Document: Benjamin B. French to Abraham Lincoln, May 12, 1864
Washington City, May 12. 1864
My Dear Sir,
I have just been told that a bill was introduced into the House yesterday, by Mr. Beaman, relative to the office which I have the honor to hold, making it independent, without, as I understand, touching the law placing the Capital Extension & Dome under the Secretary of the Interior.1
I desire to say that this bill was introduced without my knowledge, and I knew nothing of the intention of any one to introduce such a bill. I do not even know Mr. Beaman by sight, and can have no idea of his intention or motive. I presume, of course, that he acted according to his own views of the public good.
I thought it proper to say this much to you that in case I should be again represented to you as endeavoring to influence the legislation of Congress, in relation to the office I have the honor to hold, you might be aware, from my own statement, that in this regard I am entirely innocent. I do not even know what are the details of the bill, and should not have known of its introduction but that I had some official business in the Clerk’s office this morning, and was there informed of its introduction, & a brief outline of its contents was given to me.
I had rather, Mr. President, stand well in your opinion -- than to enjoy almost any other boon in the gift of man, and I felt most keenly and sensitively what you told me in your letter of March 25th. relative to my supposed influence in inducing legislation touching my office.2
2 A draft of Lincoln’s March 25, 1864 letter to French is in this collection.
In the present movement I am certain no blame can attach to me.
Document: Ulysses S. Grant to Abraham Lincoln, May 12, 1864 [Copy in Lincoln’s Hand]1
1 Lincoln had been anxiously following Grant’s Spring, 1864 campaign through the Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania, which were essentially concluded at great cost to both sides by the time of this dispatch.
From Gen. Grant, May 12. 1864. 630 P. M.
The eighth day of battle closes leaving between three and four thousand prisoners in our hands for the days work, including two General officers, and over thirty pieces of Artillery. The enemy are obstinate and seem to have found the last ditch. We have lost no organization, not even a Company, whilst we have destroyed, and captured one Division, Johnstons, one Brigade, Dobbs’ Dole’s2 and one regiment entire of the enemy.
1 A reference to the defeat suffered by the forces under the command of Nathaniel P. Banks at the battle of Sabine Cross Roads on April 8. This defeat effectively halted the forward advance of Banks’ Red River Campaign.
2 Frederick Steele
3 William S. Rosecrans was commander of the Department of Missouri.
Document: William H. Haase to Abraham Lincoln, May 12, 1864
Chicago, Ill, May 12th 1864.
As the Presidential Election is approaching & as I have been always a true loyal Union-man & have been in favor of the suppression of the Rebellion but sometimes have not quite agreed with the course of the Administration on account of slowliness & handling the Rebels with Kid-Gloves and whereas the German population want a radical President as they are afraid that this war will otherwise last another four years, I as a Union loving man claiming to have always done my full share of work and more, too, at any election, deem it well to inform you about matters going on in the West-- There is a hard feeling amongst most of the Germans in the West against your nomination & re-election and I am afraid that a great many will not vote for you if nominated unless they are set aright.-- I myself am for a radical man as I believe radical man & means have to end this war. They are organizing Fremont-clubs now everywhere and they elected me President of such a club in South-West Chicago although I intended to remain neutral, but coaxed me into it-- I had to take the Office in order not to lose my influence -- among my Country-men after the nomination-- I, of course, shall go and work for the Republican nominee, and if the Fremont-movement should be kept up after the nomination I shall leave it -- but hard work has to be done their among the Germans-- I shall not sustain any Democratic or Independent Ticket as the latter will give power to the Copperheads.-- I have, since I have been in the United States always worked faithfully, days & nights, in the U. L. & elsewhere but I feel my health suffering and intended to give up-- But still I can’t, & feel proud if we have success & I think amongst other things to deserve credit that the Dem.