitutional method. In August, 
1865, in an official communication over his own signature, 
vol. n 


lie expressed to Governor Sharkey, of Mississippi, the opinion 
that the Mississippi convention then in session might, " as an 
example to the other States," extend the elective franchise to 
"all persons of color who can read the Constitution of the 
United States in English and write their names, and to all 
persons of color who own real estate valued at not less than 
two hundred and fifty dollars, and pay taxes thereon." Such 
was the earlier proclaimed policy, not going, indeed, to the 
extent of my views, but to which I gave my assent as a pro- 
visional plan, subject to be approved, modified, or abrogated 
by Congress, and having in view the reorganization of civil 
government without rebel intervention, the security of the 
rights and lives of loyal citizens, and the admission of the 
intelligent and loyal to the franchise, without exclusion on 
account of color. 

This earlier declared plan met much favor and general 
emphatic approval by public meetings, addresses, and politi- 
cal conventions. While this lasted, Mr. Johnson ascribed to 
me no share in originating the policy. The North Carolina 
proclamation, which he patched up, taking some scraps from 
a rough project of mine, some from his own notions, and 
some perhaps from other suggestions, when pieced together, was 
sent into the world as his policy ; for more than two years he 
claimed it as his job. Not until it fell into disgrace, through 
the condemnation of his plan as carried out and afterwards 
announced, did he make any mention of help from me or any 
one else. On all occasions he boasted exclusive paternity of 
what he now lays at my door. But I accept my share of the 
responsibility in assenting to the North Carolina proclama- 
tion ; for it professed to give security to the lives, persons, 
and property of all loyal citizens, and on its face, and as 
expounded by Mr. Johnson and Mr. Seward until the 12th of 
September, 1865, was subject to the control of Congress and 
favored the admission of loyal and intelligent colored men to 
the franchise ; but in the actual policy practiced in the rebel 


States and set forth after September, 1865, I had no lot or 
part except to advise against it. 

When, abandoning the principles of the North Carolina 
proclamation, Mr. Johnson committed reorganization to per- 
sons who had been active rebels, military leaders, and com- 
manding generals in the rebel armies, when freedmen and 
loyal whites were deprived of their rights, and their property, 
persons, and lives endangered and destroyed, then the actual 
policy appeared and demanded congressional action. At the 
meeting of Congress in December, when the committee on 
reconstruction was organized, Mr. Johnson put forth his 
claim of Executive power, and then commenced his contest 
with Congress, of which one stage is the displacement of the 
Secretary of War, others being marked by his veto of every 
reconstruction bill passed by Congress and their nullification 
by construction. 

To support his claim of absolute authority over reconstruc- 
tion, the message gives some extracts from my testimony 
before the Impeachment Committee in May last, but the 
same misfortune that happened to Sheridan's telegram befell 
my testimony, — the material part was left out. When inter- 
rogated as to my understanding of the powers of Congress 
over the President's policy, the following testimony, omitted 
from the message, appears on the record : — 

" My opinion is that the whole subject of reconstruction, and 
the relation of a State to the federal government, is subject 
to the controlling power of Congress; and while I believe 
that the President and his Cabinet were not violating any 
law, but were faithfully performing their duty in endeavoring 
to organize provisional governments in these States, I sup- 
posed then, and still suppose, that the final validity of such 
organizations would rest with the law-making power of the 

I always maintained the paramount power of Congress 
over reconstruction ; and when he set up his claim to abso- 


lute and exclusive control, this conflict of Executive power 
against the authority of Congress produced difference be- 
tween Mr. Johnson and the Secretary of War, who stood 
alone, after the resignation of the Secretary of the Interior, 
Postmaster-General, and Attorney-General, against Mr. John- 
son's claim of supremacy. The occasion of what the mes- 
sage terms irreconcilable differences of opinion between the 
President and the Secretary of War were the various acts 
of Congress exercising authority over the rebel States with 
a view to reorganization and to correction of the evils of 
the course followed there, the act for the admission of Colo- 
rado, and the act regulating suffrage in the District of 
Columbia. I advised Mr. Johnson to approve these acts. 
He vetoed them. The first bill passed by Congress bearing 
upon reconstruction received my support in Cabinet. It was 
the first Freedmen's Bureau Bill, which passed the House 
on February 6, 1866, was vetoed on February 19, and after- 
wards failed to receive the two thirds vote necessary to pass 
it over the veto. The other measures relating to reconstruc- 
tion were the second Freedmen's Bureau Bill, the Civil 
Rights Bill, and the three bills establishing and regulating 
military government in the rebel States ; of these, also, I 
advised approval. Mr. Stanbery's interpretation of the re- 
construction acts of March 2 and March 28, 1867, was 
another subject on which the President and Secretary of 
War did not accord. This was many days under discussion 
and a record was kept of the votes, a part of which was pub- 
lished, but the residue, although called for by Congress, has 
been withheld. 

Mr. Johnson confesses in his message that this difference 
of opinion was the real cause of my displacement ; and he 
confesses, also, the indirect modes employed to displace a 
head of department without taking the responsibility, but 
casting it upon the officer. I may well ask the Senate to 
judge the accusations against me in the light of Mr. John- 


son's acknowledgment of these indirect and irresponsible 
modes employed by hiin to extort my resignation without 
express request. This course, if successful, would have 
evaded the act of Congress, and by wanton means would have 
compelled me to abandon my trust and post. But it did not 

Called from my profession to the administration of the 
War Department by Mr. Lincoln at a critical period of the 
war, its duties and responsibilities were encountered without 
shrinking until, by the blessings of Providence, the war came 
to an end. When requested by Mr. Johnson, after Mr. Lin- 
coln's murder, to remain in the War Department, I did not 
feel at liberty to shun the new responsibilities and duties that 
must fall on the Secretary of War. But at no time did I 
conceive it my duty to accord with the President on all grave 
questions of policy and administration. 

The duties of the head of a department are defined by 
law; his nomination, unlike those of ministers of royal gov- 
ernments having their own peculiar checks upon the crown, 
requires confirmation by the Senate. Of late a notion has 
crept in that heads of departments assembled together consti- 
tute a ministry whose members, each and all, are bound to 
accord with the President on all grave questions of policy or 
administration ; but in this view I do not concur. 

It is true that in this case personal considerations would 
have led me long ago to sever my relations with Mr. John- 
son. But under authority of Congress, and Mr. Lincoln's 
order, I had as Secretary of War put over a million of men 
into the field. And I was unwilling to abandon the victory 
they had won, or to see the " lost cause " restored over the 
graves of nearly four hundred thousand loyal soldiers, or to 
witness four million of freedmen subjected, for want of legal 
protection, to outrages against their lives, persons, and pro- 
perty, and their race in danger of being returned to some 
newly invented bondage. For these reasons I was resolved 


to bear all and suffer all contending against such results. 
Hence the indirect modes of displacing me failed of their pur- 
pose ; and I am thankful that standing alone as I did, for 
twelve months, giving the President faithfully and frankly 
my best judgment on the grave questions in agitation, I had 
the endurance and fortitude to bear with tranquil patience 
the modes employed to induce me to surrender my post. If I 
have rendered any service to the country or done anything 
to maintain its peace, it was by standing resolutely at my 
post fearlessly to give Mr. Johnson good advice. Supported 
by the highest considerations of public duty, the tenacity 
of my purpose was proof against all indirect modes to dis- 
place me. 

But in all these differences of opinion respecting Mr. 
Johnson's reconstruction policy, during a period of two years, 
while for a part of the time he, by his confession, was em- 
ploying every mode to induce my resignation short of express 
request, it is not complained that my bearing was disrespect- 
ful, or other than was due from the head of a department to 
the chief Executive. 

If, therefore, my official duty, not compelling me, as 
claimed in the message, to win and preserve Mr. Johnson's 
favor by according with him on all grave questions of policy 
and administration, required only diligence, obedience to the 
laws, and freedom from crime, misconduct, and physical, 
mental, and legal incapacity, then my action in respect to the 
reconstruction policy of Mr. Johnson affords no ground for 
displacing me from the War Department. 

IY. The facts relating to the New Orleans riot have been 
so thoroughly investigated and discussed that a brief answer 
to the accusation now made against me will exhibit its ground- 
less nature. 

The venom of the charge is weakened by the fact that 
more than a year ago my accuser charged the responsibility for 
the New Orleans riot, in grosser language and more positive 


terms, upon the Radical members of Congress ; it now serves 
his purpose to accuse, with no more reason, the Secretary of 

It appears to be a preliminary point of offense that I did 
not exculpate Mr. Johuson. The message says : — 

" The delinquency of the President was heralded in every 
form of utterance. Mr. Stanton knew then that the Presi- 
dent was not responsible for this delinquency. The exculpa- 
tion was in his power, but it was not given by him to the 
public ; and only to the President in obedience to a requisi- 
tion for all the dispatches." 

Mr. Stanton was not Mr. Johnson's accuser, but he could 
not exculpate him. Mr. Stanton knew on Sunday, the 29th 
of July, but not sooner, from General Baird's telegram, that 
a peaceable, legally authorized convention was to meet at 
New Orleans on Monday, the 30th of July ; that the city au- 
thorities, some of whom had been rebels, threatened to arrest 
the members ; and that General Baird had given warning 
against interference with the convention, and intended to 
protect the members unless otherwise instructed by the Presi- 
dent. Mr. Stanton did not know or suspect, nor did General 
Baird until after the riot, that the city police meant to kill 
the members of the convention ; that its enemies had been in 
conference with the President ; that he, without notice to the 
Secretary of War, through an irregular unmilitary channel, 
hostile to the convention, had given assurance of military aid 
against the convention, and practically sent instructions to 
induce General Baird to withdraw military protection and 
assist the police. And Mr. Stanton also knew, after the 
riot, that a telegram from General Sheridan, relating to the 
riot, having been delivered to Mr. Johnson entire, as it was 
received, was speedily published in such a mutilated condi- 
tion as appeared to excuse or justify the massacre ; that cor- 
rection was authorized by Mr. Johnson only when General 
Sheridan indignantly demanded the publication of the genu- 


ine dispatch ; that at St. Louis, when called upon to explain 
his responsibility for the New Orleans riot, Mr. Johnson, 
with full knowledge of all the facts, publicly charged the 
crime upon the Radical members of Congress, accused them 
of being its contrivers and fomenters, and declared that 
" every drop of blood that was shed is upon their skirts." 
With the knowledge of all the facts, five weeks after the 
massacre, while the ground was still smoking with the blood 
of the victims, he excused their slaughter on the ground 
that they had denounced him and were insurgents and 
traitors. 1 

And now, a year and a half after the event, more than 
twelve months after Mr. Johnson imputed the innocent blood 
of the New Orleans riot to the Radical members of Congress, 
he accuses me of some responsibility. But it will be noticed 
that I am not accused of any contrivance or positive com- 
plicity in the act. That charge is left unqualified and unre- 
tracted against the Radical members of Congress ; but failure 
to instruct General Baird, or give his telegram to the Presi- 
dent, is put forth as my offense. General Baird's telegram 
intimated no apprehension of violence, he expected none ; as 
he had done and intended to do what was exactly right, there 
was no occasion to give him any instructions or apply to the 
President for instructions. 

If the President believed that I was remiss in my duty 
relating to that dreadful transaction, he was then restrained 
by no tenure law, but had sole right of judgment and abso- 
lute power of removal. But when what he calls " irreconcil- 
able differences of opinion " arose between us on the recon- 
struction laws, when " every mode short of express request " 
to resign failed to induce my accord, when an intimation that 
my resignation would be accepted proved no more successful 
in compelling me to abandon my post as the head of the War 
1 Mr. Johnson's St. Louis speech. 


Department, then Mr. Johnson, having taken advantage of 
the Tenure of Office Act, and being necessitated to allege 
some ground for his action, thrust this charge before the 
Senate as a pretended reason for suspending me, on the 
12th of August, from the office of Secretary of War. 

The charge and pretext have the same character ; and, 
refraining to designate them in terms excusable by the provo- 
cation, I deny the truth of Mr. Johnson's accusation against 
me for any remissness, official misconduct, or default in my 
action relating to the New Orleans riot, or the exculpation of 
Mr. Johnson for his responsibility therein. 

Mr. Johnson's objections and citations against the act of 
Congress have no bearing upon this case. The law is in the 
statute-book, and is not a question for debate. His claim to 
the right to sever official relations with the head of a depart- 
ment for other causes than those prescribed in the act would 
annul the law which enumerates the grounds for which, and 
no other, the President may sever official relations by suspen- 
sion during the recess of Congress, viz., misconduct in office, 
or crime, or becoming incapable or legally disqualified to per- 
form the official duties. Not one of these causes is set up in 
this case, but a message is sent to the Senate containing little 
more than irrelevant and groundless insinuations against the 
Secretary of War, and objections to the act of Congress. To 
deal with Mr. Johnson's oft-repeated claim of power in spite 
of the law belongs to the Senate and is no task of mine. 

Having now passed in review the various parts of the 
message to the Senate in the very order in which Mr. John- 
son deemed them most effective for him, I aver that all the 
accusations and imputations of official misconduct therein 
charged or intimated against me are groundless and untrue. 

Heretofore I have forborne to reply to accusations, con- 
tent with the consciousness of adhering to duty, and unwill- 
ing to seek the good opinions of men otherwise than by the 
faithful performance of the tasks devolved upon me. And I 


am influenced to answer these charges, not by their weight, 
for they have none, but in deference to the Senate of the 
United States. 

The President's charges having been referred to the 
Committee on Military Affairs, that committee reported 
the following resolution and recommended its pas- 
sage : — 

Resolved, That having considered the evidence and reasons 
given by the President in his report of the 12th of Decem- 
ber, 1867, for the suspension from the office of Secretary of 
War of Edwin M. Stanton, the Senate do not concur in such 

This resolution was, after debate, adopted January 
13 by a vote of 35 yeas to 6 nays, thirteen senators 
not voting. 

During the debate, which was in executive session, 
an assault was made upon Mr. Stanton, calling in ques- 
tion his course at certain times during the progress of 
the war concerning the exchange of prisoners. It was 
especially charged that he had refused to exchange 
prisoners, thereby entailing much suffering upon great 
numbers of our soldiers confined in rebel prisons. At 
the request of Mr. Fessenden, Mr. Stanton furnished 
him with a clear and complete statement of what his 
action had been on the subject of the exchange of 
prisoners, including a complete explanation of the cir- 
cumstances attending the suspension of such exchanges. 
This statement was dated January 13, 1868. 

After making this detailed statement, — referring to 
every criticism ever made on the subject, — he em- 


braces its entire substance in the following well-con- 
densed summary and conclusion : — 

The official documents prove that from the first hour Mr. 
Stanton entered the War Department until the end of the 
war he was earnest, zealous, and unceasing in his efforts to 
provide for, relieve, and liberate our prisoners who were in 
the hands of the rebels ; that the suspension of exchanges was 
caused by the flagrant abrogation of the cartel and violation 
of the principles of civilized warfare in subjecting the officers 
in our army to the penalty of death for commanding colored 
troops; in refusing to release non-combatants captured in 
Pennsylvania and other loyal States ; in refusing to release 
or exchange colored prisoners and subjecting them to the 
punishment of death ; in releasing from parole and putting 
in the field the army captured at Vicksburg and Port Hud- 
son, thereby raising a new army to conquer the government 
and slaughter its people ; and that the starvation and expo- 
sure of our prisoners in rebel mews was a deliberate, bar- 
barous policy adopted to secure the overthrow of the United 
States government. The charge of any default or neglect of 
duty by Mr. Stanton towards our prisoners of war is abso- 
lutely false and malicious. 

Mr. Stanton commenced his statement as follows : — 

The history of the exchange of prisoners and the official 
documents in relation thereto will be found in the report of 
Major-General Hitchcock, commissioner for the exchange of 
prisoners. 1 

The document thus referred to is a permanent record 
fully vindicating Mr. Stanton's administration of the 
War Department in all that relates to the exchange of 
prisoners and temporary suspensions of the same. 

1 Documents accompanying the Report of the Secretary of War, 
Executive Documents, 1st session 39th Congress, pages 1075-1099. 


Stanton again in the War Office. — Misunderstandings between him 
and General Grant. — Their Causes. — Controversy between 
Grant and the President. — President decides to remove Stanton. 

When General Grant was designated as Secretary of 
War ad interim, in August, 1867, he called upon Mr. 
Stanton in person to arrange a time when it would be 
convenient for the latter to transfer to him the depart- 
ment. He naturally expected a similar courtesy upon 
Mr. Stanton's reinstatement. But early on the morn- 
ing of the 14th — the day following the action of the 
Senate — Mr. Stanton went directly to the department, 
and took possession without any show of ceremony or 
any call upon General Grant. The latter thereupon 
avoided the Secretary's room, and delivered the key of 
it to Adjutant-General Townsend, saying that he might 
be found at his office at army headquarters. General 
Townsend delivered the key to Mr. Stanton. General 
Sherman states in his " Memoirs " that on the same 
day General Grant " expressed himself as by no means 
pleased with the manner in which Stanton had regained 
his office, saying he had sent a messenger for him that 
morning, as of old, with word that he 6 wanted to see 
him.' " 

There was something much more serious than a mere 
question of courtesy in this action by Mr. Stanton. 


