Monday, September 25, 2017

Simon Cameron to Major-General Benjamin F. Butler, August 8, 1861

WASHINGTON, August 8, 1861.
Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER,
Commanding Department of Virginia, Fortress Monroe.

GENERAL: The important question of the proper disposition to be made of fugitives from service in States in insurrection against the Federal Government to which you have again directed my attention in your letter of July 30* has received my most attentive consideration.

It is the desire of the President that all existing rights in all the States be fully respected and maintained. The war now prosecuted on the part of the Federal Government is a war for the Union and for the preservation of all constitutional rights of States and the citizens of the States in the Union. Hence no question can arise as to fugitives from service within the States and Territories in which the authority of the Union is fully acknowledged. The ordinary forms of judicial proceeding which must be respected by military and civil authorities alike will suffice for the enforcement of all legal claims. But in States wholly or partially under insurrectionary control where the laws of the United States are so far opposed and resisted that they cannot be effectually enforced it is obvious that rights dependent on the execution of those laws must temporarily fail; and it is equally obvious that rights dependent on the laws of the States within which military operations are conducted must be necessarily subordinated to the military exigencies created by the insurrection if not wholly forfeited by the treasonable conduct of parties claiming them. To this general rule rights to services can form no exception.

The act of Congress approved August 6, 1861, declares that if persons held to service shall be employed in hostility to the United States the right to their services shall be forfeited and such persons shall be discharged therefrom. It follows of necessity that no claim can be recognized by the military authorities of the Union to the services of such persons when fugitives.

A more difficult question is presented in respect to persons escaping from the service of loyal masters. It is quite apparent that the laws of the State under which only the services of such fugitives can be claimed must needs be wholly or almost wholly suspended as to remedies by the insurrection and the military measures necessitated by it. And it is equally apparent that the substitution of military for judicial measures for the enforcement of such claims must be attended by great inconveniences, embarrassments and injuries.

Under these circumstances it seems quite clear that the substantial rights of loyal masters will be best protected by receiving such fugitives as well as fugitives from disloyal masters into the service of the United States, and employing them under such organizations and in such occupations as circumstances may suggest or require. Of course a record should be kept showing the name and description of the fugitives, the name and the character as loyal or disloyal of the master, and such facts as may be necessary to a correct understanding of the circumstances of each case after tranquility shall have been restored. Upon the return of peace Congress will doubtless properly provide for all the persons thus received into the service of the Union and for just compensation to loyal masters. In this way only it would seem can the duty and safety of the Government and the just rights of all be fully reconciled and harmonized.

You will therefore consider yourself as instructed to govern your future action in respect to fugitives from service by the principles herein stated, and will report from time to time — and at least twice in each month — your action in the premises to this Department. You will, however, neither authorize nor permit any interference by the troops under your command with the servants of peaceful citizens in house or field, nor will you in any way encourage such servants to leave the lawful service of their masters, nor will you except in cases where the public safety may seem to require prevent the voluntary return of any fugitive to the service from which he may have escaped.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Secretary of War.

* Not Found.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series II, Volume 1, (Serial No. 114), p. 761-2

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Resolution of the United States House of Representatives, July 22, 1861

In the House of Representatives, July 22, 1861.
On motion of Mr. Wickliffe:

Resolved, That the Secretary of War be requested to inform this House whether the Southern Confederacy (so called) or any State thereof has in their military service any Indians; and if so, what number and what tribes, and also whether they have in said service any negroes.


SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series III, Volume 1 (Serial No. 122), p. 340

Simon Cameron to Major-General John E. Wool, September 20, 1861

Washington, September 20, 1861.
 Maj. Gen. JOHN E. WOOL, Commanding, Fort Monroe, Va.:

GENERAL: Your communications of the 17th* and 18th are received. In regard to the letters sent or received by flags of truce, I would suggest that for the present they be examined by volunteer officers whom you might detail for that purpose. I would much prefer that this examination should be made under the direction of the Post-Office Department, and will endeavor to effect some arrangement that will relieve you from this labor.

I am also informed by the Adjutant-General that he has already sent you two aides-de-camp. Ordnance officers are much needed, and for this reason I cannot consent to the appointment of Lieutenant Harris as your aide, unless it is absolutely necessary that you should have his services in that capacity. I send herewith the appointment of William P. Jones as an aide, in accordance with your recommendation. Captain Whipple has been assigned to you as assistant adjutant-general.

The state prisoners now in your custody should be sent at once to Fort Lafayette, New York Harbor. You will, as early as practicable, send to General McClellan at this place all negro men capable of performing labor, accompanied by their families. They can be usefully employed on the military works in this vicinity.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
 Secretary of War.

* Not Found.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 4 (Serial No. 4), p. 615

Friday, September 22, 2017

Jacob Bigelow [alias William Penn] to William Still, November 26, 1855

WASHINGTON, D. C., November 26, 1855.

MY DEAR SIR:— A recent letter from my friend, probably has led you to expect this from me. He was delighted to receive yours of the 23d, stating that the boy was all right. He found the “Prof. gentleman” a perfect gentleman; cool, quiet, thoughtful, and perfectly competent to execute his undertaking. At the first three minutes of their interview, he felt assured that all would be right. He, and all concerned, give you and that gentleman sincere thanks for what you have done. May the blessings of Him, who cares for the poor, be on your heads.

The especial object of this, is to inform you that there is a half dozen or so of packages here, pressing for transportation; twice or thrice that number are also pressing, but less so than the others. Their aggregate means will average, say, $10 each; besides these, we know of a few, say three or four, able and smart, but utterly destitute, and kept so purposely by their oppressors. For all these, we feel deeply interested; $10 each would not be enough for the “powder boy.” Is there any fund from which a pittance could be spared to help these poor creatures? I don't doubt but that they would honestly repay a small loan as soon as they could earn it. I know full well, that if you begin with such cases, there is no boundary at which you can stop. For years, one half at least, of my friend's time here has been gratuitously given to cases of distress among this class. He never expects or desires to do less; he literally has the poor always will: him. He knows that it is so with you also, therefore, he only states the case, being especially anxious for at least those to whom I have referred.

I think a small lot of hard coal might always be sold here from the vessel at a profit. Would not a like lot of Cumberland coal always sell in Philadelphia?

My friend would be very glad to see the powder boy here again, and if he brings coal, there are those here, who would try to help him sell.

Reply to your regular correspondent as usual.


SOURCES: William Still, The Underground Railroad: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters &c., p. 182-3

Senator Salmon P. Chase to Charles Sumner, September 8, 1850

Washington, Sept. 8, 1850.

My Dear Sumner: Clouds and darkness are upon us at present. The slaveholders have succeeded beyond their wildest hopes twelve months ago. True some have demanded even more than they have obtained; but their extreme demand was necessary to secure the immense concession which has been made to them. Without it Executive Influence and Bribery would, perhaps availed nothing.

Well what now! I say with blind Milton, glorious child of Freedom, though blind,

“‘Bate no jot
Of heart or hope but still bear up and steer
Right onward.”

