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SIXTH REPORT OF THE HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPTS
DIARY OF SALMON P. CHASE, July 21, 1862, TO August 2, 1862.
MONDAY, July 21, 1862.
Early this morning, Count Gurowski called and told me that, yesterday, at a great dinner at Mr. Tassara's - the only Americans present being Gov. Seward and Senator Carlile - Gov. Seward remarked that he had lately begun to realize the value of a Cromwell, and to appreciate the Coup d'etat; and that he wished we had had a Cromwell or a Coup d'etat for our Congress. The Count said that the diplomats present were very much disgusted, and that the language of Gov. Seward injured the Administration much in the estimation of all intelligent foreigners.
After the Count left, I received a notice to attend a Cabinet meeting, at 10 o'clock. It has been so long since any consultation has been held that it struck me as a novelty.
I went at the appointed hour, and found that the President had been profoundly concerned at the present aspect of affairs, and had determined to take some definitive steps in respect to military action and slavery. He had prepared several Orders, the first of which contemplated authority to Commanders to subsist their troops in the hostile territory - the second, authority to employ negroes as laborers - the third requiring that both in the case of property taken and of negroes employed, accounts should be kept with such degrees of certainty, as would enable compensation to be made in proper cases - another provided for the colonization of negroes in some tropical country.
A good deal of deal of discussion took place upon these points. The first Order was universally approved. The second was approved entirely; and the third, by all except myself. I doubted the expediency of attempting to keep accounts for the benefit of the inhabitants of rebel States. The Colonization project was not much discussed.
The Secretary of War presented some letters from Genl. Hunter, in which he advised the Department that the with-drawal of a large proportion of his troops to reinforce Genl. McClellan, rendered it highly important that he should be immediately authorized to enlist all loyal persons without reference to complexion. Messrs. Stanton, Seward and my-self, expressed ourselves in favor of this plan, and no one expressed himself against it. (Mr. Blair was not present.) The President was not prepared to decide the question but expressed himself as averse to arming negroes. The whole matter was postponed until tomorrow.
After the meeting of the Cabinet, Messrs. Speed, Holloway and Casey - the first, a distinguished lawyer of Louisville, a state senator, and now Postmaster of the city; the second, a large slaveholder in South-western Kentucky; the
third, M. C. from the South-western District - called at the
Department. Messrs. Speed and Casey were decided in favor of the most decided measures in respect to Slavery and the employment of negroes in whatever capacity they were fitted for. Messrs. Speed and Casey assured me that Mr. Holloway (although a large slaveholder) was in favor of every measure necessary for success and that he held no sacrifice too great to insure it. He would cheerfully give up slavery if it became necessary or important.
Mr. Casey, Mr. Horton and Genl. Pope dined with me. Mr. Horton condemned severely the conduct of the cam-paign at the Peninsula and the misrepresentations made to the public in regard to it. Gen]. Pope expressed himself freely and decidedly in favor of the most rigorous measures in the prosecution of the war. He believed that, in consequence of the rebellion, Slavery must perish, and with him it was only a question of prudence as to the means to be employed to weaken it. He was in favor of using every instrument which could be brought to bear against the enemy; and while he did not speak in favor of a general arming of the slaves as soldiers, he advocated their use as laborers, in the defence of fortifications, and in any way in which their services could be made useful without impairing the general tone of the service. He said he was now waiting by request of the President, the arrival of Genl. Hal-leek; and he regarded it as necessary for the safety and success of his operations that there should be a change in the command of the Army of the Potomac. He believed that Genl. McClellan's incompetency and indisposition to active movements were so great, that if, in his operations, he should need assistance, he could not expect it from him. He had urged upon the President the importance of superseding Genl. McClellan before the arrival of Halleck, rep-resenting the delicacy of Halleck's future position, and the importance of having the field clear for him when be assumed the general command. The President, however, had only promised that lie (Geul. Pope) should be present at his interview with Genl. Halleck, when he would give the latter his opinion of McClellan.
TUESDAY. July 22d, 1862.
This morning. I called on the President with a letter received some time since from Col. Key, in which he stated that he had reason to believe that if Genl. McClellan found he could not otherwise sustain himself in Virginia, lie would declare the liberation of the slaves; and that the President would not dare to interfere with the Order. I urged upon the President the importance of an immediate change in the command of the Army of the Potomac, representing the necessity of having a General in that command who would cordially and efficiently cooperate with the movements of Pope and others; and urging a change before the arrival of Genl. Halleck. in view of the extreme delicacy y of his position in this respect. Genl. McClellan being his senior Major-General. I said that I did not regard Genl. McClellan as loyal to the Administration, although I did not question his general loyalty to the country.
