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Abraham Lincoln by George Haven Putnam

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report was given to Lincoln that two or three months' time would be
required to manufacture the thirty mortar-beds that were needed. A delay
of any such period would have blocked the entire purpose of Grant's
expedition. In his perplexity, Lincoln remembered that in his famous
visit to New York two years before, he had been introduced to Mr.
Hewitt, "a well-known iron merchant," as "a man who does things."
Lincoln telegraphed to Hewitt asking if Hewitt could make thirty
mortar-beds and how long it would take. Hewitt told me that the message
reached him on a Saturday evening at the house of a friend. He wired an
acknowledgment with the word that he would send a report on the
following day. Sunday morning he looked up the ordnance officer of New
York for the purpose of ascertaining where the pattern mortar-bed was
kept. "It was rather important, Major," said Hewitt to me, "that I
should have an opportunity of examining this pattern for I had never
seen a mortar-bed in my life, but this of course I did not admit to the
ordnance officer." The pattern required was, it seemed, in the armory
at Springfield. Hewitt wired to Lincoln asking that the bed should be
forwarded by the night boat to him in New York. Hewitt and his men met
the boat, secured the pattern bed, and gave some hours to puzzling over
the construction. At noon on Monday, Hewitt wired to Lincoln that he
could make thirty mortar-beds in thirty days. In another hour he
received by wire instructions from Lincoln to go ahead. In twenty-eight
days he had the thirty mortar-beds in readiness; and Tom Scott, who had
at the time, very fortunately for the country, taken charge of the
military transportation, had provided thirty flat-cars for the transit
of the mortar-beds to Cairo. The train was addressed to "U.S. Grant,
Cairo," and each car contained a notification, painted in white on a
black ground, "not to be switched on the penalty of death." That train
got through and as other portions of the equipment had also been
delayed, the mortars were not so very late. Six schooners, each equipped
with a mortar, were hurried up the river to support the attack of the
army on Fort Donelson. A first assault had been made and had failed. The
field artillery was, as Grant had anticipated, ineffective against the
earthworks, while the fire of the Confederate infantry, protected by
their works, had proved most severe. The instant, however, that from
behind a point on the river below the fort shells were thrown from the
schooners into the inner circle of the fortifications, the Confederate
commander, Floyd, recognised that the fort was untenable. He slipped
away that night leaving his junior, General Buckner, to make terms with
Grant, and those terms were "unconditional surrender," which were later
so frequently connected with the initials of U.S.G.

Buckner's name comes again into history in a pleasant fashion. Years
after the War, when General Grant had, through the rascality of a Wall
Street "pirate," lost his entire savings, Buckner, himself a poor man,
wrote begging Grant to accept as a loan, "to be repaid at his
convenience," a check enclosed for one thousand dollars. Other friends
came to the rescue of Grant, and through the earnings of his own pen, he
was before his death able to make good all indebtedness and to leave a
competency to his widow. The check sent by Buckner was not used, but the
prompt friendliness was something not to be forgotten.

Hewitt's mortar-beds were used again a few weeks later for the capture
of Island Number Ten and they also proved serviceable, used in the same
fashion from the decks of schooners, in the capture of Forts Jackson and
St. Philip which blocked the river below New Orleans. It was only
through the fire from these schooners, which were moored behind a point
on the river below the forts, that it was possible to reach the inner
circle of the works.

I asked Hewitt whether he had seen Lincoln after this matter of the
mortar-beds. "Yes," said Hewitt, "I saw him a year later and Lincoln's
action was characteristic. I was in Washington and thought it was proper
to call and pay my respects. I was told on reaching the White House that
it was late in the day and that the waiting-room was very full and that
I probably should not be reached. 'Well,' I said, 'in that case, I will
simply ask you to take in my card.' No sooner had the card been
delivered than the door of the study opened and Lincoln appeared
reaching out both hands. 'Where is Mr. Hewitt?' he said; 'I want to see,
I want to thank, the man who does things.' I sat with him for a time, a
little nervous in connection with the number of people who were waiting
outside, but Lincoln would not let me go. Finally he asked, 'What are
you in Washington for?' 'Well, Mr. Lincoln,' said I, 'I have some
business here. I want to get paid for those mortar-beds.' 'What?' said
Lincoln, 'you have not yet got what the nation owes you? That is
disgraceful.' He rang the bell violently and sent an aid for Secretary
Stanton and when the Secretary appeared, he was questioned rather
sharply. 'How about Mr. Hewitt's bill against the War Department? Why
does he have to wait for his money?' 'Well, Mr. Lincoln,' said Stanton,
'the order for those mortar-beds was given rather irregularly. It never
passed through the War Department and consequently the account when
rendered could not receive the approval of any ordnance officer, and
until so approved could not be paid by the Treasury.' 'If,' said
Lincoln, 'I should write on that account an order to have it paid, do
you suppose the Secretary of the Treasury would pay it?' 'I suppose that
he would,' said Stanton. The account was sent for and Lincoln wrote at
the bottom: 'Pay this bill now. A. Lincoln.' 'Now, Mr. Stanton,' said
Lincoln, 'Mr. Hewitt has been very badly treated in this matter and I
want you to take a little pains to see that he gets his money. I am
going to ask you to go over to the Treasury with Mr. Hewitt and to get
the proper signatures on this account so that Mr. Hewitt can carry a
draft with him back to New York.' Stanton, rather reluctantly, accepted
the instruction and," said Hewitt, "he walked with me through the
various departments of the Treasury until the final signature had been
placed on the bill and I was able to exchange this for a Treasury
warrant. I should," said Hewitt, "have been much pleased to retain the
bill with that signature of Lincoln beneath the words, 'Pay this now.'

"Towards the end of the War," he continued, "when there was no further
requirement for mortars, I wrote to Mr. Lincoln and asked whether I
might buy a mortar with its bed. Lincoln replied promptly that he had
directed the Ordnance Department to send me mortar and bed with 'the
compliments of the administration.' I am puzzled to think," said Hewitt,
"how that particular item in the accounts of the Ordnance Department was
ever adjusted, but I am very glad to have this reminiscence of the War
and of the President."

Lincoln's relations with McClellan have already been touched upon. There
would not be space in this paper to refer in detail to the action taken
by Lincoln with other army commanders East and West. The problem that
confronted the Commander-in-chief of selecting the right leaders for
this or that undertaking, and of promoting the men who gave evidence of
the greater capacity that was required for the larger armies that were
being placed in the field, was one of no little difficulty. The reader
of history, looking back to-day, with the advantage of the full record
of the careers of the various generals, is tempted to indulge in easy
criticism of the blunders made by the President. Why did the President
put up so long with the vaingloriousness and ineffectiveness of
McClellan? Why should he have accepted even for one brief and
unfortunate campaign the service of an incompetent like Pope? Why was a
slow-minded closet-student like Halleck permitted to fritter away in the
long-drawn-out operations against Corinth the advantage of position and
of force that had been secured by the army of the West? Why was a
political trickster like Butler, with no army experience, or a
well-meaning politician like Banks with still less capacity for the
management of troops, permitted to retain responsibilities in the field,
making blunders that involved waste of life and of resources and the
loss of campaigns? Why were not the real men like Sherman, Grant,
Thomas, McPherson, Sheridan, and others brought more promptly into the
important positions? Why was the army of the South permitted during the
first two years of the War to have so large an advantage in skilled and
enterprising leadership? A little reflection will show how unjust is the
criticism implied through such questions. We know of the incapacity of
the generals who failed and of the effectiveness of those who succeeded,
only through the results of the campaigns themselves. Lincoln could only
study the men as he came to know about them and he experimented first
with one and then with another, doing what seemed to be practicable to
secure a natural selection and the survival of the fittest. Such
watchful supervision and painstaking experimenting was carried out with
infinite patience and with an increasing knowledge both of the
requirements and of the men fitted to fill the requirements.

We must also recall that, Commander-in-chief as he was, Lincoln was not
free to exercise without restriction his own increasingly valuable
judgment in the appointment of the generals. It was necessary to give
consideration to the opinion of the country, that is to say, to the
individual judgments of the citizens whose loyal co-operation was
absolutely essential for the support of the nation's cause. These
opinions of the citizens were expressed sometimes through the appeals of
earnestly loyal governors like Andrew of Massachusetts, or Curtin of
Pennsylvania, and sometimes through the articles of a strenuous editor
like Greeley, whose influence and support it was, of course, all
important to retain. Greeley's absolute ignorance of military conditions
did not prevent him from emphasising with the President and the public
his very decided conclusions in regard to the selection of men and the
conduct of campaigns. In this all-perplexing problem of the shaping of
campaigns, Lincoln had to consider the responsibilities of
representative government. The task would, of course, have been much
easier if he had had power as an autocrat to act on his own decisions
simply. The appointment of Butler and Banks was thought to be necessary
for the purpose of meeting the views of the loyal citizens of so
important a State as Massachusetts, and other appointments, the results
of which were more or less unfortunate, may in like manner be traced to
causes or influences outside of a military or army policy.

General Frank V. Greene, in a paper on Lincoln as Commander-in-chief,
writes in regard to his capacity as a leader as follows:

"As time goes on, Lincoln's fame looms ever larger and larger. Great
statesman, astute politician, clear thinker, classic writer, master of
men, kindly, lovable man,--these are his titles. To these must be
added--military leader. Had he failed in that quality, the others would
have been forgotten. Had peace been made on any terms but those of the
surrender of the insurgent forces and the restoration of the Union,
Lincoln's career would have been a colossal failure and the Emancipation
Proclamation a subject of ridicule. The prime essential was military
success. Lincoln gained it. Judged in the retrospect of nearly half a
century, with his every written word now in print and with all the facts
of the period brought out and placed in proper perspective by the
endless studies, discussions, and arguments of the intervening years, it
becomes clear that, first and last and at all times during his
Presidency, in military affairs his was not only the guiding but the
controlling hand."

It is interesting, as the War progressed, to trace the development of
Lincoln's own military judgment. He was always modest in regard to
matters in which his experience was limited, and during the first twelve
months in Washington, he had comparatively little to say in regard to
the planning or even the supervision of campaigns. His letters, however,
to McClellan and his later correspondence with Burnside, with Hooker,
and with other commanders give evidence of a steadily developing
intelligence in regard to larger military movements. History has shown
that Lincoln's judgment in regard to the essential purpose of a
campaign, and the best methods for carrying out such purpose, was in a
large number of cases decidedly sounder than that of the general in the
field. When he emphasised with McClellan that the true objective was the
Confederate army in the field and not the city of Richmond, he laid down
a principle which seems to us elementary but to which McClellan had been
persistently blinded. Lincoln writes to Hooker: "We have word that the
head of Lee's army is near Martinsburg in the Shenandoah Valley while
you report that you have a substantial force still opposed to you on the
Rappahannock. It appears, therefore that the line must be forty miles
long. The animal is evidently very slim somewhere and it ought to be
possible for you to cut it at some point." Hooker had the same
information but did not draw the same inference.

Apart from Lincoln's work in selecting, and in large measure in
directing, the generals, he had a further important relation with the
army as a whole. We are familiar with the term "the man behind the
gun." It is a truism to say that the gun has little value whether for
offence or for defence unless the man behind it possesses the right kind
of spirit which will infuse and guide his purpose and his action with
the gun. For the long years of the War, the Commander-in-chief was the
man behind all the guns in the field. The men in the front came to have
a realising sense of the infinite patience, the persistent hopefulness,
the steadiness of spirit, the devoted watchfulness of the great captain
in Washington. It was through the spirit of Lincoln that the spirit in
the ranks was preserved during the long months of discouragement and the
many defeats and retreats. The final advance of Grant which ended at
Appomattox, and the triumphant march of Sherman which culminated in the
surrender at Goldsborough of the last of the armies of the Confederacy,
were the results of the inspiration, given alike to soldier and to
general, from the patient and devoted soul of the nation's leader.

