The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7


iSpeech

A. LINCOLN.

MEMORANDUM OF PROPOSED ADDITIONS TO INSTRUCTIONS OF ABOVE DATE TO
GENERAL McDOWELL, AND GENERAL MEIGS'S INDORSEMENT THEREON.

May 17, 1862.
You will retain the separate command of the forces taken with you;
but while co-operating with General McClellan you will obey his
orders, except that you are to judge, and are not to allow your force
to be disposed otherwise than so as to give the greatest protection
to this capital which may be possible from that distance.

[Indorsement.] TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR:

The President having shown this to me, I suggested that it is
dangerous to direct a subordinate not to obey the orders of his
superior in any case, and that to give instructions to General
McClellan to this same end and furnish General McDowell with a copy
thereof would effect the object desired by the President. He desired
me to say that the sketch of instructions to General McClellan
herewith he thought made this addition unnecessary.

Respectfully,
M. C. M.

INDORSEMENT RELATING TO GENERAL DAVID HUNTER'S
ORDER OF MILITARY EMANCIPATION,

MAY 17, 1862

No commanding general shall do such a thing upon my responsibility
without consulting me.

A. LINCOLN.

FROM SECRETARY STANTON TO GENERAL McCLELLAN.

WASHINGTON, May 18, 1862.

GENERAL:
Your despatch to the President, asking reinforcements, has been
received and carefully considered.

The President is not willing to uncover the capital entirely; and it
is believed that, even if this were prudent, it would require more
time to effect a junction between your army and that of the
Rappahannock by the way of the Potomac and York rivers than by a land
march. In order, therefore, to increase the strength of the attack
upon Richmond at the earliest moment, General McDowell has been
ordered to march upon that city by the shortest route. He is
ordered, keeping himself always in position to save the capital from
all possible attack, so to operate as to put his left wing in
communication with your right wing, and you are instructed to co-
operate so as to establish this communication as soon as possible by
extending your right-wing to the north of Richmond.

It is believed that this communication can be safely established
either north or south of the Pamunkey River.

In any event, you will be able to prevent the main body of the
enemy's forces from leaving Richmond and falling in overwhelming
force upon General McDowell. He will move with between thirty-five
and forty thousand men.

A copy of the instructions to General McDowell are with this. The
specific task assigned to his command has been to provide against any
danger to the capital of the nation.

At your earnest call for reinforcements, he is sent forward to co-
operate in the reduction of Richmond, but charged, in attempting
this, not to uncover the city of Washington; and you will give no
order, either before or after your junction, which can put him out of
position to cover this city. You and he will communicate with each
other by telegraph or otherwise as frequently as may be necessary for
efficient cooperation. When General McDowell is in position on your
right, his supplies must be drawn from West Point, and you will
instruct your staff-officers to be prepared to supply him by that
route.

The President desires that General McDowell retain the command of the
Department of the Rappahannock and of the forces with which he moves
forward.

By order of the President:
EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

MAJOR-GENERAL GEORGE B. McCLELLAN,
Commanding Army of the Potomac, before Richmond.

PROCLAMATION REVOKING
GENERAL HUNTER'S ORDER
OF MILITARY EMANCIPATION, MAY 19, 1862.

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:

A Proclamation

Whereas there appears in the public prints what purports to be a
proclamation of Major general Hunter, in the words and figures
following, to wit:

(General Orders No. 11)
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, HILTON HEAD, PORT ROYAL, S. C.,
May 9, 1862.

"The three States of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, comprising
the military department of the South, having deliberately declared
themselves no longer under the protection of the United States of
America, and having taken up arms against the said United States, it
became a military necessity to declare martial law. This was
accordingly done on the 25th day of April, 1862. Slavery and martial
law in a free country are altogether incompatible. The persons in
these three States: Georgia Florida, and South Carolina--heretofore
held as slaves are therefore declared forever free.
"By command of Major-General D. Hunter:
"(Official.)ED. W. SMITH,
"Acting Assistant Adjutant-General."

And whereas the same is producing some excitement and
misunderstanding: therefore,

I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, proclaim and
declare that the Government of the United States, had no knowledge,
information, or belief of an intention on the part of General Hunter
to issue such a proclamation; nor has it yet any authentic
information that the document is genuine. And further, that neither
General Hunter nor any other commander or person has been authorized
by the Government of the United States to make a proclamation
declaring the slaves of any State free; and that the supposed
proclamation now in question, whether genuine or false, is altogether
void so far as respects such a declaration.

