“But Will I be a Good Enough Officer” (Article 52)

He described his life before 1862 as pastoral and tranquil. He had grown up in an academic family, was fluent in nine languages, and had become a professor of Modern Languages at Bowdoin College in Maine. He was 33 years old, was married, and had two children, but three others died in infancy. When the Civil War started in 1861, he did not immediately volunteer to serve; although he believed in the Union cause, thought secession was anarchy, and was strongly opposed to slavery. But he, like almost every American, North and South, expected that the War would not last very long.

But then, as a new year rolled around and President Abraham Lincoln made a second call for volunteers, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain realized the war was going to last much longer, and he sent a letter to the Governor of Maine offering his services. The letter read, “I fear this war, so costly of blood and treasure, will not cease until men of the North are willing to leave their good positions and sacrifice the dearest personal interests, to rescue our country from desolation and defend the national existence against treachery.” Because of his education and maturity, he was offered a commission as a Colonel in the militia, but Chamberlain replied he should receive a lesser rank as he had no military training, so he was commissioned as a Lieutenant Colonel.

From the day he joined the unit, he took his training seriously, read all he could about military tactics, and instilled in his men a sense of pride in their purpose. He also earned the respect of senior career military commanders who were skeptical of most new militia officers because those political appointees often only sought the prestige of a commission.

For the first six months, Chamberlain and his men had trained and had been given important assignments, but always in rearward positions, away from direct contact with the Confederate army. Chamberlain felt confident in these support missions but had concerns about his readiness and aptitude for combat, where his decisions in a ferocious and chaotic situation would determine if his men lived or died. Then, on December 13, 1862, his unit was engaged in the battle of Fredericksburg and, unfortunately, suffered their first casualties. The loss of these men, each of whom he knew so well, weighed heavily on Chamberlain, who wondered if he had made any mistakes which contributed to their deaths. But his superior officers noticed that he had demonstrated effective leadership in the battle, and he was promoted to Colonel.

Throughout the Spring of 1863, Chamberlain’s unit was again given support positions near major battles in Virginia, but not engaged directly against the enemy. Then, in June 1863, Chamberlain was ordered to march his men north into Pennsylvania, along with eighty-five thousand other Union soldiers. They were to form a buffer between Washington DC and a Confederate Army of over sixty-five thousand men, led by General Robert E. Lee, which had recently marched north from Virginia, through Maryland, and then westward into Central Pennsylvania.

Near Gettysburg!

From there, Lee planned to move south toward the Union’s capital city. There were skirmishes in the area on June 27 and 28 between scouting units, but the main Confederate force remained to the north of Gettysburg while the Union army established encampments in and around the small town. Both sides knew that a major clash was eminent, but no one knew exactly where hostilities would begin. On July 1st, the first large engagement occurred and the Union troops retreated to higher ground south of the town and began to fortify positions; effectively blocking the Confederate forces from directly marching toward Washington DC.

Colonel Chamberlain’s unit was assigned to hold a small hill, not in the center of the expected battle lines, but out on the periphery of a nearly mile long Union front. In military terms, he was on the flank. There were several larger hills with entrenched Union forces that the Northern Generals expected to be more likely strategic targets; but Chamberlain’s position was still important because it was his assignment to prevent any Confederate formation from moving around and then behind the Union lines. He did expect that small Confederate units would probe at points to determine exactly how wide (or long) the Union line was and where there might be weaknesses. He was told that he had to hold that position “at all costs” in the event of an attack by a larger force, although such an event was unexpected.

Joshua Chamberlain’s younger brother, Tom, was also an officer in the regiment and recalled a discussion between the two brothers just before the battles at Gettysburg when Joshua expressed continuing doubts about his leadership saying; “I was a good teacher and I will do my duty as best I am able; but am I a good enough officer?”

He was about to find out!

On July 1st, Chamberlain’s regiment was down to 266 men from its usual strength of 400; not so much from casualties but from a small pox epidemic which had recently struck in the Union camps. That day he was also given the task of guarding 120 soldiers from another Maine militia regiment who were accused of “mutiny” for refusing to engage in battle and who were awaiting courts-martial. They were not technically deserters, but they had essentially staged a group sit-down. Their regiment had been disbanded when the two-year enlistment for most of the men had expired and those soldiers were discharged and sent home. Unfortunately, these 120 men had signed three year enlistments, but believed they should have been allowed to return home with the rest of their unit.