The claim had all along been made by the President 
and his friends that the legality of the suspension of 
Mr. Stanton did not rest upon the Tenure of Office Law, 
which law they declared to be unconstitutional. They 
contended, therefore, that the disapproval by the Senate 
of the suspension would not have the effect to reinstate 
Mr. Stanton, and they announced it to be the purpose 
of the President to maintain General Grant in posses- 
sion of the office, and leave Mr. Stanton to contend for 
it in the courts. The all-important question, therefore, 
was, What view did General Grant take ? Would he 
hold on and force Stanton into the courts to test the 
lawful power of the Senate ? Or would he regard the 
vote of the Senate as the reinstatement of Stanton ? 
General Grant had recognized and acted upon the 
right of the President to suspend the Secretary, with- 
out assigning any cause in the order of removal ; 
would he now give effect to that provision of the law 
which provided that the Senate could set aside the 
suspension and reinstate the suspended officer ? Mr. 
Stanton had no information on which to base an an- 
swer to any of these questions. If he could have 
known that General Grant would immediately notify 
the President, as he did, that he regarded the vote of 
the Senate as terminating his functions as Secretary 
ad interim, he would undoubtedly have extended the 
same courtesies that under similar circumstances had 
been shown to him. But, being in doubt as to Gen- 
eral Grant's position, he pursued the prudent course of 
entering upon the possession of the office without con- 
ceding the right of any person to be consulted. 


That General Grant contemplated no opposition to 
Mr. Stanton's return to the office is shown in the fol- 
lowing letter addressed by him to the President on the 
14th of January, but not known to Mr. Stanton on 
the morning of that day when he so unceremoniously 
resumed his office : — 

Sir, — I have the honor to inclose herewith copy of official 
notice received by me last evening of the action of the Senate 
of the United States in the case of the suspension of Hon. 
E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War. According to the provi- 
sions of Section 2 of " An act regulating the tenure of certain 
civil offices," my functions as Secretary of War ad interim 
ceased from the moment of the receipt of the within notice. 

Before leaving the subject, it may be well to explain 
the succession of misunderstandings by which these 
two great men were to some extent temporarily es- 
tranged. The Tenure of Office Act provided that any 
officer included within its provisions might be sus- 
pended for misconduct in office or crime, or if he be- 
came incapable or legally disqualified to perform its 
duties. The order for Stanton's suspension contained 
no assertion that either of these contingencies had 
arisen in his case. In his view, therefore, the War 
Department had been wrenched from him by the Presi- 
dent in violation of the Tenure of Office Law, and Gen- 
eral Grant had facilitated this action by consenting, 
equally in violation of law, to his own designation as 
Secretary ad interim. Mr. Stanton was unable to see 
how the general could deem it to be within the line 
of his duty to aid the President in such an enterprise. 
He had refused to resign because he believed the Presi- 


dent desired his resignation only that he might make 
the War Department an instrument of his revolution- 
ary purposes. That General Grant should allow his 
great name to be thrown into the scale against him in 
such a crisis greatly disturbed him. He very naturally 
doubted if the President would have attempted his sus- 
pension, in the state of public feeling then existing, if 
he had not been able to use Grant's name. At the 
time of this action, August 12, he did not know 
that General Grant had, on the 1st of that month, 
both orally and in writing, most energetically protested 
against his removal, 1 and orally against his suspension. 
Referring to this, General Grant wrote to the President 
February 3, 1868 : — 

From our conversations and my written protest of August 
1, 1867, against the removal of Mr. Stanton, you must have 
known that my greatest objection to his removal or suspen- 
sion was the fear that some one would be appointed in his 
stead who would, by opposition to the laws relating to the 
restoration of the Southern States to their proper relations to 
the government, embarrass the army in the performance of 
duties especially imposed upon it by these laws ; and it was 
to prevent such an appointment that I accepted the office 
of Secretary of War ad interim, and not for the purpose of 
enabling you to get rid of Mr. Stanton by my withholding 
it from him in opposition to law, or, not doing so myself, 
surrendering it to some one who would, as the statements 
and assumptions in your communication plainly indicate was 

General Grant's purposes were so straightforward 
and simple that it probably never occurred to him that 

1 See Grant's letter to the President, chapter ex. 


any act of his required explanation. The President 
was in a violent frame of mind when he suspended 
Stanton, 1 and it was evident to General Grant that the 
question was, not whether he should be suspended, but 
who should temporarily take his place. Grant had to 
decide on the instant, and he accepted in order to pre- 
vent the designation of one who would obstruct the 
execution of the reconstruction laws. He deemed it 
wiser to temporarily act as Secretary of War, although 
his action might be misconstrued, than to allow the 
department to go into the hands of another, to whom 
he must yield, or with whom he must at once come in 
perilous collision. 

It is to be regretted that General Grant had not 
at that time sufficiently broken through his habitual 
reticence to give Mr. Stanton the needed assurance 
that what seemed his unnecessary humiliation, and a 
gain for the President's scheme, was really the only 
way to keep the War Department indisputably in law- 
abiding hands during the four months of the recess of 

Unexplained, General Grant's course in the matter 
had the appearance of a new departure, and was a sur- 
prise to the friends and supporters of Congress. It 
was encouraging to the Southern cause, because it 
seemed to imply a censure upon Mr. Stanton, the repre- 
sentative man of the party which supported Congress, 

1 The author is informed by a member of General Grant's family that, 
just before calling on Stanton with notice of his acceptance of the ap- 
pointment of Secretary ad interim, the general said that " President John- 
son had worked himself up to a white heat " on the subject. 


and whose only fault had been his vigor in upholding 
the laws. 

Mr. Stanton made his displeasure manifest in his 
letters to the President and to General Grant at the 
time of the suspension, in which he declared that he 
submitted under protest to superior force, the general 
of the armies having accepted the appointment. There 
could be no misconstruction of this language. It 
charged the illegal seizure of the department by the 
joint action of the President and General Grant, be- 
cause no reason for suspension had been assigned in the 
order, as required by law, and declared that he vacated 
it only because it would be futile to resist the force 
which resided in the hands of the general. This was 
of course a severe reflection upon General Grant. It 
was doubtless so intended by Mr. Stanton, who deemed 
it just ; and it was so construed by General Grant, who 
knew he had been governed by patriotic purposes only, 
and with no conscious disregard of law. 

It was not, therefore, the discourtesy of Mr. Stanton 
in January, 1868, in resuming the War Office without 
notice to General Grant — then its occupant — which 
disturbed the relations between them, but the more 
serious misunderstanding caused by General Grant's 
action in the preceding summer, by which he displaced 
Mr. Stanton in the War Department, and seemed thereby 
to have formed an affiliation with the President. 

General Grant's displeasure towards Mr. Stanton 
dated from that time. In a letter to the President 
dated January 28, 1868, he states that he had favored 
the appointment of Governor Cox, of Ohio, as Secretary 



of War, " to save all embarrassment/' and that at his 
request General Sherman urged this upon the President 
before the vote of the Senate reinstating Stanton. To 
General Sherman General Grant wrote, shortly after 
Stanton's reinstatement : — 

I called on the President and Mr. Stanton to-day, but 
without any effect. I soon found that to recommend resig- 
nation to Mr. Stanton would have no effect, unless it was 
to incur further his displeasure ; and, therefore, did not di- 
rectly suggest it to him. ... I would advise that you say 
nothing to Mr. Stanton on this subject unless he asks your 
advice. It will do no good and may embarrass you. 1 

This makes it very evident that before as well as 
after Mr. Stanton's reinstatement, General Grant and 
General Sherman were willing to bring about the ap- 
pointment of a new Secretary of War, if it could be 
one who would faithfully perform his duties. 

Whatever there was of unpleasant feeling between 
Mr. Stanton and General Grant growing out of these 
events was speedily overshadowed by a violent contro- 
versy between the latter and the President, which com- 
menced on the very day of Mr. Stanton's return to 
the War Office. The President, on receiving Grant's 
announcement that he had ceased to be Secretary of 
War ad interim, sent him a message saying he wanted 
to see him at the cabinet meeting. Grant attended, 
and, being treated as though still a member of the Cab- 
inet, he reminded the President that he was no longer 
Secretary of War ad interim. In the presence of the 
Cabinet the President then claimed that Grant had 

1 See Sherman's Memoirs, 2d edition, vol. ii. p. 424. 


agreed either to resign in advance of the Senate's ac- 
tion, or to hold on notwithstanding this action; and 
that he had confirmed this agreement on the 11th of 
January. He declared that but for this understanding 
he would have relieved Grant and appointed some 
other person before the vote of the Senate, as it was 
his purpose to appeal to the courts for a decision as to 
the constitutionality of the Tenure of Office Law. Grant 
positively denied that he had ever made any such agree- 
ment. He said that, in response to an inquiry of the 
President some time after he had entered the depart- 
ment, he had stated to him that he thought Stanton 
would have to appeal to the courts to reinstate him, if 
the Senate disapproved his suspension. He also stated 
to the President at the same time that he had not par- 
ticularly considered the question, and that if he should 
change his mind, he would inform him of the fact. He 
said that on the 11th of January 1 he had informed the 
President that he had so changed his mind, and that 
he could not " hold on " in the face of an adverse vote 
of the Senate. The question of veracity thus directly 
raised resulted in further correspondence, in which each 
party adhered to his position. The correspondence 
may be found in McPherson's " History of Reconstruc- 
tion," commencing at page 286. 

Grant believed the President sought to avoid the 
responsibility of resisting Stanton's reinstatement by 
forcing upon him (Grant) the alternative of remaining 
in the department in violation of law, or of being ac- 
cused by the President of violating an understanding 

1 The vote of the Senate was taken January 13. 


with him that he would do so. In Grant's letter of 
February 3 he says : — 

And now, Mr. President, when my honor as a soldier and 
integrity as a man have been so violently assailed, pardon me 
for saying that I can but regard this whole matter, from the 
beginning to the end, as an attempt to involve me in the re- 
sistance of law, for which you hesitated to assume the respon- 
sibility in orders, and thus to destroy my character before 
the country. I am in a measure confirmed in this conclusion 
by your recent orders directing me to disobey orders from 
the Secretary of War — my superior and your subordinate — 
without having countermanded his authority to issue the 
orders I am to disobey. 

Notwithstanding the miscarriage of his plans, the 
President at no time abandoned the idea of displacing 
Secretary Stanton. He commenced a siege upon Gen- 
eral Sherman to induce him to allow his name to be 
sent to the Senate for confirmation as his successor. 
General Sherman says : — 

To effect this removal, two modes were indicated by the 
President, to wit : to simply cause him to quit the War Of- 
fice building, and notify the Treasury Department and the 
army staff departments no longer to respect him as Secre- 
tary of War ; or to remove him and submit my name to the 
Senate for confirmation. 1 

Sherman positively declined. He was at this time 
engaged in Washington as the president of a board of 
officers drafting proposed articles of war and army reg- 
ulations. On the 1st of February he had completed 
this work, and then returned to his home in St. Louis. 
On the 13th of February he was distressed by a tele- 

1 See Sherman's Memoirs^ 2d edition, vol. ii. p. 426. 


gram announcing that the President had issued an 
order that he should command the Atlantic Division. 
Believing this to be preliminary to further efforts to 
force him into service as Secretary of War ad interim, 
he remonstrated so emphatically that on the 19th of 
February the order was rescinded. Two days later, 
February 21, the President made an order removing 
Stanton, and appointing General Lorenzo Thomas to 
be Secretary of War ad interim. This led to the 
impeachment of President Johnson by the House of 
Kepresentatives and his trial by the Senate. 


President's Order removing Stanton and appointing a Secretary ad 
interim. — Stanton resists the Order and notifies the Two Houses 
of Congress. — The Senate on the Same Day sustains Stanton. — 
Stanton remains in Continuous Personal Possession of the Depart- 
ment Night and Day for Several Weeks. — General Grant de- 
tails a Military Guard to protect the Building and the Public 
Archives from Rumored Ruffianism. — The House votes to im- 
peach the President. 

The order of the President for the removal of Mr. 
Stanton and the appointment of a Secretary ad interim, 
dated February 21, was as follows : — - 

Sie, — By virtue of the power and authority vested in me 
as President by the Constitution and laws of the United 
States, you are hereby removed from office as Secretary for 
the Department of War, and your functions as such will ter- 
minate upon the receipt of this communication. 

You will transfer to Brevet Major - General Lorenzo 
Thomas, adjutant -general of the army, who has this day 
been authorized and empowered to act as Secretary of War 
ad interim, all records, books, papers, and other public pro- 
perty now in your custody and charge. 

The order of the President appointing General 
Thomas directed him to " immediately enter upon the 
discharge of the duties pertaining to that office." 

General Thomas was then adjutant-general of the 
army, to which office he had been appointed on the 7th 


of March, 1861, but the duties of which he had not 
performed from the 25th of March, 1863, until the 
14th of February, 1868, being detailed for duty mean- 
while in various parts of the country. The duties of 
the office were performed during that time by Assistant 
Adjutant-General E. D. Townsend. It was not until 
President Johnson had determined to resort to extreme 
measures against Mr. Stanton that Thomas was sent 
for on the 13th of February. The President then gave 
him a note to General Grant, in response to which the 
general placed him in charge of the adjutant-general's 
office on the 14th. Four days after this, February 18, 
the President informed General Thomas of his purpose 
to make him Secretary of War ad interim, and on the 
21st the appointment was made. 

Mr. Stanton immediately sent copies of the Presi- 
dent's order to the President of the Senate and to the 
Speaker of the House. On the same day he addressed 
the following note to General Thomas : — 

I am informed that you have presumed to issue orders as 
Secretary of War ad interim. Such conduct and orders are 
illegal, and you are hereby commanded to abstain from issu- 
ing any orders other than in your capacity as adjutant-general 
of the army. 

To Senators Fessenden, Howard, and Edmunds he 
addressed the following note : — - 

I am just informed that Adjutant-General Thomas is boast- 
ing at the hotels that he intends to take possession of the 
War Department at nine o'clock to-morrow morning. If the 
Senate does not declare its opinion of the laws, how am I to 
hold possession ? 


To Senator Conness he wrote later on the same day : 
I am at the War Department, and mean to continue in pos- 
session until expelled by force. Lorenzo Thomas is not, so 
far as I know, issuing any orders as Secretary of War. 

Before its adjournment on that day, the 21st, the 
Senate in executive session adopted the following reso- 
lution : — 

Whereas the Senate have received and considered the 
communication of the President of the United States, stating 
that he had removed Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War, 
and had designated the adjutant-general of the army to act as 
Secretary of War ad interim, therefore — 

Resolved by the Senate of the United States, That under 
the Constitution and laws of the United States, the President 
has no power to remove the Secretary of War and to desig- 
nate any other officer to perform the duties of that office ad 

Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate is hereby di- 
rected to communicate copies of the foregoing resolution to 
the President of the United States, to the Secretary of War, 
and to the Adjutant-General of the United States. 

Secretary Stanton received his copy of this at ten 
o'clock on the same evening. He had not left the 
department, deeming his personal presence necessary to 
prevent its occupation by Thomas as a claimant under 
the President's authority. 1 

On the morning of the 22d Thomas appeared at the 

1 Late that night he made oath to a complaint against General Thomas 
for a violation of the Tenure of Office Act, and asked that a warrant be 
issued for his arrest. This warrant was served upon General Thomas at 
eight o'clock on the morning of the 22d, and at nine o'clock on the same 
morning he was taken before Chief Justice Carter. He gave bail for his 
appearance on the 26th instant. 

\_Mr. St ant 071 to S 


ztor John Cotiness\ 


cut ^fte^M^^Vv «*fVtV«w 

[Afr. S/irn/o/i In Senator John Conntss] 

'&*/ ^ZMa^m^^ 


War Department to take possession, which was of 
course refused him, and he left. Threats having been 
made by him on that day, in the hearing of callers at 
the White House, that he was going to take possession 
of the War Department regardless of the course Mr. 
Stanton might pursue, and it seeming probable that 
the President contemplated using force, Mr. Stanton ad- 
dressed the following communication to General Grant : 

In order to protect the archives and public property in the 
War Department building occupied by the Secretary of War 
and under his charge, you will please direct a competent offi- 
cer, such for instance as General Carr, to go on duty at the 
War Department building, reporting to me at seven o'clock 
this evening, and to remain until relieved by my order. 

These events had created intense excitement at the 
capital and throughout the country. Upon the first 
announcement in the House of Eepresentatives on the 
21st of the attempted removal of Mr. Stanton, Hon. 
John Covode, of Pennsylvania, offered the following 
resolution : — 

Resolved, That Andrew Johnson, President of the United 
States, be impeached of high crimes and misdemeanors. 

