The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7


iSpeech

Your obedient servant,

A. LINCOLN.

TO MRS. FREMONT.

WASHINGTON, D.C.,
September 12, 1861

Mrs. GENERAL FREMONT.

MY DEAR MADAM:--Your two notes of to-day are before me. I answered
the letter you bore me from General Fremont on yesterday, and not
hearing from you during the day, I sent the answer to him by mail.
It is not exactly correct, as you say you were told by the elder Mr.
Blair, to say that I sent Postmaster-General Blair to St. Louis to
examine into that department and report. Postmaster-General Blair
did go, with my approbation, to see and converse with General Fremont
as a friend. I do not feel authorized to furnish you with copies of
letters in my possession without the consent of the writers. No
impression has been made on my mind against the honor or integrity of
General Fremont, and I now enter my protest against being understood
as acting in any hostility toward him.

Your obedient servant,

A. LINCOLN.

TO JOSEPH HOLT,

EXECUTIVE MANSION, SEPTEMBER 12, 1861

HON. JOSEPH HOLT.

DEAR SIR:-Yours of this day in relation to the late proclamation of
General Fremont is received yesterday I addressed a letter to him, by
mail, on the same subject, and which is to be made public when he
receives it. I herewith send you a copy of that letter, which
perhaps shows my position as distinctly as any new one I could write.
I will thank you not to make it public until General Fremont shall
have had time to receive the original.

Your obedient servant,
A. LINCOLN.

TO GENERAL SCOTT

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 16, 1861.

DEAR SIR:--Since conversing with you I have concluded to request you
to frame an order for recruiting North Carolinians at Fort Hatteras.
I suggest it to be so framed as for us to accept a smaller force--
even a company--if we cannot get a regiment or more. What is
necessary to now say about officers you will judge. Governor Seward
says he has a nephew (Clarence A. Seward, I believe) who would be
willing to go and play colonel and assist in raising the force.
Still it is to be considered whether the North Carolinians will not
prefer officers of their own. I should expect they would.

Yours very truly,

A. LINCOLN.

TO SECRETARY CAMERON.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, September 18, 1861

HON. SECRETARY OF WAR.
MY DEAR SIR:--To guard against misunderstanding, I think fit to say
that the joint expedition of the army and navy agreed upon some time
since, and in which General T. W. Sherman was and is to bear a
conspicuous part, is in no wise to be abandoned, but must be ready to
move by the 1st of, or very early in, October. Let all preparations
go forward accordingly.

Yours truly,
A. LINCOLN.

TO GENERAL FREMONT,

WASHINGTON, SEPTEMBER 12, 1861

MAJOR-GENERAL FREMONT:

Governor Morton telegraphs as follows: "Colonel Lane, just arrived by
special train, represents Owensborough, forty miles above Evansville,
in possession of secessionists. Green River is navigable.
Owensborough must be seized. We want a gunboat sent up from Paducah
for that purpose." Send up the gunboat if, in your discretion, you
think it right. Perhaps you had better order those in charge of the
Ohio River to guard it vigilantly at all points.

A. LINCOLN.

To O. H. BROWNING.

(Private and Confidential)

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON
SEPTEMBER 22, 1861

HON. O. H. BROWNING.

MY DEAR SIR:--Yours of the 17th is just received; and coming from you,
I confess it astonishes me. That you should object to my adhering to
a law which you had assisted in making and presenting to me less than
a month before is odd enough. But this is a very small part.
General Fremont's proclamation as to confiscation of property and the
liberation of slaves is purely political and not within the range of
military law or necessity. If a commanding general finds a necessity
to seize the farm of a private owner for a pasture, an encampment, or
a fortification, he has the right to do so, and to so hold it as long
as the necessity lasts; and this is within military law, because
within military necessity. But to say the farm shall no longer
belong to the owner, or his heirs forever, and this as well when the
farm is not needed for military purposes as when it is, is purely
political, without the savor of military law about it. And the same
is true of slaves. If the general needs them, he can seize them and
use them; but when the need is past, it is not for him to fix their
permanent future condition. That must be settled according to laws
made by law-makers, and not by military proclamations. The
proclamation in the point in question is simply "dictatorship." It
assumes that the general may do anything he pleases confiscate the
lands and free the slaves of loyal people, as well as of disloyal
ones. And going the whole figure, I have no doubt, would be more
popular with some thoughtless people than that which has been done,
But I cannot assume this reckless position, nor allow others to
assume it on my responsibility.

