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Philip Kearny to Oliver S. Halsted, Thursday, May 15, 1862 (Complains about General McClellan)





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Philip Kearny to Oliver S. Halsted, Thursday, May 15, 1862 (Complains about General McClellan)







From [Philip Kearny] to [Oliver S. Halsted]1, May 15, 1862

Head Quarters 3 Divn Heintzel

-mans Corps Cumberland Landing

Va. May 15th 1862.

Dear Sir:

I am sorry to find, that very far from Military Chiefs being so immaculate, that their subordinates, relying on their straight forward conduct, and truthfulness, might disregard political influence as extraneous and unnecessary, so grossly have I been outraged, (and I say so as representing my Division) by the intrigues of the General commanding this Army, that I now appeal to you, and my friends for protection against imposture.

General McClellan2 is the first Commander in history, who has either dared, or been so unprincipled, as to ignore those under him, who not only have fought a good fight, but even saved his Army, himself, and his reputation.-- And here, precisely, is the point. From a want of frankness, and reliance in his native superiority, he fears to admit the services of others, my Division in particular, lest he thereby condemns himself for a want of generalship which gave rise to the dan dangerous crisis-- So a great and successful Battle,3 where the unprecedented number of 2000, have fallen is passed over by him in silence, whilst, the day after that fearful fight, he forestalls the glory of the victors, by vamping up, in a deceitful official Telegram, a mere flurry of a skirmish, where Hancock4 (a charming officer and gentleman) with preponderating numbers, drives, for an instant, a paltry few of the enemy, with a pittance of a loss, which bespeaks the littleness of the transaction.5

This move of Hancocks, based on information that the enemy had abandoned their minor defences, opposed to our right, to concentrate their forces on our left, was gotten up at 4 1/2. P. M. expressly to relieve from pressure, the severe fight of the 3d Corps enacted by Hooker6 from 7. A. M. until my Division, at near 3. P. M. entered under fire, and took the place of the exausted remnants, demoralized by fatigue, abandonment, and want of cartridges--

The fire, that lasted from about 4 1/2 for some 20 minutes, and which then ceased, was most distinctly without results, for it was not followed up by any advance, and left me used to the fields of Battle in Europe, as in Mexico, with the full belief that an attempted succour had been given up, and that I must alone look to myself, for my own means of success. For I well knew, that besides the repeated messengers, that had been ditached to the right, by Generals Hooker, and Heintzelman,7 that all these must be aware of our severe fight, from our cannon and musketry, which still rolled with the full tide of battle. This fire, tantamount to that of a half Brigade, which I, allude to, from about 4 1/2 to 5. P. M. was the only one that took place within three miles of my position after my arrival at 2 3/4. P. M -- for I was ever constantly far in advance in the plain, in the midst of the heavy abattis. Yet, General McClellan vaunts the one, and assumes to ignore the other; the engagement, where a similar loss in the army of the Allies, constituted the great Battle of the Alma.8 An engagement, where my few (5) weak Regiments suffered more (some 450 killed and wounded) than the 12000 men of a French Division when in 59 it won for its General a world wide fame, as the victor of Montebello.9

But, when General McClellan passes over, as if in ignorance, an engagement of such great proportions, it proves, beyond the blackness of the deed, which breaks down by its iniquitous injustice the spirits of his entire soldiery, that it has been the result of the malignant design of covering up from the scrutiny of the American Public, a weakness of his own, a flaw in his Generalship, which he well knows, if once made patent to our people, would bring him down from his accidental superiority lower than the world ever dreamt of, when exercising retribution towards McDowell10 for the disasters of Bulls Run.

This action of General McClellan has but one parallel in our History, his incarcerating Stone,11 one of the ablest men of the army, on the plea, that it was done on the pressure of the Abolitionists, when it, in reality, was, to alarm, past being listened to, one, whom he knew, if questioned by a Military Committee, would not avoid bringing to light the incapacity (and subsequent Contrivances to smother it) which had exposed Colonel Baker,12 and then left him, helpless, doomed, and unsupported, at the Battle of Balls Bluff.

There is a secret in this matter, and although patriotism, on the eve of an expected action may prevent me from publishing to the world, the weakness of the man, to whom are confided our Union destinies, it does not preclude me from vindicating for myself and my command, a recognition of our service and exposure (no officer yet has ever exposed himself as I did, for the crisis demanded it,) and unburthen myself to friends.

As Stone has been Militarily killed under a false pretence, so, the secret of McClellans sending an official Bulletin, on the 6th instant after entering Williamsburg, in which he ignores all but Hancock, and is perfectly silent as to us, and our battle of serious war (although perfectly instructed by Colonel Sweitzer,13 his A. D. C. whom he had sent on the night of the 5th to me and to Heintzelman for information) is this, that he might obtain for General Hancock, an unimportant character in the crises of the 5th, that first prestige of its capability of fighting (which invariable petty disasters, and long inaction had induced many to mistrust) with which, with the eagerness of the whole North, it was ready to greet the first victor in the Army of the Potomac. And thus kill the military success before the Country of the real persons, so entitled, from the fact of the public being satiated by the first news. More serious than this not only taking from those, who merited the high sentiment of first prestige, but more particularly divert the minds of the Country, that the culpable fact was, that he, McClellan, had allowed Hookers single division to fight unsupported, from morning until my arrival near 3. P. M. -- and from the fact that his communications, from this being the direct and nearest road from Williamsburg to Yorktown, were thus put in jeopardy -- and that had a panic, or even a defeat resulted here, that all his army confusedly huddled together, with an impassable, obstructed, single defile in his rear, where trains and artillery pieces were helplessly jammed together, and stalled, must have been victims worse than at Bulls Run. The case would have been irretrivable.