In March, 1862, Lincoln received the news of the victory won at Pea
Ridge, in Arkansas, by Curtis and Sigel, a battle which had lasted three
days. The first day was a defeat and our troops were forced back; the
fighting of the second resulted in what might be called a drawn battle;
but on the third, our army broke its way through the enclosing lines,
bringing the heavier loss to the Confederates, and regained its base.
This battle was in a sense typical of much of the fighting of the War.
It was one of a long series of fights which continued for more than one
day. The history of the War presents many instances of battles that
lasted two days, three days, four days, and in one case seven days. It
was difficult to convince the American soldier, on either side of the
line, that he was beaten. The general might lose his head, but the
soldiers, in the larger number of cases, went on fighting until, with a
new leader or with more intelligent dispositions on the part of the
original leader, a first disaster had been repaired. There is no example
in modern history of fighting of such stubborn character, or it is
fairer to say, there was no example until the Russo-Japanese War in
Manchuria. The record shows that European armies, when outgeneralled or
outmanoeuvred, had the habit of retiring from the field, sometimes in
good order, more frequently in a state of demoralisation. The American
soldier fought the thing out because he thought the thing out. The
patience and persistence of the soldier in the field was characteristic
of, and, it may fairly be claimed, was in part due to, the patience and
persistence of the great leader in Washington.



The dark days of 1862 were in April brightened by the all-important news
that Admiral Farragut had succeeded in bringing the Federal fleet, or at
least the leading vessels in this fleet, past the batteries of Forts St.
Philip and Jackson on the Mississippi, and had compelled the surrender
of New Orleans. The opening of the Mississippi River had naturally been
included among the most essential things to be accomplished in the
campaign for the restoration of the national authority. It was of first
importance that the States of the North-west and the enormous contiguous
territory which depended upon the Mississippi for its water connection
with the outer world should not be cut off from the Gulf. The prophecy
was in fact made more than once that in case the States of the South had
succeeded in establishing their independence, there would have come into
existence on the continent not two confederacies, but probably four. The
communities on the Pacific Coast would naturally have been tempted to
set up for themselves, and a similar course might also naturally have
been followed by the great States of the North-west whose interests were
so closely bound up with the waterways running southward. It was
essential that no effort should be spared to bring the loyal States of
the West into control of the line of the Mississippi. More than twelve
months was still required after the capture of New Orleans on the first
of May, 1862, before the surrender of Vicksburg to Grant and of Port
Hudson to Banks removed the final barriers to the Federal control of the
great river. The occupation of the river by the Federals was of
importance in more ways than one. The States to the west of the
river--Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas--were for the first two years of
the War important sources of supplies for the food of the Confederate
army. Corn on the cob or in bags was brought across the river by boats,
while the herds of live cattle were made to swim the stream, and were
then most frequently marched across country to the commissary depots of
the several armies. After the fall of Port Hudson, the connection for
such supplies was practically stopped; although I may recall that even
as late as 1864, the command to which I was attached had the
opportunity of stopping the swimming across the Mississippi of a herd of
cattle that was in transit for the army of General Joe Johnston.

In April, 1862, just after the receipt by Lincoln of the disappointing
news of the first repulse at Vicksburg, he finds time to write a little
autograph note to a boy, "Master Crocker," with thanks for a present of
a white rabbit that the youngster had sent to the President with the
suggestion that perhaps the President had a boy who would be pleased
with it.

During the early part of 1862, Lincoln is giving renewed thought to the
great problem of emancipation. He becomes more and more convinced that
the success of the War calls for definite action on the part of the
administration in the matter of slavery. He was, as before pointed out,
anxious, not only as a matter of justice to loyal citizens, but on the
ground of the importance of retaining for the national cause the support
of the Border States, to act in such manner that the loyal citizens of
these States should be exposed to a minimum loss and to the smallest
possible risk of disaffection. In July, 1862, Lincoln formulated a
proposition for compensated emancipation. It was his idea that the
nation should make payment of an appraised value in freeing the slaves
that were in the ownership of citizens who had remained loyal to the
government. It was his belief that the funds required would be more than
offset by the result in furthering the progress of the War. The daily
expenditure of the government was at the time averaging about a million
and a half dollars a day, and in 1864 it reached two million dollars a
day. If the War could be shortened a few months, a sufficient amount of
money would be saved to offset a very substantial payment to loyal
citizens for the property rights in their slaves.

The men of the Border States were, however, still too bound to the
institution of slavery to be prepared to give their assent to any such
plan. Congress was, naturally, not ready to give support to such a
policy unless it could be made clear that it was satisfactory to the
people most concerned. The result of the unwise stubbornness in this
matter of the loyal citizens of Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and
Maryland was that they were finally obliged to surrender without
compensation the property control in their slaves. When the plan for
compensated emancipation had failed, Lincoln decided that the time had
come for unconditional emancipation. In July, 1862, he prepares the
first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. It was his judgment, which
was shared by the majority of his Cabinet, that the issue of the
proclamation should, however, be deferred until after some substantial
victory by the armies of the North. It was undesirable to give to such a
step the character of an utterance of despair or even of discouragement.
It seemed evident, however, that the War had brought the country to the
point at which slavery, the essential cause of the cleavage between the
States, must be removed. The bringing to an end of the national
responsibility for slavery would consolidate national opinion throughout
the States of the North and would also strengthen the hands of the
friends of the Union in England where the charge had repeatedly been
made that the North was fighting, not against slavery or for freedom of
any kind, but for domination. The proclamation was held until after the
battle of Antietam in September, 1862, and was then issued to take
effect on the first of January, 1863. It did produce the hoped-for
results. The cause of the North was now placed on a consistent
foundation. It was made clear that when the fight for nationality had
reached a successful termination, there was to be no further national
responsibility for the great crime against civilisation. The management
of the contrabands, who were from week to week making their way into the
lines of the Northern armies, was simplified. There was no further
question of holding coloured men subject to the possible claim of a
possibly loyal master. The work of organising coloured troops, which had
begun in Massachusetts some months earlier in the year, was now pressed
forward with some measure of efficiency. Boston sent to the front the
54th and 55th Massachusetts regiments composed of coloured troops and
led by such men as Shaw and Hallowell. The first South Carolina coloured
regiment was raised and placed under the command of Colonel Higginson.

I had myself some experience in Louisiana with the work of moulding
plantation hands into disciplined soldiers and I was surprised at the
promptness of the transformation. A contraband who made his way into the
camp from the old plantation with the vague idea that he was going to
secure freedom was often in appearance but an unpromising specimen out
of which to make a soldier. He did not know how to hold himself upright
or to look the other man in the face. His gait was shambly, his
perceptions dull. It was difficult for him either to hear clearly, or to
understand when heard, the word of instruction or command. When,
however, the plantation rags had been disposed of and (possibly after a
souse in the Mississippi) the contraband had been put into the blue
uniform and had had the gun placed on his shoulder, he developed at once
from a "chattel" to a man. He was still, for a time at least, clumsy and
shambly. The understanding of the word of command did not come at once
and his individual action, if by any chance he should be left to act
alone, was, as a rule, less intelligent, less to be depended upon, than
that of the white man. But he stood up straight in the garb of manhood,
looked you fairly in the face, showed by his expression that he was
anxious for the privilege of fighting for freedom and for citizenship,
and in Louisiana, and throughout the whole territory of the War, every
black regiment that came into engagement showed that it could be
depended upon. Before the War was closed, some two hundred thousand
negroes had been brought into the ranks of the Federal army and their
service constituted a very valuable factor in the final outcome of the
campaigns. A battle like that at Milliken's Bend, Mississippi,
inconsiderable in regard to the numbers engaged, was of distinctive
importance in showing what the black man was able and willing to do when
brought under fire for the first time. A coloured regiment made up of
men who only a few weeks before had been plantation hands, had been left
on a point of the river to be picked up by an expected transport. The
regiment was attacked by a Confederate force of double or treble the
number, the Southerners believing that there would be no difficulty in
driving into the river this group of recent slaves. On the first volley,
practically all of the officers (who were white) were struck down and
the loss with the troops was also very heavy. The negroes, who had but
made a beginning with their education as soldiers, appeared, however,
not to have learned anything about the conditions for surrender and they
simply fought on until no one was left standing. The percentage of loss
to the numbers engaged was the heaviest of any action in the War. The
Southerners, in their contempt for the possibility of negroes doing any
real fighting, had in their rushing attack exposed themselves much and
had themselves suffered seriously. When, in April, 1865, after the
forcing back of Lee's lines, the hour came, so long waited for and so
fiercely fought for, to take possession of Richmond, there was a certain
poetic justice in allowing the negro division, commanded by General
Weitzel, to head the column of advance.

Through 1862, and later, we find much correspondence from Lincoln in
regard to the punishment of deserters. The army penalty for desertion
when the lines were in front of the enemy, was death. Lincoln found it
very difficult, however, to approve of a sentence of death for any
soldier. Again and again he writes, instructing the general in the field
to withhold the execution until he, Lincoln, had had an opportunity of
passing upon the case. There is a long series of instances in which,
sometimes upon application from the mother, but more frequently through
the personal impression gained by himself of the character of the
delinquent, Lincoln decided to pardon youngsters who had, in his
judgment, simply failed to realise their full responsibility as
soldiers. Not a few of these men, permitted to resume their arms, gained
distinction later for loyal service.

In December, 1862, Jefferson Davis issued an order which naturally
attracted some attention, directing that General Benjamin F. Butler,
when captured, should be "reserved for execution." Butler never fell
into the hands of the Confederates and it is probable that if he had
been taken prisoner, the order would have remained an empty threat. From
Lincoln came the necessary rejoinder that a Confederate officer of equal
rank would be held as hostage for the safety of any Northern general
who, as prisoner, might not be protected under the rules of war.

Lincoln's correspondence during 1862, a year which was in many ways the
most discouraging of the sad years of the war, shows how much he had to
endure in the matter of pressure of unrequested advice and of undesired
counsel from all kinds of voluntary advisers and active-minded citizens,
all of whom believed that their views were important, if not essential,
for the salvation of the state. In September, 1862, Lincoln writes to a

"I am approached with the most opposite opinions expressed on the part
of religious men, each of whom is equally certain that he represents the
divine will."

To one of these delegations of ministers, Lincoln gave a response which
while homely in its language must have presented to his callers a vivid
picture of the burdens that were being carried by the leader of the

"Gentlemen," he said, "suppose all the property you possess were in
gold, and you had placed it in the hands of Blondin to carry across
the Niagara River on a rope. With slow, cautious, steady steps he
walks the rope, bearing your all. Would you shake the cable and keep
shouting to him, 'Blondin, stand up a little straighter! Blondin,
stoop a little more; go a little faster; lean more to the south! Now
lean a little more to north! Would that be your behaviour in such an
emergency? No, you would hold your breath, every one of you, as well
as your tongues. You would keep your hands off until he was safe on
the other side."

Another delegation, which had been urging some months in advance of what
Lincoln believed to be the fitting time for the issuing of the
Proclamation of Emancipation, called asking that there should be no
further delay in the action. One of the ministers, as he was retiring,
turned and said to Lincoln: "What you have said to us, Mr. President,
compels me to say to you in reply that it is a message to you from our
Divine Master, through me, commanding you, sir, to open the doors of
bondage, that the slave may go free!" Lincoln replied: "That may be,
sir, for I have studied this question by night and by day, for weeks
and for months, but if it is, as you say, a message from your Divine
Master, is it not odd that the only channel He could send it by was that
roundabout route through the wicked city of Chicago?"

Another version of the story omits the reference to Chicago, and makes
Lincoln's words:

"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....
Whatever shall appear to be God's will, I will do."

