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SIXTH REPORT OF THE HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPTS
DIARY OF SALMON P. CHASE, August 3, 1862, TO SATURDAY August 16,1862
SUNDAY, Aug. 3.
Genl. Shields came to breakfast and to visit the Ohio men of his command in the Cliffburne Hospital. He told me he desired greatly to have a command of 5000 men and be allowed to dash as he could, breaking the lines and communications of the enemy. My daughters went with him to the Hospital.
Soon after they left, I received a summons to a Cabinet meeting. The President spoke of 'the Treaty said to have been formed between the Cherokees and Confederates, and suggested the expediency of organizing a force of whites and blacks, in separate Regiments, to invade and take pos-session of their country. Statistics of the Indians were sent for, from which it appeared that the whole fighting force of the Cherokees could hardly exceed 2500 men. Mr. Usher, Assistant Secretary of the Interior was not in favor of the expedition. He thought it better to deal indulgently with deluded Indians, and make their deluders feel the weight of the Federal authority. Most, on the whole, seemed to con-cur with him.
Mr. Usher mentioned a report that the Louisville Democrat had come out openly for disunion, saying that it was now manifest that the Government was in the hands of the Abolitionists. The President said, this was equivalent to a declaration of hostility by the entire Douglas Party of Kentucky, and manifested much uneasiness.
There was a
good deal of conversation on the connection of the Slavery question
with the rebellion. I expressed my conviction for the tenth
or twentieth time, that the time for the suppression of the rebellion without interference with slavery had passed; that it was possible, probably, at the outset, by striking the insurrectionists wherever found, strongly and decisively; but we had elected to act on the principles of a civil war, in which the whole population of every seceding state was engaged against the Federal Govrnment, instead of treating the active secessionists as in-surgents and exerting our utmost energies for their arrest and punisbment; - that the bitternesses of the conflict had now substantially united the white population of the rebel states against us; -that the loyal whites remaining, if they would not prefer the Union without Slavery, certainly would not prefer Slavery to the Union; that the blacks were really the only loyal population worth counting; and that, in the Gulf States at least, their right to Freedom ought to be at once recognized, while, in the Border States, the President's plan of Emancipation might be made the basis of the necessary measures for their ultimate enfranchisement; - that the practical mode of effecting this seemed to me quite simple; - that the President had already spoken of the importance of making of the freed blacks on the Mississippi, below Tennessee, a safeguard to the navigation of the river; - that Mitchell, With a few thousand soldiers, could take Vicksburgh; - assure the blacks freedom on condition of loyalty; organize the best of them in companies, regiments etc. and provide, as far as practicable for the cultivation of the plantations by the rest; - that Butler should signify to the slaveholders of Louisiana that they must recognize the freedom of their workpeople by paying them wages; - and that Hunter should do the same thing in South-Carolina.
Mr. Seward expressed himself as in favor of any meas-ures likely to accomplish the results I contemplated, which could be carried into effect without Proclamations; and the President said he was pretty well cured of objections to any measure except want of adaptedness to put down the rebel-lion; but did not seem satisfied that the time had come for the adoption of such a plan as I proposed.
There was also a good deal of conversation concerning the
merits of Generals. I objected pretty decidedly to the policy of selecting nearly all the highest officers from among men hostile to the Administration, and continuing them in office after they bad proved themselves incompetent, or at least not specially competent, and referred to the needless defeat of McClellan and the slowness of Buell. Seward asked what I would do. I replied, Remove the men who failed to accomplish results, and put abler and more active men in their places. He wished to know whom I would prefer to Buell. I answered that if I were President, or Secretary of War authorized to act by the President, I would confer with the General in Chief; require him to name to me the best officers he knew of; talk the matter over with him; get all the light I could; and then designate my man.
As much as any thing, the clearing of the Mississippi by the capture of Vicksburgh was discussed. I reminded the President that after the evacuation of Corinth it would have been an easy matter to send down a few thousand men and complete our possession of the river; and of his own plan of putting Genl. Mitchell at the head of his own division and Curtis' army, and sending him to take Vicksburgh, almost adopted more than two weeks ago. Mr. Usher suggested that since Genl. Halleck had decided against this plan, on the ground that Mitchell's division could not be spared from Buell's command, and Curtis' army was needed to prevent a foray from Arkansas into Missouri, it might be well to raise a special force by volunteering for this one object of taking Vicksburgh, opening the Mississippi and keeping it open. I heartily seconded this idea and it was a good deal talked over.