Of course, the Army saw it differently and, while they awaited trial, Chamberlain was authorized to execute any of the 120 who tried to escape. But, he had a more thoughtful plan.

Since they were all from Maine, Chamberlain knew relatives of many of the men and was sympathetic to their plight. He reminded them that, if they continued to disobey orders, they would certainly face, at best, a long prison sentence, ruin their own lives and become a disgrace to their families. Instead, he asked them to join his regiment and, in return for their cooperation and willingness to fight along with his other boys from Maine, he would dismiss the charges against them. Further, while he could not guarantee the result, he agreed to write to the Governor of Maine to request his intercession on their behalf to reduce their remaining enlistment period.  After some deliberation among themselves, the 120 men agreed to put their trust in Joshua Chamberlain. His unit now had exactly 386 able-bodied soldiers.

Battle plans are drawn by Generals but they only last until there is an “unexpected event,” then commanders of smaller units make the decisions that lead either to success or to failure.  After several small exchanges along the Union lines, Confederate General Robert E. Lee decided the small hill occupied by Colonel Chamberlain would be advantageous and he ordered a large force to assemble overnight below the hill and to begin an infantry attack the following morning.

An “unexpected event” was about to happen to Colonel Chamberlain and his men.

That morning, over two thousand Confederate soldiers suddenly emerged from a wooded area at the base of the hill which Chamberlain and his men were to defend at all costs. The first attack lasted about fifteen minutes and the Confederates only made it about halfway up the hill before they retreated. Chamberlain’s casualties were few but he told his men the force that attacked them was too large to just be a probe and that he now believed the Confederates intended to try to take the hill. He sent a messenger to the Union headquarters about a mile away but was unsure if any of the Generals would react to what they might still consider only a probe, not an all-out attack. Chamberlain then walked among his men and told them that they would have to hold their position until re-enforcements could arrive.

Then, the Confederates attacked again; and again; and again. Over a two-hour period, they made five assaults on Chamberlain’s position, each one getting closer to the top of the hill before retreating. He could see the lower parts of the hill littered with dead and dying Southern soldiers and knew his men had caused a severe loss to the enemy; however, the toll from successive charges on his men was also devastating. At least 100 were dead or so severely wounded they could not fight, while another hundred were wounded but still on duty. With his ranks thinned by these losses, Chamberlain moved among those soldiers who could still fight and prepared them for what he expected would be one more Confederate assault. He and his men could see the Southern units again massing to charge at his position, but as he walked through his ranks and talked with his men, he realized that they had another serious problem.

Most of his men were out of ammunition! The few men who still had one or two rounds could not possibly defend against the coming attack. But, his orders were to never retreat and, if he simply tried to stand his ground, the Confederates would certainly over-run his position. Either way, he would have failed to carry out his mission to hold the line.

Then, Chamberlain made his unorthodox decision which would give the Confederates an “unexpected event.”

He ordered his men to fix their bayonets to their rifles and to prepare to leave their defensive positions and charge the Confederates.  He hoped to inflict as many casualties among the Southern soldiers as possible in the first few moments of advantage that the surprise attack might provide.  Chamberlain said later that neither he, nor his soldiers, had any expectation except death, but hoped that they might buy enough time for re-enforcements to arrive who could then keep the hill from falling to the enemy.

Chamberlain moved to the front of his men, yelled “bayonets” and leapt over the crest of the hill down toward the approaching enemy. Later he said he could not remember why he did not yell out the more tradition order of “Charge!”

One of Chamberlain’s men recalled, “The sight of the Colonel running headlong at the rebels, yelling ‘bayonets’ again and again, sword waving and pistol firing, made us all join in. There was no thought, just legs running, and yelling, everyone was yelling.”

Startled by the line of blue charging at them, the Confederates began to fall back and Chamberlain and many of his men actually ran so far and so fast down the hill that they pushed through the front of the enemy formation. Suddenly, Chamberlain came face to face with a Confederate Colonel who had a pistol pointed at his head; but the gun misfired. The Confederate officer then dropped his gun, handed Chamberlain his sword, and surrendered. With that, the daring charge began to subside. As the fighting ended, Chamberlain realized there were over a hundred Confederate soldiers stranded behind his position; but they were so disorganized, they dropped their weapons and put up their hands to surrender. He and his men herded the new prisoners back up the hill while the rest of the Confederate troops retreated. Unknown to their prisoners, Chamberlain’s men guarded the captured southern soldiers with empty rifles.