In September, 1862, General Lee carried his army into Maryland,
threatening Baltimore and Washington. It is probable that the purpose of
this invasion was more political than military. The Confederate
correspondence shows that Davis was at the time hopeful of securing the
intervention of Great Britain and France, and it was natural to assume
that the prospects of such intervention would be furthered if it could
be shown that the Southern army, instead of being engaged in the defence
of its own capital, was actually threatening Washington and was possibly
strong enough to advance farther north.

General Pope had, as a result of his defeat at the second Bull Run, in
July, 1862, lost the confidence of the President and of the country. The
defeat alone would not necessarily have undermined his reputation, which
had been that of an effective soldier. He had, however, the fatal
quality, too common with active Americans, of talking too much, whether
in speech or in the written word, of promising things that did not come
off, and of emphasising his high opinion of his own capacity. Under the
pressure of the new peril indicated by the presence of Lee's troops
within a few miles of the capital, Lincoln put to one side his own grave
doubts in regard to the effectiveness and trustworthiness of McClellan
and gave McClellan one further opportunity to prove his ability as a
soldier. The personal reflections and aspersions against his
Commander-in-chief of which McClellan had been guilty, weighed with
Lincoln not at all; the President's sole thought was at this time, as
always, how with the material available could the country best be

McClellan had his chance (and to few men is it given to have more than
one great opportunity) and again he threw it away. His army was stronger
than that of Lee and he had the advantage of position and (for the
first time against this particular antagonist) of nearness to his base
of supplies. Lee had been compelled to divide his army in order to get
it promptly into position on the north side of the Potomac. McClellan's
tardiness sacrificed Harper's Ferry (which, on September 15th, was
actually surrounded by Lee's advance) with the loss of twelve thousand
prisoners. Through an exceptional piece of good fortune, there came into
McClellan's hands a despatch showing the actual position of the
different divisions of Lee's army and giving evidence that the two wings
were so far separated that they could not be brought together within
twenty-four hours. The history now makes clear that for twenty-four
hours McClellan had the safety of Lee's army in his hands, but those
precious hours were spent by McClellan in "getting ready," that is to
say, in vacillating.

Finally, there came the trifling success at South Mountain and the drawn
battle of Antietam. Lee's army was permitted to recross the Potomac with
all its trains and even with the captured prisoners, and McClellan lay
waiting through the weeks for something to turn up.

A letter written by Lincoln on the 13th of October shows a wonderfully
accurate understanding of military conditions, and throws light also
upon the character and the methods of thought of the two men:

"Are you not overcautious when you assume that you cannot do what
the enemy is constantly doing? Should you not claim to be at least
his equal in prowess, and act upon the claim? 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 as you would have to
do, without the railroad last named. He now waggons from Culpeper
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 waggons as you are.... Again, one of the standard
maxims of war, as you know, is to 'operate upon the enemy's
communications without exposing your own.' You seem to act as if
this applies against you, but cannot apply it in your favour. Change
positions with the enemy, and think you not he would break your
communication with Richmond in twenty-four hours?... You are now
nearer Richmond than the enemy is by the route 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 your side
as on his ... If he should move northward, I would follow him
closely, holding his communications. If he should prevent our
seizing his communications and move towards Richmond, I would press
closely to him, fight him, if a favourable 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
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.... As we must
beat him somewhere or fail finally, we can do it, if at all, easier
near to us than far away.... It is all easy if our troops march as
well as the enemy, and it is unmanly to say that they cannot do it."

The patience of Lincoln and that of the country behind Lincoln were at
last exhausted. McClellan was ordered to report to his home in New
Jersey and the General who had come to the front with such flourish of
trumpets and had undertaken to dictate a national policy at a time when
he was not able to keep his own army in position, retires from the
history of the War.

The responsibility again comes to the weary Commander-in-chief of
finding a leader who could lead, in whom the troops and the country
would have confidence, and who could be trusted to do his simple duty as
a general in the field without confusing his military responsibilities
with political scheming. The choice first fell upon Burnside. Burnside
was neither ambitious nor self-confident. He was a good division
general, but he doubted his ability for the general command. Burnside
loyally accepts the task, does the best that was within his power and,
pitted against a commander who was very much his superior in general
capacity as well as in military skill, he fails. Once more has the
President on his hands the serious problem of finding the right man.
This time the commission was given to General Joseph Hooker. With the
later records before us, it is easy to point out that this selection
also was a blunder. There were better men in the group of
major-generals. Reynolds, Meade, or Hancock would doubtless have made
more effective use of the power of the army of the Potomac, but in
January, 1863, the relative characters and abilities of these generals
were not so easily to be determined. Lincoln's letter to Hooker was
noteworthy, not only in the indication that it gives of Hooker's
character but as an example of the President's width of view and of his
method of coming into the right relation with men. He writes:

"You have confidence in yourself, which is a valuable if not an
indispensable quality.... I think, however, that during General
Burnside's command of the army, you have taken counsel of your
ambition and have thwarted him as much as you could, in which you
did a great wrong to the country and to a most meritorious and
honourable brother officer. I have heard of your recently saying
that both the army and the government needed a dictator. Of course
it was not for this but in spite of it that I have given you the
command. Only those generals who gain success can set up as
dictators. What I now ask of you is military success and I will risk
the dictatorship. The government will support you to the best of its
ability, which is neither more nor less than it has done and will do
for all its commanders.... Beware of rashness, but with energy and
sleepless vigilance go forward and give us victories."

Hooker, like Burnside, undoubtedly did the best that he could. He was a
loyal patriot and had shown himself a good division commander. It is
probable, however, that the limit of his ability as a general in the
field was the management of an army corps; he seems to have been
confused in the attempt to direct the movements of the larger body. At
Chancellorsville, he was clearly outwitted by his opponents, Lee and
Jackson. The men of the army of the Potomac fought steadily as always
but with the discouraging feeling that the soldiers on the other side of
the line had the advantage of better brain power behind them. It is
humiliating to read in the life of Jackson the reply given by him to Lee
when Lee questioned the safety of the famous march planned by Jackson
across the front of the Federal line. Said Lee: "There are several
points along the line of your proposed march at which your column could
be taken in flank with disastrous results." "But, General Lee," replies
Jackson, "we must surely in planning any military movements take into
account the personality of the leaders to whom we are opposed."



Chancellorsville was fought and lost, and again, under political
pressure from Richmond rather than with any hope of advantage on simple
military lines, Lee leads his army to an invasion of the North. For this
there were at the time several apparent advantages; the army of the
Potomac had been twice beaten and, while by no means demoralised, was
discouraged and no longer had faith in its commander. There was much
inevitable disappointment throughout the North that, so far from making
progress in the attempt to restore the authority of the government, the
national troops were on the defensive but a few miles from the national
capital. The Confederate correspondence from London and from Paris gave
fresh hopes for the long expected intervention.

Lee's army was cleverly withdrawn from Hooker's front and was carried
through western Maryland into Pennsylvania by the old line of the
Shenandoah Valley and across the Potomac at Falling Waters. Hooker
reports to Lincoln under date of June 4th that the army or an army is
still in his front on the line of the Rappahannock, Lincoln writes to
Hooker under date of June 5th, "We have report that Lee's army is moving
westward and that a large portion of it is already to the west of the
Blue Ridge. The 'bull' [Lee's army] is across the fence and it surely
ought to be possible to worry him." On June 14th, Lincoln writes again,
reporting to Hooker that Lee with the body of his troops is approaching
the Potomac at a point forty miles away from the line of the
entrenchments on the Rappahannock. "The animal [Lee's army] is extended
over a line of forty miles. It must be very slim somewhere. Can you not
cut it?" The phrases are not in military form but they give evidence of
sound military judgment. Hooker was unable to grasp the opportunity, and
realising this himself, he asked to be relieved. The troublesome and
anxious honour of the command of the army now falls upon General Meade.
He takes over the responsibility at a time when Lee's army is already
safely across the Potomac and advancing northward, apparently towards
Philadelphia. His troops are more or less scattered and no definite
plan of campaign appears to have been formulated. The events of the next
three weeks constitute possibly the best known portion of the War. Meade
shows good energy in breaking up his encampment along the Rappahannock
and getting his column on to the road northward. Fortunately, the army
of the Potomac for once has the advantage of the interior line so that
Meade is able to place his army in a position that protects at once
Washington on the south-west, Baltimore on the east, and Philadelphia on
the north-east. We can, however, picture to ourselves the anxiety that
must have rested upon the Commander-in-chief in Washington during the
weeks of the campaign and during the three days of the great battle
which was fought on Northern soil and miles to the north of the Northern
capital. If, on that critical third day of July, the Federal lines had
been broken and the army disorganised, there was nothing that could
prevent the national capital from coming into the control of Lee's army.
The surrender of Washington meant the intervention of France and
England, meant the failure of the attempt to preserve the nation's
existence, meant that Abraham Lincoln would go down to history as the
last President of the United States, the President under whose
leadership the national history had come to a close. But the Federal
lines were not broken. The third day of Gettysburg made clear that with
equality of position and with substantial equality in numbers there was
no better fighting material in the army of the grey than in the army of
the blue. The advance of Pickett's division to the crest of Cemetery
Ridge marked the high tide of the Confederate cause. Longstreet's men
were not able to prevail against the sturdy defence of Hancock's second
corps and when, on the Fourth of July, Lee's army took up its line of
retreat to the Potomac, leaving behind it thousands of dead and wounded,
the calm judgment of Lee and his associates must have made clear to them
that the cause of the Confederacy was lost. The army of Northern
Virginia had shattered itself against the defences of the North, and
there was for Lee no reserve line. For a long series of months to come,
Lee, magnificent engineer officer that he was, and with a sturdy
persistency which withstood all disaster, was able to maintain defensive
lines in the Wilderness, at Cold Harbor, and in front of Petersburg, but
as his brigades crumbled away under the persistent and unceasing attacks
of the army of the Potomac, he must have realised long before the day
of Appomattox that his task was impossible. What Gettysburg decided in
the East was confirmed with equal emphasis by the fall of Vicksburg in
the West. On the Fourth of July, 1863, the day on which Lee, defeated
and discouraged, was taking his shattered army out of Pennsylvania,
General Grant was placing the Stars and Stripes over the earthworks of
Vicksburg. The Mississippi was now under the control of the Federalists
from its source to the mouth, and that portion of the Confederacy lying
to the west of the river was cut off so that from this territory no
further co-operation of importance could be rendered to the armies
either of Johnston or of Lee.

Lincoln writes to Grant after the fall of Vicksburg giving, with his
word of congratulation, the admission that he (Lincoln) had doubted the
wisdom or the practicability of Grant's movement to the south of
Vicksburg and inland to Jackson. "You were right," said Lincoln, "and I
was wrong."

On the 19th of November, 1863, comes the Gettysburg address, so eloquent
in its simplicity. It is probable that no speaker in recorded history
ever succeeded in putting into so few words so much feeling, such
suggestive thought, and such high idealism. The speech is one that
children can understand and that the greatest minds must admire.



Address delivered at the dedication of the cemetery at Gettysburg.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this
continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that
nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long
endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come
to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for
those who here gave their lives that their nation might live. It is
altogether fitting and proper that we should this.

But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we
cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who
struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add
or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say
here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the
living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they
who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us
to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that
from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for
which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here
highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that
this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that
government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not
perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln

November 19, 1863]

There was disappointment that Meade had not shown more energy after
Gettysburg in the pursuit of Lee's army and that some attempt, at least,
had not been made to interfere with the retreat across the Potomac.
Military critics have in fact pointed out that Meade had laid himself
open to criticism in the management of the battle itself. At the time of
the repulse of Pickett's charge, Meade had available at the left and in
rear of his centre the sixth corps which had hardly been engaged on the
previous two days, and which included some of the best fighting material
in the army. It has been pointed out more than once that if that corps
had been thrown in at once with a countercharge upon the heels of the
retreating divisions of Longstreet, Lee's right must have been curled up
and overwhelmed. If this had happened, Lee's army would have been so
seriously shattered that its power for future service would have been
inconsiderable. Meade was accepted as a good working general but the
occasion demanded something more forcible in the way of leadership and,
early in 1864, Lincoln sends for the man who by his success in the West
had won the hopeful confidence of the President and the people.

