war musing

war orphan

NYT 9-16-1917 orphan (LOC: https://www.loc.gov/resource/sn78004456/1917-09-16/ed-1/?q=september+16+1917&st=gallery)

French war orphan

glee club

NYT 9-16-1917 glee club LOC: https://www.loc.gov/resource/sn78004456/1917-09-16/ed-1/?q=september+16+1917&st=gallery)

they’ve got the music in them

road crew

NYT 9-16-1917 SC convicts (LOC: NYT 9-16-1917 glee club LOC: https://www.loc.gov/resource/sn78004456/1917-09-16/ed-1/?q=september+16+1917&st=gallery))

doing their part to beat The Hun

All the images were published in the September 16, 1917 issue of The New-York Times and can be found at the Library of Congress
This past Sunday afternoon I was in a reverie, a sort of escapist reverie, looking through the 100 year old pictures, listening to Youtube music, when I saw the photo of the French orphan girl. That really affected me and snapped me out of my reverie. But then I saw the glee club from nearby Rochester and laughed right out loud: World War I, the Musical? Sonny & Cher could have done a great job making the road-building South Carolina prisoners into a comic opera sketch, Sonny as a convict in the old-fashioned striped outfit singing a chain gang aria with a big smile beaming. I have no idea who the woman under the umbrella is or what she’s doing at the work site, but I’m sure Cher would have carried off the role with her dispassionate passion.
The New York 69th Regiment fought for the Union throughout the Civil War. Despite its dislike of the British the unit fought alongside them during World War I. You can check out the 69th site.

practicing sixty-ninth

NYT 9-16-1917 fighting 69th (LOC: https://www.loc.gov/resource/sn78004456/1917-09-16/ed-1/?q=september+16+1917&st=gallery)

charge like a red coat?

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Antietam address

NYT Sept. 18, 1867

The New York Times September 18, 1867

The Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) on September 17, 1862 was the bloodiest single day of the American Civil War. 150 years ago today dignitaries dedicated a national cemetery at the battlefield and laid the cornerstone of a national monument. It was a big event. According to The New-York Times arrangements were made so that round-trip tickets on the Baltimore & Ohio to Sharpsburg for the dedication were reduced to two-thirds the regular price; many government officials, military officers, foreign dignitaries attended; Dr. Elisha Harris, who was in charge of distributing supplies from the United States Sanitary Commission to the seventy-one “surgical depots” on and near the field after the battle accepted an invitation; the Commissioners of the Antietam Monument accepted the design of James G. Batterson for the approximately $30,000 “colossal statue and pedestal.”

According to the main report in the Times about 8,000 people attended the ceremony (only 2,000 could hear the proceedings) (according to Historynet’s account almost 15,000 were present). Like the dedication at Gettysburg back in November 1863 the main oration was not given by the United States president (Maryland’s ex-governor Augustus Bradford played the Edward Everett role); however, similarly to Gettysburg, President Andrew Johnson did say a few words. Unlike Gettysburg, those words didn’t go down in history, although they were recorded for history. From The New-York Times September 18, 1867:

… MY FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN: In appearing before you it is not for the purpose of making any lengthy remarks, but simply to express my approbation of the ceremonies which have taken place to-day. My appearance on this occasion will be the speech that I will make; my reflections and my meditations will be in silent communion with the dead whose deeds we are here to commemorate. I shall not attempt to give utterance to the feelings and emotions inspired by the addresses and prayers which have been made, and the hymns which have been sung. I shall attempt no such thing. I am merely here to give my countenance and aid to the ceremonies on this occasion; but I must be permitted to express my hope that we may follow the example which has been so eloquently alluded to this afternoon, and which has been so clearly set by the illustrious dead. When we look on your battle field and think of the brave men on both sides who fell in the fierce struggle of battle, and who sleep silent in their graves, yes, who sleep in silence and peace after the earnest conflict has ceased, would to God we of the living could imitate their example as they lay living in peace in their tombs, and live together in friendship and peace. [Applause.] You, my fellow-citizens, have my earnest wishes, as you have had my efforts in times gone by, in the earliest and most trying perils to preserve the Union of these States, to restore peace and harmony to our distracted and divided country, and you shall have my last efforts in vindication of the flag of the Republic and of the Constitution of our fathers. [Applause.] …

The Times editorial on September 18th didn’t mention Andrew Johnson at all. It expressed the importance of honoring the (patriotic, Northern) war dead, but it was slightly critical of Governor Bradford’s oration for focusing too much on the facts of the Maryland campaign (although the Times began its main report with its own summary of invasion of 1862). The editorial ended with the “almost inspired language” of the ending of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address from “In a larger sense …” on.

I can’t tell from Andrew Johnson’s speech whether he realized that only Union soldiers were buried at Antietam. According to the National Park Service:

The original Cemetery Commission’s plan allowed for burial of soldiers from both sides. However, the rancor and bitterness over the recently completed conflict and the devastated South’s inability to raise funds to join in such a venture persuaded Maryland to recant. Consequently, only Union dead are interred here. Confederate remains were re-interred in Washington Confederate Cemetery in Hagerstown, Maryland; Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, Maryland; and Elmwood Cemetery in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Approximately 2,800 Southerners are buried in these three cemeteries, over 60% of whom are unknown.

Map of Antietam National Cemetery at Sharpsburg, Maryland (1867 LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/99447377/)

well laid-out … well segregated?

President Johnson might have rankled his audience by mentioning the “brave men on both sides.” His goal of peace, harmony, and friendship sound real good; back then that ideal was proving divisive – unlike the Congress, the president didn’t seem to care whether peace and harmony included anything like equal rights for the ex-slaves.

antnatlcemc1890 (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=loc.ark:/13960/t9862x797)

c. 1890

Sharpsburg from Cemetery Hill (1869 http://hdl.handle.net/2027/loc.ark:/13960/t5v69w18g)

when thousands weren’t converging

ajspeech (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=loc.ark:/13960/t9862x797)

a bit different than NY Times report


The image of Sharpsburg was published in 1869’s History of Antietam National Cemetery, including a descriptive list of all the loyal soldiers buried therein: together with the ceremonies and address on the occasion of the dedication of the grounds, September, 17th, 1867. (at HathiTrust), The same book reported a slightly different version of President Johnson’s remarks, including “yon battle field”, which might make more sense than “your battle field”. The 1890 photo of the cemetery and the image of Andrew Johnson’s speech comes from an updated version of the dedication ceremonies also at HathiTrust. the newer book also added President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Both books show that the Freemasons had a large part in the cemetery dedication. That must have pleased Andrew Johnson, who was a “proud brother,” who “took part in the ceremonies of the Washington Templars.” In June 1867 “he was inducted into the higher degrees of the order.”That same month the president traveled to Boston for the dedication of a new temple.[1]
The cemetery map comes from the Library of Congress. You can read about the map’s mysterious No.28 – General Lee’s Rock at Crossroads of War. The issues involved with Lee’s Rock sound like today’s current events. The rock was gone by September 1868.
The Times in it’s “Sketch of the Battle” that began its main report included General Lee’s September 8, 1862 message to the people of Maryland and then commented: “… while Gen. LEE was thus proclaiming his pacific intentions, and giving exemplication of them by plundering everybody within reach of his troops …”
Also from the Library of Congress: Carol M. Highsmith’s photo of the private soldier monument, which made it to the cemetery in 1880. It spent time at Philadelphia’s centennial exposition; a nice Antietam review from the National Park Service
President Johnson’s remarks reminded me of Eric Foner’s comment on his 1866 Washington’s Birthday address: “… in a speech one hour long he referred to himself over 200 times …”[2] And as Hans L. Trefousse wrote (in the context of the “Swing Around the Circle”) “… the trouble with Johnson’s speeches was that he never fully prepared any of them in detail.[3]
Private soldier monument, Antietam Battlefield, near Sharpsburg, Maryland (by Carol M. Highsmith, LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2011630686/)

