The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7


iSpeech

As I understand, you telegraphed General Halleck that you cannot
subsist your army at Winchester unless the railroad from Harper's
Ferry to that point be put in working order. But the enemy does now
subsist his army at Winchester, at a distance nearly twice as great
from railroad transportation as you would have to do, without the
railroad last named. He now wagons from Culpepper Court-House, which
is just about twice as far as you would have to do from Harper's
Ferry. He is certainly not more than half as well provided with
wagons as you are. I certainly should be pleased for you to have the
advantage of the railroad from Harper's Perry to Winchester; but it
wastes an the remainder of autumn to give it to you, and, in fact,
ignores the question of time, which cannot and must not be ignored.

Again, one of the standard maxims of war, as you know, is "to operate
upon the enemy's communications as much as possible, without exposing
your own." You seem to act as if this applies against you, but
cannot apply in your favor. Change positions with the enemy, and
think you not he would break your communication with Richmond within
the next twenty-four hours? You dread his going into Pennsylvania.
But if he does so in full force, he gives up his communications to
you absolutely, and you have nothing to do but to follow and ruin
him; if he does so with less than full force, fall upon and beat what
is left behind all the easier.

Exclusive of the water line, you are now nearer to Richmond than the
enemy is, by the route that you can and he must take. Why can you
not reach there before him, unless you admit that he is more than
your equal on a march? His route is the arc of a circle, while yours
is the chord. The roads are as good on yours as on his.

You know I desired, but did not order, you to cross the Potomac below
instead of above the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge. My idea was, that
this would at once menace the enemy's communications, which I would
seize if he would permit. If he should move northward, I would
follow him closely, holding his communications. If he should prevent
our seizing his communications, and move toward Richmond, I would
press closely to him, fight him if a favorable opportunity should
present, and at least try to beat him to Richmond on the inside
track. I say try;" if we never try, we shall never succeed. If he
makes a stand at Winchester, moving neither north or south, I would
fight him there, on the idea that if we cannot beat him when he bears
the wastage of coming to us, we never can when we bear the wastage of
going to him. This proposition is a simple truth, and is too
important to be lost sight of for a moment. In coming to us he
tenders us an advantage which we should not waive. We should not so
operate as to merely drive him away. As we must beat him somewhere
or fail finally, we can do it, if at all, easier near to us than far
away. If we cannot beat the enemy where he now is, we never can, he
again being within the entrenchments of Richmond.

[And, indeed, the enemy was let back into Richmond and it took
another two years and thousands of dead for McClelland cowardice--if
that was all that it was. I still suspect, and I think the evidence
is overwhelming that he was, either secretly a supporter of the
South, or, what is more likely, a politician readying for a different
campaign: that of the Presidency of the United States.]

Recurring to the idea of going to Richmond on the inside track, the
facility of supplying from the side away from the enemy is
remarkable, as it were, by the different spokes of a wheel extending
from the hub toward the rim, and this whether you move directly by
the chord or on the inside arc, hugging the Blue Ridge more closely.
The chord line, as you see, carries you by Aldie, Hay Market, and
Fredericksburg; and you see how turnpikes, railroads, and finally the
Potomac, by Aquia Creek, meet you at all points from WASHINGTON; the
same, only the lines lengthened a little, if you press closer to the
Blue Ridge part of the way.

The gaps through the Blue Ridge I understand to be about the
following distances from Harper's Ferry, to wit: Vestal's, 5 miles;
Gregory's, 13; Snicker's, 18; Ashby's, 28; Manassas, 38; Chester, 45;
and Thornton's, 53. I should think it preferable to take the route
nearest the enemy, disabling him to make an important move without
your knowledge, and compelling him to keep his forces together for
dread of you. The gaps would enable you to attack if you should
wish. For a great part of the way you would be practically between
the enemy and both WASHINGTON and Richmond, enabling us to spare you
the greatest number of troops from here. When at length running for
Richmond ahead of him enables him to move this way, if he does so,
turn and attack him in rear. But I think he should be engaged long
before such a point is reached. It is all easy if our troops march
as well as the enemy, and it is unmanly to say they cannot do it.
This letter is in no sense an order.

Yours truly,

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GOVERNOR PIERPOINT.

