BECK index


War by Conscription

by Sanderson Beck



White House
January 25, 1863


At the beginning of the year
General Burnside submitted his resignation,
but I declined to accept it.
Now after his latest failure trying to cross
the Rappahannock during a rainstorm,
I have accepted his resignation
and appointed Joe Hooker.
He is called “Fighting Joe Hooker”
because he can fight.
I think that is pretty well established,
but whether he can keep tavern
for a large army is not so sure.

Mr. President,
I think Hooker is a good choice.

I have my doubts because I think
there are two Hookers in the same man.
I am tempted to resign,
but I will give him a chance.



Mr. President, this is Wendell Phillips,
Francis Bird, Elizur Wright, J. H. Stephenson,
George Stearns, Congressman Oakes Ames,
and Reverend Moncure Conway.

Yes, I know,
you are the gentlemen from Boston.
Please sit down.

Mr. President,
we have come to express our gratitude and joy
at the Emancipation Proclamation,
and we would like to know how it is working.

I did not expect much from it at first,
and consequently I was not disappointed.
I had hoped, and I still hope that
something will come of it after awhile.
All I can say now is that I believe
the Proclamation has knocked
the bottom out of slavery,
though at no time have I expected
any sudden results from it.
I struggled nearly a year and a half
to get along without touching the institution;
and when finally I conditionally
determined to touch it,
I gave a hundred days fair notice of my purpose
to all the states and people within which time
they could have turned it wholly aside
by simply again becoming good citizens
of the United States.
They chose to disregard it,
and I made the peremptory proclamation
on what appeared to me
to be a military necessity.
And being made, it must stand.
“Broke eggs cannot be mended.”
I have issued the Emancipation Proclamation,
and I can not retract it.

We are aware of the deadly hostility
it has naturally excited in pro-slavery quarters,
and some northern people,
who are now anti-slavery, are not satisfied
that it is being honestly carried out
by all the nation’s agents
and generals in the South.

My own impression, Mr. Phillips,
is that the masses of the country
generally are dissatisfied chiefly
at our lack of military successes.
Defeat and failure in the field
make everything seem wrong.
Most of us here present have been
nearly all our lives working in minorities,
and many have got into a habit
of being dissatisfied.

No, no.

At any rate it has been very rare
that an opportunity of running
this administration has been lost.

If we see this administration
earnestly working to free the country
from slavery and its rebellion,
we will show you how we can run it
into another four years of power.

Oh, Mr. Phillips, I have ceased
to have any personal feeling
or expectation in that matter—
I do not say I never had any—
so abused and borne upon as I have been.
I must bear this load
which the country has entrusted to me
as well as I can and do the best I can with it.


Lincoln is meeting with a Jewish delegation led by CESAR KASKEL.

Mr. President, on December 17, 1862
General Grant issued an order expelling all Jews
from his Department of Tennessee
and declaring that no Jew would be allowed
to apply for a trade permit.

And so the children of Israel were driven
from the happy land of Canaan?

Yes, and that is why we have come unto
Father Abraham's bosom, asking protection.

And this protection they shall have at once.
I shall write a note immediately
to General Halleck
canceling Grant’s general order
because it was prescribed
for an entire religious class,
some of whom are fighting in our ranks.
I do not want a class or a nationality
condemned on account of a few sinners.

Thank you, Mr. President,
and may God bless you.


Lincoln is talking with his friend and his bodyguard MARSHAL WARD HILL LAMON.

Lincoln, you know that Chase favors Hooker.
I have heard that there may be
a scheme to depose you
and appoint a military dictator in your place.

My dear Lamon, you are my bodyguard;
but I think for a man of accredited courage
you are the most panicky person I ever knew;
you can see more dangers to me
than all the other friends I have.
You are all the time exercised about
somebody taking my life—murdering me;
and now you have discovered a new danger.
Now you think the people
of this great government
are likely to turn me out of office.
I do not fear this from the people any more
than I fear assassination from an individual.
Now, to show you my appreciation
of what my French friends call a coup d’etat,
let me read you a letter
I have written to General Hooker.

Lincoln opens a drawer in the table and takes out a letter to read.

LINCOLN (Cont’d.)
“General: I have placed you at the head
of the Army of the Potomac.
Of course I have done this upon what
appear to me to be sufficient reasons,
and yet I think it best for you to know that
there are some things in regard to which
I am not quite satisfied with you.
I believe you to be a brave and skillful soldier,
which of course I like.
I also believe you do not mix politics
with your profession, in which you are right.
You have confidence in yourself,
which is a valuable
if not an indispensable quality.
You are ambitious,
which within reasonable bounds
does good rather than harm;
but I think that during General Burnside's
command of the army
you have taken counsel of your ambition
and thwarted him as much as you could,
in which you did a great wrong to the country
and to a most meritorious
and honorable brother officer.
I have heard, in such a way as to believe it,
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 successes
can set up dictators.
What I now ask of you is military success,
and I will risk the dictatorship.
The government will support you
to the utmost of its ability,
which is neither more nor less than it has done
and will do for all commanders.
I much fear that the spirit that
you have aided to infuse into the army
of criticizing their commander
and withholding confidence from him
will now turn upon you.
I shall assist you as far as I can to put it down.
Neither you nor Napoleon,
if he were alive again,
could get any good out of an army
while such a spirit prevails in it.
And now beware of rashness,
but with energy and sleepless vigilance
go forward and give us victories.


GENERAL JOE HOOKER has been reading the letter aloud to NOAH BROOKS.

“… and give us victories.”
The President tells me that you know
all about this letter he wrote to me
when he put me in command of this army.

I was so impressed by that letter that
I could repeat most of it from memory.

The President is mistaken.
I never thwarted Burnside
in any way, shape or manner.
That is just such a letter
as a father might write to his son.
It is a beautiful letter,
and although I think he was harder on me
than I deserved,
I will say that I love the man who wrote it.
After I have got to Richmond,
I shall give that letter to you
to have published.


Lincoln is saying good-bye to Hooker. SENATOR BENJAMIN WADE and Noah Brooks are also in his office.

General, we shall expect to have
some good news from you very soon.

Hooker goes out, and SERGEANT J. M. STRADLING comes in.

What can I do for you, my young friend?

I want a permit to ride a steamer to Aquia Creek
so that I may join up with the cavalry again.
Your secretary Hay gave me this card
for you to sign.

Stradling hands the card to Lincoln, who signs it and hands it back.

If I have any influence
with the steamboat captains,
I think that will take you to the front.
Senator, we have had the head of the Army here
and learned from him all he cared to tell.
Now we have here the tail of the Army;
so let us get from him
how the rank and file feel about matters.
I mean no reflection on you, Sergeant,
when I say the tail of the Army.
Many men are deserting this winter,
and there must be some good cause.
Either the Army is opposed to me, to the generals,
or to the Emancipation Proclamation,
and I want to learn about conditions.
None of the generals desert or resign,
and we could spare a number of them better than
we can spare so many privates.
Will you enlighten me on these points, Sergeant?

Mr. President, so far as I know,
the Army has the utmost confidence
in your honesty and ability to manage this war.
So far as I can learn,
the Army had no faith
in the ability of General Burnside.
He fought his battles
like some people play the fiddle,
by main strength and awkwardness.

Is there any excuse for the blunder
at Fredericksburg?

This is very interesting to me;
so please go ahead.

