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Lincoln and McClellan Election of 1864
09-04-2021, 05:38 PM (This post was last modified: 09-04-2021 05:41 PM by Gene C.)
Post: #1
Lincoln and McClellan Election of 1864
Has anyone heard this story before?
The source is questionable, I have no proof it isn't true, but I find it highly unlikely.

Mr. Lincoln said to Mr. Blair: "I shall be re-elected. No one can doubt it. I do not doubt it, nor do you. It is patent to all. General
McClellan must see it as plainly as we do. Why should he not act upon it, and help me to give peace to this distracted country?
Would it not be a glorious thing for the Union cause and the country, now that my re-election is certain, for him to decline to run, favor my election, and make certain a speedy termination of this bloody war? Don't you believe that such a course upon his part
would unify public partisan sentiment, and give a decisive and fatal blow to all opposition to the re-establishment of peace in the country? I think he is man enough and patriot enough to do it. Do you?
You have been his friend and mine. Will you try this last appeal to General McClellan's patriotism?"

Mr. Blair heartily assented; and, as the result of their consultation, Mr. Lincoln wrote a most remarkable autograph letter to his
rival, suggesting that he retire from the canvass and allow Mr. Lincoln's election, then visibly impending, to be as nearly unanimous
as might be. The compensations to General McClellan and his party for the timely relinquishment of a mere shadow were to be
McClellan's immediate elevation to be General of the Army, the
appointment of his father-in-law, Marcy, to be major-general, and
the very substantial recognition of the Democracy which would
necessarily have followed these arrangements. This letter containing these distinct proposals was placed in Mr. Blair's hands, and
by him delivered to General McClellan.

Source: Ward Hill Lamon in "Lincoln Talks" by Emanuel Hertz p.300-302
https://archive.org/details/lincolntalks...0/mode/2up

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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09-04-2021, 08:13 PM
Post: #2
RE: Lincoln and McClellan Election of 1864
Gene,

Two distinct problems with this. First is Ward Hill Lamon and the second, and more important, is Emanuel Hertz. It's absolute hogwash!

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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09-05-2021, 04:09 AM
Post: #3
RE: Lincoln and McClellan Election of 1864
I agree with Rob.

I found the pages in Lamon's book where this is discussed...pp. 209-210. It mentions that the letter was then given by McClellan to "some of his party friends in New York, and its wise and statesmanlike propositions were declined." I cannot find the alleged letter in the Collected Works. If it really exists, where is the text of it?
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09-05-2021, 07:54 AM
Post: #4
RE: Lincoln and McClellan Election of 1864
I don’t believe that story for a second. As we know, Lincoln actually thought he would not be reelected and prepared his cabinet for that possibility. Besides, that kind of bluster just doesn’t sound like him. Not the Lincoln we know!

Bill Nash
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09-05-2021, 11:09 AM
Post: #5
RE: Lincoln and McClellan Election of 1864
(09-05-2021 04:09 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  I agree with Rob.

I found the pages in Lamon's book where this is discussed...pp. 209-210. It mentions that the letter was then given by McClellan to "some of his party friends in New York, and its wise and statesmanlike propositions were declined." I cannot find the alleged letter in the Collected Works. If it really exists, where is the text of it?

I could not find in Professor Burlingame's work, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, Vol. Two, in the section titled "Reelection (Sept - Nov 1864)" any reference to this letter.

But I did find another interesting Lincoln story on page 699:

The New York World alleged that Lincoln had asked Ward Hill Lamon to sing a popular ditty while they were accompanying McClellan on a tour of the corpse-strewn Antietam battlefield. According to the that flagship Democratic journal, the president said: "Come, Lamon, give us that song about Picayune Butler; McClellan has never heard it."

"Not now, if you please," McClellan purportedly remarked. I would prefer to hear it some other place and time."

When Lamon wrote a blistering denial, Lincoln advised him not to release it: "I would not publish this; it is too belligerent in its tone. You are at times too fond of a fight. There is a heap of wickedness mixed up with your usual amiability. If I were you, I'd state the facts as they were. I would give the statement as you have it without the cussedness. Let me try my hand at it." Taking pen in hand, Lincoln carefully and slowly composed a long letter for his friend's signature. After drafting it, Lincoln told Lamon: "You know, Hill, that this is the truth and the whole truth about that affair; but I dislike to appear as an apologist for an ct of my own which I know was right. Keep this paper, and we sill see about it." (Lamon, Recollections of Lincoln, page 149.) The document was not released to the press.

Does anyone know where to find this document? It should be a very interesting read.

"So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history." -- Plutarch
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09-05-2021, 11:31 AM
Post: #6
RE: Lincoln and McClellan Election of 1864
David, please check this page:

https://abrahamlincolnandthecivilwar.wor...ntroversy/

Is what you were seeking on that page?
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09-05-2021, 01:10 PM (This post was last modified: 09-05-2021 02:50 PM by David Lockmiller.)
Post: #7
RE: Lincoln and McClellan Election of 1864
(09-05-2021 11:31 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  David, please check this page:

https://abrahamlincolnandthecivilwar.wor...ntroversy/

Is what you were seeking on that page?

Wow!

‘You know, Hill, that this is the truth and the whole truth about that affair; but I dislike to appear as an apologist for an act of my own which I know was right. Keep this paper, and we will see about it.’

Mark Hill Lamon wrote that he "had often recalled President Lincoln from a pit of melancholy into which he was prone to descend, by a jest, a comic song, or a provoking sally of a startling kind; and Mr. Lincoln always thanked me afterward for my well-timed rudeness ‘of kind intent.’"

"So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history." -- Plutarch
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09-05-2021, 08:19 PM
Post: #8
RE: Lincoln and McClellan Election of 1864
I don't think I've head that phrase before "my well-timed rudeness of kind intent"
I'll have to remember that one.

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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09-06-2021, 07:58 AM
Post: #9
RE: Lincoln and McClellan Election of 1864
I like that too, Gene.

Bill Nash
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