“colossal statue and pedestal” nowadays

NPS Antietam 1980 (https://www.loc.gov/item/80692287/)

Clara Barton helped clean up the mess

  1. [1] Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1997. Print. pages 286.
  2. [2] Foner, Eric. Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. New York: HarperPerennial, 2014. Updated Edition. Print. page 249.
  3. [3] Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1997. Print. pages 266.
Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Aftermath, Battle Monuments, Battlefields, Civil War Cemeteries, Postbellum Society, Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

proclaiming president

150 years ago today President Andrew Johnson proclaimed an amnesty to cover almost all former Confederates. As recorded at Project Gutenberg:


Whereas in the month of July, A.D. 1861, the two Houses of Congress, with extraordinary unanimity, solemnly declared that the war then existing was not waged on the part of the Government in any spirit of oppression nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of the States, but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union, with all the dignity, equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired, and that as soon as these objects should be accomplished the war ought to cease; and

Whereas the President of the United States, on the 8th day of December, A.D. 1863, and on the 26th day of March, A.D. 1864, did, with the objects of suppressing the then existing rebellion, of inducing all persons to return to their loyalty, and of restoring the authority of the United States, issue proclamations offering amnesty and pardon to all persons who had, directly or indirectly, participated in the then existing rebellion, except as in those proclamations was specified and reserved; and

Andrew Johnson - President of the United States (LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2003655779/)

because he can?

Whereas the President of the United States did on the 29th day of May, A.D. 1865, issue a further proclamation, with the same objects before mentioned, and to the end that the authority of the Government of the United States might be restored and that peace, order, and freedom might be established, and the President did by the said last-mentioned proclamation proclaim and declare that he thereby granted to all persons who had, directly or indirectly, participated in the then existing rebellion, except as therein excepted, amnesty and pardon, with restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves, and except in certain cases where legal proceedings had been instituted, but upon condition that such persons should take and subscribe an oath therein prescribed, which oath should be registered for permanent preservation; and

Whereas in and by the said last-mentioned proclamation of the 29th day of May, A.D. 1865, fourteen extensive classes of persons therein specially described were altogether excepted and excluded from the benefits thereof; and

Whereas the President of the United States did, on the 2d day of April, A.D. 1866, issue a proclamation declaring that the insurrection was at an end and was thenceforth to be so regarded; and

Whereas there now exists no organized armed resistance of misguided citizens or others to the authority of the United States in the States of Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida, and Texas, and the laws can be sustained and enforced therein by the proper civil authority, State or Federal, and the people of said States are well and loyally disposed, and have conformed, or, if permitted to do so, will conform in their legislation to the condition of affairs growing out of the amendment to the Constitution of the United States prohibiting slavery within the limits and jurisdiction of the United States; and

Whereas there no longer exists any reasonable ground to apprehend within the States which were involved in the late rebellion any renewal thereof or any unlawful resistance by the people of said States to the Constitution and laws of the United States; and

Whereas large standing armies, military occupation, martial law, military tribunals, and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and the right of trial by jury are in time of peace dangerous to public liberty, incompatible with the individual rights of the citizen, contrary to the genius and spirit of our free institutions, and exhaustive of the national resources, and ought not, therefore, to be sanctioned or allowed except in cases of actual necessity for repelling invasion or suppressing insurrection or rebellion; and

Whereas a retaliatory or vindictive policy, attended by unnecessary disqualifications, pains, penalties, confiscations, and disfranchisements, now, as always, could only tend to hinder reconciliation among the people and national restoration, while it must seriously embarrass, obstruct, and repress popular energies and national industry and enterprise; and

Whereas for these reasons it is now deemed essential to the public welfare and to the more perfect restoration of constitutional law and order that the said last-mentioned proclamation so as aforesaid issued on the 29th day of May, A.D. 1865, should be modified, and that the full and beneficent pardon conceded thereby should be opened and further extended to a large number of the persons who by its aforesaid exceptions have been hitherto excluded from Executive clemency:

Now, therefore, be it known that I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim and declare that the full pardon described in the said proclamation of the 29th day of May, A.D. 1865, shall henceforth be opened and extended to all persons who, directly or indirectly, participated in the late rebellion, with the restoration of all privileges, immunities, and rights of property, except as to property with regard to slaves, and except in cases of legal proceedings under the laws of the United States; but upon this condition, nevertheless, that every such person who shall seek to avail himself of this proclamation shall take and subscribe the following oath and shall cause the same to be registered for permanent preservation in the same manner and with the same effect as with the oath prescribed in the said proclamation of the 29th day of May, 1865, namely:

I, —— ——, do solemnly swear (or affirm), in presence of Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union of the States thereunder, and that I will in like manner abide by and faithfully support all laws and proclamations which have been made during the late rebellion with reference to the emancipation of slaves. So help me God.

The following persons, and no others, are excluded from the benefits of this proclamation and of the said proclamation of the 29th day of May, 1865, namely:

First. The chief or pretended chief executive officers, including the President, the Vice-President, and all heads of departments of the pretended Confederate or rebel government, and all who were agents thereof in foreign states and countries, and all who held or pretended to hold in the service of the said pretended Confederate government a military rank or title above the grade of brigadier-general or naval rank or title above that of captain, and all who were or pretended to be governors of States while maintaining, aiding, abetting, or submitting to and acquiescing in the rebellion.

Second. All persons who in any way treated otherwise than as lawful prisoners of war persons who in any capacity were employed or engaged in the military or naval service of the United States.

Third. All persons who at the time they may seek to obtain the benefits of this proclamation are actually in civil, military, or naval confinement or custody, or legally held to bail, either before or after conviction, and all persons who were engaged, directly or indirectly, in the assassination of the late President of the United States or in any plot or conspiracy in any manner therewith connected.

In testimony whereof I have signed these presents with my hand and have caused the seal of the United States to be hereunto affixed.


Done at the city of Washington, the 7th day of September, A.D. 1867, and of the Independence of the United States of America the ninety-second.


By the President:
Secretary of State.

An editorial saw the proclamation as an attempt by the president to wrest some reconstruction policy away from the absent Congress and worried that it might stir up the former rebels to increased hostility toward the federal government and its representatives. From The New-York Times September 9, 1867:

The Amnesty Proclamation.

