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mander-in-chief, he was determined the soldiers should have everything the law allowed, and requested them to appeal to him personally if they were wronged." The effect of this speech,” says
“ Sherman, “was excellent."
Later an officer forced his way through the crowd, and said, “ Mr. President, I have a grievance." He then told that Colonel Sherman had threatened to shoot him. After looking at him, and then at Sherman, Lincoln, stepping toward the officer, said, in a stage whisper, “Well, if I were you, and he threatened to shoot, I wouldn't trust him, for I believe he would do it."
The officer left, and the men laughed. Sherman explained the facts, and Lincoln said, “ Of course, I didn't know anything about it, but I thought you knew your own business best.”
Lincoln's relations to Sherman after he came to high command were of the most friendly sort. He told him later in the war that he was always grateful to him and to Grant because they never scolded him.
The discovery of the proper generals made an immense difference in the life of the President. He could confine himself largely to other than military matters, and politics were soon to need his closest attention. At the beginning of the spring Grant was made lieutenant general, and took command of the forces in the East, to begin
the final struggle. Lincoln gave few suggestions and no orders. Once he had sat in deep meditation, and finally remarked: "Do you know that I think General is a philosopher? He has proved himself a really great man. He has grappled with and mastered that ancient and wise admonition, Know thyself'; he has formed an intimate acquaintance with himself; knows as well for what he is fitted and unfitted as any man living. Without doubt he is a remarkable man. This war has not produced another like him. He has resigned. And now I hope some other dressparade commanders will study the good old admonition, Know thyself,' and follow his example." By the end of 1863 the dress-parade commanders were pretty nearly gone. Of a cavalry raid, which filled the papers with enthusiasm, but did not cut the communications at which it was aimed, Lincoln remarked that it "was good circus riding." When the final struggle began in the spring, instead of the current joke, "Who ever saw a dead cavalryman?" Washington was to have a sample of Philip Sheridan's cavalry methods.
Before finishing the year 1863, however, there remain to be noted a number of details about the President, among them a few half pathetic personal touches. To the actor, James H. Hackett, who had sent him a book, Lincoln said in his reply:
"For one of my age I have seen very little of the drama. The first presentation of Falstaff I ever saw was yours here, last winter or spring. Perhaps the best compliment I can pay is to say, as I truly can, I am very anxious to see it again. Some of Shakespeare's plays I have never read, while others I have gone over perhaps as frequently as any unprofessional reader. Among the latter are 'Lear,' 'Richard III.,' 'Henry VIII.,' 'Hamlet,' and especially 'Macbeth.' I think nothing equals Macbeth.' It is wonderful. Unlike you gentlemen of the profession, I think the soliloquy in 'Hamlet' commencing, 'Oh, my offence is rank,' surpasses that commencing, 'To be or not to be.' But pardon this small attempt at criticism. I should like to hear you pronounce the opening speech of Richard III.'"
Perhaps the President did not appreciate the usual vanity of actors. Hackett gave the letter to the press, wrote Lincoln again, and received in return these words:
My note to you I certainly did not expect to see in print; yet I have not been much shocked by the newspaper comments upon it. Those comments constitute a fair specimen of what has occurred to me through life. I have endured a great deal of ridicule without much malice; and have received a great deal of kindness, not quite free from ridicule. I am used to it."
In a letter to his wife in August, he says:
"Tell dear Tad poor 'Nanny Goat' is lost, and Mrs. Cuthbert and I are in distress about it. The day you
left Nanny was found resting herself and chewing her little cud on the middle of Tad's bed; but now she's gone! The gardener kept complaining that she destroyed the flowers, till it was concluded to bring her down to the White House. This was done, and the second day she had disappeared, and has not been heard of since. This is the last we know of poor Nanny."
There were two goats, and Lincoln used to play with them in the White House yard. The next year a telegram to Mrs. Lincoln referred to them thus, “Tell Tad the goats and father are very well — especially the goats.
The fall elections went well, and one of the President's comments was this:
I am very glad the elections this autumn have gone favorably, and that I have not, by native depravity or under evil influences, done anything bad enough to prevent the good result. I hope to 'stand firm' enough to not go backward, and yet not go forward fast enough to wreck the country's cause."
His attitude toward Stanton and toward certain tests for office are shown in this note to the Secretary of War:
“I personally wish Jacob Freese, of New Jersey, to be appointed colonel for a colored regiment, and this regardless of whether he can tell the exact shade of Julius Cæsar's hair.”
A germ of the doctrine of preference for the veteran, so fully extended since, was planted by the President:
“Yesterday little indorsements of mine went to you in two cases of postmasterships sought for widows whose husbands have fallen in the battles of this war. These cases occurring on the same day brought me to reflect more attentively than I had before done as to what is fairly due from us here in the dispensing of patronage toward the men who, by fighting our battles, bear the chief burden of saving our country. My conclusion is that, other claims and qualifications being equal, they have the better right; and this is especially applicable to the disabled soldier and the deceased soldier's family.”
That his view of the delinquent soldier did not harden as time made him more familiar with the facts is shown by this :
“The case of Andrews is really a very bad one, as appears by the record already before me. Yet before receiving this I had ordered his punishment commuted to imprisonment for during the war at hard labor, and had so telegraphed. I did this, not on any merit in the case, but because I am trying to evade the butchering business lately.”
The fall of 1863 saw one of the President's most noted literary efforts. About the famous address at the dedication of Gettysburg Ceme