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Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Xxx. (search)
that the time for the annunciation of the emancipation policy could be no longer delayed. Public sentiment, he thought, would sustain it — many of his warmest friends and supporters demanded it--and he had promised his God that he would do it! The last part of this was uttered in a low tone, and appeared to be heard by no one but Secretary Chase, who was sitting near him. He asked the President if he correctly understood him. Mr. Lincoln replied: I made a solemn vow before God, that if General Lee was driven back from Pennsylvania, I would crown the result by the declaration of freedom to the slaves. In February 1865, a few days after the passage of the Constitutional amendment, I went to Washington, and was received by Mr. Lincoln with the kindness and familiarity which had characterized our previous intercourse. I said to him at this time that I was very proud to have been the artist to have first conceived of the design of painting a picture commemorative of the Act of Emanc
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Xlxv. (search)
Xlxv. The battle of Fair Oaks was fought May 31, 1862; or rather this is the date of the first of the terrible seven days before Richmond, when, as is now abundantly established, even by Rebel testimony, it would have been an easy matter for McClellan to have captured what proved to be the Sebastopol of the Rebellion. During this week of battles, many of our wounded men were sent on steamboats and transports to White House landing, upon the estate of Mrs. Fitz Hugh Lee, wife of the Rebel General. Prosper M. Wetmore, of New York city, was, at this juncture, on a visit to the army. Very ill himself while on the Peninsula, his sympathies were greatly excited for the wounded soldiers, confined, during the broiling weather, to the boats, compelled to quench the burning thirst created by their wounds with the muddy water of the Pamunkey, which caused and aggravated disease in a fearful manner. As a civilian, he was permitted to go on shore, and there found the magnificent lawns and
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Lxii. (search)
e and live. In the same connection Colonel Deming inquired if there had ever been a period in which he thought that better management upon the part of the commanding general might have terminated the war? Yes, answered the President, there were three: at Malvern Hill, when McClellan failed to command an immediate advance upon Richmond; at Chancellorville, when Hooker failed to reenforce Sedgwick, after hearing his cannon upon the extreme right; and at Gettysburg, when Meade failed to attack Lee in his retreat at the bend of the Potomac. After this commentary, the Congressman waited for an outburst of denunciation — for a criticism, at least — upon the delinquent officers; but he waited in vain. So far from a word of censure escaping Mr. Lincoln's lips, he soon added, that his first remark might not appear uncharitable: I do not know that I could have given any different orders had I been with them myself. I have not fully made up my mind how I should behave when minie-balls were
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Lxiv. (search)
w England States, more fervent admirers of the Unready than I had ever known to expend speculative enthusiasm upon him among us. So pleasant and scholarly a gentleman can never fail to secure personal friends, said the President. In fact, he continued, kindly, Even his failings lean to virtue's side. A keen sense of genius in another, and a reverence for it that forced expression, was out of place at Seven Oaks, as beautiful things sometimes will be. He was lost in admiration of General Lee, and filled with that feeling, forebore to conquer him. The quality that would prove noble generosity in a historian, does not fit the soldier. Another instance of the necessity for my suggestion being carried into effect, he added, smiling. When in New York a few months afterwards, I heard the regular dinner-table conversation turn on the Nero who cracked jokes while Rome was burning, and the hundred and one wicked things the McClellanites said of Mr. Lincoln, I recalled the gentle
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Lxviii. (search)
his mastery of the position, and of his belief that a few days more would see Richmond in our possession, and the army of Lee either dispersed utterly or captured bodily,--when the telegram from Grant was received, saying that Lee had asked an inteLee had asked an interview with reference to peace. Mr. Lincoln was elated, and the kindness of his heart was manifest in intimations of favorable terms to be granted to the conquered Rebels. Stanton listened in silence, restraining his emotion, but at length the ble, and wrote as follows:-- The President directs me to say to you that he wishes you to have no conference with General Lee, unless it be for the capitulation of Lee's army, or on some minor or purely military matter. He instructs me to say Lee's army, or on some minor or purely military matter. He instructs me to say that you are not to decide, discuss, or confer upon any political question. Such questions the President holds in his own hands, and will submit them to no military conferences or conventions. In the mean time you are to press to the utmost your m