Document: Harriet Chapman to Abraham Lincoln, January 17, 1865

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Abraham Lincoln Papers


Document: Harriet Chapman to Abraham Lincoln, January 17, 1865

Charleston Ills Jan the 17th 65

Dear Uncle

I have ben intending to write to you for some time, but felt so bad that I had not the heart to write to enny one save my Husband.1 Our family have resently met with a great loss God in his divine mercy has seen fit to take from our midst a kind and beloved Mother.2 She died on the 18th of Dec after an Illness of a about 6 months in her death we have lost a devoted Mother one whose place can never be fild on this Earth You also have lost a friend for Mother was indeed a friend to you and Spoke of you often during her last moments But we ought not to greive too much for her for She died happy and left behind every assureance that She has gone hapy. Father3 takes her death vary hard he is not well and I fear that he is not long for this world and it is heart rendering to think of having to give him up too. I was down to See Grand Ma Lincoln4 on Newyears day She seems to be failing fast and is grieving her self to death about Mother. Poor woman how my heart aches for her. She was so destitute of every Comfort She wants to leave thare vary bad and Come to my house and tells me that She is badly treated5 I told her that it was impossible for me to take her just now for my house is small and not vary Comfortable and my family large. but I told her to wait till my Husband Come home his time of Servise expires the 17th of Feb. and then we would try and do Something for her it looks too hard for as good a woman as She is to be Compeld to Spend her last days in want and missery-- And I for one will do as I always have done my part in her behalf and now want you to assist me by giving my Husband a Situation so that he Can Support his family and get them a home and then we will take Grand Ma Lincoln and take good Care of her as long as She lives if we Should be spared that long. you Can do this and not discomode yoursilf in the least. and I think that Augustus deserves your favor. he has always been a Strong Union man Spent both time and moniy in your Election has now ben in the Army for 3 years and 3 months and would remain longer if his family was better Situated -- during that time has never been sick a day or unfit for duty and has never had but one furlough home and that only for 15 days. has not made ennything but a living for himself and family and this is why I ask you for your assistence feeling Sure that you would not deny me and then Gran Ma made me promis to write to you and tell you to do all you Could for us for She would rather live with us then enny where els The rest of the relations are all well.

1 Augustus H. Chapman. Harriet Chapman was the daughter of Lincoln’s cousin and boyhood friend, Dennis F. Hanks.

2 Elizabeth Johnston Hanks who was Lincoln’s stepsister and the wife of Dennis F. Hanks.

3 Lincoln’s cousin, Dennis F. Hanks.

4 Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln, who was Lincoln’s stepmother and the mother of Elizabeth Johnston Hanks, Harriet’s mother.

5 Lincoln’s stepmother was staying at the home of John J. Hall. According to Hall, the money Lincoln had sent to help care for his stepmother was kept by Dennis Hanks and the Chapmans. See John J. Hall to Lincoln, October 18, 1864.

The roling months have brought us the Close of an other year-- Thare has ben much suffering throughout our land during that time-- Meny are the vacant Chair-- Houses have ben made desolate partings endured-- Heart Strings have ben broke -- and meny widows and orphans have mourned for the loved and lost. But let us look forward to a better future and welcome young 1/65 with bright hopes and pleasent anticipations let us hope that before its Close Smiling peace will return once more and Scatter its blessings through all our land--

Well I have written a much longer letter than I intended to trouble you with this time and if I have transgrest I hope you will forgive. [I?] If you feel disposed and Can assist Augustus please let him know soon he would be at home in about 6 weeks.6 Remember me kindly to your wife and Children-- yours with love

6 Though Lincoln’s reply has not been located, Augustus Chapman wrote to Andrew Johnson in September 1865 and informed the president that Lincoln had promised him an office in appreciation for his military service and the care he had given to Lincoln’s stepmother. Johnson appointed Chapman an agent to the Flathead Indians in Montana. See Charles H. Coleman, Lincoln and Coles County, Illinois (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press, 1955), 152-53. See also Augustus H. Chapman to Lincoln, December 25, 1864 and March 25, 1865.

