The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7


iSpeech

A. LINCOLN.

TO GENERAL D. C. BUELL.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,

January 6, 1862.

BRIGADIER-GENERAL BUELL.

MY DEAR SIR:--Your despatch of yesterday has been received, and it
disappoints and distresses me. I have shown it to General McClellan,
who says he will write you to-day. I am not competent to criticize
your views, and therefore what I offer is in justification of myself.
Of the two, I would rather have a point on the railroad south of
Cumberland Gap than Nashville. First, because it cuts a great artery
of the enemy's communication, which Nashville does not; and secondly,
because it is in the midst of loyal people who would rally around it,
while Nashville is not. Again, I cannot see why the movement on East
Tennessee would not be a diversion in your favor rather than a
disadvantage, assuming that a movement toward Nashville is the main
object. But my distress is that our friends in East Tennessee are
being hanged and driven to despair, and even now, I fear, are
thinking of taking rebel arms for the sake of personal protection.
In this we lose the most valuable stake we have in the South. My
despatch, to which yours is an answer, was sent with the knowledge of
Senator Johnson and Representative Maynard of East Tennessee, and
they will be upon me to know the answer, which I cannot safely show
them. They would despair, possibly resign to go and save their
families somehow, or die with them. I do not intend this to be an
order in any sense, but merely, as intimated before, to show you the
grounds of my anxiety.

Yours very truly,

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL BUELL.

WASHINGTON, January 7, 1862.

BRIGADIER-GENERAL D.C. BUELL, Louisville:

Please name as early a day as you safely can on or before which you
can be ready to move southward in concert with Major-General Halleck.
Delay is ruining us, and it is indispensable for me to have something
definite. I send a like despatch to Major-General Halleck.

A. LINCOLN.

MESSAGE TO CONGRESS.

WASHINGTON, January 10, 1862

TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

I transmit to Congress a translation of an instruction to the
minister of his Majesty the Emperor of Austria accredited to this
government, and a copy of a note to that minister from the Secretary
of State relative to the questions involved in the taking from the
British steamer Trent of certain citizens of the United States by
order of Captain Wilkes of the United States Navy. This
correspondence may be considered as a sequel to that previously
communicated to Congress relating to the same subject.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

INDORSEMENT ON LETTER FROM GENERAL HALLECK,
JANUARY 10, 1862.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI
ST. Louis, January 6, 1862.

To His EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT:

In reply to your Excellency's letter of the 1st instant, I have to
state that on receiving your telegram I immediately communicated with
General Buell and have since sent him all the information I could
obtain of the enemy's movements about Columbus and Camp Beauregard.
No considerable force has been sent from those places to Bowling
Green. They have about 22,000 men at Columbus, and the place is
strongly fortified. I have at Cairo, Port Holt, and Paducah only
about 15,000, which, after leaving guards at these places, would give
me but little over 10,000 men with which to assist General Buell. It
would be madness to attempt anything serious with such a force, and I
cannot at the present time withdraw any from Missouri without risking
the loss of this State. The troops recently raised in other States
of this department have, without my knowledge, been sent to Kentucky
and Kansas.

I am satisfied that the authorities at Washington do not appreciate
the difficulties with which we have to contend here. The operations
of Lane, Jennison, and others have so enraged the people of Missouri
that it is estimated that there is a majority of 8o,ooo against the
government. We are virtually in an enemy's country. Price and
others have a considerable army in the southwest, against which I am
operating with all my available force.

This city and most of the middle and northern counties are
insurrectionary,--burning bridges, destroying telegraph lines, etc.,-
-and can be kept down only by the presence of troops. A large
portion of the foreign troops organized by General Fremont are
unreliable; indeed, many of them are already mutinous. They have
been tampered with by politicians, and made to believe that if they
get up a mutiny and demand Fremont's return the government will be
forced to restore him to duty here. It is believed that some high
officers are in the plot I have already been obliged to disarm
several of these organizations, and I am daily expecting more serious
outbreaks. Another grave difficulty is the want of proper general
officers to command the troops and enforce order and discipline, and
especially to protect public property from robbery and plunder. Some
of the brigadier-generals assigned to this department are entirely
ignorant of their duties and unfit for any command. I assure you,
Mr. President, it is very difficult to accomplish much with such
means. I am in the condition of a carpenter who is required to build
a bridge with a dull axe, a broken saw, and rotten timber. It is
true that I have some very good green timber, which will answer the
purpose as soon as I can get it into shape and season it a little.

