Lincoln’s Collected Works – Vol. I (Part 2)

11 08 2009

Continued from here.

Sept. 27, 1841 – To Mary Speed (pp 260-261).  In this letter Lincoln famously recounts a river boat trip on which he and best bud Joshua Speed observed a dozen recently purchased slaves, “strung together precisely like so many fish upon a trot-line.”  But he also mentions an “Aunt Emma”, who the editors identify in footnote #8 as Emma Keats, wife of Joshua Speed’s brother Philip and the sister of the English poet John Keats.  This site, however, identifies Emma as Keats’ niece (see 85).  Then Lincoln refers to a Mrs. Peay, and in footnote #9 the editors explain that this is Mrs. Peachy Walker Speed Peay, another of Joshua’s sisters and the wife of Austin Peay.  According to this site, early 20th century Tennessee Governor Austin Peay was a Kentuckian for whom what is now Austin Peay State University (alma mater of the great “Fly” Williams) was named.  His father is listed as a Confederate cavalryman, also named Austin Peay, but with wife Cornelia.  It seems likely that Peachy’s Austin is some sort of precursor to the Governor, but I’m not sure how.  I just think it’s cool that her name was Peachy Peay.  Austin and Peachy would take over Farmington, the Speed family’s Kentucky mariju…er, hemp plantation after the death of the pater familia.

Aug. 7, 1844 – Resolutions Adopted by Springfield Clay Club on the Death of John Brodie (p 341).  “Whereas, we the Springfield Clay Club, impelled by a profound respect for the character of our late and lamented friend, JOHN BRODIE, and by the peculiarly afflictive manner of his death, are desirous of expressing in some appropriate way our deep and lasting regard for his memory:”  In a footnote we learn that “Brodie was killed on August 3 when struck by the fall of a derrick with which a Liberty Pole was being raised for the Whig rally scheduled on that day.  The Whig Liberty Pole, 214 feet 6 inches high, was erected on August 23.”

Feb. 12, 1845 – Recommendation for Admittance of Stanislaus P. Lalumiere to the Practice of Law (pp 343-344).  In a footnote, we learn that “[f]ollowing a term as clerk of the United States Court in Springfield, Lalumiere went to St. Louis, Missouri, to take a similar position.  While there he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus, and upon being ordained priest in 1857, was sent to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he later founded Marquette University” (alma mater of the great Butch Lee).

Jun. 2, 1848 – To William H. Herndon (pp 490-492).  Here Lincoln’s temper bursts forth from the paper. “You ask me to send you all the speeches made about ‘Old Zach[ary Taylor]‘ the war &c. &c.  Now this makes me a little impatient.  I have regularly sent you the Congressional Globe and Appendix, and you can not have examined them, or you would have discovered that they contain every speech made by every man, in both Houses of Congress, on every subject, during this session.  Can I send any more?  Can I send speeches that nobody has made?  Thinking it would be most natural that the newspapers would feel interested to give at least some of the speeches to their readers, I, at the beginning of the session made arrangement to have one copy of the Globe and Appendix regularly sent to each whig paper in our district.  And yet, with the exception of my own little speech, which was published in two only of the then five, now four whig papers, I do not remember having seen a single speech, or even an extract from one, in any single one of those papers.  With equal and full means on both sides, I will venture that the State Register has thrown before it’s readers more of Locofoco speeches in a month, than all the whig papers of the district, have done of whig speeches during the session.”  Old Abe was honestly pissed at Billy.  It was at this time Lincoln and the Whigs were pushing Zachary Taylor for president.  Despite the fact that Lincoln appeared to favor his hero Clay as the better man, it was party and power first – he was certain Taylor was more electable, and he was right.

Jul. 2, 1848 – To Mary Todd Lincoln (pp494-496).  We’ll end with this one.  “The music in the Capitol grounds on saturdays, or, rather, the interest in it, is dwindling down to nothing.  Yesterday evening the attendance was rather thin.  Our two girls, whom you remember seeing first at Carusis, at the exhibition of the Ethiopian Serenaders, and whose peculiarities were the wearing of black fur bonnets, and never being seen in close company with other ladies, were at the music yesterday.  One of them was attended by their brother, and the other had a member of Congress in tow.  He went home with her; and if I were to guess, I would say, he went away a somewhat altered man—most likely in his pockets, and in some other particular.  The fellow looked conscious of guilt, although I believe he was unconscious that every body around knew who it was that had caught him.”





