To Joseph Hooker

Major General Hooker:               Executive Mansion,
General.                                           Washington, January 26, 1863.

I have placed you at the head of the Army of the Potomac. Of course I have done this upon what appear to me to be sufficient reasons. And yet I think it best for you to know that there are some things in regard to which, I am not quite satisfied with you. I believe you to be a brave and a skilful soldier, which, of course, I like. I also believe you do not mix politics with your profession, in which you are right. You have confidence in yourself, which is a valuable, if not an indispensable quality. You are ambitious, which, within reasonable bounds, does good rather than harm. But I think that during Gen. Burnside’s command of the Army, you have taken counsel of your ambition, and thwarted him as much as you could, in which you did a great wrong to the country, and to a most meritorious and honorable brother officer. I have heard, in such way as to believe it, of your recently saying that both the Army and the Government needed a Dictator. Of course it was not for this, but in spite of it, that I have given you the command. Only those generals who gain successes, can set up dictators. What I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the dictatorship. The government will support you to the utmost of it’s ability, which is neither more nor less than it has done and will do for all commanders. I much fear that the spirit which you have aided to infuse into the Army, of criticising their Commander, and withholding confidence from him, will now turn upon you. I shall assist you as far as I can, to put it down. Neither you, nor Napoleon, if he were alive again, could get any good out of an army, while such a spirit prevails in it.

And now, beware of rashness. Beware of rashness, but with energy, and sleepless vigilance, go forward, and give us victories.

Yours very truly A. LINCOLN


To Edwin M. Stanton

                                                       Executive Mansion,
Hon. Secretary of War            Washington, January 23. 1863.

Sir: I think Gen. Butler should go to New-Orleans again. He is unwilling to go, unless he is restored to the command of the Department. He should start by the first of February, and should take some force with him. The whole must be so managed as to not wrong, or wound the feelings of Gen. Banks. His original wish was to go to Texas; and it must be arranged for him to do this now with a substantial force; and yet he must not go, to the endangering the opening of the Mississippi. I hope this may be done by the time Gen. Butler shall arrive there; but whether or not, I think we can not longer dispense with Gen. Butler’s service. Yours truly A. LINCOLN

To Nathaniel P. Banks

Major Gener Banks             Executive Mansion,
My dear Sir:                           Washington, [January 23?] 1863.

In superseding you, by returning Gen. Butler to command the Department of the Gulf, I have trusted that you will not understand me as being even indifferent to your feelings and your honor. I would be as careful of yours as of my own.

I have issued the proclamation, which, like most measures has two sides to its effects. What is evil in effect we are already en during, and we must have the counterpart of it. For this last, as I think, there is no such place as Louisiana, and no such man as Gen. Butler. But to make the most of both, he must go with heart and will; and having been relieved from that Department it is a great point with him to be restored to it. In beginning the peculiar work alluded to there should not be another hour’s delay. Hence I send him at once. I sincerely hope the Mississippi may be opened by the time Gen. Butler reaches New-Orleans; but whether it shall be or not, he must go forward without more delay. That you shall make your independent expedition into Texas is still intended; but it can not be made so long as your force is needed on the Mississippi; and while needed there, it is my purpose that you retain the immediate command of it in it’s operation, although you are to report to Gen. Butler after his arrival. When your force, or a substantial and sufficient part of it can be spared from the Mississippi, you are to go to Texas with a department independent of Gen. Butler. His orders and instructions are drawn up with a view to, and in conformity with all this.

To John A. McClernand

Major Gen. McClernand                    Executive Mansion,
My dear Sir:                                           Washington, January 22. 1863.

Yours of the 7th. was received yesterday. I need not recite, because you remember the contents. The charges, in their nature, are such that I must know as much about the facts involved, as you can. I have too many family controversies, (so to speak) already on my hands, to voluntarily, or so long as I can avoid it, take up another. You are now doing well—well for the country, and well for yourself—much better than you could possibly be, if engaged in open war with Gen. Halleck. Allow me to beg, that for your sake, for my sake, & for the country’s sake, you give your whole attention to the better work.

Your success upon the Arkansas, was both brilliant and valuable, and is fully appreciated by the country and government.

