To the House of Representatives

To the House of Representatives: July 27, 1861

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 24th instant, asking the grounds, reasons, and evidence upon which the police commissioners of Baltimore were arrested, and are now detained as prisoners at Fort McHenry, I have to state that it is judged to be incompatible with the public interest at this time to furnish the information called for by the resolution.

Washington, July 27, 1861. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.


Memoranda of Military Policy Suggested by the Bull Run Defeat

July 23. 1861.

1 Let the plan for making the Blockade effective be pushed forward with all possible despatch.

2 Let the volunteer forces at Fort-Monroe & vicinity—under Genl. Butler—be constantly drilled, disciplined, and instructed without more for the present.

3. Let Baltimore be held, as now, with a gentle, but firm, and certain hand.

4 Let the force now under Patterson, or Banks, be strengthened, and made secure in it’s possition.

5. Let the forces in Western Virginia act, till further orders, according to instructions, or orders from Gen. McClellan.

6. [Let] Gen. Fremont push forward his organization, and opperations in the West as rapidly as possible, giving rather special attention to Missouri.

7 Let the forces late before Manassas, except the three months men, be reorganized as rapidly as possible, in their camps here and about Arlington

8. Let the three months forces, who decline to enter the longer service, be discharged as rapidly as circumstances will permit.

9 Let the new volunteer forces be brought forward as fast as possible; and especially into the camps on the two sides of the river here.

July 27, 1861

When the foregoing shall have been substantially attended to—

1. Let Manassas junction, (or some point on one or other of the railroads near it;); and Strasburg, be seized, and permanently held, with an open line from Washington to Manassas; and and [sic] open line from Harper’s Ferry to Strasburg—the military men to find the way of doing these.

2. This done, a joint movement from Cairo on Memphis; and from Cincinnati on East Tennessee.

To James Mandeville Carlisle

J. Mandeville Carlisle. July 10, 1861.

I wish much to have your opinion, confidentially, on the effect of these measures, if they be passed. Will the Resolution remove the difficulties which you suggested, as preventing the condemnation of vessels captured for B[r]each of the Blockade? Will it have the effect in cases of vessels already captured hereafter? Taking the Resolution and the Bill together—do they leave the President the option of continuing a Blockade under the laws of Nations? . . . A.L.

To Simon B. Buckner

July 10, 1861

It is my duty, as I conceive, to suppress an insurrection existing within the United States. I wish to do this with the least possible disturbance, or annoyance to well disposed people anywhere. So far I have not sent an armed force into Kentucky; nor have I any present purpose to do so. I sincerely desire that no necessity for it may be presented; but I mean to say nothing which shall hereafter embarrass me in the performance of what may seem to be my duty.

(Copy of this delivered to Gen. Buckner this 10th. day of July 1861.[)]

Governor Beriah Magoffin of Kentucky wrote Lincoln, June 25, 1861, that he was sending Simon B. Buckner, inspector general of the Kentucky State Guard ” . . . to communicate with you in my behalf. . . . ” (DLC-RTL). The object of Buckner’s mission was to secure Lincoln’s approval of Kentucky’s “neutrality.” Buckner was offered a brigadier generalship, but declined and later accepted a similar commission in the Confederate Army.

Message to Congress in Special Session

July 4, 1861

Fellow-citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

Having been convened on an extraordinary occasion, as authorized by the Constitution, your attention is not called to any ordinary subject of legislation.

At the beginning of the present Presidential term, four months ago, the functions of the Federal Government were found to be generally suspended within the several States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida, excepting only those of the Post Office Department.

Within these States, all the Forts, Arsenals, Dock-yards, Customhouses, and the like, including the movable and stationary property in, and about them, had been seized, and were held in open hostility to this Government, excepting only Forts Pickens, Taylor, and Jefferson, on, and near the Florida coast, and Fort Sumter, in Charleston harbor, South Carolina. The Forts thus seized had been put in improved condition; new ones had been built; and armed forces had been organized, and were organizing, all avowedly with the same hostile purpose.

The Forts remaining in the possession of the Federal government, in, and near, these States, were either besieged or menaced by warlike preparations; and especially Fort Sumter was nearly surrounded by well-protected hostile batteries, with guns equal in quality to the best of its own, and outnumbering the latter as perhaps ten to one. A disproportionate share, of the Federal muskets and rifles, had somehow found their way into these States, and had been seized, to be used against the government. Accumulations of the public revenue, lying within them, had been seized for the same object. The Navy was scattered in distant seas; leaving but a very small part of it within the immediate reach of the government. Officers of the Federal Army and Navy, had resigned in great numbers; and, of those resigning, a and large proportion had taken up arms against the government. Simultaneously, and in connection, with all this, the purpose to sever the Federal Union, was openly avowed. In accordance with this purpose, an ordinance had been adopted in each of these States, declaring the States, respectively, to be separated from the National Union. A formula for instituting a combined government of these states had been promulgated; and this illegal organization, in the character of confederate States was already invoking recognition, aid, and intervention, from Foreign Powers.

Finding this condition of things, and believing it to be an imperative duty upon the incoming Executive, to prevent, if possible, the consummation of such attempt to destroy the Federal Union, a choice of means to that end became indispensable. This choice was made; and was declared in the Inaugural address. The policy chosen looked to the exhaustion of all peaceful measures, before a resort to any stronger ones. It sought only to hold the public places and property, not already wrested from the Government, and to collect the revenue; relying for the rest, on time, discussion, and the ballot-box. It promised a continuance of the mails, at government expense, to the very people who were resisting the government; and it gave repeated pledges against any disturbance to any of the people, or any of their rights. Of all that which a president might constitutionally, and justifiably, do in such a case, everything was foreborne, without which, it was believed possible to keep the government on foot.

Read more of this post

Temperance Declaration

[c. July 4, 1861]

Temperance Declaration of Eleven Presidents of the United States.

Being satisfied from observation and experience, as well as from medical testimony, that ardent spirits, as a drink, is not only needless, but hurtful and that the entire disuse of it would tend to promote the health, the virtue and happiness of the community: we hereby express our conviction, that should the citizens of the United States, and especially all young men, discountenance entirely the use of it, they would not only promote their own personal benefit, but the good of the country and of the world.

James Madison, James K. Polk,

John Quincy Adams, Zachary Taylor,

Andrew Jackson, Millard Fillmore,

Martin Van Buren, Franklin Pierce,

John Tyler, James Buchanan,

Abraham Lincoln.

Fragment of Draft of Message to Congress

[July 4, 1861]

Random 6.

I recommend that you give the legal means for making this contest a short, and a decisive one—that you authorize to be applied to the work, at least three hundred thousand men, and three hundred millions of dollars. That number of men is less than one twelfth of those of proper ages, within those regions where all are willing to engage; and the sum is less than an eighteenth of the money-value owned by the men who are ready to devote the whole. A right result will be worth more to the world than ten times the men, and ten times the money. The evidence reaching us from the people leaves no doubt that the material for the work is abundant; and that it needs only the hand of legislation to give it legal sanction; and the hand of the Executive to give it practical shape and efficiency. The departments here have had more trouble to avoid receiving troops faster than they could provide them than from any other cause. In a word, the people will save their government, if the government itself will allow them.