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SIXTH REPORT OF THE HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPTS
DIARY OF SALMON P. CHASE, SUNDAY, Sept. 14, 1862 to MONDAY, Sept. 22d., 1862.
SUNDAY, Sept. 14, 1862
Methodist Church. Mr. Brown preached good sermon. -
Afterwards called to enquire for Mrs. Douglas,
who, I found, had passed a bad night, but was better.
Went to War Department. Despatches
from McClellan to the President - also to Genl. Halleck. First,
complimentary respects to Mrs. Lincoln;
ladies enthusiastic welcome of McClellan and his
army " us." The second states getting possession of Lee's Order to Hill of 10th.
troops from various directions to attack Martinsburg and Harpers Ferry on
the 12th. - capture both - and then reunite at Hagerstown; - White had anticipated the enemy by
joining Miles at Harpers Ferry, where the enemy made vigorous attack yesterday; - courier from
Miles says he can hold out two days, but
enemy is in possession of Maryland Heights; - McC.
hopes before two days to relieve Miles - is
already in possession of Middleton and Jefferson; - estimates rebel
force in Maryland at 125,000 thinks defeat
of his army would be ruinous, and therefore better to spare
all troops from Washington than suffer it; - anticipates great battle tomorrow, Monday - enemy don't
mean to go back to Virginia, but thinks Lee
has blundered and hopes to make him repent of it. -
Watson rode with me.
Read several books, especially
article in " Revue des deux Mondes" on the soul.
In the evening, Mr. Case called and talked of Politics and
Spiritualism - especially the last, in which he
is a firm believer. Says he receives letters from the inhabitants
of the Sixth and other Spheres, among whom are Calhoun,
Brutus and others that there is a council of the 6th., presided
over by Washington, to which the control of this war
is committed; that Richmond will be taken about Dec. 1st.,
and Charleston early in the Spring. - Dr. Rabe
called and talked over California matters. Seems to have
been very unfairly and unjustly dealt with. Thinks Hoff-
man excellent man—also Sharp, Dist. Atty. Thinks Phelps
or ------, a partisan of Fremont, will be elected Senator.
Rand, new Marshal, is one of Palmer, Cook & Co. set. Advised him to examine papers, and, if possible, refute charges
and be restored.
Mr. Varnum, of N. Y., and his cousin, from Mass., came
in and talked a little. Nothing important.
MONDAY, Sept. 15, 1862.
Went to Department soon after
stopping at Franklin's to buy glasses. Got a pair, not, I fear, exactly the best for me. Received letters from
John Sherman, O. Follett, Horace Greeley, and others. Greeley's assured me that the "Tribune" had no interest
in the Labor Contract, which I was very glad to
learn. - Called on Attorney-General about citizenship of colored men. Found hire to expressing official opinion.
- Met Eliot and Tabor, Mayor of New
Bedford, and invited them to dine with me. - Commenced letter to Greeley; when I was reminded of my
promise to accompany Mr. Case to the President's. Went
with him. Found Eliot and Tabor in ante-chamber. Went
in and found Blair with the President discussing affairs.
Told him of the gentlemen outside, and was permitted to
bring them in. Did so. Introduced Case, who choke hands,
and we two came away.
Case at Department. Finished letter to Greeley, and
wrote Judge Mason about Rodney, promising to do
what I could for trial. Several callers - among them
Col. Lloyd of Ohio Cavalry, and Col. Mason of Ohio Infantry, with two Captains. Lloyd said that the cavalry was
very badly used; that forage was insufficient and irregular,
and needlessly wasted; that sometimes a squadron, company
or regiment was ordered out early in the morning, and left
all day without any further orders. Pope he said, had
nominally about 2,000 cavalry when he went South, and when
he returned bad not 500 fit for service. Sometimes the
cavalry was ordered to march, when five or six horses in a
Company would die from sheer exhaustion. Artillery horses
better cared for. Lloyd desired Mason to be made Brigadier-
General. Promised to make inquiries, and, if found all
right, promote object.
Mr. Wetmore called about Cotton
and Tobacco. Proposed
that Government should take all Cotton at 20 cents and tobacco at cents - pay this price
- send it to New York - sell it
for Gold - keep account with each owner, and,
at the end of the war, pay him the difference, if loyal. The idea struck me very favorably, and I promised to see him again tomorrow.