Rouse up in Massachusetts and quit you like men. God's providence has devolved political duties and responsibilities upon you, my friend, from which you must not shrink. Would that it might be so ordered that you could be placed in the Senate! It is your place and you ought to be in it. If the democrats would place you there, they might have the Governor and welcome — doubly welcome.

You talk of the humiliation of a small vote. The humiliation was not for you, but for those who preferred barbarism to Freedom. I had like experience once, being a candidate, under like circumstances in Cincinnati; with the difference that I was as far behind both candidates of the Hunkers as you were behind the foe — and farther — but I did not feel humbled at all.

I see Mr. Sewall is nominated in the Salem District. I am sorry that Pierpont declined. I hardly know a man whom I would go farther to support, and I should think him just the man to call out the enthusiasm of the people. I hope Sewall will be sustained by the strongest possible vote. “No more doubtful men”, should be added to our war-cry of “No more Slave States and no Slave Territory”.

Let me know how things go on in Massachusetts.

Yours ever,

SOURCE: Diary and correspondence of Salmon P. ChaseAnnual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 219-20

Diary of Gideon Welles: Wednesday, September 30, 1863

I am warned and admonished in various quarters that Laird's vessel is about to make a trial trip, and that it will extend across the Atlantic. My omission to make preparations is stigmatized as negligence, indifference, and worse.

Am sorry Seward treats the subject so gingerly. When Palmerston or Earl Russell prates about their foreign enlistment act, and that it is uncertain whether the law has really been violated by Laird, Americans must be provoked. If their municipal legislation is weak and inefficient, why is it not corrected? There are international obligations which cannot be disregarded. Let us have good faith, peace or war!

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 448

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Sardis Birchard, March 9, 1863

Camp Reynolds, March 9, 1863.

Dear Uncle: — Yours of last Sunday came to hand yesterday. Wife and boys still here — very happy. They fish and row skiff and ride horseback. They can all row. Webb and Birch rowed a large load of soldiers across the river and back — a large roaring river, almost like the Ohio in a fair fresh. They will go home in a week or two probably. We shall remain here two or three weeks and then probably go to Charleston.

The new conscript act strikes me as the best thing yet, if it is only used. I would only call enough men to recruit up weakened regiments, and compel the return of the shirks and deserters. Make our commanders give more time to drill and discipline; make the armies regulars — effectives; stand on the defensive except when we can attack in superior numbers; send no more regiments or gunboats to be gobbled up one at a time. Mass our forces and we shall surely conquer.

R. B. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 393-4

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: July 9, 1864

Battese brought me some onions, and if they ain't good then no matter; also a sweet potato. One half the men here would get well if they only had something in the vegetable line to eat, or acids. Scurvy is about the most loathsome disease, and when dropsy takes hold with the scurvy, it is terrible. I have both diseases but keep them in check, and it only grows worse slowly. My legs are swollen, but the cords are not contracted much, and I can still walk very well. Our mess all keep clean, in fact are obliged to or else turned adrift. We want none of the dirty sort in our mess. Sanders and Rowe enforce the rules, which is not much work, as all hands are composed of men who prefer to keep clean. I still do a little washing, but more particularly hair cutting, which is easier work. You should see one of my hair cuts. Nobby! Old prisoners have hair a foot long or more, and my business is to cut it off, which I do without regards to anything except to get it off. I should judge that there are one thousand rebel soldiers guarding us, and perhaps a few more, with the usual number of officers. A guard told me to-day that the yanks were “gittin licked,” and they didn't want us exchanged; just as soon we should die here as not; a yank asked him if he knew what exchange meant; said he knew what shootin' meant, and as he began to swing around his old shooting iron we retreated in among the crowd. heard that there were some new men belonging to my regiment in another part of the prison; have just returned from looking after them and am all tired out. Instead of belonging to the 9th Michigan Cavalry, they belong to the 9th Michigan Infantry. Had a good visit and quite cheered with their accounts of the war news. Some one stole Battese's wash board and he is mad; is looking for it — may bust up the business. Think Hub Dakin will give me a board to make another one. Sanders owns the jack-knife, of this mess, and he don't like to lend it either; borrow it to carve on roots for pipes, Actually take solid comfort “building castles in the air,” a thing I have never been addicted to before. Better than getting blue and worrying myself to death. After all, we may get out of this dod-rotted hole Always an end of some sort to such things.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 80

Captain William Thompson Lusk to Elizabeth Adams Lusk, August 19, 1862

Headquarters Stevens's Div.
9th Army Corps,
Fredericksburg, Aug. 19th, 1862.
My dearest Mother:

Here we are, occupying a fine house in the pleasant town of Fredericksburg, with the thermometer standing ever so high in the shade among a people whose glances are at zero in the hottest of this summer sunshine. I have seen nothing like this before, except in the single City of Venice where the feeling is so intense toward the German soldiery. Yet it is not strange when one thinks that there are few left beside women. The men are away fighting in the pride of sons of the Old Dominion, and many a family here is clad in sombre colors, for the loss of dear friends who have lost their lives at the hands of “Yankee Invaders.” So a military occupation of a disaffected town is less pleasant than the tented field. We will not remain a great while though. We are now on the eve of great events. God only knows what the morrow has in store for us. I cannot say where I may be when I next write, but continue to direct to Stevens' Division, 9th Army Corps, and the letters will reach me. I am sick at heart in some respects, and utterly weary of the miserable cant and whining of our Northern press. It is time that we assumed a manlier tone. We have heard enough of rebel atrocities, masked batteries, guerillas, and other lying humbugs. Pope's orders are the last unabatable nuisance. Are we alone virtuous, and the enemy demons? Let us look at these highly praised orders of Pope which are to strike a death-blow at rebellion. We are henceforth to live on the enemy's country, and to this as a stern military necessity, I say “Amen!” But mother, do you know what the much applauded practice means? It means to take the little ewe-lamb — the only property of the laborer — it means to force from the widow the cow which is her only source of sustenance. It means that the poor, and the weak, and the helpless are at the mercy of the strong — and God help them! This I say is bad enough, but when papers like the ——, with devilish pertinacity, talk of ill-judged lenity to rebels and call for vigorous measures, it makes every feeling revolt. We want vigorous measures badly enough to save us in these evil times, but not the measures the urges. The last thing needed in our army is the relaxing of the bands of discipline. And yet our Press is urging our soldiers everywhere to help themselves to rebel property, and instead of making our army a glorious means of maintaining liberty, would dissolve it into a wretched band of marauders, murderers, and thieves. If property is to be taken, let the Government take it. That is well — but I would have the man shot who would without authority steal so much as a fence rail, though it were to make the fire to cook his food. I would have no Blenkers and Sigels with their thieving hordes, but a great invincible army like Cromwell's, trusting in God and marching on to victory.

Well, Mother, it is late. I am thankful we are under a commander who is a noble, high-minded, chivalrous man. Honor to Burnside! He is as generous as he is brave! Honor to my own dear commander too, who has a heart to pity as well as the nerve to strike.

Kisses and love in liberal doses, prescribed in liberal doses to his absent loving friends,

By your most Affec.
Dr. Lusk.