Lincoln’s Collected Works – Vol. I (Part 1)

10 08 2009

Some thoughts on Volume I of The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln:

First, let me say that projects like this are immeasurably more useful than selected works.  Selected works are selected for a reason, by a person or persons, and therefore reflect any prejudices or agendas of the selector/selectors.   Collected works projects typically strive to present all documents.  Also, the editors of Lincoln’s Collected Works used a very light hand in annotation, unlike editors of many selected works, which are often polluted with commentary – even to the point of speculating what the author really meant.

Edited by Roy Bassler, The Collected Works was begun in 1945 and published in 1953, with two subsequent supplemental volumes.  It was the product of the Abraham Lincoln Association and had an editorial advisory board of Lincoln scholars Paul Angle, J. G. Randall and Benjamin P. Thomas.  The task was that of  “collecting, cataloging, reducing to typescript, and annotating each discoverable writing or speech of Abraham Lincoln.”    These include just about everything that could be found that was written in Lincoln’s hand or otherwise documented to have been authored by Lincoln in whole or in part, signed by him, or signed for him by his authority, with the exception of: law cases and associated documents; items Lincoln merely copied in his own hand; acts of Congress; commissions; authorizations; treaties; appointments; etc…, unless there was some special significance to the document.

OK, so, what did I run across in Volume I that caught my attention for whatever reason, and prompted me to attach a (this time) purple Post-It note?  Please keep in mind that I don’t consider myself a Lincoln expert, so if you have any opinion on these notes, feel free to comment.  But keep any comments on current events in your fingers and off the keyboard.  Drawing parallels between historic and current events is a parlor trick, not a talent.

Jan. 11, 1837 – Speech in the Illinois Legislature Concerning the State Bank (pp 65-66) – “I make the assertion boldly, and without fear of contradiction, that no man, who does not hold an office, or does not aspire to one,  has ever found any fault of the Bank.  It has doubled the prices of the products of their farms, and filled their pockets with a sound circulating medium, and they are all well pleased with its operations.  No, Sir, it is the politician who is the first to sound the alarm, (which, by the way, is a false one.)  It is he, [who,] by these unholy means, is endeavoring to blow up a storm that he may ride upon and direct.  It is he, and he alone, that here proposes to spend thousands of the people’s public treasure, for no other advantage to them, than to make valueless in their pockets the reward for their industry.  Mr. Chairman, this movement is exclusively the work of politicians; a set of men who have interests aside from the interests of the people, and who, to say the most of them, are, taken as a mass, at least on long step removed from honest men.  I say this with the greater freedom because, being a politician myself, none can regard it as personal.”

Apr. 1, 1838 – Letter to Mrs. Orville H. Browning (pp 117-119) – This letter, in which Lincoln describes the circumstances surrounding his engagement to Mary Owens, is a joy.  I’d seen snippets of it before, but never read the whole thing.  Lincoln had not seen Miss Owens in about three years, “…and although I had seen her before, she did not look as my imagination had pictured her.  I knew she was over-size, but she now appeared a fair match for Falstaff; I knew she was called an ‘old maid’, and I felt no doubt of the truth of at least half of the appellation; but now, when I beheld her, I could not for my life avoid thinking of my mother; and this, not from weathered features, for her skin was too full of fat, to permit its contracting into wrinkles; but from her want of teeth, weather-beaten appearance in general, and from a kind of notion that ran in my head, that nothing could have commenced at the size of infancy, and reached her present bulk in less than thirtyfive or forty years; and, in short, I was not all pleased with her.”  Well, it turns out that Miss Owens let Lincoln out of his scrape, much to his chagrin.  Lincoln then scooped Groucho Marx by about 100 years: “I have now come to the conclusion never again to think of marrying; and for this reason; I can never be satisfied with any one who would be block-head enough to have me.”