Weed called and we
had a long talk. He expressed again his conviction that more decided measures are needed in an Anti-Slavery direction; and said there was much dissatisfaction with Seward in New York because he is supposed to be averse to such measures. I told him, I did not doubt Mr. Seward's fidelity to his ideas of progress, amelioration and freedom; but that I thought he adhered too tenaciously to men who proved themselves unworthy and dangerous, such as McClellan; that he resisted too persistently decided measures; that his influence encouraged the irresolution and inaction of the President in respect to men and measures, although personally he was as decided as anybody in favor of vigorous prosecution of the war, and as active as anybody in concerting plans of action against the rebels. Mr. Weed admitted that there was much justice in my views, and said he had expressed similar ideas to Mr. Seward himself. He said he would see him again, and that Seward and I must agree on a definite line, especially on the Slavery question, which we must recommend to the President. We talked a good deal about our matters - about the absence of proper Cabinet discussion of important subjects - about Tax appointments in New York, with which he is well satisfied, etc., etc.
Went to War Department between 3 and 4,
telegrams of McClellan. They state that the action of yesterday resulted in a decided success - that the enemy driven from Mountain Crest, did not renew the action this morning but retreated in disorder - that Lee confessed himself "shockingly whipped", with loss of 15,000 men, killed, wounded, missing and prisoners - that he has 700 prisoners at Frederick, and that 1000 have been taken by Hooker and held - that he proposed pursuit as rapidly as possible - that Franklin on the right in advance towards Harpers Ferry, had succeeded as well as the troops on the right. News from the West also good. Nothing from Miles at Harpers Ferry but it is believed that he still holds out.
Returned to the Department,
closed the business of the day, and went home.
Eliot, Tabor and Harrington dined with me. After dinner, rode with Harrington. Stopped at Mr. Cutts, to inquire for Mrs Douglas. - glad to hear she was better. Stopped also at War Department. No further news. Stanton thinks Halleck begins to realize his mistake. Said he intended to make Birney Major-General, but Halleck (or rather McClellan) had designated Stoneman. Told him that Birney had sent his letter of resignation to me, but I had declined to present it. Nothing new from the army, except report from operator at Point of Rocks of firing apparently between that place and Harpers Ferry, - which may indicate Franklin or Miles in that position. Nothing from McClellan since noon.
Dropped Harrington at Ebbit House, and called on General Schenck at Willards. Helped dress his wound which looked very bad, but the surgeons say he is improving rapidly and will be able to sit up in two or three days. His daughter is with him, and most assiduous and devoted.
Butler and Benedict called wishing to be introduced to the President, in order to present petition for exemption of society from draft. Promised to go with them, or write note, tomorrow morning. - Gov. Boutwell called and we talked of Tax Law, Stamp distribution, etc.
TUESDAY, Sept. 16.
Breakfast. Went to Department, and from. Department with Deputation of Friends from Mt. Pleasant, O., and Wilmington, Del., to the President and introduced them. Asked for Bishop McIlvain, the appointment of Revd. Mr. Telford as chaplain at Camp Chase - which the President directed.
Went to Navy
Department and advised Expedition up the James River; and said if Gen.. Wool or other good General could be sent I would go myself as Volunter Aid. Mr. Welles seemed pleased with the idea; and said the "Iron-sides" and "Passaic" would be ready by the time troops could be, and might take Richmond as preliminary to Charleston. - Spoke to the Secretary of Commodore Barb-heads remark to Harrington, that the Government ought to be superseded by McClellan. - Went to War Department.
Surrender of Harpers Ferry is confirmed. McClellan's victory of Sunday was probably over the rear of Longstreet's Division, which made a stand.
Weed called with Morgan, who wished to enquire about Texas Bonds issued under authority of the Rebel Government. Told him they would not be recognized and promised him copies of -papers relating to the subject, from files and records of the Department. Told Weed that we must have decided action and that he could ensure it. Was going to Meeting of Heeds of Departments not to Cabinet. Went over to White House. Met Seward, who said the President was busy with Gen. Halleck and there would be no meeting.
Returned to Department. Rode out to Sigel's Camp, by way of Chain Bridge, with Harrington and Dr. Schmidt. Saw Sigel and Schurz. They want to have corps organized for operations in the field. Sigel said scouts returned from Draines-ville report large, rebel force at Leesburgh.
late dinner. - Harrington with me. Sent message to War Department for news.
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 17 1862.
with me. - At Department finished Proclamation declaring States in insurrection, without the exception formerly made, with view to taking exclusive control of all purchases of cotton, sugar, tobacco and rice in insurgent States.