I further make known that whether it be competent for me, as
commander-in-chief of the army and navy, to declare the slaves of any
State or States free, and whether, at any time, in any case, it shall
have become a necessity indispensable to the maintenance of the
government to exercise such supposed power, are questions which under
my responsibility I reserve to myself, and which I cannot feel
justified in leaving to the decision of commanders in the field.

These are totally different questions from those of police
regulations in armies and camps.

On the sixth day of March last, by special message, I recommended to
Congress the adoption of a joint resolution, to be substantially as
follows:

Resolved, That the United States ought to co-operate with any State
which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such State
pecuniary aid, to be used by such State, in its discretion, to
compensate for the inconvenience, public and private, produced by
such change of system.

The resolution in the language above quoted was adopted by large
majorities in both branches of Congress, and now stands an authentic,
definite, and solemn proposal of the nation to the States and people
most immediately interested in the subject-matter. To the people of
those States I now earnestly appeal. I do not argue--I beseech you
to make arguments for yourselves. You cannot, if you would, be blind
to the signs of the times. I beg of you a calm and enlarged
consideration of them, ranging, if it may be, far above personal and
partisan politics. This proposal makes common cause for a common
object, casting no reproaches upon any. It acts not the Pharisee.
The change it contemplates would come gently as the dews of heaven,
not rending or wrecking anything. Will you not embrace it? So much
good has not been done, by one effort, in all past time, as in the
providence of God it is now your high privilege to do. May the vast
future not have to lament that you have neglected it.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal
of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this nineteenth day of May, in the
year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of
the independence of the United States the eighty-sixth.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

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

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL G. E. McCLELLAN.

WASHINGTON, May 21, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL McCLELLAN:

I have just been waited on by a large committee who present a
petition signed by twenty-three senators and eighty-four
representatives asking me to restore General Hamilton to his
division. I wish to do this, and yet I do not wish to be understood
as rebuking you. Please answer at once.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL G. B. McCLELLAN.

WASHINGTON CITY, May 22, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL McCLELLAN:

Your long despatch of yesterday just received. You will have just
such control of General McDowell and his forces as you therein
indicate. McDowell can reach you by land sooner than he could get
aboard of boats, if the boats were ready at Fredericksburg, unless
his march shall be resisted, in which case the force resisting him
will certainly not be confronting you at Richmond. By land he can
reach you in five days after starting, whereas by water he would not
reach you in two weeks, judging by past experience. Franklin's
single division did not reach you in ten days after I ordered it.

A. LINCOLN,
President United States.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL McCLELLAN.

WASHINGTON, May 24, 1862. 4 PM.

MAJOR-GENERAL G. B. McCLELLAN:

In consequence of General Banks's critical position, I have been
compelled to suspend General McDowell's movements to join you. The
enemy are making a desperate push upon Harper's Ferry, and we are
trying to throw General Fremont's force and part of General
McDowell's in their rear.

A. LINCOLN, President.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL McCLELLAN

WASHINGTON May 24, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL GEORGE B. McCLELLAN:

I left General McDowell's camp at dark last evening. Shields's
command is there, but it is so worn that he cannot move before Monday
morning, the 26th. We have so thinned our line to get troops for
other places that it was broken yesterday at Front Royal, with a
probable loss to us of one regiment infantry, two Companies cavalry,
putting General Banks in some peril.

The enemy's forces under General Anderson now opposing General
McDowell's advance have as their line of supply and retreat the road
to Richmond.

If, in conjunction with McDowell's movement against Anderson, you
could send a force from your right to cut off the enemy's supplies
from Richmond, preserve the railroad bridges across the two forks of
the Pamunkey, and intercept the enemy's retreat, you will prevent the
army now opposed to you from receiving an accession of numbers of
nearly 15,000 men; and if you succeed in saving the bridges you will
secure a line of railroad for supplies in addition to the one you now
have. Can you not do this almost as well as not while you are
building the Chickahominy bridges? McDowell and Shields both say
they can, and positively will, move Monday morning. I wish you to
move cautiously and safely.

You will have command of McDowell, after he joins you, precisely as
you indicated in your long despatch to us of the 21st.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL RUFUS SAXTON.

WAR DEPARTMENT, May, 24 1862. 2 P.M.