The precise terms and scope of the Amnesty Proclamation are of are of comparatively small moment. The assertion by the President of his right to issue such a proclamation at all, is the point which most concerns the country. The pardon of a few rebels, more or less, is not worth squabbling about, if he wields the power implied in a general declaration of amnesty. …

Andy's Trip (LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2016651601/)

wrapping himself in the Constitution?

The true place for amnesty is after reconstruction. It would then be available as a recognition of compliance with the law on the part of the Southern people. It would then entail no risk, and encounter but slight hostility. As proclaimed by Mr. JOHNSON, it is a premium on disloyalty and an incentive to opposition. Instead of pacifying the country, it will add to its disturbing influences; instead of hastening Southern peace, and promoting the reconciliation of the sections, it will encourage rebels to renewed disorder, and will most likely delay the completion of the task which Congress has undertaken. The people will be satisfied with nothing less than sure and thorough work, and they will have it, though Mr. JOHNSON send forth a proclamation daily until the meeting of Congress. Thereafter his sign-manual will attract much less attention.

Indeed, a few days earlier Andrew Johnson issued another proclamation. You can read it at The American Presidency Project. The September 3rd document zeroed in on the Second Military District (North and South Carolina); it seemed to be saying that the federal military in those states should support the civil authorities and courts of the United States. On August 26th the president removed Daniel Sickles as commander of the Second District. Is he trying to get back some of his constitutional prerogatives vis-à-vis the absent Congress, which had earlier in the year taken over Reconstruction policy? He used the word “Constitution” ten times in the decree.

An editorial in The New-York Times on September 4, 1867 severely criticized the September 3rd proclamation on many grounds. It saw the influence of Acting Attorney General John Milton Binckley on the president’s proclaiming behavior. The editorial concluded that after November 21 (when Attorney General Stanbery returned?) “… Mr. JOHNSON will find the opinions and proclamations which are now manufactured to order, rudely treated as so much waste paper.”

From Hans Trefousse’s biography:

… the president continued his aggressive tactics. In a defiant mood, just before the fall elections, he again made his position clear by issuing a proclamation calling upon the army to sustain law and order as expounded by the civil courts in the Carolinas. A few days later he promulgated a general amnesty for all but the most prominent Confederates. Then he awaited the election results.[1]

NCSCLoyalty (https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009832631)

trash it?

From the Library of Congress: portrait; cartoon, which is part of “Andy’s Trip” by Thomas Nast published in the October 27, 1866 issue of Harper’s Weekly. You can find the image of the proclamation at Hathi Trust.
  1. [1] Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1997. Print. page 298.
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work song

An American trio

… Labor is one of the great elements of society – the great substantial interest on which we all stand. Not feudal service, or predial toil, or the irksome drudgery by one race of mankind subjected, on account of their color, to another; but labor, intelligent, manly, independent, thinking and acting for itself, earning its own wages, accumulating those wages into capital, educating childhood, maintaining worship, claiming the right of the elective franchise, and helping to uphold the great fabric of the State – that is American labor; and all my sympathies are with it, and my voice, till I am dumb, will be for it. – Daniel Webster (according to Google Books (p464-65) from a speech at Faneuil Hall on October 24, 1848)

United States slave trade, 1830 (LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2008661746/)

not exactly Webster’s ideal

During a speech in New Haven, Connecticut on March 6, 1860 Abraham Lincoln referred to the Lynn (Massachusetts) shoeworkers’ strike:

… Another specimen of this bushwhacking, that “shoe strike.” [Laughter.] Now be it understood that I do not pretend to know all about the matter. I am merely going to speculate a little about some of its phases. And at the outset, I am glad to see that a system of labor prevails in New England under which laborers can strike when they want to [Cheers,] where they are not obliged to work under all circumstances, and are not tied down and obliged to labor whether you pay them or not! [Cheers.] I like the system which lets a man quit when he wants to, and wish it might prevail everywhere. [Tremendous applause.] One of the reasons why I am opposed to Slavery is just here. What is the true condition of the laborer? I take it that it is best for all to leave each man free to acquire property as fast as he can. Some will get wealthy. I don’t believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else. [Applause.] When one starts poor, as most do in the race of life, free society is such that he knows he can better his condition; he knows that there is no fixed condition of labor, for his whole life. I am not ashamed to confess that twenty five years ago I was a hired laborer, mauling rails, at work on a flat-boat — just what might happen to any poor man’s son! [Applause.] I want every man to have the chance — and I believe a black man is entitled to it — in which he can better his condition — when he may look forward and hope to be a hired laborer this year and the next, work for himself afterward, and finally to hire men to work for him! That is the true system. (from The History Place)

Park scene, Labor Day, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (by John Vachon, 1939 Sept.; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/fsa1997004315/PP/)

“Park scene, Labor Day, Milwaukee, Wisconsin”

… And in this connection it is well to bear in mind that whatever other sins the South may be called to bear, when it comes to business, pure and simple, it is in the South that the Negro is given a man’s chance in the commercial world, and in nothing is this Exposition more eloquent than in emphasizing this chance. Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labour, and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial, the ornamental gewgaws of life and the useful. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top. Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities. – Booker T. Washington at the September 18, 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, according to History Matters at George Mason University

Booker T. Washington. by R. V. Randolph. Seattle, 1913. (LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/rbpe.1890020a/?q=booker+t+washington)

“Booker T. Washington. by R. V. Randolph. Seattle, 1913.”

Booker T. Washington, half-length portrait, standing, against white background (LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/98502189/)

“there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem”


Apparently and unfortunately Sumpter wasn’t blessed with the entrepreneurial gene. I think a few years ago when Cuba allowed some people to start their own business some people opened barber shops. Given the agonizing struggle of elementary school art class, unable to draw (or cut) straight, I don’t think that would have worked out for me. I’m grateful for the businesses that have had me working for them and the good employers I’ve had over all the years.