When his position was finally relieved by reserve units, Chamberlain learned that the small hill he had held was named “Little Round Top.” To his great relief, Chamberlain found that his brother also survived the battle and he said later that his brother’s life was more important than his own because he feared his mother would never recover from the loss of her youngest son.

Most historians believe the Union victory at Gettysburg was critical to the outcome of the Civil War. And, the stand at Little Round Top made by the small band of men in Chamberlain’s unit, including the 120 “other Maine boys,” was a turning point in the Battle of Gettysburg.

As the war dragged on, Joshua Chamberlain led his men into seven other major engagements and was severely wounded in 1864; but recovered sufficiently to be at Appomattox Court House for the surrender of Confederate forces in April, 1865. He then went back home to his family and his “tranquil and pastoral” life as a teacher. But, soon after, he was encouraged to enter the race for Governor of Maine; to which he was then elected to four consecutive terms!

Chamberlain later wrote of the bravery of his men that day at Gettysburg in July 1863, and said he was also in awe of the courage of the Confederates who charged his position time after time; despite having seen so many of their ranks fall in previous attacks.  But, others noted Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain’s own gallantry and leadership on that day as well, and, in recognition, he received his Nation’s highest award for valor, the Medal of  Honor.

His personal question had been answered. The good teacher, when tested, had certainly become a “good enough” officer!

 

Contact the author at gadorris2@gmail.com

 

 

Lincoln’s Eagle Quill Pen (Article 51)

Abraham Lincoln had been recently, and surprisingly even to him, elected to become the next President of the United States. This night in early January,1861, he was fretful. For the last several days he had been forced to find quiet working space in the back of a relative’s general store in his home town of Springfield, to avoid the chaos from well-wishers and office seekers who streamed to his office and his home. He needed the privacy to complete the task at hand. He held the latest version of what would certainly be one of the most important speeches he would ever give; and arguably, at that time, the most important speech in American history.

It was to be Lincoln’s first inaugural address.

South Carolina had already declared secession from the country and several other southern states had announced plans to follow. There were fifteen states in which slavery was legal and neither Abraham Lincoln, nor the rest of the nation, knew exactly how many of the slave-holding states would eventually secede. He believed at least seven, but thought probably more, primarily because they feared a new Republican administration would not support expansion of slavery to new territories; and might even try to restrict slavery in the states where it was then currently permitted under the U.S. Constitution.

Lincoln had clearly stated in earlier speeches and writings that he would have no constitutional authority as President to interfere with slavery where it existed, but he believed secession was unconstitutional and illegal; and he intended to so declare in his speech. However, he also wanted to impress upon those states which had already decided on, or were contemplating, secession, that he did not threaten their way of life and wanted to hold open the door for their peaceful reconciliation within the United States. That evening he had considered a few changes to the draft and began to make the corrections which he felt strengthened his message. He dipped the long feather quill into the black inking solution and crossed out a few words and added others. By midnight, he finished, not quite satisfied, but unable to think of any better phrasing. He could do no more, and he put the quill down on the table.

Perhaps he took a moment to admire the long eagle feather, perfectly trimmed to make it a fine writing instrument. At the time, most handwriting was done with quills made from goose or turkey feathers which were dipped into an inkwell; and there was even a new-fangled “fountain” pen made of brass which still used a quill tip but held a reservoir of ink.

But Lincoln was a traditionalist in many ways. He liked the feel of quills and thought the regular pauses to re-ink helped with reflection when writing. And, this pen was special.

The eagle feather quill pen which Abraham Lincoln used to write portions of his first inaugural address was a gift from an Illinois admirer and political supporter, Rufus W. Miles. In one of those many ironies of history, in his letter which accompanied the gift, Mr. Miles seemed to write a eulogy for the new President, four and a half years before his assassination.