The country was open,
and both flanks of the Confederate Army
could have been turned.
Even we privates wondered why
such an attack was made.
General Burnside must have known
of the sunken road, for we of the cavalry
had been over this road
with General Bayard in 1862,
and he must have informed
General Burnside all about it.
If General Burnside had possessed
any military genius,
he would have flanked Lee
out of that strong position and fought him
where he could have had at least an equal chance.

What you have stated, Sergeant,
seems very plausible to me.
When General Hooker left us a few minutes ago,
he said, “Mr. President, I have the finest army
that was ever assembled together,
and I hope to send you good news very soon.”
That is just the language General Burnside used
when he left me
shortly before the battle of Fredericksburg.
And such a disaster that followed
still makes my heart sick.

Mr. President, even privates
when on the ground cannot help seeing
and wondering why
certain movements are made.
I refer to the charges of General Hooker
on our right.

Hooker demurred against making those assaults,
but Burnside insisted.

Our duty is not to criticize, but to obey
even if we get our heads knocked off.
I have found that soldiers are willing to obey
without hesitation and take the chances
when they feel that their show
is equal to that of the enemy.

You have said nothing about how the soldiers
feel towards the Emancipation Proclamation.

Mr. President,
I approach the Emancipation Proclamation
with great reluctance,
for I know how your heart
was set on issuing that document.
So far as I am personally concerned,
I heartily approve of it.
But many of my comrades
said that if they had known
the war would free the “niggers,”
they would never have enlisted;
so many of them deserted.
Others said they would not desert
but would not fight anymore,
and they sought positions in the wagon trains,
the Ambulance Corps,
the Quartermaster’s Department,
and other places to get out of fighting.
I was born a Quaker
and was therefore an anti-slavery young man
when I entered the Army.
When I was a boy, I attended
from two to three debating societies a week,
and the slavery question was always
under debate in one form or another.
I had heard the question debated
and helped debate it for two or three years
before I entered the Army.
Therefore I was a full-blooded abolitionist,
and I welcomed the proclamation
with open arms.
The issuing of the proclamation
caused many to desert, no doubt,
and the presence of General Burnside
at the head of the Army
caused many others to leave.

Sergeant, I am very glad indeed
to have had your views.
I am glad to know how
many of your comrades feel about slavery,
and I am exceedingly glad you have mentioned
the Emancipation Proclamation;
for I shall take this opportunity
to make a few remarks which I desire you
to convey to your comrades.
The proclamation was, as you state,
very near to my heart.
I thought about it and studied it
in all its phases
long before I began to put it on paper.
I expected many soldiers would desert
when the proclamation was issued,
and I expected many
who care nothing for the colored men
would seize upon the proclamation
as an excuse for deserting.
I did not believe the number of deserters
would materially affect the Army.
On the other hand,
the issuing of the proclamation
would probably bring into the ranks
many who otherwise would not volunteer.
After I had made up my mind to issue it,
I commenced to put my thoughts on paper,
and it took me many days
before I succeeded in getting it into shape
so that it suited me.
Please explain to your comrades that
the proclamation was issued for two reasons.
The first and chief reason was this:
I felt a great impulse moving me
to do justice to five or six millions of people.
The second reason was that I believed
it would be a club in our hands
with which we could whack the rebels.
In other words, it would shorten the war.
I believed that under the Constitution
I had a right to issue the proclamation
as a “military necessity.”
I have faith that it will
shorten the war by many months.
How does the rank and file
view General Hooker?

As a hard fighter.
The boys have great respect for him
as well as great faith in his ability.

I thank you very much,
and I trust you will
reach the front in the morning.

Lincoln shakes hands with Stradling, who goes out.


Lincoln is meeting with THURLOW WEED.

Mr. President,
I came here as quickly as I could.

Thank you for coming so promptly.
I am concerned that the elections in early April
in Connecticut, Rhode Island,
and New Hampshire
will be a test case for the battle in the North.
Mr. Weed, we are in a tight place.
Money for legitimate purposes
is needed immediately;
but there is no appropriation
from which it can be lawfully taken.
I don’t know how to raise it,
and so I sent for you.

Give me two lines to that effect.

Lincoln writes a short note and hands it to Weed.

Will that do?

How much money is needed?

Fifteen thousand dollars.

I’m sure I can get it tomorrow
from fifteen New Yorkers I know
who will contribute a thousand dollars each.



March 27

FOURTEEN INDIAN CHIEFS are sitting on the floor in a line. Standing in a ring around them are Seward, Chase, Welles, and many other people from Washington. JOHN NICOLAY comes in with Lincoln and leads him inside the circle where he begins shaking hands with the chiefs.


PROFESSOR HENRY and Lincoln are using a globe to explain where they live on the Earth.

You have all spoken of the strange sights
you see here among your pale-faced brethren,
the very great number of people that you see,
the big wigwams,
the difference between our people
and your own.
But you have seen but a small part
of the pale-faced people.
You may wonder when I tell you that
there are people here in this wigwam
now looking at you
who have come from other countries
a great deal farther off than you have come.
We pale-faced people think that
this world is a great round ball.
One of our learned men will now
explain to you where you live.

This is Washington here,
and your country is in this area.

We have people now present
from all parts of the globe—
here and here and here.
There is a great difference between
this pale-faced people and their red brethren,
both as to numbers
and the way in which they live.
We know not whether your own situation
is best for your race,
but this is what has made the difference
in our way of living.
The pale-faced people
are numerous and prosperous
because they cultivate the earth,
produce bread,
and depend upon the products of the earth
rather than wild game for a subsistence.
This is the chief reason of the difference;
but there is another.
Although we are now engaged
in a great war between one another,
we are not as a race so much disposed
to fight and kill one another
as our red brethren.
You have asked for my advice.
I really am not capable of advising you
whether in the providence of the Great Spirit,
who is the great Father of us all,
it is best for you to maintain
the habits and customs of your race
or adopt a new mode of life.
I can only say that I can see no way
in which your race is to become
as numerous and prosperous as the white race
except by living as they do
by the cultivation of the earth.
It is the object of our Government
to be on terms of peace with you
and with all our red brethren.
We constantly endeavor to be so.
We make treaties with you
and will try to observe them.
If our children should sometimes
behave badly and violate these treaties,
it is against our wish.
You know it is not always possible
for any father to have his children
do precisely as he wishes them to do.
In regard to being sent
back to your own country,
we have an officer,
the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
who will take charge of that matter
and make the necessary arrangements.

The people in the ring applaud as Lincoln leaves.


A séance is in progress led by CHARLES SHOCKLE. Sitting around a table are also Lincoln, Mary, Welles, Stanton, MELTON PRIOR, and two others. Loud rappings are heard under Lincoln’s feet.

An Indian desires to communicate.

Well, sir, I should be happy to hear
what his Indian Majesty has to say.
We have recently had a visitation
from our red brethren,
and it was the only delegation
black, white, or blue
which did not volunteer some advice
about the conduct of the war.

Bring us pencil and paper.

Mary stands up and puts a pencil and paper on the table. Shockle takes a handkerchief from the coat pocket of Stanton and covers them up. Knocks are heard, and Shockle uncovers the paper. Then he reads from it.

SHOCKLE (Cont’d.)
“Haste makes waste, but delays cause vexations.
Give vitality by energy.
Use every means to subdue.
Proclamations are useless;
make a bold front and fight the enemy.
Leave traitors at home to the care of loyal men.
Less note of preparation, less parade
and policy talk, and more action.”
Henry Knox.