This was referred to the committee on reconstruc- 
tion. On the 27th of January that committee had 
been authorized to inquire what combinations had been 
made to obstruct the due execution of the laws. On 
the 22d of February the committee made its report, 
which declared that "upon the evidence collected by 
the committee, which is herewith presented, and in vir- 
tue of the powers with which they have been invested 
by the House, they are of the opinion that Andrew 


Johnson, President o£ the United States, be impeached 
of high crimes and misdemeanors. They therefore 
recommend to the House the adoption of the following 
resolution." The resolution was the same as that offered 
by Mr. Covode. The report was signed by the seven 
Eepublican members of that committee, as follows : 
Thaddeus Stevens, George S. Boutwell, John A. Bing- 
ham, C. T. Hulburd, J. F. Farns worth, F. C. Beaman, 
and H. E. Payne. The resolution was adopted on 
Monday, the 24th instant, by a vote of 126 yeas to 47 
nays, not voting 17. Thaddeus Stevens, of Pennsyl- 
vania, and John A. Bingham, of Ohio, were appointed 
a committee to communicate this action to the Senate. 
George S. Boutwell, of Massachusetts, Thaddeus Ste- 
vens, of Pennsylvania, John A. Bingham, of Ohio, J. F. 
Wilson, of Iowa, John A. Logan, of Illinois, George W. 
Julian, of Indiana, and Hamilton Ward, of New York, 
were appointed a committee to prepare articles of im- 

In compliance with the request of Mr. Stanton, Gen- 
eral Grant placed General E. A. Carr in charge of the 
War Department building and the archives it contained, 
and detailed a guard to act under his orders. He also 
empowered him to call upon any and all troops in and 
about the city. General William H. Emory was then 
in command of the Department of Washington, to 
which command he had been assigned on the 1st of 
September. He testified in the impeachment trial that 
soon after he went into this command he called the 
President's attention to the formation of a military force 
in Maryland which he did not like, and for which there 


was no necessity. It was officered by gentlemen who 
had been in the Southern army, and the uniform worn 
was the gray. 1 

General Thomas presented himself at the office of 
the Secretary of War on the 24th of February, and said 
he came by order of the President, received from him 
verbally a few moments before, to enter upon his duties 
as Secretary ad interim, and that he designed so to 
do in conformity with the order. The Secretary com- 
manded him not to presume to exercise any functions 
as Secretary of War, nor sign any papers as Secretary 
of War ad interim, Thomas replied : " Which order 
I shall disobey, of course." 2 

1 General Carr stated many years afterward, in a letter to the author, 
that the guard at the War Department was posted by order of General 
Grant on the theory that the War Department building and the archives 
therein might have been in danger from ruffians from Baltimore and 
elsewhere, who might have imagined they were doing President Johnson 
a service by doing something violent towards ousting Secretary Stanton. 
Edwards Pierrepont wrote to Mr. Stanton from New York on the 25th 
of February : — 

" Copperheads begin to cave in, and now say that Johnson is a blun- 
derer and that they will drop him. The blunder of which they complain 
is that he appointed a man who did not force you out. ... I wish to 
warn you, and again to urge you not to give Thomas a chance to get pos- 
session by ruffians or other force. Don't think this an idle warning. If 
you keep guarded, there will be no attempt to oust you, but if there is a 
chance, it will be taken. Keep the office guarded. The Copperheads 
here are disgusted with the failure, and will taunt Johnson and Thomas 
and goad them to desperation. Run no risk." 

Later on the same day he wrote again : — 

" Keep the office strongly guarded. There is a plan, not by soldiers, 
but by ruffians with secret arms, to take possession of your office and put 
Thomas in. Believe this and act upon it." 

2 Memorandum by E. L. Stanton furnished to one of the impeachment 
managers during the trial. 


On the 26th General Thomas was discharged from 
custody under Mr. Stanton's complaint of the 21st, upon 
the following statement by counsel representing Mr. 
Stanton : — 

I am instructed by the Secretary of War, Mr. Stanton, to 
say that his complaint was made for the purpose of having 
the right of General Thomas to act as Secretary of War ad 
interim judicially tested. This Mr. Stanton could only do by 
complaining against the President's subordinate. But since 
this proceeding commenced, the House of Eepresentatives in 
the name of the people of the United States, having proceeded 
by impeachment against the principal under whose orders 
General Thomas acted, Mr. Stanton deems that it would be 
needless for him at this time to prosecute the subordinate, or 
test in another tribunal a question on which the House of 
Representatives has demanded judgment against the principal 
in the highest judicial tribunal of the nation. He therefore 
waives at present the further prosecution of his complaint, 
and consents to the discharge of General Thomas, tendering 
the costs that have accrued. 

From the time that General Thomas demanded pos- 
session of the War Department in the name of the 
President and under his orders, Mr. Stanton remained 
in the building day and night for several weeks, and 
after that, and until the end of the impeachment trial, 
he went home only late at night. General Carr slept 
in the department during all of that time. But for 
these precautions, it is probable that the President, 
through General Thomas, would have taken forcible 
possession of the department, and would have availed 
himself of volunteered physical force to eject Mr. Stan- 


ton from the building. The President's plan previously 
suggested to General Sherman — " to simply cause him 
to quit the War Office building " — was foiled by Mr. 
Stanton, whose wisdom caused him to make the defense 
more sudden than the attack. 


The Articles of Impeachment. — The Impeachment Trial in the 
Senate. — Outside Influences brought to bear on Senators. — 
General Schofield's Statement of what he learned on this Head 
from one of the President's Counsel. — The Vote in the Sen- 
ate. — One Less than the Two Thirds necessary to convict. — A 
Tainted Verdict. — Mr. Stanton relinquishes the War Depart- 
ment. — The Impeachment Trial forced President Johnson to 
abandon his Rebellious Attitude. 

On the 25th of February Mr. Stevens reported to 
the House that the committee appointed for the purpose 
had appeared at the bar of the Senate and impeached 
the President as directed to do, and had demanded that 
the Senate take order to make him appear before that 
body to answer for the same. The Senate responded 
that " order shall be taken." On the 2d of March the 
House adopted the articles of impeachment which had 
been reported by its committee, and Representatives 
Bingham, Boutwell, Wilson, Butler, Williams, Stevens, 
and Logan were chosen by ballot as managers to con- 
duct the impeachment before the Senate. On the 4th 
of March the managers for the House, attended by the 
whole House, as in committee of the whole, proceeded 
to the senate chamber and presented the articles of 
impeachment, which were read by Mr. Bingham. The 
President of the Senate announced that the Senate 
would take due order upon the subject and give proper 


notice to the House. The members of the House then 
withdrew from the senate chamber, whereupon it was 
resolved that the Senate would proceed to consider the 
impeachment of the President at one o'clock on the 
day following. 

Eleven articles of impeachment were presented by 
the House of Representatives to the Senate sitting as a 
court of impeachment. Freed from all legal and tech- 
nical verbiage, they may be thus stated : — 

1. That, in violation of the Tenure of Office Law, the 
President made an order to remove Secretary Stanton, 
and appoint General Lorenzo Thomas as Secretary of 
War ad interim. 

2. That he had in public speeches attempted to 
weaken the rightful authority and power of Congress 
among the people. 

3. That he had denied the legality of the Thirty- 
ninth Congress, and had publicly declared in substance 
that it was " not a Congress of the United States au- 
thorized by the Constitution to exercise legislative power 
under the same, but, on the contrary, was a Congress 
of only a part of the States," thereby denying and in- 
tending to deny that the legislation of said Congress 
was valid or obligatory upon him ; and that in pursu- 
ance of this declaration he had disregarded and violated 
the Tenure of Office Law in the case of Mr. Stanton. 1 

The language in which he had most offensively de- 
nied the authority of Congress was contained in his 
speech in the Executive mansion, August 18, 1866, and 
was as follows : — 

1 See Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, vol. i. p. 6. 


We have seen hanging upon the verge of the government, 
as it were, a body called, or which assumes to be, the Congress 
of the United States, while in fact it is a Congress of only a 
part of the States. 

This was certainly an unequivocal denial that a Con- 
gress of the United States existed. It was an assertion 
that a body which was not a Congress of the United 
States was unlawfully assuming to be the Congress, and 
was usurping the legislative power. 

The impeachment of Andrew Johnson by the House 
of Representatives was not the result of passion nor of 
partisan zeal. It was the last resort of a patient and 
conservative body of men, representing the sovereignty 
of the people under the Constitution, appealing with 
great reluctance to the power of impeachment after all 
other measures had proven inadequate for the main- 
tenance of the laws against the flagrant efforts of the 
President to render them inoperative. The possession 
of the War Department was deemed by the President 
indispensable for his revolutionary purposes. He had 
finally attempted to seize it in violation of law, and had 
sent his defiance to both Houses of Congress in the 
form of a notice of what he had done. This lawless 
behavior forced a resort to impeachment. 

At his trial the President was defended by Henry 
Stanbery, B. R. Curtis, Jeremiah S. Black, W. M. 
Evarts, and Thomas R. Nelson. 

The taking of testimony was concluded on Monday, 
April 20, and the Senate, as a court of impeachment, 
adjourned until Wednesday, the 22d. Of course the 
testimony disclosed nothing new. It was but a legal 


record of current history. The President's war upon 
Congress, his denial of its legitimacy, and his defiant 
resistance to the laws it had passed were well known to 
the world. It only remained, therefore, for the argu- 
ments to be presented, — the one side maintaining the 
legal existence of a Congress and the true meaning of 
its laws, and the other contending that the President 
had done no wrong in denying and resisting its au- 

The excitement throughout the country was intense. 
The Senate consisted of fifty-four members, of whom 
forty-two were Kepublicans, independent of those who, 
although elected Kepublicans, had, in the previous Con- 
gress, acted uniformly with the Democrats. Thirty-six 
constituted the two thirds which would be necessary for 
conviction. A defection of seven Republicans would 
be sufficient to secure an acquittal. 

At this point some extraordinary proceedings, appar- 
ently of a controlling character, occurred out of court. 
The President and at least one of his counsel were un- 
willing to risk the result upon the law and the evidence. 
They deemed it necessary to bring outside influence to 
bear upon senators sitting as judges in the High Court 
of Impeachment. Indeed, some of these judges were 
represented on good authority as having seen fit to 
offer their votes to the President upon a certain con- 
dition named by them. This condition was the nomi- 
nation to the Senate of a new Secretary of War whom 
the country would regard equally reliable with Mr. 
Stanton in his obedience to the laws of Congress, and 

equally certain to disobey the President if ordered to 
vol. n 


nullify these laws. It was to Mr. William M. Evarts 
that these senators were said by him to have made their 
advances, and he undertook to secure their votes by the 
fulfillment of the condition named. To this end he 
invited a conference with General John M. Schofield, 
and asked his consent that his name might be sent to 
the Senate, before the close of the impeachment trial, 
as Secretary of War in place of Mr. Stanton. 

This conference commenced on the afternoon of the 
21st of April, was resumed at eight o'clock in the even- 
ing of the same day, and concluded on the morning of 
the 22d. It remained secret history until August, 
1897, — twenty-nine years later, - — when it was revealed 
by General Schofield, with the consent of Mr. Evarts, 
in an article in the " Century Magazine " of that month, 
entitled " Controversies in the War Department : Un- 
published Facts relating to the Impeachment of Presi- 
dent Johnson, by John M. Schofield, Lieutenant-Genera^ 
U. S. A." General Schofield did not write the story 
from memory. He produced a " memorandum " made 
by him at the time, which, he states, explains the cir- 
cumstances under which he became Secretary of War 
in 1868, "and the connection of that event to the 
termination of the impeachment trial." * 

The following are extracts from this memorandum, 
which bears date of May, 1868 : — 

The substance of what Mr. Evarts said was as follows : He 
was fully satisfied the President could not be convicted upon 
the evidence ; if he was removed, it would be done wholly 

1 This document will also be found at page 413 of General Schofield's 
book, Forty -six Years in the Army. 


from supposed party necessity ; that this was the opinion and 
feeling of a considerable number of the ablest lawyers and 
statesmen among the Republican senators ; that it was his 
and their opinion that, if the President was removed, it would 
be not really from anything he had done, but for fear of 
what he might do ; that he (Mr. Evarts) did not believe the 
President could possibly be convicted in any event, but that 
senators were at a loss to remove the apprehensions of the 
Republican party as to what the President would do in case 
of acquittal, unless the War Department was placed in a 
satisfactory condition in advance. He said : " A majority of 
Republicans in both Houses of Congress and throughout the 
country now regret the commencement of the impeachment 
proceedings, since they find how slight is the evidence of 
guilty intent. But the serious question is, how to get out of 
the scrape ? A judgment of guilty and the removal of the 
President would be ruinous to the party, and cause the po- 
litical death of every senator who voted for it, as soon as the 
country has time to reflect upon the facts and appreciate the 
frivolous character of the charges upon which the removal 
must be based. The precedent of the impeachment and the 
removal of the President for political reasons would be ex- 
ceedingly dangerous to the government and the Constitution ; 
in short, the emergency is one of the greatest, national peril." 
He added that this was the view of the case entertained by 
several among the most prominent Republican senators, and 
that from such senators came the suggestion that my nomi- 
nation as Secretary of War be sent to the Senate, in order 
that the Senate might vote upon the President's case in the 
light of that nomination. 

The next morning (April 22), about ten o'clock, I called 
upon Mr. Evarts at Willard's Hotel, and informed him that 
I had considered the matter as carefully as I was able to do, 
and that there was then only one difficulty in my mind. That 


was as to what would be the policy of the President during 
the remainder of his term, in the event of his being acquitted. 
I mentioned some of the President's recent acts, such as the 
creation of the Military Division of the Atlantic, disregard 
of military usage in sending orders to army officers out of 
the regular channels, etc., — acts for which no good reason 
could be given, and which at least tended to create discord 
and trouble. Mr. Evarts replied that he could not tell any- 
thing about those matters, but presumed that such annoy- 
ing irregularities would disappear with the removal of their 
cause, namely, hostility between the President and Secretary 
of War. Mr. Evarts said he did not see how I could satisfy 
myself on that subject without a personal interview with the 
President, which would not be advisable in the circumstances. 
I then said I did not expect any pledge from the President, 
and did not expect to receive any communication from him 
on the subject, either directly or indirectly ; and that I was 
not willing to converse with the President, nor with any other 
person except Mr. Evarts, on the subject ; but that I wished 
the President to understand distinctly the conditions upon 
which I was willing to accept the appointment, and desired 
Mr. Evarts to inform the President of these conditions. If 
the nomination was then made, General Schofield would take 
it for granted that the conditions were satisfactory. I then 
said I had always been treated kindly by the President, and 
felt kindly towards him ; that I had always advised him, 
whenever any excuse had been given for offering advice, to 
avoid all causes of irritation with Congress, and try to act in 
harmony with the legislative department ; that I regarded the 
removal of Mr. Stanton, in the way it was done, as wrong 
and unwise ; that I understood this proposition as coming 
originally from the Eepublican side of the Senate, and as 
being accepted by the President in the interest of peace, 
and for the purpose of securing harmony between the legisla- 
tive and executive departments of the government, and a just 


and faithful administration of the laws, including the recon- 
struction acts. I added : " And if the President knows from 
General Schofield's acts what he means by this, — if, after 
these conditions have been fully stated to the President, he 
sends my name to the Senate, — I will deem it my duty to 
say nothing on the subject of accepting or declining the 
appointment until the Senate has acted upon it." 

Mr. Evarts intimated that the above was satisfactory, and 
the interview was ended. 

General Schofield says : — 

On the 24th (April) the President sent to the Senate the 
nomination of General Schofield as Secretary of War. . . . 
I have no means of knowing to what extent, if any, the Sen- 
ate was influenced by this nomination, but anxiety about the 
ultimate result seemed to be soon allayed. About a month 
later a vote was taken in the Senate, and the impeachment 
failed. My nomination was then confirmed, as stated at the 
time, by a nearly unanimous vote of the Senate. 

The form of the oath administered to the senators sit- 
ting in the impeachment trial was that " in all things 
pertaining to the trial " they would " do impartial jus- 
tice according to the Constitution and laws." If they 
believed the President to be guilty of high crimes and 
misdemeanors, they were sworn to vote for his convic- 
tion. If they believed he was not guilty, they were 
sworn to vote for his acquittal. There was nothing in 
the oath which permitted them to acquit the guilty or 
convict the innocent, as the President might or might 
not make a certain nomination. And yet Mr. Evarts 
told General Schofield that prominent Republican sena- 
tors desired his nomination as Secretary of War, "in 
order that the Senate might vote upon the President's 


case in the light of that nomination." Mr. Evarts 
was not at liberty to mention the names of the promi- 
nent senators " holding these views or originating the 
proposition." Their names cannot of course be found 
among the thirty-five Republican senators who voted 
that President Johnson was guilty, namely : — 

Anthony, Cameron, Cattell, Chandler, Cole, Conk- 
ling, Conness, Corbett, Cragin, Drake, Edmunds, Ferry 
(Connecticut), Freylinghuysen, Harlan, Howard, Howe, 
Morgan, Morrill (Maine), Morrill (Vermont), Morton, 
Nye, Patterson (New Hampshire), Pomeroy, Ramsey, 
Sherman, Sprague, Stewart, Sumner, Thayer, Tipton, 
Wade, Willey, Williams, Wilson, and Yates. 

These senators voted the President " guilty," not- 
withstanding the nomination of General Schofield as 
Secretary of War. They had no doubt of the latter's 
fidelity to the laws, but that did not change their judg- 
ment that the President had been guilty of high crimes 
and misdemeanors. If, therefore, any Republican sena- 
tors sitting as judges in the High Court of Impeach- 
ment were affected by the shrewd device of Mr. Evarts, 
they must have been found among the seven who voted 
" not guilty," namely, Fessenden, Fowler, Grimes, Hen- 
derson, Ross, Trumbull, and Van Winkle. 