Before this appointment of General-in-chief was given to General Grant,
and he came to the East to take charge of the armies in Virginia, he had
brought to a successful conclusion a dramatic campaign, of which
Chattanooga was the centre. In September, 1863, General Rosecrans, who
had occupied Chattanooga, was defeated some twenty miles to the south on
the field of Chickamauga, a defeat which was the result of too much
confidence on the part of the Federal commander, who in pressing his
advance had unwisely separated the great divisions of his army, and of
excellent skill and enterprise on the part of the Confederate commander,
General Bragg. If the troops of Rosecrans had not been veterans, and if
the right wing had not been under the immediate command of so sturdy and
unconquered a veteran as General Thomas, the defeat might have become a
rout. As it was, the army retreated with some discouragement but in good
fighting force, to the lines of Chattanooga. By skilful disposition of
his forces across the lines of connection between Chattanooga and the
base of supplies, General Bragg brought the Federals almost to the point
of starvation, and there was grave risk that through the necessary
falling back of the army to secure supplies, the whole advantage of the
previous year's campaign might be lost. Grant was placed in charge of
the forces in Chattanooga, and by a good management of the resources
available, he succeeded in reopening the river and what became known as
"the cracker line," and in November, 1863, in the dramatic battles of
Lookout Mountain, fought more immediately by General Hooker, and of
Missionary Ridge, the troops of which were under the direct command of
General Sherman, overwhelmed the lines of Bragg, and pressed his forces
back into a more or less disorderly retreat. An important factor in the
defeat of Bragg was the detaching from his army of the corps under
Longstreet which had been sent to Knoxville in a futile attempt to crush
Burnside and to reconquer East Tennessee for the Confederacy. This plan,
chiefly political in purpose, was said to have originated with President
Davis. The armies of the West were now placed under the command of
General Sherman, and early in 1864, Grant was brought to Virginia to
take up the perplexing problem of overcoming the sturdy veterans of
General Lee.

The first action of Grant as commander of all the armies in the field
was to concentrate all the available forces against the two chief armies
of the Confederacy. The old policy of occupying outlying territory for
the sake of making a show of political authority was given up. If
Johnston in the West and Lee in the East could be crushed, the national
authority would be restored in due season, and that was the only way in
which it could be restored. Troops were gathered in from Missouri and
Arkansas and Louisiana and were placed under the command of Sherman for
use in the final effort of breaking through the centre of the
Confederacy, while in the East nothing was neglected on the part of the
new administration to secure for the direction of the new commander all
resources available of men and of supplies.

Grant now finds himself pitted against the first soldier of the
continent, the leader who is to go down to history as probably the
greatest soldier that America has ever produced. Lee's military career
is a wonderful example of a combination of brilliancy, daring ingenuity
of plan, promptness of action, and patient persistence under all kinds
of discouragement, but it was not only through these qualities that it
was possible for him to retain control, through three years of heavy
fighting, of the territory of Virginia, which came to be the chief
bulwark of the Confederacy. Lee's high character, sweetness of nature,
and unselfish integrity of purpose had impressed themselves not only
upon the Confederate administration which had given him the command but
upon every soldier in that command. For the army of Northern Virginia
Lee was the man behind the guns just as Lincoln came to be for all the
men in blue. There never was a more devoted army and there probably
never was a better handled army than that with which Lee defended for
three years the lines across Northern Virginia and the remnants of which
were finally surrendered at Appomattox.

Grant might well have felt concerned with such an opponent in front of
him. He had on his hands (as had been the almost uniform condition for
the army of the Potomac) the disadvantage of position. His advance must
be made from exterior lines and nearly every attack was to be against
well entrenched positions that had been first selected years back and
had been strengthened from season to season. On the other hand, Grant
was able to depend upon the loyal support of the administration through
which came to his army the full advantage of the great resources of the
North. His ranks as depleted were filled up, his commissary trains need
never be long unsupplied, his ammunition waggons were always equipped.
For Lee, during the years following the Gettysburg battle, the problem
was unending and increasing: How should the troops be fed and whence
should they secure the fresh supplies of ammunition?

Between Grant and Lincoln there came to be perfect sympathy of thought
and action. The men had in their nature (though not in their mental
equipment) much in common. Grant carries his army through the spring of
1864, across the much fought over territory, marching and fighting from
day to day towards the south-west. The effort is always to outflank
Lee's right, getting in between him and his base at Richmond, but after
each fight, Lee's army always bars the way. Marching out of the
Wilderness after seven days' fierce struggle, Grant still finds the line
of grey blocking his path to Richmond. The army of the Potomac had been
marching and fighting without break for weeks. There had been but little
sleep, and the food in the trains was often far out of the reach of the
men in the fighting line. Men and officers were alike exhausted. While
advantages had been gained at one point or another along the line, and
while it was certain that the opposing army had also suffered severely,
there had been no conclusive successes to inspirit the troops with the
feeling that they were to seize victory out of the campaign.

In emerging from the Wilderness, the head of the column reached the
cross-roads the left fork of which led back to the Potomac and the right
fork to Richmond or to Petersburg. In the previous campaigns, the army
of the Potomac, after doing its share of plucky fighting and taking more
than its share of discouragement, had at such a point been withdrawn for
rest and recuperation. It was not an unnatural expectation that this
course would be taken in the present campaign. The road to the right
meant further fatigue and further continuous fighting for men who were
already exhausted. In the leading brigade it was only the brigade
commander and the adjutant who had knowledge of the instructions for the
line of march. When, with a wave of the hand of the adjutant, the guidon
flag of the brigade was carried to the right and the head of the column
was set towards Richmond, a shout went up from the men marching behind
the guidon. It was an utterance not of discouragement but of
enthusiasm. Exhausting as the campaign had been, the men in the ranks
preferred to fight it out then and to get through with it. Old soldiers
as they were, they were able to understand the actual issue of the
contest. Their plucky opponents were as exhausted as themselves and
possibly even more exhausted. It was only through the hammering of Lee's
diminishing army out of existence that the War could be brought to a
close. The enthusiastic shout of satisfaction rolled through the long
column reaching twenty miles back, as the news passed from brigade to
brigade that the army was not to be withdrawn but was, as Grant's report
to Lincoln was worded, "to fight it out on this line if it took all
summer." When this report reached Lincoln, he felt that the selection of
Grant as Lieutenant-General had been justified. He said: "We need this
man. He fights."

In July, 1864, Washington is once more within reach if not of the
invader at least of the raider. The Federal forces had been concentrated
in Grant's lines along the James, and General Jubal Early, one of the
most energetic fighters of the Southern army, tempted by the apparently
unprotected condition of the capital, dashed across the Potomac on a
raid that became famous. It is probable that in this undertaking, as in
some of the other movements that have been referred to on the part of
the Southern leaders, the purpose was as much political as military.
Early's force of from fifteen to sixteen thousand men was, of course, in
no way strong enough to be an army of invasion. The best success for
which he could hope would be, in breaking through the defences of
Washington, to hold the capital for a day or even a few hours. The
capture of Washington in 1864, as in 1863 or in 1862, would in all
probability have brought about the long-hoped-for intervention of France
and England. General Lew Wallace, whose name became known in the years
after the War through some noteworthy romances, _Ben Hur_ and _The Fair
God_, and who was in command of a division of troops stationed west of
Washington, and composed in part of loyal Marylanders and in part of
convalescents who were about to be returned to the front, fell back
before Early's advance to Monocacy Creek. He disposed his thin line
cleverly in the thickets on the east side of the creek in such fashion
as to give the impression of a force of some size with an advance line
of skirmishers. Early's advance was checked for some hours before he
realised that there was nothing of importance in front of him; when
Wallace's division was promptly overwhelmed and scattered. The few hours
that had thus been saved were, however, of first importance for the
safety of Washington. Early reached the outer lines of the
fortifications of the capital some time after sunset. His immediate
problem was to discover whether the troops which were, as he knew, being
hurried up from the army of the James, had reached Washington or whether
the capital was still under the protection only of its so-called
home-guard of veteran reserves. These reserves were made up of men more
or less crippled and unfit for work in the field but who were still able
to do service on fortifications. They comprised in all about six
thousand men and were under the command of Colonel Wisewell. The force
was strengthened somewhat that night by the addition of all of the male
nurses from the hospitals (themselves convalescents) who were able to
bear arms. That night the women nurses, who had already been in
attendance during the hours of the day, had to render double service.
Lincoln had himself in the afternoon stood on the works watching the
dust of the Confederate advance. Once more there came to the President
who had in his hands the responsibility for the direction of the War
the bitterness of the feeling, if not of possible failure, at least of
immediate mortification. He knew that within twenty-four or thirty-six
hours Washington could depend upon receiving the troops that were being
hurried up from Grant's army, but he also realised what enormous
mischief might be brought about by even a momentary occupation of the
national capital by Confederate troops. I had some personal interest in
this side campaign. The 19th army corps, to which my own regiment
belonged, had been brought from Louisiana to Virginia and had been
landed on the James River to strengthen the ranks of General Butler.
There had not been time to assign to us posts in the trenches and we
had, in fact, not even been placed in position. We were more nearly in
marching order than any other troops available and it was therefore the
divisions of the 19th army corps that were selected to be hurried up to
Washington. To these were added two divisions of the 6th corps.

Colonel Wisewell, commanding the defences of the city, realised the
nature of his problem. He had got to hold the lines of Washington, cost
what it might, until the arrival of the troops from Grant. He took the
bold step of placing on the picket line that night every man within
reach, or at least every loyal man within reach (for plenty of the men
in Washington were looking and hoping for the success of the South). The
instructions usually given to pickets were in this instance reversed.
The men were ordered, in place of keeping their positions hidden and of
maintaining absolute quiet, to move from post to post along the whole
line, and they were also ordered, without any reference to the saving of
ammunition, to shoot off their carbines on the least possible pretext
and without pretext. The armories were then beginning to send to the
front Sharp's repeating carbines. The invention of breech-loading rifles
came too late to be of service to the infantry on either side, but
during the last year of the War, certain brigades of cavalry were armed
with Sharp's breech-loaders. The infantry weapon used through the War by
the armies of the North as by those of the South was the muzzle-loading
rifle which bore the name on our side of the Springfield and on the
Confederate side of the Enfield. The larger portion of the Northern
rifles were manufactured in Springfield, Massachusetts, while the
Southern rifles, in great part imported from England, took their name
from the English factory. It was of convenience for both sides that the
two rifles were practically identical so that captured pieces and
captured ammunition could be interchanged without difficulty.

Early's skirmish line was instructed early in the night to "feel" the
Federal pickets, an instruction which resulted in a perfect blaze of
carbine fire from Wisewell's men. The report that went to Early was that
the picket line must be about six thousand strong. The conclusion on the
part of the old Confederate commander was that the troops from the army
of the Potomac must have reached the city. If that were true, there was,
of course, no chance that on the following day he could break through
the entrenchments, while there was considerable risk that his retreat to
the Shenandoah might be cut off. Early the next morning, therefore, the
disappointed Early led his men back to Falling Waters.

I happened during the following winter, when in prison in Danville, to
meet a Confederate lieutenant who had been on Early's staff and who had
lost an arm in this little campaign. He reported that when Early, on
recrossing the Potomac, learned that he had had Washington in his grasp
and that the divisions marching to its relief did not arrive and could
not have arrived for another twenty-four hours, he was about the
maddest Early that the lieutenant had ever seen. "And," added the
lieutenant, "when Early was angry, the atmosphere became blue."



