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ally concerned himself to come out as it might, but he had also shown superior capacity for controlling a large army. He was found to have constant self-possession, readiness, tact, pluck, persistence. He was not a man of superfluous words, but had become noted for saying, on occasion, the right thing in the best way. His bulletins and reports, without boast or flourish, were electrifying. He was a General who captured armies as well as places. His victories had fruits. He had a clear understanding of what was wanted of him, and made it his business to get that done. He cared less about the presentable shape of his battalions than about the impression they should make upon the enemy. He had faith in the fighting qualities of his rank and file, who were not regulars unless by rare exception; and he believed they might be taken to the field with but a moderate amount of training - not thinking that soldiers were to be made veterans by mere drill and parade. A graduate of West Point, he did not undervalue military science or what is to be learned about war from books; yet his success depended more on personal character. He had a resolute will, and his inclination for action could be restrained for due preparation without missing the fit moment to strike. Other Generals than Grant had deserved well of the country and been highly applauded, but no other had gained such credit with President and people.
Congress revived the rank of Lieutenant-General by a joint resolution, approved in February, and Grant's nomination for that office was unanimously confirmed on the 2d of March, He was formally presented to the President and Cabinet on the 9th to receive his com
mission, and by an executive order (March ioth) he was given chief command of the entire army service, General Halleck being assigned to duty as Chief of Staff. General William T. Sherman succeeded to the command of the military division of the Mississippi.
The State elections in New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island, occurring in March and April, were in 1864 highly favorable to the Administration. In each of these States the Republicans had made the canvass under an explicit commitment to the renomination of President Lincoln. The Republican members of the Ohio Legislature had emphatically pronounced for him in February. A like declaration was made in eleven other States, either by convention or by legislative caucus. This popular sentiment had not been developed without some persistent opposition. Local discontents, individual dissatisfactions, and conflicting personal ambitions had not been wanting. Original Abolitionists had thought Lincoln as much too timid as extreme Conservatives thought him too rash. On both sides there was reluctance to own that he had been wiser than either; yet in the main both were coming, er had already come, to that conviction. It had been believed that Secretary Seward entertained hopes for the succession. Some adroit and far-sighted schemers were supposed to be counting on his becoming the head of a Union party with strong following, North and South. An organization there now was, indeed, so friendly to the continuance of slavery as to find favor with the Southern Border States, and not too unconditional in
its Unionism to include the "Peace men" of the North; but it had at length come to be seen that this party would look elsewhere than to Mr. Seward for its candidate. Whatever his thoughts had been, in a speech to his Auburn neighbors on the eve of the November election, in 1863, he conclusively declared for the renomination of Lincoln.
The Secretary of the Treasury was less discreet. Born in New Hampshire (in 1808) and educated at Dartmouth College, he became a teacher in Washington City and a law student under William Wirt. Going to Cincinnati in 1830, Mr. Chase at once began the practice of law. He had not left Washington without political as well as professional aspirations. For three years he had breathed an air infected with politics, and the effects never left his system. It was not until after he failed of a coveted nomination for State Senator that he turned from the Whigs to the “ Liberty” men. In 1840 he undoubtedly voted for General Harrison. No evidence is afforded by his diary, his letters, or otherwise, that up to this time he had ever taken to heart the moral or economical evils of slavery, yet in the Republican party, which he prominently helped to organize, he was counted as decidedly radical. Almost from the very beginning of his Cabinet service he had, in private conversation and correspondence, indulged in rather free criticisms of the President — no doubt really apprehending that under Lincoln's guidance or lack of guidance affairs were tending badly. He thought Hunter should have been permitted to abolish slavery in his South Carolina department, and regretted that Fremont
was restricted to fighting the enemy instead of issuing certificates of manumission in Missouri.
The Secretary seemed always willing to be the accepted leader of discontented radicals in and out of Congress; yet somehow he missed securing their general support as a Presidential candidate. There were, however, ardent advocates of his nomination, and a “ confidential ” circular issued in that behalf a document quite censorious in its treatment of the President — was soon caught up by the newspapers. This incident caused the Secretary to write (February 22, 1864) to his official superior, disclaiming any previous knowledge of the letter “written by Senator Pomeroy as chairman of a committee” of his friends, though he had reluctantly consented to their submitting his name “ to the consideration of the people in connection with the approaching election of Chief Magistrate." He had never wished his name should have a moment's thought in comparison with the common cause of enfranchisement and restoration, or be continued before the public a moment after the indication of a preference, by the friends of that cause, for another.” In conclusion he said: “If there is anything in my action or position which, in your judgment, will prejudice the public interest under my charge, I beg you to say so. I do not wish to administer the Treasury Department one day without your entire confidence. For yourself I cherish sincere respect and esteem, and, permit me to add, affection. Differences of opinion as to administrative action have not changed these sentiments; nor have they been changed by assaults upon me by persons who profess themselves the special representatives of
your views and policy. * You are not responsible for acts not your own; nor will you hold me responsible except for what I say or do myself. Great numbers now desire your re-election. Should their wishes be fulfilled by the suffrages of the people, I hope to carry with me into private life the sentiments I now cherish whole and unimpaired.”
The President replied briefly: “Yours of yesterday, in relation to the paper issued by Senator Pomeroy, was duly received; and I write this note merely to say I will answer a little more fully when I can find time to do so.”
While the Secretary seems to have ingenuously met the unpleasant issue which he voluntarily assumed to have been forced upon him by an accident, his stately periods betray no consciousness of wrong-doing, or even of impropriety. As to the actual situation, too, certain statements of the avowed author of the circular in question - Mr. J. M. Winchell, secretary of the “ Pomeroy Committee,” and not the Kansas Senator himself, — published a decade later, † indicate a confusion of dates or other defect of memory on the part of Mr. Chase or of his supporter, who said: “Mr. Chase had manifested no reluctance whatever to be a candidate against Mr. Lincoln, whom he honestly believed to be totally unfit for the crisis; his only reluctance was to be connected with a failure. The committee worked zealously to rally the war sentiment of the country to his support, but with small success. Mr. Chase was in
* Alluding especially, no doubt, to a recent attack on the Secretary by General F. P. Blair, Jr., in Congress, and to a speech of Postmaster-General Blair, in Maryland, some time earlier.
+ In the New York Times, September 15, 1874.