The plain inference to be drawn from the " memo- 
randum " of General Schofield is that if the President 
had not nominated him, or some other person in whom 
the loyal people of the land had equal confidence, the 
impeachment trial would have resulted in conviction. 
The President escaped official decapitation and political 
death by a verdict which was tantamount to declaring 


him not guilty, if General Sehofield or some equally 
reliable man opposed to his course should be made 
Secretary of War. Such a verdict is not without prece- 
dent, if we are to credit the report of a case where the 
verdict of the jury was, " Not guilty, if the prisoner 
leaves town." 

Not the least interesting portion of General Seho- 
field' s memorandum is that in which he quotes General 
Grant's opinion on the impeachment question, as fol- 
lows : — 

General Grant said he did not believe in any compromise 
of the impeachment question. The President ought to be 
convicted or acquitted fairly and squarely on the facts proved ; 
that if be was acquitted, as soon as Congress adjourned he 
would trample the laws under foot and do whatever he 
pleased ; that Congress would have to remain in session all 
summer to protect the country from the lawless acts of the 
President; that the only limit to his violation of law had 
been, and would be, his courage, which had been very slight 
heretofore, but would be vastly increased by his escape from 
punishment. General Grant said he would not believe any 
pledge or promise Mr. Johnson might make in regard to his 
future conduct. In his opinion, the only safe course, and the 
most popular one, would be to remove the President. 

The argument in the impeachment trial continued 
from April 22 until the 6th of May. On the 16th of 
the latter month a vote was taken on the 11th article, 
and, as before stated, thirty-five — one less than two 
thirds —voted " guilty," and nineteen voted " not guilty." 
The court adjourned until the 26th. On that day the 
2d and 3d articles of impeachment were voted on, with 
the same result as that on the 11th. The vote upon 


these articles being deemed a sufficient test, the Senate, 
sitting as a court of impeachment, adjourned sine die. 

Immediately upon the termination of the impeach- 
ment trial, Secretary Stanton addressed the following 
letter to the President : — 

Sir, — The resolution of the Senate of the United States, 
of the 21st of February last, declaring that the President 
" has no power to remove the Secretary of War and designate 
any other officer to perform the duties of that office ad 
interim" having this day failed to be supported by two thirds 
of the senators present and voting on the articles of im- 
peachment preferred against you by the House of Kepresen- 
tatives, I have relinquished charge of the War Department, 
and have left the same and the books, archives, papers, and 
the property heretofore in my custody as Secretary of War, 
in care of Brevet Major-General Townsend, subject to your 

This letter he sent to the President by Adjutant- 
General Townsend, to whom he addressed the following 
letter on the same day : — 

General, — You will take charge of the War Department, 
and the books and papers, archives and public property, be- 
longing to the same, subject to the disposal and directions of 
the President. 

General Schofield's nomination was then confirmed 
by the Senate, the resolution therefor being as follows : 

Whereas, on the 23d of April, 1868, the President nomi- 
nated John M. Schofield to be Secretary of War, in place of 
Edwin M. Stanton, removed ; and Whereas, in the opinion of 
the Senate, the said Stanton has not been legally removed 
from his office, but inasmuch as the said Stanton has re- 
linquished his place as Secretary of War, for causes stated in 
his note to the President : Therefore — 


Resolved, That the Senate advise and consent to the ap- 
pointment of John M. Schofield to be Secretary of War. 

General Schofield says in his " Century " article that 
President Johnson never required him to do anything 
contrary to the laws of Congress, but fulfilled to the 
letter the implied promise made at the time of nomi- 
nating him to the Senate. There never was any ad- 
verse criticism upon the general's administration of the 
War Department. 

General Schofield's " memorandum " makes it per- 
fectly evident that the President feared a vote of the 
Senate, and that through his counsel, Mr. Evarts, he 
capitulated to certain senators who would vote for ac- 
quittal only on the condition that he would cease his 
opposition to the reconstruction laws, and nominate a 
Secretary of War who would as faithfully execute them 
as Mr. Stanton had done. 

According to this testimony, he was compelled to 
abandon his rebellious attitude towards the reconstruc- 
tion laws, in order to control certain votes that would 
otherwise have been given for his conviction through 
fear of public censure. By this bargain he escaped 
" removal from office and disqualification to hold and 
enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the 
United States." But the same testimony is an endur- 
ing record that he was not acquitted upon the merits 
of the case. The decisions of tribunals established for 
the trial of persons charged with crime are tainted 
whenever they are confessedly based on policy, and 
not on the law and the evidence. 


The Duties of the Secretary of War. — Conflicts with the General 
of the Army. — Differences between Stanton and Grant. — Stan- 
ton's Views finally accepted by Grant. — General Schofield also 
adopted them when General-in-Chief. 

Before passing from the consideration of Mr. Stan- 
ton's administration of the War Department, it will be 
interesting to note how his views as to his own lawful 
authority as Secretary of War, which had produced 
some friction with the general of the army, were fully 

When Mr. Stanton took office in January, 1862, the 
law of August 7, 1789, thus in part prescribed his duties : 

He shall perform such duties as shall from time to time be 
enjoined on, or intrusted to him by the President relative to 
military commissions, the military forces, the warlike stores 
of the United States, or to other matters respecting military 
affairs ; and he shall conduct the business of the department 
in such manner as the President shall direct. 

He was also to " have the custody and charge of all 
the books, records, papers, furniture, fixtures, and other 
property appertaining to the department." 1 He was 
also to perform many duties specifically defined, includ- 
ing the purchase, transportation, and distribution of 
army supplies. 

1 U. S. Revised Statutes, sec. 216, 217. 


The military authority of the President he found in 
that provision of the Constitution which declares that 
the President shall be commander-in-chief of the army 
and navy. 

On the day following Mr. Stanton's appointment as 
Secretary of War, the inquiry was addressed to him by 
the congressional Committee on the Conduct of the 
War, " Whether there is such an office as general-in- 
chief of the armies, or any grade above that of major- 
general?" This inquiry was intended to elicit from 
the Secretary an opinion concerning the relative author- 
ity of the President and of the general designated by 
him to command the armies. There had been for some 
time an apparently concerted effort to create the false 
impression in the public mind that the general-in-chief 
of the army — then General McClellan — was supreme 
in military authority and infallible in judgment ; that 
he was to determine without challenge from any source 
whatever whether the army should be used for the pur- 
pose for which it had been raised, and that interference 
with him by the President or Congress would be an un- 
warranted and dangerous " meddling by the politicians." 

Mr. Stanton in reply furnished a " memorandum " 
citing the various enactments of the Continental Con- 
gress on the subject of the command of the army, and 
reciting the fact that, under the Constitution framed in 
1789, the President was made " commander-in-chief of 
the army and navy, and of the militia of the several 
States when called into the actual service of the United 
States." He quoted from the original commission of 
General Washington of June 1, 1776, the following : — 


You are to regulate your conduct in every respect by the 
rules and discipline of your commission as herewith given you, 
and punctually to obtain and follow such orders and directions 
as you may from time to time receive from this or a future 
Congress of these United Colonies, or a committee of Con- 

The office of commander-in-chief under the confed- 
eration became vacant by the resignation of Washing- 
ton December 23, 1783, and the title of commander-in- 
chief was not again restored until the adoption of the 
Constitution conferred it upon the President of the 
United States. 

Mr. Stanton always kept in view the facts that the 
President was, by virtue of the Constitution, the military 
chief of the nation as well as its chief civil magistrate ; 
that, by authority of law, the President, when it pleased 
him to do so, acted through the Secretary of War, 
whose acts were his chief's, except in the performance 
of some duty devolved directly upon the Secretary by 
act of Congress; and, finally, that above presidents, 
secretaries, and generals were the representatives of the 
people in Congress, — intrusted by the Constitution with 
the war-making power, the power to make regulations 
for the army and navy, and the power to pass all laws 
necessary and proper for the execution of the powers 
vested in the United States or in any officer or depart- 
ment thereof. Mr. Stanton believed that under the law 
the several chiefs of the bureaus in the War Depart- 
ment, including the adjutant-general, were subordi- 
nates of the Secretary of War, and that all orders to 
them should go through him. General Grant for a 


long time took a different view, and thought he ought 
to directly control the office of the adjutant-general. 
In this he had the example of General Scott. 

In a letter to Mr. Stanton dated January 29, 1866, 
General Grant said that from the period of difficulties 
between General Scott and Secretary Marcy, during the 
administration of President Polk, u the command of the 
army virtually passed into the hands of the Secretary 
of War." 

Concerning his own relations with the War Depart- 
ment he said : — 

During the war, while in the field my functions as com- 
mander of all the armies were never impaired, but were 
facilitated in all essential matters by the administration and 
by the War Department. 

The war being over, and the army headquarters 
removed to Washington, he found his position embar- 
rassing. He thus explained : — 

In a few words I will state what I conceive to be my duties 
and my place, and ask respectfully to be restored to them and 
it. The entire adjutant-general's office should be under the 
entire control of the general-in-chief of the army. No orders 
should go to the army or to the adjutant-general except 
through the general-in-chief. Such as require the action of 
the President should be laid before the Secretary of War, 
whose actions would be regarded as those of the President. 

In his " Memoirs " * he makes reference to this same 
matter as "a little spat" with the Secretary of War, 
and explains that the latter prohibited any order from 
going out of the adjutant-general's office until he had 
approved it. 

i Vol. ii. p. 105. 


When General Grant became President, in 1869, 
General Schofleld was Secretary of War. In the latter' s 
" Forty-six Years in the Army " (page 421), he states 
that the new President requested him to continue in 
office for a brief time, " for the purpose of inaugurating 
the system which he hoped would end the long-standing 
controversy between the War Department and the head- 
quarters of the army." He says that, under General 
Grant's instructions, he prepared the order assigning 
General Sherman to command the entire army, staff as 
well as line, and that " the draft of the order was ap- 
proved by him (General Grant) as expressing the views 
he had maintained when he was general-in-chief ; " 1 but 
in the same paragraph General Schofield also tells us 
that " as President he very soon yielded to the opposite 
views, and caused the order to be amended accordingly." 

On the 26th of the same month, by President Grant's 
direction, General Eawlins, his new Secretary of War, 
issued an order substantially adopting the views which 
had been the basis of Secretary Stanton's administration 
of the War Department. 2 

1 This order, dated March 5, 1869, contains the following : — 

" The chiefs of staff corps, departments, and bureaus will report to and 
act under the immediate orders of the general commanding the army. 

" Any official business which by law or regulation requires the action of 
the President or Secretary of War will be submitted by the general of 
the army to the Secretary of War, and in general all orders from the 
President or Secretary of War to any portion of the army, line or staff, 
will be transmitted through the general of the army." 

2 This order read: — 

" By direction of the President, the order of the Secretary of War, dated 
War Department, March 5, 1869, and published in General Orders No. 
11, Headquarters of the Army, Adjutant-General's Office, dated March 8, 


Referring to this order, General Sherman says in his 
" Memoirs/' 2d edition, page 442 : — 

This was the very reverse of what General Grant, after 
four years of experience in Washington as general-in-chief, 
seemed to want, different from what he had explained to me 
in Chicago, and totally different from the demand he had 
made upon Secretary of War Stanton in his complete letter 
of January 29, 1866. 

When General Schofield became general-in-chief of 
the army in 1888, he too became a convert to Mr. 
Stanton's view. After long study of the subject, he 
came to the conclusion that "the general-in-chief or 
nominal commanding general can at most be only a 
chief of staff," the President himself being, under the 
Constitution, commander-in-chief. " Accordingly," he 
says, "I sent an order in writing to the adjutant-general 
directing him never, under any circumstances, to issue 
an order dictated by me or in my name, without first 
laying it before the Secretary of War, and I made it 
known to all the staff that I disclaimed the right to 
issue any order to the army without the knowledge of 
the President or of the Secretary." 

Writing nine years later, General Schofield expresses 
himself as being still satisfied with this view, and de- 

1869, except so much as directs General W. T. Sherman to assume com- 
mand of the army of the United States, is hereby rescinded. 

" All official business which by law or regulations requires the action of 
the President or Secretary of War will be submitted by the chiefs of 
staff corps, departments, and bureaus to the Secretary of War. 

" All orders and instructions relating to military operations issued by the 
President or Secretary of War will be issued through the general of the 


clares it to be " the best practicable solution of a long- 
standing and dangerous controversy, and as most in 
accord with the fundamental principles of our constitu- 
tional government, under which the President, whether 
a soldier or a civilian, is in fact, as well as in name, the 
commander-in-chief of the army and navy." * 

The wise conclusion to which General Schofield came 
in 1888, and which is in strict accord with the order of 
President Grant of March 26, 1869, had been reached 
by Mr. Stanton when he entered the War Office in Jan- 
uary, 1862, and always governed him in the adminis- 
tration of the War Office. 

It would be impossible to conceive of a more complete 
vindication of Mr. Stanton's understanding of his right- 
ful authority as Secretary of War than is contained in 
President Grant's order of March 26, 1869, and in the 
comments thereon by Generals Sherman and Schofield. 
Sherman still dissented, but in effect he declared that 
Grant had adopted Stanton's views. 

1 Schofield, Forty-six Years in the Army, page 422. 


Mr. Stanton in Retirement. — Thanks of Congress. — Mr. Dana's 
Eloquent Tribute. — Speeches for Grant. — Practicing his Profes- 
sion. — His Financial Condition. — President Grant's Friendly 
Attitude. — Stanton's Last Illness. — His Appointment as Justice 
of the Supreme Court. — The Pleasure it gave him. — His Death. 

Mr. Stanton's public career ended with his relin- 
quishment of the War Department immediately upon 
the close of the impeachment trial. The remainder of 
his life was uneventful. 

The Kepublican national convention had nominated 
Grant for the presidency. Being in session after the 
Senate's first vote on impeachment and before the final 
one, it had indorsed the reconstruction acts of Congress, 
and expressed its approval of the President's impeach- 
ment and its confidence in the senators who had voted 
for his conviction ; but it had strangely omitted to 
mention the name of Mr. Stanton, who had been the 
strongest barrier against the President's reactionary 
course, and who had stood the brunt of the hardest 
blows from its supporters. This omission was compen- 
sated by the adoption of the following concurrent 
resolution of Congress : — 

Resolved by the Senate (the House of Kepresentatives con- 
curring), That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby 
tendered, to Hon. Edwin M. Stanton for the great ability, 
vol. n 


purity, and fidelity to the cause of the country with which he 
has discharged the duties of Secretary of War, as well amid 
the open dangers of a great rebellion as at a later period 
when assailed by the opposition, inspired by hostility to the 
measures of justice and pacification provided by Congress 
for the restoration of a real and permanent peace. 

This resolution was introduced by Senator Edmunds, 
of Vermont, on the 28th of May, two days after the 
conclusion of the impeachment trial, and seven days 
after the adoption of resolutions by the national Repub- 
lican convention. It was adopted in the Senate on the 
1st of June by a vote of 37 to 11. Among the yeas 
were the names of Fessenden, Trumbull, and Van 
Winkle, who had voted against impeachment. But for 
the absence of Mr. Corbett, the vote would have stood 
38 to 11, with five absent. The resolution was adopted 
in the House on the 19th of June by a vote of 102 to 
25, 63 not voting. In the Senate, in the press through- 
out the country, and among the people, there was a 
generous recognition of the great services, the unself- 
ish patriotism, and the unsullied integrity of the retir- 
ing Secretary. From the many eulogies pronounced 
upon him at that time the following is selected as the 
best and most comprehensive summary of the qualities 
which combined to make up the character of the man. 
It was written by Charles A. Dana, whose friendship 
and admiration were based on an intimate acquaintance 
with Mr. Stanton during several years of service with 
him as an Assistant Secretary of War : — 

We shall not here attempt to recount the story of the 
War Department during the years of Mr. Stanton's control. 


Enough to say that his labors were enormous, his devotion 
unwavering, his integrity utterly pure and incorruptible. 
His great intelligence and ardent, impulsive nature knew no 
divided or halting allegiance. With him patriotism was 
never a cold or a calculating sentiment. His soul was always 
at white heat in his country's cause. Indifferent to his own 
glory as to his own interest, neglecting attacks on his own 
reputation as he did temptations to swerve from his duty, he 
lived only for the Kepublic. Her liberties, her greatness, her 
destiny, the auspicious future of her free institutions, formed 
the exclusive objects of his thoughts, his toils, his existence. 
He loved the American democracy, its ideas, its unity, its 
form of government, its mission among mankind, with a pas- 
sion whose depth, constancy, and energy partook of fanati- 
cism. This was the inspiration of his career and the source 
of his extraordinary capacity for the transaction of public 
business. The amount of work he could perform was aston- 
ishing. He was always ready, always swift, always untiring, 
always resolute. His faculties were habitually kept in the 
most intense activity ; he reasoned and acted with the heart 
as well as with the brain. It is said that his action was 
sometimes precipitate and faulty ; but such criticism is very 
cheap and easy now that the crisis is gone and its weighty 
exigencies forgotten. To pretend that he was never mistaken 
would be to make him more than human ; but the faithful 
historian must ever record that at all times and under all cir- 
cumstances he was honest, unselfish, faithful to his country, 
and gifted with abilities equal to the occasion. 1 

Mr. Stanton's health had been undermined by six 
years of labor such as few men could endure. The 
nervous excitement of the continuous mental strain to 
which he was subjected had served as a stimulant to 
sustain him while his work continued, but when it 

1 New York Sun, editorial, May 28, 1868. 


entirely ceased and the quiet of his own home was sub- 
stituted for the turbulent struggles into which circum- 
stances had forced him, the natural reaction followed, 
and his old enemy, the asthma, was reinforced by in- 
creasing debility. Notwithstanding this, he participated 
in the political campaign of 1868, making speeches for 
General Grant to the extent of his strength. 