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, D. C.,
October 16, 1862.

GOVERNOR PIERPOINT, Wheeling, Virginia:

Your despatch of to-day received. I am very sorry to have offended
you. I appointed the collector, as I thought, on your written
recommendation, and the assessor also with your testimony of
worthiness, although I know you preferred a different man. I will
examine to-morrow whether I am mistaken in this.

A. LINCOLN.

EXECUTIVE ORDER ESTABLISHING A PROVISIONAL COURT IN LOUISIANA.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON CITY,

October 20, 1862.

The insurrection which has for some time prevailed in several of the
States of this Union, including Louisiana, having temporarily
subverted and swept away the civil institutions of that State,
including the judiciary and the judicial authorities of the Union, so
that it has become necessary to hold the State in military
Occupation, and it being indispensably necessary that there shall be
some judicial tribunal existing there capable of administering
justice, I have therefore thought it proper to appoint, and I do
hereby constitute, a provisional court, which shall be a court of
record, for the State of Louisiana; and I do hereby appoint Charles A
Peabody, of New York, to be a provisional judge to hold said court,
with authority to hear, try, and determine all causes, civil and
criminal, including causes in law, equity, revenue, and admiralty,
and particularly all such powers and jurisdiction as belong to the
district and circuit courts of the United States, conforming his
proceedings so far as possible to the course of proceedings and
practice which has been customary in the courts of the United States
and Louisiana, his judgment to be final and conclusive. And I do
hereby authorize and empower the said judge to make and establish
such rules and regulations as may be necessary for the exercise of
his jurisdiction, and empower the said judge to appoint a prosecuting
attorney, marshal, and clerk of the said court, who shall perform the
functions of attorney, marshal, and clerk according to such
proceedings and practice as before mentioned and such rules and
regulations as may be made and established by said judge. These
appointments are to continue during the pleasure of the President,
not extending beyond the military occupation of the city of New
Orleans or the restoration of the civil authority in that city and in
the State of Louisiana. These officers shall be paid, out of the
contingent fund of the War Department, compensation as follows:

The judge at the rate of $3500 per annum; the prosecuting attorney,
including the fees, at the rate of $3000 per annum; the marshal,
including the fees, at the rate of $3000 per annum; and the clerk,
including the fees, at the rate of $2500 per annum; such
compensations to be certified by the Secretary of War. A copy of
this order, certified by the Secretary of War and delivered to such
judge, shall be deemed and held to be a sufficient commission.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
President of the United States.

TO GENERAL U.S. GRANT.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,
October 21, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL U. S. GRANT:

The bearer of this, Thomas R. Smith, a citizen of Tennessee, goes to
that State seeking to have such of the people thereof as desire to
avoid the unsatisfactory prospect before them, and to have peace
again upon the old terms, under the Constitution of the United
States, to manifest such desire by elections of members to the
Congress of the United States particularly, and perhaps a
Legislature, State officers, and a United States senator friendly to
their object.

I shall be glad for you and each of you to aid him, and all others
acting for this object, as much as possible. In all available ways
give the people a show to express their wishes at these elections.

Follow law, and forms of law, as far as convenient, but at all events
get the expression of the largest number of the people possible. All
see how such action will connect with and affect the proclamation of
September 22. Of course the men elected should be gentlemen of
character, willing to swear support to the Constitution as of old,
and known to be above reasonable suspicion of duplicity.

Yours very respectfully,

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL JAMESON.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, October 21, 1862.

GENERAL JAMESON, Upper Stillwater, Me.:
How is your health now? Do you or not wish Lieut. R. P. Crawford to
be restored to his office?

A. LINCOLN.

GENERAL McCLELLANS TIRED HORSES

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL G. B. McCLELLAN.

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, October 24 [25?], 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL McCLELLAN:

I have just read your despatch about sore-tongued and fatigued
horses. Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army
have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigues anything?

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL G. B. McCLELLAN.

EXECUTIVE MANSION WASHINGTON, October 26, 1862. 11.30am

MAJOR-GENERAL McCLELLAN:

Yours, in reply to mine about horses, received. Of course you know
the facts better than I; still two considerations remain: Stuart's
cavalry outmarched ours, having certainly done more marked service on
the Peninsula and everywhere since. Secondly, will not a movement of
our army be a relief to the cavalry, compelling the enemy to
concentrate instead of foraging in squads everywhere? But I am so
rejoiced to learn from your despatch to General Halleck that you
begin crossing the river this morning.