That is not Indian talk, Mr. Shockle.
Who is Henry Knox?

“The first Secretary of War.”

Oh! Yes, General Knox.
Stanton, that message is for you;
it is from your predecessor.
I should like to ask General Knox
if it is within the scope of his ability
to tell us when this rebellion will be put down.

“Washington, Lafayette, Franklin, Wilberforce,
Napoleon, and myself have held
frequent consultations on this point.
There is something which our spiritual eyes
cannot detect which appears well formed.
Evil has come at times
by removal of men from high positions,
and there are those in retirement
whose abilities should be made useful
to hasten the end.
Napoleon says,
concentrate your forces upon one point.
Lafayette thinks that
the rebellion will die of exhaustion.
Franklin sees the end approaching
as the South must give up
for want of mechanical ability
to compete against northern mechanics.
Wilberforce sees hope only in a Negro army.”

Well, opinions differ among the saints
as well as among the sinners.
They don’t seem to understand
running the machines among the celestials
much better than we do.
Their talk and advice sound very much
like the talk of my cabinet.
Don’t you think so, Mr. Welles?

Well, I don’t know.
I will think the matter over
and see what conclusion to arrive at.

Heavy raps are heard.

I will use the alphabet.
“That’s what’s the matter.”

LINCOLN (Laughing)
That means, Mr. Welles,
that you are apt to be long-winded
and think the nearest way home
is the longest way round.
Short cuts in war times.
I wish the spirits could tell us
how to catch the Alabama.

The lights become dimmer, and they see images on the large mirror over the mantelpiece. The Alabama is pursued by a large steamer. Then the Alabama is seen under the shadow of a fort with an English flag. Then the picture vanishes.

LINCOLN (Cont’d.)
So England is to seize the Alabama finally?
It may be possible; but, Mr. Welles,
don’t let one gunboat or monitor less be built.

We’ve done our best, Mr. President.
I’m maturing a plan which, when perfected,
I think, if it works well,
will be a perfect trap for the Alabama.

Well, Mr. Shockle, I have seen strange things
and heard rather odd remarks;
but nothing convinces me except the pictures
that there is anything very heavenly about this.
I should like, if possible,
to hear what Judge Douglas says about this war.

I’ll try to get his spirit,
but it sometimes happens,
as it did tonight in the case of the Indian,
that though first impressed by one spirit,
I yield to another more powerful.
If perfect silence is maintained,
I will see if we cannot induce General Knox
to send for Mr. Douglas.

Three raps are heard, and they are silent. Then Shockle stands up behind his chair and begins to give a speech in the manner of Douglas.

SHOCKLE (Cont’d.)
“Mr. President, throw aside all advisers
who hesitate about the policy to be pursued
and listen to the wishes of the people,
who will sustain you at all points if your aim is,
as I believe it is, to restore the Union.
One or two victories will take place ere long.
The turning point of this war will be
the proper use of these victories.
If wicked men in the first hours of success
think it time to devote their attention to party,
the war will be prolonged;
but if victory is followed up by energetic action,
all will be well.

I believe that,
whether it comes from spirit or human.

Mr. Shockle is very tired now,
and I think it is time to adjourn the séance.

Mary stands up and increases the light in the room.


Lincoln is meeting with the seminary professor D. Y. KILGORE.

Professor Kilgore, I understand that
you have information for me
about the secret Knights of the Golden Circle.

Yes, Mr. President.
I sent student spies to their meetings
and have obtained passwords, grips,
and other secret devices they use.
I also learned the number and location
of their Circles and when they meet.

Professor, this is all well and good.
Now what will be your next move?

We will make a concerted rush at one time
and arrest all active members
of the Knights of the Golden Circle.

Yes, so you have them all arrested.
What will you do with them?

We will put them in jail.

Professor, if the jails will hold
the Knights of the Golden Circle,
they are numerically too small
to be a serious menace to the Government.
If the jails will not hold
the Knights of the Golden Circle,
what will you do with them?

I have not thought as far as that,
and I cannot answer that question.
I hope the Lord is on our side.

I am not at all concerned about that,
for we know that the Lord is
always on the side of the right.
But it is my constant anxiety and prayer
that I and this nation
should be on the Lord’s side.


Lincoln is meeting with his cabinet that includes JOHN USHER as the new Secretary of the Interior.

Our Navy captured the English ship Peterhoff
and sent it to a prize court in New York.
According to tradition the ship’s mail
can be opened by the court;
but Britain is concerned about
the sanctity of its mail.
I do not believe it is worth
the risk of British intervention,
and so I think it best
to surrender the mail unopened.

This issue falls under the jurisdiction
of the Navy Department.
Mr. Seward should not be meddling in this.
Surrendering that mail
violates international law
and will set a terrible precedent.

Although Senator Sumner doubts that
the British would go to war over this issue,
I agree with Mr. Seward.
Our good relations with England supersede
the legal questions involving the mail.


Lincoln is meeting with his cabinet.

As you all probably know, General Burnside
has used General Orders Number 38
to arrest the former Ohio Congressman
Clement Vallandigham for a speech
he made on May first.
Mr. Bates, what has happened
with the case of Mr. Vallandigham?

He was denied a writ of habeas corpus
under your emergency measures.
A military court convicted Vallandigham,
and he was sentenced to two years
in a military prison.
A federal circuit court upheld your war powers
and denied his appeal.
Vallandigham is a Unionist;
but he opposes the war,
and he has called you “King Lincoln.”
He is a leader of the peace Democrats
in the North who are called Copperheads.

I believe this was unnecessary.
Mr. Vallandigham was only exercising
his right of free speech.

General Burnside considered him a threat,
and I think we should see it through.

This is an interesting case,
and I have a mind to write a letter
to the Ohio Congressmen who support him.
If those Democrats will agree
to certain principles that I shall name,
then I will release him.
Otherwise I think we should
send him beyond the lines to the South.


As Lincoln and Brooks are about to walk out the door, Lincoln picks up a heavy walking stick.

Brooks, will you walk over to
General Halleck’s headquarters with me?

Yes, Mr. President, of course.

Mother has got a notion into her head
that I shall be assassinated,
and to please her I take a cane when I go
over to the War Department at night—
when I don’t forget it.

They go out the door.


Lincoln and Brooks are walking together, and Brooks looks at the trees in the park with trepidation.

Now own up that I scared you
by putting plots and assassination
into your head.

Yes, I guess I would not have thought of
the danger if it had not been mentioned.

Lincoln laughs.

That is human nature.
I long ago made up my mind that
if anybody wants to kill me, he will do it.
If I wore a shirt of mail
and kept myself surrounded by a bodyguard,
it would be all the same.
There are a thousand ways of getting at a man
if it is desirable that he should be killed.


Lincoln is meeting with a committee from Philadelphia.

Mr. President, this committee objects
to your appointing this Universalist clergyman
from Philadelphia to be a chaplain.

Oh, yes, gentlemen.
I have sent his name to the Senate,
and he will no doubt be confirmed
at an early date.

This committee is against his appointment
because he does not believe
in endless punishment.
Not only that, sir, but he believes that
even the rebels themselves
will be finally saved.

Ah! That alters the case.
Is that what each of you believes?

Lincoln goes down the line, and each member says, “Yes.”

