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There are some letters, notes, telegrams, orders, entries, and perhaps other documents, in connection with this subject, which it is believed would throw no additional light upon it, but which will be cheerfully furnished if desired. ABRAHAM LINcoLN.
The House on the next day passed a resolution calling for all the letters and documents having reference to the affair, and on May 26 the President sent to Congress the following message:—
To the Honorable House of Representatives:
In compliance with the request contained in your resolution of the 29th ultimo, a copy of which resolution is here with returned, I have the honor to transmit the following:—
ExEcutivn MANsion, WAsmington, November 2, 1863. Hon. Montgomery BLAIR: MY DEAR SIR:—Some days ago I understood you to say that your brother, General Frank Blair, desires to be guided by my wishes as to whether he will occupy his seat in Congress or remain in the field. My wish, then, is compounded of what I believe will be best for the coun try; and it is that he will come here, put his military commission in my hands, take his seat, go into caucus with our friends, abide the nomina tions, help elect the nominees, and thus aid to organize a House of Representatives which will really support the Government in the war. If the result shall be the election of himself as Speaker, let him serve in that position. If not, let him retake his commission and return to the army for the benefit of the country. This will heal a dangerous schism for him. It will relieve him from a dangerous position or a misunderstanding, as I think he is in danger of being permanently separated from those with whom only he can ever have a real sympathy—the sincere opponents of slavery. It will be a mistake if he shall allow the provocations offered him by insincere time-servers to drive him from the house of his own building. He is young yet. He has abundant talents--quite enough to occupy all his time without devoting any to temper. He is rising in military skill and usefulness. His recent appointment to the command of a corps, by one so competent to judge as General Sher: man, proves this. In that line he can serve both the country and himself more profitably than he could as a member of Congress upon the floor. The foregoing is what I would say if Frank Blair was my brother instead of yours. (Signed) A. LINcoln.
(After some unimportant documents, the resignation of General Blair was annexed, dated January 1, 1864, and its acceptance by the Presi. dent on January 12th. Then came the following telegram :-)
Executive MANsion, WashingtoN, D.C., March 15. Lieutenant-General GRANT, Nashville, Tennessee :
General McPherson having been assigned to the command of a department, could not General Frank Blair, without difficulty or detriment to the service, be assigned to the command of the corps he commanded awhile last autumn ! (Signed) A. LINcolN.
(Then came some dispatches showing that General Logan was in command of that corps, the Fifteenth, and that General Blair was to be assigned to the Seventeenth, and General Blair's request, dated April 20th, that he be assigned to the Seventeenth Corps at once. Then came the following note:—) ExEcurrvi. MANsion, WAs.IIINgrox, April 23, 1864. HoN. SECRETARY of WAR:
MY DEAR SIR:—According to our understanding with Major-General Frank P. Blair, at the time he took his seat in Congress, last winter, he now asks to withdraw his resignation, then tendered, and be sent to the field. Let this be done. Let the order sending him be such as shown to-day by the Adjutant-General, only dropping from it the names of Maguire and Perkins. Yours truly, A. LINCoLN.
(After giving General Blair's request to withdraw his resignation and his appointment to the Seventeenth Corps, the Message closed as follows:–) The foregoing constitutes all sought by the resolution, so far as remem
bered or has been found by diligent search. May 2, 1864. ABRAHAM LINcolN.
On April 28th, the President sent to Congress the fol. lowing Message, which sufficiently explains itself:
To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives:
I have the honor to transmit here with an address to the President of the United States, and through him to both Houses of Congress, on the condition of the people of East Tennessee, and asking their attention to the necessity for some action on the part of the Government for their relief, and which address is presented by the Committee or Organization, called “The East Tennessee Relief Association.” Deeply commisera. ting the condition of those most loyal people, I am unprepared to make any specific recommendation for their relief. The military is doing, and will continue to do, the best for them within its power. Their address represents that the construction of a direct railroad communication between Knoxville and Cincinnati, by way of Central Kentucky, would be of great consequence in the present emergency. It may be remembered that in my Annual Message of December, 1861, such railroad construction was recommended. I now add that, with the hearty concurrence of Congress, I would yet be pleased to construct the road, both for the relief of those people and for its continuing military importance.
Other matters engrossing the attention of Congress, no definite action was taken upon the subject thus referred to. A bill was passed on March 2d, restoring the grade of Lieutenant-General, and General Grant was appointed by the President, with the assent of the Senate, to that office, and invested with the command of the armies of the United States.