At length, the President determined to send for Genl. Halleck and have the matter discussed with him. The General came, and the matter was fully stated to him both by Gov. Seward and myself. He did not absolutely reject the idea, but thought the object could be better accomplished by hastening the new levies; putting the new troops in the position now occupied by the old regiments; and setting the last to the work of opening the Mississippi. He expressed the strongest convictions as to the importance of the work,
and his desire to see it accomplished at the earliest possible period. At this moment, however, the necessary troops could not be spared for the purpose. Taking into consideration the delay incident to raising a special force, equal, perhaps, to that demanded by Genl. Halleck's plan, and the other disadvantages it was thought best to drop the idea.
In connection with this subject,
Genl. Halleck spoke of the
distribution of troops in the West. He said that Hardee had broken up his camp south of Corinth, and transferred his army to Chattanooga, where he now had probably 40 or 50,000 men; that Price had attempted to cross the river into Arkansas, but had as yet failed to accomplish his purpose; that a considerable force was, however, advancing northward into Missouri; and that he had sent a division and brigade, say 7,000 men, to Curtis (making his whole force about 17,000) and instructed him to prevent the invasion of Missouri; that he had also detached from Grant about 15,000 men, say three divisions, to take position at Decatur to support Buell if necessary; that Grant had still under his command about 43,000, of whom 7,000 under Jackson had been ordered to the -------- to watch Price; that Buell had 60,000, with which force he was approaching Chattanooga. These numbers give the whole force in the West, exclusive of troops occupying St. Louis and various Posts and Camps north of the Ohio; - Buell, 60,000 - Grant including detachments, except Curtis', 58,000 - Curtis, 17,000 - in all, 135,000 men, excellent troops. He stated McClellan's army at present and fit for duty at 88,000; absent on leave 33,000; absent without leave, 3,000; present but sick, 16,000 - in all, say, 140,000. Another statement makes the number fit for duty 91,000, and the total 143,000.
The President read a communication from Genl. H. proposing that 200,000 militia should be drafted for 9 months, and that the 300,000 men to fill old and form new regiments should be obtained without delay; and to prevent the evil of hasty and improper appointments and promotions, that a Board of Officers should be organized, to which all proposed action of that sort should be referred. The General condemned, respectfully but as decidedly, the inconsideration which has hitherto marked the action of the Government in
this respect, and stated one case where a Colonel had been tried and convicted of gross misconduct and was -on the point of being dismissed, when he came on to Washington and returned with a Brigadier's Commission.
The General commanded my sincere respect by the great intelligence and manliness he displayed, and excited great hopes by his obvious purpose to allow no lagging and by his evident mastery of the business he had taken in hand. I cannot agree with him as to the expediency of retaining Buell and McClellan in their important commands; and I was sorry to hear him say, in reply to a question of the President, as to what use could be made of the black popu-lation of the borders of the Mississippi, "I confess, I do not think much of the negro."
Neither Mr. Stanton nor Mr. Blair were present at the meeting to-day.
When the Cabinet Council broke up, I proposed to Mr. Usher who made a most favorable impression on me, to ride home in my carriage but he was called back by the President. and I finding my carriage had not come, rode home with Mr. Bates.
WEDNESDAY, August 6, 1862.
thought of to-day except the great War Meeting - which was immense. None of the Cabinet there except myself and Mr. Bates. The President, after Mr. Chittenden had finished, said to me (the people clamoring for him) "Well! hadn't I better say a few words and get rid of myself ?" Hardly waiting for an answer, he advanced at once to the stand. He was received with most uproar-ious enthusiasm. His frank, genial, generous face and direct simplicity of bearing, took all hearts. His speech is in all the prints, and evinces his usual originality and sagacity.
Reed and his son, Capt. Reed, and assistant, Secrettary Usher dined with me. Mr. Bates and Dr. Schmidt, came from meeting with me and stopped at my house. After Mr. Bates went, I played chess with the Doctor, who was far my overmatch - he beating me with ease two or three times, while I only, by accident beat him once.
THURSDAY, August 7, 1862
accomplished as yet, though much, I hope, in the train of accomplishment. Engaged nearly all day on selections for recommendations of Collectors and Assessors. Prepared letter to President, containing names etc. etc. of candidates, with my recommendations, for Connecticut; made up in very small part on my own personal knowledge, but mainly on the representations and advice—sometimes agreeing and sometimes not - of the Senators, Representatives, State officers and Secretary Wells.
evening, went to War Department, where I saw Curtis' dispatch from Helena, urging the clearing out of the Mississippi before attempting inland operations; and McClellan's announcing advance of the enemy on Malvern Hill, and his purpose to order the retirement of Hooker's Division; and those of various Governors, and announcing progress of volunteering and preparations for drafting - on the whole very encouraging and denoting the greatest possible earnestness and determination among the people.