Well, gentlemen, if that be so,
and there is any way under Heaven
whereby the rebels can be saved,
then for God’s sake and their sakes
let the man be appointed.


Lincoln is talking with Congressman GEORGE JULIAN.

Mr. President, I am asking you
to give General Fremont another command.

To tell you the truth,
I am not sure where to place him.
I am reminded of the old man
who advised his son to take a wife.
The young man responded,
“Whose wife shall I take?”
I am afraid there are practical difficulties.

But appointing Fremont will stir the country.

It will stir the country on one side,
and stir it the other way on the other.
It would please Fremont’s friends
and displease the conservatives.
That is all I can see in the stirring argument.
My proclamation was to stir the country,
but it has done about as much harm as good.


Senator Wade is chairing a hearing of the Committee on the Conduct of the War. When Lincoln comes in, everyone stops talking and waits to see what he will do. Lincoln stands before them and speaks.

I, Abraham Lincoln,
President of the United States,
appear of my own volition
before this Committee of the Congress
to say that I of my own knowledge
know that it is untrue
that any of my family hold
treasonable communication with the enemy.

Lincoln walks out of the room.

As chairman I move that this committee
drop all consideration of the rumors
that the wife of the President
has been betraying the Union.
Hearing no objection, it is so ordered.


Welles and Brooks are in the office when Lincoln comes in carrying a telegram that he hands to Welles.

Read it—news from General Butterfield.
Hooker has been licked.
The Army has been defeated at Chancellorsville
and has been withdrawn
from the south side of the Rappahannock.

Lincoln anxiously clasps his hands behind his back and paces back and forth.

LINCOLN (Cont’d.)
My God! My God!
What will the country say?!
What will the country say?!


Lincoln is talking with ADMIRAL DAVID PORTER.

Vicksburg could have been
captured easier earlier;
but now it is a second Gibraltar,
and the Navy alone can do nothing.

Well, whom do you think is the general
for such an occasion?

General Grant, sir.
Vicksburg is within his department;
but I presume he will send Sherman there,
who is equal to any occasion.

Well, Admiral Porter,
I have in mind McClernand.

I don’t know him.

He saved the day at Shiloh
and is a natural-born general.

I am still for General Grant.
If you take troops from Grant and Sherman
to give them to McClernand,
you will weaken the army.

Oh, no, I don’t mean to do that.
McClernand is to go to Springfield, Illinois
and raise troops there
for the capture of Vicksburg.
In the meantime you can prepare
to cooperate with him.
This note will introduce you to McClernand.
I want you to talk the matter over with him
before you leave Washington.

Lincoln hands the note to Porter.



June 4

Lincoln is meeting Stanton.

I have learned that on June first
General Burnside issued an order
to suppress the Chicago Times
because it has been assailing him
and praising Vallandigham.
In my opinion the irritation caused by this
will do more harm than the publication.
It provoked the supporters of Vallandigham
to burn down the offices of the Dayton Journal,
a Republican newspaper.
I want you to send a telegram immediately
to General Burnside in Cincinnati
revoking his order to suspend the Chicago Times.

Yes, sir, right away.

Also send him a letter explaining that
I leave military movements to his discretion,
but administrative questions such as
arresting civilians and suppressing newspapers
do not require immediate action.
If he had consulted me first,
that order of suppression
would not have been issued.
I will not have our military officers
disregarding those great principles
on which our Government rests.


Lincoln is meeting with his cabinet and is showing them a telegram.

General Hooker has asked to be relieved.
He has the same failings I saw in McClellan
after the battle at Antietam.
So who shall take command?
There is Meade, Sedgwick, and Couch.
I suppose General Halleck
has already issued orders.
Is that so, Mr. Stanton?

Yes, sir.
Hooker has been ordered to Baltimore,
and Meade is to succeed him.

Mr. President, apparently the decisions
have already been made.
I am deeply concerned that
we were not consulted about this.

A major battle could occur at any time.
It was no time to wait.


Lincoln is talking with Navy Secretary Welles.

I am relieving Admiral Du Pont,
and in his place I am appointing
Admiral Dahlgren commander
of the South Atlantic blockading squadron.

Yes, sir.

Du Pont, as well as McClellan,
hesitates—has the slows.
McClellan always wanted more regiments;
Du Pont is everlastingly asking for
more gunboats, more ironclads.
He will do nothing with any.
He has intelligence and system
and will maintain a good blockade.
You did well in selecting him for that command,
but he will never take Sumter
or get to Charleston.
He is no Farragut,
though unquestionably a good routine officer
who obeys orders and in a general way
carries out his instructions.



July 2

A carriage with a DRIVER and Mary is going down a hill when the driver’s seat comes loose, throwing the driver to the ground. As the horses begin to run away, Mary jumps from the carriage and lands on her back, hitting her head on a sharp stone. Some MEN from a nearby hospital come running and begin to attend to her.

I hit my head on something.

She puts her hand on her head and sees that it is bloody. The driver has examined the driver’s seat.


Lincoln is talking with Nicolay.

How is Mrs. Lincoln doing?

The wound on her head became infected,
and the doctor had to open it up.
We learned that the seat of the carriage seat
had been unbolted and glued back on
so that it would come apart easily.
Apparently the accident was caused by sabotage.



July 7

Lincoln is on a balcony speaking to the serenaders below.

Fellow citizens:
I am very glad indeed to see you tonight,
and yet I will not say I thank you for this call,
but I do most sincerely thank almighty God
for the occasion on which you have called.
How long is it?—eighty odd years—
since on the fourth of July for the first time
in the history of the world
a nation by its representatives assembled
and declared as a self-evident truth that
“all men are created equal.”
That was the birthday
of the United States of America.
Since then the fourth of July
has had several peculiar recognitions.
The two most distinguished men
in the framing and support of the Declaration
were Thomas Jefferson and John Adams—
the one having penned it and the other
sustained it the most forcibly in debate—
the only two of the fifty-five who signed it
and were elected President of the United States.
Precisely fifty years after they put their hands
to the paper it pleased almighty God
to take both from the stage of action.
This was indeed an extraordinary
and remarkable event in our history.
Another President five years later
was called from the stage of existence
on the same day and month of the year.
Now on this last fourth of July just passed,
when we have a gigantic rebellion
at the bottom of which is an effort
to overthrow the principle
that all men are created equal,
we have the surrender at Vicksburg, Mississippi
of a most powerful position
and army on that very day,
and not only that;
but in a succession of battles in Pennsylvania
near to us through three days,
so rapidly fought that
they might be called one great battle
on the first, second and third of July;
and on the fourth the cohorts of those
who opposed the declaration
that all men are created equal
“turned tail” and ran.
(Much cheering)

Gentlemen, this is a glorious theme
and the occasion for a speech,
but I am not prepared to make one
worthy of the occasion.
I would like to speak in terms of praise
due to the many brave officers and soldiers
who have fought in the cause of the Union
and liberties of the country
from the beginning of the war.
There are trying occasions, not only in success,
but for the want of success.
I dislike to mention
the name of one single officer
lest I might do wrong to those I might forget.
Recent events bring up glorious names
and particularly prominent ones,
but these I will not mention.
Having said this much,
I will now take the music.

The people applaud and begin to sing.


Lincoln is reading a letter to Nicolay and JOHN HAY.