A. LINCOLN.

TO GENERAL DIX.
(Private and confidential.)

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON
October 26, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL Dix, Fort Monroe, Virginia:

Your despatch to Mr. Stanton, of which the enclosed is a copy, has
been handed me by him. It would be dangerous for me now to begin
construing and making specific applications of the proclamation.

It is obvious to all that I therein intended to give time and
opportunity. Also, it is seen I left myself at liberty to exempt
parts of States. Without saying more, I shall be very glad if any
Congressional
district will, in good faith, do as your despatch contemplates.

Could you give me the facts which prompted you to telegraph?

Yours very truly,

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL G. B. McCLELLAN.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, October 27, 1862, 12.10

MAJOR-GENERAL McCLELLAN:

Yours of yesterday received. Most certainly I intend no injustice to
any, and if I have done any I deeply regret it. To be told, after
more than five weeks' total inaction of the army, and during which
period we have sent to the army every fresh horse we possibly could,
amounting in the whole to 7918, that the cavalry horses were too much
fatigued to move, presents a very cheerless, almost hopeless,
prospect for the future, and it may have forced something of
impatience in my despatch. If not recruited and rested then, when
could they ever be? I suppose the river is rising, and I am glad to
believe you are crossing.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL G. B. McCLELLAN.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, October 27, 1862. 3.25pm

MAJOR-GENERAL McCLELLAN:

Your despatch of 3 P.M. to-day, in regard to filling up old regiments
with drafted men, is received, and the request therein shall be
complied with as far as practicable.

And now I ask a distinct answer to the question, Is it your purpose
not to go into action again until the men now being drafted in the
States are incorporated into the old regiments?

A. LINCOLN

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL G. B. McCLELLAN.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, October 29, 1863.

MAJOR-GENERAL McCLELLAN:

Your despatches of night before last, yesterday, and last night all
received. I am much pleased with the movement of the army. When you
get entirely across the river let me know. What do you know of the
enemy?

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GOVERNOR CURTIN.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, October 30, 1862.

GOVERNOR CURTIN, Harrisburg:

By some means I have not seen your despatch of the 27th about order
No.154 until this moment. I now learn, what I knew nothing of
before, that the history of the order is as follows:
When General McClellan telegraphed asking General Halleck to have the
order made, General Halleck went to the Secretary of War with it,
stating his approval of the plan. The Secretary assented and General
Halleck wrote the order. It was a military question, which the
Secretary supposed the General understood better than he.

I wish I could see Governor Curtin.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GOVERNOR JOHNSON.

WAR DEPARTMENT, October 31, 1862.

GOV. ANDREW JOHNSON, Nashville, Tenn., via Louisville, Ky.:

Yours of the 29th received. I shall take it to General Halleck, but
I already know it will be inconvenient to take General Morgan's
command from where it now is. I am glad to hear you speak hopefully
of Tennessee. I sincerely hope Rosecrans may find it possible to do
something for her. David Nelson, son of the M. C. of your State,
regrets his father's final defection, and asks me for a situation.
Do you know him? Could he be of service to you or to Tennessee in
any capacity in which I could send him?

A. LINCOLN.

MEMORANDUM.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,

November 1, 1862.

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN : Captain Derrickson, with his company, has
been for some time keeping guard at my residence, now at the
Soldiers' Retreat. He and his company are very agreeable to me, and
while it is deemed proper for any guard to remain, none would be more
satisfactory than Captain Derrickson and his company.

A. LINCOLN.

ORDER RELIEVING GENERAL G. B. McCLELLAN AND
MAKING OTHER CHANGES.

EXECUTIVE MANSION WASHINGTON, November 5, 1862.

By direction of the President, it is ordered that Major-General
McClellan be relieved from the command of the Army of the Potomac,
and that Major-General Burnside take the command of that army. Also
that Major-General Hunter take command of the corps in said army
which is now commanded by General Burnside. That Major-General Fitz.
John Porter be relieved from command of the corps he now commands in
said army, and that Major-General Hooker take command of said corps.

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