Dec. 26, 1839 – In this very, very long Speech on the Sub-Treasury (pp 178-179), Lincoln argued to the legislature in favor of the National Bank over the administration’s Sub-Treasury system for transferring and disbursing the revenues of the nation.  At the close, it seems Lincoln was consciously experimenting with writing and delivering a stirring, patriotic rouser.  In addition to establishing Lincoln as the “King of Commas”, I think it’s a bit over the top, and ultimately leaves an impression of insincerity.  “Mr. Lamborn averts to the late elections in the States, and from their results, confidently predicts, that every State in the Union will vote for Mr. Van Buren in the next Presidential election.  Address that argument to cowards and to knaves; with the free and the brave it will effect nothing.  It may be true, if it must, let it.  Many free countries have lost their liberties; and ours may lose hers; but if she shall, let it be my proudest plume, not that I was the last to desert, but that I never deserted her.  I know that the great volcano at Washington, aroused and directed by the evil spirit that reigns there, is belching forth the lava of political corruption, in a current broad and deep, which is sweeping with frightful velocity over the whole length and breadth of the land, bidding fair to leave unscathed no green spot or living thing, while on its bosom are riding like demons on the waves of Hell, the imps of that evil spirit, and fiendishly taunting all those who resist its destroying course, with the hopelessness of their effort; and knowing this, I cannot deny that all may be swept away.  Broken by it, I, too, may be; bow to it I never will.  The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me.  If I ever feel the soul within me elevate and expand to those dimensions not wholly unworthy of its Almighty Architect, it is when I contemplate the cause of my country, deserted by all the world beside, and I standing up boldly and alone and hurling defiance at her victorious oppressors.  Here, without contemplating consequences, before High Heaven, and in the face of the world, I swear eternal fidelity to the just cause, as I deem it, of the land of my life, my liberty and my love.  And who, that thinks with me, will not fearlessly adopt the oath I take.  Let none faulter, who thinks he is right, and we may succeed.  But, if after all, we shall fail, be it so.  We still shall have the proud consolation of saying to our consciences, and to the departed shade of our country’s freedom, that the cause approved of our judgment, and adored of our hearts, in disaster, in chains, in torture, in death, WE NEVER faultered in defending.”

As this is taking longer than I thought, and I want to stick to the People Magazine theory of article length, I’ll have another post (at least) with more from Volume I later this week.





Buncha Stuff

31 07 2009

Fibber-McGeeI’m finishing up Volume I of Lincoln’s Collected Works (there are 11 volumes in all, plus an index for the first nine).  Rather than post interesting tidbits as I found them, I’ve decided that after I finish each volume I’ll go back to all my little post-its and put up one article listing them.  So look for a summary post next week.

I haven’t forgotten the post on Thomas Jefferson, Robert E. Lee, and the characteristics of the Southern officer class that hindered its ability to lead effectively.  I’m sure the article, when written, will piss some folks off, and maybe that’s why I keep putting it off.  But all the books I’m consulting are still sitting in a stack on my office floor.

I need some info on Hugh Judson Kilpatrick.  Does anyone know how, when, and why he received his nickname, Kill Cavalry?  I’m not looking for opinion or generally accepted legend – in fact, if you give that to me in a comment, I’ll delete it.  I’m looking for documented evidence: when and where did the name first appear, and in what context?

My First Bull Run Field Guide for Civil War Times magazine should be showing up in subscriber’s mailboxes soon.  I’ll post some thoughts on the article once I receive my copy.

Civil War Sallie visited the Manassas National Battlefield Park a couple weekends ago for the anniversary of the battle, and wrote about it in multiple installments here.  Check it out.





Fredonia’s Cushings & Westfield’s Lincoln-Bedell Statues

22 07 2009

I spent a week-long vacation with my family at Van Buren Point, outside Fredonia, New York, on Lake Erie.  Next door to my in-laws’ cottage is a lot that until a couple of years ago was home to “Cushing Cottage”, once owned by the Fredonia family that included Gettysburg martyr Alonzo and naval hero William B. Cushing.  In fact, we have an old photo of William’s daughters Marie and Katharine frolicking in the surf in their mid-calf length bathing suits right there off my wife’s family’s beach – though somewhat eroded, it is unmistakable.  Click the thumb for a larger image.

cushing

About 15 miles from Van Buren Point and pretty much on our way home is Westfield, home to Welch’s of grape juice and jelly fame – this area of western NY is known for grapes.  Westfield was the home of Grace Bedell, the little girl who encouraged then presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln to grow whiskers.  Lincoln stopped in Westfield on his roundabout journey to his inauguration and met Grace.  The moment has been commemorated by the town.  Here are some photos of the statues, an accompanying plaque, and an interpretive marker.  I used my cell phone, so excuse the quality.  Click on the thumbs for larger images.

Westfield-Placard Westfield-Plaque Westfield-Statue-1 Westfield-Statue-2





Civil War Times – August 2009

6 06 2009

CWI_August_2009Inside the August 2009 issue of Civil War Times:

An update on a West Virginia University graduate school project, overseen by Pete Carmichael, that will include a Podcast tour of the Shepherdstown battlefield.