Two years earlier the Democratic controlled Illinois legislature had appointed Stephen A. Douglas to a third six-year term as a U.S. Senator, narrowly rejecting the bid by Republican Abraham Lincoln. A few days after Lincoln’s opponent won the appointment, a group of Lincoln supporters met at the State Capitol Library. Among those present was Mr. Miles, a local businessman and ardent abolitionist, who had hoped Mr. Lincoln’s message that slavery should not be expanded to new states in the West would resonate with the Illinois legislators, regardless of party affiliation; and Lincoln would become the new Illinois Senator. After all, Miles reasoned, slavery was prohibited by the Illinois constitution and Douglas, during his previous two terms in the U.S. Senate, was referred to as “The Great Compromiser” for his willingness to extend slavery to new states. However, even though several Democrat legislators did vote for Lincoln, it was not enough for him to be selected.

The men who gathered at the Capitol Library intended to discuss the future of the Republican party in Illinois and had invited Lincoln to attend. On the other hand, some had a very specific agenda for the meeting; to encourage Abraham Lincoln to run for President of the United States.

As Miles later recalled, Mr. Lincoln assured the group that he remained committed to the principals of the Republican party and would willingly support future Republican candidates. At some point in the discussion, one of the attendees declared that he “intended to bring Abraham Lincoln out as a candidate for President” in an editorial in a local newspaper.  After a murmur of approval was heard in the room, Lincoln said, “For God’s sake, let me alone. I have suffered enough.”

To some in the room and a few historical observers, Lincoln, while appreciative of the show of support, was sincerely declining another campaign. However, others present at the meeting, and most historians, believed that Lincoln was mildly protesting only as a courtesy and had an unstated interest in seeking the Republication nomination.

In the latter view, Lincoln believed a new campaign might lead to a Vice-Presidential nomination, or improve his chances if he chose to run for Governor of Illinois; but he did not believe there was even a remote possibility he could become the 1860 Presidential nominee at the Republican National Convention. The Party already had three formidable politicians under consideration, all with more political experience and broad based support than Lincoln; William Seward, former Governor of New York, Salmon Chase, Governor of Ohio, and Edward Bates, Governor of Missouri. Lincoln’s experience as an office holder included four terms in the Illinois Legislature and one term in the U.S. Congress, but he had not held political office for ten years.

Proof for those who believed then, and still believe, that he did indeed hope for his name to be advanced, was the rigorous speaking schedule which he now planned until the Republican convention, including a tour of heavily populated New England. Lincoln may not have called it a “campaign” but it certainly had all of the hallmarks.

And it worked!

One year after that meeting in the Library of the Illinois Capitol, Abraham Lincoln, who had won his party’s nomination in June, was elected President of the United States. After the election, and after the Electoral College vote, Rufus W. Miles wrote a letter to the President-Elect on December 21, 1860, and included as a gift an eagle feather quill, proposing that Lincoln use the pen to write his inaugural address. The letter read in part:

“Hon. A. Lincoln,

Please accept this eagle quill I promised you. The bird from whose wing the quill was taken was shot by Mr. John Dillon, in February 1857. Having heard that James Buchannan (Lincoln’s Democrat predecessor as President) was furnished with an eagle quill to write his inaugural with, and believing that, in 1860, a Republican would be elected to take his place, I determined to save this quill and present it to the fortunate man, whoever he might be. Report tells us that the bird which furnished Buchannan’s quill was a captured bird, a fit emblem for the man who used it. (Mr. Miles believed President Buchannan was another “compromiser” of principles).

But the bird from which this quill was taken, yielded the quill only with his life – a fit emblem of the man who is now expected to use it; for true Republicans believe that you will not think life worth the keeping after the murder of principle. Great difficulties surround you; traitors to their country have threatened your life; and should you be called upon to surrender your life at the post of duty, your memory will live forever in the heart of every free man; and that is a grander monument than can be built of brick or marble.

‘for if our hearts may not our memories keep, oblivion haste each vestige sweep, and let our memories end’

Yours truly,

R.W. Miles”

This letter must have seemed to be a strange and morose reflection upon what was a celebratory occasion; the election of Lincoln as President. Perhaps Mr. Miles, better than most, realized the dangerous waters into which the United States, and President Lincoln, were headed.

That first inaugural address did become one of the most famous speeches in American history and the concluding lines can still stir us today.