P. S.

In vain, would he plead, that he disgraced Sumner,14 by sending him back to Yorktown, from dissatisfaction, at his not having extricated Hancock, after his pseud-victory -- and for sending way to the rear for me, the last troops in the far defiles, to support Hooker over pressed in front-- For it was not for General Sumner, Commander of a defined Command, to substitute himself for McClellan, the Chief-- In vain would he plead, that Heintzelman should have proved a genius, & improvised some stroke of strategy, for the worthy old General has never pretended, but to do his duty in his sphere-- And the General-in-Chief is head of all to furnish plans, and to expressly blend into a whole the energy of all -- which was impossible as he was not there.

In vain will he impute to General Hooker the committing himself to a general fight, involving the whole army, when a few Regiments would have sufficed, to hold his own, until the designs of the Chief were made known-- For if that Chief is miles in rear, when his army is in full car reer, there are very few Generals, however superior their talents ( and of such class is General Hooker) who under the long known duplicity and favoritism, and despotism of General McClellan, would have ventured to risk opprobrium on them, for hesitation, or do any more than they best they could, and rely on him for justice.

Such is the secret of this incomprehensible mystery -- and it is within the comprehension of the first citizens mind, that will spread before him the Map of Virginia.

But, if one point in this malignity, working with a monopolized telegraph, and a trammelled press, has created with me more indignation, than another, it sadly is that the fate of my two most gallant aids and very dear friends, Captain Wilson,15 A. A. Genl. and Lieut. Barnard, have been purposely kept from the honors due to their gallantry. The same as was the case, when my skirmish at Sangsters Station, produced the enemy's hurried retreat from Manassas, I was debarred by every underhand influence, from having published to the world, the heroic end of that most noble martyr to the first Cavalry success, Lieut. Hedden--16 Yes, this is a repetition of those times, for then as now, I was the first General Officer, whose Reports had been excluded from the press. General McClellan from the early commencement of his Car reer seems to have singled me out, the thirteenth on the list of 212 Brigadiers, nearly the senior Division General on the list, to be the marked victim of his indirect injustice.

However, in this matter I am not acting, however outraged, from personal motives, but to unvail to the Country, when opportunity shall permit, the weakness and unreliability of the General-in Command.

I enclose to you my Report of the Battle of the 5th.

Very Truly

Yours

Ph Kearny

Br General Comdg

3d Division 3d Corp's,

O. S. Halsted Jun Esqr

Willards Hotel, Washington.

(In Pencil at the bottom the following) This letter is not intended for publication now, but I hope, without forestalling the fearful condemnation that must follow Mj. Genl. McClellan -- for I care not to make trouble, that you will show it to all my friends, as due to me & mine

Ky.

[Note 1 Halsted was the scion of a wealthy New Jersey family who moved to Washington in 1861 and became an active lobbyist and socialite. He frequently called on Mrs. Lincoln and became a regular member of her salon. Halsted sent the following letter to Nicolay in two parts. The second part was enclosed in Halsted to Nicolay, November 7, 1862. The first letter is not in this collection.]

[Note 2 George B. McClellan]

[Note 3 The battle of Williamsburg was fought May 4 and 5. It was essentially a rear-guard action. Confederate troops under James Longstreet made a stand near Williamsburg and were attacked by Joseph Hooker's division, supported by Kearny's. The rebels disengaged and continued their withdrawal up the Peninsula during the night of May 5.]

[Note 4 Winfield S. Hancock]

[Note 5 In his May 6 report to the Secretary of War, McClellan refers to Hancock's "brilliant engagement." In fairness it should be noted that Hancock flanked the enemy's position and held his ground against severe counterattacks by superior numbers. Even Hancock's corps commander, Edwin V. Sumner, noted that the enemy's advances were "splendidly repulsed" by Hancock. See Official Records, Series I, Volume 11, Part 1, 449 and 451.]

[Note 6 Joseph Hooker]

[Note 7 Samuel P. Heintzelman]

[Note 8 The battle of the Alma, during the Crimean War, was fought on September 20, 1854. It was a decisive Allied victory.]

[Note 9 On May 20, 1859 the French and Piedmontese decisively defeated the Austrians in the Italian War of Unification. Kearny served in this war in the French cavalry.]

[Note 10 Irvin McDowell]

[Note 11 After the battle of Ball's Bluff (October 21, 1861), Brig. Gen. Charles P. Stone was arrested and imprisoned for more than six months without ever being charged with an offense. No explanation of his arrest was ever made by the government.]

[Note 12 Edward D. Baker]

[Note 13 Lt. Col. Nelson B. Sweitzer was McClellan's aide-de-camp.]

[Note 14 Edwin V. Sumner]

[Note 15 Capt. James M. Wilson, Kearny's aide, was killed at Williamsburg.]

[Note 16 1st Lt. Henry B. Hidden of the 1st New York Cavalry was killed in the engagement at Sangster's Station on March 9, 1862.]

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Abraham Lincoln to Francis P. Blair Jr., Saturday, May 18, 1861 (Relief of Gen. Harney)



Abraham Lincoln to Francis P. Blair Jr., Saturday, May 18, 1861 (Relief of Gen. Harney)

From Abraham Lincoln to Francis P. Blair Jr.[Copy in John G. Nicolay's Hand]1, May 18, 1861

Private

Washington D. C.