SOURCE: William Chittenden Lusk, Editor, War Letters of William Thompson Lusk, p. 176-8

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: July 30, 1863

Raining still! Lee's and Meade's armies are manoeuvring and facing each other still; but probably there will be no battle until the weather becomes fair, and the gushing waters in the vales of Culpepper subside.

From Charleston we learn that a furious bombardment is going on, the enemy not having yet abandoned the purpose of reducing the forts and capturing the city. Mr. Miles calls loudly for reinforcements and heavy cannon, and says the enemy was reinforced a few days since.

An indignant letter was received from Gov. Vance to-day, in response to the refusal of the government and Gen. Lee to permit him to send with the army a newspaper correspondent to see that justice was done the North Carolina troops. He withdraws the application, and appeals to history for the justice which (he says) will never be done North Carolina troops in Virginia by their associates. He asserts also that Gen. Lee refused furloughs to the wounded North Carolinians at the battle of Chancellorville (onehalf the dead and wounded being from North Carolina), for fear they would not return to their colors when fit for duty!

Hon. Wm, L. Yancey is dead — of disease of the kidney. The Examiner, to-day, in praising him, made a bitter assault on the President, saying he was unfortunately and hastily inflicted on the Confederacy at Montgomery, and when fixed in position, banished from his presence the heart and brain of the South — denying all participation in the affairs of government to the great men who were the authors of secession, etc.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 390-1

Captain Charles Wright Wills: March 19, 1863

Camp 103d Illinois Infantry, Lagrange, Tenn.,
March 19, 1863.

Nine whole days of the most beautiful sunshiny weather imaginable. Warm as our home June, almost. The boys bathe in the river that runs near our camp. The little birds warble in the trees, the beautiful young ladies walk out to enjoy the gentle spring breezes. Seldom now do we hear those gloomy omens of cold in the head, viz.: sneezes, and nature, grand old mother nature, almost in human tongue proclaims this balmy Southern spring atmosphere, a sure cure for the wheezes. Poetry, my dear, is the soul of — Sis, I'm getting under the influence of this weather, as happy as a clam, and as lazy as I can be, that is when I have nothing to do. I enjoy it intensely. Lieutenant Nick's resignation has been accepted and he will be at home within a few days. I send this by him, probably. I came pretty near having a fight a few days since. I had 40 men out guarding a forage train of some 125 wagons. There was also about 50 cavalry. We stationed the cavalry as pickets while the teams were loading, and 50 guerrillas attacked and drove our cavalry in (only 20 of our boys). We got ready for a muss, but the other thirty of our horsemen charged secesh and scattered them, wounding several and capturing two. 'Twas certainly censurable in our post commander's sending so light a guard with so large a train, which was over a mile long. My men showed the right spirit. That is the nearest to a fight any of the 103d have yet been.

10 p. m. — I want you to be sure and get “Harpers Weekly” of March 14th, and read that army story about the officers captured by pretended guerrillas. It is all true and happened near Waterford, Miss., while we were there. I know the two women well. Don't fail to get the paper or you'll miss one of the best things of the war. I have just returned from a whist party. Colonel Wright, Dr. Morris and Dr. Shaw, of the 6th Iowa, and no liquor. I don't drink any, and intend to continue my habits in that respect. Very few of our officers drink.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 164-5

John Brown [alias Isaac Smith] to his Family, July 22, 1859

Chambersburg, Penn., July 22, 1859.

Dear Friends, All, — Oliver, Martha, and Anne all got on safe on Saturday of the week they set out. If W. and D. set out in ten days or a week after getting this, they will be quite in time. All well. When you write, direct to I. Smith & Sons, Chambersburg, Penn.

Your friend,
Isaac Smith.

SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 530

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: October 19, 1863

Breakfasted and got under way about nine. People very afraid that we were going to fall back again. Passed through Rheatown, Greenville and reached Bull's Gap about dark. Got supper with Lt. Pearson. Stopped to see Darling — away visiting. Getting along well. Stopped to make inquiries about the chase. Killed one man, wounded one and killed a horse. Others reported wounded at Greenville. Whole regiment followed us. 150 tried to flank us. 60 or 70 in town from 11 A. M. till 1 P. M.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 94

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: October 20, 1863

Cleaned up and started for Knoxville at 8 A. M. Came near being left. Hired a horse and hurried on. Davenport with us. Went about K. some with him in search of friends. Went up and saw Charlie. Supped and stayed with him over night. Had some barbering done. Went to hospital and saw the sick boys. All getting along slowly. Anxious to get back to regiment. Saw Sergt. Bosworth and squad at Morristown. Ordered them back to regt.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 94

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: October 21, 1863

A rainy unpleasant day. Col. saw Burnside and got order (?) for us to be mustered. Sergt. Munson did the business. All right. Saw Pike and Co. D boys. Wrote a letter to Fannie. How anxious I am to know the future. It looks dark enough to me now. C. G. and other boys doing well — 100 and 125 dollars per month. Tully and Allie home on furlough.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 94

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: October 22, 1863

After breakfast went to hospital. Did some chores. Got horse for Davenport, who has enlisted with C Co. and took the cars at 9. Crowded. Mason coming back to regiment. Proposals for re-enlistment talked of. Co. D about concluded. Reached Greenville about dark. Stopped with the boys. Very comfortable time. Boys rather discouraged at war news, shortage of rations, etc.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 94

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: October 23, 1863

Cloudy, started out at 8. Commenced raining. Slippery and nasty roads. Passed the train. When 6 miles from Jonesboro stopped at a big house for dinner and feed. Old rebel wanted Confederate money for pay. Let the boys stay over night. Went on and found all regiment but stragglers gone to Watauga River. Two letters from home, seemed good.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 94

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: October 24, 1863

Another unpleasant day. Boys drew some boots. Brought in big pile of butter, bacon, potatoes and oats. Receipted to Union man and Confed. money to Reb. Seems good to have the boys back again. In the evening wrote home and to Ella Clark. Feel ashamed of my carelessness. Ordered up with train. After forage remained over night. All glad.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 94

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: October 25, 1863

Morning work over, set out for regt. Stopped in town and saw wounded boys. Glad to see the boys so long absent. Reached Watauga about noon. Found most of Co. C absent on a scout. Came in about dark. Grand jubilee. Proposed to re-enlist as regiment. All would like to go home this winter but some don't want to be bound again till time's out.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 94-5

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Jacob Bigelow to William Still, October 12, 1855

WASHINGTON, D. C., October 12, 1855.




J. B.

* At the time this letter was written, she was then under Mr. B.'s protection in Washington, and had to be so kept for six weeks. His question, therefore, “is she still running with bleeding feet,” etc., was simply a precautionary step to blind any who might perchance investigate the matter.

SOURCES: William Still, The Underground Railroad: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters &c., p. 181-2

Senator Salmon P. Chase to Edward S. Hamlin, August 22, 1850

Washington City, August 22, 1850.

My Dear Hamlin, I recd. yours of the 14th this morning. Doubtless you have, also, just recd. my last to you, which answers in part the enquiries you make.

