Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Diary of John Hay: April 29, 1861

Going into Nicolay’s room this morning, Carl Schurz and Jim Lane were sitting. Jim was at the window, filling his soul with gall by steady telescopic contemplation of a secession flag impudently flaunting over a roof in Alexandria. “Let me tell you,” said he to the elegant Teuton, “we have got to whip these scoundrels like hell, Cairl Schurz.  They did a good thing stoning our men at Baltimore and shooting away the flag at Sumter. It has set the great North a howling for blood, and they'll have it.”

“I heard," said Schurz, "you preached a sermon to your men yesterday."

“No, sir! this is no time for preaching. When I went to Mexico there were four preachers in my regiment. In less than a week I issued orders for them all to stop preaching and go to playing cards. In a month or so, they were the biggest devils and best fighters I had.”

An hour afterward Carl Schurz told me he was going home to arm his clansmen for the wars. He has obtained three months’ leave of absence from his diplomatic duties, and permission to raise a cavalry regiment. I doubt the propriety of the movement. He will make a wonderful land pirate; bold, quick, brilliant and reckless. He will be hard to control and difficult to direct. Still, we shall see. He is a wonderful man.

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 26-7; Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and Letters of John Hay, p. 13-4; Michael Burlingame & John R. Turner Ettlinger, Editors; Inside Lincoln's White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay, p. 13-4

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