May 18. 1861

My Dear Sir.

We have a good deal of anxiety here about St Louis-- I understand an order has gone from the War Department to you, to be delivered or with held in your discretion relieving Gen. Harney2 from his command. I was not quite satisfied with the order when it was made, though on the whole I thought it best to make it; but since then I have become more doubtful of its propriety-- I do not write now to countermand it, but to say I wish you would withhold it, unless in your judgement the necessity to the contrary is very urgent.

There are several reasons for this. We better have him a friend than an enemy. It will dissatisfy a good many who otherwise would be quiet. More than all, we first relieved him, then restored him, & now if we relieve him again the public will ask, "why all this vacillation"

Still if, in your judgement, it is indispensable let it be so.

Yours very truly

A Lincoln

[Note 1 Early in 1861, General William S. Harney, commander of the Department of the West, had stood for conciliation between increasingly secessionist state elements (led by Governor Claiborne Jackson) and Federal authorities in Missouri. However, during Harney's absence from St. Louis Federal troops led by Captain Nathaniel Lyon broke up a state militia encampment on the edge of the city at Camp Jackson on May 10, and in the riot that followed 28 people were reported killed, thus exacerbating tensions in St. Louis and throughout the state. Lyon's aggressive policy had the support of Congressman Francis P. Blair, Jr., and Harney's effort to compromise matters in Missouri upon his return had the support of neither Lyon, Blair nor their supporters. Blair finally delivered the order to Harney that relieved him of his command on May 30.]

[Note 2 William S. Harney]

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Edwin M. Stanton, Salmon P. Chase, Caleb B. Smith, and Edward Bates to Abraham Lincoln, [September 2, 1862] (Remonstrance against General McClellan; endorsed by Bates)

From Edwin M. Stanton, Salmon P. Chase, Caleb B. Smith, and Edward Bates to Abraham Lincoln, [September 2, 1862]

Copy

The undersigned, who have been honored with your selection, as a part of your confidential advisers, deeply impressed with our great responsibility in the present crisis, do but perform a painful duty in declaring to you our deliberate opinion that, at this time, it is not safe to entrust to Major General George B. McClellan the command of any considerable portion of the armies of the United States.1

And we hold ourselves ready, at any time to explain to you, in detail, the reasons on which this opinion is founded ... (Signed by) E. M. Stanton, Secy War

S. P. Chase, Secy Treasury

C. B. Smith Sec Interior

Edwd Bates ... Atty Genl

Note.2 M. Blair3 P. M. G. declined to sign (no reason given that I heard but preserving a cautious reticence)

Gideon Welles, Secy Navy, declined to sign, for some reasons of etiquette, but openly declared in Council, his entire want of confidence in the general

W. H. Seward,4 Sec of State, absent

The Prest was in deep distress. He had already, with, apparently, Gen Halleck's5 approbation, assigned Genl McClellan to the command of the forts in & around Washington & entrusted him with the defence of the City.6 At the opening of the Council, he seemed wrung by the bitterest anguish -- said he felt almost ready to hang himself -- in ansr to something said by Mr Chase, he sd he was far from doubting our sincerity, but that he was so distressed, precisely because he knew we were earnestly sincere.

He was, manifestly alarmed for the safety of the City-- He had been talking with Gen Halleck (who, I think is cowed) & had gotten the idea that Pope's7 army was utterly demoralized -- saying that "if Pope's army came within the lines (of the forts) as a mob, the City wd be overrun by the enemy in 48 hours!!"

I said that if Halleck doubted his ability to defend the City, he ought to be instantly, broke-- 50.000 men were enough to defend it against all the power of the enemy-- If the City fell, it would be by treachery in our leaders, & not by lack of power to defend. The shame was that we were reduced to the defensive, instead of the aggressive policy &c -- That all the army was not needed to defend the City, & now was the time, above all others, to strike the enemy behind & at a distance &c

[Note 1 This document is Edward Bates' revision of a similar, but much harsher petition gotten up by Edwin M. Stanton and Salmon P. Chase. Bates, upon reading the Stanton-Chase petition, agreed to sign on the condition that he be allowed to revise its contents. The authors agreed and Bates produced this rephrased and much less impulsive version.]

[Note 2 The balance of the document is entirely in Bates' own hand, and is an account of the cabinet meeting of September 2, 1862 at which the signers of the petition had planned to give it to the President.]

[Note 3 Montgomery Blair]

[Note 4 William H. Seward]

[Note 5 Henry W. Halleck]

[Note 6 In the wake of the disaster that had befallen the Union army under John Pope at Second Bull Run, Lincoln had reluctantly decided to call upon General McClellan to reorganize and command the forces defending Washington.]

[Note 7 John Pope]



Edwin M. Stanton, Salmon P. Chase, Caleb B. Smith, and Edward Bates to Abraham Lincoln, [September 2, 1862] (Remonstrance against General McClellan; endorsed by Bates)




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Abraham Lincoln, November 13, 1862 (Executive Order concerning Confiscation Act)

Abraham Lincoln, Executive Order [Copy in a Secretarial Hand]1, November 13, 1862

Executive Mansion, November 13. 1862.