I was going to wish everyone a Happy Labor Day, but thanks to International May Day and American Labor Day, by Boris Reinstein (at Project Gutenberg, no date found) I’ve learned that unlike May Day, Labor Day is merely a capitalist ploy:
May Day was thus created by the workingmen themselves, in defiance of the capitalist class and its governments, and up to the present time the working people in many countries are compelled on the First of May to fight for their holiday at the sacrifice of their jobs, liberty, blood, and even life. When the police and cossacks of different countries appear on the scene on May Day it is always for the purpose of clubbing, maiming, arresting, and killing working people; for the police and cossacks recognize that May Day is the drilling day for the Social Revolution.
The American Labor Day, on the contrary, was a “gift” which the workers received from their masters, the capitalists, through the capitalist politicians. That first Monday in the month of September was made a legal holiday under the name of Labor Day, at first by the legislature of one state some thirty years ago; the politicians of other states followed the clever example, so that at present Labor Day is a legal holiday all over the country.
A vampire, when he settles down upon the body of a sleeping person and sucks its blood, is known to fan his victim with his wings, to soothe the victim’s pain, and to prevent him from waking up and driving the vampire away. So was the Labor Day created by the political agents of the American capitalists to fan the sleeping giant, the American working class, while the capitalists are sucking its blood.
American Labor Day can also be considered as a modern, capitalist version of the ancient custom of the days of serfdom and slavery. In those days the masters, for recreation and amusement, often-times set aside one day to celebrate the “enthronement of slaves.” They would take a slave, take the chains off his limbs, put him on a mock throne, put a mock crown on his head and, bowing to him in mock humility and obedience, would humbly serve him and overwhelm him with flattery. And the Silly Pool on the mock throne would throw out his chest and swell with pride. But the day of mockery over, the chains were again clapped on his limbs, and the miserable slave, groaning, would resume his life of a beast of burden.
Likewise with the unawakened American workman on Labor Day. On that day the chains of wage-slavery are, figuratively speaking, taken off his limbs; he is made the hero of the day; his masters, the capitalists, stand before him in mock humility; their spokesmen in the press, pulpit and on their political platforms, overwhelm him with flattery; and the modern Silly Fool, likewise, throws out his chest and swells with pride. But, the day of mockery and of the Fool’s Paradise over, the masters,—who during this day are only slyly smiling—break out into sardonic laughter—though unheard by the slave—clap the chains back on his limbs and he again hears only the crack of the whip of Hunger and Slavery.
It is only natural, therefore, that when the capitalist masters send out on Labor Day their hired bodyguard—the police and militia—they send them not to molest or injure the workingmen, but to march, as honorary escort, at the head of their Labor Day parades.
And why shouldn’t they? Don’t they know that the American Labor Day is only a day for the annual injection of a new dose of narcotic “dope,” of the antidote against the Social Revolution?!
Union Sq., 5/1/16 (May Day 1916; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/ggb2005021590/)

authentic day: “a socialist and labor union demonstration celebrating International Labor Day (May Day) in Union Square, New York City, May 1, 1916”

INTERNATIONAL MAY DAY AND AMERICAN LABOR DAY (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/54666/54666-h/54666-h.htm)

boss for a day

J.J. Ettor speaking to striking barbers -- Union Square, N.Y. (1913; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/ggb2005012880/)

“labor leader Joseph James Ettor (1886-1948) speaking during the Brooklyn barbers’ strike of 1913, Union Square, New York City”

Seems like it’s time for a little “Work Song” (at Youtube)

Ludovico  Sculpture Trail, Seneca Falls New York (9-4-2017)

working stiffs

From the Library of Congress: slave trade; Labor Day 1939 in Milwaukee (you can read more about the Lincoln statue here; poem; portrait; May Day; barbers’ strike. The cartoon comes from Project Gutenberg. The sculpture of the workers is located on the Ludovico Sculpture Trail along the south side of the Seneca-Cayuga Canal in Seneca Falls, New York
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first fruit

“I never forget that we are sowing winter wheat which the coming spring will see sprout and other hands than ours will reap and enjoy.” – Elizabeth Cady Stanton (as quoted on a plaque in a park dedicated to her in downtown Seneca Falls, New York)

I admit that Elizabeth Cady Stanton probably would have aggravated and annoyed me if I lived when she did, but I respect her courage and conviction. In 1866 she (unsuccessfully) ran for the U. S. House of Representatives. A newspaper one hundred years ago this month pictured Jeannette Rankin, the first United States Congresswoman. From The New-York Times (image 5), August 19, 1917:

Jeannette Rankin (NY Times August 19, 1917; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/resource/sn78004456/1917-08-19/ed-1/?q=august+19%2C+1917&st=gallery image 5)


Woman was a major theme of that issue of the Times, including Russian female soldiers and a courageous Frenchwoman – a schoolmistress who acted as mayor during the German occupation and who hid wounded French soldiers and helped them escape.

And so much more.

merci (NY Times August 19, 1917; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/resource/sn78004456/1917-08-19/ed-1/?q=august+19+1917&st=gallery image 3)


LincolnChicago (NY Times August 19, 1917 LOC: https://www.loc.gov/resource/sn78004456/1917-08-19/ed-1/?q=august+19+1917&st=gallery image 6)

honors from Russia

I’m not saying the the winter wheat quote was only about women eventually getting elected to Congress. Looking for more information about the Lincoln monument in Chicago, I was surprised that a bust of Lincoln was reportedly defaced earlier this month. One of the things that concerns me about removing Confederate monuments is that I don’t think everything is black and white.
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Sickles sacked

Canby (between 1860 and 1870; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/cwp2003003766/PP/)

General Canby headed to the Second Military district

President Andrew Johnson made some changes in August 1867. He suspended Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and named General Ulysses Grant the ad interim War Secretary. The president then ordered the acting secretary to remove Phil Sheridan as commander of the Fifth Military District in Louisiana and Texas. 150 years ago today the order replacing another District commander was officially promulgated. General Daniel Sickles was removed from the Carolinas.

Sickles turn had also come. The irascible general had issued orders superseding the actions of the civil courts, especially in staying the collection of debts, and Johnson resented this subordination of civil government. On August 26, the same day he assigned [General Winfield S.] Hancock to the Fifth District, he relieved Sickles of command and appointed Edmund R.S. Canby in his stead. Grant tried to defend Sickles in cabinet, but he was not successful.

Although the president had handled Grant with great diplomacy, his relations with his subordinate remained strained. Grant, playing a double game, asked leave to retire when matters of no concern to his department were under discussion in cabinet, and eventually stayed away from routine meetings. Johnson was appalled. …[1]

Sickles sacked (McPherson Reconstruction (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo1.ark:/13960/t3902q433;view=1up;seq=9 p345) p345

Johnson takes command

Major General Ulysses S. Grant (c.1866; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/90712173/)

can take an order, too


General Sickles may have been relieved in more ways than one. According to Edward McPherson’s history of Reconstruction (on page 318 at at Hathi Trust) on June 19, 1867 “General Sickles asked to be relieved from command of the district …”

The New-York Times reported the removal of Sickles in its August 28, 1867 issue. The article included a couple other interesting items. Andrew Johnson apparently invited John Mercer Langston to the White House to ask him what he thought of how the Freedmen’s Bureau was working out. Mr. Langston stood up for General O.O. Howard; the president severely criticized Howard and said the general had to be replaced. President Johnson told the “colored orator of Ohio” that he would appoint a black man to lead the Bureau if blacks would suggest one. Mr. Langston seemed to be standing by General Howard. Also, James Duncan, a Confederate officer at Andersonville had escaped from Fort Pulaski, where he was serving a fifteen year sentence. He stole the “health-boat” at the Savannah wharf. He made his way to the ship Leo, which departed for France the next day.