I also urged Genl. McClellan's removal upon financial grounds. I told him that, if such a change in the command was made as would insure action to the army and give it power in the ratio of its strength, and if such measures were adopted in respect to slavery as would inspire the country with confidence that no measure would be left untried which promised a speedy and successful result, I would insure that, within ten days, the Bonds of the U. S.—except the 5-20s.—would be so far above par that conversions into the latter stock would take place rapidly and furnish the necessary means for carrying on the Government. If this was not done, it seemed to me impossible to meet necessary expenses. Already there were 10,000,000 of unpaid requisitions, and this amount must constantly increase.
The President came to no conclusion, but said he would confer with Gen. Halleck on all these matters. I left him, promising to return to Cabinet, when the subject of the Orders discussed yesterday would be resumed.
Went to Cabinet at the appointed hour. It was unanimously agreed that the Order in respect to Colonization should be dropped; and the others were adopted unanimously, except that I wished North Carolina included among the States named in the first order.
The question of arming slaves was then brought up and I advocated it warmly. The President was unwilling to adopt this measure, but proposed to issue a proclamation, on the basis of the Confiscation Bill, calling upon the States to return to their allegiance - warning the rebels the provisions of the Act would have full force at the expiration of sixty days - adding, on his own part, a declaration of his intention to renew, at the next session of Congress, his recommendation of compensation to States adopting the gradual abolishment of slavery - and proclaiming the emancipation of all slaves within States remaining in insurrection on the first of January, 1863.
I said that I should give to such a measure my cordial support; but I should prefer that no new expression on the subject of compensation should be made, and I thought that the measure of Emancipation could be much better and more quietly accomplished by allowing Generals to organize and arm the slaves (thus avoiding depredation and massacre on the one hand, and support to the insurrection on the other) and by directing the Commanders of Departments to pro-claim emancipation within their Districts as soon as prac-ticable; but I regarded this as so much better than inaction on the subject, that I should give it my entire support.
The President determined to publish the first three Orders forthwith, and to leave the other for some further consid-eration. The impression left upon my mind by the whole discussion was, that while the President thought that the organization, equipment and arming of negroes, like other soldiers, would be productive of more evil than good, he was not willing that Commanders should, at their discretion, arm, for purely defensive purposes, slaves coming within their lines.
Mr. Stanton brought forward a proposition to draft 50,000 men. Mr. Seward proposed that the number should be 100,000. The President directed that, whatever number were drafted, should be a part of the 3,000,000 already called for. No decision was reached, however.
FRIDAY, July 25.
No Cabinet to-day. Went to War Department in the morning, where I found the President and Stanton. We talked about the necessity of clearing the Mississippi, and Stanton again urged sending Mitchell. The President said he would see him. Stanton sent for him at Willard's, and sent him to the President.
In the evening I called for Mitchell to ride, with H. Walbridge. Asked him the result. He said the President had asked him with what force he could take Vicksburgh and clear the river, and, with the black population on its banks, hold it open below Memphis; and had bid him consider. He had replied that, with his own division and Curtis' army, he could do it he thought, but he would consider and reply.
I told him now was the time to do great things.
SATURDAY, July 26.
Sent order to close and encrape the Department in respect to ex-President Van Buren, just deceased.
The President came in, to talk about the controversy between the Postmaster General and 6th. Auditor, in regard to rooms. Agreed to see the Attorney General, for whom I afterwards sent. The Attorney General had not heard of Rabe's removal, of which I spoke to him, and I directed Mr.Harrington to telegraph Rabe that the removal had been made without my knowledge or that of the Attorney General.
Genl. Pope came in about 1 P. M., and went to Photographers with me and Col. Welch. He talked as if McClellan might be returned in command and retrieve himself by advancing on Richmond, which was now quite feasible there being but few troops on the North side of the James. I replied that no such advance would be made; or, if made and successful, would only restore undeserved confidence and prepare future calamities.
Mitchell called. He had seen the President, who had postponed his decision until he could consult Halleck. Mitchell had all his orders ready for rapid movement. Told him his only course was to wait and see.
Talked with Pope about Mitchell, who inclined to think him visionary. Asked him to get acquainted with him which he promised.
Wrote Mrs. E. in reply to letter received from her.
SUNDAY, July 27.