At his old home in Steubenville, Ohio, he spoke at 
great length and with something of his old fire. He 
spoke also at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia 
with great earnestness and effect. He did this under 
protest of his physician, with whom he finally com- 
promised by agreeing to speak only twenty minutes. 
The physician, sitting on the stage watch in hand, 
was unable to stop him at the expiration of the time. 

Very shortly after the election of General Grant to 
the presidency, Mr. Edwards Pierrepont wrote to Mr. 
Stanton that General Grant had remarked to him a few 
days before that " Stanton is entitled to anything." 

On the 6th of September Senator Conkling, in a cor- 
dial letter inviting a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Stanton, 
made the following reference to General Grant : — 

Yesterday General Grant asked me where you were. I 
had not then learned and could not learn till to-day. He 
spoke of you with strong feeling of friendship, and said he 
wanted to write you also. I was glad to hear his tone, and 
think you may not feel averse to hearing of it. 

Before entering the Cabinet Mr. Stanton had amassed 
considerable means in the practice of his profession. 
He stood among the foremost lawyers at the bar of the 
Supreme Court of the United States. His accumula- 

[Roscoe Conkling to Mr, :fe 




anton, September 6, i86g~\ 

■<^^^i^^^£. forzo^j/^co . %A 

\_Roscoe Conk/iiit; to Mr. Slmi/aii. September 6, lS6g\ 



tions were so diminished at the time of his death that 
his property was limited to the residence occupied by 
him at Washington. 1 

Surgeon-General Barnes, who attended Mr. Stanton 
in his last illness, stated that " the dropsy of cardiac 
disease manifested itself after a very exhausting argu- 
ment in chambers in a legal case, and from that time 
he did not leave his house and rarely his bed." 

Some of Mr. Stanton's friends commenced, in Decem- 
ber, 1869, a movement for his appointment to the 
Supreme Bench in place of Justice Grier, who had ex- 
pressed his intention to retire, without fixing any date. 

Mr. Stanton had been in the minds of men for the 
chief justiceship when that place was made vacant by 
the death of Chief Justice Taney in October, 1864. 
His old friend and mentor, Justice Grier, wrote him at 
that time as follows : — 

^Confidential.'] Philadelphia, October 13, 1864. 

Hon. E. M. Stanton. 

Dear Sir, — I have just received your telegram announ- 
cing the decease of Chief Justice Taney. Although often 

1 His correspondence shows that in two cases his devoted friend, P. H. 
Watson, obtained loans for him, which the lenders endeavored to have 
treated as gifts in appreciation of his public services. This he refused in 
strong though grateful terms, saying that if his life should be spared and 
health restored, he hoped to find no trouble in making payment out of 
the gains of his profession, or, if called while the debt was outstanding, 
his estate would have enough to pay it. In a like spirit he absolutely 
compelled his intimate friend, Edwards Pierrepont, to abandon the pro- 
ject of raising for him $100,000 by subscription, which would undoubt- 
edly have been attended with success. 

After his death a fund of $60,000 was contributed by friends to his 


differing in opinion with him, I had the highest respect and 
esteem for him, and sincerely lament his loss. 

I see speculations are already rife as to his successor. It 
is a question in which I feel a deep interest. I know of no 
man more competent to fill the place, or who deserves it so 
much as yourself. You have been wearing out your life in 
the service of your country, and have fulfilled the duties of 
your very responsible and laborious office with unexampled 
ability, and I think the President owes it to you, and that you 
should be suffered to retire in this honorable position. I see 
the papers are already beginning to put forward the name 
of Mr. Chase. But I presume the President will not be per- 
suaded thereby that he is the choice either of the bar or the 
people, or attend to the dictation of journalocracy. 

It would give me the greatest pleasure and satisfaction to 
have you preside on our bench. I am sure you would be the 
right man in the right place. 

I am with much respect and esteem, 

Truly yours, 

E. C. Grier. 

Bishop Simpson reported a conversation he had with 
Mr. Lincoln on the subject, in which he urged Mr. 
Stanton for the appointment. The President's reply 
was : " If you will find me another Secretary of War 
like him, I will gladly appoint him." 

Stanton's son, Edwin L., said of his financial condi- 
tion : — 

Although Mr. Stanton's health had been destroyed by his 
labor in the War Department, his circumstances compelled 
him to resume the practice of his profession, and he argued 
several important cases. The last of these was that of Whit- 
ney v. Mo wry, an important patent case, in which Judge 
Benjamin R. Curtis was opposed to him. This case was 

[Justice Grier to Mr. Stanton, October ij, 1864] 


j^JU^ U/v^y^^ TiIaJ^^aJ^I^^^s^ Oh-tyvyx $A/^ fcZj^, 

nyix>^ ^^r^^€^v^t^~t^^ ^/jZc^ cry Usluy 
Acs^u^c^ c/y^ytA^r t^^^ty VAasis* jf^Jf ' ^^^ 

^V O^wt^-- //to^v 4L4hsl^ <^ri^ v^v-l+JZ7 6-L. ^/^x. 


argued (in chambers) two weeks before Mr. Stanton's death, 
and in his own library, where, in view of his feeble health, 
Judge Swayne, of the Supreme Court, kindly consented to 
hear counsel. 

This argument continued through the 9th, 10th, 
13th, and 14th of December. He never left his home 
after that. 

On the 16th of December, two days after the long- 
protracted argument above referred to had prostrated 
him, the following communication was addressed to the 
President, signed by the Vice-President and thirty-eight 
senators : 1 — 

Washington, D. C, December 16, 1869. 
To his Excellency, U. S. Grant, President of the 

United States. 

Sir, — We have the honor to recommend the Hon. Edwin 
M. Stanton, of Pennsylvania, for appointment as Associate 
Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, in place 
of Mr. Justice Grier, who, it is understood, has resigned or 
is about to resign his seat on that bench. 

1 The signatures were as follows : 

Schuyler Colfax 
W. G. Brownlow 
Matt H. Carpenter 
George H. Williams 
John Scott 
Charles Sumner 
Alex Ramsey 
H. Hamlin 
James W. Nye 
Henry Wilson 
C. D. Drake 
Roscoe Conkling 
J. M. Howard 

Alexander McDonald 
W. M. Stewart 
James Harlan 
John M. Thayer 
W. T. Willey 
Joseph C. Abbott 
L. M. Morrill 
Wm. A. Buckingham 

C. Schurz 
B. F. Rice 

J. W. Patterson 
R. E. Fenton 

D. D. Pratt 

Geo. F. Edmunds 
C. Cole 

Abijah Gilbert 
William Warner 
J. S. Harris 
L. W. Osborn 
H. B. Anthony 
A. H. Cragin 
S. C. Pomeroy 
Z. Chandler 
T. I. Robertson 
H. W. Corbett 
O. P. Morton 


The eminent qualification of Mr. Stanton for this position 
and the great obligation which in our opinion this country is 
under to him speak more loudly in his favor than we can ; so 
we content ourselves with mere recommendation, and we most 
ardently hope that he may be so appointed. 

On the 18th of the same month this recommendation 
was seconded by the following communication, signed 
by 118 members of the House of Eepresentatives : 1 — 

1 The signatures 
J. G. Blaine 
John A. Bingham 
Benj. F. Butler 
Wm. H. Upson 
James Buffinton 
W. B. Allison 
Wm. Lawrence 
T. A. Jenks 
Wm. Loughridge 
N. B. Judd 
Horace Maynard 
S. Hooper 
H. C. Burchard 
A. A. Bradford 
D. McCarthy 
Sidney Clarke 
F. W. Palmer 
Godlove S. Orth 
J. T. Wilson 
Orange Ferris 
Burton C. Cook 
W. S. Smith 
John B. Hawley 
C. H. Van Wyck 
O. J. Dickey 
W. Townsend 
Chas. Pomeroy 
John Fisher 
J. B. Backer 

were as follows : — 
A. E. Buck 
Jacob C. Benton 
Jacob H. Ela 
Steven Sanford 
John A. Smith 
S. H. Boyd 
Robert T. Van Horn 
J. Packard 
J. H. Moore 
Chas. O'Neill 
S. S. Burdette 
F. C. Beaman 
A. D. Conger 
T. W. Ferry 
Thomas Fitch 
Austin Blair 
C. C. Washburne 
J. F. Farnsworth 
W. B. Stokes 
John Cessna 
M. Welker 
Wm. Moore 
J. A. Ambler 
J. B. Hay 
Philetus Sawyer 
Wm. D. Kelly 
Samuel M. Arnell 
John T. Deweese 
John Coburn 

John A. Peters 
J. C. McGrew 
A. H. Bailey 
R. R. Butler 
W. H. Kelsey 
H. H. Starkweather 
D. J. Morrill 
W. A. Wheeler 
Nathan F. Dixon 

C. C. Bowen 

Wm. H. Armstrong 
A. F. Stevens 
Worthington C. Smith 
John S. Wicher 

D. Phelps 

J. J. Winans 
G. A. Finkelnburg 
A. D. Laflin 
S. M. Cullom 
H. L. Dawes 
Porter Sheldon 
J. F. Asper 
John Lynch 
Eugene Hale 
John A. Logan 
Robert C. Schenck 
I. H. Ketcham 
Amasa Cobb 
Chas. Knapp 



Washington, D. C, December 18, 1869. 
U. S. Grant, President of the United States. 

The undersigned members of the House of Representatives 
of the United States, appreciating the eminent public services 
and distinguished abilities of the Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, 
respectfully and earnestly recommend his appointment as Jus- 
tice of the Supreme Court of the United States, in the place 
of Mr. Justice Grier, resigned. 

On the same day (the 18th) R. B. Carnohan and 
General Moorehead, two old Pittsburg friends of Mr. 
Stanton, called on Judge Grier. Mr. Carnohan wrote 
Mr. Stanton an account of this interview, in which he 
said : — 

General Moorehead and myself called on Judge Grier this 
afternoon. We told him that the President had said to us 
to say that you would be appointed his successor. He ex- 
pressed himself gratified at this information, said he had 
intended to recommend your appointment to the President, 
and that if he had been sure you would be his successor, he 
would have had less difficulty about resigning. 

He explained, however, that the condition of the business 
in the court would render it difficult for him to leave the 
bench before February. 

G. W. Schofield 
John Beatty 
B. F. Whitteniore 
S. L. Hoge 
John P. C. Shanks 
Leonard Myers 
W. Williams 
W. S. Wilkinson 
D. W. Hotchkiss 
L. G. Clark 
H. L. Cake 

Luke P. Poland 
R. Strickland 

C. W. Buckley 
J. A. Garfield 
H. E. Paine 

D. S. Bennett 
Samuel P. Morrill 
John C. Churchhill 
Job E. Stevenson 
J. F. Benjamin 

A. A. Sargent 

W. F. Prosser 
S. W. Kellogg 
Jas. N. Tyner 
John Taff 
D. Heaton 
A. H. Jones 
Wm. Smyth 
C. M. Hamlin 
Jas. S. Negley 


It is evident from this that the President was of the 
same mind with the majority of the Senate and House. 
It does not appear whether he had preceded their action 
or responded to it. 

A Washington dispatch to the " Tribune/' of the 
19th of December, said that the President had on that 
day called at the residence of Mr. Stanton, and tendered 
him the appointment of Justice of the Supreme Court 
made vacant by the recent resignation of Justice Grier. 
Also that Mr. Stanton accepted the offer. The Presi- 
dent said he would send the nomination to the Senate 
before the holidays. 

Mr. Stanton's nomination was made on the 20th of 
December, and read as follows : — 

To the Senate of the United States: — 

I nominate Edwin M. Stanton to be an Associate Justice 
of the Supreme Court of the United States in place of K. C. 
Grier, whose resignation, to take effect on the 1st of Febru- 
ary next, has been sent to and accepted by me. 

U. S. Grant. 
Executive Mansion, December 20, 1869. 

This nomination was immediately confirmed without 
the usual reference to a committee, a compliment rarely 
paid to any one not at the time a member of the Senate. 
The vote upon this confirmation stood yeas 46 and nays 

To the President Mr. Stanton addressed the follow- 
ing letter, acknowledging his appointment and express- 
ing his thanks : — 

Dear Sir, — I beg you to accept my thanks for your nom- 
ination of me as one of the Associate Justices of the Supreme 


Court of the United States. It is the only public office I 
ever desired, and I accept it with great pleasure. 

The appointment affords me the more pleasure as coming 
from you with whom for several years I have had personal 
official relations such as seldom exist among men. 

It will be my aim so long as life and health permit to per- 
form the solemn duties of the office to which you have ap- 
pointed me with diligence, impartiality, and integrity. 

I have the honor to be truly your friend, 

Edwin M. Stanton. 

To the President. 

This letter exhibits at once Mr. Stanton's elation at 
the coveted honor, his desire for life, and his expecta- 
tion of recovery. 

66 On the night of December 23/' says Surgeon-Gen- 
eral Barnes, " the dropsical effusion in the pericardium 
had increased to such an extent, and the symptoms 
were so alarming, that the Rev. Dr. Starkey, the rector 
of the Church of the Epiphany, was summoned, and 
read the services appointed for such occasions. He, 
with Mrs. Stanton, Mr. E. L. Stanton, the three younger 
children, Mrs. Bowie (the nurse), and myself, and sev- 
eral of the servants, were by his bedside until he died 
at four A. m. on the 24th of December, 1869." 1 

1 Letter to Edward McPherson, — MS. 


Honors to Stanton's Memory. — President Grant's Announcement 
of his Death. — Order of War Department. — - Action of Senators 
and Representatives. — Funeral Obsequies. 

Immediately upon the death of Mr. Stanton the 
President issued the following order : — 

Executive Mansion, 
Washington, D. C, December 24, 1869. 

The painful duty devolves upon the President of announ- 
cing to the people of the United States the death of one of its 
most distinguished citizens and faithful servants, the Hon. 
Edwin M. Stanton, which occurred in this city at an early 
hour this morning. He was distinguished in the councils of 
the nation during the entire period of the recent struggle for 
national existence ; first as Attorney-General, then as Secre- 
tary of War. He was unceasing in his labors, earnest and 
fearless in the assumption of responsibilities necessary to his 
country's success, respected by all good men, and feared by 
wrong-doers. In his death the bar, the bench, and the na- 
tion sustain a great loss, which will be mourned by all. As 
a mark of respect to his memory, it is ordered that the Exec- 
utive mansion, and the several departments at Washington, 
be draped in mourning, and that all business be suspended 
on the day of the funeral. 

U. S. Grant. 

An order was issued from the War Department an- 
nouncing Mr. Stanton's death, and directing that fif- 
teen guns be fired at each military post in the country. 


The justices of the Supreme Court had a conference 
with a view to taking charge of the funeral, but, upon 
consultation with the Secretary of War, it was thought 
most appropriate that the funeral services should be 
held under the control of the Department of War. A 
meeting of United States senators was held at the Cap- 
itol to make arrangements for attending the funeral. 
Vice-President Colfax presided, and Senators Hamlin, 
Sherman, Scott, Trumbull, and Williams were appointed 
a committee to prepare suitable resolutions and make 
arrangements for attendance upon the funeral. Ap- 
propriate resolutions were reported and adopted. A 
meeting of the members of the House of Eepresenta- 
tives was also held, and similar proceedings took place. 

Senator Sherman, on behalf of senators and repre- 
sentatives, visited Mrs. Stanton, and expressed to her 
their desire that the body of the deceased Secretary be 
removed to the hall of the House of Representatives, 
where the final obsequies should be conducted. Mrs. 
Stanton expressed her gratitude for this mark of re- 
spect, but said that her grief and ill health would 
render it impossible for her to be present at the Capitol, 
and that therefore she could not consent to the arrange- 
ment. The funeral took place at the residence of the 
deceased. His mother and sisters, who resided at his 
old home in Ohio, were present, besides the members 
of the family and intimate friends. There were also 
present President and Mrs. Grant, the Vice-President, 
the Chief Justice and his associates, General Sherman, 
Admiral Porter, the members of the Cabinet, many 
senators and representatives, the members of the diplo- 


matic corps, and many other officials of every grade. 
Great numbers of personal friends came also. Through- 
out the country there were demonstrations indicating 
the profound esteem in which Mr. Stanton was held, 
and the newspapers, including a great many that were 
opposed to him politically, pronounced glowing eulo- 
gies upon him as a patriot, a statesman, and a man. 

