« AnteriorContinuar »
your lines while he lengthens his. Fight him, too, when opportunity offers. If he stay where he is, fret him and fret him. A. LINGOLN.
Lee's advance was to the northwest, through the Valley of the Shenandoah. His advance was heard of far down that valley while yet his rear was near Fredericksburg, and on the 14th the President wrote to
General Hooker as follows:— WAshingtoN, D. C., June 14, 1863. MAJor-GENERAL HookER: — So for as we can make out here, the enemy have Milroy surrounded at Winchester, and Tyler at Martinsburg. If they could hold out a few days, could you help them? If the head of I.ee's army is at Martinsburg and the tail of it on the plankroad between Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, the animal must be very slim somewhere ; could you not break him? * A. LINooi.N.
HON. JOHN MINOR BOTTS.
The following brief letter, written during the first Presidential canvass, shows what were Mr. Lincoln's views in regard to the action of the Southern States in the event of his election:
SPEINGFIELD, IL.L., August 15, 1860.
My DEAR SIR:—Yours of the 9th, enclosing the letter of Hon. John Minor Botts, was duly received. The latter is herewith returned according to your request. It contains one of the many assurances I receive from the South, that in no probable event will there be any very formidable effort to break up the Union. The people of the South have too much of good sense and good temper to attempt the ruin of the Government rather than see it administered as it was administered by the men who made it. At least, so I hope and believe.
I thank you both for your own letter and a sight of that of Mr. Botts.
Yours very truly, A. LINcoLN. Join B. FRY, Esq.
TO GOVERNOR MAG OFFIN.
In August, 1861, Governor Magoffin, of Kentucky, urged the removal by the President of the Union troops which had been raised and were encamped within that State.
To this request he received the following reply:—
Washington, D.C., August 24, 1861 To His Excellency B. MAGoffrn, Governor of the State of Kentucky
SIR:—Your letter of the 19th instant, in which you “urge the removal from the limits of Kentucky of the military force now organized and in camp within that State, is received.
... may not possess full and precisely accurate knowledge upon this subject, but I believe it is true that there is a military force in camp within
entucky, acting by authority of the United States, which force is not very large, and is not now being augmented.
I also believe that some arms have been furnished to this force by the United States.
I also believe that this force consists exclusively of Kentuckians, having their camp in the immediate vicinity of their own homes, and not assailing or menacing any of the good people of Kentucky. In all I have done in the premises, I have acted upon the urgent solicitation of many Kentuckians, and in accordance with what I believed, and still believe, to be the wish of a majority of all the Union-loving people of Kentucky. While I have conversed on the subject with many eminent men on Kentucky, including a large majority of her members of Congress, I do not remember that any one of them, or any other person, except your Excellency and the bearers of your Excellency's letter, has urged me to remove the military force from Kentucky or to disband it. One other very worthy citizen of Kentucky did solicit me to have the augmenting of the force suspended for a time. Taking all the means within my reach to form a judgment, I do not believe it is the popular wish of Kentucky that the force shall be removed beyond her limits, and, with this impression, I must respectfully decline to remove it. I most cordially sympathize with your Excellency in the wish to preserve the peace of my own native State, Kentucky, but it is with regret I search for, and cannot find, in your not very short letter, any declaration or intimation that you entertain any desire for the preservation of the Federal Union. - A BRAHAM LINcolN.
TO COUNT GASPARIN.
The following letter addressed by President Lincoln to the Count de Gasparin, one of the warmest friends of the United States in Europe, who had written to the President concerning the state of the country, will be read with interest :—
Execurrve MANsion, WAshingtoN, August 4, 1862, To Count A. DE GAsPARIN:
DEAR SIR:—Your very acceptable letter dated Orbe, Canton de Vaud, Switzerland, 18th of July, 1862, is received. The moral effect was the worst of the affair before Richmond, and that has run its course downward. We are now at a stand, and shall soon be rising again, as we hope. I believe it is true that, in men and material, the enemy suffered more than we in that series of conflicts, while it is certain he is less able to bear it.