Harriet A Chapman


Document: Napoleon J. T. Dana to Abraham Lincoln, January 17, 18651

1 General Dana was commander of the Department of Mississippi.

Memphis, Tenn., Jany 17 1865

I have the honor to reply to the letter of your Excellency dated the 6th instant,2 and, whilst I express my unfeigned regret and mortification that any misconception of mine, arising from a misunderstanding of the policy of the government, under the requirements of orders from my immediate superior,3 should subject me to your Excellency’s disapprobation, I have no hesitancy in believing that I shall hence forth, in the matter, have no fear of censure, as I believe I now fully understand your wishes.

2 A copy of Lincoln’s January 6, 1865 letter to Dana is in this collection.

3 General Edward R. S. Canby, the commander of the Military Division of West Mississippi, was Dana’s immediate superior.

I trust I may be excused for inclosing documents for your information. I shall entertain the hope that my action will be explained satisfactorily and that your Excellency will believe that there is no officer of the government whose desire is, or will be, greater than mine, to carry out exactly the object of its authorities when I fully understand it and to obey and defer to the slightest wish of the President.

The letter of instructions which you inclosed to me is the same I wrote to Lt Col Harper.

I inclose copy of General Canby’s order No 80 embraced in my order No 3 of 1864.4 I have marked in pencil the several phrases which led my mind to the conclusions of the letter referred to.

4 See Edward R. S. Canby, Printed General Orders, December 7, 1864.

It was hardly to be expected that, in the inauguration of a system so new to us and so entirely contrary to our previous instructions, that Commanders would not find many difficulties to encounter; but I expected to obviate these in a very short time.

When my first safeguards were issued under General Canby’s order, certain persons who held them were arrested by Naval Commanders, who desired to know by what proofs I was satisfied they “owned or controlled” the products and stated that they knew the contrary. Thereupon I issued the letter of instructions and supposed, so far from thwarting and defeating the objects of the government, that I was carrying them out in good faith, under the orders of my immediate Commander.

On the 5th of January Genl Canby (as I presumed under subsequent orders from Washington) disapproved my action as will be seen by the inclosed copy of his letter, and I immediately discontinued the requirement.5

5 Canby’s letter to Dana is not in this collection.

When Mr Thompson arrived here to day there was a large crowd, as usual, at Col Harpers Office each awaiting his turn, but I passed him in before all others and, in less than half an hour, his business was attended to satisfactorily in the same way it would have been had he taken his turn.

I am persuaded that however much many persons, who had not fully informed themselves at the inauguration of a new set of regulations, were disposed to complain and make trouble, they are now convinced that they were more impatient than injured and that the people of this Department are, at present, well satisfied that the Executive Order and Treasury Regulation of Sept 24-- are being carried out with the least possible obstruction--

No effort will be wanting on my part to give them effect--

I have the honor to remain your Excellency’s Servant

N. J. T. Dana

Maj Genl

Document: Katharine Gibbon to Abraham Lincoln, January 17, 1865

No 323. H. Street

Washington Jan 17th


Dear Mr Lincoln,

Pardon my presumption in addressing you, but I cannot let the present very propicious looking moment pass, without adding one word to you in behalf of Peace.

For three years of this war I have been in Virginia; contributing my mite for the sake of humanity in trying to alleviate the afflictions of the sick & wounded caused by this most curul war.

I have always been a Union woman received the Oath as I came here, have forsaken my Parents & my home for the sake of my principles, & am a refugee from N. Carolina.

On leaving Richmond the 7th of October I visited Mr Davis & told him I wished to come & that I wanted to see you & would use all a womans influence I could to bring about a peace, asked if he approved of my mission; & if could come with his consent. He said he approved of my good intentions that no man was more anxious for peace than himself; at the same time saying that you would not listen to any thing of the kind, that you refused to receive his Commissioners & that you donot wish peace.