Ordered by the President

That the Attorney General be charged with the superintendence & direction of all proceedings to be had under the Act of Congress of the 17th of July 1862 entitled "an Act to suppress Insurrection, to punish Treason and Rebellion, to seize and confiscate the property of Rebels, and for other purposes", in so far as may concern the seizure, prosecution and condemnation of the estate, property and effects of Rebels and Traitors as mentioned and provided for in the fifth, sixth and seventh sections of the said Act of Congress.

And the Attorney General is authorised and required to give to the Attornies and Marshals of the United States, such instructions and directions as he may find needful and convenient touching all such seizures, prosecutions and condemnations. And moreover, to authorise all such Attornies and Marshals, whenever there may be reasonable ground to fear any forcible resistance to them, in the discharge of their respective duties, in this behalf, to call upon any military officer, in command of the forces of the United States to give to them such aid, protection and support as may be necessary to enable them safely and efficiently to discharge their respective duties.

And all such commanding officers are required, promptly, to obey such call, and to render the necessary service, as far as may be in their power consistently with their other duties.

Abraham Lincoln

[ Endorsed by Edward Bates:]

March 1864

Atty General to the Secy of War.

About military confiscation-- Mr Bates &c

The Prests orders to the Atty Genl & c

[Note 1 The Second Confiscation Act of July 17, 1862, laid the penalty of confiscation of property on all persons convicted of treason, or of participating in rebellion against the United States, and on wide categories of military and civil officers in the Confederacy. Attorney General Bates interpreted the act quite literally and felt that it should affect only those persons actually convicted of the crimes described. As a result very little property was confiscated under the act's terms. ]

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Oliver S. Halsted Jr. to John G. Nicolay, Friday, November 07, 1862 (Complaints against General McClellan)



Oliver S. Halsted Jr. to John G. Nicolay, Friday, November 07, 1862 (Complaints against General McClellan)

From From Oliver S. Halsted Jr. to John G. Nicolay1, November 7, 1862

Newark Nov. 7, 1862.

Friend Nicolay

According to promise I send the balance of Genl. Kearnys scathing review of the Battle of Williamsburg in general, and Genl. McClellan in particular.2 The document is at your service for private circulation & use to any extent you may think best.3 Certain high dignitaries, no doubt will be astonished, and not altogether displeased with its scalding exposure of "impotence", "imposture", duplicity, hypocracy, "weakness and unreliability". It makes a sorry picture, and will, in due season, be given to the public as part of the history of the times.

The people and the Army want facts -- truth and accountability should be exacted. Commanding Genls. should be required to make, constantly, accurate Reports, and from time to time they should be given to the public. Let all responsibility rest where it properly belongs -- Court Martial, & punish all who render themselves liable; and above all give to the nation the results of all such proceedings, and thereby show confidence in the people, & they will be sure to return the compliment by retaining their Confidence in the President. As it now stands he is made responsible for all blunders and shortcomings-- And with his extreme good-heartedness he has undertaken to shoulder it all, and stand, as a wall of fire between the Culprits & the Country. It wont do, the fabled Atlas himself would be crushed under the load. I regret, as one of his fast, firmest friends to be compelled to admit, that many of his staunch supporters begin to falter -- to doubt, his firmness, promptness and determination to stand by, & carry out, his prominent measures -- and compel those around & under him to support him cordially, without an if or a but, or to yield to those who will. I enclose a letter to the President from the Executive Dept. of Illinois, which I was to have handed to his Excellency, will you be good enough to place it in his hand, & I will consider my mission filled.

Also find a clear copy of my " Card" on the Kearny Correspondence for the Presidents private use at some leisure moment. It will answer as preliminary to certain exposures which will certainly come.

The people have been studiously, purposely & basely, wrongfully educated, in reference to the acts & doings of the "Army of the Potomac" and its "Grand Commander".

Generals & leading Officers who might possibly prove rivals, or were supposed to stand in his way-- Cabinet ministers, who have dared to criticise his acts, or want of action -- and finally the President himself, have, one and all, been compelled to feel their weight & effect of the determination of his blind worshippers & secession supporters to sustain him, at all hazzards, for political or traitorous purposes, at the expense it may be of the very life of the Nation. With an infatuation & want of foresight perfectly unaccountable, leading Statesmen, editors and politicians who should have known better, have stood silent & unmoved, aiding & abetting, directly & indirectly the misrepresentations, falsehood & deception by which was manufactured, and bolstered up a bastard public sentiment which has sought to make an idol of a species of " Golden Calf", and served to hamper & trammel the President, and his true & honest friends for the last six months. Not a palpable or recognised blunder, failure, or short coming of the Grand Army, or its immaculate General, but has been at once attributed to the unwarrantable interference of others, or to causes over which its great leader had no control, and have occurred not by reason, but in spite of his brilliant efforts, great talents, & unrivalled strategic genius. With paid Reporters, & subsidised correspondents, a "monopolized telegraph & a trammelled press" defeats & repulses have been converted into successes and victories for the "Young Napoleon's" peculiar benefit -- whilst as the Newspaper Record stands he has been "Cribbed, cramped, cabbinned & confined by the President & Cabinet, and they alone made responsible for all of disaster and disgrace under which the Army & the Country have been compelled to sorrow & to Suffer. The most outrageous & shameful part of the whole matter is, that McClellan, well knowing the fictitious and false foundation upon which designing demagogues & secession sympathisers were attempting to build up the fame of their favorite Genl. and tool at the expense of others; even those to whom he was subordinate, and in honor, bound to sustain at all hazzards; even in derogation & to the damage of, the only person to whom every patriot is bound to cling in this one hour of trial as the great hope of the Nation -- the President himself -- he should stand calmly by, silent & without one word to check, rebuke, or correct the disgraceful falsehoods and misrepresentations constantly put forth & promulgated by members of his Staff, his confidential friends and applauding press. He has gone up like a Rocket, he will come down like a Stick. When the facts are all known, I predict he will go lower in public estimation than any Genl. this side of Benedict Arnold. He alone has cost the Nation $ 500,000,000 & 100,000 lives at least, & our people will in due time, be appalled and utterly disgusted at the manner in which the record has been falsified, and they blindly misled & deceived to build up & sustain the greatest Military Impostor, and Humbug, of this or any other age.