Judge Hoadly came. Went to War Department with him. Stanton promised the Generals he wanted, but could promise nothing else. Went also to Genl. Halleck's. Found the President and Reverdy Johnson there, talked with a Union Captain who was at Harpers Ferry at the time of its surrender. Says Maryland Heights were surrendered to the surprise of every one; that Miles was struck by a shell after the surrender of the post, just as he had put the white flag in the hands of an orderly; that there was no necessity whatever for the surrender, and that the officers were very indignant.
Warrants to-day enormous - over $4
,000,000 - and unpaid Requisitions still accumulating - now over $40,000,000. Where will this end?
came to dine with me. Expressed his decided opinion that if his Order had not been revoked, he would now have had the whole coast lined with disciplined loyal Southern men - black to be sure, but good soldiers and true.
FRIDAY, Sept. 19.
Recd. letter from Robt. Dale Owen (addressed to the President) eloquently urging General Emancipation; which I handed to the President at Cabinet. Stanton showed me Halleck's telegram to McClellan, dated Aug. 31, which was substantially as follows:-
" I do not know the terms of Order. I expected to leave you in full command, except of troops temporarily detached to Pope. I beg you to come up and give me the benefit of your talents, experience and judgment at this critical moment. Am completely tired out."
This telegram announced the surrender of Halleck to McClellan. It saddens me to think that a Commander in Chief, whose opinion of his subordinate's military conduct is such as I have heard Halleck express of McClellan, should, in a moment of pressure, so yield to that very subordinate. Good may come of it, but my fears are stronger than my hopes. How differently old Genl. Scott would have acted! When up all night at the critical period immediately following the first battle of Bull Run, he was never heard to complain of being " completely tired out," or known to try to shift any part of his responsibility upon another.
SATURDAY, Sept. 20.
Katie came home this morning,
looking very well.
- Nothing of special importance in any Department. - Mr. Garrett called expressing great uneasiness about the B. and O. R. R. and the probable invasion of Western V irginia if the enemy is not followed up. - Genl. Mason dined with me. He is extremely anxious to have a trial in the case of Rodney Mason, who was lately dismissed the service for the surrender of Clarkville. - Received letter from Mr. Hamilton. He will come on Monday to see the President about Proclamation.
letter from Miss Virginia Smith, asking my interest for
Col. Bulow's appointment as Brigadier; to which I replied that I would say a good word for the Colonel, and thought the prospect not desperate as no man is safe, now-a-days, from being made a Brigadier - not even a man of merit.
SUNDAY, Sept. 21.
At home to-day, under orders from
Dr. F. - Mr.
Montgomery of Philadelphia dined with us. - Called on Harrington, to have Dr. F. go to see Gen. Hooker, if possible. Harrington made arrangements. - Towards sun-down, called at Mrs. C's to enquire for Mrs. D., and was much gratified to find her so far recovered as to be in the parlor. - Mr. Montgomery went to church with Katie. - Bannister, Taylor and others called.
Dr. F. spoke of having been to the President's, who being very busy writing, could not see him.
Thought to myself, "Possibly engaged on Proclamation."
MONDAY, Sept. 22d., 1862.
about nine. State Department messenger came, with notice to Heads of Departments to meet at 12.- Received sundry callers. - Went to White House.
members of the Cabinet were in attendance. There was some general talk; President mentioned that Artemus Ward had sent him his book. Proposed to read a chapter which he thought very funny. Read it, and seemed to enjoy it very much - the Heads also (except Stanton) of course. The chapter was "High handed Outrage at Utica"
The President then took a graver tone and said:
you are aware, thought a great deal about the relation of this war to Slavery: and you all remember that, several weeks ago, I read to you an Order I had prepared on this subject, which, on account of objections made by some of you, was not issued. Ever since then, my mind has been much occupied with this subject, and I have thought all along that the time for acting on it might very probably come. I think the time has come now. I wish it were a better time. I wish that we were in a better condition. The action of the army against the rebels has not been quite
what I should have best liked. But they have been driven out of Maryland, and Pennsylvania is no longer in danger of invasion. When the rebel army was at Frederick, I determined, as soon as it should be driven out of Maryland, to issue a Proclamation of Emancipation such as I thought most likely to be useful. I said nothing to any one; but I made the promise to myself, and (hesitating a little) - to my Maker. The rebel army is now driven out, and I am going to fulfill that promise. I have got you together to hear what I have written down. I do not wish your advice about the main matter - for that I have determined for myself. This I say without intending anything but respect for any one of you. But I already know the views of each on this question. They have been heretofore expressed, and I have considered them as thoroughly and carefully as I can. What I have written is that which my reflections have determined me to say. If there is anything in the expressions I use, or in any other minor matter, which any one of you thinks had best be changed, I shall be glad to receive the suggestions. One other observation I will make. I know very well that many others might, in this matter, as in others, do better than I can; and if I were satisfied that the public confidence was more fully possessed by any one of them than by me, and knew of any Constitutional way in which he could be put in my place, he should have it. I would gladly yield it to him. But though I believe that I have not so much of the confidence of the people as I had some time since, I do not know that, all things considered, any other person has more; and, however this may be, there is no way in which I can have any other man put where I am. I am here. I must do the best I can, and bear the responsibility of taking the course which I feel I ought to take."