This I cannot believe, & now appeal to you for the sake of humanity to burst the bonds of tyrranny & place yourself before God & the world among that blessed band of our Lords the “Peace makers.” let there be no longer doubt on the subject. I know you have it in you & the power; you are too great a man to be other wise

now is the time, & there is none like the present; place your name above all others & stop the war, other matters can be adjusted afterwards. I have seen terrible sufferings more than I could tell or believe; & although my endeavor may fail, & my wish be of no avail yet I wish the consolation of knowing she hast done what she could.1

1 No reply from Lincoln has been located.

With best wishes for your health &

happiness & the hope of a spedy

peace, I remain your

Obt servant

Katharine Gibbon.


Document: Andrew Johnson to Abraham Lincoln, January 17, 1865


The following Telegram received at Washington, 7.50 P. M. Jan’y 17th 1865.

From Nashville Tenn. 5.20 P. M. Jan. 17th 1865.

President:-- The ordinance abolishing Slavery will be adopted by the people on the 22d of February. Legislature and the Governor will be elected on the 4th of March, and will meet on the first Monday in April, when the State will be organized, & resume all the functions of a state, in the Union.1 I would prefer remaining where I am until that time, and then hand it all over to the people in their representative character.2

1 A convention convened in Nashville on January 9, 1865 for the purpose of taking the initial steps that would make Tennessee eligible for readmission into the Union. The convention drafted two amendments to the state constitution. The first abolished slavery and the second rescinded Tennessee’s ordinance of secession. February 22 was set as the date on which voters would determine whether or not to ratify the amendments. The convention also designated March 4 as election day for governor and members of the state legislature. Both amendments were ratified by an overwhelming majority at the February election. Lincoln met with a delegation from the convention in February. See Johnson to Lincoln, January 13, 1865 and Tennessee Union State Convention to Lincoln, January 14, 1865.

2 Lincoln had telegraphed Johnson on January 14 and asked him to recommend someone to replace him as military governor. See Collected Works, VIII, 216.

I would rather have the pleasure and honor of turning over the State, organized, to the people properly Constituted, than be Vice President of the United States.--

At some convenient time after the first Monday in April, I could be qualified, &c. There are precedents for qualifying Vice Presidents after the fourth of March.-- Give me your opinion on the subject.--3 I think it would have a good effect, and set the right precedent in restoring the State authority, whose people have been in rebellion.

3 Lincoln discussed Johnson’s request with members of the cabinet and on January 24 he informed Johnson that it was their “unanimous conclusion that it is unsafe for you to not be here on the fourth of March.” Lincoln therefore instructed Johnson to make sure he was in Washington before that date. See Collected Works, VIII, 235.

Andrew Johnson


Document: Richard J. Oglesby to Abraham Lincoln, January 17, 1865 [With Endorsement by Lincoln]>a>1

1 Dr. Charles H. Ray wanted authorization to trade non-contraband goods in areas that were still controlled by the rebels. Lincoln followed Oglesby’s recommendation and granted Ray a permit that allowed him to undertake the enterprise. See Lincoln to Ulysses S. Grant, February 11-15, 1865 and Ray to Lincoln, April 1, 1865.

Springfield Jany 17th 1865

Dear Sir

Dr C H Ray formerly of the Tribune is here and I believe is being approached with an offer to engage in an enterprise at Chicago Ills which may lead to a chism in our cause in this State, he desires to turn his attention towards other matters in the border or Rebel States, I really hope you may be able to give the Doctor such privilidges as may induce him To abide by his wishes in this respect-- And relieve him from the pursuasions of his friends to return Just now to the Editorial chair-- I would like to see him do well. And shall be verry much pleased if you can find it agreeable to respond to his wishes-- The excitiment growing out of the Senatorial Contest is still unabated-- I think it would be wise to favor any policy to abate it,2

2 The Republicans gained control of the Illinois legislature as a result of the 1864 election and when the new legislature convened in January 1865 it voted to elect Richard Yates to the U. S. Senate. Yates received sixty-four votes and James C. Robinson,
the Democratic candidate, received forty-three (Robinson had been defeated by Oglesby in the gubernatorial election the previous November).

Verry respectfully

Your Obt Servant

Richard J. Oglesby

[Endorsed on Envelope by Lincoln:]

Gov. Oglesby -- about Dr. Ray.