After this close escape, it was clear to Grant as it had been clear to
Lincoln that whatever forces were concentrated before Petersburg, the
line of advance for Confederate invaders through the Shenandoah must be
blocked. General Sheridan was placed in charge of the army of the
Shenandoah and the 19th corps, instead of returning to the trenches of
the James, marched on from Washington to Martinsburg and Winchester.

In September, the commander in Washington had the satisfaction of
hearing that his old assailant Early had been sent "whirling through
Winchester" by the fierce advance of Sheridan. Lincoln recognised the
possibility that Early might refuse to stay defeated and might make use,
as had so often before been done by Confederate commanders in the
Valley, of the short interior line to secure reinforcements from
Richmond and to make a fresh attack. On the 29th of September, twenty
days before this attack came off, Lincoln writes to Grant: "Lee may be
planning to reinforce Early. Care should be taken to trace any movement
of troops westward." On the 19th of October, the persistent old fighter
Early, not willing to acknowledge himself beaten and understanding that
he had to do with an army that for the moment did not have the advantage
of Sheridan's leadership, made his plucky, and for the time successful,
fight at Cedar Creek. The arrival of Sheridan at the critical hour in
the afternoon of the 19th of October did not, as has sometimes been
stated, check the retreat of a demoralised army. Sheridan found his army
driven back, to be sure, from its first position, but in occupation of a
well supported line across the pike from which had just been thrown back
the last attack made by Early's advance. It was Sheridan however who
decided not only that the battle which had been lost could be regained,
but that the work could be done to best advantage right away on that
day, and it was Sheridan who led his troops through the too short hours
of the October afternoon back to their original position from which
before dark they were able to push Early's fatigued fighters across
Cedar Creek southward. Lincoln had found another man who could fight. He
was beginning to be able to put trust in leaders who, instead of having
to be replaced, were with each campaign gathering fresh experience and
more effective capacity.

From the West also came reports, in this autumn of 1864, from a fighting
general. Sherman had carried the army, after its success at Chattanooga,
through the long line of advance to Atlanta, by outflanking movements
against Joe Johnston, the Fabius of the Confederacy, and when Johnston
had been replaced by the headstrong Hood, had promptly taken advantage
of Hood's rashness to shatter the organisation of the army of Georgia.
The capture of Atlanta in September, 1864, brought to Lincoln in
Washington and to the North the feeling of certainty that the days of
the Confederacy were numbered.

The second invasion of Tennessee by the army of Hood, rendered possible
by the march of Sherman to the sea, appeared for the moment to threaten
the control that had been secured of the all-important region of which
Nashville was the centre, but Hood's march could only be described as
daring but futile. He had no base and no supplies. His advance did some
desperate fighting at the battle of Franklin and succeeded in driving
back the rear-guard of Thomas's army, ably commanded by General
Schofield, but the Confederate ranks were so seriously shattered that
when they took position in front of Nashville they no longer had
adequate strength to make the siege of the city serious even as a
threat. Thomas had only to wait until his own preparations were
completed and then, on the same day in December on which Sherman was
entering Savannah, Thomas, so to speak, "took possession" of Hood's
army. After the fight at Nashville, there were left of the Confederate
invaders only a few scattered divisions.

It was just before the news of the victory at Nashville that Lincoln
made time to write the letter to Mrs. Bixby whose name comes into
history as an illustration of the thoughtful sympathy of the great

"I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of
the adjutant-general of Massachusetts that you are the mother of
five sons who died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how
weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to
beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming, but I cannot
refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in
the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our
Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement and
leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost and the
pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the
altar of freedom."

In March, 1864, Lincoln writes to Grant: "New York votes to give votes
to the soldiers. Tell the soldiers." The decision of New York in regard
to the collection from the soldiers in each field of the votes for the
coming Presidential election was in line with that arrived at by all of
the States. The plan presented difficulties and, in connection with the
work of special commissioners, it involved also expense. It was,
however, on every ground desirable that the men who were risking their
lives in defence of the nation should be given the opportunity of taking
part in the selection of the nation's leader, who was also under the
Constitution the commander-in-chief of the armies in the field. The
votes of some four hundred thousand men constituted also an important
factor in the election itself. I am not sure that the attempt was ever
made to separate and classify the soldiers' vote but it is probable that
although the Democratic candidate was McClellan, a soldier who had won
the affection of the men serving under him, and the opposing candidate
was a civilian, a substantial majority of the vote of the soldiers was
given to Lincoln.

Secretary Chase had fallen into the habit of emphasising what he
believed to be his indispensability in the Cabinet by threatening to
resign, or even by submitting a resignation, whenever his suggestions or
conclusions met with opposition. These threats had been received with
patience up to the point when patience seemed to be no longer a virtue;
but finally, when (in May, 1864) such a resignation was tendered under
some aggravation of opposition or of criticism, very much to Chase's
surprise the resignation was accepted.

The Secretary had had in train for some months active plans for becoming
the Republican candidate for the Presidential campaign of 1864. Evidence
had from time to time during the preceding year been brought to Lincoln
of Chase's antagonism and of his hopes of securing the leadership of the
party. Chase's opposition to certain of Lincoln's policies was doubtless
honest enough. He had brought himself to believe that Lincoln did not
possess the force and the qualities required to bring the War to a
close. He had also convinced himself that he, Chase, was the man, and
possibly was the only man, who was fitted to meet the special
requirements of the task. Mr. Chase did possess the confidence of the
more extreme of the anti-slavery groups throughout the country. His
administration of the Treasury had been able and valuable, but the
increasing difficulty that had been found in keeping the Secretary of
the Treasury in harmonious relations with the other members of the
administration caused his retirement to be on the whole a relief.
Lincoln came to the conclusion that more effective service could be
secured from some other man, even if possessing less ability, whose
temperament made it possible for him to work in co-operation. The
unexpected acceptance of the resignation caused to Chase and to Chase's
friends no little bitterness, which found vent in sharp criticisms of
the President. Neither bitterness nor criticisms could, however, prevent
Lincoln from retaining a cordial appreciation for the abilities and the
patriotism of the man, and, later in the year, Lincoln sent in his
nomination as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Chase himself, in his
lack of capacity to appreciate the self-forgetfulness of Lincoln's
nature, was probably more surprised by his nomination as Chief Justice
than he had been by the acceptance of his resignation as Secretary of
the Treasury.

In July, 1864, comes a fresh risk of international complications
through the invasion of Mexico by a French army commanded by Bazaine,
seven years later to be known as the (more or less) hero of Metz. Lotus
Napoleon had been unwilling to give up his dream of a French empire, or
of an empire instituted under French influence, in the Western
Hemisphere. He was still hopeful, if not confident, that the United
States would not be able to maintain its existence; and he felt assured
that if the Southern Confederacy should finally be established with the
friendly co-operation of France, he would be left unmolested to carry
out his own schemes in Mexico. He had induced an honest-minded but not
very clearheaded Prince, Maximilian, the brother of the Emperor of
Austria, to accept a throne in Mexico to be established by French
bayonets, and which, as the result showed, could sustain itself only
while those bayonets were available. The presence of French troops on
American soil brought fresh anxieties to the administration; but it was
recognised that nothing could be done for the moment, and Lincoln and
his advisers were hopeful that the Mexicans, before their capital had
been taken possession of by the invader, would be able to maintain some
national government until, with the successful close of its own War,
the United States could come to the defence of the sister republic.

The extreme anti-slavery group of the Republican party had, as
indicated, never been fully satisfied with the thoroughness of the
anti-slavery policy of the administration and Mr. Chase retained until
the action of the convention in June the hope that he might through the
influence of this group secure the Presidency. Lincoln remarks in
connection with this candidacy: "If Chase becomes President, all right.
I hope we may never have a worse man." From the more conservative wing
of the Republican party came suggestions as to the nomination of Grant
and this plan brought from Lincoln the remark: "If Grant takes Richmond,
by all means let him have the nomination." When the delegates came
together, however, in Baltimore, it was evident that, representing as
they did the sober and well-thought-out convictions of the people, no
candidacy but that of Lincoln could secure consideration and his
nomination was practically unanimous.

The election in November gave evidence that, even in the midst of civil
war, a people's government can sustain the responsibility of a national
election. The large popular majorities in nearly all of the voting
States constituted not only a cordial recognition of the service that
was being rendered by Lincoln and by Lincoln's administration, but a
substantial assurance that the cause of nationality was to be sustained
with all the resources of the nation. The Presidential election of this
year gave the final blow to the hopes of the Confederacy.

I had myself a part in a very small division of this election, a
division which could have no effect in the final gathering of the votes,
but which was in a way typical of the spirit of the army. On the 6th of
November, 1864, I was in Libby Prison, having been captured at the
battle of Cedar Creek in October. It was decided to hold a Presidential
election in the prison, although some of us were rather doubtful as to
the policy and anxious in regard to the result. The exchange of
prisoners had been blocked for nearly a year on the ground of the
refusal on the part of the South to exchange the coloured troops or
white officers who held commissions in coloured regiments. Lincoln took
the ground, very properly, that all of the nation's soldiers must be
treated alike and must be protected by a uniform policy. Until the
coloured troops should be included in the exchange, "there can," said
Lincoln, "be no exchanging of prisoners." This decision, while sound,
just, and necessary, brought, naturally, a good deal of dissatisfaction
to the men in prison and to their friends at home. When I reached Libby
in October, I found there men who had been prisoners for six or seven
months and who (as far as they lived to get out) were to be prisoners
for five months more. Through the winter of 1864-65, the illness and
mortality in the Virginia prisons of Libby and Danville were very
severe. It was in fact a stupid barbarity on the part of the Confederate
authorities to keep any prisoners in Richmond during that last winter of
the War. It was not easy to secure by the two lines of road (one of
which was continually being cut by our troops) sufficient supplies for
Lee's army. It was difficult to bring from the granaries farther south,
in addition to the supplies required for the army, food for the
inhabitants of the town. It was inevitable under the circumstances that
the prisoners should be neglected and that in addition to the deaths
from cold (the blankets, the overcoats, and the shoes had been taken
from the prisoners because they were needed by the rebel troops) there
should be further deaths from starvation.

It was not unnatural that under such conditions the prisoners should
have ground not only for bitter indignation with the prison authorities,
but for discontent with their own administration. One may in fact be
surprised that starving and dying men should have retained any assured
spirit of loyalty. When the vote for President came to be counted, we
found that we had elected Lincoln by more than three to one. The
soldiers felt that Lincoln was the man behind the guns. The prison
votes, naturally enough, reached no ballot boxes and my individual
ballot in any case would not have been legal as I was at the time but
twenty years of age. I can but feel, however, that this vote of the
prisoners was typical and important, and I have no doubt it was so
recognised when later the report of the voting reached Washington.

In December, 1864, occurred one of the too-frequent cabals on the part
of certain members of the Cabinet. Pressure was brought to bear upon
Lincoln to get rid of Seward. Lincoln's reply made clear that he
proposed to remain President. He says to the member reporting for
himself and his associates the protest against Seward: "I propose to be
the sole judge as to the dismissal or appointment of the members of my
Cabinet." Lincoln could more than once have secured peace within the
Cabinet and a smoother working of the administrative machinery if he had
been willing to replace the typical and idiosyncratic men whom he had
associated with himself in the government by more commonplace citizens,
who would have been competent to carry on the routine responsibilities
of their posts. The difficulty of securing any consensus of opinion or
any working action between men differing from each other as widely as
did Chase, Stanton, Blair, and Seward, in temperament, in judgment, and
in honest convictions as to the proper policy for the nation, was an
attempt that brought upon the chief daily burdens and many keen
anxieties. Lincoln insisted, however, that it was all-important for the
proper carrying on of the contest that the Cabinet should contain
representatives of the several loyal sections of the country and of the
various phases of opinion. The extreme anti-slavery men were entitled to
be heard even though their spokesman Chase was often intemperate,
ill-judged, bitter, and unfair. The Border States men had a right to be
represented and it was all-essential that they should feel that they had
a part in the War government even though their spokesman Blair might
show himself, as he often did show himself, quite incapable of
understanding, much less of sympathising with, the real spirit of the
North. Stanton might be truculent and even brutal, but he was willing to
work, he knew how to organise, he was devotedly loyal. Seward, scholar
and statesman as he was, had been ready to give needless provocation to
Europe and was often equally ill-judged in his treatment of the
conservative Border States on the one hand and of the New England
abolitionists on the other, but Seward was a patriot as well as a
scholar and was a representative not only of New York but of the best of
the Whig Republican sentiment of the entire North, and Seward could not
be spared. It is difficult to recall in history a government made up of
such discordant elements which through the patience, tact, and genius of
one man was made to do effective work.

