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.
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
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 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.--
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
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).
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
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
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--
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--
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--
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--
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.
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.
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.
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