I have no faith at all in this administration. It has pursued the Whig policy of Evasion thus far. The resolute face towards Texas was assumed for the North. The appeal for a settlement of the boundary question, when they well knew that settlement by Congress, except by millions for nothing, was out of the question was for the south. It was as if our Fathers had said to Tripoli, you have no right to hold our fellow citizens in bondage and we will wage war with you if you do, and at the same time had said if you will release half of them we will pay you so many millions & say nothing about the rest. I hate oppression, but I despise truckling. I abhor the doctrines of the extreme South, but I contemn Whig policy. I am not for any union with any body who will not in good faith adopt and uphold the principles of the Buffalo & Columbus platforms. I do not believe the Whigs can adopt them for on other questions than that of Slavery they are democratic. I do not believe the National! democratic party will adopt them; for they hope more from treason to freedom than from union with radical democrats. Let both these gang their gaits. I am for maintaining our independent organization as a Jeffersonian Democratic Party & let who will desert or give back maintaining it firmly.

I hoped that Judge Wood would put such an exposition of the Columbus old Line Antislavery Resolution as would make his election an antislavery democratic triumph. 1 wished to support him. I yet wish to do so. But, at present, I wait for future developments. I look for the action of the Free Dem. Convention held today with great interest. If it is really democratic it will do much good.

I am anxious for the election of the free democratic candidate in the 21st district. I suppose from the information I receive that Dr. Townshend will be the man. I think his election of far greater importance to Freedom than any success of one candidate for Governor over another. The Freesoil Whigs, I suppose, will oppose him as they did me — I trust, with as little success.

As to the withdrawal of Judge McLean's name, that lie can do no harm. I have the Judge's own letters in my possession, which, if necessary, will speak for themselves. Besides I am not in the least sorry that the Judge was not our candidate. He could not have been elected: and the chances are three to one that he would have declined it or withdrawn. If he could have been elected who can say that he would have stood the test better than Webster or Fillmore. He is quoted now as authority for Webster's Fugitive Slave bill. And his decision in Indiana is such as I, though reposing the greatest confidence in his personal integrity, cannot sanction.

SOURCE: Diary and correspondence of Salmon P. ChaseAnnual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 217-9

Diary of Gideon Welles: Tuesday, September 29, 1863

No matter of special importance; nothing but current business in Cabinet. Seward and Stanton were not present. The latter seems to make it a point recently not to attend. Others, therefore, run to him. I will not. Military operations are of late managed at the War Department, irrespective of the rest of the Cabinet, or of all who do not go there. This is not difficult, for the President spends much of his time there. Seward and Chase make daily visitations to Stanton, sometimes two or three times daily. I have not the time, nor do I want the privilege, though I doubtless could have it for Stanton treats me respectfully and with as much confidence as he does any one when I approach him, except Seward. But I cannot run to the War Department and pay court in order to obtain information that should be given. Chase does this, complains because he is compelled to do it, and then, when not bluffed, becomes reconciled. To-day he expressed great disgust towards Halleck; says Halleck has done nothing while the Rebels were concentrating, has sent no reinforcements to Rosecrans and did not propose to send any. Those that had gone were ordered by Stanton. Halleck, he said, was good for nothing, and everybody knew it but the President.

A large delegation of extreme party men is here from Missouri to see the President and Cabinet. So intense and fierce in their party animosities, that they would, if in their power, be more revengeful — inflict greater injury — on those Republicans, friends of the Administration, who do not conform to their extreme radical and fanatical views than on the Rebels in the field. The hate and narrow partisanship exhibited in many of the States, when there should be some forbearance, some tolerance, some spirit of kindness, are among the saddest features of the times.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 447-8

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Sardis Birchard, March 4, 1863

Camp Reynolds, Virginia, March 4, 1863.

Dear Uncle: — Getting on finely. The boys busy and very happy. Webb, I fancy, is a good deal such a boy is [as] Lorenzo was. He is to be seen driving some soldier's team or riding whenever there is a chance. Lucy will probably leave in a fortnight or so, probably about the time we go to Charleston.

The new conscription law strikes me as a capital measure. I hope it will be judiciously and firmly administered.

I have an offer for my Hamilton property one thousand dollars cash, one thousand dollars in six months, and the balance of fifteen hundred in three equal annual payments. Before the war I would have taken it quickly enough, but I am not sure now but the real estate is best. It pays taxes and about one hundred dollars a year rent. What could I do with the money?

R. B. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 393

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: July 8, 1864

Oh, how hot, and oh, how miserable. The news that six have been sentenced to be hanged is true, and one of them is Moseby. The camp is thoroughly under control of the police now, and it is a heavenly boon. Of course there is some stealing and robbery, but not as before. Swan, of our mess, is sick with scurvy. I am gradually swelling up and growing weaker. But a few more pages in my diary. Over a hundred and fifty dying per day now, and twenty six thousand in camp. Guards shoot now very often. Boys, as guards, are the most cruel. It is said that if they kill a Yankee, they are given a thirty days furlough. Guess they need them as soldiers too much to allow of this. The swamp now is fearful, water perfectly reeking with prison offal and poison, still men drink it and die. Rumors that the six will be hung inside. Bread to-day and it is so coarse as to do more hurt than good to a majority of the prisoners. The place still gets worse. Tunneling is over with; no one engages in it now that I know of. The prison is a success as regards safety; no escape except by death, and very many take advantage of that way. A man who has preached to us (or tried to) is dead. Was a good man I verily believe, and from Pennsylvania. It's almost impossible for me to get correct names to note down; the last named man was called “the preacher,” and I can find no other name for him. Our quartette of singers a few rods away is disbanded. One died, one nearly dead, one a policeman and the other cannot sing alone, and so where we used to hear and enjoy good music evenings, there is nothing to attract us from the groans of the dying. Having formed a habit of going to sleep as soon as the air got cooled off and before fairly dark, I wake up at two or three o'clock and stay awake. I then take in all the horrors of the situation. Thousands are groaning, moaning and crying, with no bustle of the daytime to drown it. Guards every half hour call out the time and post, and there is often a shot to make one shiver as if with the ague. Must arrange my sleeping hours to miss getting owly in the morning. Have taken to building air castles of late, on being exchanged. Getting loony, I guess, same as all the rest.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 78-80

Elizabeth Adams Lusk to Captain William Thompson Lusk, August 16, 1862

Norwich, August 16th, 1862.
My own dear Son:

After having received intimations from various sources of the almost certainty of your appointment to the Lt. Colonelcy of the Eighteenth, you may imagine the crushing disappointment produced by the order from the War Department forbidding the removal of all officers from their present positions. Col. Ely is very anxious to have you with him. Ned Tyler told me that Ely said to the Gov.: “If you will appoint the officers I wish, I will be responsible for the reputation of the Regiment. If however you put in mere politicians I cannot.” I feel the sickness of “hope deferred” this morning, and my heart is very heavy. Well, I cannot resist all influences, and though I have brave hours, I have times of bitter struggling. Well, this is useless as well as discouraging to you. Pardon me, my son. I shall soon recover from this unworthy despondency. I am much gratified by the interest shown by your friends here. Mr. Johnson (Charlie's father) told Lillie the pressure upon the Gov. from Norwich people on your behalf had been very great, the matter was now decided, and you would probably be with us next week, still he said, we must not be too sure, for “there's many a slip ’twixt the cup and the lip.” For Gen. Tyler's affectionate interest, I must always be very grateful. He has returned to Connecticut to take charge of the Regiments now preparing in the State. He has taken great interest in you always. Perhaps I am unreasonable in my disappointment at not seeing you, but I do feel you might have been appointed earlier, before these orders were issued.