Document: Edwin M. Stanton to Abraham Lincoln, January 17, 1865

Recd 1210 A M

Jany 18” 1865

Fort Monroe Va

10 P M Jany 17” 1865

The Rebel flag of Fort Fisher was delivered to me on board the Steamer “Spalding” off that place yesterday morning January Sixteenth (16th) by Maj Gen Terry.1

1 A joint army-navy expedition under the command of General Alfred Terry and Admiral David D. Porter succeeded in capturing Fort Fisher on January 15, 1865. Fort Fisher was the principal fortification that guarded the city of Wilmington, North Carolina.

An acknowledgement of thanks for their gallant achievment was given in your name to Admiral Porter and Genl Terry, from whom the following particulars were obtained--

The troops arrived off Fort Fisher thursday night, having Friday they were all landed under cover of a heavy fire from the squadron. A reconnoissance was made by Genl Terry on Saturday. A strong defensive line against any enemy’s forces coming from Wilmington was established on Saturday and held by four thousand men, chiefly colored troops, and an assault was determined upon

The assault was made on Sunday afternoon at half past three O’clock The sea front of the Fort had been greatly damaged and broken by a continuous and terrible fire of the fleet for three days, and the front was assaulted at the hour mentioned by a column of Seamen and marines, Eighteen hundred strong, under command of Capt Breeze.2 They reached the parapet, but after a short conflict this column was checked, driven back in disorder and was afterwards placed on the defensive line taking place of a brigade that was brought up to reinforce the assaulting column of troops. Although the assault on the sea front failed, it performed a very useful part in diverting the attention of the Enemy and weakening their resistance to the attack by the troops on the other side. The assault on the other and most difficult side of the Fort was made by a column of three thousand troops of the old Tenth (10th) Corps, led by Col Curtis3 under the immediate supervision of Gen Terry. The enemys force in the Fort was over twenty two hundred (2,200)

2 Kidder R. Breese was the fleet captain of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

3 Newton M. Curtis was colonel of the 142nd New York and commander of a brigade in the 24th Corps. Colonel Curtis was awarded the Medal of Honor for his action in the assault on Fort Fisher.

The conflict lasted for seven (7) hours The works were so constructed that every traverse afforded the Enemy a new defensive position, from whence they had to be driven. They were seven (7) in number, and the fight was carried on from traverse to traverse for seven (7) hours. By a skillfully directed fire thrown into the traverses, one after another as they were occupied by the Enemy, Admiral Porter contributed to the success of the assaulting column--

By signals between himself and Gen Terry at brief intervals, this fire was so well managed, as to damage the Enemy without injury to our men own troops-- At about ten (10) O’clock at night the Enemy were entirely driven from the Fort, forced down towards Federal Point, followed by a Brigade of our troops, and about twelve (12) Oclock at night Gen Whiting4 surrendered himself and his command to Genl Terry unconditionally, as prisoners of War, numbering over eighteen hundred, (1800) the remainder of his force being killed and wounded.

4 William H. C. Whiting

Our loss was not accurately ascertained on Monday afternoon, but was estimated at between seven and eight hundred in killed and wounded, besides the naval loss, which was slight, not exceeding one hundred in killed and wounded. Not a ship nor a transport was lost, Col Curtis was severely, but not mortally wounded Col Bell5 died of his wounds Monday morning. Col J. W. Moore, Lt Col Lyman6 were killed, Col Pennipacker7 was badly wounded, also Lieut Col Coon.8 A complete list of the killed and wounded will be forwarded as soon as it can be prepared--

5 Louis Bell was colonel of the 4th New Hampshire and commander of a brigade in the 24th Corps.

6 John W. Moore and Jonas W. Lyman were officers in the 203rd Pennsylvania.

7 Colonel Galusha Pennypacker commanded a brigade of the 24th Corps in the assault on Fort Fisher. For the bravery he displayed in the assault, Pennypacker was appointed a brigadier general of volunteers and awarded the Medal of Honor.

8 Lieutenant Colonel William B. Coan of the 48th New York

Gen Terry reported to Surgeon Genl Barnes that he had ample provision of Surgeons, Nurses, and hospital supplies for the wounded. They will be sent north to their respective States as fast as they can be placed on transports, of which there was ample supply.