H *) * 


[President Grant to Mrs. Stanton'] 




3- XT 


President Grant's Letter to Mrs. Stanton. — Proceedings in the 
Supreme Court of the United States in Relation to the Death of 
Mr. Stanton. — Eulogy by the Attorney-General. — Resolutions 
of the Bar. — Remarks of the Chief Justice. 

On the 3d of January the President addressed the 
following letter to Mrs. Stanton, accompanying the 
same with the commission therein referred to : — 

Executive Mansion, 
January 3, 1870. 

Mrs. E. M. Stanton. 

Dear Madam, — I have caused to be issued and send here- 
with a commission as Justice of the Supreme Court for your 
much lamented husband. 

In forwarding this to you I am at a loss to find words 
expressive of my sympathy for you in your great affliction, 
and of the estimation I placed upon the ability, integrity, 
patriotism, and services of him whom a nation joins you in 
mourning the loss of. 

With great respect, 

Your obt. srvt. 

U. S. Grant. 

Following are the proceedings of the Supreme Court on 
the 17th of January, 1870. Salmon P. Chase, Chief Justice, 
and E. Rockwood Hoar, Attorney-General : — 



January 17, 1870. 

Upon the coming in of the court, the Attorney-General 
addressed them as follows : — 

May it please your Honors, — Since your last ad- 
journment the emblems of public mourning have been again 
displayed in the capital of the nation under circumstances 
which press upon the attention of this court with a peculiar 
and touching solemnity. A great man — great by the ac- 
knowledgment alike of those who feared or hated him, and 
of those by whom he was trusted and honored ; a lawyer, a 
statesman, selected and confirmed, though not commissioned, 
as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United 
States — has passed away from among us. Edwin M. Stan- 
ton, in the maturity of life, with a capacity for public service 
already demonstrated, in the security of established fame, 
seemed to our mortal vision about to enter upon a new and 
long career of honor and usefulness. But such was not the 
will of Heaven : " Diis aliter visum ! " 

It has seemed to his brethren of the bar a fit occasion to 
express their regard for his memory, and they have charged 
me with the official and grateful duty of presenting to your 
honors the resolutions which have been adopted at their meet- 
ing this morning. 

Of Mr. Stanton as a lawyer it is enough to say that he 
had risen to the foremost rank in his profession. He had 
adequate learning, untiring industry, a ready and retentive 
memory, clear comprehension of principles, the power of pro- 
found and cogent reasoning, and unquestionable integrity; 
and he gave to the cause of his clients a vigor, energy, and 
zeal which deserved and commanded success. 


But it is not of the lawyer, eminent as he was in the sci- 
ence and practice of the law, that men chiefly think as they 
remember him. His service to mankind was on a higher 
and wider field. He was appointed Attorney-General by 
Mr. Buchanan, on the 20th of December, 1860, in one of 
the darkest hours of the country's history, when the Union 
seemed crumbling to pieces without an arm raised for its sup- 
port ; when " without " the public counsels " was doubting, 
and within were fears ; " when feebleness and treachery were 
uniting to yield whatever defiant rebellion might demand ; 
and good men everywhere were ready to despair of the Ee- 
public. For ten weeks of that winter of national agony and 
shame, with patriotism that never wavered, and courage that 
never quailed, this true American, happily not wholly alone, 
stood manfully at his post, " between the living and the 
dead," gave what nerve he could to timid and trembling im- 
becility, and met the secret plotters of their country's ruin 
with an undaunted front, until before that resolute presence 
the demons of treason and civil discord appeared in their own 
shape as at the touch of Ithuriel's spear, and fled baffled and 
howling away. 

His published opinions as Attorney-General fill but nine 
pages, but the name that was signed to them had in that 
brief time become known throughout the land as the synonym 
of truth, honor, and fidelity. 

Although of a different political party, he was called by 
Mr. Lincoln into his Cabinet in 1862, as the Secretary of 
War. But it was at a time when all party divisions had 
become insignificant, and all party ties trivial, compared 
with those great duties which engrossed the thoughts and de- 
manded the care of every patriot. He brought to his great 
trust a capacity for labor that seemed inexhaustible ; unflinch- 
ing courage, indomitable will, patience, and steady persist- 
ence, which no fatigue could weary, and no mistakes or 
misfortunes divert ; a trust in the people that never faltered, 



an integrity which corruption never dared to approach, and a 
singleness of purpose which nothing could withstand. That 
purpose was to crush the rebellion, — and woe to that man 
who came, or seemed to come, between that purpose and its 
execution ! Coming from civil life, I suppose there is no 
sufficient evidence that he was, or ever became, a master of 
the art of war ; but the problem before him was to find those 
who were, and to bring all the resources of the country with 
an unstinted measure to their support. 
We might address him as one of those 

" Chief of men who, through a cloud, 
Not of war only, but detractions rude, 
Guided by faith and matchless fortitude, 
To peace and truth thy glorious way has plowed." 

Undoubtedly he had faults and failings. He was said to 
be despotic and overbearing, and he may have been some- 
times unjust ; but his work was done in a time when there 
was little chance for deliberation, and when the " weightier 
matters of the law " left no time for " tithing mint and anise 
and cummin." He felt that the life of the nation was in his 
hands, and under that fearful responsibility he could not 
always adjust with delicate hand the balance of private rights 
and wrongs. It is said that his manners were sometimes dis- 
courteous and offensive. Who can wonder that that wearied 
and overburdened man, with such pressure on brain and nerve, 
was sometimes irritable and unceremonious in his intercourse 
with shirking officers and peculating contractors, and the 
crowd of hungry cormorants and interminable bores who per- 
petually sought access to him; and sometimes confounded 
with such those who deserved better treatment? But the 
American people knew that he was honest, able, and faithful. 
He never stopped for explanation or condescended to excul- 
pate himself. 

I have thought it one of the highest and finest traits of his 


character that he bore in grim silence all accusations, and 
stood manfully between his chief and popular censure for acts 
which he neither originated or approved. It was perhaps the 
highest triumph of his official career, and the final proof of 
how justly his confidence in his countrymen was bestowed, 
that he conducted and carried through the military draft — 
that severest trial to a free people — when the country, in the 
time of her direst need, ceasing to entreat, commands the 
services of her sons. He had his reward ; and, like the Presi- 
dent whom he served, — 

" 111 thought, ill feeling, ill report lived through, 
Until he heard the hisses change to cheers, 
The taunts to tribute, the abuse to praise, 
And heard them with the same unwavering mind." 

He saw the rebellion crushed and the nation vindicated. 
The people who had learned to know that he was a tower of 
strength in the time of civil war, who had felt that their 
cause would never be abandoned or betrayed by him, and to 
whom his presence in office gave a sense of protection and 
security, have hailed with joy the prospect which so lately 
opened of transferring him to a new post of duty in this high 
tribunal. They knew that the statesman who had found in 
the Constitution all the powers necessary for its own mainte- 
nance would, as a jurist, not fail to find there all the powers 
needful for the protection throughout the entire country of 
that civil liberty which it was ordained to secure. But he 
was already worn out in their service, and gave his life for 
them as truly as any one who ever periled it on the field of 

Mr. Chief Justice, the lesson of this life is a lofty one. 
The time is soon coming when men will recognize the high 
natures who, in this period of civil strife, have arisen above 
the ordinary level of mankind, and are entitled to their grati- 
tude and honor. Upon those towering peaks in the land- 


scape, the eye will no longer discern the little inequalities 
and roughnesses of surface. Already upon the canvas of his- 
tory some figures are beginning to emerge. They are not 
those of self-seekers, or of those who were greedy of power or 
place, but of the men who, in time of public trial and public 
danger, with none but public objects, have done much for 
their country and mankind. Among these can his contempo- 
raries fail to discern — will not posterity surely recognize — 
the lineaments of Edwin M. Stanton ? A restored country is 
his monument. 

" Nothing can cover his high fame but Heaven. 
No pyramids set off his memories 
But the eternal substance of his greatness, 
To which I leave him." 

I now submit to your Honors the proceedings of the meet- 
ing of the bar, and make the motion which one of the resolu- 
tions suggests. 

At a meeting of the members of the bar of the Supreme 
Court of the United States, held at the court-room, in the 
Capitol, on the 13th day of January, 1870, 

Senator Edmunds, of Vermont, was appointed chairman, 
and R. M. Corwine, of Ohio, Secretary. 

On motion, 

The Attorney-General, J. M. Carlisle, Esq., and Hon. 
Robert S. Hale were appointed a committee to draft and 
report resolutions, who, at an adjourned meeting, on the 17th 
of January, reported as follows, which report was unani- 
mously adopted, viz. : — 

" Edwin M. Stanton, for many years a leading and honored 
member of this bar, formerly Attorney-General of the United 
States, and Secretary of War during the war for the preserva- 
tion of the Republic, recently nominated and confirmed to fill 


a prospective vacancy on the bench of the Supreme Court of 
the United States, distinguished by his professional abilities 
and attainments, and still more distinguished and endeared 
to the country he contributed so greatly to save, by his en- 
ergy, patriotism, and integrity, having, on the 24th day of 
December, 1869, laid down a life devoted to the cause of his 
country and worn out in her service, the members of the bar 
of the Supreme Court of the United States, assembled to 
render honor to his memory, as an expression of their regard 
and reverence for his public and private virtues, and of his 
most useful and patriotic career, have 

" Resolved, That we desire to express our profound and 
thorough appreciation of the private worth and public merits 
of Mr. Stanton ; of the loss sustained by the national judi- 
ciary in his death, and of the measureless debt of gratitude 
due to him from the citizens of a country saved from destruc- 
tion in great degree by his untiring labors, large comprehen- 
sion, and unswerving integrity. 

" Resolved, That the Attorney-General be requested to lay 
this expression of our feeling before the court, and to move 
that the same be entered upon the minutes of the term. 

" Resolved, That our chairman communicate a copy of these 
proceedings, and of such action as the court may take thereon, 
to the widow and children of our deceased brother, with the 
assurance of our sympathy and respect." 

The Chief Justice remarked, in reply : — 

" The court unites with the bar in acknowledging the pri- 
vate worth, the professional eminence, and the illustrious 
public services of Mr. Stanton, and in sorrow that the coun- 
try has been deprived, by his premature decease, of the great 
benefits justly expected from his remarkable attainments and 
abilities in the new sphere of duty to which he had been 

"We all anticipated from his accession to the bench in- 
creased strength for the court, and most efficient aid in its 


deliberations and decisions. We indulged the hope that his 
health, impaired by oppressive anxieties and arduous labors 
as the head of the Department of War, would be fully re- 
stored under the influence of the calmer and more regular 
course of this tribunal, and that prolonged life would afford 
him many opportunities of establishing additional claims 
upon the gratitude and honor of his country in the upright 
performance of judicial duty. 

" But Providence has ordered otherwise. He was not even 
permitted to become in fact a member of this court. He had 
hardly been nominated and confirmed to fill the vacancy 
which will occur a few days hence, through the prospective 
resignation of our honored brother, Mr. Justice Grier, when 
death entered upon the scene and closed his earthly career. 

" Our deepest sympathies are with his family and friends 
in their bereavement. We mourn their loss as our own loss, 
as the loss of the profession which he adorned, and of the 
country which he served. 

" The proceedings of the bar, the address of the Attorney- 
General, and this response will be entered upon the minutes, 
and, as a further mark of respect, the court will now adjourn 
without transacting any business." 



So ends the story of a great and noble life. It stands 
verified in these pages by the records of the nation, in 
the presence of which calumny must perforce be silent, 
while justice reverses the hasty judgments of those who 
were unable to see the man through the thick mists of 
strife-born prejudice and hate. 

That record, with much other testimony equally un- 
assailable, presents to the world a character of unspotted 
integrity and a life of sublime self-abnegation. Not 
only did Stanton serve his country without thought of 
advantage or promotion for himself, but in that service 
he maintained so high a standard of public duty that he 
raised up around him a host of enemies. He endured 
without complaint groundless and injurious assaults, and 
to the torrents of obloquy which roared around him he 
never deigned a reply. 

Before Mr. Lincoln became President, or General 
Grant had thought of returning to military life, Stan- 
ton had impressed his powerful personality upon the 
expiring administration of President Buchanan, and 
startled the nation from its long sleep to a realization 
that the Union would have to be fought for. His 
services at that time were of inestimable value, and 
resulted in his being called to the Cabinet of Mr. Lin- 


coin as Secretary of War during the first year of the 

Moral courage was a large element in his character ; 
this was well shown when he severed the political asso- 
ciations of a lifetime, to take his stand with an admin- 
istration against which he was at the time greatly 
prejudiced, because that seemed to him the only way 
to unreservedly support the cause of the nation against 
those who would dismember it. His physical courage 
was unfailing, as shown by his indifference at all times 
to the question of his own personal safety, in the pre- 
sence of the dangers to which he voluntarily exposed 
himself by the severe measures he adopted in the con- 
duct of the War Department. He was at all times the 
most dangerously conspicuous object for attack by all 
the methods and through all the channels which ene- 
mies of the Union and conspirators against the Treasury 
could command. 

His faith in the final triumph of the Union arms 
never for a moment faltered or abated. When the 
outlook was most gloomy, in time of war, he spoke the 
words of cheer and hope which again and again rallied 
the spirits of the people, and made patriotic enthusiasm 
take the place of discouragement and depression. His 
stalwart nature was like a strong fortress for the sad- 
dened and weary President, whose chosen companion he 
was at such times. 

Stanton was the motive power of Lincoln's adminis- 
tration. His unmatched and untiring will and energy 
supplied the force which moved forward at all times, 
setting the pace at which the government also should 


move, and carrying all along with it. Whatever num- 
ber of troops were to be raised, he regulated the speed 
of the official machinery by which it was to be done, 
and also of that by which they should be equipped, sup- 
plied, and transported to the camps. He was a terror 
to evil-doers, among whom he included all who fell short 
in their duty to the government whether as officials 
or contractors. Whatever was promised for the army 
had to be forthcoming, as to quality, quantity, and time. 
Governors of States looked to him for advice, and co- 
operated with him as friends and associates in placing 
troops in the field. Committees of Congress came to 
him for war measures, and found them ready. He 
pervaded all places in the government which in any 
manner touched the war resources of the nation. He 
sent dispatches to the general commanding in New 
York, — giving reports of battles, orders with the Presi- 
dent's thanks to officers and men for great victories, 
explanations to break the force of disasters, announce- 
ments of war measures, and such other matters as might 
be necessary in the formation of public opinion, in aid 
of the Union cause, — and had them published in the 
great daily journals of the country. 

At the close of the war he jealously guarded the 
results, and probably contributed more than any other 
man to the defeat of a reactionary movement inaugu- 
rated by President Johnson. 

All these things and much more have been carefully 
narrated. But who can add to the recital an adequate 
idea of the fire and vigor of Stanton ? Who can tell 
of his anxious vigils, and his mighty work ? 



The war produced many great leaders, civil and mili- 
tary. Lincoln was our greatest civilian ; Grant our 
greatest soldier ; but Stanton was the one great organ- 
izer and energizer of the work by which armies were 
raised, equipped, supplied, and placed in the field. 

EDW - - , ; 



Adams, John Quincy, elected presi- 
dent, i. 12 ; coalition with Clay, 12. 

Amendment, Fifteenth, ii. 391, 392. 

Amendments, Thirteenth and Four- 
teenth, ii. 342-346. 

" American " party, i. 76. 

Anderson, Major Robert, abandons Fort 
Moultrie and prepares to hold Sum- 
ter, i. 127-129 ; attempt to reinforce 
him, 160; Star of the West fired 
upon, 161 ; truce with the Carolin- 
ians, 162. 

Andrew, Governor John A., distrust 
of Butler, i. 314. 

Antietam, battle of, ii. 54-56. 

Anti-Masons join Whigs, i. 22. 

Appomattox, Lee's surrender at, ii. 

Bancroft, George, criticism of Sher- 
man-Johnston peace terms, ii. 196. 

Bank, United States, attacked by 
Jackson, i. 19 ; opposes Jackson, 
21 ; funds ordered removed, 21. 

Banks, General Nathaniel P., Depart- 
ment of the Shenandoah, ii. 11. 

Black, Attorney-General Jeremiah S., 
California land cases, i. 48-56; ex- 
tracts from letters, 54-56 ; opinion 
as to powers and duties of the execu- 
tive in case of rebellion interrupting 
the regular course of justice, 94-98, 
99-105 ; Secretary of State, 116 ; sup- 
port of Edwin M. Stanton, 121, 122 ; 
visits Canada to confer with rebel 
commissioners, Clay and Thompson, 
ii. 148-153. 

Booth, John Wilkes, assassinates Lin- 
coln, ii. 200. 

Bragg, General Braxton, in Kentucky, 
ii. 91 ; at Chattanooga, 134 ; defeat, 

Brinkerhoff, Jacob, speech against 
annexation of Texas, i. 72. 

Bronson, S. A., remarks on Stanton at 
Kenyon College, i. 16. 

Buchanan, James, elected president, i. 
77 ; supported by Edwin M. Stanton, 
77, 78 ; seeks Judge Black's advice, 
94-105 ; message of December 3, 
1860, 106-110 ; attitude toward the 
question of forts at Charleston, 138, 
141, 144 ; confers with South Caro- 
lina commissioners, 142, 143 ; letter 
to them, 147 ; calls troops into Wash- 
ington, 171 ; supports Union cause, 
210, 211. 