With us every soldier is a man of character, and must be treated with more consideration than is customary in Europe, Hence our great army, for slighter causes than could have prevailed there, has dwindled rapidly, bringing the necessity for a new call earlier than was anticipated. We shall easily obtain the new levy, however. Be not alarmed if you shall learn that we shall have resorted to a draft for part of this. It seems strange even to me, but it is true, that the Government is now pressed to this course by a popular demand. Thousands who wish not to personally enter the service, are nevertheless anxious to pay and send substitutes, provided they can have assurance that unwilling persons, similarly situated, will be compelled to do likewise. Besides this, volunteers mostly choose to enter newly forming regiments, while drafted men can be sent to fill up the old ones, wherein man for man they are quite doubly as valuable.
You ask, “why is it that the North with her great armies so often is found with inferiority of numbers face to face with the armies of the South?” While I painfully know the fact, a military man, which I am not, would better answer the question. The fact I know has not been overlooked, and I suppose the cause of its continuance lies mainly in the other fact that the enemy holds the interior and we the exterior lines; and that we operate where the people convey information to the enemy, while he operates where they convey none to us. I have received the volume and letter which you did me the honor of addressing to me, and for which please accept my sincere thanks. You are much admired in America for the ability of your writings, and much loved for your generosity to us and your devotion to liberal principles generally. You are quite right as to the importance to us for its bearing upon Europe, that we should achieve military successes, and the same is true for us at home as well as abroad. Yet it seems unreasonable that a series of successes, extending thro igh half a year, and clearing more than a hundred thousand square miles of country, should help us so little, while a single half defeat should hurt us so much. Butlet us be patient. I am very happy to know that my course has not conflicted with your judgment of propriety and policy. I can only say that I have acted upon my best convictions, without selfishness or malice, and that by the help of God I shall continue to do so. Please be assured of my highest respect and esteem. A. LINCOLN,
B. THE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MCCLELLAN.
THE transfer of General McClellan's army from the Potomac, where it lay in front of the rebels at Manassas, was a movement of so much importance, and has given rise to so much controversy, that we append, for its further elucidation, a memorandum made by Major-General McDowell of the private discussions which preceded it.
A copy of this inemorandum was given by General McDowell, in the spring of 1864, to Mr. Raymond, and by him, some months afterwards, submitted to the President. The manuscript was returned by the latter, with the following indorsement:—
I well remember the meetings herein narrated. See nothing for me to object to in the narrative as being made by General McDowell, except the phrase attributed to me “of the Jacobinism of Congress,” which phrase I do not remember using literally or in substance, and which I wish not to be published in any event. A. LINCOLN.
October 7, 1864.
MEMORANDUM OF GENERAL MoDOWELL,
January 10, 1862–At dinner at Arlington, Virginia. Received a note from the Assistant Secretary of War, saying the President wished to see me that evening at eight o'clock, if I could safely leave my post. Soon after, I received a note from Quartermaster-General Meigs, marked “Pri. vate and confidential,” saying the President wished to see me. Note here with. Repaired to the President's house at eight o'clock P. M. Found the President alone. Was taken into the small room in the northeast corner. Soon after, we were joined by Brigadier-General Franklin, the Secretary of State, Governor Seward, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Assistant Secretary of War. The President was greatly disturbed at the state of affairs. Spoke of the exhausted condition of the Treasury; of the loss of public credit; of the Jacobinism in Congress; of the delicate condition of our foreign relations; of the bad news he had received from the West, particularly as contained in a letter from General Halleck on the state of affairs in Missouri; of the want of co-operation between General Halleck and General Buell; but, more than all, the sickness of General McClellan. The President said he was in great distress, and, as he had been to General McClellan's house, and the General did not ask to see him, and as he must talk to somebody, he had sent for General Franklin and myself, to obtain our opinion as to the possibility of soon commencing active operations with the Army of the Potomac. To use his own expression, if something was not soon done, the bottom would be out of the whole affair; and, if General McClellan did not want to use the army, he would like to “borrow it,” provided he could see how it could be made to do something. The Secretary of State stated the substance of some information he considered reliable, as to the strength of the forces on the other side, which he had obtained from an Englishman from Fortress Monroe, Richimond, Manassas, and Centreville, which was to the effect that the enemy had twenty thousand men under Huger at Norfolk, thirty thousand at Centreville, and, in all, in our front an effective force, capable of being brought up at short notice, of about one hundred and three