should be most positively prohibited that such citizens should electioneer, harangue, or canvass the regiments in any way. Their business should be, and only be, to distribute, on a certain fixed day, tickets to whoever may call for them. . . As it is intended that all soldiers entitled to vote shall exercise that privilege according to their own convictions of right, unmolested and unrestricted, there will be no objection to each party sending to armies easy of access a number of respectable gentlemen to see that these views are carried out.’
It would be difficult to frame regulations better calculated to secure the freest exercise of the suffrage in an army, and at the same time obviate the dangers which are instantly so apparent—the possibility of disturbance, the undue biassing of soldiers by their officers, the employment of troops to control opinion or coerce action in civil affairs.
As the day of the election approached, the anxiety in regard to the result became painful.
It was the prosecution of the war that was at issue.
This was the last opportunity the Democrats would have for years, of regaining power; but if they succeeded, there was little doubt, either at the North or South, that the rebels would attain their end. The enemy therefore made frantic efforts to influence the public mind.
The affair at Hatcher's Run
was proclaimed a national defeat, the siege of Richmond
was declared hopeless; Hood
was certain to cross the Ohio
, and Sherman
could not possibly escape annihilation.
These vaunts of the rebels were repeated by their allies in the loyal states, and every endeavor was made to inculcate the belief that while absolute unanimity prevailed throughout the