We are all well, and anxiously watching for news from Burnside. I have sent to New-York for a flag to wave from our old home, the home of your childhood. I intended it to greet your return. I shall place it over the front entrance so that all who pass in or out, must walk under its folds. Hunt just passing the door called out, “give my love to Will.” All are interested and excited about the new Regiments. The Twenty-second goes into camp in Norwich, on the Fair Grounds. Eating, drinking, or sleeping, our thoughts are on the war and the precious lives at stake, as well as the great issue involved. Bromley is Captain of a Company, and young Merwin his first Lieutenant. Morton Hale is a Lieutenant in one of the companies; he is to be married next Tuesday to Emily Huntington. Her sister Hannah was engaged to Charlie Breed.

Good-bye my own dear, dear son. My whole trust is placed in the mercy of God to whom I earnestly pray for your deliverance from all evil. God bless you wherever you may be is the cry of my anxious, loving heart.

Always lovingly,

New London has furnished one private and an Adjutant — wants a field officer besides. They have sent four hundred men to the Fourteenth. I have just heard that perhaps the staff officers are not included in this order from the Department. Gen. Tyler will be at home this evening when I shall learn.

SOURCE: William Chittenden Lusk, Editor, War Letters of William Thompson Lusk, p. 174-6

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: July 29, 1863

Still raining! The great fear is that the crops will be ruined, and famine, which we have long been verging upon, will be complete. Is Providence frowning upon us for our sins, or upon our cause?

Another battle between Lee and Meade is looked for on the Upper Rappahannock.

Gov. Harris, in response to the President's call for 6000 men, says Western and Middle Tennessee are in the hands of the enemy, and that about half the people in East Tennessee sympathize with the North!

Some two or three hundred of Morgan's men have reached Lynchburg, and they believe Morgan himself will get off, with many more of his men.

The New York Herald's correspondent, writing from Washington on the 24th inst., says the United States ministers in England and France have informed the government of the intention of those powers to intervene immediately in our behalf; and that they will send iron-clad fleets to this country without delay. Whereupon the Herald says Mr. Seward is in favor of making peace with us, and reconstructing the Union — pardoning us — but keeping the slaves captured, etc. It is a cock-and-bull story, perhaps, without foundation.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 390

Captain Charles Wright Wills: March 15, 1863

Camp 103d Illinois Infantry, Lagrange, Tenn.,
March 15, 1863.

I have just returned from a walk to and inspection of the cemetery belonging to this nice little town. There, as everywhere, the marks of the “Vandal Yankees” are visible. The fence which formerly enclosed the whole grounds has long since vanished in thin air, after fulfilling its mission, boiling Yankee coffee, and frying Yankee bacon. Many of the enclosures of family grounds have also suffered the same fate, and others are broken down and destroyed. The cemeteries here are full of evergreens, hollies, cedars, and dwarf pines, and rosebushes and flowers of all kinds are arranged in most excellent taste. They pride themselves more on the homes of their dead than on the habitations of the living. I can't help thinking that their dead are the most deserving of our respect, though our soldiers don't waste much respect on either the living or dead chivalries. Many of the graves have ocean shells scattered over them, and on a number were vases in which the friends deposit boquets in the flower season. The vases have suffered some at the hands of the Yankees, and the names of Yanks anxious for notoriety are penciled thickly on the backs of marble grave stones. Quite a variety of flowers can now be found here in bloom. I have on my table some peach blossoms and one apple blossom, the first of the latter I have seen. Some of the early rosebushes are leaved out, and the grass is up enough to make the hillsides look quite springlike. For three or four days we have needed no fire, and my coat now hangs on the forked stick which answers for a hatrack in my tent. We left Jackson the morning of the 11th, all pleased beyond expression, to get away. We were from 8 a. m. until 11 o'clock p. m. coming here, only 55 miles. The engine stalled as many as ten times on up grades, and we would either have to run back to get a fresh start, or wait until a train came along whose engine could help us out. We lay loosely around the depot until daylight and then moved out to our present camp, which is one of the best I have ever seen, a nice, high ridge covered with fine old forest trees. This town has been most shamefully abused since we left here with the Grand Army last December. There are only about three houses which have a vestige of a fence left around them. All the once beautiful evergreens look as though three or four tornadoes had visited them and many of the finest houses have been compelled to pay as tribute to the camp fires, piazzas and weatherboarding. Not a chicken is left to crow or cackle, not a pig to squeal, and only such milch cows as were composed entirely of bone and cuticle. The 7th Cavalry is here, and also the 6th Illinois and 2d Iowa. There is only one other regiment of Infantry, the 46th Ohio. It does the picket duty and we are patroling and guarding the government stores. The duty is rather lighter than it was in Jackson, and more pleasant. We have no ground to complain now, and the paymaster is all we want to make us perfectly happy. Two nights before we left Jackson 23 of our regiment deserted, 17 of whom were out of Company A, one of the Lewistown companies. One was from my company, the first deserter I have had. He was detailed from Company A to my company and was besides the most worthless trifling pup in the army. I am accepting the disgrace of having one of my men desert, decidedly glad to be rid of him. Johnny Wyckoff came down a few days ago and after being in camp a few days came to me and said he had his parents' permission, so I got the colonel to swear him in. We'll make a drummer of him.

I suppose you will have seen in the Register before this reaches you the answer my company made to that Davidson's lie in regard to our vote on the resolutions. I did not see the paper until it was ready to send away. I think copperheadism is not worth quite the premium it was a few months since. These notes from the army should have some weight with the gentlemen that run the copper machine. Do you see how the Southern papers cut the scoundrels? That does me much good, though 'tis mortifying to think we have such dirt-catchers in our State.

Well, we are on the right track now, and a few more weeks and we will be steaming down the Mississippi, I think. Our next move will be Memphis, probably, and then, ho! for Vicksburg! That is rare good news from the Yazoo. I hope Ross has done something there. My health is excellent, 155 pounds of ham and crackers, for that is all I've eaten in four months. One hundred and sixty secesh soldiers lie as closely as they can be packed in this cemetery. Little boards with initials cut on them are all the marks their graves have. Our boys all cut on a large board with full name of regiment, and residence, at the head of their graves. I send you some blossoms from the graveyard.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 161-4

John Brown [alias Isaac Smith] to John H. Kagi, June 30, 1859

Chambersburg, Penn., June 30, 1859.
John Henrie, Esq.

Dear Sir, — We leave here to-day for Harper's Ferry, via Hagerstown. When you get there you had best look on the hotel register for I. Smith & Sons, without making much inquiry. We shall be looking for cheap lands near the railroad in all probability. You can write I. Smith & Sons, at Harper's Ferry, should you need to do so.

