Letters from ‘The Lincoln Mailbag’

Columbus, Ohio , Oct. 4, 1863

Dear President:

More on this Story

View all Items in this Story

An accident detained me in Columbus today and gave me an opportunity of seeing [John] Brough [governor of Ohio] . . .

He says they will carry Ohio by at least 25,000 votes, independent of the soldiers who will indefinitely increase it . . .

Brough is much more anxious about [Andrew] Curtin [Pennsylvania governor running for reelection] than about himself.

Brough thinks that as yet in the Keystone State

The prospect is rather uncertain;

The fifth act is near, and we only wait,

Impatient, the rise of the Curtin.

A hazy joke, with which I close.

Yours respectfully,

John Hay

Hay was Lincoln’s private secretary.

Chicago Sanitary Commission,

Branch of U.S. Sanitary Commission

Rooms No. 66 Madison Street

Chicago, Oct. 11, 1863

Abraham Lincoln, Pres. U.S.A.,

Dear Sir:

The patriotic women of the Northwestern States will hold a grand fair in Chicago on the last week of Oct., and the first of Nov. to raise funds for the Sanitary Commission of the Northwest whose head quarters are in Chicago. The Commission labors especially for the sick and wounded soldiers of the South western States, of whose bravery, and persistent endurance, we are all justly proud. . . .

The Executive Committee have been urgently requested to solicit from Mrs. Lincoln and yourself some donation to this great Fair — not so much for the value of the gift, as for the eclat which this circumstance would give to the Fair. It has been suggested to us from various quarters that the most acceptable donation you could possibly make, would be the original manuscript of the proclamation of emancipation, and I have been instructed to ask for this, if it is at all consistent with what is proper, for you to donate it. There would be great competition among buyers to obtain possession of it, and to say nothing of the interest that would attach to such a gift, it would prove pecuniarily of great value. We should take pains to have such an arrangement made as would place the document permanently in either the State of the Chicago Historical Society. . . .

Yours very respectfully,

Mrs. D. P. Livermore.

Lincoln sent the proclamation, which sold at the fair for $3,000 and was donated to the Chicago Historical Society, where it was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1871.

[By telegraph]

Knoxville October 15 1863.

To the President of the US

In the name of Christianity & humanity, in the name of God and Liberty, for the sake of their wives and children & everything they hold sacred & dear on earth the loyal people of Tennessee appeal to you & implore you not to abandon them against the merciless dominion of the Rebels by a withdrawal of the U.S. forces from upper East Tenn.

John Williams and N.G. Taylor, Ex-M.C. (Member of Congress)

Office of Supervisory Committee

for Recruiting Colored Regiments

Philadelphia, November 5th 1863

To his Excellency the President of the United States,

This memorial on behalf of the Supervisory Committee for recruiting Colored Regiments in the State of Pennsylvania respectfully represent

That notwithstanding the inequality of pay and bounty, the Colored people of the free states have heretofore responded to the call for volunteers with an alacrity and to an extent which clearly provide that they are not deficient in military spirit and patriotism. And it is believed by those who have the best opportunity for forming correct opinions on the subject, that the national forces would be very largely increased from this portion of our population, if the same protection and encouragement were extended to them as to others.

The courage, discipline and general good behaviour of the colored troops, as already displayed, have enlisted in their behalf a favorable sentiment throughout the country; and justice, as well as mere policy, would seem to require that, in the matter of pay and bounty they should be placed on a more equal footing. . . .

It is not doubted that under suitable encouragement, many regiments of colored troops can be raised in this and adjoining States. And your Excellency may rest assured of the readiness of the people of this community to cooperate in this and all other measures the Government may adopt for the purposes of reinforcing our armies now in the field, bringing their needful operations to a prosperous end, and thus closing forever the fountains of sedition and civil war.

On behalf of the Committee,

Thomas Webster

Washington, D.C.

Nov: 10th 1863

Mr. President

Dear Sir

I take leave to suggest that there are persons in Maryland who are willing to part with their slaves provided they can get compensation in some way for them. I think that emancipation in the other states can be promoted, and many slaveholders, be induced to favor it if the following plan be adopted. Let Congress make an appropriation of — millions of dollars, and let a board of commissioners be appointed to pay for each slave that shall be brought before the Commissioners, such sum as may be proper. Such slave or slaves of course to be freed. The master to take an oath to support the government of the United States, and to forever oppose secession. . . .The plan can be applied also the other border states. . . .

I am Dear Sir Respectfully &x&c

E. P. Phelps

From “The Lincoln Mailbag: America Writes to the President, 1861-1865,” edited by Harold Holzer.

 
Read what others are saying