Had the President displaced him previous to the late elections, a grand Secession & Lo-co-fo-co wail & howl would have gone up, and their results been attributed to no other cause. Thankful am I that he was given one more chance to save his stars pending the political contest.

A removal now will be sustained by all who propose honestly & fairly to uphold the Union, the President and the prompt prosecution of the War to subdue Traitors, and put down this most damnable Rebellion. As predicted in some of my former letters, he will accomplish nothing-- Two to four miles a day, after six weeks or more of unaccountable delay, & wasted precious time, will not overtake, or force a fight from Generals who fully understand his peculiar "strategic" talent & slow tactics, and who have been given all the leisure they required, for retreat & preparation

Lee wont fight him now, unless he can get him to a disadvantage and surely whip him. As usual, the Army will find itself stuck in the mud, and in winter Quarters under Canvas, whilst the Rebels, as at Manassas, will be comfortably housed in Huts, in the best location of their own selection.

McClellan is strongly committed against a Winter Campaign in Va. and any such effort under him, even if forced would be made to fail, as its success would be a condemnation too manifest & rebuking, for his last winter Strategy. The great regret I have is, that no matter who succeeds him, if removed, which I am quite sure must come, Hooker, Burnside, Banks,4 or any other favorite progressive General, they will find themselves at once over-loaded with an Army in a questionable position, and at a very bad season to make an aggressive Campaign. If we advance & win now, it must be in spite of McClellans blunders, under every disadvantage, and in face of the very best Rebel preparation.

I have had an opportunity to confer with leading men both in New Jersey & New York both Democrats, Whigs, & Republicans, & am fully satisfied, that what I stated to the President on Wednesday was strictly true. The apparent Democratic victories, mean nothing more, nothing less than that the people having furnished all the men & means required will not brook further delays & defeats to accomodate or sustain any Cabinet officer, or General, or mere political & party policy

They expect information, facts, light & truth -- less personal oppression in loyal States more Rebel persecutions & punishments in disloyal. They claim results, advances, success, victories, and will not stand by & sustain those who fail to accomplish them. Seymour Wood & co, 5 even though they mean mischief -- which I doubt, all their fuss & fury signifying nothing but their own political power & advancement, -- will be powerless under an active, advancing policy.

Knowing them as I do I predict an early manifesto, standing by the President & the prompt prosecution of the War, provided the President stands by himself & exhibits in any decided manner, that firmness & determination which We do know he possesses when he once "puts that foot down". Excuse this long epistle. I write but seldom on these subjects, when I do it is "Currente Calamo",6 frankly, and as I really think and believe. With best wishes, & kindest regards to the President I remain Resptly --

Your Obt Servt

O. S. Halsted Jr.

P. S.7

In vain, would he plead, that he disgraced Sumner, by sending him back to Yorktown, from dissatisfaction, at his not having extricated Hancock, after his pseud-victory -- and for sending way to the rear for me, the last troops in the far defiles, to support Hooker over pressed in front-- For it was not for General Sumner, Commander of a defined Command, to substitute himself for McClellan, the Chief-- In vain would he plead, that Heintzelman should have proved a genius, & improvised some stroke of strategy, for the worthy old General has never pretended, but to do his duty in his sphere-- And the General-in-Chief is head of all to furnish plans, and to expressly blend into a whole the energy of all -- which was impossible as he was not there.

In vain will he impute to General Hooker the committing himself to a general fight, involving the whole army, when a few Regiments would have sufficed, to hold his own, until the designs of the Chief were made known-- For if that Chief is miles in rear, when his army is in full car reer, there are very few Generals, however superior their talents ( and of such class is General Hooker) who under the long known duplicity and favoritism, and despotism of General McClellan, would have ventured to risk opprobrium on them, for hesitation, or do any more than they best they could, and rely on him for justice.

Such is the secret of this incomprehensible mystery -- and it is within the comprehension of the first citizens mind, that will spread before him the Map of Virginia.

But, if one point in this malignity, working with a monopolized telegraph, and a trammelled press, has created with me more indignation, than another, it sadly is that the fate of my two most gallant aids and very dear friends, Captain Wilson, A. A. Genl. and Lieut. Barnard, have been purposely kept from the honors due to their gallantry. The same as was the case, when my skirmish at Sangsters Station, produced the enemy's hurried retreat from Manassas, I was debarred by every underhand influence, from having published to the world, the heroic end of that most noble martyr to the first Cavalry success, Lieut. Hedden-- Yes, this is a repetition of those times, for then as now, I was the first General Officer, whose Reports had been excluded from the press. General McClellan from the early commencement of his Car reer seems to have singled me out, the thirteenth on the list of 212 Brigadiers, nearly the senior Division General on the list, to be the marked victim of his indirect injustice.