This is my letter to Major General Grant:
“My dear General,
I do not remember that
you and I ever met personally.
I write this now as a grateful acknowledgment
for the almost inestimable service
you have done the country.
I wish to say a word further.
When you first reached the vicinity of Vicksburg,
I thought you should do what you finally did—
march the troops across the neck,
run the batteries with the transports,
and thus go below;
and I never had any faith,
except a general hope that
you knew better than I,
that the Yazoo Pass expedition
and the like could succeed.
When you got below and took Port Gibson,
Grand Gulf, and vicinity,
I thought you should go down the river
and join General Banks,
and when you turned northward,
east of the Big Black, I feared it was a mistake.
I now wish to make
the personal acknowledgment
that you were right, and I was wrong.”


Lincoln is meeting with his cabinet.

Mr. Stanton, do you have bad news?


We heard rumors Lee has crossed the river.

I know nothing about it.

I do.
If he has not got all of his men across,
he soon will.
I do not want to take up any other issues today,
but I would like you to hear this proclamation:
“It has pleased almighty God
to hearken to the supplications
and prayers of an afflicted people
and to vouchsafe to the Army
and the Navy of the United States
victories on land and on the sea
so signal and so effective
as to furnish reasonable grounds
for augmented confidence that
the Union of these states will be maintained,
their Constitution preserved,
and their peace and prosperity
permanently restored.
But these victories have been accorded
not without sacrifices of life,
limb, health, and liberty,
incurred by brave, loyal, and patriotic citizens.
Domestic affliction in every part of the country
follows in the train of these fearful bereavements.
It is meet and right to recognize
and confess the presence of the almighty Father
and the power of his hand equally
in these triumphs and in these sorrows:

“Now, therefore, be it known
that I do set apart Thursday,
the 6th day of August next,
to be observed as a day
for national thanksgiving, praise, and prayer,
and I invite the people of the United States
to assemble on that occasion
in their customary places of worship
and in the forms approved
by their own consciences
render the homage due to the divine majesty
for the wonderful things he has done
in the nation’s behalf
and invoke the influence of his Holy Spirit
to subdue the anger
which has produced and so long sustained
a needless and cruel rebellion,
to change the hearts of the insurgents,
to guide the counsels of the Government
with wisdom adequate
to so great a national emergency,
and to visit with tender care and consolation
throughout the length and breadth of our land
all those who,
through the vicissitudes of marches,
voyages, battles, and sieges,
have been brought to suffer
in mind, body, or estate,
and finally to lead the whole nation
through the paths of repentance
and submission to the divine will,
back to the perfect enjoyment
of union and fraternal peace.”


Lincoln walks quickly and catches up to Welles. They talk as they walk toward the War Office and then stop at the gate.

I dreaded and expected what has happened.
For a full week we had Lee in our hands,
but there seemed to be a determination that
he should escape with his force and plunder.
And that, my God,
is the last of this Army of the Potomac!
There is bad faith somewhere.
Meade has been pressed and urged,
but only one of his generals
was for an immediate attack,
was ready to pounce on Lee;
the rest held back.
What does it mean, Mr. Welles?
Great God! What does it mean?

What orders did you give?

Nothing positive was done,
but both Stanton and Halleck
professed to agree with me.

Halleck could have gone to Meade in four hours.
I think Halleck is inert and lacks capacity.
When your views are more correct,
I think you should issue peremptory orders.

Halleck knows better than I what to do.
He is a military man,
has had a military education.
I brought him here to give me military advice,
but his views and mine are widely different.
It is better that I, who am not a military man,
should defer to him, rather than he to me.

I think that on some things you can
more correctly and more energetically
direct military movements than Halleck,
who can originate nothing.


Lincoln is reading newspapers and talks with Nicolay.

Listen to what former President Franklin Pierce
said in a speech on the fourth of July:
“Here in these free states it is made criminal
for that noble martyr of free speech,
Mr. Vallandigham,
to discuss public affairs in Ohio.
Ay, even here, in time of war
the mere arbitrary will of the President
takes the place of the Constitution,
and the President himself announces to us
that it is treasonable even to be silent,
though we may be struck dumb
by the shock of the calamities with which
evil counsels, incompetence and corruption
have overwhelmed our country.”
And on the same day in New York
their Governor Seymour said that our country
is on “the very verge of destruction”
because of a Government that is
“seizing our persons,
infringing upon our rights,
insulting our homes,
depriving us of those cherished principles
for which our fathers fought.”

Such talk led to those riots against the draft
that lasted three days in New York City,
killing and wounding
more than a thousand people.

Well, at least on the second day of the riots
Governor Seymour said,
“I implore you to take care
that no man’s property or person is injured.
I rely on you,
and if you refrain from further riotous acts,
I will see to it that
your rights shall be protected.
On Saturday last I sent the Adjutant-General
of the state to Washington
to urge postponement of the draft.
The question of the legality
of the Conscription Act
will go before the courts.
If the Act be declared legal,
I pledge myself, the state and the city authorities,
to see that there shall be no inequality
between the rich and the poor.”
Governor Seymour made a proclamation that day
calling for the enforcement of law and order
because of the riotous demonstrations
that directed their “fury against the property
and lives of peaceful citizens.”
The mobs have been attacking the rich
because the Congress added provisions
that allow those drafted
to pay $300 or hire a substitute.

Will you consider suspending the draft?

I would be willing to facilitate
bringing the matter before the courts,
but time is too important;
we need the men now.
We are contending with an enemy
who drives every able-bodied man
he can reach into his ranks,
very much as a butcher drives
bullocks into a slaughter-pen.
No time is wasted; no argument is used.
This produces an army which will soon turn
upon our now victorious soldiers
already in the field if they shall not be
sustained by recruits as they should be.
It produces an army with a rapidity
not to be matched on our side
if we first waste time to re-experiment
with the volunteer system
already deemed by Congress
and palpably in fact so far exhausted
as to be inadequate.


Lincoln is meeting with JAMES GILMORE.

Mr. President, I have come to ask you
why you have not said yes or no
to the recommendation
for a special commissioner to expose
the instigators of the riots in New York.

Well, you see if I had said no,
I should have admitted that
I dare not enforce the laws
and consequently have no business
to be President of the United States.
If I had said yes and had appointed the judge,
I should—as he would have done his duty—
have simply touched a match
to a barrel of gunpowder.
You have heard of sitting on a volcano.
We are sitting upon two;
one is blazing away already,
and the other will blaze away
the moment we scrape a little loose dirt
from the top of the crater.
Better let the dirt alone, at least for the present.
One rebellion at a time is about
as much as we can conveniently handle.
Federal troops were sent to quell the riots.


Lincoln is working in an easy chair surrounded by papers while his secretaries John Nicolay and John Hay are working at the cabinet table. SENATOR SAMUEL POMEROY and FREDERICK DOUGLASS come in.

Excuse us, Mr. President,
I want to introduce you to Frederick Douglass.

I am honored to meet you, sir.
I have been working to raise colored troops.

I know who you are, Mr. Douglass.
Mr. Seward has told me all about you.
Sit down. I am glad to see you.
You made a speech somewhere in New York
that got into the papers.
You said you were disheartened
by the present political and military situation,
but that you were most concerned about
the tardy, hesitating, vacillating policy
of the President of the United States.
Mr. Douglass, I admit that I might seem slow,
but I do not think the charge
of vacillating can be sustained.
I think it can be shown that
when I have once taken a position,
I have never retreated from it.

You have been somewhat slow
in proclaiming equal protection
to our colored soldiers and prisoners.