In February, 1865, in response to suggestions from the South which
indicated the possibility of peace, Lincoln accepted a meeting with
Alexander H. Stephens and two other commissioners to talk over measures
for bringing the War to a close. The meeting was held on a gun-boat on
the James River. It seems probable from the later history that Stephens
had convinced himself that the Confederacy could not conquer its
independence and that it only remained to secure the best terms
possible for a surrender. On the other hand, Jefferson Davis was not yet
prepared to consider any terms short of a recognition of the
independence of the Confederacy, and Stephens could act only under the
instructions received from Richmond. It was Lincoln's contention that
the government of the United States could not treat with rebels (or,
dropping the word "rebels," with its own citizens) in arms. "The first
step in negotiations, must," said Lincoln, "be the laying down of arms.
There is no precedent in history for a government entering into
negotiations with its own armed citizens."

"But there is a precedent, Mr. Lincoln," said Stephens, "King Charles of
England treated with the Cromwellians."

"Yes," said Lincoln, "I believe that is so. I usually leave historical
details to Mr. Seward, who is a student. It is, however, my memory that
King Charles lost his head."

It soon became evident that there was no real basis for negotiations,
and Stephens and his associates had to return to Richmond disappointed.
In the same month, was adopted by both Houses of Congress the Thirteenth
Amendment, which prohibited slavery throughout the whole dominion of the
United States. By the close of 1865, this amendment had been confirmed
by thirty-three States. It is probable that among these thirty-three
there were several States the names of which were hardly familiar to
some of the older citizens of the South, the men who had accepted the
responsibility for the rebellion. The state of mind of these older
Southerners in regard more particularly to the resources of the
North-west was recalled to me years after the War by an incident related
by General Sherman at a dinner of the New England Society. Sherman said
that during the march through Georgia he had found himself one day at
noon, when near the head of his column, passing below the piazza of a
comfortable-looking old plantation house. He stopped to rest on the
piazza with one or two of his staff and was received by the old planter
with all the courtliness that a Southern gentleman could show, even to
an invader, when doing the honours of his own house. The General and the
planter sat on the piazza, looking at the troops below and discussing,
as it was inevitable under the circumstances that they must discuss, the
causes of the War.

"General," said the planter, "what troops are those passing below?" The
General leans over the piazza, and calls to the standard bearers,
"Throw out your flag, boys," and as the flag was thrown out, he reports
to his host, "The 30th Wisconsin."

"Wisconsin?" said the planter, "Wisconsin? Where is Wisconsin?"

"It is one of the States of the North-west," said Sherman.

"When I was studying geography," said the planter, "I knew of Wisconsin
simply as the name of a tribe of Indians. How many men are there in a

"Well, there were a thousand when they started," said Sherman.

"Do you mean to say," said the planter, "that there is a State called
Wisconsin that has sent thirty thousand men into your armies?"

"Oh, probably forty thousand," answered Sherman.

With the next battalion the questions and the answers are repeated. The
flag was that of a Minnesota regiment, say the 32d. The old planter had
never heard that there was such a State.

"My God!" he said when he had figured out the thousands of men who had
come to the front, from these so-called Indian territories, to maintain
the existence of the nation, "If we in the South had known that you had
turned those Indian territories into great States, we never should have
gone into this war." The incident throws a light upon the state of mind
of men in the South, even of well educated men in the South, at the
outbreak of the War. They might, of course, have known by statistics
that great States had grown up in the North-west, representing a
population of millions and able themselves to put into the field armies
to be counted by the thousand. They might have realised that these great
States of the North-west were vitally concerned with the necessity of
keeping the Mississippi open for their trade from its source to the Gulf
of Mexico. They might have known that those States, largely settled from
New England, were absolutely opposed to slavery. This knowledge was
within their reach but they had not realised the facts of the case. It
was their feeling that in the coming contest they would have to do only
with New England and the Middle States and they felt that they were
strong enough to hold their own against this group of opponents. That
feeling would have been justified. The South could never have been
overcome and the existence of the nation could never have been
maintained if it had not been for the loyal co-operation and the
magnificent resources of men and of national wealth that were
contributed to the cause by the States of the North-west. In 1880, I had
occasion, in talking to the two thousand students of the University of
Minnesota, to recall the utterance of the old planter. The students of
that magnificent University, placed in a beautiful city of two hundred
and fifty thousand inhabitants, found it difficult on their part to
realise, amidst their laughter at the ignorance of the old planter, just
what the relations of the South had been before the War to the new free
communities of the North-west.

In February, 1865, with the fall of Fort Fisher and the capture of
Wilmington, the control of the coast of the Confederacy became complete.
The Southerners and their friends in Great Britain and the Bahamas (a
group of friends whose sympathies for the cause were very much enhanced
by the opportunity of making large profits out of their friendly
relations) had shown during the years of the War exceptional ingenuity,
daring, and persistence in carrying on the blockade-running. The ports
of the British West Indies were very handy, and, particularly during the
stormy months of the winter, it was hardly practicable to maintain an
absolutely assured barrier of blockades along a line of coast
aggregating about two thousand miles. The profits on a single voyage on
the cotton taken out and on the stores brought back were sufficient to
make good the loss of both vessel and cargo in three disastrous trips.
The blockade-runners, Southerners and Englishmen, took their lives in
their hands and they fairly earned all the returns that came to them. I
happened to have early experience of the result of the fall of Fort
Fisher and of the final closing of the last inlet for British goods. I
was at the time in prison in Danville, Virginia. I was one of the few
men in the prison (the group comprised about a dozen) who had been
fortunate enough to retain a tooth-brush. We wore our tooth-brushes
fastened into the front button-holes of our blouses, partly possibly
from ostentation, but chiefly for the purpose of keeping them from being
stolen. I was struck by receiving an offer one morning from the
lieutenant of the prison guard of $300 for my tooth-brush. The "dollars"
meant of course Confederate dollars and I doubtless hardly realised from
the scanty information that leaked into the prison how low down in
February, 1865, Confederate currency had depreciated. But still it was a
large sum and the tooth-brush had been in use for a number of months.
It then leaked out from a word dropped by the lieutenant that no more
English tooth-brushes could get into the Confederacy and those of us who
had been studying possibilities on the coast realised that Fort Fisher
must have fallen.

In this same month of February, into which were crowded some of the most
noteworthy of the closing events of the War, Charleston was evacuated as
Sherman's army on its sweep northward passed back of the city. I am not
sure whether the fiercer of the old Charlestonians were not more annoyed
at the lack of attention paid by Sherman to the fire-eating little city
in which four years back had been fired the gun that opened the War,
than they would have been by an immediate and strenuous occupation.
Sherman had more important matters on hand than the business of looking
after the original fire-eaters. He was hurrying northward, close on the
heels of Johnston, to prevent if possible the combination of Johnston's
troops with Lee's army which was supposed to be retreating from

On the 4th of March comes the second inaugural, in which Lincoln speaks
almost in the language of a Hebrew prophet. The feeling is strong upon
him that the clouds of war are about to roll away but he cannot free
himself from the oppression that the burdens of the War have produced.
The emphasis is placed on the all-important task of bringing the
enmities to a close with the end of the actual fighting. He points out
that responsibilities rest upon the North as well as upon the South and
he invokes from those who under his leadership are bringing the contest
to a triumphant close, their sympathy and their help for their
fellow-men who have been overcome. The address is possibly the most
impressive utterance ever made by a national leader and it is most
characteristic of the fineness and largeness of nature of the man. I
cite the closing paragraph:

"If we shall suppose that slavery is one of those offences which in
the providence of God needs must come, and which having continued
through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He
gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe to those
by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure
from those Divine attributes, which the believers in the Living God
always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that
this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills
that it should continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsmen
in two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and
until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid for by
another drop of blood drawn by the War, as was said two thousand
years ago so still it must be said, that the judgments of the Lord
are true, and righteous altogether.... With malice towards none,
with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to
see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in, to bind
up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the
battle and for his widow and for his orphans, to do all which may
achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and
with all nations."

After the election of 1864, Lincoln's word had been "a common cause, a
common interest, and a common country." The invocation in this last
inaugural is based upon the understanding that there is again a common
country and that in caring for those who have been in the battle and in
the binding up of the wounds, there is to be no distinction between the
men of the grey and those of the blue.

At the close of February, Lee, who realises that his weakened lines
cannot much longer be maintained, proposes to Grant terms of adjustment.
Grant replies that his duties are purely military and that he has no
authority to discuss any political relations. On the first of April, the
right wing of Lee's army is overwhelmed and driven back by Sheridan at
Five Forks, and on the day following Richmond is evacuated by the
rear-guard of Lee's army. The defence of Richmond during the long years
of the War (a defence which was carried on chiefly from the
entrenchments of Petersburg), by the skill of the engineers and by the
patient courage of the troops, had been magnificent. It must always take
a high rank in the history of war operations. The skilful use made of
positions of natural strength, the high skill shown in the construction
of works to meet first one emergency and then another, the economic
distribution of constantly diminishing resources, the clever disposition
of forces, (which during the last year were being steadily reduced from
month to month), in such fashion that at the point of probable contact
there seemed to be always men enough to make good the defence, these
things were evidence of the military skill, the ingenuity, the
resourcefulness, and the enduring courage of the leaders. The skill and
character of Lee and his associates would however of course have been in
vain and the lines would have been broken not in 1865, but in 1863 or in
1862, if it had not been for the magnificent patience and heroism of the
rank and file that fought in the grey uniform under the Stars and Bars
and whose fighting during the last of those months was done in tattered
uniforms and with a ration less by from one quarter to one half than
that which had been accepted as normal.

On the second of April, the Stars and Stripes are borne into Richmond by
the advance brigade of the right wing of Grant's army under the command
of General Weitzel. There was a certain poetic justice in the decision
that the responsibility for making first occupation of the city should
be entrusted to the coloured troops. The city had been left by the
rear-guard of the Confederate army in a state of serious confusion. The
Confederate general in charge (Lee had gone out in the advance hoping to
be able to break his way through to North Carolina) had felt justified,
for the purpose of destroying such army stores (chiefly ammunition) as
remained, in setting fire to the storehouses, and in so doing he had
left whole quarters of the city exposed to flame. White stragglers and
negroes who had been slaves had, as would always be the case where all
authority is removed, yielded to the temptation to plunder, and the city
was full of drunken and irresponsible men. The coloured troops restored
order and appear to have behaved with perfect discipline and
consideration. The marauders were arrested, imprisoned, and, when
necessary, shot. The fires were put out as promptly as practicable, but
not until a large amount of very unnecessary damage and loss had been
brought upon the stricken city. The women who had locked themselves into
their houses, more in dread of the Yankee invader than of their own
street marauders, were agreeably surprised to find that their immediate
safety and the peace of the town depended upon the invaders and that the
first battalions of these were the despised and much hated blacks.