An editorial by Gary Gallagher on two approaches to the study of the war, one dominated by “non-academic” and the other by academic historians.

A new feature on “Military Manuals of the Civil War”.  This first entry focuses on Dennis Hart Mahan’s “Outpost”.  (Frankly, I think far too much attention is given to the impact of Napoleon and Jomini on antebellum West Point cadets, and far too little to that of the man through whom their actions and writings were filtered.)

This issue’s Field Guide on Chattanooga.  I’m working on one on First Bull Run for an upcoming issue.

An article on nine-month Union enlistment strategy by William Marvel.

Gettysburg Ranger Eric Campbell writes on the destruction of the Union 3rd Corps at Gettysburg, and follows that up with a collection of letters by gunner Augustus Hesse of Bigelow’s 9th MA Battery and a two page spread of artillery artifacts.

An extract from Ron Soodalter’s book on the only American sea captain executed for transporting slaves, Hanging Captain Gordon.

Timothy B. Smith, author of Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg, takes a look at Confederate General William Loring after the battle.

This issue’s featured Lincoln image is Abe as 1865 gym teacher, complete with buzz-cut:

Abe-Buzz





I Never Expected This

13 03 2009

lincoln-a-lifeI’ve been keeping you up to date with the continuing saga of my copy of Michael Burlingame’s Abraham Lincoln: A Life.  I got a really good price on the two volume set, $83 from Amazon with free shipping, and I used a $50 gift certificate from my credit card points against that.  The book took a month and a half to arrive, and when it did, the spine cover of volume II had separated from the text block spine, so the book just falls open.  As Drew pointed out to me, that’s to be expected for a 1,000 page book, eventually, but for a new book it’s inexcusable.  Confused by Amazon’s statement on its site that exchange was not an option (the instructions say to return the book and reorder it, which would have lost me the significant discount I got on the price when I ordered it), I checked into getting the book repaired.  I was told by the nice folks at Mechling Bookbindery that it would cost about $40 for repair, which was more than the lost discount.  So I followed Amazon’s return instructions and found in the process that indeed, I could exchange the book for a new copy.  The new books would arrive within days, and I had 30 days to return my original order.

The new volumes arrived within a few (very few) days.  But guess what?  The same volume of the set had the same defect.  Drew tells me that this is a pretty consistent problem with this set.  So I fired off a note to Amazon, telling them how much it was going to cost me to get the book repaired.  Guess what?  They told me that I could return the book for full credit, or I could accept a $40 credit to the payment method I used to buy the book from them.  Whoda thunk?





Lincoln Stuff

9 03 2009

stampI left a comment on this post on Civil War Memory, which prompted a comment on this post here, and as a result I’ve found another Lincoln blog called The Abraham Lincoln Observer.  I read a few of the articles and dig Mike Kienzler’s unpretentious style.  The blog gives a “Springfield-centric review of Lincoln in popular culture”.  Check it out – I’ve added it to the blogroll.

I received my copy of Burlingame’s Abraham Lincoln: A Life a couple weeks ago, but the spine on Volume II had come loose.  I debated fixing it myself, but decided to opt for Amazon’s surprisingly easy return/exchange option.  It took me a little while to figure it out, because at first it seemed that my only option was to return the book and re-order it, which would have cost me a few bucks because of a change in Amazon’s price.  But it turns out they’re sending me a new set and I have 30 days to return my other one.

UPDATE 3/10: I received my replacement volumes today – exact same problem, exact same volume.  Does anybody out there know how to get hold of Amazon to adress this issue?  I don’t want to keep returning these in the hopes of getting a good one.  I’m a wee bit ticked off.





The Man, The Myth, The Legend

9 02 2009

This evening I took my son to the historic music hall of the Carnegie Library in nearby Carnegie, PA.  The occasion was a talk on Lincoln, from his nomination to his election, his journey to Washington and the eventual outbreak of the Rebellion.  While it’s a well known story, we were in attendance not for the message, but rather for the messenger.  NPS historian emeritus Ed Bearss kept a crowd of about 150, including a normally antsy 10 year old boy, enraptured for about an hour.  There’s nothing quite like an Ed Bearss presentation.  Afterwards, he was gracious enough to sign my three volume set of The Vicksburg Campaign, while having a nice conversation about mutual friends Teej Smith, Col. Jerry Wulf, and Dr. Charlie Smallwood (if any of you are reading this, Ed says “Hi!”).  Here’s a picture of The Great Man inscribing Volume I to me (this was taken with my phone, so excuse the quality):

bearss





“I Am the Biggest Coward in the World”

