The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7


iSpeech

Yours truly,

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GOVERNOR CURTIN.

WASHINGTON, September 11, 1862 12M

HON. ANDREW G. CURTIN:

Please tell me at once what is your latest news from or toward
Hagerstown, or of the enemy's movement in any direction.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL C. B. McCLELLAN.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, SEPTEMBER 11, 1862. 6 PM

MAJOR-GENERAL McCLELLAN:

This is explanatory. If Porter, Heintzelman, and Sigel were sent
you, it would sweep everything from the other side of the river,
because the new troops have been distributed among them, as I
understand. Porter reports himself 21,000 strong, which can only be
by the addition of new troops. He is ordered tonight to join you as
quickly as possible. I am for sending you all that can be spared,
and I hope others can follow Porter very soon,

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL G. B. McCLELLAN.

WASHINGTON CITY, D.C., SEPTEMBER 12, 1862

MAJOR-GENERAL McCLELLAN, Clarksburg, Maryland:

How does it look now?

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GOVERNOR CURTIN.

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON D.C.,
SEPTEMBER 12, 1862 10.35 AM

HON. ANDREW G. CURTIN, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania:

Your despatch asking for 80,000 disciplined troops to be sent to
Pennsylvania is received. Please consider we have not to exceed
80,000 disciplined troops, properly so called, this side of the
mountains; and most of them, with many of the new regiments, are now
close in the rear of the enemy supposed to be invading Pennsylvania.
Start half of them to Harrisburg, and the enemy will turn upon and
beat the remaining half, and then reach Harrisburg before the part
going there, and beat it too when it comes. The best possible
security for Pennsylvania is putting the strongest force possible in
rear of the enemy.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL H. G. WRIGHT.

MILITARY TELEGRAPH,
WASHINGTON, September 12, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL WRIGHT, Cincinnati, Ohio:

I am being appealed to from Louisville against your withdrawing
troops from that place. While I cannot pretend to judge of the
propriety of what you are doing, you would much oblige me by
furnishing me a rational answer to make to the governor and others at
Louisville.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL J. T. BOYLE.

WASHINGTON, September 12, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL BOYLE, Louisville, Kentucky:

Your despatch of last evening received. Where is the enemy which you
dread in Louisville? How near to you? What is General Gilbert's
opinion? With all possible respect for you, I must think General
Wright's military opinion is the better. He is as much responsible
for Louisville as for Cincinnati. General Halleck telegraphed him on
this very subject yesterday, and I telegraph him now; but for us here
to control him there on the ground would be a babel of confusion
which would be utterly ruinous. Where do you understand Buell to be,
and what is he doing?

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO A. HENRY.

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, D. C, September 12, 1862.

HON. ALEXANDER HENRY, Philadelphia:

Yours of to-day received. General Halleck has made the best
provision he can for generals in Pennsylvania. Please do not be
offended when I assure you that in my confident belief Philadelphia
is in no danger. Governor Curtin has just telegraphed me:
"I have advices that Jackson is crossing the Potomac at Williamsport,
and probably the whole rebel army will be drawn from Maryland."
At all events, Philadelphia is more than 150 miles from Hagerstown,
and could not be reached by the rebel army in ten days, if no
hindrance was interposed.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL G. B. McCLELLAN.

WASHINGTON CITY, D.C., September 12, 1862. 5.45 PM

MAJOR-GENERAL McCLELLAN:

Governor Curtin telegraphs me:
"I have advices that Jackson is crossing the Potomac at Wiliiamsport,
and probably the whole rebel army will be down from Maryland."

Receiving nothing from Harper's Ferry or Martinsburg to-day, and
positive information from Wheeling that the line is cut, corroborates
the idea that the enemy is crossing the Potomac. Please do not let
him get off without being hurt.

A. LINCOLN.

[But he did! D.W.]

REPLY TO A COMMITTEE FROM THE RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS OF CHICAGO,
ASKING THAT THE PRESIDENT ISSUE A PROCLAMATION OF EMANCIPATION.

September 13,1862.