I know nothing of General Buell's intended operations, never having
received any information in regard to the general plan of campaign.
If it be intended that his column shall move on Bowling Green while
another moves from Cairo or Paducah on Columbus or Camp Beauregard,
it will be a repetition of the same strategic error which produced
the disaster of Bull Run. To operate on exterior lines against an
enemy occupying a central position will fail, as it always has
failed, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred. It is condemned by
every military authority I have ever read.

General Buell's army and the forces at Paducah occupy precisely the
same position in relation to each other and to the enemy as did the
armies of McDowell and Patterson before the battle of Bull Run.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General

[Indorsement]

The within is a copy of a letter just received from General Halleck.
It is exceedingly discouraging. As everywhere else, nothing can be
done.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GOVERNOR ANDREW.

WASHINGTON, D. C.,
January 11, 1862

GOVERNOR JOHN A. ANDREW, Boston:

I will be greatly obliged if you will arrange; somehow with General
Butler to officer his two un-officered regiments.

A. LINCOLN

TO GENERAL D. C. BUELL.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, January 13, 1861

BRIGADIER-GENERAL BUELL.

MY DEAR SIR -Your despatch of yesterday is received, in which you
say, "I received your letter and General McClellan's, and will at
once devote my efforts to your views and his." In the midst of my
many cares I have not seen, nor asked to see, General McClellan's
letter to you. For my own views, I have not offered and do not now
offer them as orders; and while I am glad to have them respectfully
considered, I would blame you to follow them contrary to your own
clear judgment, unless I should put them in the form of orders. As
to General McClellan's views, you understand your duty in regard to
them better than I do.

With this preliminary I state my general idea of this war to be, that
we have the greater numbers and the enemy has the greater facility of
concentrating forces upon points of collision; that we must fail
unless we can find some way of making our advantage an overmatch for
his; and that this can only be done by menacing him with superior
forces at different points at the same time, so that we can safely
attack one or both if he makes no change; and if he weakens one to
strengthen the other, forbear to attack the strengthened one, but
seize and hold the weakened one, gaining so much.

To illustrate: Suppose last summer, when Winchester ran away to
reinforce Manassas, we had forborne to attack Manassas, but had
seized and held Winchester. I mention this to illustrate and not to
criticise. I did not lose confidence in McDowell, and I think less
harshly of Patterson than some others seem to. . . . Applying the
principle to your case, my idea is that Halleck shall menace Columbus
and "down river" generally, while you menace Bowling Green and East
Tennessee. If the enemy shall concentrate at Bowling Green, do not
retire from his front, yet do not fight him there either, but seize
Columbus and East Tennessee, one or both, left exposed by the
concentration at Bowling Green. It is a matter of no small anxiety
to me, and which I am sure you will not overlook, that the East
Tennessee line is so long and over so bad a road.

Yours very truly,
A. LINCOLN.

(Indorsement.)

Having to-day written General Buell a letter, it occurs to me to send
General Halleck a copy of it.
A. LINCOLN.

TO GENERAL H. W. HALLECK.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, January 1 , 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL HALLECK.

MY DEAR SIR:--The Germans are true and patriotic and so far as they
have got cross in Missouri it is upon mistake and misunderstanding.
Without a knowledge of its contents, Governor Koerner, of Illinois,
will hand you this letter. He is an educated and talented German
gentleman, as true a man as lives. With his assistance you can set
everything right with the Germans. . . . My clear judgment is
that, with reference to the German element in your command, you
should have Governor Koerner with you; and if agreeable to you and
him, I will make him a brigadier-general, so that he can afford to
give his time. He does not wish to command in the field, though he
has more military knowledge than some who do. If he goes into the
place, he will simply be an efficient, zealous, and unselfish
assistant to you. I say all this upon intimate personal acquaintance
with Governor Koerner.

Yours very truly,

A. LINCOLN

MESSAGE TO CONGRESS.