You speak of it as being the only means of saving the government. On
the contrary, it is itself the surrender of the government. Can it
be pretended that it is any longer the Government of the United
States--any government of constitution and laws wherein a general or
a president may make permanent rules of property by proclamation? I
do not say Congress might not with propriety pass a law on the point,
just such as General Fremont proclaimed.

I do not say I might not, as a member of Congress, vote for it. What
I object to is, that I, as President, shall expressly or impliedly
seize and exercise the permanent legislative functions of the
government.

So much as to principle. Now as to policy. No doubt the thing was
popular in some quarters, and would have been more so if it had been
a general declaration of emancipation. The Kentucky Legislature
would not budge till that proclamation was modified; and General
Anderson telegraphed me that on the news of General Fremont having
actually issued deeds of manumission, a whole company of our
volunteers threw down their arms and disbanded. I was so assured as
to think it probable that the very arms we had furnished Kentucky
would be turned against us. I think to lose Kentucky is nearly the
same as to lose the whole game. Kentucky gone, we cannot hold
Missouri, nor, as I think, Maryland. These all against us, and the
job on our hands is too large for us. We would as well consent to
separation at once, including the surrender of this Capital. On the
contrary, if you will give up your restlessness for new positions,
and back me manfully on the grounds upon which you and other kind
friends gave me the election and have approved in my public
documents, we shall go through triumphantly. You must not understand
I took my course on the proclamation because of Kentucky. I took the
same ground in a private letter to General Fremont before I heard
from Kentucky.

You think I am inconsistent because I did not also forbid General
Fremont to shoot men under the proclamation. I understand that part
to be within military law, but I also think, and so privately wrote
General Fremont, that it is impolitic in this, that our adversaries
have the power, and will certainly exercise it, to shoot as many of
our men as we shoot of theirs. I did not say this in the public
letter, because it is a subject I prefer not to discuss in the
hearing of our enemies.

There has been no thought of removing General Fremont on any ground
connected with his proclamation, and if there has been any wish for
his removal on any ground, our mutual friend Sam. Glover can
probably tell you what it was. I hope no real necessity for it
exists on any ground.

Your friend, as ever,

A. LINCOLN

MEMORANDUM FOR A PLAN OF CAMPAIGN
[OCTOBER 1?] 1861

On or about the 5th of October (the exact date to be determined
hereafter) I wish a movement made to seize and hold a point on the
railroad connecting Virginia and Tennessee near the mountain-pass
called Cumberland Gap. That point is now guarded against us by
Zollicoffer, with 6000 or 8000 rebels at Barboursville Ky.,--say
twenty-five miles from the Gap, toward Lexington. We have a force
of 5000 or 6000 under General Thomas, at Camp Dick Robinson, about
twenty-five miles from Lexington and seventy-five from Zollicoffer's
camp, On the road between the two. There is not a railroad anywhere
between Lexington and the point to be seized, and along the whole
length of which the Union sentiment among the people largely
predominates. We have military possession of the railroad from
Cincinnati to Lexington, and from Louisville to Lexington, and some
home guards, under General Crittenden, are on the latter line. We
have possession of the railroad from Louisville to Nashville, Tenn.,
so far as Muldraugh's Hill, about forty miles, and the rebels have
possession of that road all south of there. At the Hill we have a
force of 8000, under General Sherman, and about an equal force of
rebels is a very short distance south, under General Buckner.

We have a large force at Paducah, and a smaller at Port Holt, both on
the Kentucky side, with some at Bird's Point, Cairo, Mound City,
Evansville, and New Albany, all on the other side, and all which,
with the gunboats on the river, are perhaps sufficient to guard the
Ohio from Louisville to its mouth.

About supplies of troops, my general idea is that all from Wisconsin,
Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas, not now elsewhere,
be left to Fremont. All from Indiana and Michigan, not now
elsewhere, be sent to Anderson at Louisville. All from Ohio needed
in western Virginia be sent there, and any remainder be sent to
Mitchell at Cincinnati, for Anderson. All east of the mountains be
appropriated to McClellan and to the coast.

As to movements, my idea is that the one for the coast and that on
Cumberland Gap be simultaneous, and that in the meantime preparation,
vigilant watching, and the defensive only be acted upon; this,
however, not to apply to Fremont's operations in northern and middle
Missouri. That before these movements Thomas and Sherman shall
respectively watch but not attack Zollicoffer and Buckner. That when
the coast and Gap movements shall be ready Sherman is merely to stand
fast, while all at Cincinnati and all at Louisville, with all on the
line, concentrate rapidly at Lexington, and thence to Thomas's camp,
joining him, and the whole thence upon the Gap. It is for the
military men to decide whether they can find a pass through the
mountains at or near the Gap which cannot be defended by the enemy
with a greatly inferior force, and what is to be done in regard to
this.