thousand men—inen not suffering, but well shod, clothed, and fed. In answer to the question from the President, what could soon be done with the army, I replied that the question as to the when must be preceded by the one as to the how and the where. That, substantially, I would organize the army into four army corps, placing the five divisions on the Washington side on the right bank. Place three of these corps to the front, the right at Vienna or its vicinity, the left beyond Fairfax Station, the centre beyond Fairfax Court-House, and connect the latter place with the Orange and Alexandria Railroad by a railroad now partially thrown up. This would enable us to supply these corps without the use of horses, except to distribute what was brought up by rail, and to act upon the enemy without reference to the bad state of country roads. The railroads all lead to the enemy's position. By acting upon them in force, besieging his strongholds, if necessary, or getting between them, if possible, or making the attempt to do so, and pressing his left, I thought we should, in the first place, cause him to bring up all his forces, and tnass then on the flank mostly pressed—the left—and, possibly, I thought probably, we should again get them out of their works, and bring on a general engagement on favorable terms to us, at all events keeping him fully occupied and harassed. The fourth corps, in connection with a force of heavy guns afloat, would operate on his right flank, beyond the Occoquan, get behind the batteries on the Potomac, take Aquia, which, being supported by the Third Corps over the Occoquan, it could safely attempt, and then move on the railroad from Manassas to the Rappahannock. Having a large cavalry force to destroy bridges, I thought by the use of one hundred and thirty thousand men thus employed, and the great facilities which the railroads gave us, and the compact position we should occupy, we must succeed by repeated blows in crushing out the force in our front, even if it were equal in numbers and strength. The road by the Fairfax Court-House to Centreville would give us the means to bring up siege mortars and siege materials, and even if we could not accomplish the object immediately, by making the campaign one of positions instead of one of manoeuvres, to do so eventually, and without risk. That this saving of wagon transportation should be effected at once, by connecting the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad with the Alexandria roads by running a road over the Long Bridge. That when all this could be commenced, I could better tell when I knew something more definite as to the general condition of the army. General Franklin being asked, said he was in ignorance of many things necessary to an opinion on the subject, knowing only as to his own division, which was ready for the field. As to the plan of operations, on being asked by the President if he had ever thought what he would do with this army if he had it, he replied that he had, and that it was his judgment that it should be taken—what could be spared from the duty of protecting the capital—to York River to operate on Richmond. The question then came up as to the means at hand of transporting a large part of the army by water. The Assistant Secretary of War said the means had been fully taxed to provide transportation for twelve thousand men. After some further conversation, and in reference to our ignorance of the actual condition of the army, the President wished we should come together the next night at eight o'clock, and that General Franklin and I should meet in the mean time, obtain such further information as we might need, and to do so from the staff of the head-quarters of the Army of the Potomac. Immediate orders were to be given to make the railroad over Long Bridge. January 11.--Held a meeting with General Franklin in the morning at the Treasury building, and discussed the question of the operations which in our judgment were best under existing circumstances of season, present position of the forces, presel.t condition of the country, to be undertaken before going into the matter as to when those operations could be set on foot. I urged that we should now find fortifications in York River, which would require a movement in that direction to be preceded by a naval force of heavy guns to clear them out, as well as the works at West Point. That Richmond was now fortified, that we could not hope to carry it by a simple march after a successful engagement, that we should be obliged to take a siege train with us. That all this would take time, which would be improved by the enemy to mass his forces in our front, and we should find that we had not escaped any of the difficulties we have now before this position, but simply lost time and money to find those difficulties where we should not have so strong a base to operate from, nor so many facilities, nor so large a force as we have here, nor, in proportion, so small a one to overcome. That the war now had got to be one of positions till we should penetrate the line of the enemy. That to overcome him in front, or cut his communication with the South, would, by its moral as well as physical effect, prostrate the enemy, and enable us to undertake any future operations with ease and certainty of success; but that, in order of time as of importance, the first thing to be done was to overcome this army in our front, which is beleaguering our capital, blockading the river, and covering us day by day with the reproach of impotence, and lowering us in the eyes of foreign nations and of our people, both North and South, and that nothing but what is not necessary for this purpose should go elsewhere.