The country needs talking up to on that point,
and I hesitate when I feel
the country is not ready for something.
I know that colored men are despised and hated
throughout this country.
If I came out with such a proclamation,
all the hatred which is poured
on the head of the Negro race
would be visited upon this administration.
Preparatory work was needed
and has now been done.
Remember, Mr. Douglass,
that Milliken’s Bend, Port Hudson,
and Fort Wagner are recent events.
These were necessary
to prepare the way for this proclamation.

The reason I came, Mr. President, is that
I have found it is no longer easy
to induce the colored men to enter the service.
There is a feeling among them that
the Government is not dealing fairly with them.

Please tell me the particulars of why that is.

I would say there are three particulars
that I would like to bring to your attention.
The first is that the colored soldiers
ought to receive the same wages
as those paid to white soldiers.
Second, colored soldiers ought to receive
the same protection when taken prisoners
and be exchanged as readily
and on the same terms as any other prisoners.
If Jefferson Davis should shoot
or hang colored soldiers in cold blood,
the United States Government should
without delay retaliate in kind and degree
upon Confederate prisoners in its hands.
Third, when colored soldiers seek
“the bubble of reputation at the cannon’s mouth”
and perform great and uncommon service
on the battlefield,
they should be rewarded
by distinction and promotion
precisely as white soldiers
are rewarded for like services.

Lincoln ponders deeply before responding.

I am troubled by these things.
The employment of colored troops at all
is a great gain to the colored people.
This measure could not have been successfully
adopted at the beginning of the war.
Many still doubt the wisdom
of making colored men soldiers,
and their enlistment seriously offends
the popular prejudice
that they have larger motives
for being soldiers than white men.
So they ought to be willing
to enter the service upon any condition.
The fact that they are not to receive the same pay
as white soldiers seems a necessary concession
to smooth the way
to their employment at all as soldiers;
but ultimately they will receive the same pay.
On the second point
in respect to equal protection
the case is more difficult.
Retaliation is a terrible remedy
and one which is very difficult to apply.
If once begun,
there is no telling where it will end.
If I could get hold of the Confederate soldiers
who have been guilty
of treating colored soldiers as felons,
I would easily retaliate;
but the thought of hanging men
for a crime perpetrated by others
is revolting to my feelings.
I think that the rebels themselves
will stop such barbarous warfare.
I believe less evil will be done
if retaliation is not resorted to,
and I have already received information
that colored soldiers are being treated
as prisoners of war.
On the third point I will sign any commission
to colored soldiers whom my Secretary of War
should commend to me.

Though I am not entirely satisfied
with your views, Mr. President,
I realize that this conflict tends to educate,
and I am determined to go on with the recruiting.

Who is this Phillips
who has been pitching into me?

He has long been a great spokesman
for the abolitionist cause.

Well, tell him to go on.
Let him make the people willing
to go in for emancipation,
and I’ll go with them.
Thank you for coming, Mr. Douglass.
It has been a pleasure to meet you.


Lincoln is meeting with his cabinet.

I have obtained these figures
from the War Department
concerning the results of the draft.
Of the 292,441 men whose names
were drawn from the wheels
39,877 did not report for examination.
The number exempted was 164,394.
Of the 88,170 men available for duty
52,288 purchased their exemption for $300 each,
yielding the Government $15,666,400.
Another 26,002 men hired substitutes
to go to war in their place.
Only 9,880 were left who lacked the money
or the political pull to get an exemption,
or who wanted to join the army and fight.



September 14

Lincoln is meeting with his cabinet.

I have called this meeting
because certain judges are defeating the draft
and depriving our armies of the men
we need to win this war.
They have been discharging men
rapidly under habeas corpus,
and I am determined to put a stop
to these factious and mischievous proceedings
if I have the authority to do so.
I have consulted the Secretary of State
and the Attorney General,
and they both have no doubt of my authority.
Are there other views?

I am satisfied that you have the legal power.
You are proposing that
an order from the President
direct the provost marshals
to disregard the writ of habeas corpus.
I question whether this measure
is the best process.

I am afraid that another civil war
might be inaugurated
if the privilege of habeas corpus is suspended.
You, Mr. President, have believed that
you have the power to suspend
the writ of habeas corpus
without being authorized by Congress,
and in some cases you have acted on this belief.
Whatever doubt there may have been
as to your power to suspend the writ
was removed by the express legislation
of Congress six months ago.
I would not leave the suspension
open to debate that will probably lead
to serious collisions with the disadvantage
on the side of the Federal authority.
I urge you to make the order
a proclamation so bold and direct that
it will command public confidence
if a collision arises with a state governor or judge.

I am determined to enforce the law.
If Judge Lowry in Pennsylvania and others
continue to interfere and disrupt the draft,
I may send them after Vallandigham.

Mr. President,
you know I support you in this.

I reverence the writ of habeas corpus
as much as anyone;
but it seems to me there must be
some way to prevent its abuse.
Factious and evil-minded judges
could embarrass the Government,
delay the departure of ships,
and stop armies on the march.

Pursuant to the law made
by Congress last March
and the Constitution which ordains
that the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus
may be suspended
in cases of rebellion or invasion
if the public safety requires it,
I shall prepare for tomorrow the Proclamation
Suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus.



September 21

Hay is still in bed when Lincoln comes in with news and sits down on the bed.

Well, Rosecrans has been whipped as I feared.
I have feared it for several days.
I believe I feel trouble in the air before it comes.
Rosecrans says we have met
with serious disaster—extent not ascertained.
Burnside, instead of obeying orders,
which were given on the fourteenth,
and going to Rosecrans, has gone up
on a foolish affair to Jonesboro to capture
a party of guerillas who are there.


Stanton hands a telegram to Chase, and Halleck explains.

General Garfield is asking for
reinforcements at Chattanooga.

Lincoln and Seward come in and sit down around a table with Stanton, Chase, and Halleck.

Although it is late at night,
I have invited this meeting
because I am thoroughly convinced that
something must be done immediately.
I believe we need to send at least
twenty thousand troops to Chattanooga
without delay.
How many troops can Burnside
add to Rosecrans,
and how long will it take?

Twenty thousand men in ten days,
if uninterrupted.

Before ten days Burnside will put in
enough to hold Chattanooga.

How many in eight days?

Twelve thousand.

After Burnside begins to arrive,
the pinch will be over.

Unless the enemy anticipating reinforcements,
attacks promptly.
When will Sherman’s men reach Rosecrans?

In about ten days,
if they have already moved from Vicksburg.
Boats have already gone down from Cairo,
and every available man
has been ordered forward,
from twenty to twenty-five thousand.

Are any more available elsewhere?

A few in Kentucky; I don’t know how many;
all were ordered to Burnside.

I propose to send thirty thousand
from the Army of the Potomac.
There is no reason to expect that
General Meade will attack Lee,
although he is greatly superior in force,
and his great numbers where they are
are useless.
In five days thirty thousand
could be put with Rosecrans.

Why you can’t get one corps into Washington
in the time you fix for reaching Nashville.
I will bet that if the order is given tonight,
the troops could not be got
to Washington in five days.

On such a subject I don’t feel inclined to bet;
but the matter has been carefully investigated,
and it is certain that
thirty thousand bales of cotton
could be sent in that time,
and by taking possession of the railroads
and excluding all other business
I do not see why
thirty thousand men can not be sent as well.
But if thirty thousand can’t be sent,
let twenty thousand go.