Upon the 4th of April, against the counsel and in spite of the
apprehensions of nearly all his advisers, Lincoln insisted upon coming
down the river from Washington and making his way into the Rebel
capital. There was no thought of vaingloriousness or of posing as the
victor. He came under the impression that some civil authorities would
probably have remained in Richmond with whom immediate measures might be
taken to stop unnecessary fighting and to secure for the city and for
the State a return of peaceful government. Thomas Nast, who while not a
great artist was inspired to produce during the War some of the most
graphic and storytelling records in the shape of pictures of events,
made a drawing which was purchased later by the New York Union League
Club, showing Lincoln on his way through Main Street, with the coloured
folks of the town and of the surrounding country crowding about the man
whom they hailed as their deliverer, and in their enthusiastic adoration
trying to touch so much as the hem of his garment. The picture is
history in showing what actually happened and it is pathetic history in
recalling how great were the hopes that came to the coloured people from
the success of the North and from the certainty of the end of slavery.
It is sad to recall the many disappointments that during the forty years
since the occupation of Richmond have hampered the uplifting of the
race. Lincoln's hope that some representative of the Confederacy might
have remained in Richmond, if only for the purpose of helping to bring
to a close as rapidly as possible the waste and burdens of continued
war, was not realised. The members of the Confederate government seem to
have been interested only in getting away from Richmond and to have
given no thought to the duty they owed to their own people to cooperate
with the victors in securing a prompt return of law and order.

On the 9th of April, came the surrender of Lee at Appomattox, four
years, less three days, from the date of the firing of the first gun of
the War at Charleston. The muskets turned in by the ragged and starving
files of the remnants of Lee's army represented only a small portion of
those which a few days earlier had been holding the entrenchments at
Petersburg. As soon as it became evident that the army was not going to
be able to break through the Federal lines and begin a fresh campaign in
North Carolina, the men scattered from the retreating columns right and
left, in many cases carrying their muskets to their own homes as a
memorial fairly earned by plucky and persistent service. There never was
an army that did better fighting or that was better deserving of the
recognition, not only of the States in behalf of whose so-called
"independence" the War had been waged, but on the part of opponents who
were able to realise the character and the effectiveness of the

The scene in the little farm-house where the two commanders met to
arrange the terms of surrender was dramatic in more ways than one.
General Lee had promptly given up his own baggage waggon for use in
carrying food for the advance brigade and as he could save but one suit
of clothes, he had naturally taken his best. He was, therefore,
notwithstanding the fatigues and the privations of the past week, in
full dress uniform. He was one of the handsomest men of his generation,
and his beauty was not only of feature but of expression of character.
Grant, who never gave much thought to his personal appearance, had for
days been away from his baggage train, and under the urgency of keeping
as near as possible to the front line with reference to the probability
of being called to arrange terms for surrender, he had not found the
opportunity of securing a proper coat in place of his fatigue blouse. I
believe that even his sword had been mislaid, but he was able to borrow
one for the occasion from a staff officer. When the main details of the
surrender had been talked over, Grant looked about the group in the
room, which included, in addition to two staff officers who had come
with Lee, a group of five or six of his own assistants, who had managed
to keep up with the advance, to select the aid who should write out the
paper. His eye fell upon Colonel Ely Parker, a brigade commander who had
during the past few months served on Grant's staff. "Colonel Parker, I
will ask you," said Grant, "as the only real American in the room, to
draft this paper." Parker was a full-blooded Indian, belonging to one of
the Iroquois tribes of New York.

Grant's suggestion that the United States had no requirement for the
horses of Lee's army and that the men might find these convenient for
"spring ploughing" was received by Lee with full appreciation. The first
matter in order after the completion of the surrender was the issue of
rations to the starving Southern troops. "General Grant," said Lee, "a
train was ordered by way of Danville to bring rations to meet my army
and it ought to be now at such a point," naming a village eight or nine
miles to the south-west. General Sheridan, with a twinkle in his eye,
now put in a word: "The train from the south is there, General Lee, or
at least it was there yesterday. My men captured it and the rations will
be available." General Lee turns, mounts his old horse Traveller, a
valued comrade, and rides slowly through the ranks first of the blue and
then of the grey. Every hat came off from the men in blue as an
expression of respect to a great soldier and a true gentleman, while
from the ranks in grey there was one great sob of passionate grief and
finally, almost for the first time in Lee's army, a breaking of
discipline as the men crowded forward to get a closer look at, or
possibly a grasp of the hand of, the great leader who had fought and
failed but whose fighting and whose failure had been so magnificent.



On the 11th of April, Lincoln makes his last public utterance. In a
brief address to some gathering in Washington, he says, "There will
shortly be announcement of a new policy." It is hardly to be doubted
that the announcement which he had in mind was to be concerned with the
problem of reconstruction. He had already outlined in his mind the
essential principles on which the readjustment must be made. In this
same address, he points out that "whether or not the seceded States be
out of the Union, they are out of their proper relations to the Union."
We may feel sure that he would not have permitted the essential matters
of readjustment to be delayed while political lawyers were arguing over
the constitutional issue. On one side was the group which maintained
that in instituting the Rebellion and in doing what was in their power
to destroy the national existence, the people of the seceding States had
forfeited all claims to the political liberty of their communities.
According to this contention, the Slave States were to be treated as
conquered territory, and it simply remained for the government of the
United States to reshape this territory as might be found convenient or
expedient. According to the other view, as secession was itself
something which was not to be admitted, being, from the constitutional
point of view, impossible, there never had in the legal sense of the
term been any secession. The instant the armed rebellion had been
brought to an end, the rebelling States were to be considered as having
resumed their old-time relations with the States of the North and with
the central government. They were under the same obligations as before
for taxation, for subordination in foreign relations, and for the
acceptance of the control of the Federal government on all matters
classed as Federal. On the other hand, they were entitled to the
privileges that had from the beginning been exercised by independent
States: namely, the control of their local affairs on matters not
classed as Federal, and they had a right to their proportionate
representation in Congress and to their proportion of the electoral vote
for President. It has been very generally recognised in the South as in
the North that if Lincoln could have lived, some of the most serious of
the difficulties that arose during the reconstruction period through the
friction between these conflicting theories would have been avoided. The
Southerners would have realised that the head of the government had a
cordial and sympathetic interest in doing what might be practicable not
only to re-establish their relations as citizens of the United States,
but to further in every way the return of their communities to
prosperity, a prosperity which, after the loss of the property in their
slaves and the enormous destruction of their general resources, seemed
to be sadly distant.

On the 14th of April, comes the dramatic tragedy ending on the day
following in the death of Lincoln. The word dramatic applies in this
instance with peculiar fitness. While the nation mourned for the loss of
its leader, while the soldiers were stricken with grief that their great
captain should have been struck down, while the South might well be
troubled that the control and adjustment of the great interstate
perplexities was not to be in the hands of the wise, sympathetic, and
patient ruler, for the worker himself the rest after the four years of
continuous toil and fearful burdens and anxieties might well have been
grateful. The great task had been accomplished and the responsibilities
accepted in the first inaugural had been fulfilled.

In March, 1861, Lincoln had accepted the task of steering the nation
through the storm of rebellion, the divided opinions and counsels of
friends, and the fierce onslaught of foes at home and abroad. In April,
1865, the national existence was assured, the nation's credit was
established, the troops were prepared to return to their homes and
resume their work as citizens. At no time in history had any people been
able against such apparently overwhelming perils and difficulties to
maintain a national existence. There was, therefore, notwithstanding the
great misfortune, for the people South and North, in the loss of the
wise ruler at a time when so many difficulties remained to be adjusted,
a dramatic fitness in having the life of the leader close just as the
last army of antagonists was laying down its arms. The first problem of
the War that came to the administration of 1861 was that of restoring
the flag over Fort Sumter. On the 14th of April, the day when Booth's
pistol was laying low the President, General Anderson, who four years
earlier had so sturdily defended Sumter, was fulfilling the duty of
restoring the Stars and Stripes.

The news of the death of Lincoln came to the army of Sherman, with
which my own regiment happened at the time to be associated, on the 17th
of April. On leaving Savannah, Sherman had sent word to the north to
have all the troops who were holding posts along the coasts of North
Carolina concentrated on a line north of Goldsborough. It was his dread
that General Johnston might be able to effect a junction with the
retreating forces of Lee and it was important to do whatever was
practicable, either with forces or with a show of forces, to delay
Johnston and to make such combination impossible. A thin line of Federal
troops was brought into position to the north of Johnston's advance, but
Sherman himself kept so closely on the heels of his plucky and
persistent antagonist that, irrespective of any opposing line to the
north, Johnston would have found it impossible to continue his progress
towards Virginia. He was checked at Goldsborough after the battle of
Bentonville and it was at Goldsborough that the last important force of
the Confederacy was surrendered.

We soldiers learned only later some of the complications that preceded
that surrender. President Davis and his associates in the Confederate
government had, with one exception, made their way south, passing to
the west of Sherman's advance. The exception was Post-master-General
Reagan, who had decided to remain with General Johnston. He appears to
have made good with Johnston the claim that he, Reagan, represented all
that was left of the Confederate government. He persuaded Johnston to
permit him to undertake the negotiations with Sherman, and he had, it
seems, the ambition of completing with his own authority the
arrangements that were to terminate the War. Sherman, simple-hearted man
that he was, permitted himself, for the time, to be confused by Reagan's
semblance of authority. He executed with Reagan a convention which
covered not merely the surrender of Johnston's army but the
preliminaries of a final peace. This convention was of course made
subject to the approval of the authorities in Washington. When it came
into the hands of President Johnson, it was, under the counsel of Seward
and Stanton, promptly disavowed. Johnson instructed Grant, who had
reported to Washington from Appomattox, to make his way at once to
Goldsborough and, relieving Sherman, to arrange for the surrender of
Johnston's army on the terms of Appomattox. Grant's response was
characteristic. He said in substance: "I am here, Mr. President, to
obey orders and under the decision of the Commander-in-chief I will go
to Goldsborough and will carry out your instructions. I prefer, however,
to act as a messenger simply. I am entirely unwilling to take out of
General Sherman's hands the command of the army that is so properly
Sherman's army and that he has led with such distinctive success.
General Sherman has rendered too great a service to the country to make
it proper to have him now humiliated on the ground of a political
blunder, and I at least am unwilling to be in any way a party to his

Stanton was disposed to approve of Johnson's first instruction and to
have Sherman at once relieved, but the man who had just come from
Appomattox was too strong with the people to make it easy to disregard
his judgment on a matter which was in part at least military. The
President was still new to his office and he was still prepared to
accept counsel. The matter was, therefore, arranged as Grant desired.
Grant took the instructions and had his personal word with Sherman, but
this word was so quietly given that none of the men in Sherman's army,
possibly no one but Sherman himself, knew of Grant's visit. Grant took
pains so to arrange the last stage of his journey that he came into the
camp at Goldsborough well after dark, and, after an hour's interview
with Sherman, he made his way at once northward outside of our lines and
of our knowledge.

On Grant's arrival, Sherman at once assumed that he was to be
superseded. "No, no," said Grant; "do you not see that I have come
without even a sword? There is here no question of superseding the
commander of this army, but simply of correcting an error and of putting
things as they were. This convention must be cancelled. You will have no
further negotiation with Mr. Reagan or with any civilian claiming to
represent the Confederacy. Your transactions will be made with the
commander of the Confederate army, and you will accept the surrender of
that army on the terms that were formulated at Appomattox." Sherman was
keen enough to understand what must have passed in Washington, and was
able to appreciate the loyal consideration shown by General Grant in the
successful effort to protect the honour and the prestige of his old
comrade. The surrender was carried out on the 26th of April, eleven days
after the death of Lincoln. Johnston's troops, like those of Lee, were
distributed to their homes. The officers retained their side-arms, and
the men, leaving their rifles, took with them not only such horses and
mules as they still had with them connected with the cavalry or
artillery, but also a number of horses and mules which had been captured
by Sherman's army and which had not yet been placed on the United States
army roster. Sherman understood, as did Grant, the importance of giving
to these poor farmers whatever facilities might be available to enable
them again to begin their home work. Word was at once sent to General
Johnston after Grant's departure that the, only terms that could be
considered was a surrender of the army, and that the details of such
surrender Sherman would himself arrange with Johnston. Reagan slipped
away southward and is not further heard of in history.