Buell, General Don Carlos, relations 
to HaUeck, i. 269-271 ; Perryville, 
ii. 91 ; superseded by Rosecrans, 

Bull Run, battle of, i. 220. 

Burnside, General Ambrose E., super- 
sedes McClellan, ii. 72. 

Butler, Benjamin F., in command of 
the Department of New England, i. 
313 ; opposition to him in Massa- 
chusetts, 314; New Orleans expe- 
dition, 313-320 ; relations with Ed- 
win M. Stanton, 314, 315 ; McClel- 
lan's disfavor, 313-317; arrival at 
Ship Island, 318 ; occupies New Or- 
leans, 319 ; to maintain order in New 
York, ii. 157. 



Calhoun, John C, vice-president, i. 13, 

14 ; second term vice-president, 14 ; 

opposes Van Buren, 14 ; attacks 

tariff law, 15. 
California land cases, i. 46-66. 
Cass, Lewis, defeat of, for presidency, 

i. 74 ; resigns, as Secretary of State, 

115 ; comments on Edwin M. Stanton, 

286, 287. 
Chattanooga, battle of, ii. 136, 137. 
Chiekamauga, battle of, ii. 121. 
Civil Rights Bill, ii. 293-297. 
Clay, Henry, supported for president, 

i. 12 ; coalition with Adams, 12 ; 

made Secretary of State, 12 ; as a 

" Union saver," 20, 21. 
Cobb, Howell, involved in pre-secession 

negotiations, i. 88 ; resigns, 115. 
Collamer, Jacob, on Sherman- Johnston 

peace terms, ii. 197. 
Covode, John, resolution to impeach 

Johnson, ii. 441. 
Crawford, William H., presidential 

candidate, i. 12. 
Gushing, Caleb, attends South Caro- 
lina secession convention to oppose 

secession, i. 119. 

Dana, Charles A., criticism of Rose- 
crans, ii. 131 ; eulogy of Stanton, 
466, 467. 

Davis, Jefferson, influence upon Buch- 
anan's message, i. 91 ; interview 
with the President relative to forts 
Moultrie and Sumter, 128-130 ; at- 
tacks Buchanan, 147 ; alarmed at 
Union success in the West, 355 ; 
sends Thompson and Clay on a mis- 
sion to Canada, ii. 143, 144 ; flight 
from Richmond, 168 ; sues for peace, 
170 ; opinion of peace negotiations, 
178 ; arrested and confined in For- 
tress Monroe, 207 ; indicted for high 
treason, etc., 207 ; release, 211. 

Democratic party, its position in 1840, 
i. 26-29. 

Dix, John A., letter to Buchanan, i. 

Draft-riots, New York's, ii. 104-107, 

Drayton, Thomas F., serves as emissary 

of Gist to Floyd for purchase of 

arms, i. 85, 88, 89. 

Early, General Jubal A., raid on Wash- 
ington, ii. 163-165. 

Ellet, Charles, Jr., on steam rams for 
Mississippi River, i. 288-290 ; con- 
structs them, 295, 296 ; capture of 
Memphis, 297-299. 

Emancipation an issue, ii. 75 ; growing 
sentiment, 78 ; Lincoln's preliminary 
draft of Emancipation Proclamation 
read in cabinet, 78; proclamation 
published, 79 ; measure advocated 
by Edwin M. Stanton, 87-90; de- 
mand for amendment to the Consti- 
tution, 257. 

Evarts, W. M., relations to impeach- 
ment trial, ii. 449-454. 

Fair Oaks, battle of, i. 436-439. 

Farragut, Rear Admiral David G., ar- 
rival at Ship Island, i. 318 ; in front 
of New Orleans, 319 ; above Vicks- 
burg, 321. 
| Floyd, John B., negotiates for pur- 
chase of arms from United States, i. 
85 ; assails Major Anderson in cabi- 
net meeting, 131 ; vague instruc- 
tions to Anderson, 132-134 ; de- 
mands withdrawal of garrison at 
Sumter, 136 ; resigns, 145. 

Franklin, General W. B., corps held 
back by McClellan, ii. 29-31. 

Gaines's Mill, battle of, i. 451, 452. 

Gallagher, Mr., testimony as to boy- 
hood traits of Edwin M. Stanton, 
i. 8. 

Garrison, William Lloyd, anti-slavery 
principles, i. 178, 179. 

Gettysburg, battle of, ii. 100 ; Lincoln's 
address, 101, 102. 

Gist, Governor, proposes secession in 
confidential letters, i. 83 ; negotiates 



for the purchase of arms, 85 ; ulti- 
matum to the President, 115. 

Goldsborough, Admiral Louis M., or- 
dered to send gunboats up the James, 
i. 406. 

Grant, Ulysses S., takes Fort Henry, i. 
271, 272 ; moves upon Fort Donelson, 
273-276 ; made brigadier-general, 
280 ; support of Stanton, 281, 282 ; 
injustice of Halleck, 301-305 ; Shi- 
loh, 306-308; injustice of HaUeck, 
308-312; on Vicksburg situation, 
324, 325; Vicksburg campaign, ii. 
92-94 ; interview with Stanton, 131- 
134 ; at Chattanooga, 135 ; victory 
at Chattanooga, 136, 137 ; made 
lieutenant-general, 138; account of 
Early's raid on Washington, 163, 
164 ; relations with Stanton, 374, 
375; supports Congress, 376-379; 
correspondence with district com- 
manders, 378-382 ; warning to John- 
son, 394, 395 ; succeeds Stanton as 
Secretary of War ad interim, 406 ; 
misunderstanding with Stanton, 428- 
434 ; controversy with Johnson, 434, 

Greeley, Horace, statement concerning 
origin of Whig party, i. 22. 

Grier, Judge Robert C, opinion of 
United States Supreme Court as to 
the powers and duties of the execu- 
tive in case of rebellion interrupting 
the regular course of justice, i. 96, 

Hale, John P. , candidate for the presi- 
dency, i. 74. 

Halleck, General Henry W., relations 
to Buell, i. 269-271; demands a 
reward, 275 ; desires promotion, 300 ; 
injustice to Grant, 301-305 ; takes 
command of all the armies of the 
West, 304 ; injustice to Grant, 308- 
312; made general-in-chief, ii. 14; 
arrives in Washington, 15; confers 
with McClellan, 16 ; states facts 
as to McClellan's insubordination, 

37; orders McClellan forward, 63, 

Hampton, John H., tribute to genius 
of Stanton, i. 36, 37. 

Harding, George, case of McCormick 
v. Manny, i. 44, 45 ; on eloquence of 
Stanton, 45. 

Harper, John, testimony as to boyhood 
traits of Stanton, i. 9. 

Harper's Ferry, surrender of, ii. 53. 

Harrison, William Henry, defeated by 
Van Buren, i. 23 ; elected president, 

Hayne, Robert Y., spokesman of Cal- 
houn, i. 15 ; announces doctrine of 
nullification, 15 ; Webster's reply, 

Hitchcock, Major, carries Sherman- 
Johnston agreement to Washington, 
ii. 181. 

Hoffman, United States district judge, 
opinion on California land cases, i. 
65, 66. 

Holden, William W., appointed pro- 
visional governor of North Carolina, 
ii. 246. 

Holt, Judge, opinion in regard to ac- 
count of cabinet crisis by Stanton, 
i. 159 ; letter to Anderson, 162 ; 
states reasons for calling troops to 
Washington, 173, 174. 

Hooker, General Joseph, testimony 
concerning Antietam, ii. 54 ; succeeds 
Porter, 72 ; succeeds Burnside, 95 ; 
at Chattanooga, 136; assigned to 
Northern Department, 147. 

Hunter, Major-General David, criticism 
of McClellan, ii. 53 ; succeeds Burn- 
side, 72. 

Impeachment of Johnson. See John- 
son, Andrew. 

Jackson, Andrew, presidential candi- 
date, 12 ; attacks United States Bank, 
19 ; elected president, 19 ; proclama- 
tion against nullifiers, 15 ; reelected, 
19 ; assaults nullification, 20 ; orders 



funds removed from United States 
Bank, 21. 
Johnson, Andrew, becomes president 
at Lincoln's death, ii. 169 ; his origi- 
nal reconstruction policy, 232 ; orders 
military commanders to prevent ex- 
ercise of authority by rebel state 
governments, 243-245 ; proclamation 
appointing Holden provisional gov- 
ernor for the State of North Caro- 
lina, 246-248 ; also provisional gov- 
ernors for other States, 248 ; tests 
of loyalty, 249 ; exemptions, 250, 
251 ; emancipated slaves denied the 
suffrage, 251, 252 ; calls Southern 
state conventions, 256 ; dispatch to 
Sharkey, 258-260 ; change of pur- 
pose toward negro enfranchisement, 
260-262 ; altered attitude toward 
polities, 262 ; results of reconstruc- 
tion policy, 269, 270 ; extreme utter- 
ances about treason, 271 ; clash with 
Congress, 276-283 ; his message, 
279 ; duped by ex-Confederates, 283, 
284 ; continues military rule in ex- 
Confederate States, 285 ; refuses to 
annul suspension of habeas corpus 
writ in Southern States, 285; de- 
clares rebellion at an end, 286 ; vetoes 
Freedmen's Bureau Bill, 289 ; speech 
from steps of White House, denoun- 
cing persons by name, 290-292 ; 
vetoes Trumbull's Civil Rights Bill, 
294 ; a military dictator, 298, 299 ; a 
Johnson party formed, 301 ; trip to 
Chicago, 329 ; intemperate speeches, 
330, 331 ; hatred of Stanton, 337 ; 
Military Reconstruction Act, 342, 
343 ; ineffectual vetoes, 350 ; as- 
signs commanders to districts in 
South, 354 ; repressive policy, 388 ; 
determines to remove Stanton, 393 ; 
Grant's warning, 394, 395 ; asks Stan- 
ton to resign, 395 ; suspends Stanton, 
appointing Grant secretary of war ad 
interim, 406 ; message and Stanton's 
reply, 413-426 ; Senate reinstates 
Stanton, 426 ; controversy with 

Grant, 434, 435 ; again removes Stan- 
ton, 437, 438 ; impeachment resolu- 
tion, 441 ; trial, 448-456. 

Johnston, General Joseph E., sues for 
peace, ii. 168. 

Jouan, Augustus, California land cases, 
i. 48, 

Kearny, General Philip, opinion of 

McClellan, ii. 21. 
Key, Major John J., dismissed, ii. 


Lee, Henry, receives South Carolina's 
votes for vice-president, i. 14. 

Lee, General R. E., invasion of Mary- 
land, ii. 49 ; operations of his forces, 
51-54 ; in Pennsylvania, 96, 97 ; 
Gettysburg, 100 ; surrender at Ap- 
pomattox, 166. 

Limantour, J. Y., fraudulent claims, 
i. 47-66 ; details of the scheme, 57- 

Lincoln, Abraham, elected president, 
i. 83, 86, 120 ; attitude toward sla- 
very, 180-182, 183, 184; his acces- 
sion, 191 ; inaugural address, 196 ; 
call for volunteers, 207 ; relations 
with McClellan, 326-332 ; asserts his 
authority over McClellan, 332, 333 J 
council of war, 345 ; accepts McClel- 
lan's plan, 349 ; orders for peninsu- 
lar campaign, 350, 351 ; War Order 
No. 3, 361 ; order for defense of 
Washington and forward movement 
by McClellan, 379, 380 ; on army 
corps organization, 395, 396 ; assumes 
virtual command of all the armies, ii. 
11 ; puts McClellan in command at 
Washington, 46-48 ; orders Halleck 
to organize an army to oppose Lee's 
advance, 50 ; removes McClellan, 72 ; 
attitude toward slavery, 75-77 ; case 
of Vallandigham, 81 ; orders Rose- 
crans to succeed Buell, 91 ; calls for 
100,000 militia to resist Lee, 96 ; Get- 
tysburg address, 101, 102 ; suspends 
habeas corpus, 114, 117; nominated 



for second term, 141 ; reelected, 159 ; 
comment on his election, 161 ; assas- 
sination, 169, 200 ; his expressed 
views as to reconstruction, 233-240 ; 
his last telegram, forbidding- assem- 
bling of Virginia legislature, 242, 

Longstreet, General James, criticism of 
McCleUan, ii. 52, 53. 

Loomis, A. W., on legal ability of Stan- 
ton, i. 39. 

Lyons, Lord, letters to Earl Kussell 
concerning proposed mediation, ii. 

Marshall, Thomas M., testimony as to 
professional ability of Edwin M. 
Stanton, i. 34-36. 

Mason, James M., confederate emissary 
to Great Britain, ii. 143. 

McCall, General George A., his divi- 
sion joins McClellan, i. 447. 

McClellan, General George B., called 
to command, i. 221, 226 ; private let- 
ters, 227-231 ; summoned to Wash- 
ington, 236 ; appears before commit- 
tee, 239; looks with disfavor upon 
Butler's New Orleans expedition, 
313-317 ; West Virginia campaigns, 
329-332 ; Lincoln asserts his author- 
ity, 332, 333 ; plans for a peninsular 
campaign, opposed by Lincoln, 336 ; 
blunder at Harper's Ferry, 342, 343 ; 
his plan submitted and accepted, 
345-349; at Fairfax Court House, 
357-359 ; made commander of the 
Army of the Potomac only, 361 ; or- 
dered to move at once, 363 ; misre- 
presentations, 376, 377 ; violation of 
orders, 377-380 ; on the peninsula, 
381; siege of Yorktown, 390; Wil- 
liamsburg, 391-394 ; army corps 
organization, 394-396; at White 
House, 404 ; failure to use James 
River, 404-406 ; calls for reinforce- 
ments, 406 ; inconsistent statements, 
407 ; comments by Davis, 413 ; de- 
fended by New York " Advertiser," 

421, 422 ; by New York " Tribune," 
423 ; criticised by Edwin M. Stanton, 
427-432 ; Chickahominy River, 434- 
436; battle of Fair Oaks, 436-439; 
demands reinforcements, 441 ; on the 
Chickahominy, 441-446; report of 
Mechanicsville, 448, 449 ; abandons 
Porter at Gaines's Mill, 451, 452 ; un- 
truthful dispatch to Edwin M. Stan- 
ton, 452-455 ; asks for 50,000 more 
men, ii. 1 ; reinforcements sent by 
Hunter and Burnside, 1 ; correspond- 
ence with Edwin M. Stanton, and 
with Mrs. McClellan, 2-4 ; the Harri- 
son's Landing letter, instructing the 
President and Congress as to their 
civil duties, 5-8 ; a bid for the presi- 
dency, 9, 10 ; insubordination, 11 ; 
letter to Pope, 13 ; unbosoms himself 
to Halleck, 18-20 ; private letters, 
22-28; fear of removal, 23, 27; 
hatred of Halleck, 24 ; denunciation 
of Pope, 24, 25 ; insubordination in 
withholding troops, 29, 31; Pope's 
report, 34; Edwin M. Stanton in- 
quires of Halleck concerning Mc- 
Clellan's insubordination, and Hal- 
leck replies, 37 ; at Washington, 43- 
45 ; in command of troops to go into 
the field, 51 ; advance toward Fred- 
erick, 51 ; Antietam, 54, 56 ; thinks 
of leaving the service, 56, 57 ; refuses 
to pursue, 59 ; Halleck orders a for- 
ward move, 63, 64 ; disobeys the 
President, 65; denounces Lincoln's 
proclamation, 66 ; at Warrenton, 71 ; 
relieved of command, 72 ; nominated 
for president, 142. 

McDowell, Major-General Irvin, ad- 
vance in Virginia, i. 220; Depart- 
ment of the Rappahannock, ii. 11. 

McCormiek v. Manny, case of, i. 44, 

McNulty, Caleb J., tried as defaulter, 
i. 31, 32. 

Meade, General George G., succeeds 
Hooker, ii. 97-100 ; Gettysburg, 100 ; 
permits escape of Lee, 101. 



Mechanicsville, battle of, i. 448, 449. 

Meigs, Quartermaster-General Mont- 
gomery C, McClellan's requisitions 
met by, ii. 69. 

Memphis, capture of, i. 297-299. 

Merrimac, the, discussion in confer- 
ence, i. 371-373 ; blown up, 401. 

Military Reconstruction Act, passed 
over President's veto, ii. 348, 349. 

Mill Spring, battle of, i. 252. 

Monroe, James, chosen to a second 
term, i. 11. 

Moultrie, Fort, seized by secessionists, 
i. 142. 

Mumford, W. B., executed for treason, 
i. 320. 

Murfreesboro (Stone River), battle of, 
ii. 91, 92. 

National Union Club, the, ii. 301. 

New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Co., 
forged claim, i. 67-69. 

New Orleans, La., Butler's expedition 
to, i. 313-320 ; captured, 319 ; riot 
in, ii. 312 ; causes and leaders, 313- 
317; Sheridan's account, 318-321; 
Stanton to Sheridan, 321 ; Sheridan 
to Grant, 321, 322 ; riot further dis- 
cussed, 323, 324; causes of the 
tragedy, 428. 