Yours truly A. LINCOLN

Order Establishing Gauge of Union Pacific Railroad

January 21, 1863

Whereas, by the 12th. Section of an act of Congress, entitled “An Act to aid in the construction of a Rail Road and Telegraph line, from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean and to secure to the Government the use of the same, for postal, military, and other purposes,” Approved July 1st. 1862, it is made the duty of the President of the United States, to determine the uniform width of the track of the entire line of the said Rail Road and the branches of the same; and whereas, application has been made to me, by the Leavenworth, Pawnee and Western Rail Road Company, (a company authorized by the Act of Congress above mentioned to construct a branch of said Rail Road) to fix the gauge thereof.

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, do determine that the uniform width of the track of said Rail Road and all its branches which are provided for in the aforesaid Act of Congress, shall be Five (5) feet, and that this order be filed in the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, for the information and guidance of all concerned.

Done at the City of Washington, this 21st. day of January, in the Year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and sixty three.


Order Approving Sentence of Fitz-John Porter

January 21, 1863

The foregoing proceedings, findings, and sentence in the foregoing case of Major-General Fitz-John Porter, are approved and confirmed; and it is ordered that the said Fitz-John Porter be, and he hereby is, cashiered and dismissed from the service of the United States as a Major General of Volunteers, and as Colonel and Brevet Brigadier General in the Regular Service of the United States, and forever disqualified from holding any office of trust or profit under the Government of the United States.

January 21, 1863. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

To the Workingmen of Manchester, England

                                                                                        Executive Mansion, Washington,
To the workingmen of Manchester:                     January 19, 1863.

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the address and resolutions which you sent to me on the eve of the new year.

When I came, on the fourth day of March, 1861, through a free and constitutional election, to preside in the government of the United States, the country was found at the verge of civil war. Whatever might have been the cause, or whosoever the fault, one duty paramount to all others was before me, namely, to maintain and preserve at once the Constitution and the integrity of the federal republic. A conscientious purpose to perform this duty is a key to all the measures of administration which have been, and to all which will hereafter be pursued. Under our form of government, and my official oath, I could not depart from this purpose if I would. It is not always in the power of governments to enlarge or restrict the scope of moral results which follow the policies that they may deem it necessary for the public safety, from time to time, to adopt.

I have understood well that the duty of self-preservation rests solely with the American people. But I have at the same time been aware that favor or disfavor of foreign nations might have a material influence in enlarging and prolonging the struggle with disloyal men in which the country is engaged. A fair examination of history has seemed to authorize a belief that the past action and influences of the United States were generally regarded as having been beneficient towards mankind. I have therefore reckoned upon the forbearance of nations. Circumstances, to some of which you kindly allude, induced me especially to expect that if justice and good faith should be practiced by the United States, they would encounter no hostile influence on the part of Great Britain. It is now a pleasant duty to acknowledge the demonstration you have given of your desire that a spirit of peace and amity towards this country may prevail in the councils of your Queen, who is respected and esteemed in your own country only more than she is by the kindred nation which has its home on this side of the Atlantic.

I know and deeply deplore the sufferings which the workingmen at Manchester and in all Europe are called to endure in this crisis. It has been often and studiously represented that the attempt to overthrow this government, which was built upon the foundation of human rights, and to substitute for it one which should rest exclusively on the basis of human slavery, was likely to obtain the favor of Europe. Through the actions of our disloyal citizens the workingmen of Europe have been subjected to a severe trial, for the purpose of forcing their sanction to that attempt. Under these circumstances, I cannot but regard your decisive utterance upon the question as an instance of sublime Christian heroism which has not been surpassed in any age or in any country. It is, indeed, an energetic and reinspiring assurance of the inherent power of truth and of the ultimate and universal triumph of justice, humanity, and freedom. I do not doubt that the sentiments you have expressed will be sustained by your great nation, and, on the other hand, I have no hesitation in assuring you that they will excite admiration, esteem, and the most reciprocal feelings of friendship among the American people. I hail this interchange of sentiment, therefore, as an augury that, whatever else may happen, whatever misfortune may befall your country or my own, the peace and friendship which now exist between the two nations will be, as it shall be my desire to make them, perpetual.