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Looking Back at Wilmington’s “1898”

Largely, if not totally ignored in today’s discussion regarding November 1898’s unfortunate “newspaper editorial confrontation turned-violent” is the lack of perspective regarding the long lead-up to it. The local government, media and university are all complicit in beating the drums of racial animosity which will lead to less racial harmony, not more. The most detailed and informed book regarding this sad event is not a book, but a hard-to-find 800-page doctoral dissertation found at the end. Unfortunately, there are only several poorly researched and outright fictional books which do nothing to enlighten the reader.

Looking Back at Wilmington’s “1898”

First, it is probable that had the war of 1861-1865 not occurred and the South was left on its own to solve the riddle of racial coexistence, no November 1898 violence would have occurred. This racial conundrum was imposed on the American South by African tribes enslaving their own people and selling them to English, and later New England traders. After the Civil War the Republican party, anxious to maintain political hegemony over the country, enfranchised black men. These, along with Union veterans bought with pension money, kept Republicans in power.

The Democratic party finally rid North Carolina of Republican/Carpetbag rule by 1872, but Wilmington remained a holdout of Republican power due to its majority black population. The Democratic party dominated State politics through the early 1890s.

After the Republican-Populist victory in State politics in 1896, the Republicans began a program common to political parties – they dismantle and rearrange legislation the opposition party had erected to establish their own barriers to their opponents ever returning to power. This political strategy continues today.

In the run-up to the 1896 elections, Populists realized their plight as described by Hal W. Ayer, chair of the New Hanover County Populist party: “If the Democrats won, they would continue to ignore the farmers; if Republicans won, independently of Populists, they would be forced by the large black constituency which constitutes the great body of the party into some of the [Reconstruction] recklessness of 1868; and this is something to be feared as much as Democratic rule.”

These Populists, many of them farmers who believe the Democrats should have been more politically-attentive to them in the past, and “who distrusted the large black element of the Republican party,” decided to cooperate with the Republicans in order to “defeat the arrogant and hypocritical Democrats, and at the same time secure by such cooperation a balance of power in the State Legislature that would effectually check any wild or reckless plan that might be advocated by the Republican party.” As with many partnerships, the Republicans would forget their Populist associates once in power.

Both the Wilmington Messenger and Wilmington Morning Star newspapers wrote of the specter of corrupt Reconstruction politics returning to bedevil white residents. The black-owned Wilmington Sentinel endorsed Daniel Russell for governor – who was nominally a Republican and ignored by party leadership – to ensure black unity within Republican ranks. To the dismay of white Democratic voters, Russell, who promised patronage positions to those lieutenants delivering the vote, was elected thanks to strong turnout in sixteen black-dominated counties, with 87 percent of eligible blacks voting. It is noteworthy that 20 percent of eligible black voters cast ballots for the Democratic candidate, and 8 percent voted for the Populist candidate.

An irony within white Republican ranks was though they preached racial equality publicly, “they resented black officeholding and activity in Republican party affairs.” While earlier a superior court judge, Russell himself stated that “Negroes are natural-born thieves. They will steal six days in the week and go to church on Sunday to shout and pray it off.” However, by the mid-1890s white Republicans were a minority in their party and only constituted those hungry for political employment.

Prior to the elections of 1898, black newspaper editor Alex Manly penned an unfortunate editorial which insulted white women and predictably incurred the wrath of the area’s white menfolk. Many prominent men in Wilmington demanded that the city’s Republican mayor and aldermen close down the paper and force the editor to leave town. The Republicans did little or nothing which eventually led to a violent confrontation.

But lost in today’s rhetoric is the very basis of Manly’s editorial and what prompted it. Why is this ignored and not identified as the primary cause? Manly was commenting on an earlier speech of Rebecca Felton of Georgia, wife of a legislator, who addressed a group of Savannah women earlier and denounced the rape of white farm women by black men while their husbands were far off in the fields working. Mrs. Felton demanded that the Republican party, the political home of most black voters and which preached hatred toward Democrats, do something to end the heinous crimes of their constituents.

Manly’s later editorial claimed that the white women had somehow encouraged the advances of the black men attacking them in their homes. This predictably led an enraged group of white residents to march to Manly’s establishment to escort him to the rail station. Not finding Manly, on the march back to their homes these men were fired upon by black men concealed in houses being passed, and they returned fire. This entire episode was preventable.