The President then proceeded to read his Emancipation Proclamation, making remarks on the several parts as he went on, and showing that he had fully considered the whole subject, in all the lights under which it had been presented to him.
After he had closed, Gov. Seward said: "The general question having been decided, nothing can be said further
about that. Would it not, however, make the Proclamation more clear and decided, to leave out all reference to the act being sustained during the incumbency of the present President; and not merely say that the Government 'recognizes,' but that it will maintain the freedom it proclaims? "
I followed, saying: " What yon have said, Mr. President, frilly satisfies me that you have given to every proposition which has been made, a kind and candid consideration. And you have now expressed the conclusion to which you have arrived, clearly and distinctly. This it was your right, and under your oath of office your duty, to do. The Proclamation does s not, indeed, mark out exactly the course I should myself prefer. But I am ready to take it just as it is written, and to stand by it with all my heart. I think, however, the suggestions of Gov. Seward very judicious, and shall be glad to have them adopted."
The President then asked us severally our opinions as to the modifications proposed, saying that he did not care much about the phrases he had used. Everyone favored the modification and it was adopted. Gov. Seward then proposed that in the passage relating to colonization, some language should be introduced to show that the colonization proposed was to be only with the consent of the colonists, and the consent of the States in which colonies might be attempted. This, too, was agreed to; and no other modification was proposed. Mr. Blair then said that the question having been decided, he would make no objection to issueing the Proclamation; but he would ask to have his paper, presented some days since, against the policy, filed with the Proclamation. The President consented to this readily. And then Mr. Blair went on to say that he was afraid of the influence of the Proclamation on the Border States and on the Army, and stated at some length the grounds of his apprehensions. He disclaimed most expressly, however, all objection to Emancipation per se, saying he had always been personally in favor of it --- always ready for immediate
Emancipation in the midst of Slave States, rather than submit to the perpetuation of the system.
After this matter was over, I stated to the Cabinet that it had been strongly recommended that all Cotton, Tobacco,
Sugar and Rice should henceforward be purchased only by Government officers, paying to the owners, loyal or disloyal, a certain proportion of the price in New-York amounting to nearly or quite the full price in .the producing States; and giving a Certificate which would entitle the owner to the remainder of the proceeds, deducting taxes and charges, at the end of the rebellion, if loyal. Having made this statement, I said I would like to have the matter reflected on, and that I should bring it up at our next meeting.
to Cabinet, and on my walk to Mr. Seward's room, I met Judge Pierrepont, and invited him to dinner. Coming from Cabinet, I found a letter from Barney about Wadsworth's nomination and Weed's willingness to make it unanimous, if it is not to be considered as a triumph over him; and wrote a note to the General, asking him also to dine. Both he and the Judge came, and we had a pleasant time. Wadsworth had but one objection to saying he would be Governor, if at all, of the State and not of a section of a party; which was that it might be considered as in some sort a pledge, which he would not give to anybody. Told Wadsworth, in confidence, that the Proclamation might be expected tomorrow morning - which surprised and gratified him equally.
Mr. Smith, Chief-Clerk of the Third Auditor's, office; his brother, associated with Fowler; and Dr. Schmidt, called. Also Donn Platt. A good deal of speculation about Proclamation, of which some said a rumor was current a day or two since. I said I thought we need not despair of one yet. Chief-Clerk Smith said he had eagerly looked at the newspapers one morning lately, on the strength of the rumor, for it, and was really disappointed. I told film to keep looking.
Donn Platt wanted young Este made clerk. Told him I would be glad to do so, but could not promise. Mr. Platt called to learn about Col. Hays, and Dr. Harkness about his son-in-law.
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