Comments of National Leaders in the Early 1860s Regarding Slavery Crisis
As documented in Lee Ellsworth Eusey, “The American Civil War: An Interpretation,” a Master of Arts thesis, Andrews University, April 1965.
1. Alexander H. Stephens, vice-president of the Confederacy, told a Savannah audience on March 21, 1861, “that their revolution had thus far been accomplished without shedding a drop of blood—that the fear of a deadly collision with the Union they had renounced was nearly dispelled.”—Horace Greeley, The American Conflict, I (Hartford, CT: O. D. Case, Co., 1866), pp. 437, 438.
2. “Let us make quick work. . . . A strong, active ‘pull together’ will do our work effectually in thirty days.”—A New York Times editorial [between April 15 and July 21, 1861] quoted in Robert L. Dabney, Life and Campaigns of Thomas J. Jackson (New York: Blelock and Co., 1866), 210 n.
3. “If Abraham Lincoln is equal to the position he fills, this war will be over by January, 1862.”—Harper’s Weekly, May 4, 1861, p. 274 (re-issue).
4. “It is now recommended that you give legal means for making this contest a short and decisive one.”—Abraham Lincoln, in a letter to Congress, July 4, 1861, cited in Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln, The War Years-I, vol. 3 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1939), p. 290.
5. “Whatever war there is, may easily be made a war at sea,—a war of blockades,—a war having for its sole object the protection of American property and preservation of American commerce.”—Editorial, The New York Times, Jan. 10, 1861.
6. In the fall of 1861, General William Sherman pressed Simon Cameron, war secretary, for 60,000 troops immediately and an additional 200,000 to meet future demands. Although this came nine months after Ellen White’s Parkville vision, Sherman was criticized by the press as one mentally unbalanced. One month after this request, General Henry Halleck replaced Sherman of his command. But in the next four years, both Ellen White and General Sherman were proven to be the realists.—See William T. Sherman, Memoirs of General T. Sherman, I (New York: Appleton and Co., 1876, 2 vols.), pp. 203-205, 217.
7. [Lincoln] “like nearly everyone, cherished a hope that powerful advances in Virginia and down the Mississippi would end the fighting in 1862.”—Allan Nevins, War for the Union (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1959, 2 vols.), II, p. 5.
8. Following the capture of Fort Donelson the spirits of the North, including General Grant, ran high and “for a brief hour Northerners who saw what might be done believed the end near.”—Ibid., II, pp. 29, 76; James G. Randall, Civil War and Reconstruction (New York: D. C. Heath and Co., 1937), p. 281.
9. When Ellen White wrote her dire warnings in early 1862, after almost a year of fighting, Northern cumulative casualties had reached only 5,498, Southern, 5,708. Before 1862 ended, the North had suffered 80,665 casualties, the South, 82,369—a frightful affirmation of Mrs. White’s forebodings. See Eusey’s Chart of Annual Forces and Casualties.
10. Mrs. White’s dire warnings and vivid descriptions of forthcoming Civil War battles were often validated by eye witnesses. General U. S. Grant’s Memoirs include: “This had been taken as a hospital, and all night wounded men were being brought in, their wounds dressed, a leg or an arm amputated as the case might require, and everything being done to save life or alleviate suffering. The sight was more unendurable than encountering the enemy’s fire, and I returned to my tree in the rain. . . . I saw an open field, in our possession on the second day, over which the Confederates had made repeated charges the day before, so covered with dead that it would have been possible to walk across the clearing, in any direction stepping on dead bodies, without a foot touching the ground.”—Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant (New York: Charles L. Webster Co., 1885-1886, 2 vols.), I, pp. 349, 356.
11. Hope for a short end of the war was revived when Grant was given command of all the Northern armies in the spring of 1864. Horace Greeley wrote that “the strongly prevalent opinion of the loyal States, throughout the Spring of 1864, imported [spelled the hope] that Gen. Grant would make short work of what was left of the Confederacy.”—Greeley, The American Conflict, II, p. 654.
12. But these hopes were quickly dashed when losses in Grant’s army during the first twenty-eight days of the 1864 campaign against Richmond almost equaled Lee’s total forces.—John B. Gordon, Reminiscences of the Civil War (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1904), p. 294. “This costly and ineffective campaign of the new lieutenant general, from whom rapid success was expected, brought mourning to thousands of homes and discouragement to millions of hearts.”—David S. Muzzey, United States of America Through the Civil War (New York: Ginn and Co., 1922), p. 587.
13. The combined Northern and Southern casualties [reporting far from complete] for 1864 amounted to 137,492, the all-time high.—Ibid., n. 35.
14. Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address: “Neither party expected for the war the magnitude of the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding.”—Sandburg, War Years-IV, vol. 6, p. 92.
15. “Finally, after four long years the destructive war machines ground to a stop. A supposed fracas had expanded during that time into the ‘first of modern wars.’ Warfare of attrition, of position, of siege, had dawned upon the world in America. Something akin to ‘total war’ had been sighted. White was certainly among the few, if there were any others, to have early ‘sensed’ what she called the ‘reality’ of the Struggle.”—Eusey, “The American Civil War: An Interpretation,” p. 23
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