The image of the order also comes from Edward McPherson’s book (at Hathi Trust). From the Library of Congress: Generals Canby and Grant; Fort Moultrie
Interior view of Fort Moultrie, Charleston, S.C., taken in 1867 (1867; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2015650228/)

Charleston’s Fort Moultrie as photographed in 1867

Interior view of Fort Moultrie, Charleston, S.C., taken in 1867 (LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2015650228/)

a little family history

  1. [1] Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1997. Print. pages 288-289,297.
Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Aftermath, Postbellum Politics, Postbellum Society, Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Sickles sacked

statue of liberty

Glancing through some picture paper previews last week, I noticed an image that appeared to be a statue of Abraham Lincoln. Upon further review (and enlargement) my guess proved accurate. From the August 12, 1917 issue of the New York Tribune:

Lincoln Edinburgh (New-York tribune, August 12, 1917; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/resource/sn83030214/1917-08-12/ed-1/?q=August+12%2C+1917&st=gallery image 4)

Lincoln on liberty

Caroline Hurley’s article in the American Studies Journal points out that the Edinburgh statue emphasizes President Lincoln’s role as the Great Emancipator and that after the Emancipation Proclamation “the American Consul in Glasgow found his office inundated with applications from local men who wished to join the Union army”. The author also explains the words on the monument’s front:

… The phrase engraved onto the front of the base is a quote from an 1864 letter from Lincoln to Governor Michael Hahn of Louisiana, in which he expresses his wish that extension of the franchise be made to a portion of the black male population.

It reads, “To preserve the jewel of Liberty in the framework of Freedom.” Again, rather than using a famous quote referring directly to the war, Bruce [American consul in Edinburgh responsible for the statue idea and its implemantation] and Bissell [the sculptor] have used a statement that underlines the memorial’s celebration of suffrage.[1]

Upon further review there appears to be evidence that the quote is possibly somewhat misquoted, at least in terms of the original letter as composed by Abraham Lincoln. An article in the June 23, 1865 issue of From The New-York Times includes Abraham Lincoln’s note to Louisiana Governor Michael Hahn:

THE LATE PRESIDENT LINCOLN ON NEGRO SUFFRAGE.; A Letter from Him to Gov. Hahn of Louisiana.

From the Washington Chronicle.

The following correspondence needs no comments. Hon. Wm. D. KELLEY, the able representative in Congress from the Fourth (Pennsylvania) District, known for his earnest advocacy of colored suffrage, writes to Hon. MICHAEL HAHN, Senator elect from Louisiana, calling forth a letter from the lamented President LINCOLN, which bears directly on that important subject, and will be found to be of valuable interest:

Lincoln Edinburgh statue (http://www.asjournal.org/60-2016/lincoln-scotland-gift-gilded-age/)

nowadays in Edinburgh

WASHINGTON, Tuesday, June 20, 1865.

Hon. Michael Hahn:

DEAR SIR: Our late President did me the honor to show me a “private” note of congratulation which he addressed to you on your election to the office of Governor of Louisiana, in which he urged you to use your influence in promoting the extension of the right of suffrage to American citizens of African descent, He subsequently made it quite public by showing it to others in my presence, and intimated to me that he had authorized its publication. As he has been withdrawn from our midst, and many good people are anxious to know what opinions he held on the subject, may I not with propriety request a copy of that letter for publication? Hoping that you will, under the circumstances, feel free to furnish a copy for this purpose, I remain, very truly, yours.


WASHINGTON, Wednesday, June 21, 1865.

Hon. W.D. Kelley:

DEAR JUDGE: In compliance with your wishes, as expressed in your note of yesterday, I inclose you a copy of the only letter I ever received from President LINCOLN, bearing directly on the subject of negro suffrage. The letter, although marked “private,” was no doubt intended to be seen by other Union men in Louisiana beside myself, and was consequently shown to many members of our Constitutional Convention and leading free-State men.

Some months ago, pressed by many good citizens of Louisville to give publicity to Mr. LINCOLN’s opinion on this important question, I incidentally mentioned the request in a letter to Mr. LINCOLN, with the view of knowing whether the publication would be agreeable him. On this subject I received no answer. However, in a communication on colored suffrage, written some months ago by Senator GRATZ BROWN, of Missouri, and extensively published, direct reference is made to this letter, and an accurate quotation is made therefrom as furnished by Mr. LINCOLN. The copy which Mr. LINCOLN preserved was also read by him to a number of other gentlemen. In writing to a citizen of Louisiana recently, you used these words: “that letter belongs to history.” Under all the circumstances, I can see no impropriety in furnishing you with a copy.

The letter, written in the mild and graceful tone which imparted so much weight to Mr. LINCOLN’s simple suggestions, no doubt had great effect on the action of the Louisiana Convention in all matters appertaining to the colored man. The Convention, besides decreeing instantaneous, uncompensated emancipation, constitutionally provided for the education of all children, without distinction of color; for the enrollment of all men, white and black, in the militia; and invested the Legislature with power to extend to the colored man the highest privilege of citizenship.

Your friend, MICHAEL HAHN.

Lincoln Edinburgh statue (http://www.asjournal.org/60-2016/lincoln-scotland-gift-gilded-age/)

compare and contrast



Hon. Michael Hahn:

MY DEAR SIR: I congratulate you on having fixed your name in history as the first free-State Governor of Louisiana. Now you are about to have a convention, which, among other things, will probably define the elective franchise. I barely suggest, for your private consideration, whether some of the colored people may not be let in, as, for instance, the very intelligent, and especially those who have fought gallantly in our ranks. They would probably help, in some trying time to come, to keep the jewel of liberty in the family of freedom. But this is only a suggestion, not to the public, but to you alone.

Truly yours, A. LINCOLN.

You can actually see President Lincoln’s March 13, 1864 letter to Governor Hahn at the Library of Congress; it looks like “family of freedom”.

Civil War monuments are controversial in 2017. Currently many Confederate statues and monuments are being removed across the United States, and the public debates whether or not that should happen. In an article from Business Insider Daniel Brown has recently reported that after the war Robert E. Lee himself was opposed to Confederate monuments and the use of the rebel flag.

I doubt that the Lincoln monument is going to be dismantled any time soon, although nowadays people might be outraged that an American president encouraged suffrage only for black soldiers and “the very intelligent” black men. Mr. Lincoln was undoubtedly personally opposed to slavery, but at times he claimed that emancipation was secondary to his top priority of keeping the Union in one piece.

In a famous August 22, 1862 letter to Horace Greeley President Lincoln wrote: “… My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union …”

One of Mr. Lincoln’s statements that is most memorable to me was written in an April 4, 1864 letter to Albert G. Hodges, which begins, “I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I can not remember when I did not so think, and feel.” The rest of the letter maintained that the president’s main objective was to save the Union. He used the emancipation proclamation after the border states refused his compensated emancipation plan in 1862. He seemed to mostly justify the proclamation by the addition of 130,000 (black) “soldiers, seamen, and laborers”.

