To Salmon P. Chase

Hon. Secretary of the Treasury           Executive Mansion,
My dear Sir:                                                 Washington, February 29. 1864.

I would have taken time to answer yours of the 22nd. sooner, only that I did not suppose any evil could result from the delay, especially as, by a note, I promptly acknowled[ged] the receipt of yours, and promised a fuller answer. Now, on consideration, I find there is really very little to say. My knowledge of Mr. Pomeroy’s letter having been made public came to me only the day you wrote; but I had, in spite of myself, known of it’s existence several days before. I have not yet read it, and I think I shall not. I was not shocked, or surprised by the appearance of the letter, because I had had knowledge of Mr. Pomeroy’s Committee, and of secret issues which I supposed came from it, and of secret agents who I supposed were sent out by it, for several weeks. I have known just as little of these things as my own friends have allowed me to know. They bring the documents to me, but I do not read them—they tell me what they think fit to tell me, but I do not inquire for more. I fully concur with you that neither of us can be justly held responsible for what our respective friends may do without our instigation or countenance; and I assure you, as you have assured me, that no assault has been made upon you by my instigation, or with my countenance.

Whether you shall remain at the head of the Treasury Department is a question which I will not allow myself to consider from any stand-point other than my judgment of the public service; and, in that view, I do not perceive occasion for a change. Yours truly A. LINCOLN

Advertisements

To Edwin M. Stanton

Hon. Secretary of War.             Executive Mansion,
Sir Washington,                           Feb. 27, 1864.

You ask some instruction from me in relation to the Report of Special Commission, constituted by an order of the War Department, dated Dec. 5 1863, “to revise the enrolment & quotas of the City & State of New-York, & report whether there be any & what errors, or irregularities therein, and what corrections, if any should be made.” [The aspect of this case, as presented by this order and report, is entirely new to me, I having personally known nothing of the order, commission, or report, until now presented for my consideration.] In the correspondence between the Governor of New-York and myself last summer, I understood him to complain that the enrolments in several of the Districts of that State had been neither accurately nor honestly made; and, in view of this I for the draft then immediately ensuing, ordered an arbitrary reduction of the quotas in several of the Districts, wherein they seemed too large, [for the draft then immediately ensuing,] and said “After this drawing these four Districts and also the seventeenth and twentyninth shall be carefully re-enrolled, and, if you please, agents of yours may witness every step of the process” In a subsequent letter I believe some additional Districts were put into the list of those to be re-enrolled. My idea was to do the work over, according to the law, in presence of the complaining party, and thereby to correct anything which might be found amiss. The Commission, whose work I am considering, seem to have proceeded upon a totally different idea. Not going forth to find men at all, they have proceeded altogether upon paper examinations and mental processes. One of their conclusions, as I understand is, that as the law stands, and attempting to follow it, the e[n]rolling officers could not have made the enrolments much more accurately than they did. The report, on this point, might be useful to Congress.

The Commission conclude that the quotas for the draft should be based upon entire population, and they proceed upon this basis to give a table for the State of New-York, in which some districts are reduced, and some increased. For the now ensuing draft, let the quotas stand as made by the enrolling officers, in the Districts wherein this table requires them to be increased; and let them be reduced according to the table, in the others. This to be no precedent for subsequent action; but as I think this report may, on full consideration, be shown to have much that is valuable in it, I suggest that such consideration be given it; and that it be especially considered whether it’s suggestions can be conformed to without an alternation of the law. Yours truly A. LINCOLN

To Edward H. East

Hon E. H. East                                                        Washington,
Secretary of State, Nashville, Tenn.:             February 27, 1864.