I support Mr. Stanton’s plan,
and I believe the railroads can make it work.

I will send an orderly for Col. McCallum,
who is the Director
of the Department of Military Railroads.

Stanton steps out of the room.


COL. D. C. MCCALLUM is seated at a desk with timetables in front of him and has made calculations. The five men have been waiting at the table.

I can complete it in seven days.

Good! I told you so.
I knew it could be done
when the life of the nation is at stake.
Go ahead; begin now.

I have not yet given my consent.
Colonel McCallum, are you sure about this?
There must be no mistake.

I would pledge my life on it, sir;
I can accomplish it in seven days.

Mr. Secretary, you are the captain.
Give the necessary orders,
and I will approve them.


SENATOR JIM LANE and DR. EMIL PREETORIUS walk into Lincoln’s office.

Mr. President, this is the secretary
of the Missouri-Kansas delegation.

Lincoln shakes their hands, and Lane walks out.

I have come to explain to you why
the radicals in Missouri and Kansas
have come to Washington to see you.
We Germans have not felt kindly toward you
since you set aside
Fremont’s proclamation of emancipation.
We thought he missed a great opportunity
and displayed a lack of statesmanship.
We believed he was under the influence
of the Blair family.

Only the President has the authority
to issue an emancipation proclamation.

But when you issued your proclamation,
it applied only to states in rebellion
and not to our states.
Thus you are really punishing us
for our courage and patriotism.
As Col. Gratz Brown has said,
we have had to fight three administrations—
those of Lincoln, Jeff Davis,
and our conservative governor Gamble.
The conservatives at a state convention
have planned such a gradual abolition of slavery
that Missouri will continue to have slaves
for many years to come.
We are complaining because
you have sent to Missouri
generals who are not sympathetic with us.

I know you are a German revolutionist,
and I expect you to take extreme views.
I would rather be a follower
than a leader of public opinion.
We need the border states,
and public opinion in them has not matured.
We must patiently educate them
up to the right opinion.
Missouri has Union men who are strong fighters.
I will meet with your delegation.



September 30

Lincoln is meeting with a delegation of seventy radicals from Missouri who are led by chairman CHARLES DRAKE.

To summarize, Mr. President,
we have three main requests.
First, General Schofield must be relieved,
and we want you to appoint General Butler
to command the military department of Missouri.
Second, national forces must be substituted
for the enrolled militia in Missouri.
Third, in the elections
persons who are not entitled by law to vote
must not be allowed to do so.

You gentlemen must bear in mind that
in performing the duties of the office I hold
I must represent no one section,
but I must act for all sections of the Union
in trying to maintain
the supremacy of the Government.
I desire to conduct the affairs
of this administration so that if, at the end
when I come to lay down the reins of power,
I have lost every other friend on earth,
I shall at least have one friend left,
and that friend shall be down inside of me.
I am not sure that I should intervene
in your pestilent factional quarrel.
Governor Gamble was the choice
of your own state convention.
As President I have uniformly refused
to give the Governor exclusive control
of the Missouri state militia
while on the other hand the Enrolled Militia
exists solely under state laws
with which I have no right to interfere.
As to General Schofield,
I have not heard of any specific complaints,
and I cannot act on vague impressions.
I am not personally acquainted with him.
If you will allege a definite wrong-doing
and, clearly making your point, prove it,
I shall remove him.
Schofield’s suspension of habeas corpus
is in obedience to the President’s official decree.
You object to its being used in Missouri.
In other words, that which is right
when employed against opponents
is wrong when employed against ourselves.
Still, I will consider that.

We also object to Schofield’s muzzling the press.

As to that, I think
when an officer in any department finds that
a newspaper is pursuing a course
calculated to embarrass his operations
and stir up sedition and tumult,
he has the right to lay hands upon it
and suppress it, but in no other case.
I approved the order in question
after the Missouri Democrat had also approved it.

We thought it was to be used
against the other side.

Certainly you did.
Your ideas of justice seem to
depend on the application of it.
You have spoken of the consideration
which you think I should pay to my friends
as contra-distinguished from my enemies.
I suppose, of course, that you mean by that
those who agree or disagree with me
in my views of public policy.
I recognize no such thing as
a political friendship personal to myself.
You will remember that your state was excluded
from the operations of that decree
by its express terms.
The proclamation therefore can have
no direct bearing upon your state politics.
Yet you seem to insist that it shall be made
as vital a question as if it had.

No, sir; but we think
it is a national test question.

You are then determined to make an issue
with men who may not agree with you
upon the abstract question
of the propriety of that act of mine.
I am better satisfied with those
who believe with me in this
than with those who hold differently.
But I am free to say that many good men,
some earnest Republicans,
and some from very far north,
were opposed to the issuing
of that proclamation,
holding it unwise and of doubtful legality.
Now when you see a man
loyally in favor of the Union—
willing to vote men and money—
spending his time and money
and throwing his influence
into the recruitment of our armies,
I think it ungenerous, unjust, and impolitic
to make his views on abstract political questions
a test of his loyalty.
I will not be a party to this application
of a pocket inquisition.
My radical friends will therefore see that
I understand and appreciate their position.
Still you appear to come before me
as my friends, if I agree with you,
and not otherwise.
I do not here speak of mere personal friendship.
When I speak of my friends,
I mean those who are friendly to my measures,
to the policy of the Government.
I am well aware that many
and some of your delegates have charged me
with “tyranny and willfulness,”
with a disposition to make
my own personal will supreme.
I do not intend to be a tyrant.
At all events I shall take care
that in my own eyes
I do not become one.
I have no right to act the tyrant
to mere political opponents.

Mr. President, the time has now come
when we can no longer trespass
upon your attention
but must take leave of you.
Many who stand before you now will return
to homes surrounded by rebel sentiment.
Many of them, sir, in returning there
do so at the risk of their lives,
and if any of these lives are sacrificed
by reason of the military administration
of this Government,
let me tell you, sir,
that their blood will be upon your garments
and not upon ours.

Tears are streaming down Lincoln’s face as he begins to shake hands with each departing man.


Lincoln is coming out of the War Department, and COL. DONN PIATT makes an appeal to him.

Mr. President,
I have been sent by General Schenck
to protest General Milroy’s court martial.

Let me see the protest.

General Schenck ordered me to read it to you.

Well, I can read.

Piatt hands him the paper. Lincoln reads it as they walk toward the White House.


A carriage is waiting for Lincoln with a guard detailed to escort him to the Soldiers’ Home drawn up in front of the White House. Lincoln sits down on the steps of the porch and continues reading. Piatt sits down next to him.

LINCOLN (Cont’d.)
Piatt, don’t you think that you and Schenck
are squealing like pigs before you’re hurt?

No, Mr. President.

Why, I am the Court of Appeal,
and do you think I am going
to have an injustice done Schenck?

Before the appeal can be heard,
a soldier’s reputation will be
blasted by a packed court.

Come, now, you and I are lawyers
and know the meaning of the word “packed.”
I don’t want to hear it from your lips again.
What’s the matter with the court?

It is illegally organized by General Halleck.

Halleck’s act is mine.

I beg your pardon, Mr. President.
The Rules and Regulations direct that
in cases of this sort you shall select the court;
you cannot delegate that to a subordinate
any more than you can the pardoning power.

Piatt opens the book and points to the article.