Yours, in truth,
I. Smith.

SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 526

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: October 13, 1863

Got the desk out and papers to vote. Mail came. Seven letters for me. Fannie, Ella, Fred, Will and home. Never felt as today, an epoch in my life. Felt sad all day. Ordered forward. Moved out on Blountville road, damp day and somewhat rainy. Read considerable in the Independent. Letters seem so acceptable once more. Camped 5 miles from B. Hardly been myself today. Camped after dark.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 93

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: October 14, 1863

Up and breakfasted before sunrise. Skirmishing commenced before fairly on the road. 2nd called to the front, Co. C as skirmishers on left of the road in open field. Ordered to gain a piece. Deployed and advanced. When 10 rods from the woods, opened upon us. Boys dropped behind apple trees and fence and replied, waiting for skirmishers on the right. Bullets whistled close, when Battery on right opened a way to our rear and fired near us. Fell back behind the fence till they came up, then advanced into the woods. Could hear their train and sent word twice, but the right didn't advance soon enough. Had several good shots. Sergt. Bail wounded in the thigh. Good boy. Soon mounted and advanced within two miles of B. Dismounted and double-quicked two miles, to take a battery. Got out of the way. Spit blood. Played out. Camped four miles back. Rest was sweet.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 93

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: October 15, 1863

Breakfasted and moved through Blountville towards Bristol. Rested at B. till noon, waiting for reports from Foster's Brigade — gone to Bristol and 7th Ohio gone to Zollicoffer. Bristol very enterprising little town — thoroughly secesh. Girls all pouting. Sullivan County all rebel. Got a late rebel paper. Little news from Rosencrans. Not very encouraging. Passed through and camped at 8 miles, near Abington. Rained at 8 P. M. Aroused at 9 and returned to Bristol in Egyptian darkness.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 93

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: October 16, 1863

Kept watch over Davenport. About midnight scout went out. Got a tent from warehouse. Boys got plenty of tobacco from warehouse. Many stores and private buildings were broken into and plundered. Soon after daylight the Col. becoming disgusted moved out three miles for breakfast. Ordered back about noon. Burned 15 cars, three engines and building stored with salt. Any amount of salt stored here left undisturbed. Burned three bridges and tore up two miles of track above Bristol. Rained all the afternoon. Camped about two miles from Blountville — good place. Had charge of Batt.—quite honored. Heard Lewis Jones.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 93

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: October 17, 1863

Early breakfast and then moved. Took the Zollicoffer road, whole Brigade. Co. H went on with Shackleford. Stopped and tore up two miles of track and burned the bridges. Still in charge of Batt. Capt. Stewart sick and Lt. Bills under arrest. About 5 P. M. report came that enemy were coming. To horse. Such a run. 8th Tenn. pickets fired upon and several captured. Moved towards Jonesboro. Camped on byroad to Carter. Good camp but far from water.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 93

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: October 18, 1863

Moved on after breakfast. Passed through Jonesboro. Stopped and saw Dick Bail and Bishop. Both doing well. Camped about two miles west of town. The Batt. gave three cheers for Brough, 65,000 majority. At 3 P. M. Col. P., Lts. Hamlin, Houghton, Eggleston, McBride and self and 8 men started for Knoxville. Stopped three miles from Rheatown at good Union man's house, tolerable supper and bed.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 93-4

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Major-General Henry W. Halleck to Elizabeth Hamilton Halleck, January 15, 1862

ST. Louis, Jan. 15, 1862.
MY DEAR * * * *

I am very sorry to hear that Mr. Stanton succeeds Mr. Cameron as Sect'y of War. I was in hopes that Mr. Holt would be appointed. Mr. Stanton does not like me, and of course will take the first opportunity he can to injure me. I shall take my precautions accordingly so as not to give him a chance. * * *

H. W. H.

SOURCE: The Collector, New York, New York, Volume 21, No. 3, January 1908, p. 29

Edwin M. Stanton to Major-General Henry W. Halleck, February 8, 1862

WAR DEPARTMENT, February 8, 1862.
Major-General HALLECK, Saint Louis:

Your energy and ability receive the strongest commendation of this Department. You have my perfect confidence and may rely upon the utmost support in your undertakings. The pressure of my engagements here prevented me from writing, but I shall do so fully in a day or two.


SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 8 (Serial No. 8), p. 547

Joseph Holt to Abraham Lincoln, January 15, 1862

St Louis Jan 15th 1862
Dear Sir.

I cannot repress the desire that I feel as an American citizen to thank you — which I do from my heart — for the appointment of the present Secretary of War. In him you will find a friend true as steel, & a support, which no pressure from within or from without, will ever shake. It was my fortune to know him during the darkest days of the late administration & I think I know him well. With his great talents, he is the soul of honor, of courage, & of loyalty. In the progress of the terrible events inseperable from the struggle for the life of our country, in which you are heroically engaged, you can assign to Edwin M. Stanton no duty however stern, or solemn or self-sacrificing, which he will not nobly & efficiently perform.

Very Sincerely
J Holt.

Samuel Medary & James H. Smith to Edwin M. Stanton, January 14, 1861

Columbus O. Jan 14th 1861
Red’d, Washington, Jan. 14th 1861,
To Hon Edwin M Stanton

If you can, take the war office for Gods sake & the Country.

S. Medary
J H Smith

SOURCE: Stanton, Edwin Mcmasters. Edwin McMasters Stanton Papers: Correspondence, 1831 to 1870; 1862; 1862, Jan. 14-Feb. 2. 1862. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,, Image 39. (Accessed September 20, 2017.)

Robert C. Grier to Edwin M. Stanton, January 13, 1862

Dear Stanton

As soon as I passed the door of the Senate Chamber I was informed of your nomination. It was a secret no longer. Senators had freely communicated the fact. I afterwards met Nelson, Clifford, and Catron at Catron's room. They were talking of your nomination. All agreed you should accept; that it would restore confidence in the nation; your antecedents being known to the President, he should ask no pledge, you should give none, and require none — at present — the great Democratic party of the North and conservative Whigs (now a large majority) would support, strengthen, and hold you up; that you are young strong, & can bear labor, can do great good, and in this crisis your country demands every sacrifice of individual comfort. You can gain great glory if there be success to our arms, and can only sink in the common ruin in case of defeat. I concur with them.

Yours truly,
R. C. Grier
Monday evening,
Jan. 13, 1862

SOURCE: Stanton, Edwin Mcmasters. Edwin McMasters Stanton Papers: Correspondence, 1831 to 1870; 1831, July 19-1862, Jan. 13. 1831. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,, images 303 & 304, (Accessed September 20, 2017.)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Edwin M. Stanton to Samuel L. M. Barlow [Extract], January 7, 1862

From the day you left here until the present time there has been no improvement in public affairs, save General McClellan's accession to chief command, but his illness has in a great measure prevented the good consequences which might have resulted from that event. His health is now improving.