Nullification, i. 15 ; 20-21 ; nullifiers 
join Whigs, 21. 

Pickens, F. W., demand for Fort Sum- 
ter, i. 119, 120. 

Pinekney, Castle, seized by secession- 
ists, i. 42. 

Pope, General John, captures Island 
No. 10, i. 321 ; commands Army of 
Virginia, ii. 12 ; letter to McClellan, 
13 ; official report, 34 ; fears defeat 
and is solicitous for safety of the 
capital, 42 ; removes the mayor of 
Mobile, 357. 

Porter, General Fitz John, calls Mc- 
Clellan " candidate apparent of the 
opposition for the presidency," ii. 
8 ; his forces withheld from action at 

Antietam, 54'; superseded by Hooker, 
Proviso, Wilmot, favored by Edwin M. 
Stanton, i. 72, 73. 

Reagan, John H., share in conference 
between Johnston and Sherman, 
ii. 174, 175 ; plan for peace, 175, 

Reconstruction, attitude of the belli- 
gerents after the war, ii. 224-231 ; 
Lincoln's views, 233-240 ; Stanton's 
views, 241 ; Holden appointed pro- 
visional governor of North Carolina, 
246-248 ; similar arrangements in 
other States, 248 ; tests of loyalty, 
249 ; exemptions, 250, 251 ; emanci- 
pated slaves denied the suffrage, 
251, 252 ; southern state conven- 
tions called, 256 ; action of North 
Carolina, 257; Mississippi conven- 
tion, 262, 263 ; Georgia convention, 
.263, 264 ; Alabama convention, 264 ; 
South Carolina convention, 265; 
Florida convention, 266 ; results of 
the Johnson policy, 271 ; unfriendly 
legislation concerning the freedmen, 
272-275 ; Stevens's resolution adopt- 
ed, 278; machinations of ex-Con- 
federates, 283, 284; military rule 
continued, 285 ; habeas corpus still 
suspended, 285; Civil Rights Bill, 
293-297 ; congressional campaign, 
332-334; Tennessee restored, 334- 
336 ; Military Reconstruction Act, 
342, 343 ; supplementary reconstruc- 
tion act, 354 ; first reconstruction 
act, sec. 5, 386, 387 ; final supple- 
mentary reconstruction act, 393. 

Republican party founded, i. 77 ; atti- 
tude toward Fugitive Slave Law, 
177 ; its condition when Lincoln was 
inaugurated, 191-193, 194, 195. 

Richmond, fall of, ii. 168. 

Riot in New Orleans, ii. 312 ; causes 
and leaders, 313-317 ; Sheridan's ac- 
count, 318-321 ; Stanton to Sheridan, 
321; Sheridan to Grant, 321, 322; 



riot further discussed, 323, 324 ; 
causes of the tragedy, 428. 
Roseerans, General William S., checks 
Bragg-, ii. 91 ; Murfreeshoro, 91 ; at 
Chattanooga, 121. 

Schell, Augustus, questions Stanton 
concerning Weed's account of cabinet 
crisis, i. 149. 

Schofield, General John M., statement 
of, in regard to impeachment trial, ii. 
450-455 ; made Secretary of War, 
456, 457. 

Scott, Thomas A., mission to the West, 

Scott, General Winfield, nominated for 
president, i. 75 ; defeated, 76 ; an 
obstacle to McClellan, 228 ; retired, 

Secession threatened, i. 84, 85 ; arma- 
ment urged in South Carolina, 86; 
action in United States District Court 
room in Charleston, South Carolina, 
87 ; South Carolina legislature calls 
convention, 87 ; progress of the move- 
ment, 91-93 ; Buchanan's attitude, 
111, 112 ; plan for peaceful secession, 
114, 115; Gist's ultimatum, 115; the 
" Constitution " pronunciamento, 117 ; 
Mississippi urges North Carolina to 
secede, 118 ; secession convention, 
118 ; Cushing's mission, 118, 119 ; 
Pickens's demand for Fort Sumter, 
119, 120 ; Black's opinion, 121, 122 ; 
attempt to supply forts in Charles- 
ton harbor, 127; Star of the West 
fired upon, 161 ; seven States secede, 
Davis inaugurated, 163 ; Congress 
seeks compromise, 164 ; troops called 
into Washington, 175 ; Union senti- 
ment in the South, 182 ; proposed 
union of non-slaveholding States, 193. 

Seven Days' battles, i. 447-456. 

Sharkey, W. L., provisional governor 
of Mississippi, commences organiza- 
tion of militia to suppress crime, ii. 

Sheridan, General Philip H., in com- 

mand in Shenandoah Valley, ii. 165 ; 
made a major-general, 166 ; removes 
Herron, Monroe, and Abell, 355, 356 ; 
removes board of levee commission- 
ers and Governor Wells, 357. 

Sherman, John, disapproves Sherman- 
Johnston peace terms, ii. 195, 196. 

Sherman, General W. T., at Chatta- 
nooga, ii. 136 ; succeeds Grant in the 
West, 138 ; march to the sea and 
subsequent operations, 166 ; reply to 
Davis regarding peace, 171 ; peace 
conference, 171 ; diplomatic blunder, 
171, 179, 180; Sherman's plan for 
peace, 177, 178 ; letter to Grant, 181, 
182; resents Stanton's disapproval, 

Slavery, sentiment as to, i. 23, 24; 
Fugitive Slave Law, 75; attempt 
to extend it into the territories, 
76; political implications, sentiment 
North and South, 177-186 ; emanci- 
pation a political issue, ii. 75 ; Lin- 
coln's attitude, 75-77; freedom to 
all slaves employed by their masters 
in military operations, 77 ; slavery 
abolished in District of Columbia, 
77 ; prohibited in territories, 77 ; 
Confiscation Act, 77, 78 ; Lincoln's 
Emancipation Proclamation, 79. 

Slidell, John, Confederate emissary to 
France, ii. 143. 

South Mountain, battle of, ii. 53. 

Stanton, Dr. David, marries Lucy Nor- 
man, 7 ; separates from Quakers, 7 ; 
dies, 11. 

Stanton, Edwin M., estimate of his 
career, i. 1 ; early political affilia- 
tions, 3 ; in Buchanan's cabinet, 3 ; 
dislike for Lincoln, 3 ; qualities as 
Secretary of War, 3-5 ; attitude 
toward Johnson's reconstructive 
policy, 5 ; resignation and death, 5 ; 
ancestry, 5-7 ; birth and early child- 
hood, 7, 8 ; begins work in a book- 
store, 8 ; early studies, 8 ; boyhood 
traits, 9, 10 ; at Kenyon College, 10- 
17 ; goes over to Jackson, 11, 16 ; 



reenters Turnbull's employ, 17 ; be- 
gins study of law, IT ; engagement 
to Miss Lamson, 18 ; begins practice 
of law, 18 ; his marriage, 18 ; house- 
keeping at Cadiz, O., 18 ; commis- 
sioned prosecuting attorney, 19 ; joins 
Democratic party, 19 ; becomes Tap- 
pan's law partner in Steubenville, 
25 ; named for judicial honors, 26 ; 
favors Van Buren's reelection, 26 ; 
termination of his interest in party 
politics, 80 ; the McNulty case, 31, 
32 ; death of his wife, 33 ; removal to 
Pittsburg, 33 ; marries Miss Hutch- 
ison, 33 ; T. M. Marshall's testi- 
mony as to professional ability of 
Stanton, 34-36; J. H. Hampton's 
tribute to the genius of Stanton, 36, 
37 ; remark by A. W. Loomis upon 
ability of Stanton, 37 ; Wheeling 
Bridge case, 38-44 ; case of McCor- 
mick v. Manny, 44, 45 ; Harding on 
eloquence of Stanton, 45 ; removal 
to Washington, 46 ; employed by 
the government as special counsel in 
California land cases, 46-66 ; jour- 
ney to San Francisco, 49, 51 ; collects 
Mexican archives, 51-54 ; overthrow 
of forged claim of New Almaden 
quicksilver mine, 67-69 ; successful 
work in California, 70; letter to 
Brinkerhoff , 72 ; withdrawal from 
party politics, 72 ; favors Wilmot 
Proviso, 72 ; letter to Salmon P. 
Chase, 73 ; letter from Senator Yulee, 
73 ; a Freesoiler, 73 ; position on 
Kansas question, 78; support of 
Breckinridge, 79 ; and of Buchan- 
an, 80 ; appointed Attorney-General, 
81 ; opposes demands for removal 
of garrison from Sumter, 144 ; cabi- 
net crisis described by Stanton, 149- 
159 ; union sentiment of Stanton, 166; 
fears for the capital, 167-171, 175 ; 
democracy and patriotism of Stanton, 
176, 177 ; remark upon border-state 
compromise, 180 ; influence upon 
Buchanan, 189 ; disapproved aban- 

donment of Sumter, 198, 199 ; anx- 
iety and discontent, 199-202 ; fears 
for Washington at outbreak of war, 
209 ; distrust of Lincoln adminis- 
tration, 209, 210 ; letter to John A. 
Dix, 213 ; letter to Buchanan, 215- 
217 ; letter to General Dix, 217, 218 ; 
letter to C. P. Wolcott, 222, 228; 
letter to Buchanan, 223, 224 ; Sum- 
ner's impression of Stanton, 225 ; 
relations with McClellan, 233 ; made 
Secretary of War, 238-244 ; qualifi- 
cations for the office, 244, 245 ; be- 
gins his task, 246-249 ; first official 
order, 250 ; plan to continue pay to 
imprisoned soldiers, 251 ; his first 
war bulletin, 252-254 ; letter to Sena- 
tor Wade, 255, 256 ; reorganizes the 
war office, 256, 257 ; efforts to check 
fraud, 258-260 ; railways impressed, 
260, 261 ; order concerning political 
prisoners and military arrests, 262- 
266; Thomas A. Scott sent West, 
268 ; reply to Scott, 277-279 ; atti- 
tude toward Buell and Halleck, 
277-279 ; commended by Grant, 281, 
282 ; Greeley on Stanton, 284 ; dis- 
dains credit not his due, 285 ; com- 
ments by Cass, 286, 287 ; orders con- 
struction of steam rams, 288, 296 ; 
relations to Butler and the New 
Orleans expedition, 314, 315, 320; 
affairs at Vicksburg, 322, 323 ; Stan- 
ton has hopes of McClellan, 327; 
persuades Lincoln to assert his au- 
thority over McClellan, 332 ; letter 
to Lander, 842 ; declines to suspend 
Lincoln's orders to McClellan, 356, 
357 ; orders McClellan to move at 
once, 363 ; daily conferences of heads 
of bureaus, 366-370 ; discussion of 
the Merrimac, 371-373; defeats 
McClellan's attempt to override 
President's order for protection of 
the capital, 378-380 ; explanations 
to McClellan, 883 ; account of naval 
expedition up James River and move- 
ment upon Norfolk, 399-401 ; orders 



McDowell to McClellan's aid, 411 ; 
slandered by the press, 414-418 ; 
letters from Edwards Pierrepont 
commenting upon press slanders, 
418-420 ; complaints of press cen- 
sorship by Stanton, 422 ; silence 
under persecution, 425 ; vindication 
after death, 426-432 ; correspond- 
ence with McClellan, ii. 2-4 ; opinion 
of Halleck, 15 ; inquires of Halleck 
for facts concerning- McClellan's in- 
subordination, 37 ; official letter re- 
commending- McClellan's removal, 
38-40 ; explains his attitude toward 
McClellan's removal, 73, 74 ; defends 
emancipation, 87-90; summary of 
Union achievements, 92 ; dispatch 
to reassure Northern people, 95, 96 ; 
position as to Meade and Hooker, 
98-100; criticism of Meade, 100; 
letters occasioned by New York 
draft-riot, 108, 112; attitude toward 
suspension of habeas corpus, 115, 
116 ; plans to reinforce army at 
Chattanooga, 122 - 126 ; relieves 
Chattanooga, 129, 130 ; interview 
with Grant, 131-134 ; puts Grant in 
command at Chattanooga, 134, 135 ; 
summary of military achievements 
of 1863, 137 ; assigns Hooker to com- 
mand of Northern Department, 147 ; 
correspondence on Black's visit to 
Mason and Slidell, 153; precautions 
against rebel raids from Canada and 
colonization of voters, 154, 155 ; di- 
rects Grant to preserve order in New 
York during elections, 155, 156 ; regu- 
lations concerning election tickets in 
the army, 158, 159 ; disapproves of 
the Sherman-Johnston peace agree- 
ment, 186-189 ; on indictment of 
Davis, 207 ; opinion in the matter of 
Davis, 210, 211 ; annual report, 213- 
217 ; disbandment of the army, 217- 
220 ; review of the war, 220-223 ; 
tribute by Charles A. Dana, 223 ; 
reconstruction policy, 241 ; supports 
Freedmen's Bureau Bill, 292; dis- 

trust of Johnson, 300 ; serenade to 
get Stanton to speak, 301 ; speech of 
Stauton, 302-310 ; to Sheridan in 
regard to New Orleans riot, 321 ; 
statement in regard to Baird's tele- 
gram, 324, 325 ; resignation de- 
manded, 338 ; personal letters, 339, 
340 ; view of power of removal, 
357-359 ; cabinet proceedings, Stan- 
ton and the Attorney-General, 360- 
371 ; supplementary reconstruction 
act, 373 ; relations with Grant, 374, 
375 ; opposes Tenure of Office Bill, 
384, 385; asked to resign, 395; 
refuses to resign, 395-399 ; letters 
indorsing Stanton, 400-404 ; sus- 
pended by the President, 405, 406 ; 
submits under protest, 406, 407 ; 
letters sustaining Stanton, 406-408 ; 
guest of Representative Hooper at 
Cotuit Port, Mass., 409 ; honors in 
Boston, 409, 410 ; private letters, 
410-412 ; full text of Stanton's 
reply to Johnson's message, 413- 
426 ; reinstated by Senate, 426 ; dis- 
cussion of exchange of prisoners, 
426, 427 ; misunderstandings with 
Grant, 428; again removed, 436- 
438 ; resists the order and notifies 
Congress, 439 ; appeals to Grant for 
protection of war office, 441 ; clash 
with General Lorenzo Thomas, 443- 
445 ; relinquishes War Department, 
456 ; authority of Secretary of War 
as conceived by Stanton, 458-464 ; 
eulogy by Dana, 466, 467 ; cam- 
paigning for Grant, 468 ; financial 
condition, 469 ; appointed a Justice 
of the United States Supreme Court, 
469-474; death, 475; last honors, 
476-486 ; estimate of character of 
Stanton. 487-490. 

Star of the West dispatched to Charles- 
ton with troops to reinforce Fort 
Sumter, i. 160; fired upon, 161. 

Stevens, Thaddeus, introduces resolu- 
tion, ii. 277, 278 ; introduces resolu- 
tion, 290. 



Stuart, General J. E. B., cavalry raid, 

ii. 67. 
Sumner, General E. V., at Fair Oaks, 

i. 438, 439. 
Sumter, Fort, evacuation proposed, i. 
203 ; bombardment, 208. 

Tappan, Judge Benjamin, elected to 
United States Senate, i. 25. 

Taylor, General Zachary, nominated 
for president, i. 75. 

Tenure of Office Act, ii. 349. 

Thomas, General George H., holds 
Chattanooga, ii. 133 ; under Grant, 

Thomas, General Lorenzo, appointed 
Secretary of War ad interim to suc- 
ceed Stanton, 438, 440, 441, 443- 

Thompson, Jacob, appointed commis- 
sioner by Mississippi to urge North 
Carolina to secede, i. 118 ; resigna- 
tion, 161 ; letter to Slidell and Mason 
concerning his mission to Canada, ii. 
143-145; conference with Vallan- 
digham, 145-147 ; Black's visit, 148, 

Trescott, William H., view as to rein- 
forcement of Southern forts, 113 ; 
goes as Buchanan's special commis- 
sioner to South Carolina, 114; inter- 
view with the President relative to 
Forts Moultrie and Sumter, 128, 129. 

Trumbull, Lyman, criticism of Sher- 
man, ii. 198, 199 ; Civil Rights Bill, 

" Union-Saving " era, i. 74. 

Vallandigham, Clement L., punished 
for sedition, ii. 81 ; relations with 
Jacob Thompson, 145-147. 

Van Buren, Martin, opposed by Cal- 
houn, i. 14 ; nominated for vice- 
presidency and elected, 14 ; elected 
president, 23. 

Webster, Daniel, reply to Hayne, i. 15. 

Weed, Thurlow, his account of cabi- 
net crisis, i. 149; text of same, 151, 

Welles, Gideon, attitude toward re- 
moval of McClellan, ii. 39, 40; ac- 
count of cabinet meeting of Septem- 
ber 2, 1862, 43. 

Wheeling Bridge case, i. 38-44. 

Whig party founded, i. 21 ; pro-slavery, 
75 ; its complete overthrow, 76. 

Williamsburg, battle of, i. 391-394. 

Wool, General John E., statement of 
numbers of McClellan 's army, i. 384 ; 
takes Norfolk, 401. 

Yorktown, siege of, i. 384-390. 
Yulee, Senator David L., letter to Stan- 
ton, i. 73. 




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