Your telegram of the 26th instant asking for a copy of my dispatch to Warren Jordan, esq., at Nashville Press office, has just been referred to me by Governor Johnson. In my reply to Mr. Jordan, which was brief and hurried, I intended to say that in the county and State elections of Tennessee the oath prescribed in the proclamation of Governor Johnson on the 26th of January, 1864, ordering an election in Tennessee on the first Saturday in March next, is entirely satisfactory to me as a test of loyalty of all persons proposing or offering to vote in said elections, and coming from him would better be observed and followed. There is no conflict between the oath of amnesty in my proclamation of 8th December, 1863, and that prescribed by Governor Johnson in his proclamation of the 26th ultimo. No person who has taken the oath of amnesty of 8th December, 1863, and obtained a pardon thereby, and who intends to observe the same in good faith, should have any objection to taking that prescribed by Governor Johnson as a test of loyalty. I have seen and examined Governor Johnson’s proclamation, and am entirely satisfied with his plan, which is to restore the State government and place it under the control of citizens truly loyal to the Government of the United States.

A. LINCOLN.

Please send above for Governor Johnson. A.L.

Order Commuting Sentence of Deserters

General Orders, No. 76.
War Department, Adjutant-General’s Offi
Washington, February 26, 1864.

Sentence of Deserters.

The President directs that the sentences of all deserters, who have been condemned by Court Martial to death, and that have not been otherwise acted upon by him, be mitigated to imprisonment during the war, at the Dry Tortugas, Florida, where they will be sent under suitable guards by orders from army commanders.

The Commanding Generals, who have power to act on proceedings of Courts Martial in such cases, are authorized in special cases to restore to duty deserters under sentence, when in their judgment the service will be thereby benefited.

Copies of all orders issued under the foregoing instructions will be immediately forwarded to the Adjutant General and to the Judge Advocate General.

By order of the Secretary of War: E. D. TOWNSEND,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

To Benjamin F. Loan

Hon. B. Loan                          War Department
Dear Sir:                                   Washington, Feb. 22, 1864

At your instance I directed a part of the advertising for this Department to be done in the St. Joseph Tribune. I have just been informed that the Tribune openly avows it’s determination that in no event will it support the re-election of the President. As you probably know, please inform me whether this is true. The President’s wish is that no objection shall be made to any paper respectfully expressing it’s preference for the nomination of any candidate; but that the patronage of the government shall be given to none which engages in cultivating a sentiment to oppose the election of any when he shall have been fairly nominated by the regular Union National Convention.

To John A. Andrew

His Excellency. John A. Andrew           Executive Mansion,
Governor of Massachusetts                   Washington, February 18. 1864.

Yours of the 12th. was received yesterday. If I were to judge from the letter, without any external knowledge, I should suppose that all the colored people South of Washington were struggling to get to Massachusetts; that Massachusetts was anxious to receive and retain the whole of them as permanent citizens; and that the United States Government here was interposing and preventing this. But I suppose these are neither really the facts, nor meant to be asserted as true by you. Coming down to what I suppose to be the real facts, you are engaged in trying to raise colored troops for the U.S. and wish to take recruits from Virginia, through Washington, to Massachusetts for that object; and the loyal Governor of Virginia, also trying to raise troops for us, objects to your taking his material away; while we, having to care for all, and being responsible alike to all, have to do as much for him, as we would have to do for you, if he was, by our authority, taking men from Massachusetts to fill up Virginia regiments. No more than this has been intended by me; nor, as I think, by the Secretary of War. There may have been some abuses of this, as a rule, which, if known, should be prevented in future.

If, however, it be really true that Massachusetts wishes to afford a permanent home within her borders, for all, or even a large number of colored persons who will come to her, I shall be only too glad to know it. It would give relief in a very difficult point; and I would not for a moment hinder from going, any person who is free by the terms of the proclamation or any of the acts of Congress.

To Frederick Steele

Major General Steele           Executive Mansion,
Little-Rock, Ark.                    Washington, Feb. 17, 1864.

The day fixed by the Convention for the election is probably the best, but you, on the ground, and in consultation with gentlemen there, are to decide. I should have fixed no day for an election—presented no plan for reconstruction—had I known the convention was doing the same things. It is probably best that you merely assist the convention on their own plan, as to election day & all other matters. I have already written and telegraphed this half a dozen times. A. LINCOLN