5 02 2009

The details of the newspaper article posted here are nothing new.  The story of Scott’s exclamation, Lincoln’s challenge, and Scott’s response are well known.  Richardson’s interpetation of what the exchange showed is more in line with my own thoughts on the matter (to which I alluded here).  Probably the most quoted version of the incident is from Nicolay & Hay’s 10 volume Abraham Lincoln: A History (Vol. 4, pp 358-361):

A few days after the battle, in a conversation at the White House with several Illinois Members of the Congress, in the presence of the President and the Secretary of War, General Scott himself was so far nettled by the universal chagrin and fault-finding the he lost his temper and sought an entirely uncalled-for self-justification.  “Sir, I am the greatest coward in America,” he said.  “I will prove it.  I have fought this battle, sir, against my judgement; I think the President of the United States ought to remove me to-day for doing it.  As God is my judge, after my superiors had determined to fight it, I did all in my power to make the army efficient.  I deserve removal because I did not stand up, when my army was not in a condition for fighting, and resist it to the last.”  The President said, “Your conversation seems to imply that I forced you to fight this battle.”  General Scott then said, “I have never served a President who has been kinder to me than you have been.”  Representative William A. Richardson, who in a complaining speech in Congress related the scene, then drew the inference that Scott intended to pay a personal compliment to Mr. Lincoln, but that he did not mean to exonerate the cabinet; and when pressed by questions, further explained: “Let us have no misunderstanding about this matter.  My colleagues understood that I gave the language as near as I could.  Whether I have been correctly reported or not I do not know.  If I did not then make the correct statement, let me do it now.  I did not understand General Scott, nor did I mean so to be understood, as implying the the President had forced him to fight that battle.

I’m not so sure.  Lincoln’s former secretaries went on:

The incident illustrates how easily history may be perverted by hot-blooded criticism.  Scott’s irritation drove him to an inaccurate statement of events; Richardson’s partisanship warped Scott’s error to a still more unjustifiable deduction, and both reasoned from a changed condition of things.  Two weeks before, Scott was confident of victory, and Richardson chafing at military inaction.

Historical judgement of war is subject to an inflexible law, either very imperfectly understood or very constantly lost sight of.  Military writers love to fight over the campaigns of history exclusively by the rules of the professional chess-board, always subordinating, often totally ignoring, the element of politics.  This is a radical error.  Every war is begun, dominated, and ended by political considerations; without a nation, without a Government, without money or credit, without popular enthusiasm which furnishes volunteers, or public support which endures conscription, there could be no army and no war – neither beginning nor end of methodical hostilities.  War an politics, campaign and statecraft, are Siamese twins, inseparable and interdependent; and to talk of military operations without the direction and interference of an Administration is as absurd as to plan a campaign without recruits, pay, or rations.

Applied to the Bull Run campaign, this law of historical criticism analyzes and fixes the responsibilities of government and commanders with easy precision.  When Lincoln, on June 29, assembled his council of war, the commanders, as military experts, correctly decided that the existing armies – properly handled – could win a victory at Manassas and a victory at Winchester, at or near the same time.  General Scott correctly objected that these victories, if won, would not be decisive; and that in a military point of view it would be wiser to defer any offensive campaign until the following autumn.  Here the President and the Cabinet, as political experts, intervened, and on their part decided, correctly, that the public temper would not admit of such a delay.  Thus the Administration was responsible for the forward movement, Scott for the combined strategy of the two armies, McDowell for the conduct of the Bull Run battle, Patterson for the escape of Johnston, and the Fate for the panic; for the opposing forces were equally raw, equally undisciplined, and as a whole fought the battle with equal courage and gallantry.

But such an analysis of causes and such an apportionment of responsibilities could not be made by the public, or even by the best-informed individuals beyond Cabinet circles, in the first fortnight succeeding the Bull Run disaster.  All was confused rumor, blind inference, seething passion. That the public at large and the touch-and-go newspaper writers should indulge in harsh and hasty language is scarcely to be wondered at; but the unseemly and precipitate judgements and criticisms of those holding the rank of leadership in public affairs are less to be excused.  Men were not yet tempered to the fiery ordeal of revolution, and still thought and spoke under the strong impulse of personal prejudice, and with that untamed extravagence which made politics such a chaos in the preceding winter.

More on this later…probably.





General Scott and Bull Run – Who Is To Blame?