Home. Taylor, Davis, and
Hopper (all blacks) called - Wrote my friend E. and sent some pencil scribblings. - Mr. Gest called, but not able to see him.
FRIDAY, August 8, 1862.
Sent letter and scrap to my friend E., and sundry other letters to sundry people--particularly Gen. Pope's recommendation of young Perkins, with my heartiest endorsement, to Gov. Tod. Also sent Gen. Pope, by Maj. John. son, some photographs of himself and Col. Welch, taken by the Treasury artist before he went to the field.
Cabinet Meeting. Autograph
letter from Queen Victoria announcing marriage of Princess Alice. - Seward gave account of Order prepared by Gen. Halleck, Secretary Stanton and himself, forbidding changes of domicil and granting of passports, until after the draft. - Nothing proposed and nothing done of any moment.
Directed Connecticut Abstract and my letter of- recommendation to be sent to President.
FRIDAY, August 15, 1862.
p. and r. un peu de Marius. a Saw in " Republican" account of interview invited by President with colored people, and his talk to them on Colonization. How much better would be a manly protest against prejudice, against color! and a wise effort to give Freemen homes in America! A military Order, emancipating at least the slaves of South-Carolina, Georgia, and the Gulf States, would do more to terminate the war and ensure an early restoration of solid peace and prosperity than anything else that can be devised.
breakfasted with me. After breakfast took up the appointments in Indiana and Ohio, and arranged both substantially to my satisfaction, and I hope, of all concerned. President sent for me about the Connecticut appointments. Found there Collector Babcock, State Senator Pratt (or Platt) and Secy. Welles. Arranged the business. The State Senator got a Mr. Wright, of Middlesex, with Mr. Welles' consent, vice Cowles. Mr. Dix, by general consent, was substituted for Hammond. - Hollister was agreed to in place of Matherson whom Burnham recommended - Howard was retained at Hartford. The President said he felt much relieved. Returned to Department and instantly engaged on other Tax appointments.
No Cabinet to-day.
Went to War Department. Stanton said Halleck had sent Burnside to James River, to act as second in command—or as adviser of McClellan, in reality to control him. He thought the experiment would fail, and wished I would go and see Halleck. Went. Asked about the mission of Burnside. Halleck said he could not disclose it as it was uncertain what it would really turn out to be. Asked him what was the hostile force at Richmond? He thought 75,000 to 80,000 men. - Before Pope? About 60,000. - Whole army in Virginia? About 150,000. I thought it not possible, unless Western force was much re-duced. He thought a levy en manse had been made, and that it was possible for the army to bring 600,000 to 700,000 into the field. I thought the whole number could not at this time exceed 300,000 to 350,000; of which at least
180,000 to 230,000 were in the West, South-West and South-East. I enquired about East Tennessee and the Mississippi River, but got no satisfactory information on either point. He said, however, that 15,000 men had been sent from Decatur to reinforce Buell, and 15,000 from Grant to Decatur; and that Curtis was needed to prevent further inroads into Missouri. The whole interview was very satisfactory, though the General was very civil. Left with him Memoranda in behalf of Col. Carrington.
The papers show that the rebels mean to execute their threat of treating Pope's officers and soldiers as felons, and not as prisoners of war. This cannot be permitted without shameful disgrace. When will the Administration awake to its duty.
Rode out with Parsons. Judge Harris called at night when Boutwell and I were engaged on Tax appointments. I invited him to breakfast in the morning.
SATURDAY, August 16, 1862.
Nothing in public affairs
of special note to-day. New regiments begin to arrive, but reason to hope more from new levies than old? None, that I see, except Genl. Halleck; - if he fails, all fails. Pope telegraphs that his whole force is as near the Rapidan as the nature of the country will permit, and that he is pushing strong reconnoissances beyond. Grant telegraphs that 15,000 men have gone to Decatur to replace 15,000 sent to reinforce Buell - that he is now weak and may be attacked, though there is no indication yet of more than feints towards Missouri. Nothing from Burnside or McClellan.
Sent Katie $150 and Varnum, rent, $375.
brought in the Postage Currency. I directed that it should be received as Furnished by the P. O. Department - i. e. perforated instead of clipped, perforation being considered partial safeguard against counterfeiting.
Judge Roselius, Dr. Cottman and Mr. C. Bullitt, of New-Orleans, dined with me. Also Messrs Usher, Assistant Secretary of the Interior; Major Smith, First Auditor; Meline, Clerk in Treasury Department; Col. R. C. Parsons, Reverdy Johnson and Col. Seaton. Sumner came in after dinner. Retired when he went away.
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