The black New Hanover County Coroner, David Jacobs, summoned a Coroner’s Jury the following day to investigate the deaths of five black men from gunshot wounds. Three white men were wounded in the affair, one seriously. Though there are numerous unsubstantiated estimates of those killed or wounded, we have only the coroner’s investigation as an official source. On November 15th, black resident Thomas Lane was tried for firing a pistol into the group of men marching to Manly’s news office. Lane quickly ran out the back, but the return fire unfortunately caused the death of an occupant, Josh Halsey.

An important but marginalized voice in this 1898 affair is Collector of Customs John C. Dancy, a black Edgecombe County native appointed by Republican presidential patronage to his position, and the highest-paid person in North Carolina at the time. In this influential position he was considered the head of the Republican party and expected to foster and deliver the vote, and he surrounded himself with black employees at the Custom house who were expected to promote party interests. After the violence of November 1898, Dancy concluded that all blame be placed upon Manly’s editorial, which lit the flame.

A question to be put to rest is the often-heard claim that the conflict ended democratically elected government in Wilmington. The Republican-Populist legislature, once in power in 1895, altered municipal charters to benefit themselves. They amended Wilmington’s charter “so as to establish a partly elected and partly appointed Board of Aldermen.

The amended charter did not alter ward lines but allowed “qualified voters of each ward to elect one alderman and empowered the Governor to appoint one alderman from each of the five wards.” (McDuffie, pg. 460-461).  Under the guise of “preventing misrule by the propertyless and ignorant elements,” the Republicans strictly controlled Wilmington’s municipal government.

(Politics in Wilmington and New Hanover County, NC: 1865-1900. Jerome A. McDuffie, PhD dissertation, 1979, Kent State University, pp. 442-453; 738)

Lincoln’s View of Carpetbag Politicians in the South

Lincoln’s View of Carpetbag Politicians in the South

“Executive Mansion, Washington.

November 27, 1862.

Hon. Geo. F. Shepley, Military Governor of Louisiana:

“Dear Sir: Dr. Kennedy, bearer of this, has some apprehension that federal officers, not citizens of Louisiana, may be set up as candidates for Congress in that State. In my view there could be no possible object in such an election.

To send a parcel of Northern men here as Representatives, elected, as would be understood, (and perhaps really so,) at the point of a bayonet, would be disgraceful and outrageous; and were I a member Congress here, I would vote against admitting such men to a seat.

Yours, very truly, A. Lincoln.”

(Civil War and Reconstruction, James G. Randall. D.C. Heath and Company, 1937. pg. 701)

The Conspiracy Which Brought on the War

The Conspiracy Which Brought on the War

The article in this number on the “Sudden Change in Northern Sentiment as to Coercion in 1861,” by Dr. James H. McNeilly of Nashville, shows that there was evidently a deeply laid plan to force the South into making the first hostile demonstration in order to arouse that sentiment which would respond to the call for troops necessary to invade this section. It is well-known that the general sentiment in the North was against making war on the seceding Southern States, but there was a powerful political element which really wanted war and could see the value of forcing the South into making an offensive move. Forcibly illustrating this spirit is the following quotation from a thoughtful writer of the South:

“On February 2, 1861, Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, in a letter published in the Memphis Appeal, wrote of the Republican leaders as follows:

‘They are bold, determined men. They are striving to break up the Union under the pretense of serving it. They are struggling to overthrow the Constitution while professing undying attachment to it and a willingness to make any sacrifice to maintain it. They are trying to plunge the country into a cruel war as the surest way of destroying the Union upon the plea of enforcing the laws and protecting public property.’

Shortly after Douglas wrote this letter Senator Zach Chandler of Michigan, wrote to Gov. Austin Blair which proves the conspiracy of the men determined on war. Virginia had solicited a conference of States to see if some plan could not be devised and agreed upon to prevent war and save the Union. Chandler wrote Governor Blair that he opposed the conference and that no Republican State should send a delegate. He implored the governor to send stiff-necked [anti-compromise] delegates or none, as the whole idea of compromise was against his judgement. Chandler added to his letter these sinister words: ‘Some of the manufacturing States think that a war would be awful; without a little bloodletting this Union will not be worth a curse.’”