You can read more about the Edinburgh monument at the American Civil War Round Table UK
Both modern (color) images of the Edinburgh statue are by Caroline Hurley. Her work is licensed by Creative Commons. The Library of Congress provides Carol M. Highsmith’s photo of the Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (by Carol M. Highsmith; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2011636175/)

family jewel

  1. [1] Hurley, Caroline. “Lincoln in Scotland: A Gift of the Gilded Age.” American Studies Journal 60 (2016). Web. 21 August 2017. DOI 10.18422/60-05.
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leaving New Orleans


too radical for the president

On August 12th President Andrew Johnson suspended Edwin M. Stanton and named General U.S. Grant as acting Secretary of War. 150 years ago today the president ordered the general to make some changes. Philip Sheridan was to be removed from command of the Fifth Military District (Louisiana and Texas) and replaced by George Thomas. There was some give and take; General Grant tried to stick up for Sheridan; General Thomas was reportedly ill. Eventually General Winfield Hancock assumed command of the Fifth District and Sheridan replaced him in the Department of Missouri. Here’s how General Sheridan remembered the events in his 1888 book. Registration referred to registering voters to elect delegates to a state constitutional convention. President Johnson was “outraged” that Sheridan sent a letter to Grant on June 22nd trying to “evade the president’s order to extend the registration period in Louisiana” and disagreeing with Attorney-General Stanbery’s interpretation of the Reconstruction Acts. Mr. Stanbery said that existing state governments and civilian courts should have more authority than the military governments.[1] General Sheridan seems to have gotten the timing wrong about when the president decided to remove him.

From the Personal Memoirs of General P. H. Sheridan (1888; at Project Gutenberg; Volume II, Chapter 11):

In accomplishing the registration there had been little opposition from the mass of the people, but the press of New Orleans, and the office-holders and office-seekers in the State generally, antagonized the work bitterly and violently, particularly after the promulgation of the opinion of the Attorney-General. These agitators condemned everybody and everything connected with the Congressional plan of reconstruction; and the pernicious influence thus exerted was manifested in various ways, but most notably in the selection of persons to compose the jury lists in the country parishes it also tempted certain municipal officers in New Orleans to perform illegal acts that would seriously have affected the credit of the city had matters not been promptly corrected by the summary removal from office of the comptroller and the treasurer, who had already issued a quarter of a million dollars in illegal certificates. On learning of this unwarranted and unlawful proceeding, Mayor Heath demanded an investigation by the Common Council, but this body, taking its cue from the evident intention of the President to render abortive the Reconstruction acts, refused the mayor’s demand. Then he tried to have the treasurer and comptroller restrained by injunction, but the city attorney, under the same inspiration as the council, declined to sue out a writ, and the attorney being supported in this course by nearly all the other officials, the mayor was left helpless in his endeavors to preserve the city’s credit. Under such circumstances he took the only step left him—recourse to the military commander; and after looking into the matter carefully I decided, in the early part of August, to give the mayor officials who would not refuse to make an investigation of the illegal issue of certificates, and to this end I removed the treasurer, surveyor, comptroller, city attorney, and twenty-two of the aldermen; these officials, and all of their assistants, having reduced the financial credit of New Orleans to a disordered condition, and also having made efforts—and being then engaged in such—to hamper the execution of the Reconstruction laws.

This action settled matters in the city, but subsequently I had to remove some officials in the parishes—among them a justice of the peace and a sheriff in the parish of Rapides; the justice for refusing to permit negro witnesses to testify in a certain murder case, and for allowing the murderer, who had foully killed a colored man, to walk out of his court on bail in the insignificant sum of five hundred dollars; and the sheriff, for conniving at the escape from jail of another alleged murderer. Finding, however, even after these removals, that in the country districts murderers and other criminals went unpunished, provided the offenses were against negroes merely (since the jurors were selected exclusively from the whites, and often embraced those excluded from the exercise of the election franchise) I, having full authority under the Reconstruction laws, directed such a revision of the jury lists as would reject from them every man not eligible for registration as a voter. This order was issued August 24, and on its promulgation the President relieved me from duty and assigned General Hancock as my successor.

“NEW ORLEANS, LA., August 24, 1867.


“The registration of voters of the State of Louisiana, according to the law of Congress, being complete, it is hereby ordered that no person who is not registered in accordance with said law shall be considered as, a duly qualified voter of the State of Louisiana. All persons duly registered as above, and no others, are consequently eligible, under the laws of the State of Louisiana, to serve as jurors in any of the courts of the State.

“The necessary revision of the jury lists will immediately be made by the proper officers.

“All the laws of the State respecting exemptions, etc., from jury duty will remain in force.

“By command of Major-General P. H. SHERIDAN.

“GEO. L. HARTNUFF, Asst. Adj’t-General.”

Pending the arrival of General Hancock, I turned over the command of the district September 1 to General Charles Griffin; but he dying of yellow fever, General J. A. Mower succeeded him, and retained command till November 29, on which date General Hancock assumed control. Immediately after Hancock took charge, he revoked my order of August 24 providing for a revision of the jury lists; and, in short, President Johnson’s policy now became supreme, till Hancock himself was relieved in March, 1868.

My official connection with the reconstruction of Louisiana and Texas practically closed with this order concerning the jury lists. In my judgment this had become a necessity, for the disaffected element, sustained as it was by the open sympathy of the President, had grown so determined in its opposition to the execution of the Reconstruction acts that I resolved to remove from place and power all obstacles; for the summer’s experience had convinced me that in no other way could the law be faithfully administered.

The President had long been dissatisfied with my course; indeed, he had harbored personal enmity against me ever since he perceived that he could not bend me to an acceptance of the false position in which he had tried to place me by garbling my report of the riot of 1866. When Mr. Johnson decided to remove me, General Grant protested in these terms, but to no purpose:

“WASHINGTON, D. C., August 17, 1867

“SIR: I am in receipt of your order of this date directing the assignment of General G. H. Thomas to the command of the Fifth Military District, General Sheridan to the Department of the Missouri, and General Hancock to the Department of the Cumberland; also your note of this date (enclosing these instructions), saying: ‘Before you issue instructions to carry into effect the enclosed order, I would be pleased to hear any suggestions you may deem necessary respecting the assignments to which the order refers.’

“I am pleased to avail myself of this invitation to urge—earnestly urge—urge in the name of a patriotic people, who have sacrificed hundreds of thousands of loyal lives and thousands of millions of treasure to preserve the integrity and union of this country—that this order be not insisted on. It is unmistakably the expressed wish of the country that General Sheridan should not be removed from his present command.

“This is a republic where the will of the people is the law of the land. I beg that their voice may be heard.

“General Sheridan has performed his civil duties faithfully and intelligently. His removal will only be regarded as an effort to defeat the laws of Congress. It will be interpreted by the unreconstructed element in the South—those who did all they could to break up this Government by arms, and now wish to be the only element consulted as to the method of restoring order—as a triumph. It will embolden them to renewed opposition to the will of the loyal masses, believing that they have the Executive with them.

“The services of General Thomas in battling for the Union entitle him to some consideration. He has repeatedly entered his protest against being assigned to either of the five military districts, and especially to being assigned to relieve General Sheridan.

“There are military reasons, pecuniary reasons, and above all, patriotic reasons, why this should not be insisted upon.

“I beg to refer to a letter marked ‘private,’ which I wrote to the President when first consulted on the subject of the change in the War Department. It bears upon the subject of this removal, and I had hoped would have prevented it.

“I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,

“General U. S. A., Secretary of War ad interim.

“His Excellency A. JOHNSON,
“President of the United States.”