3 02 2009

Scottish American Journal August 1, 1861

GENERAL SCOTT AND BULL RUN – WHO IS TO BLAME? – CURIOUS REVELATIONS

Immediately after the Bull Run disaster, Gen. Scott was universally condemned for sending forth the army numerically deficient and ill-provided with artillery.  General Scott has since explained his part in the transaction, making a dinner-table the opportunity to do so, and a New York newspaper editor, Mr. Raymond, the medium between him and the public.

On the Tuesday preceding the battle (say the New York Times), General Scott, at his own table, in the presence of his aids and a single guest (Mr. Raymond), discussed the whole subject of this war, and stated what his plan would be for bringing it to a close, if the management of it had been left in his hands.  The main object of the war, he said, was to bring nthe people of the rebellious States to feel the pressure of the Government; to compel them to return to their obedience and loyalty.  And this must be done with the least possible expenditure of life, compatible with the attainment of the object.  No Christian nation can be justified, he said, in waging war in such a way as shall destroy 501 lives, when the object of the war can be attained at a cost of 500.

If the matter had been left to him, he said, he would have commenced by a perfect blockade of every Southern port on the Atlantic and the Gulf.  Then he would have collected a large force at the Capital for defensive purposes, and another large one on the Mississippi for offensive operations.  The Summer months, during which it is madness to take troops south of St. Louis, should have been devoted to tactical instruction; and with the first frosts of Autumn he would have taken a column of 80,000 well-disciplined troops down the Mississippi, and taken every important point on that river, New Orleans included.  It could have been done, he said, with greater ease, with less loss of life, and with far more important results than would attend the marching of an army to Richmond.  At eight points the river would probably have been defended, and eight battles would have been necessary; but in every one of them success could have been made certain for us.  The Mississippi and the Atlantic once ours, the Southern states would have been compelled, by the natural and inevitable pressure of events, to seek, by a return to the Union, escape from the ruin that would speedily overwhelm them out of it.  “This,” said he, “was my plan.  But I am only a subordinate.  It is my business to give advice when it is asked, and to obey orders when they are given.  I shall do it.    There are gentlemen in the cabinet who know much more about war than I do, and who have far greater influence than I have in determining the plan of the campaign.  There never was a more just and upright man than the President – never one who desired more sincerely to promote the best interests of the country.  But there are men among his advisers who consult their own resentments far more than the dictates of wisdom and experience, and these men will probably decide the plan of the campaign.  I shall do, or attempt to do, whatever I am ordered to do.  But they must not hold me responsible.  If I am ordered to go to Richmond, I shall endeavor to do it.  But I know perfectly well that they have no conception of the difficulties we shall encounter.  I know the country – how admirably adapted it is to defense, and how resolutely and obstinately it will be defended.  I would like nothing better than to take Richmond; now that it has been disgraced by becoming the capital of the rebel Confederacy, I feel a resentment towards it, and should like nothing better than to scatter its Congress to the winds.  But I have lived long enough to know tha[t] human resentment is a very bad foundation for a public policy; and these gentlemen will live long enough to know it also.  I shall do what I am ordered.  I shall fight when and where I am commanded.  But if I am compelled to fight before I am ready, they shall not hold me responsible.  These gentlemen must take the responsibility of their acts,as I am willing to take that of mine.  But they must not throw their responsibility on my shoulders.”

In Congress a few days after the battle, Mr. Richardson “stood up” for General Scott.  He said: “General Scott was forced to fight this battle” (Bull Run); and then he proceeded to detail the following strange revelations:

My colleagues (Logan and Washburne) and myself were present with the President, Secretary of War and General Scott.  In the course of our conversation, Gen. Scott remarked, “I am the biggest coward in the world.”  I rose from my seat  “Stay,” said Gen. Scott; “I will prove it.  I have fought the battle against my judgement, and I think the President ought to remove me to-day for doing it.  As God is my judge,” he added, after an interval of silence, “I did all in my power to make the army efficient, and I deserve removal because I did not stand up when I could, and did not.”

Mr. Washburne – As my colleague has referred to Gen. Scott’s remarks, he might also allude to what the President said.

Mr. Richardson – I will do so.  “Your conversation implies,” said the President to Gen. Scott, “that I forced you to battle.”  To which Gen. Scott replied, “I have never served under a President who has been kinder to me than you have been.”  But Gen. Scott did not relieve the President from the fact of the latter having forced him to fight the battle.  Gen. Scott thus merely paid a compliment to the President personally.

[Photcopy courtesy of Terry Johnston]

{See also this post}








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