(The Conspiracy Which Brought on the War. Confederate Veteran, Vol. XXIV, No. 10, October 1916. pg. 436)

 

Doubtful Elections

Doubtful Elections

“All American presidential elections have been contested except for the first, in 1789, and the ninth, in 1820. In the ninth, President James Monroe ran for reelection and won 231 out of 235 electoral votes (with three abstentions and one dissenting vote for John Quincy Adams). That election is evidence of an organic national unity that is now as extinct as the western frontier.

America has also had at least two stolen presidential elections, as well as one that was almost stolen in 1800, and one in 1860 whose outcome was rejected by half the country, leading to a four-year civil war and a geopolitical division that persists to this day. That America “survived” this civil war depends on the meaning of the verb and ignores the obvious implication that what happened once can happen again.

One of the stolen elections happened in 1960, when tow Democrat political machines, one in Texas and the other in Illinois, manufactured enough votes to decide a close election in favor of John F. Kennedy. The closeness of the vote likely made it easier to steal – Kennedy won the popular vote by only 118,000 votes out of 68 million cast. The shift of two States in the Electoral College would have elected Nixon.

The other definitely stolen election, in 1876, is worth examining in detail . . . and about what a party in power will do to stay in power – especially when it is convinced that it deserves to do so. This time it was the Republicans who stole it. After suffering a severe defeat in congressional elections two years before, a Grant administration wracked by scandals and the country still reeling from the financial panic of 1873, the Republicans entered 1876 with a weak hand.

Yet the Republicans won the election with a bold plan to disenfranchise white voters in three Southern States still under military occupation 11 years after the war: Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina.

By midnight of election day, it appeared Democrat Samuel Tilden of New York had defeated Republican Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio.

Northern General Daniel Sickles arrived at Republican headquarters and hatched a plan. The defeated Republican governors were instructed to not concede the election; the New York Times was enlisted to promote a narrative of a contested election; and finally, a delegation of Republican leaders, lawyers and bags of Lincoln greenbacks headed for New Orleans, Columbia, Tallahassee and Baton Rouge, to oversee election audits.

Sickle’s strategy for challenging the legitimacy of the result was to have his bagmen allege that white Democrats intimidated freedmen to keep them from voting, which was grounds under reconstruction law for canceling an equal number of white votes.

The morning edition of the New York Times declared the new reality: “A Doubtful Election.” The second morning edition proclaimed not only Oregon but South Carolina and Louisiana for Hayes. As Republican leaders had worked out their plan to steal the 1876 election, they knew their party still controlled all the levers of power and the trappings of legitimacy necessary: the Supreme Court, the White House, the Senate, and most importantly, the State canvassing boards in the three Southern States.”

(“As American as a Stolen Election,” H.A. Scott Trask. Chronicles Magazine, August 2023, excerpts pp. 7-8)

Jul 2, 2023 - Carnage, Lincoln's Blood Lust, Myth of Saving the Union, No Compromise, Pleading for Peace, Republican Party    Comments Off on The Slaughter of Lincoln’s War

The Slaughter of Lincoln’s War

Prodded by Lincoln to be on the offensive in early September 1862, the north’s early savior Gen. George McClellan began his pursuit of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army into Maryland. Though his army was numerically inferior, Lee audaciously scattered his forces into strong positions, invited costly enemy assaults and then concentrated all for his opponent to fruitlessly assault. McClellan declined the bait and to Lincoln’s chagrin, retreated. After the carnage and burials, Lincoln demanded yet more troops to continue the invasion.

The Slaughter of Lincoln’s War

“Except for a belch of musketry here and there, the roar of battle at Sharpsburg subsided all along the lines as day turned to dusk. When men’s ears stopped ringing, they began to perceive the agonized groans of the wounded, piercing and plaintive nearer by but rolling like the rumble of distant thunder over the rest of the battlefield. Nearly four thousand Americans had died that day, and close to twenty thousand had been wounded – some of them horribly and many fatally – but the road still lay open to Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.

“We do not boast a victory,” wrote one of Lee’s personal staff two days after the return to Virginia; “it was not sufficiently decisive for that. The Yankees would have claimed a glorious victory had they been on our side & they no doubt claim it anyhow.”

Certainly, McClellan counted it a “complete” victory for he had rid Maryland of the invader and had hurt him more than a little in the process. What he had not done, as Abraham Lincoln observed with great disappointment, was to prevent Lee’s escape and compel his surrender.