The record of Lincoln's relations to the events of the War would not be
complete without a reference to the capture of Jefferson Davis. On
returning to Washington after his visit to Richmond, Lincoln had been
asked what should be done with Davis when he was captured. The answer
was characteristic: "I do not see," said Lincoln, "that we have any use
for a white elephant." Lincoln's clear judgment had at once recognised
the difficulties that would arise in case Davis should become a
prisoner. The question as to the treatment of the ruler of the late
Confederacy was very different from, and much more complicated than, the
fixing of terms of surrender for the Confederate armies. If Davis had
succeeded in getting out of the country, it is probable that the South,
or at least a large portion of the South, would have used him as a kind
of a scapegoat. Many of the Confederate soldiers were indignant with
Davis for his bitter animosities to some of their best leaders. Davis
was a capable man and had in him the elements of statesmanship. He was,
however, vain and, like some other vain men, placed the most importance
upon the capacities in which he was the least effective. He had had a
brief and creditable military experience, serving as a lieutenant with
Scott's army in Mexico, and he had impressed himself with the belief
that he was a great commander. Partly on this ground, and partly
apparently as a result of general "incompatibility of temper," Davis
managed to quarrel at different times during the War with some of the
generals who had shown themselves the most capable and the most
serviceable. He would probably have quarrelled with Lee, if it had been
possible for any one to make quarrel relations with that fine-natured
gentleman, and if Lee had not been too strongly entrenched in the hearts
of his countrymen to make any interference with him unwise, even for the
President. Davis had, however, managed to interfere very seriously with
the operations of men like Beauregard, Sidney Johnson, Joseph Johnston,
and other commanders whose continued leadership was most important for
the Confederacy. It was the obstinacy of Davis that had protracted the
War through the winter and spring of 1865, long after it was evident
from the reports of Lee and of the other commanders that the resources
of the Confederacy were exhausted and that any further struggle simply
meant an inexcusable loss of life on both sides. As a Northern soldier
who has had experience in Southern prisons, I may be excused also from
bearing in mind the fearful responsibility that rests upon Davis for the
mismanagement of those prisons, a mismanagement which caused the death
of thousands of brave men on the frozen slopes of Belle Isle, on the
foul floors of Libby and Danville, and on the rotten ground used for
three years as a living place and as a dying place within the stockade
at Andersonville. Davis received from month to month the reports of the
conditions in these and in the other prisons of the Confederacy. Davis
could not have been unaware of the stupidity and the brutality of
keeping prisoners in Richmond during the last winter of the War when the
lines of road still open were absolutely inadequate to supply the troops
in the trenches or the people of the town. Reports were brought to Davis
more than once from Andersonville showing that a large portion of the
deaths that were there occurring were due to the vile and rotten
condition of the hollow in which for years prisoners had been huddled
together; but the appeal made to Richmond for permission to move the
stockade to a clean and dry slope was put to one side as a matter of no
importance. The entire authority in the matter was in the hands of Davis
and a word from him would have remedied some of the worst conditions. He
must share with General Winder, the immediate superintendent of the
prisons, the responsibility for the heedless and brutal
mismanagement,--a mismanagement which brought death to thousands and
which left thousands of others cripples for life.

As a result of the informal word given by Lincoln, it was generally
understood, by all the officers, at least, in charge of posts and picket
lines along the eastern slope, that Davis was not to be captured.
Unfortunately it had not proved possible to get this informal
expression of a very important piece of policy conveyed throughout the
lines farther west. An enterprising and over-zealous captain of cavalry,
riding across from the Mississippi to the coast, heard of Davis's party
in Florida and, "butting in," captured, on May 10th, "the white

The last commands of the Confederate army were surrendered with General
Taylor in Louisiana on the 4th of May and with Kirby Smith in Texas on
the 26th of May. As Lincoln had foreshadowed, not a few complications
resulted from this unfortunate capture of Davis, complications that were
needlessly added to by the lack of clear-headedness or of definite
policy on the part of a confused and vacillating President. During the
months in which Davis was a prisoner at Fortress Monroe, and while the
question of his trial for treason was being fiercely debated in
Washington, the sentiment of the Confederacy naturally concentrated upon
its late President. He was, as the single prisoner, the surviving emblem
of the contest. His vanities, irritability, and blunders were forgotten.
It was natural that, under the circumstances, his people, the people of
the South, should hold in memory only the fact that he had been their
leader and that he had through four strenuous years borne the burdens
of leadership with unflagging zeal, with persistent courage, and with an
almost foolhardy hopefulness. He had given to the Confederacy the best
of his life, and he was entitled to the adoration that the survivors of
the Confederacy gave to him as representing the ideal of the lost cause.

The feeling with which Lincoln was regarded by the men in the front, for
whom through the early years of their campaigning he had been not only
the leader but the inspiration, was indicated by the manner in which the
news of his death was received. I happened myself on the day of those
sad tidings to be with my division in a little village just outside of
Goldsborough, North Carolina. We had no telegraphic communication with
the North, but were accustomed to receive despatches about noon each
day, carried across the swamps from a station through which connection
was made with Wilmington and the North. In the course of the morning, I
had gone to the shanty of an old darky whom I had come to know during
the days of our sojourn, for the purpose of getting a shave. The old
fellow took up his razor, put it down again and then again lifted it up,
but his arm was shaking and I saw that he was so agitated that he was
not fitted for the task. "Massa," he said, "I can't shave yer this
mornin'." "What is the matter?" I inquired. "Well," he replied,
"somethin's happened to Massa Linkum." "Why!" said I, "nothing has
happened to Lincoln. I know what there is to be known. What are you
talking about?" "Well!" the old man replied with a half sob, "we
coloured folks--we get news or we get half news sooner than you-uns. I
dun know jes' what it is, but somethin' has gone wrong with Massa
Linkum." I could get nothing more out of the old man, but I was
sufficiently anxious to make my way to Division headquarters to see if
there was any news in advance of the arrival of the regular courier. The
coloured folks were standing in little groups along the village street,
murmuring to each other or waiting with anxious faces for the bad news
that they were sure was coming. I found the brigade adjutant and those
with him were puzzled like myself at the troubled minds of the darkies,
but still sceptical as to the possibility of any information having
reached them which was not known through the regular channels.

At noon, the courier made his appearance riding by the wood lane across
the fields; and the instant he was seen we all realised that there was
bad news. The man was hurrying his pony and yet seemed to be very
unwilling to reach the lines where his report must be made. In this
instance (as was, of course, not usually the case) the courier knew what
was in his despatches. The Division Adjutant stepped out on the porch of
the headquarters with the paper in his hand, but he broke down before he
could begin to read. The Division Commander took the word and was able
simply to announce: "Lincoln is dead." The word "President" was not
necessary and he sought in fact for the shortest word. I never before
had found myself in a mass of men overcome by emotion. Ten thousand
soldiers were sobbing together. No survivor of the group can recall the
sadness of that morning without again being touched by the wave of
emotion which broke down the reserve and control of these war-worn
veterans on learning that their great captain was dead.

The whole people had come to have with the President a relation similar
to that which had grown up between the soldiers and their
Commander-in-chief. With the sympathy and love of the people to sustain
him, Lincoln had over them an almost unlimited influence. His capacity
for toil, his sublime patience, his wonderful endurance, his great mind
and heart, his out-reaching sympathies, his thoughtfulness for the needs
and requirements of all, had bound him to his fellow-citizens by an
attachment of genuine sentiment. His appellation throughout the country
had during the last year of the war become "Father Abraham." We may
recall in the thought of this relation to the people the record of
Washington. The first President has come into history as the "Father of
his Country," but for Washington this role of father is something of
historic development. During Washington's lifetime, or certainly at
least during the years of his responsibilities as General and as
President, there was no such general recognition of the leader and ruler
as the father of his country. He was dear to a small circle of
intimates; he was held in respectful regard by a larger number of those
with whom were carried on his responsibilities in the army, and later in
the nation's government. To many good Americans, however, Washington
represented for years an antagonistic principle of government. He was
regarded as an aristocrat and there were not a few political leaders,
with groups of voters behind them, who dreaded, and doubtless honestly
dreaded, that the influence of Washington might be utilised to build up
in this country some fresh form of the monarchy that had been
overthrown. The years of the Presidency had to be completed and the
bitter antagonisms of the seven years' fighting and of the issues of the
Constitution-building had to be outgrown, before the people were able to
recognise as a whole the perfect integrity of purpose and consistency of
action of their great leader, the first President. Even then when the
animosities and suspicions had died away, while the people were ready to
honour the high character and the accomplishments of Washington, the
feeling was one of reverence rather than of affection. This sentiment
gave rise later to the title of the "Father of his Country"; but there
was no such personal feeling towards Washington as warranted, at least
during his life, the term father of the people. Thirty years later, the
ruler of the nation is Andrew Jackson, a man who was, like Lincoln,
eminently a representative of the common people. His fellow-citizens
knew that Jackson understood their feelings and their methods and were
ready to have full confidence in Jackson's patriotism and honesty of
purpose. His nature lacked, however, the sweet sympathetic qualities
that characterised Lincoln; and while to a large body of his
fellow-citizens he commended himself for sturdiness, courage, and
devotion to the interests of the state, he was never able for himself to
overcome the feeling that a man who failed to agree with a Jackson
policy must be either a knave or a fool. He could not place himself in
the position from which the other fellow was thinking or acting. He
believed that it was his duty to maintain what he held to be the popular
cause against the "schemes of the aristocrats," the bugbear of that day.
He was a fighter from his youth up and his theory of government was that
of enforcing the control of the side for which he was the partisan. Such
a man could never be accepted as the father of the people.

Lincoln, coming from those whom he called the common people, feeling
with their feelings, sympathetic with their needs and ideals, was able
in the development of his powers to be accepted as the peer of the
largest intellects in the land. While knowing what was needed by the
poor whites of Kentucky, he could understand also the point of view of
Boston, New York, or Philadelphia. In place of emphasising antagonisms,
he held consistently that the highest interest of one section of the
country must be the real interest of the whole people, and that the
ruler of the nation had upon him the responsibility of so shaping the
national policy that all the people should recognise the government as
their government. It was this large understanding and width of sympathy
that made Lincoln in a sense which could be applied to no other ruler of
this country, the people's President, and no other ruler in the world
has ever been so sympathetically, so effectively in touch with all of
the fellow-citizens for whose welfare he made himself responsible. The
Latin writer, Aulus Gellius, uses for one of his heroes the term "a
classic character." These words seem to me fairly to apply to Abraham

An appreciative Englishman, writing in the London _Nation_ at the time
of the Centennial commemoration, says of Lincoln:

The greatness of Lincoln was that of a common man raised to a high
dimension. The possibility, still more the existence, of such a man
is itself a justification of democracy. We do not say that so
independent, so natural, so complete a man cannot in older societies
come to wield so large a power over the affairs and the minds of
men; we can only say that amid all the stirring movements of the
nineteenth century he has not so done. The existence of what may be
called a widespread commonalty explains the rarity of personal
eminence in America. There has been and still remains a higher
general level of personality than in any European country, and the
degree of eminence is correspondingly reduced. It is just because
America has stood for opportunity that conspicuous individuals have
been comparatively rare. Strong personality, however, has not been
rare; it is the abundance of such personality that has built up
silently into the rising fabric of the American Commonwealth,
pioneers, roadmakers, traders, lawyers, soldiers, teachers, toiling
terribly over the material and moral foundation of the country, few
of whose names have emerged or survived. Lincoln was of this stock,

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