“We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as they surely will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

On April 15, 1865, Abraham Lincoln died; and as Mr. Miles wrote, Lincoln surrendered his “life at the post of duty.”

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, Mount Rushmore, the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and hundreds of schools which bear his likeness and/or his name, are tangible testaments in “brick and marble” as Mr. Miles suggested. But, most Americans today also have, in their own memories, an image of Abraham Lincoln and some understanding of his lasting value to our nation.

It is up to us to assure that, as Mr. Miles also wrote, his “memory will live forever in the heart of every free man.”

I sincerely hope we are up to the task.

Contact the author at  gadorris2@gmail.com

 

More To Do Than Fight This Awful War (Article 50)

All Presidents face numerous challenges during their term in office, but, historically, most are remembered for, and identified with, only one or two significant issues they faced and whether or not their efforts succeeded. President Thomas Jefferson is remembered for the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition, although his effort in writing much of the Declaration of Independence twenty years earlier remains a hallmark of his pre-presidential legacy. President Monroe is remembered for establishing the “Monroe Doctrine” and President Polk is most identified with the Mexican War. In the more modern eras, Hoover is synonymous with the Great Depression, Roosevelt gave us the New Deal and faced World War II, and Truman ordered the use of the atomic bomb. President Kennedy left us the space program, but is also remembered by most for the assassination; and Nixon’s legacy was overshadowed by Watergate and resignation. For those more recent Presidents of the last forty (or so) years, we can still recall, or have been taught about, more of the domestic and diplomatic matters in which they were involved; however, if history is any indicator, over time, they too will become identified by only one or two issues.

Abraham Lincoln is now most identified with the Civil War and for his efforts to end slavery; and, of course his assassination. Certainly, an historic era. But, President Lincoln, as all Presidents, served as the Chief Executive of a vast nation whose citizens had numerous interests and he had to give his time and attention to more than the ongoing Civil War. Every President has found a myriad of problems, issues, and opportunities with which he had to cope.

Lincoln was no exception.

The Civil War began within 5 weeks of his inauguration as President and, for the next four years, the war consumed most of his time; but, certainly other matters also required his attention. There were international problems which needed resolution, domestic issues that deserved attention, and opportunities for future enhancements for the United States that should be seized; while, at the same time, he was engaged in a devastating Civil War.

And Lincoln, his key cabinet officers, and a few Senators and Representatives assured these other matters were not neglected.

In his Report to Congress in 1863, referred to today as a State of the Union Address, Lincoln outlined the numerous topics his administration worked on during the year. Of course, the status of the War held priority and Lincoln first presented a separate report from the Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, which detailed each of the significant engagements with the Confederacy and concluded that the Union forces would have control over most of the Southern region within the next year.

All in all, an optimistic report from the War Department.

But as Lincoln went through the rest of his report, it became clear that other international and domestic issues would seem to have been enough to occupy a President, even if a Civil War were not raging.

In his report in December 1863, Lincoln mentioned the following diplomatic matters the country faced the prior year.

  1. Reached a treaty with Great Britain to formalize a permanent end to the African Slave Trade and to create a cooperative effort to combat violators.
  2. Made progress with Great Britain over border issues between Canada and the territories in the Northwest; which paved the way for Washington, Idaho and Montana to become states a few years later.
  3. Announced the successful arbitration of a dispute with Chile over the seizure of American assets in South America.
  4. A similar arbitration was announced to settle disputes with Peru.
  5. A travel agreement was reached with Nicaragua for U.S. troops to cross through that country from Atlantic to Pacific (fifty years before the Panama Canal was built).
  6. Established diplomatic relations with Columbia
  7. Organized an international conference to establish postal treaties to set rates which would be accepted by all participating nations and permit the unrestricted flow of mail using the postage mark of the originating country.
  8. A continuing issue with Japan was explained resulting from an internal Japanese conflict challenging the authority of the Emperor. Lincoln was clear that the United States would not choose sides.
  9. A joint memorandum with Russia had been completed which would allow a telegraph line to connect the eastern coast of that country with the western coast of the United States. (The actual telegraph line would take another twenty years).
  10. Perhaps most important, Secretary of State William Seward managed to assure that England, France and Spain would remain neutral during the Civil War and not give official recognition to the Confederate States of America.