The subject presented in the memorial is one upon which I have
thought much for weeks past, and I may even say for months. I am
approached with the most opposite opinions and advice, and that by
religious men, who are equally certain that they represent the Divine
will. I am sure that either the one or the other class is mistaken
in that belief, and perhaps in some respects both. I hope it will
not be irreverent for me to say that if it is probable that God would
reveal his will to others, on a point so connected with my duty, it
might be supposed he would reveal it directly to me; for, unless I am
more deceived in myself than I often am, it is my earnest desire to
know the will of Providence in this matter. And if I can learn what
it is I will do it! These are not, however, the days of miracles,
and I suppose it will be granted that I am not to expect a direct
revelation. I must study the plain physical facts of the case,
ascertain what is possible, and learn what appears to be wise and
right.

The subject is difficult, and good men do not agree. For instance,
the other day, four gentlemen of standing and intelligence from New
York called as a delegation on business connected with the war; but
before leaving two of them earnestly besought me to proclaim general
emancipation, upon which the other two at once attacked them. You
know also that the last session of Congress had a decided majority of
antislavery men, yet they could not unite on this policy. And the
same is true of the religious people. Why, the rebel soldiers are
praying with a great deal more earnestness, I fear, than our own
troops, and expecting God to favor their side: for one of our
soldiers who had been taken prisoner told Senator Wilson a few days
since that he met nothing so discouraging as the evident sincerity of
those he was among in their prayers. But we will talk over the
merits of the case.

What good would a proclamation of emancipation from me do, especially
as we are now situated? I do not want to issue a document that the
whole world will see must necessarily be inoperative, like the Pope's
bull against the comet! Would my word free the slaves, when I cannot
even enforce the Constitution in the rebel States? Is there a single
court, or magistrate or individual that would be influenced by it
there? And what reason is there to think it would have any greater
effect upon the slaves than the late law of Congress, which I
approved, and which offers protection and freedom to the slaves of
rebel masters who come within our lines? Yet I cannot learn that
that law has caused a single slave to come over to us. And suppose
they could be induced by a proclamation of freedom from me to throw
themselves upon us, what should we do with them? How can we feed and
care for such a multitude? General Butler wrote me a few days since
that he was issuing more rations to the slaves who have rushed to him
than to all the white troops under his command. They eat, and that
is all; though it is true General Butler is feeding the whites also
by the thousand; for it nearly amounts to a famine there. If, now,
the pressure of the war should call off our forces from New Orleans
to defend some other point, what is to prevent the masters from
reducing the blacks to slavery again? for I am told that whenever
the rebels take any black prisoners, free or slave, they immediately
auction them off. They did so with those they took from a boat that
was aground in the Tennessee River a few days ago. And then I am
very ungenerously attacked for it! For instance, when, after the
late battles at and near Bull Run, an expedition went out from
Washington under a flag of truce to bury the dead and bring in the
wounded, and the rebels seized the blacks who went along to help, and
sent them into slavery, Horace Greeley said in his paper that the
government would probably do nothing about it. What could I do?

Now, then, tell me, if you please, what possible result of good would
follow the issuing of such a proclamation as you desire? Understand,
I raise no objections against it on legal or constitutional grounds;
for, as commander-in-chief of the army and navy, in time of war I
suppose I have a right to take any measure which may best subdue the
enemy; nor do I urge objections of a moral nature, in view of
possible consequences of insurrection and massacre at the South. I
view this matter as a practical war measure, to be decided on
according to the advantages or disadvantages it may offer to the
suppression of the rebellion.

I admit that slavery is the root of the rebellion, or at least its
sine qua non. The ambition of politicians may have instigated them
to act, but they would have been impotent without slavery as their
instrument. I will also concede that emancipation would help us in
Europe, and convince them that we are incited by something more than
ambition. I grant, further, that it would help somewhat at the
North, though not so much, I fear, as you and those you represent
imagine. Still, some additional strength would be added in that way
to the war, and then, unquestionably, it would weaken the rebels by
drawing off their laborers, which is of great importance; but I am
not so sure we could do much with the blacks. If we were to arm
them, I fear that in a few weeks the arms would be in the hands of
the rebels; and, indeed, thus far we have not had arms enough to
equip our white troops. I will mention another thing, though it meet
only your scorn and contempt. There are fifty thousand bayonets in
the Union armies from the border slave States. It would be a serious
matter if, in consequence of a proclamation such as you desire, they
should go over to the rebels. I do not think they all would--not so
many, indeed, as a year ago, or as six months ago--not so many to-day
as yesterday. Every day increases their Union feeling. They are
also getting their pride enlisted, and want to beat the rebels. Let
me say one thing more: I think you should admit that we already have
an important principle to rally and unite the people, in the fact
that constitutional government is at stake. This is a fundamental
idea going down about as deep as anything.