Your anticipation that he would be assailed by certain parties, I think, is well founded. No direct assault upon him has yet been made, but there have been several indirect lunges, the object whereof cannot be mistaken. Fremont is now here and divers rumors abound as to the designs of his partisans; whether any of them be true or not, time only will show.

The surrender of Mason and Slidell was a political necessity, but I doubt whether it will avoid war. My private advices from England represent a nearly unanimous and almost frantic hostility of the English people to our Government, which the power of the ministry cannot restrain, if it desired so to do. The French feeling is no better. The fact is that there seems to be an outbreak of hostility against our republican form of government, combined with a bitter contempt for the administration, which induces foreign powers to seize the chance of the hour to destroy us. On our part there appears no consciousness of the dangers, or ability to avoid them. Seward says, “all’s well,” and that is enough for the Republicans.

SOURCE: Frank Abial Flower, Edwin McMasters Stanton: the autocrat of rebellion, emancipation, and Reconstruction, p. 123-4

Brigadier-General Charles P. Stone to Senator Charles Sumner, December 23, 1861

POOLESVILLE, MD., December 23, 1861.

Hon. CHARLES SUMNER, U. S. SENATE — Sir: — If the National Intelligencer newspaper of the —th inst. quotes you correctly, you have uttered, on the floor of the Senate, a falsehood and a slander.

Permit me to thank you for the speech in which you use my name. There can be no higher proof, in my opinion, that a soldier in the field is faithfully performing his duty, than the fact that while he is receiving the shot of the public enemy in front, he is receiving the vituperation of a well-known coward from a safe distance in the rear.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

SOURCE: The United States Army and Navy Journal and Gazette of the Regular and Volunteer Forces, Volume 5: 1867-’68, October 19, 1867, p. 142, 

Speech of Senator Charles Sumner in the United States Senate, December 18, 1861

Some days ago I called the attention of the Senate to abuses in Missouri with reference to fugitive slaves. Since then I have received a great many communications from that State showing very great interest in the question, some of them in the nature of protest against the system which has been adopted there. One of these purports to come from a slave owner, himself educated in a slave State, and he speaks with great bitterness of the indignity that has been put upon the Army there, and of the injury that it has done to the cause of the Union. Another letter from another person contains a passage which I shall read:

“I wish to say in addition that I have lived twenty-four years in Missouri, that I know the people well, have served them in various offices, and let me assure you it is nonsense to try to save Missouri to the Union and the institution of slavery also. We must give up one or the other. Slavery ought to fall and Missouri be saved. Frémont's army struck terror into the secessionists. He made them feel it by taking their goods and chattels. Let our armies proclaim freedom to the slaves of the secessionists, and the rebellion will soon close. We can take care of the free negroes at a future day. Give General Lane ten thousand men, and he would establish peace in Missouri in thirty days.”

But, sir, my especial object now is not to call attention to this abuse in Missouri, but to call attention to this abuse here near at home. Brigadier General Stone, the well-known commander at Ball's Bluff, is now adding to his achievements there by engaging ably and actively in the work of surrendering fugitive slaves. He does this, sir, most successfully. He is victorious when the simple question is whether a fugitive slave shall be surrendered to a rebel.

Sir, besides my general interest in this question, besides my interest in the honor of the national Army, I have a special interest at this moment because Brigadier General Stone has seen fit to impose this vile and unconstitutional duty upon Massachusetts troops. The Governor of my State has charged me with a communication to the Secretary of War on this subject, complaining of this outrage, treating it as an indignity to the men, and as an act unworthy of our national flag. I agree with the Governor of Massachusetts; and when I call attention to this abuse now, I make myself his representative, as also the representative of my own opinions.

But there are others besides the Governor of Massachusetts who complain. There are two German companies in one of the Massachusetts regiments who, when they enlisted, entered into the public service with the positive understanding that they should not be put to any such discreditable and unconstitutional service. Sir, they complain, and with them their own immediate fellow-citizens at home, the German population generally throughout the country.

Nor is this all. The complaint extends to other quarters. I have here a letter from a citizen of Philadelphia, from which I shall read a short extract. The writer says:

“I have but one son, and he fought at Ball's Bluff, in the California regiment, where his bravery brought him into notice. He escaped, wounded, after dark. He protests against being made to return fugitive slaves, and if ordered to that duty will refuse obedience and take the consequences. I ask, sir, shall our sons, who are offering their lives for the preservation of our institutions, be degraded to slave-catchers for any persons, loyal or disloyal? If such is the policy of the Government, I shall urge my son to shed no more blood for its preservation.”

With these communications which I have received, some of an official character and others of a private character, I have felt that I should not do my duty if I did not call the attention of the Senate to this outrage. It must be arrested. I am glad to know that my friend and colleague, the chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs, promises us at once a bill to meet this grievance. It ought to be introduced promptly, and to be passed at once. Our troops ought to be saved from this shame.

SOURCE: John C. Rives, The Congressional Globe: Containing the Debates and Proceedings of the Second Session of the Thirty-Seventh Congress, p. 130

Jacob Bigelow [alias William Penn], November 10, 1855

WASHINGTON, D. C., November 10th, 1855.

DEAR SIR: — Doctor T. presented my card last night about half past eight which I instantly recognized. I, however, soon became suspicious, and afterwards confounded, to find the doctor using your name and the well known names of Mr. McK. and Mr. W. and yet, neither he nor I, could conjecture the object of his visit.

The doctor is agreeable and sensible, and doubtless a true-hearted man. He seemed to see the whole matter as I did, and was embarrassed. He had nothing to propose, no information to give of the “P. Boy,” or of any substitute, and seemed to want no particular information from me concerning my anxieties and perils, though I stated them to him, but found him as powerless as myself to give me relief. I had an agreeable interview with the doctor till after ten, when he left, intending to take the cars at six, as I suppose he did do, this morning.

This morning after eight, I got your letter of the 9th, but it gives me but little enlightenment or satisfaction. You simply say that the doctor is a true man, which I cannot doubt, that you thought it best we should have an interview, and that you supposed I would meet the expenses. You informed me also that the “P. Boy” left for Richmond, on Friday, the 2d, to be gone the length of time named in your last, I must infer that to be ten days though in your last you assured me that the “P. Boy ” would certainly start for this place (not Richmond) in two or three days, though the difficulty about freight might cause delay, and the whole enterprise might not be accomplished under ten days, &c., &c. That time having elapsed and I having agreed to an extra fifty dollars to ensure promptness. I have scarcely left my office since, except for my hasty meals, awaiting his arrival. You now inform me he has gone to Richmond, to be gone ten days, which will expire tomorrow, but you do not say he will return here or to Phila., or where, at the expiration of that time, and Dr. T. could tell me nothing whatever about him. Had he been able to tell me that this best plan, which I have so long rested upon, would fail, or was abandoned, I could then understand it, but he says no such thing, and you say, as you have twice before said, “ten days more.”

Now, my dear sir, after this recapitulation, can you not see that I have reason for great embarrassment? I have given assurances, both here and in New York, founded on your assurances to me, and caused my friends in the latter place great anxiety, so much that I have had no way to explain my own letters but by sending your last two to Mr. Tappan.