The first nine diplomatic successes were important and had to overcome interference from the Confederate government, which hoped to cause international distractions and/or incidents for the Union.  However, it was the tenth objective which certainly affected the outcome of the Civil War. The Confederate government kept up a relentless diplomatic effort to become recognized by European Capitals as a separate and sovereign nation, and to, hopefully, receive financial support and armaments to press the war against the North. Secretary Seward and his Ambassadors to each foreign country were able to thwart those efforts. If they had not been successful, the progress of the Civil War would have been more problematic for President Lincoln and the Union. What makes these diplomatic successes even more remarkable is that they were reached without the instant two-way communications which would later become available with telegraph lines. In 1863, a diplomatic message to an overseas Capital was sent by courier ship, with a travel time measured in weeks, then any reply (including questions and/or critical counter offers) required a similar time before received. It was a process that resulted in numerous “fits and starts” before results were achieved.

In addition to these diplomatic issues, President Lincoln, and his cabinet, faced these significant domestic matters on the home front.

  1. Although there had been a telegraph line laid across the Atlantic in 1856, it had failed after a few months. Lincoln proposed that Congress authorize another attempt and add several underwater lines along the Atlantic coast.
  2. He discussed the ongoing Indian disputes in the central states and in the western territories, which were not yet settled; and some of these had proven deadly to both settlers and the local Indian tribes.
  3. He called for steps that would increase immigration westward, including the Homestead Act which would give parcels of federal land to those who chose to move west.
  4. He called for a national immigration policy to increase the number of workers available for specific labor pools, primarily from Europe. The country needed coal and mineral miners, agricultural workers, and people to work in foundries. He even called for some aid for individuals as an incentive to migrate to the United States.
  5. He announced a review of immigrants who had settled in the United states several years earlier who had benefited from life in the United States but had never applied for citizenship. Lincoln thought some might be purposefully failing to apply to avoid paying federal duty taxes (if they were wealthy or operated a business) and/or to avoid military service. He said either reason to not seek citizenship was reprehensible.
  6. He urged completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, which was underway. He also was pushing the northern states to require the adoption of a universal gauge (track size), to simplify connections.

And, while the separate report from the Secretary of War was paramount, Lincoln still touched on some issues related to the War in his commentary.

  1. He called for the building of major Naval ship yards along the Atlantic coast with the capacity to service the hundreds of new and converted Navy ships. He stressed that this was not just a war-time need, but would help assure the United States could protect shipping lanes and participate fully in ocean trade long after the War was over.
  2. He announced that the Military academies, which since their founding had recruiting quotas from all of the United States, had fallen short of new recruits in 1862 because the seceded states sent no candidates. By Lincoln’s executive order, the Secretaries of War and Navy had increased the quotas from states remaining in the Union; and the academies’ classes were again filled.

Then, to address a matter on the mind of almost every person in 1863, whether they were in the north or south, he also discussed the perplexing questions that had arisen since the Emancipation Proclamation had become effective a year earlier.

Lincoln gave a report on the status of emancipation of slaves in Union held territories, and the initial reconstruction processes for several former Confederate states whose citizens were ready to rejoin the Union. He expressed concern that the Emancipation Proclamation would be ruled a war-time measure and feared there would be attempts to re-instate slavery in some states, even to those individuals earlier emancipated. He declared that he would work with Congress to remedy that issue. (Note: a few months later, in 1864, the Senate passed the proposed 13th Amendment to the Constitution which would make slavery illegal, the House of Representatives passed the proposed Amendment in February 1865, and the necessary number of states ratified the Amendment in November 1865, making it part of the U.S. Constitution).

His concluding remarks, of that 1863 “State of the Union” address, are not often quoted, but ring true today.

“Our chief care must still be directed to the Army and Navy, who have thus far borne their harder part so nobly and well; …we do also honorably recognize the gallant men, from commander to sentinel, who compose them, and to whom more than others the world must stand indebted for the home of freedom … regenerated, enlarged, and perpetuated.”

As all Presidents who served before and after him, Abraham Lincoln had numerous matters with which to contend. In his case, he was leading the nation through a destructive and deadly war between Americans, but was also addressing these other important issues.

And,  he was looking to the future and planning for the time when the “Awful Civil War” was no more.

That is Presidential leadership!

Contact the author at  gadorris2@gmail.com