However, in this matter I am not acting, however outraged, from personal motives, but to unvail to the Country, when opportunity shall permit, the weakness and unreliability of the General-in Command.

I enclose to you my Report of the Battle of the 5th.

Very Truly

Yours

Ph Kearny

Br General Comdg

3d Division 3d Corp's,

O. S. Halsted Jun Esqr

Willards Hotel, Washington.

(In Pencil at the bottom the following) This letter is not intended for publication now, but I hope, without forestalling the fearful condemnation that must follow Mj. Genl. McClellan -- for I care not to make trouble, that you will show it to all my friends, as due to me & mine

Ky.

[Note 1 Halsted was the scion of a wealthy New Jersey family who moved to Washington in 1861 and became an active lobbyist and socialite. He frequently called on Mrs. Lincoln and became a regular member of her salon.]

[Note 2 See Philip Kearny to Oliver S. Halsted Jr., May 15, 1862. General Kearny led a division in the Battle of Williamsburg that was fought on May 4-5, 1862. Kearny was killed in action on September 1, 1862 and many, including Kearny's widow, blamed McClellan for his death. See Agnes M. Kearny to Lincoln, September 13, 1862.]

[Note 3 By November 1862, Lincoln was under great pressure to remove McClellan from command of the Army of the Potomac. McClellan had failed to pursue Lee following the Union victory at Antietam in September and many attributed the losses suffered by Republicans in the 1862 elections to McClellan's failure to destroy Lee's army.]

[Note 4 Joseph Hooker, Ambrose E. Burnside and Nathaniel P. Banks]

[Note 5 Horatio Seymour and Fernando Wood, prominent New York Democrats.]

[Note 6 A Latin phrase that means "with the pen running on."]

[Note 7 The following postscript belongs with Kearny's May 15, 1862 letter to Halsted. Apparently Halsted sent the letter to Nicolay in two parts. For the sake of clarity, the postscript has also been included with the transcription for the body of Kearny's letter.]

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Abraham Lincoln to Joseph Hooker, Wednesday, May 06, 1863 (Is Hooker suffering from dust?; endorsed by John G. Nicolay)

From Abraham Lincoln to Joseph Hooker1 , [May 6] 1863

War Department

Washington City,

1863.

Major General Hooker

Are you suffering with dust this morning?

[ Date and Note in Shorthand in Another Hand:]

May 6, 1863,

[ Endorsement:]

Written by the President, but not sent out in the morning of May 6th, after a pouring rain all night and during the morning.-- Subsequently turned out that on the 6th Hooker had recrossed the river.

[Note 1 This telegram was never sent as inclement weather had disrupted the telegraph. See Collected Works, VI, 198.]
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Abraham Lincoln to Stephen A. Hurlbut, [August 1863] (Contrabands)

From Abraham Lincoln to Stephen A. Hurlbut [Draft]1, [August 1863]

Executive Mansion,

Washington

The within discusses a difficult subject -- the most difficult with which we have to deal. The able bodied male s contrabands are already employed by the Army-- But the rest are in confusion and destitution-- They better be set to digging their subsistence out of the ground. If there are plantations near you, on either side of the river, which are abandoned by rebel their owners, first put as many contrabands on such, as they will hold -- that is, as can draw subsistence from them-- If some still remain, get loyal men, of character in the vicinity, to take them temporarily on wages, to be paid to the contrabands themselves -- such men obliging themselves to not let the contrabands be kidnapped, or forcibly carried away. Of course, if any voluntarily make arrangements to work for their living, you will not hinder them. It is thought best to leave details to your discretion subject to the provisions of the Acts of Congress & the orders of the War Department.

By Direction of the President.

[ Endorsed by Lincoln:]

Gen. Hurlbut.

[Note 1 General Hurlbut, Union commander in Mississippi, had sent Lincoln a copy of an Aug. 10, 1863 letter he had written to S. B. Walker ( q. v .), in which he outlined unofficially his view of how things stood between the federal government and the individual rebels states, particularly respecting the status of slaves in those states. The present document is probably the retained copy of Lincoln's reply. The recipient's copy has not been located, so it not clear what document -- the "within" -- Lincoln included, or intended to include, since the copy of the letter Hurlbut sent to Lincoln is still in this collection.]
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Hannibal Hamlin to Abraham Lincoln, Thursday, September 25, 1862 (Emancipation Proclamation)

From Hannibal Hamlin to Abraham Lincoln, September 25, 1862

Bangor Sept. 25 1862.

My Dear Sir

I do not know, as, in the multiplicity of the correspondence with which you are burthened, this note will ever meet your eye-- But I desire to express my undissembled and sincere thanks for your Emancipation Proclamation.1 It will stand as the great act of the age-- It will prove to be wise in Statesmanship, as it is Patriotic-- It will be enthusiastically approved and sustained and future generations will, as I do, say God bless you for the great and noble act.

Yours Sincerely

H Hamlin

[Note 1 Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862.]
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Schuyler Colfax to Abraham Lincoln, Wednesday, December 31, 1862 (Emancipation Proclamation)

From Schuyler Colfax to Abraham Lincoln, December 31, 1862

Washington, Dec 31, 1862

My dear Sir,

I returned from New York yesterday & hoped to see you this morning but the Cabinet meeting prevented.