GENERAL SAXTON:

Geary reports Jackson with 20,000 moving from Ashby's Gap by the
Little River turnpike, through Aldie, toward Centreville. This he
says is reliable. He is also informed of large forces south of him.
We know a force of some 15,000 broke up Saturday night from in front
of Fredericksburg and went we know not where. Please inform us, if
possible, what has become of the force which pursued Banks yesterday;
also any other information you have.

A. LINCOLN

TELEGRAM TO COLONEL D. S. MILES.

WAR DEPARTMENT, May 24, 1862. 1.30 P.M.

COLONEL MILES, Harper's Ferry, Virginia

Could you not send scouts from Winchester who would tell whether
enemy are north of Banks, moving on Winchester? What is the latest
you have?

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL J. C. FREMONT.

WAR DEPARTMENT, May 24, 1862. 4 P.M.

MAJOR-GENERAL FREMONT, Franklin:

You are authorized to purchase the 400 horses, or take them wherever
or however you can get them. The exposed condition of General Banks
makes his immediate relief a point of paramount importance. You are
therefore directed by the President to move against Jackson at
Harrisonburg and operate against the enemy in such way as to relieve
Banks. This movement must be made immediately. You will acknowledge
the receipt of this order, and specify the hour it is received by
you.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL J. C. FREMONT.

WAR DEPARTMENT, May 24, 1862. 7.15 P.M.

MAJOR-GENERAL FREMONT, Franklin, Virginia:

Many thanks for the promptness with which you have answered that you
will execute the order. Much--perhaps all--depends upon the celerity
with which you can execute it. Put the utmost speed into it. Do not
lose a minute.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL H. W. HALLECK.

WAR DEPARTMENT, May 24, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL HALLECK, near Corinth, Mississippi:

Several despatches from Assistant Secretary Scott and one from
Governor Morton asking reinforcements for you have been received. I
beg you to be assured we do the best we can. I mean to cast no blame
where I tell you each of our commanders along our line from Richmond
to Corinth supposes himself to be confronted by numbers superior to
his own. Under this pressure We thinned the line on the upper
Potomac, until yesterday it was broken with heavy loss to us, and
General Banks put in great peril, out of which he is not yet
extricated, and may be actually captured. We need men to repair this
breach, and have them not at hand. My dear General, I feel justified
to rely very much on you. I believe you and the brave officers and
men with you can and will get the victory at Corinth.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL I. McDOWELL

WAR DEPARTMENT, May 24, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL McDOWELL, Fredricksburg:

General Fremont has been ordered by telegraph to move from Franklin
on Harrisonburg to relieve General Banks, and capture or destroy
Jackson's and Ewell's forces. You are instructed, laying aside for
the present the movement on Richmond, to put 20,000 men in motion at
once for the Shenandoah, moving on the line or in advance of the line
of the Manassas Gap railroad. Your object will be to capture the
forces of Jackson and Ewell, either in co-operation with General
Fremont, or, in case want of supplies or of transportation,
interferes with his movements, it is believed that the force which
you move will be sufficient to accomplish this object alone. The
information thus far received here makes it probable that if the
enemy operate actively against General Banks, you will not be able to
count upon much assistance from him, but may even have to release
him. Reports received this moment are that Banks is fighting with
Ewell eight miles from Winchester.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL McDOWELL.

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, D.C., May 24, 1862

MAJOR-GENERAL I. McDOWELL:

I am highly gratified by your alacrity in obeying my order. The
change was as painful to me as it can possibly be to you or to any
one. Everything now depends upon the celerity and vigor of your
movement.

A. LINCOLN

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL J. W. GEARY.

WAR DEPARTMENT, May 25, 1862 1.45 P.M.

GENERAL GEARY, White Plains:

Please give us your best present impression as to the number of the
enemy's forces north of Strasburg and Front Royal. Are the forces
still moving north through the gap at Front Royal and between you and
there?

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL G. B. McCLELLAN.

WASHINGTON, May 25, 1862. 2 P.M.

MAJOR-GENERAL McCLELLAN:

The enemy is moving north in sufficient force to drive General Banks
before him--precisely in what force we cannot tell. He is also
threatening Leesburg and Geary, on the Manassas Gap railroad, from
both north and south--in precisely what force we cannot tell. I
think the movement is a general and concerted one, such as would not
be if he was acting upon the purpose of a very desperate defense of
Richmond. I think the time is near when you must either attack
Richmond or give up the job and come to the defense of Washington.
Let me hear from you instantly.

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