I was ordered to command the Department of the Missouri (General Hancock, as already noted, finally becoming my successor in the Fifth Military District), and left New Orleans on the 5th of September. I was not loath to go. The kind of duty I had been performing in Louisiana and Texas was very trying under the most favorable circumstances, but all the more so in my case, since I had to contend against the obstructions which the President placed in the way from persistent opposition to the acts of Congress as well as from antipathy to me—which obstructions he interposed with all the boldness and aggressiveness of his peculiar nature.

On more than one occasion while I was exercising this command, impurity of motive was imputed to me, but it has never been truthfully shown (nor can it ever be) that political or corrupt influences of any kind controlled me in any instance. I simply tried to carry out, without fear or favor, the Reconstruction acts as they came to me. They were intended to disfranchise certain persons, and to enfranchise certain others, and, till decided otherwise, were the laws of the land; and it was my duty to execute them faithfully, without regard, on the one hand, for those upon whom it was thought they bore so heavily, nor, on the other, for this or that political party, and certainly without deference to those persons sent to Louisiana to influence my conduct of affairs.

Some of these missionaries were high officials, both military and civil, and I recall among others a visit made me in 1866 by a distinguished friend of the President, Mr. Thomas A. Hendricks. The purpose of his coming was to convey to me assurances of the very high esteem in which I was held by the President, and to explain personally Mr. Johnson’s plan of reconstruction, its flawless constitutionality, and so on. But being on the ground, I had before me the exhibition of its practical working, saw the oppression and excesses growing out of it, and in the face of these experiences even Mr. Hendricks’s persuasive eloquence was powerless to convince me of its beneficence. Later General Lovell H. Rousseau came down on a like mission, but was no more successful than Mr. Hendricks.

During the whole period that I commanded in Louisiana and Texas my position was a most unenviable one. The service was unusual, and the nature of it scarcely to be understood by those not entirely familiar with the conditions existing immediately after the war. In administering the affairs of those States, I never acted except by authority, and always from conscientious motives. I tried to guard the rights of everybody in accordance with the law. In this I was supported by General Grant and opposed by President Johnson. The former had at heart, above every other consideration, the good of his country, and always sustained me with approval and kind suggestions. The course pursued by the President was exactly the opposite, and seems to prove that in the whole matter of reconstruction he was governed less by patriotic motives than by personal ambitions. Add to this his natural obstinacy of character and personal enmity toward me, and no surprise should be occasioned when I say that I heartily welcomed the order that lifted from me my unsought burden.

Harriet Beecher Stowe agreed with General Grant that Philip Sheridan did a good job in the Fifth District. In her 1868 book she said that Sheridan’s prior rule over a Native-American tribe was a lot like running an “unreconstructed” rebel city. From Men of Our Times or Leading Patriots of The Day (pages 418-419):

General Sheridan’s administration as military governor at New Orleans, was a surprise to his friends, from its exhibition of broad and high administrative qualities. Yet there is much that is alike in the abilities of a good general and a good ruler. Gen. Grant is a very wise judge of men, and his brief and characteristic record of his estimate of Sheridan might419 have justified hopes equal to the actual result. To any one remembering also his early days of authority over the Yokimas in Oregon, it would doubtless have done so; for a Yokima community and the community of an “unreconstructed” southern rebel city are a good deal alike in many things. What Grant said of Sheridan was as follows, and was sent to Secretary Stanton just after Cedar Creek, and a little while before Sheridan’s appointment as Major-General in the Regular Army, in place of McClellan, resigned:

“City Point, Thursday, Oct. 20, 8 p. m.

Hon. E. M. Stanton, etc.:

I had a salute of one hundred guns from each of the armies here fired in honor of Sheridan’s last victory. Turning what bid fair to be a disaster into a glorious victory, stamps Sheridan what I always thought him, one of the ablest of generals.

U. S. Grant, Lieutenant-General.”

The extraordinary series of popular ovations which have attended Sheridan’s recent tour through part of the North, have proved that he is profoundly admired, honored and loved by all good citizens; and unless we except Grant, probably Sheridan is the most popular—and deservedly the most popular—of all the commanders in the war. Such a popularity, and won not by words but by deeds, is an enviable possession.

  1. [1] Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1997. Print. pages 288-289,297.
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women’s work

It is obvious that war changes things, that wars have consequences. Here’s an example from that Great War as published in the August 12, 1917 issue of The New-York Times

NYTimes August12, 1917( LOC: https://www.loc.gov/resource/sn78004456/1917-08-12/ed-1/?q=august+12+1917&st=gallery)

three Womanpower

Photography probably changes things, too. The same issue of the Times leads with “U-BOAT ATTACK ON U. S. TRANSPORTS SHOWN BY CAMERA” I was slightly reminded of watching the first moon landing/ walk


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suspended from office

A week earlier President Andrew Johnson tried to get around the strictures of the Tenure of Office Act by asking the most radical member of his cabinet secretaries to resign. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton refused. On August 12, 1867 President Johnson followed the rules set out in the Tenure Act and suspended Mr. Stanton pending Senate approval when Congress reconvened. General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant was named acting Secretary of War in the interim.

Here’s some background from an 1896 book, The Struggle between President Johnson and Congress over Reconstruction by Charles Ernest Chadsey (pages 127-136):

In the preceding chapters we have traced step by step the development of the theory of reconstruction and the formulation of the reconstruction acts of the 39th and 40th Congresses. We have noticed the wide divergence between the ideas of Johnson and those of the Republican party, and have seen that the whole program was carried over the vetoes of the President by the overwhelming Republican majority. But the contest between the President and Congress, which had been embittered by so many personalities on both sides, did not come to an end with the passage of legislation which fully embodied the congressional theory, but continued until it culminated in a desperate effort of the Republican party to remove Johnson from the presidential chair.

The very conditions under which he assumed the presidential office rendered his position difficult, and made estrangement of the executive and legislative departments an easy matter. On the particular issue of reconstruction Lincoln and Congress were at variance; but the tragic nature of Lincoln’s death caused this matter to be forgotten in the overwhelming sense of the loss of the man who had safely guided the government through the most trying years of its history. But, for a Congress so extremely Northern and Republican, with antagonisms and prejudices which only fratricidal wars can create, to be compelled to work with a man not only a Southerner, but practically a Democrat, must of necessity bring about a crisis.

The Council of War statuette by John Rogers ( Stacy, George, publisher Rogers, John, 1829-1904, sculptor ca. 1870; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2017645198/)

happier days

Moreover, the flourishing condition of the spoils system served to aggravate the antagonism between the two departments. History shows that, while selfish motives are always indignantly repudiated by politicians, they account for many of the more important political movements of the century. With the immense federal patronage at his disposal, Johnson realized that he had a powerful instrument of revenge at hand, and he did not hesitate to use it. At a time when every congressman was under the strongest pressure from his home constituency, inability to gratify the demands of the voracious office-seeker was indeed a cause for bitterness.