The New York Editors are anxious, if possible, that your Proclamation, if ready, may be telegraphed by to the Associated Press this afternoon or evening, so that they can have it in their New Year's morning newspapers with Edl. articles on it. You are aware, of course, that, as no papers are printed throughout the land the morning after New Years, if this is not done, it will not be published till the in any morning paper till Jan 3rd, robbing it of its New Year's character.1

Respy Yrs

Schuyler Colfax

[Note 1 Lincoln did not finish the final version of the Emancipation Proclamation until January 1. On December 31, Lincoln's private secretary telegraphed Horace Greeley and Henry J. Raymond and informed the editors that the final text of the proclamation would not be telegraphed to them until January 2. See Michael Burlingame ed. With Lincoln in the White House: Letters, Memoranda, and Other Writings of John G. Nicolay, 1860-1865 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 2000), 98.]
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Green Adams to Abraham Lincoln, Wednesday, December 31, 1862 (Emancipation Proclamation)

From Green Adams to Abraham Lincoln, December 31, 1862

Office of the Auditor of the Treasury

For the Post Office Department,

Decr 31st 1862.

For God,s sake, stand by the proclamation--1 No taking back, show the people you intend to stand firm by any policy you may adopt & the people will stand by you

The Good men of Kentucky will stand by you in every effort to crush the rebellion, and if you will let the political jugglers know they have to toe the mark, they will sink & come too

Green Adams

[Note 1 This is a reference to the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln had issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862 and the final version of the proclamation was to be issued on January 1, 1863.]
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Abraham Lincoln, Thursday, January 08, 1863 (Executive Order on July 17th Act of Congress on Insurrection, Treason and Rebellion, and Confiscation of Property)

Abraham Lincoln, Executive Order [Copy in a Secretarial Hand]1, January 8, 1863

Executive Mansion

January 8. 1863.

Ordered by the President:

Whereas on the 13th day of November, 1862, it was ordered "that the Attorney General be charged with the superintendence and direction of all proceedings to be had under the Act of Congress of the 17 of July 1862 entitled "an Act to suppress insurrection, to punish treason and rebellion, and to seize and confiscate the property of rebels, and for other purposes" in so far as may concern the seizure, prosecution and condemnation of the estate, property and effects of rebels and traitors as mentioned and provided for in the fifth, sixth, and seventh sections of the said Act of Congress".

And whereas, since that time it has been ascertained that divers prosecutions have been instituted in the Courts of the United States, for the condemnation of property of rebels and traitors under the Act of Congress of August the 6th 1861, entitled "an Act to confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes" which equally require the superintending care of the Government: Therefore--

It is now, further ordered by the President: That the Attorney General be charged with superintendence and direction of all proceedings to be had under the said last-mentioned Act (the Act of 1861) as fully in all respects, as under the first-mentioned Act (the Act of 1862).

Abraham Lincoln.

[Note 1 The Second Confiscation Act of July 17, 1862, laid the penalty of confiscation of property on all persons convicted of treason, or of participating in rebellion against the United States, and on wide categories of military and civil officers in the Confederacy. The First Confiscation Act of August 6, 1861 deprived slave owners of slaves who were used in support of Confederate armies.]
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Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois.
Abraham Lincoln, [April 1863] (Resolution on Slavery)

Abraham Lincoln, Resolution on Slavery [Copy in John Hay's Hand]1, [April 1863]

Copy.

Whereas, while heretofore States, and Nations, have tolerated slavery, recently, for the first in the world, an attempt has been made to construct a new Nation, upon the basis of, and with the primary, and fundamental object to maintain, enlarge, and perpetuate human slavery, therefore

Resolved, That no such embryo State should ever be recognized by, or admitted into, the family of Christian and civilized nations; and that all Christian and civilized men everywhere should, by all lawful means resist to the utmost, such recognition or admission.

[ Endorsed on Envelope by Lincoln:]

Resolution for abroad.

Slavery

[Note 1 Concerned about the prospect of European governments recognizing the Confederacy, Lincoln drafted this resolution in hopes that it would be adopted by supporters of the Union cause abroad, especially in England. Using Senator Charles Sumner as an intermediary, he sent the original of this resolution to the English liberal, John Bright. See Collected Works, VI, 176-77n.]
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William Butler to John G. Nicolay, Saturday, April 11, 1863 (General Grant and situation at Vicksburg)

From William Butler to John G. Nicolay, April 11, 1863

Springfield April 11th 1863

Sir I received your inclosure this morning-- Jesse Hatch & Phillips1 has just returned from Vixburg they return dispirited-- Grant is thare with a fine Army, all agree in this; but think him unfit for this position, thare without a plan wating to see the Salvation of the lord-- Jesse is a Grant man as you know, but says; but little Hatch & Phillips infact all who came from there concur in the Opinian; that, If Grant is Suffered to remain in Command Our Army on the Mississippi is to be lost in detale and by the approaching Season. I have only One Consalation; Thomas2 is thare & he will report the facts to Lincoln & Hallock If they will Only Act promply All Concur in the opinion that Grant is brave & would make a good Col; But cant keep House for so large a family-- Phillips thinks he is effecting One good thing -- Consentrating all the thieves & hores from the City of Newyork Chicago & St Louis; there Seemes to be an open field for all -- & that portion of his Army as I understand is Steadily increasing by accessions from the Officers of Our Army-- All hands Comeing from below agree in the Opinion; that their are more goods Shipped from Cairo South at this time than ever before in our [palmyest?] days of peace and prosperity