Do not misunderstand me because I have mentioned these objections.
They indicate the difficulties that have thus far prevented my action
in some such way as you desire. I have not decided against a
proclamation of liberty to the slaves, but hold the matter under
advisement; and I can assure you that the subject is on my mind, by
day and night, more than any other. Whatever shall appear to be
God's will, I will do. I trust that in the freedom with which I have
canvassed your views I have not in any respect injured your feelings.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL H. G. WRIGHT.

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, D. C., September 14, 1862.

GENERAL WRIGHT, Cincinnati, Ohio:

Thanks for your despatch. Can you not pursue the retreating enemy,
and relieve Cumberland Gap?

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL G. B. McCLELLAN.

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON,

September 15, 1862. 2.45 P.M.

MAJOR-GENERAL McCLELLAN:

Your despatch of to-day received. God bless you, and all with you.
Destroy the rebel army if possible.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO J. K. DUBOIS. WASHINGTON, D.C.,

September 15, 1862. 3 P.M.

HON. K. DUBOIS, Springfield, Illinois:

I now consider it safe to say that General McClellan has gained a
great victory over the great rebel army in Maryland, between
Fredericktown and Hagerstown. He is now pursuing the flying foe.

A. LINCOLN.

[But not very fast--and he did not catch them! D.W.]

TELEGRAM TO GOVERNOR CURTIN,

WASHINGTON, D. C., September 16, 1862. Noon.

GOVERNOR CURTIN, Harrisburg:

What do you hear from General McClellan's army? We have nothing from
him to-day.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GOVERNOR MORTON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 17, 1862.

GOVERNOR O. P. MORTON, Indianapolis, Indiana:

I have received your despatch in regard to recommendations of General
Wright. I have received no such despatch from him, at least not that
I can remember. I refer yours for General Halleck's consideration.
A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL KETCHUM.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, September 20, 1862.

GENERAL KETCHUM, Springfield, Illinois:

How many regiments are there in Illinois, ready for service but for
want of arms? How many arms have you there ready for distribution?

A. LINCOLN.

PRELIMINARY EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION,
SEPTEMBER 22, 1862.

THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:

A Proclamation.

I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America and
Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy thereof, do hereby proclaim
and declare that hereafter, as heretofore, the war will be prosecuted
for the object of practically restoring the constitutional relation
between the United States and each of the States and the people
thereof in which States that relation is or may be suspended or
disturbed.

That it is my purpose, upon the next meeting of Congress, to again
recommend the adoption of a practical measure tendering pecuniary aid
to the free acceptance or rejection of all slave States, so called,
the people whereof may not then be in rebellion against the United
States, and which States may then have voluntarily adopted, or
thereafter may voluntarily adopt, immediate or gradual abolishment of
slavery within their respective limits; and that the effort to
colonize persons of African descent with their consent upon this
continent or elsewhere, with the previously obtained consent of the
governments existing there, will be continued.

That on the 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, all persons held as slaves
within any State or designated part of a State the people whereof
shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then,
thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the
United States, including the military and naval authority thereof,
will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons and will do
no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any
efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

That the Executive will on the 1st day of January aforesaid, by
proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in
which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion
against the United States; and the fact that any State or the people
thereof shall on that day be in good faith represented in the
Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections
wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have
participated shall, in the absence of strong countervailing
testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State and the
people thereof are not then in rebellion against the United States.

That attention is hereby called to an act of Congress entitled "An
act to make an additional article of war," approved March 13, 1862,
and which act is in the words and figure following:

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