WASHINGTON, January 17, 1862

TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

I transmit to Congress a translation of an instruction to the
minister of his Majesty the King of Prussia accredited to this
government, and a copy of a note to that minister from the Secretary
of State relating to the capture and detention of certain citizens of
the United States, passengers on board the British steamer Trent, by
order of Captain Wilkes of the United States Navy.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN

TO GENERAL McCLELLAN.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON.

January 20, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL GEORGE B. McCLELLAN,

Commanding Armies of the United States:

You or any officer you may designate will in your discretion suspend
the writ of habeas corpus so far as may relate to Major Chase, lately
of the Engineer Corps of the Army of the United States, now alleged
to be guilty of treasonable practices against this government.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

PRESIDENT'S GENERAL WAR ORDER NO. 1

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON , January 27, 1862.

Ordered, That the 22d day of February, 1862, be the day for a general
movement of the land and the naval forces of the United States
against the insurgent forces.

That especially the army at and about Fortress Monroe, the Army of
the Potomac, the Army of Western Virginia, the army near
Munfordville, Kentucky, the army and flotilla at Cairo, and a naval
force in the Gulf of Mexico, be ready for a movement on that day.

That all other forces, both land and naval, with their respective
commanders, obey existing orders for the time, and be ready to obey
additional orders when duly given.

That the heads of departments, and especially the Secretaries of War
and of the Navy, with all their subordinates, and the
General-in-chief, with all other commanders and subordinates of land
and naval forces, will severally be held to their strict and full
responsibilities for the prompt execution of this order.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

TO SECRETARY STANTON,

EXECUTIVE MANSION WASHINGTON, January 31, 1862

HON. SECRETARY OF WAR.

MY DEAR SIR:--It is my wish that the expedition commonly called the
"Lane Expedition" shall be, as much as has been promised at the
adjutant-general's office, under the supervision of General
McClellan, and not any more. I have not intended, and do not now
intend, that it shall be a great, exhausting affair, but a snug,
sober column of 10,000 or 15,000. General Lane has been told by me
many times that he is under the command of General Hunter, and
assented to it as often as told. It was the distinct agreement
between him and me, when I appointed him, that he was to be under
Hunter.

Yours truly,
A. LINCOLN.

PRESIDENT'S SPECIAL WAR ORDER NO. 1.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, January 31, 1862.

Ordered, That all the disposable force of the Army of the Potomac,
after providing safely for the defence of Washington, be formed into
an expedition for the immediate object of seizing and occupying a
point upon the railroad southwestward of what is known as Manassas
Junction, all details to be in the discretion of the
commander-in-chief, and the expedition to move before or on the 22d
day of February next.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

OPPOSITION TO McCLELLAN'S PLANS

TO GENERAL G. B. McCLELLAN,

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, February 3, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL MCCLELLAN.

DEAR SIR -You and I have distinct and different plans for a movement
of the Army of the Potomac--yours to be down the Chesapeake, up the
Rappahannock to Urbana, and across land to the terminus of the
railroad on the York River; mine to move directly to a point on the
railroad southwest of Manassas.

If you will give me satisfactory answers to the following questions,
I shall gladly yield my plan to yours.

First. Does not your plan involve a greatly larger expenditure of
time and money than mine?

Second. Wherein is a victory more certain by your plan than mine?

Third. Wherein is a victory more valuable by your plan than mine?

Fourth. In fact, would it not be less valuable in this, that it
would break no great line of the enemy's communications, while mine
would?

Fifth. In case of disaster, would not a retreat be more difficult by
your plan than mine?

Yours truly,
ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

Memorandum accompanying Letter of President Lincoln to General
McClellan, dated February 3,1862.

First. Suppose the enemy should attack us in force before we reach
the Occoquan, what?

Second. Suppose the enemy in force shall dispute the crossing of the
Occoquan, what? In view of this, might it not be safest for us to
cross the Occoquan at Coichester, rather than at the village of
Occoquan? This would cost the enemy two miles of travel to meet us,
but would, on the contrary, leave us two miles farther from our
ultimate
destination.

Third. Suppose we reach Maple Valley without an attack, will we not
be attacked there in force by the enemy marching by the several roads
from Manassas; and if so, what?

TO WM. H. HERNDON.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,
February 3, 1862.

DEAR WILLIAM:--Yours of January 30th just received. Do just as you
say about the money matter.

As you well know, I have not time to write a letter of respectable
length. God bless you, says

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