I cannot doubt, I do not, but that you wish to help me, and the cause too, for which both of us have made many and large sacrifices with no hope of reward in this world. If in this case I have been very urgent since September Dr. T. can give you some of my reasons, they have not been selfish.

The whole matter is in a nutshell. Can I, in your opinion, depend on the “P. Boy,” and when?

If he promises to come here next trip, will he come, or go to Richmond? This I think is the best way. Can I depend on it?

Dr. T. Promised to write me some explanation and give some advice, and at first I thought to await his letter, but on second thought concluded to tell you how I feel, as I have done.

Will you answer my questions with some explicitness, and without delay?

I forgot to inquire of Dr. T. who is the head of your Vigilance Committee, whom I may address concerning other and further operations?

Yours very truly,

P. S. I ought to say, that I have no doubt but there were good reasons for the P. Boy's going to Richmond instead of W.; but what can they be?

SOURCES: William Still, The Underground Railroad: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters &c., p. 180-1

Monday, September 18, 2017

Senator Salmon P. Chase to Edward S. Hamlin, August 14, 1850

Washington, Aug. 14, 1850.

My Dear Hamlin, I find your letter of the 11h of July among my unanswered letters but my impression is very strong that I have answered it. Is it so or not?

I wrote you a day or two since enclosing a recommendation of Th. K. Smith by Donn Piatt for Collector at Cincinnati. — Smith was a student in our office, and always did well what I wished him to do. He has good talents, but was, at one time, rather given to idling away his time. In this I think he has reformed since his marriage. He is poor & has his father's family to support. If you can give him the office I feel persuaded he will discharge its duties well, and do no discredit to your selection. That I shall be gratified by it I need not add. The only thing I know to Smith's disadvantage was his association as law partner with Read & Piatt which is somewhat to his discredit if not damage of his liberty principles.

Well — we have passed in the Senate a bill for the admission of California at last. After organizing Utah without the proviso &, what was ten times more objectionable, a bill giving half New Mexico and ten millions of dollars to Texas in consideration of her withdrawing her unfounded pretension to the other half, we were permitted to pass the California admission bill. The Texas Surrender Bill was passed by the influence of the new administration which is Hunker & Compromise all over. The Message of Fillmore asserting the right of the United States and declaring his purpose to support it and then begging Congress to relieve him from the necessity of doing so by a compromise—that message did the work. That message gave the votes of Davis & Winthrop, of Mass — Clarke & Greene of R. I. Smith of Conn. & Phelps of Vermont to the Bill.

I hardly know what to wish in regard to the Cleveland Convention. Luckily this is the less important as my wishes have very little influence with the Clevelanders. I am persuaded that the Jeffersonian democracy will be bound to take distinct ground against the Hunkers who are straining every nerve to put Cass into the field again, and may succeed in nominating Woodbury, who is more objectionable. We must adhere to our principles, and, so long as those principles and the course of action which fidelity to them requires are not recognized by the Old Line Democrats, to our organization also. Perhaps a nomination for Governor would be useful at this time — especially if the right kind of a man and upon a reaffirmation of the democratic Platform of '48. In the National Contest which is impending I think Benton will go with us against the Hunkers, if they drive us to a separation.

I shall send this to Olmsted, expecting it will find you there. Wherever it may find you write me soon. There is no prospect of adjournment before September.

Since writing this letter last night, I have recd your last this morning. I thank you for it—now you are in my debt — remember.

SOURCE: Diary and correspondence of Salmon P. ChaseAnnual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 216-7

Diary of Gideon Welles: Monday, September 28, 1863

The last arrivals indicate a better tone and temper in England, and I think in France also. From the articles in their papers, Cole's letter, etc., I think our monitors and heavy ordnance have had a peaceful tendency, a tranquillizing effect. The guns of the Weehawken have knocked the breath out of British statesmen as well as the crew of the Atlanta. The “swamp angel,” as they call Gillmore's gun which throws shot from Morris Island into Charleston, has made itself felt and heard in England.

The President sent for me this noon. I found Seward with him, reading his dispatches for the next steamer. One to Dayton somewhat interesting, to Motley and others commonplace.

A letter which he had prepared, to Stuart in the absence of Lord Lyons, in the case of the Emma, was the special occasion of calling me to the interview. This vessel had run the blockade, but the Arago, an army transport, falling in with her, the commander became alarmed and commenced throwing overboard his cargo of cotton and putting on more steam in order to escape. Her efforts excited suspicion, and the Arago ran down to the Emma, which surrendered. The captain acknowledged her guilt, and she was brought into New York. The District Attorney procured an order of sale from the court, the Navy Department took her at her appraised value, and she was sent to the Navy Yard for alterations, adapting her to naval purposes. It now transpires that Mr. Seward in May last, without consulting or communicating with others, made a strange promise to Mr. Stuart, that he would get an opinion from the Attorney-General as to the construction of an act passed by the last Congress in relation to the sale of captured neutral vessels. In the mean time he pledged himself to Her Majesty's representative that no sale should take place until there was a decision on the point which Mr. Stuart, or Mr. Seward, or both thought of doubtful validity. But the Attorney-General, was pressed with business, had been absent some weeks in Missouri, and his opinion did not come in until late. In the mean time the Emma had been sold to the Navy and transferred to the navy yard, where she had undergone a complete transformation.

Mr. Seward now finds himself embarrassed by the promise which he inconsiderately made and of which impropriety none of us were advised; says the faith of the State Department is pledged, and he wishes all proceedings stopped till the court shall have decided on the validity of the capture. The President had been appealed to, and, though evidently annoyed by the hasty and imprudent action of Mr. Seward, he desired the appeal of the Secretary of State should be considered, and his pledge redeemed. I informed him that the sale had been made, the transfer completed, the vessel had been for weeks at the navy yard undergoing repairs and alterations, that she was an entirely different craft from what she was when captured, that the best we could do under the circumstances was to detain her at the yard and not put her in commission.

These irregular and unauthorized proceedings are cause of constant difficulty and embarrassment, and are very injurious to the public service. We want and have prepared this vessel for special duty, which, had we known the pledges of the Secretary of State, we should have allotted differently. As it is, the government must sustain loss and the Navy Department be straitened by this irregularity.

The President read to Seward and myself a detailed confidential dispatch from Chattanooga very derogatory to Crittenden and McCook, who wilted when every energy and resource should have been put forth, disappeared from the battle-field, returned to Chattanooga, and — went to sleep. The officers who did their duty are dissatisfied. We had their statements last week, which this confidential dispatch confirms. It makes some, but not a very satisfactory, excuse for Rosecrans, in whom the President has clearly lost confidence. He said he was urged to change all the officers, but thought he should limit his acts to Crittenden and McCook; said it would not do to send one of our generals from the East. I expressed a doubt if he had any one suitable for that command or the equal of Thomas, if a change was to be made. There was no one in the army who, from what I had seen and known of him, was so fitted for that command as General Thomas. Rosecrans had stood well with the country until this time, but Thomas was a capable general, had undoubted merit, and was a favorite with the men. Seward thought the whole three — Rosecrans, Crittenden, and McCook — should be removed.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 445-7