Monday, December 12, 2016

Diary of John Hay: October 17, 1861

At Seward’s to-night we met Capt. Schultz who showed very bad taste by alluding to the Chicago Convention and Seward. The President told a good yarn.

One day in Springfield shortly after some of the lower counties had held meetings and passed Resolutions eulogistic of Trumbull, John Wentworth sitting near Lincoln at breakfast one morning, said: — “Lincoln, have you seen them Resolutions?” “I have seen what I suppose you refer to.”

“Them Trumbull fellers are going to trick you again.”

“I don't see any trickery about it, and if there was, there is no way to help the matter.”

“I tell you what, Lincoln,” said John, with a look of unutterable sagacity; “You must do, like Seward does — get a feller to run you.” It was vastly amusing to both the President and Secretary.

The Secretary of State talked about intercepted correspondence, and the double-dealing and lying of our English friends Fergusson and Bourke.

Going to McClellan’s with Banks, they talked about the campaign. McClellan thought the  enemy were massing at Manassas. He said he was not such a fool as to buck against that place in the spot designated by the foe. While there the President received a despatch from Sherman at Annapolis, asking for the 79th New York, the Highlanders. The President was vexed at this, and at Sherman’s intimation that the fleet would not sail before Sunday. McClellan was also bored  by the request, but Seward strongly seconded it. McC. said he would sleep on it.

We came away, the Tycoon still vexed at Sherman. At Seward’s door he turned suddenly and said: — “I think I will telegraph to Sherman that I will not break up McClellan’s command, and that I haven't much hope of his expedition anyway.”

“No,” said Seward, “You won't say discouraging things to a man going off with his life in his hands. Send them some hopeful and cheering despatch.”

The Tycoon came home and this morning telegraphed Sherman: — “I will not break up McClellan’s army without his consent. I do not think I will come to Annapolis.” This was all. I think his petulance very unaccountable.

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 44-6; Tyler Dennett, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and Letters of John Hay, p. 28-30.

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