On Monday morning between six and seven Oclock the magazine of Ft Fisher exploded, killing and wounding two or three hundred persons-- After the capture of the Fort all the troops were withdrawn, except one brigade, left in charge of the works How the explosion occurred was not known, but Genl Terry bel[ei]ved it was occasioned by accident or negligence--

Genl Hokes9 Division, reported as five thousand (5000) was at Wilmington. A portion of it was thrown into the Fort, not long before the assault, and while that was going on, a demonstration was made by Gen Hoke against our defensive line, but it was found too strong for anything more than a skirmishing attack.

9 Robert F. Hoke

About eleven O’clock Monday morning a heavy cloud of smoke was observed over Fort Smith on the south side of New Inlet. The Naval Officer commanding that station, reported that the enemy had fired their barracks and evacuated that Fort.

You will be pleased to know, that perfect harmony, and concert of action existed between the land and naval forces, and their respective commanders Admiral Porter and Gen Terry vied in their commendation, each of the other. Each seemed more anxious to do justice to the other, than to claim anything for himself, and they united in the highest commendation of the naval and military Officers, and the forces engaged. To this harmony of feeling and the confident spirit inspired, may perhaps be attributed in some degree, the success of an attack, with nearly equal numbers, against a resolute enemy, in a work unsurpassed, if ever equalled in strength, and which Gen Beauregard10 a few days before pronounced impregnable--

10 Pierre G. T. Beauregard

The armament of the Fort was seventy two (72) guns, some of large calibre and rifled, and one Armstrong gun. The troops in the Fort had rations for sixteen days. Their loss in killed and wounded was between four 4 and five 5 hundred. Gen Whiting had three wounds in the thigh, Col Lamb also who had gone into the Fort with reinforcements, and to relieve Gen Whiting on Sunday, is wounded. On Monday everything was quiet as a Sabbeth day. The dead were being buried, and the wounded collected and placed in transports and field hospitals--

Gen Sherman renewed the movement of his forces from Savannah last week. The Fifteenth and Seventeenth corps went in transports to Beaufort Saturday January Fourteenth (14th) The Seventeenth (17th) corps under Maj Genl Blair11 crossed Port Royal Ferry and with a portion of Genl Foster’s12 command moved on Pocotaligo.

11 Francis P. Blair Jr.

12 John G. Foster

Gen Howard13 commanding that part wing of the army, reported on Sunday, that “the Enemy abandoned his strong works in our front during Saturday night. Genl Blairs corps now occupy a strong position across the Railroad and covering all the approaches eastward to Pocotaligo” All the sick of Gen Shermans Army are in good hospitals at Beaufort and Hilton Head where the genial climate affords advantages for recovery superior to any other place. The peace and order prevailing at Savannah since its occupation by Genl Shermans army, could not be surpassed. Few male inhabitants are to be seen in the streets, Ladies and children evince a sense of security No instance of disorder or personal injury, or insult has occurred--

13 General Oliver O. Howard was commander of the right wing of Sherman’s army.

Laboring men and mechanics, white and black, are seeking employment

The troops are cheerful & respectful towards every one, and seem to feel themselves as much at home, and on good behavior, as if in their native towns. Trade is restricted for the present to actual military necessity.

Many ships with Merchandize from the north are waiting at Hilton head, permission to go to Savannah, but Gen Sherman has admitted only a limited quantity of supplies required by his troops

A mistake prevails at the north as to the present inducement for commerce at Savannah. There is not yet any large population to be supplied, no credit or money -- no commodities of exchange, and there can be no great amount for a considerable period. All the cotton and products now within Savannah belong to the Government as captured property. Stringent precautions against supplies that might go to the enemy have been made, and will be enforced by Gen Sherman. The cotton captured in Savannah, of which there is a good deal of Sea Island, has been turned over by the Quartermaster to Mr Draper Special Agent of the Treasury--

The Quarter Master General remains at Savannah to execute the arrangements for shipment--

Edwin. M. Stanton

Document: Winfield Scott, et al. to Abraham Lincoln, January 17, 18651

1 The following was enclosed in Theodore Roosevelt to John G. Nicolay, January 24, 1865.

New-York, Jany 17th 18642

2 The letter was misdated by the writer.


We address you on the part of the Bureau for the employment of disabled and discharged Soldiers which has recently been established in connection with this Association

3 The Bureau for the Employment of Disabled and Discharged Soldiers was established in connection with the Protective War Claim Association of the Sanitary Commission.