The commission was handed by the President to General Grant, at the White House, on the 9th of March: and as he gave it, he thus addressed him :—
GENERAL GRANT:—The expression of the nation's approbation of what you have already done, and its reliance on you for what remains to do in the existing great struggle, is now presented with this commission, constituting you Lieutenant-General of the Army of the United States.
With this high honor, devolves on you an additional responsibility. As the country herein trusts you, so, under God, it will sustain you. I scarcely need add, that with what I here speak for the country, goes my own hearty personal concurrence.
General Grant responded as follows:—
MR. PRESIDENT:—I accept this commission, with gratitude for the high honor conferred.
With the aid of the noble armies that have fought on so many fields for our common country, it will be my earnest endeavor not to disappoint your expectations.
I feel the full weight of the responsibilities now devolving on me, and I know that 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.
Gen. Grant announced his assumption of command under this appointment by a General Order, issued at Nashville on the 17th of March.
Towards the close of the year 1863, as the terms of service of many of the volunteer forces were about to expire, the President issued a proclamation for three hundred thousand volunteers. The military successes of the season had raised the public courage and inspired new confidence in the final issue of the contest for the preservation of the Union; it was believed, therefore, that an appeal for volunteers would be responded to with alacrity, and save the necessity for a resort to another draft. The proclamation was as follows:—
Whereas, the term of service of part of the volunteer forces of the United States will expire during the coming year; and, whereas, in addition to the men by the present draft, it is deemed expedient to call out three hundred thousand volunteers to serve for three years or during the war, not, however, exceeding three years: Now, therefore, I Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, and Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy thereof, and of the militia of the several States when called into actual service, do issue this my proclamation, calling upon the Governors of the different States to raise, and have enlisted into the United States service, for the various companies and regiments in the field from their respective States, the quotas of three hundred thousand Tned. I further proclaim that all the volunteers thus called out and duly enlisted shall receive advance pay, premium, and bounty, as heretofore communicated to the Governors of States by the War Department through the Provost-Marshal General's office, by special letters. I further proclaim that all volunteers received under this call, as well as all others not heretofore credited, shall be duly credited and deducted from the quotas established for the next draft. I further proclaim that if any State shall fail to raise the quota assigned to it by the War Department under this call, then a draft for the deficiency in said quota shall be made in said State, or in the districts of said State, for their due proportion of said quota, and the said draft shall commence on the 5th day of January, 1864. And I further proclaim that nothing in this proclamation shall interfere with existing orders, or with those which may be issued for the present draft in the States where it is now in progress, or where it has not yet been commenced. The quotas of the States and districts will be assigned by the War Department through the Provost-Marshal General's office due regard being had for the men heretofore furnished, whether by volunteering or draft. ing; and the recruiting will be conducted in accordance with such instructions as have been or may be issued by that Department. In issuing this proclamation, I address myself not only to the Governors of the several States, but also to the good and loyal people thereof. invoking them to lend their cheerful, willing, and effective aid to the measures thus adopted, with a view to re-enforce our victorious army now in the field, and bring our needful military operations to a prosperous end, thus closing forever the fountains of sedition and civil war. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this 17th day of October, [L. S.] 1863, and of the independence of the United States the eightysevrnth.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEwARD, Secretary of State.
By the act of 1861 for raising troops, a Government bounty of one hundred dollars was paid to each volunteer; and this amount had been increased from time to time, until each soldier who had already filled his term of service was entitled to receive four hundred dollars on re-enlisting, and each new volunteer three hundred. After the President's proclamation was issued, enlistments, especially of men already in the service, proceeded with great rapidity, and the amount to be paid for bounties threatened to be very large. Under these circumstances, Congress adopted an amendment to the enrolment act, by which the payment of all bounties, except those authorized by the act of 1861, was to cease after the 5th day of January. Both the Secretary of War and the Provost-Marshal General feared that the effect of this, when it came to be generally understood, would be to check the volunteering, which was then proceeding in a very satisfactory manner; and on the 5th of January, the day when the prohibition was to take effect, the President sent to Congress the following communication :
WASHINgrox, January 5, 1864.
Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives :
By a joint resolution of your honorable bodies, approved December 23, 1863, the paying of bounties to veteran volunteers, as now practised by the War Department, is, to the extent of three hundred dollars in each case, prohibited after the fifth day of the present month. I transmit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of War, accompanied by one from the Provost-Marshal General to him, both relating to the subject above mentioned. I earnestly recommend that this law be so modified as to allow bounties to be paid as they now are at least to the ensuing 1st day of February. I am not without anxiety lest I appear to be importunate in thus recalling your attention to a subject upon which you have so recently acted, and nothing but a deep conviction that the public interest demands it could induce me to incar