A telegram from Genl. Morgan this morning apprised me of his resignation, and of his wish that I would secure its prompt acceptance. I went, therefore, to the War Department, wishing to oblige him, and also to secure Garfield's appointment in his- place. Mr. Stanton was not in, but saw Watson.
Talked with Watson about the state
He mentioned two conversations with McClellan in November of last year, in both of which Watson expressed the opinion that the rebels were in earnest - that peace, through any arrangement with them, was not to be hoped for - and that it would be necessary to prosecute the war, even to the point of subjugation, if
we. meant to maintain the territorial integrity of the country. McClellan differed. He thought we ought to avoid harshness and violence - that we should conduct the war so as to avoid offence as far as possible; - and said that if be thought as Watson did, he should feel obliged to lay down his arms.
It was during the same month that he told me of his plan for a rapid advance on Richmond, and gave me the assur-ance that he would take it by the middle of February; which induced me to assure the capitalists in New York that they could rely on his activity, vigor and success.
the War Department I went to the President's, to whom I spoke of the resignation of Morgan and of substi-tuting Garfield which seemed to please him. Spoke also of the financial importance of getting rid of McClellan; and expressed the hope that Halleck would approve his project of sending Mitchell to the Mississippi. On these points be said nothing. I then spoke of Jones, the Sculptor, and of the fitness of giving him some Consulate in Italy, which he liked the idea of. He read me a statement (very good) which he was preparing in reply to a letter from - ; in New-Orleans, forwarded by Bullitt.
other talk and reminding him of the impor-tance of a talk between me and Halleck about finances as affected by the war (by the way, he told me he desired Halleck to come and see me last Monday, but he did not come) I returned home. Was too late for church. Read various books - among others, Whitfield's life. What a worker!
Spent evening with Katie and Nettie, and read H. W. Beecher's last sermon in the Independent.
caller all day. - O si sic omnes dies!
FRIDAY, Aug. 1, 1862.
No events of much importance to-day. - A Cabinet meeting was held and a good deal of talk took place, but no results. - Blair sent me his paper on Colonization to which he referred in our long talk of yesterday. - A nice letter from my friend Mrs. Eastman. - Spent a few moments at the War Department - telegram came that the enemy has been shelling McClellan's position from Point Coggin. - Wrote to Genl. Pope and Genl. Butler, touching, in both letters, the Slavery question. - Called on Genl. Halleck in the evening, and talked a good while with him. Judged it prudent not to say much of the war he spoke of Buell as slow but safe; of Grant, as a good general and brave in battle, but careless of his command; of Thomas he spoke very highly.
Aug. 2, 1862.
all day - went neither to the President's nor the War Department.
Genl. Shields called and talked over movement up the Shenandoah. He told me that when he received peremptory orders to return, he bad held communication with Fremont and Jackson's capture was certain. I told him of my urgency that McDowell should be ordered forward with his entire command from Warrenton, per Front Royal, to Charlottesville and Lynchburg; that the President was not ready to act; that McDowell himself was apparently disinclined, preferring concentration at Manassas and then advance to Richmond. Plain enough now, he said, that this was the true movement. He had himself telegraphed McDowell that Jackson would be Pattersonized by recall of troops from pursuit. The troops were, nevertheless, recalled and by peremptory orders from the President himself, those of Shields were directed to return to Manassas and those of Fremont to resume position as a corps of observation.
It was a terrible
mistake. It would have been easy to take Charlottesville and Lynchburg - very easy; the capture of Jackson, though not at the time seen at Washington to be practicable was, nevertheless, within easy possibility; his defeat and the dispersion of his force certain. Our troops were called off when they were just upon him. The course of the whole movement was changed, for no reason that I could see. Charlottesville and Lynchburg were saved to the enemy, with their stores and the Rail Roads on which they are situated, forming the great East and West communication of the rebels. A wide door for Jackson to Richmond was .opened - the very door through which, a little later, he passed; fell in cooperation with the rebel army at Richmond, on McClellan's right, left unsupported
as if to invite disaster; defeated it; and then, with the same army, pursued the Union main body to the James. Sad' sad! yet nobody seems to heed. Genl. Shields and I talked this all over, deploring the strange fatality which seemed to preside over the whole transaction. He dined with us; and after dinner, rode out with brother Edward and Nettie.
1. I. e., weakened as Patterson was by recall of troops to defend Washington the latter part of June 1861.
In the evening, several callers came in. Beebe, from Ravenna, a faithful friend - John R. French - Smith Ho-mans - Chas. Selden - and some others. Selden says that at Cincinnati, old Mr. Molitor and Revd. Edw. Purcell spoke very kindly of me.
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