A general refermation must take place that Can Only be done by a Commander who is Competant to Command-- The Goverment has now experimented for two years by this time they aught to begin to discrimenate The people are doing it for them their Voice will eventually be heard

we have Hooker Burnside Hunter Rosencrants Pope3 & a half dozen Others either Pope or Burnsides might be used in the Mississippi Army If it was not for the prejudices existing at Washington George this may be kept all Smooth for a time. But when a reaction takes place it will take all under who are ingaged in it. I dont think Mr. Lincoln has any feeling upon the Subject Only to do right. But I do think Hallock has, and is Certainly trameling Mr Lincolns better Judgment

If you Can spare time I would be pleased to hear from you Occasionally

I am Sir Yours Respectfully

William Butler

[Note 1 Jesse K. Dubois, Ozias M. Hatch and David L. Phillips]

[Note 2 Lorenzo Thomas]

[Note 3 Joseph Hooker, Ambrose E. Burnside, David Hunter, William S. Rosecrans and John Pope]
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Abraham Lincoln to George B. McClellan, Wednesday, April 09, 1862 (Reply to McClellan's complaints)

From Abraham Lincoln to George B. McClellan [Copy]1, April 9, 1862

Washington, April 9. 1862

My dear Sir.

Your despatches complaining that you are not properly sustained, while they do not offend me, do pain me very much.

Blencker's Division was withdrawn from you before you left here; and you knew the pressure under which I did it, and, as I thought, acquiesced in it -- certainly not without reluctance.2

After you left, I ascertained that less than twenty thousand unorganized men, without a single field battery, were all you designed to be left for the defense of Washington, and Manassas Junction; and part of this even, was to go to Gen. Hooker's old position-- Gen. Bank's corps, once designed for Manassas Junction, was diverted, and tied up on the line of Winchester and Strausburg, and could not leave it without again exposing the upper Potomac, and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad--

This presented, (or would present, when McDowell and Sumner should be gone) a great temptation to the enemy to turn back from the Rappahannock, and sack Washington-- My explicit order that Washington should, by the judgment of all the commanders of Army Corps, be left entirely secure, had been neglected-- It was precisely this that drove me to detain McDowell--3

I do not forget that I was satisfied with your arrangement to leave Banks at Mannassas Junction; but when that arrangement was broken up, and nothing was substituted for it, of course I was not satisfied-- I was constrained to substitute something for it myself-- And now allow me to ask "Do you really think I should permit the line from Richmond, via Mannassas Junction, to this city to be entirely open, except what resistance could be presented by less than twenty thousand unorganized troops?" This is a question which the country will not allow me to evade--

There is a curious mystery about the number of the troops now with you. When I telegraphed you on the 6th saying you had over a hundred thousand with you, I had just obtained from the Secretary of War, a statement, taken as he said, from your own returns, making 108.000 then with you, and en route to you. You now say you will have but 85.000, when all en route to you shall have reached you-- How can the discrepancy of 23.000 be accounted for?4

As to Gen. Wool's command, I understand it is doing for you precisely what a like number of your own would have to do, if that command was away--

I suppose the whole force which has gone forward for you, is with you by this time; and if so, I think it is the precise time for you to strike a blow-- By delay the enemy will relatively gain upon you -- that is, he will gain faster, by fortifications and re-inforcements, than you can by re-inforcements alone--

And, once more let me tell you, it is indispensable to you that you strike a blow-- I am poweless to help this-- You will do me the justice to remember that I always insisted, that going down the Bay in search of a field, instead of fighting at or near Mannassas, was only shifting, and not surmounting, a difficulty -- that we would find the same enemy, and the same, or equal, intrenchments, at either place-- The country will not fail to note -- is now noting -- that the present hesitation to move upon an intrenched enemy, is but the story of Manassas repeated--

I beg to assure you that I have never written you, or spoken to you, in greater kindness of feeling than now, nor with a fuller purpose to sustain you, so far as in my most anxious judgment, I consistently can-- But you must act.

Yours very truly

A. Lincoln

[Note 1 Lincoln and General McClellan had conflicting notions of what the proper object of the Union army should be. To Lincoln, the destruction of the enemy's force should be the goal. To McClellan it should be the capture of Richmond, and the proper means of accomplishing this was to attack Richmond from the east, via the peninsula between the James and York Rivers, where the navy could protect his supply lines. Moving a large army to the peninsula necessitated the removal of a substantial force from the line between Washington and Manassas, thus, as Lincoln saw it, leaving Washington without adequate defense. And to Lincoln, the political damage that would result from the loss of Washington would be incalculable. Lincoln therefore was skeptical about the Peninsular Campaign from the outset, and the fundamental tension between him and McClellan is obvious in this letter.
Another copy of this letter is elsewhere in this collection.]

[Note 2 See McClellan to Lincoln, March 31, 1862.]

[Note 3 Irvin McDowell's corps, which amounted to about a third of the force which McClellan intended to take to the peninsula, was retained to defend Washington on April 3, by Lincoln's order. Per McClellan's anxious request, a portion of McDowell's command was later restored to McClellan. See McClellan to Lincoln, April 5, 1862, McClellan to Lincoln, April 6, 1862.]

[Note 4 See Collected Works, V, 182. McClellan's response was that his number was accurate, since General John E. Wool's command had been taken out of his control. Wool, in command at Fortress Monroe, could only "protect my communication in rear of this point at this time," and could not be used for an assault upon Richmond. See McClellan to Lincoln, April 7, 1862.]

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