A short truce on the day after the battle allowed for the retrieval of some of the wounded and burial of a few of the dead. The work demonstrated how abrupt a transformation overcame good men who had become heartless killers in the tumult of battle. A young northern lieutenant from western Virginia suddenly recoiled at the bloodshed between men who spoke the same dialect. “The thought struck me,” he wrote his family, “this is unnatural.” Seeking respite from the slaughter, the lieutenant tried to resign soon after the battle.

The sheer devastation of Sharpsburg contributed substantially to a new epidemic of resignations from the northern army. The colonel of the 107th New York promptly departed in the wake of their brutal initiation, while one of their freshly-commissioned captains – whose company was criticized for faltering under fire – spend the next five weeks conniving for a safe home-front assignment as a drillmaster or clerk. A New Hampshire sergeant who had made the charge against Burnside’s Bridge damned Republicans up and down as he toured the battlefield; he supposed that if they could see such carnage, even they might change their minds and demand a settlement “in the name of God.”

Southern prisoners elicited abundant comment, particularly among recruits who had never seen their enemies at a speaking distance. “They are naturally more lithe & active that we”; and much more serious in defense of their homeland than the northern soldiers who had enlisted to stifle the South’s desire for political independence. “There is,” he added,” “a look of savageness in their eyes not observable in the good-natured countenance of our men.”

A romantic, reflective sergeant who had left his New Hampshire home less than a month before watched a mass burial of his fellow soldiers that Friday. He supposed that decay alone would dissuade most families from retrieving their loved ones’ remains, and reflected that no mothers, sisters, daughters, or wives would ever weep over these men folks’ graves at twilight or cast flowers on them as anniversaries passed. Only “the sighing wind shall be their funeral dirge.”

(Lincoln’s Darkest Year: The War in 1862. William Marvel. Houghton-Mifflin, 2008, pp. 217-226)

Dissent in the Northern Ranks

Northern military officers soon found that any Democrat political leanings were an obstacle to promotion from Republican politicians. One officer wrote his brother that “several sources advised that if I change my political views and make a few Republican stump speeches to my troops it would be greatly to my advantage.” Democrat officers claimed that promotions and dismissals were more often based upon partisan politics and Lincoln’s desire to win elections. Historian Michael Holt noted that Lincoln did appoint prominent Democrats to high rank, but only for the purpose of luring Democrat votes to union parties in northern States.

Dissent in the Northern Ranks

“While Republican soldiers had no difficulty [obtaining or] writing to their hometown newspapers, Democratic soldiers often found themselves in hot water. In August 1864, Pvt. Newton B. Spencer of the 179th New York Infantry wrote a letter to his local newspaper of which he had previously been editor, the Penn Yan Democrat, claiming that the “Abolition mania for employing “n****r” soldiers has culminated in the worst disaster of the whole campaign and discouraged and nearly demoralized the whole army.”

Spencer believed that it “was to glorify the sooty abolition idol, that upon a Division of raw and worthless black poltroons, was devolved the most important part of the whole conflict – in the hope that they would crown our temporary success with decisive victory and bear off the hard-won laurels of the white fighting men.”

Spencer was charged with conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline, contempt and disrespect for his commanding officer, violation of the Fifty-seventh Article of War (giving intelligence to the enemy), and “giving aid and comfort to the enemy,” which was essentially a charge of treason. Spencer admitted writing the letter but pleaded not guilty to each of the charges.

In like manner, Sgt. William B. Gillespie of the Twenty-eighth New York Infantry was convicted by courts-martial for publishing a newspaper article in January 1863 in which he stated that Lincoln’s emancipation edict “will be the cause of a large number of our best officers resigning and of a large number of desertions,” to which he added that the freed people should all be “shipped to Washington . . . for a heart welcome and cordial embrace.” Gillespie was sentenced to be reduced to the ranks and then drummed out of the service.

Capt. Thomas Barrett of the Nineteenth Illinois Volunteers was summarily and dishonorably dismissed for publishing a letter in the Chicago Times on May 25, 1863, critical of Lincoln’s policy of enlisting black soldiers.”

(Emancipation, the Union Army and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln. Jonathan W. White. LSU Press, 2014, pp. 55-57)

The Morrill Tariff War

The Morrill Tariff War

The United States House and Senate passed on March 2, 1861, a pro-slavery amendment by the required 2/3 vote which received the endorsement of newly elected President Abraham Lincoln. This would prohibit the United States government from ever interfering with the domestic institution of African slavery in any State. The amendment was ratified by at least three States prior to Lincoln’s ill-advised attempt to reinforce and supply Fort Sumter in mid-April, after which he began raising an army which a president is forbidden to do.