The coast and Gap movements made, Generals McClellan and Fremont, in
their respective departments, will avail themselves of any advantages
the diversions may present.

[He was entirely unable to get this started, Sherman would have taken
an active part if given him, the others were too busy getting lines
of communication guarded--and discovering many "critical" supply
items that had not been sent them. Also the commanding general did
not like it. D.W.]

TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, October 4, 1861

HONORABLE SECRETARY OF STATE.

DEAR SIR:--Please see Mr. Walker, well vouched as a Union man and
son-in-law of Governor Morehead, and pleading for his release. I
understand the Kentucky arrests were not made by special direction
from here, and I am willing if you are that any of the parties may be
released when James Guthrie and James Speed think they should be.

Yours truly,
A. LINCOLN.

TO THE VICEROY OF EGYPT.

WASHINGTON, October 11, 1861.

GREAT AND GOOD FRIEND:--I have received from Mr. Thayer, Consul-
General of the United States at Alexandria, a full account of the
liberal, enlightened, and energetic proceedings which, on his
complaint, you have adopted in bringing to speedy and condign
punishment the parties, subjects of your Highness in Upper Egypt, who
were concerned in an act of criminal persecution against Faris, an
agent of certain Christian missionaries in Upper Egypt. I pray your
Highness to be assured that these proceedings, at once so prompt and
so just, will be regarded as a new and unmistakable proof equally of
your Highness's friendship for the United States and of the firmness,
integrity and wisdom, with which the government of your Highness is
conducted. Wishing you great prosperity and success, I am your
friend,

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

HIS HIGHNESS MOHAMMED SAID PACHA,
Viceroy of Egypt and its Dependencies, etc.

By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

ORDER AUTHORIZING SUSPENSION OF THE WRIT OF
HABEAS CORPUS.

October 14 1861

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL WINFIELD SCOTT:

The military line of the United States for the suppression of the
insurrection may be extended so far as Bangor, in Maine. You and any
officer acting under your authority are hereby authorized to suspend
the writ of habeas corpus in any place between that place and the
city of Washington.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

TO SECRETARY OF INTERIOR.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, October 14, 1861

HON. SEC. OF INTERIOR.

DEAR SIR:--How is this? I supposed I was appointing for register of
wills a citizen of this District. Now the commission comes to me
"Moses Kelly, of New Hampshire." I do not like this.

Yours truly,
A. LINCOLN.

TWO SONS WHO WANT TO WORK

TO MAJOR RAMSEY.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, October 17, 1861

MAJOR RAMSEY.

MY DEAR SIR:--The lady bearer of this says she has two sons who want
to work. Set them at it if possible. Wanting to work is so rare a
want that it should be encouraged.

Yours truly,

A. LINCOLN.

TO GENERAL THOMAS W. SHERMAN.

WASHINGTON, October 18, 1861.

GENERAL THOMAS SHERMAN, Annapolis, Md.:

Your despatch of yesterday received and shown to General McClellan.
I have promised him not to direct his army here without his consent.
I do not think I shall come to Annapolis.

A. LINCOLN.

TO GENERAL CURTIS, WITH INCLOSURES.

WASHINGTON, October 24, 1861

BRIGADIER-GENERAL S. R. CURTIS.

MY DEAR SIR:--Herewith is a document--half letter, half order--which,
wishing you to see, but not to make public, I send unsealed. Please
read it and then inclose it to the officer who may be in command of
the Department of the West at the time it reaches him. I cannot now
know whether Fremont or Hunter will then be in command.

Yours truly,
A. LINCOLN.

WASHINGTON, October 24, 1861

BRIGADIER-GENERAL S. R. CURTIS.

DEAR SIR:--On receipt of this, with the accompanying inclosures, you
will take safe, certain, and suitable measures to have the inclosure
addressed to Major-General Fremont delivered to him with all
reasonable despatch, subject to these conditions only: that if, when
General Fremont shall be reached by the messenger--yourself or any
one sent by you--he shall then have, in personal command, fought and
won a battle, or shall then be actually in a battle, or shall then be
in the immediate presence of the enemy in expectation of a battle, it
is not to be delivered, but held for further orders. After, and not
till after, the delivery to General Fremont, let the inclosure
addressed to General Hunter be delivered to him.

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