That is a point.
Do you know, Colonel,
that I have been so busy with this war
I have never read the Regulations.
Give me that book, and I’ll study them tonight.

Piatt gives him the book.

I beg your pardon, Mr. President;
but in the meantime my general
will be put under arrest for disobedience,
and the mischief will be done.

That’s so. Here, give me a pencil.

Lincoln tears off a corner of the paper General Schenck had sent him and writes, “All proceedings before the court convened to try General Milroy are suspended until further orders. A. Lincoln.”


Lincoln is talking with his friend LEONARD SWETT.

In your next annual message to Congress
why not recommend
a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery?

Is not the question of emancipation
doing well enough now, Swett?

I think it is, but this would rid us
of the evil institution of slavery forever.
It would be historic, Lincoln.
If you take this stand,
it puts you in an outside position,
and no one could maintain himself
upon any measure more radical.
But if you fail to take this position,
your rivals will.

Well, I have never done an official act
with a view to personal aggrandizement,
and I don’t like to begin now.
I can see that emancipation is coming;
whoever can wait for it, will see it;
whoever stands in its way,
will be run over by it.
It is all in God’s hands.


Lincoln is working on papers as Seward comes in and sits down.

They say, Mr. President, that
we are stealing away the rights of the states.
So I have come today to advise you that
there is another state right
I think we ought to steal.

Well, Governor,
what do you want to steal now?

The right to name Thanksgiving Day!
As it is now, Thanksgiving days
are proclaimed by governors
on different days in each state.
Why not make it a national holiday?

I suppose a president has as good a right
to thank God as a governor.

I suggest that you proclaim that
the last Thursday in November
should be set apart and observed
as a day of national thanksgiving.
I could draft a thanksgiving proclamation
for your consideration.

By all means, I think it would be
good for national unity.


Lincoln is talking with GENERAL JAMES STEEDMAN.

General Steedman,
what is your opinion of General Rosecrans?

Mr. President, I would rather not
express my opinion of my superior officer.

It is the man who does not want
to express an opinion whose opinion I want.
I am besieged on all sides with advice.
Every day I get letters from army officers
asking me to allow them
to come to Washington to impart
some valuable knowledge in their possession.

Well, Mr. President,
you are the Commander-in-Chief of the Army,
and if you order me to speak, I will do so.

Then I will order an opinion.

Since you command me, Mr. President,
I will say General Rosecrans is a splendid man
to command a victorious army.

But what kind of a man is he
to command a defeated army?

I think there are two or three men in that army
who would make a better commander.

Who besides yourself, General Steedman,
is there in that army
who would make a better commander?

General George H. Thomas.

I am glad to hear you say so.
That is my own opinion exactly.
But Mr. Stanton is against him,
and it was only yesterday that
a powerful New York delegation was here
to protest against his appointment
because he is from a rebel state
and cannot be trusted.

A man, who will leave his own state,
his friends, and all his associates
to follow the flag of his country,
can be trusted in any position
to which he may be called.

I thank you for your opinion.
I am going to issue a call
for 300,000 volunteers;
but each state will have a quota
and may have to employ the draft
in order to raise their troops.


Lincoln is talking with GENERAL GRENVILLE DODGE.

Dodge, I want you to help me decide
the commencement point
of the Union Pacific railroad.

Mr. President,
I speak for the directors of the road
when I criticize the act of Congress.
No one is going to buy
second-hand bonds at any price.
Capitalists will not invest in the railroad
unless the company’s bonds become a prior lien
to the subsidy bonds of the Government.

I am willing to accept a change in the law
so that the Government
should take the second mortgage
and the pioneers of the road the first.
Our Government is busy,
but I am willing to help private enterprises.

Lincoln points to a map on the table.

LINCOLN (Cont’d.)
Points from Sioux City to Kansas City
have been competing for the western terminus,
but I an inclined to proclaim Omaha
as the starting point of the Union Pacific.

Mr. President, I remember
shaking hands with you at Council Bluffs,
and I commend your choice.



November 19

A platform has been erected for the speakers at the dedication of the new cemetery for veterans. A large crowd of about 15,000 people has gathered, and most of them are standing. Seated on the platform are BENJAMIN FRENCH, EDWARD EVERETT, Lincoln, Seward, Montgomery Blair, Usher, and other dignitaries that include nine governors.

It is my duty and honor to introduce to you
the distinguished Edward Everett,
a man who has been
Governor of Massachusetts,
Secretary of State under President Fillmore,
a United States Representative and Senator,
President of Harvard University,
and a candidate for Vice President
of the United States
for the Constitutional Union Party in 1860.
He will deliver the oration
to mark this dedication
of these grounds for their sacred use
to honor the veterans of the famous battles
fought here at Gettysburg
on the first four days of July.

Everett stands up and nods to Lincoln as he steps forward.

Mr. President.

Mr. Everett.

Standing beneath this serene sky,
overlooking these broad fields
now reposing from the labors of the waning year,
the mighty Alleghenies dimly towering before us,
the graves of our brethren beneath our feet,
it is with hesitation that I raise my poor voice
to break the eloquent silence of God and Nature.
But the duty to which you have called me
must be performed;
grant me, I pray you,
your indulgence and your sympathy.
It was appointed by law in Athens,
that the obsequies of the citizens
who fell in battle should be performed
at the public expense
and in the most honorable manner.



Two hours later

The elderly Everett is tired and concludes his oration with his remaining strength.

EVERETT (Cont’d.)
Surely I would do no injustice
to the other noble achievements of the war,
which have reflected such honor
on both arms of the service
and have entitled the armies
and the navy of the United States,
their officers and men,
to the warmest thanks and the richest rewards
which a grateful people can pay.
But they, I am sure, will join us in saying,
as we bid farewell
to the dust of these martyr-heroes,
that wheresoever throughout the civilized world
the accounts of this great warfare are read
and down to the latest period of recorded time
in the glorious annals of our common country
there will be no brighter page
than that which relates the battles of Gettysburg.

Everett sits down. The Marine Band begins to play a hymn by Benjamin French, and the BALTIMORE GLEE CLUB sings.


The hymn is concluding.

Great God in Heaven!
Shall all this sacred blood be shed?
Shall we thus mourn our glorious dead?
Oh, shall the end be wrath and woe,
The knell of Freedom’s overthrow,
A country riven?

It will not be!
We trust, O God! thy gracious power
To aid us in our darkest hour.
This be our prayer—“O Father! Save
A people’s freedom from its grave.
All praise to Thee!”

Ward Hill Lamon steps forward.

And now President Lincoln
will make a few remarks
to dedicate this field.

Lincoln has put on his spectacles and stands up to speak, holding in one hand two sheets of paper that he looks at occasionally.

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 battle-field 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 that nation might live.
It is altogether fitting and proper
that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—
we can not consecrate—
we can not 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.

The applause continues as Lincoln sits down next to Lamon and speaks to him.

Lamon, that speech won’t scour.
It is a flat failure,
and the people are disappointed.

The Glee Club begins to sing a dirge.

The end of Part 7

Copyright © 2008 by Sanderson Beck

Learning Politics and Law
In Congress and Out
Debating Douglas
Becoming President
Civil War Begins
Proclaiming Emancipation
War by Conscription
Getting Re-elected
Victory and Death

How Lincoln Could Have Prevented Civil War
Lincoln Bibliography
Lincoln Chronology

BECK index