The promise of employment which a large City is supposed to hold out, & other influences, have operated to congregate in this City many of that class, whose condition is such as to challenge immediate attention -- to their claims to employment & support, & it is our desire to find ways of satisfying those claims which shall not compromise the self-respect & independence of men who, having done and suffered so much for the Country, should be considered by all her citizens as having a preferred claim to such employments as they are still fit for--

This preference, which should be conceded them as a right, and as a compensation for the permanent disadvantage which their disabilities will entail, cannot of course be secured to them by legislation, but we think much may be done towards educating public sentiment to that end if the Government would set the example of conferring upon these war worn veterans such offices within its gift, as they might be found qualified to fill, &, if your Excellency approve the plan, we would ask of you such instructions to the Heads of the several Departments of the Government as may serve that purpose--

We think that if such an example is set it may be followed by the State Executives, & otherwise have an effect of establishing the right of the well qualified invalid to certain lighter employments which it will than be considered dishonorable in a sound man to compete with him for4

4 A draft of Lincoln’s March 1 reply to the committee is in this collection.

We remain very respectfully

Your Excellency’s obedient Svts

Winfield Scott, President

Howard Potter}

W. E. Dodge Junr} Executive Committee

Theodore Roosevelt}5

5 Theodore Roosevelt Sr., the father of the future president of the same name, was a New York City glass importer and philanthropist who was active in various civic organizations that supported the war effort.

Document: Abraham Lincoln to Richard T. Jacob, January 18, 1865 [Draft]1

1 Jacob was a Kentucky Unionist who organized the 9th Kentucky Cavalry and served as the regiment’s colonel. In 1863 he was elected lieutenant governor of Kentucky and became an outspoken critic of the Lincoln Administration because of his opposition to the Emancipation Proclamation. Jacob adamantly opposed the enlistment of black soldiers and in 1864 he actively campaigned for George B. McClellan. In November, 1864, he was arrested by the military authorities and subsequently banished to the Confederacy. Early in January Lincoln gave leave to Jacob to come to Washington for an interview with him. The following pertains to that interview. See Jacob to Lincoln, December 26, 1864, J. Bates Dickson to Lincoln, December 28, 1864, and Collected Works, VIII, 182, 198.

Executive Mansion.

Washington, Jan. 18, 1865.


You are at liberty to proceed to Kentucky, and to remain at large so far as relates to any cause now past. In what I now do, I decide nothing as to the right or wrong of your arrest, but act in the hope that there

Directory: mss -> mal -> maltext -> rtf orig
rtf orig -> Document: Ohio and Illinois General Assemblies, Resolutions for Gradual Emancipation of Slaves, 1824 and 1825
rtf orig -> Document: Alexander K. McClure to Abraham Lincoln, June 30, 1863
rtf orig -> Document: Thomas Corwin to Abraham Lincoln, September 6, 1864
rtf orig -> Document: Mary C. W. Wadsworth to Abraham Lincoln, July 4, 1864 [With Endorsement by Lincoln]
rtf orig -> Document: Isachar Zacharie to Abraham Lincoln, April 25, 1863
rtf orig -> Document: Abraham Lincoln to Mary Mann, April 5, 1864 [Draft]
rtf orig -> Document: Edwin M. Stanton to Abraham Lincoln, November 18, 1863
rtf orig -> Document: Jesse K. Dubois and Ozias M. Hatch to Abraham Lincoln, September 16, 1863 Springfield Sept 16. 1863
rtf orig -> Document: Joseph Butler to Abraham Lincoln, January 10, 1861
rtf orig -> Document: Francis P. Blair, Jr to Abraham Lincoln, November 14, 1862

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