The amendment, as a clear assessment of northern political feeling at the time, indicates that the ensuing war was not prosecuted by the north for emancipation. If the American South’s only interest was “preserving slavery” it need only remain in the 1789 union and join the other States in ratifying the amendment.

At the very same time in early March the northern-dominated Congress passed the oppressive Morrill Tariff Act, which imposed a 40% sales tax on imported goods shipped primarily to the Southern States. This Act protected northern commercial interests.

The only way the American South could avoid the tariff was to withdraw from political union with the north, and initially the northern press supported this. Editor Horace Greeley wrote of “erring sisters” departing the union but entitled to determine their own political future – and not “pinned to the other States with a bayonet.”

In early March 1861 the Confederate States Congress convened and passed a minor 10% tariff which would bring the world’s shipping traffic to Southern ports instead of high-tariff northern ports. This sent a veritable shock wave through the commercial north as it would bankrupt those ports and business interests.

The north’s attitude of letting the “erring sisters” enjoy their political independence changed to invasion and conquest as the only remaining path to collecting their all-important tariff.  Hence, all Southern ports from Virginia to Texas had to be brought under northern control.

As only Congress is authorized to raise and supply an army and would not convene until July, it looked the other way while State governors in the north supplied Lincoln with troops after the provocation at Fort Sumter.

 

The Political Result of the War

The election of Democrat Grover Cleveland ended the reign of the Republican party since Abraham Lincoln plunged the country into a war from which it has never recovered. The following was written postwar by Ohio Congressman Samuel “Sunset” Cox, a painful thorn in the side of Lincoln during the war.

The Political Result of the War

“On June 9, 1882, Cox delivered a ringing denunciation of the Republican party in the House of Representatives. He referred to it as “the defiled party of moral ideas and immoral deeds,” responsible for “plutocratic usurpation of . . . the federal government . . . unscrupulous fealty to corporate wealth, fast becoming the main, and only, and the all-sufficient qualification for the high offices of state.” A power behind the Republican party “has grown up within the last twenty-five years under national charters, cash subsidies, land grants . . . and the excessive profits of indirect tariff taxes” and “has now almost exclusive control of the entire floating wealth of the nation . . . and the great bulk of the fixed wealth.”

Cox asserted that the cause of the Republican excesses was “plainly the continued extravagance of the war times, when the foundations of most of the present colossal fortunes were laid in great contracts and cemented with the blood, tears and cruel taxation of the people.”

In early December, some 800 New York Democratic leaders gathered at the Manhattan Club to greet President-Elect Grover Cleveland. Cox wrote of the Democratic triumph:

“At length peace has come. Slavery, the bête noir of our politics, is no more.”

(Sunset Cox: Irrepressible Democrat. David Lindsey. Wayne State University Press, pp. 235-238)

Northern Democrat Thorn in Lincoln’s Side

Ohio congressman Samuel S. Cox stood out in the north as one who repeatedly challenged Lincoln’s wartime policies. A prewar Ohio newspaper editor in Columbus, he entered Congress in 1857 and served through 1865. As a War Democrat who wanted to somehow preserve the union, his efforts were directed toward effecting a rapid conclusion of the war before extreme bitterness had cut too deeply – and conciliation might still be possible.

Northern Democrat Thorn in Lincoln’s Side

“In the postwar, Cox said in retrospect: Could not this union have been made permanent by a timely settlement, instead of being cemented by fraternal blood and military rule? By an equitable adjustment of the territory this was possible . . . the Crittenden proposition . . . the Republican Radicals denounced . . . They were determined to prevent a settlement. Those who thought to counteract the schemes of secession were themselves checkmated by the extreme men of the Republican party.

Early in January 1862 Cox wanted to obtain from Lincoln his view regarding prisoner exchanges with the South. Asking if he would look to the safety of captured northern soldiers & sailors, Lincoln replied “You will have me recognize those [Southern] pirates as belligerents?” This was, then, the sum of his reasoning against the exchange or prisoners. It had in it no element of humanity or international law. With Cox’s prodding, an official agreement was established with the Confederacy in mid-1862.