We can thus easily distinguish three causes which, working together upon a strongly Republican Congress, resulted in the attempted removal of the President. First, the antagonism arising from different fundamental political ideas, the strained conditions of the times, and the woeful tactlessness of Johnson; second, the almost morbid yet natural fears of the Republican party regarding the sometime seceded States; third, the anger aroused by the use of federal patronage to further the interests of the President. …

[There were repeated attempts to impeach the president from late 1866 throughout 1867]

But the President soon gave the House the very opportunity it desired. While the direct attack upon the President was being carried on by means of the effort to impeach him, an indirect attack was made by the legislative limitation of his powers. One of the cries of alarmists had been that there was danger that the President might in some way take advantage of his constitutional position as commander-in-chief of the army and navy, so as to injure the government and advance his own interests. Some went even farther and declared that he designed with the aid of the army to overthrow the government, and place the United States in the power of the rebels. Such charges, viewed from the standpoint of history, seem too absurd for consideration, but during the reconstruction period the feverish condition of the country made possible the acceptance of almost any startling rumor.

6. But even those who did not apprehend that Johnson would use the army for any improper purpose, were willing to limit his power and prestige by depriving him of his military authority; and this was accordingly done by a section introduced into the army appropriation bill. This section required all orders to the army to be made through the General of the Army, thus practically making his approval of them necessary. It also prevented the President or the Secretary of War from removing, suspending or relieving from command the General of the Army, and even forbade his being assigned for duty away from headquarters, except at his own request. This had the effect of taking away from the President all his constitutional powers as commander-in-chief. As the section was put as a rider on an appropriation bill and a veto must cover the whole bill, Johnson contented himself with a simple protest and returned the act with his signature.

7. The attack upon the civil powers of the President was made through the Tenure-of-Office Act. As the violation of this act was the ground of the most serious charge in the impeachment trial, a somewhat detailed study of its provisions, and of the views expressed by the President in his veto of it, is advisable. The bill provided that “every person holding any civil office to which he has been appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate,” and every person so appointed in the future, should be entitled to hold such office until a successor should have been appointed in like manner, that is to say, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The only liberty of action allowed the President was during the recess of the Senate, when he was permitted to suspend an officer until the next meeting of the Senate, and appoint a pro tempore official. Within twenty days after the meeting of the Senate, however, he was required to give his reasons for the suspension. If the Senate approved of the removal, a permanent appointment was to be made; if they refused to concur, the suspended officer was immediately to resume his duties. Any violation of this act by the President was made an impeachable offense, by the declaration that “every removal, appointment, or employment made, had, or exercised, contrary to the provisions of this act * * * are hereby declared to be high misdemeanors.” The other provisions were of minor importance, and do not require notice here.

General U.S. Grant (between 1861 and 1865; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/2003653788/)

a man of an extra hat (for now)

The veto message of the President was a calm, dignified and judicial discussion of the constitutionality of the bill, and was in every way a creditable document, sustaining fully the high character of his previous vetoes. He called attention to the fact that the whole question of the authority of the President in cases of removal from office had been discussed thoroughly in Congress as early as 1789, and decided in favor of the President. He quoted Madison’s argument to prove that all executive power, except what is specifically excepted, is vested in the President, and that as no exception was made as to the power of removal, it must be vested in him. He also cited many possible cases, in which it would be absolutely necessary for the President to possess the power of removal. A decision of the Supreme Court was referred to, in which it was observed that both the legislative and the executive department had assumed in practice that the power of removal was vested in the President alone. When, for instance, the Departments of State, War and the Treasury were created in 1789, provision was made for a subordinate who should take charge of the office “when the head of the Department should be removed by the President of the United States.” Story, Kent and Webster were all quoted as affirming the same legislative construction of the Constitution. The great practical value of the power during the Civil War was noticed, and its present and future necessity strongly urged; and the message closed with an earnest appeal to Congress not to violate the original spirit of the Constitution.

8. The passage of the bill over the veto placed Johnson in a situation in which a collision was almost sure to come. As the chief executive of the country he was charged with the duty of carrying out the provisions of the reconstruction acts, notwithstanding his strong personal repugnance to them. Under the advice of Attorney-General Stanbery he had construed the acts literally, and he had thus frustrated in part the object of the legislation. But the co-operation of the army was necessary, and unfortunately for President Johnson, the Secretary of War, Mr. Stanton, strongly opposed his views, and conducted himself as far as possible in accordance with the wishes of the congressional majority. The continued friction between the President and the Secretary of War seemed to President Johnson to necessitate Stanton’s retirement, but repeated hints to that effect were not recognized by the latter. Finally, on August 5, 1867, the President informed him that “public considerations of a high character constrained” him to say that his resignation would be accepted. The Secretary’s prompt reply was that “public considerations of a high character” constrained him not to resign until the next session of Congress. A week later, August 12, the President formally suspended him and appointed General Grant Secretary ad interim. Stanton then submitted “under protest to superior force.” …

andy's trip

“pro-rebel policy of the President”

An editorial in the August 13, 1867 The New-York Times criticized President Johnson’s actions:

Matters at Washington.

Mr. JOHNSON is vindicating his reputation for obstinacy. He has resolved to rid the Government of all who refuse to support his policy, and has begun with Mr. STANTON. Warnings and remonstrances have been disregarded. The danger of doing that which exhibits the Executive in an attitude of implacable hostility to Congress is unheeded. He insists upon his right to throw down the gauntlet, and must take the consequences. …

[Will other Cabinet members continue to be willing to support the president? “Are they willing to be suspected of participation in a course which aims at the decapitation of tried servants and champions of the Union to gratify the malignity of Mr. JOHNSON … People shouldn’t assume that General Grant supports the president’s policies. “His acceptance of the duties of Secretary is temporary and formal, and will neither blind him to the mischief-breeding tendencies of the President’s action nor impair the efficacy of the backing he gives to SHERIDAN, POPE and other objects of Executive hostility.” The president won’t be able to fool the people. “Mr. STANTON is removed, not from maladministration, or corruption, or any wrong-doing of any sort, but solely and simply as a punishment of his sturdy Unionism and his unyielding antagonism to the pro-rebel policy of the President.” Questions about the integrity of the ongoing impeachment proceedings won’t divert public attention from the renewed strife caused by the president’s action. “The question which agitates the country … [is] whether Mr. JOHNSON is or is not abusing the trust reposed in him, and perverting the power he wields to purposes inimical to peace and a restored Union. It is in relation to this question that the suspension of Mr. STANTON possesses significance and peril.”

You can read the correspondence at Hathi Trust (pages 261-262). Grant’s message to Stanton thanked the suspended secretary for the “zeal, patriotism, firmness, and ability with which you have ever discharged the duties of Secretary of War.”
From the Library of Congress: statuette (ca. 1870 by John Rogers; Grant and horse; a panel from a Thomas Nast political cartoon originally published in the October 27, 1866 issue of Harper’s Weekly; sphynx from the September 7, 1867 issue of Harper’s Weekly
The sphynx at the War Office ( Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. 11, no. 558 (1867 Sept. 7), p. 576.; LOC: https://www.loc.gov/item/00652780/)

ad interim mystery

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