By the spring of 1862 the tempo of fighting had increased along with the temper of northern politics, as the Radical Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania pressed for the confiscation of Southern property and emancipation of the South’s slaves. Congress had already in August 1861 enacted a confiscation act for property used for “insurrectionary purposes.” Stevens now wanted confiscation of the property of all “enemies,” slaves of all persons supporting the rebellion to be “forever free of servitude.” Cox denounced this proposal on June 3rd and urged Lincoln to reassure the public mind as to the purpose of the war. Playing upon the fears of the northern fears of freedmen flooding northward he asked: “will Ohio troops fight at all if the result should be the movement of the black race by the millions to their own State?”

Pressing his point, he said: “I would protect against this ambiguous policy” of professing a war to preserve the union but actually fighting a war to abolish slavery.  As for the cause of the war, he argued: “Slavery is the occasion, but not the cause . . . but slavery agitation, north and South, is the cause.”

Rep. Cox noted that “Indiana and Illinois, the latter Lincoln’s home State, already forbade the entrance of Negroes into their States. Ohio Republican legislators, resenting Cox’s obstructionist attacks on Lincoln’s administration, proceeded to redistrict the State under the new federal reapportionment act that cut Ohio’s representation from 21 to 19. Cox’s district was redrawn to make his reelection impossible.

The October 1862 Republican congressional defeats can be traced to waning enthusiasm for Lincoln’s stalemated war, waning enlistments and threatened conscription, arbitrary arrests of citizens and newspaper editors, and fear that his emancipation crusade would flood the north with freedmen in search of cheap wages. The Democrats were victorious in 14 of the Republican-redrawn 19 congressional seats.

Cox, outraged by Republican charges of disloyalty against northern Democrats, retorted: “Who brought on this war and then dragooned Southern Negroes to fight battles in which they would not even risk their own lives? How many abolitionists were hiding from the draft or paying for substitutes to fight for them?

In a mid-December 1862 speech Cox blamed Lincoln’s administration for the Radical rule that had resulted in a divided country, a national debt of $2,500,000,000, a tariff paying “millions into the pockets of capitalists from consumers,” the destruction of “the rights of personal liberty,” and the deaths of “at least 150,000 of the best youth of the country.”

During 1863 congressional Democrats steadily opposed the actions of Lincoln’s Administration, citing New England’s responsibility for the war, the unconstitutionality of federal emancipation, and the arbitrary despotism of the President.”

(Sunset Cox: Irrepressible Democrat. David Lindsey. Wayne State University Press, 1959, pp. 52-70)

Grant and Treason

As true then as it is today, it is not “treason” to question the autocratic actions of a republican form of government, especially through the citizen’s elected representatives. Lincoln and his sectional party wrongly considered any criticism of their policies and actions “treason.” The US Constitution defines treason in Article III, Section 3: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” It is very clear who levied war against the States, adhered to their enemies, plus gave them aid and comfort.

As he levied war against Virginia, it was Grant (with Lincoln’s approval) who directed Sheridan to lay absolute waste to the Shenandoah Valley in 1864, sufficient to starve any crows flying above and in search of food – likewise for Virginia’s citizens. Below he congratulates his underling for his violent act of treason while referring to Virginians as “the enemy.”

As is well-known, Grant went on to win the presidency only with the help of recently enfranchised freedmen marched to the polls with Republican ballots; he is afterward known as the most corrupt president in the history of the United States.

Grant and Treason

“Now one of the main objects of the expedition began to be accomplished. Sheridan went to work with his command, gathering in all the crops, cattle and everything in the upper part of the Shenandoah Valley required by our troops; and especially taking what might be of use to the enemy. What he could not take away he destroyed so that the enemy would not be invited to return. I congratulated Sheridan upon his recent great victory and had a salute of one-hundred guns fired in honor of it, the guns being aimed at the enemy around Petersburg.

I had reason to believe that the Lincoln administration was a little afraid to have a decisive battle fought at that time, for fear it might go against us and have a bad effect on the November elections. The convention which had met and made its nomination of the Democratic candidate for the presidency had declared the war a failure.  Treason was talked as boldly in Chicago at that Democratic convention as ever it had been in Charleston. It was a question of whether the government would then have had the power to make arrests and punish those who thus talked treason.”

(Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, Vol. II. Charles L. Webster & Company, 1886, pp. 331-332)

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