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The bad effect upon the November election, and especially the giving the state government to those who will oppose the war in every possible way, are too much to risk, if it can possibly be avoided. The draft proceeds, notwithstanding its strong tendency to lose us the state. Indiana is the only important state, voting in October, whose soldiers cannot vote in the field. Anything you can safely do to let her soldiers, or any part of them, go home and vote at the state election will be greatly in point. They need not remain for the presidential election, but may return to you at once.
This is in no sense an order, but is merely intended to impress you with the importance, to the army itself, of your doing all you safely can, yourself being the judge of what you can safely do.”
In Pennsylvania the Republican state committee advised the President to guard against bad results from McClellan's popularity there by asking Grant to furlough some thousands of Pennsylvania soldiers, not for their votes, since they could vote in the field, but for the influence of their presence during the campaign, and for the prestige of carrying the home election without the “bayonet vote,” as the vote in the army was called. Lincoln said he was doubtful about Grant's attitude in such a matter. The delegate from the committee then suggested that it be done through Meade, the direct commander of the Army of the Potomac, and Sheridan; and one of the assistant secretaries of war was sent with an unofficial mes
sage to Meade, and another agent to Sheridan, with the desired result. McClure says it was at Lincoln's special request that General Logan left his command and the march to the sea in order to stump Illinois and Indiana in this campaign. General Carl Schurz wished to perform a similar service, but he was a horse of a somewhat different color, and he was at first told on high grounds to remain with his command. Years later Grant said to McClure that he supposed no one would have doubted his desire for Lincoln's reëlection. “ It would,” he added, “ have been obviously unbecoming on my part to have given a public expression against a general whom I had succeeded as commander-in-chief of the army.” When Washburne of Illinois asked Grant to publish a letter in favor of Lincoln's election, the general replied that he thought that "for the President to answer all the charges the opposition would bring against him would be like setting a maiden to work to prove her chastity.” Several acquaintances say that Lincoln felt hurt by Grant's aloofness, but this interpretation of whatever the President may have said is improbable, and in contradiction to his intellectual magnanimity. Grant at this period had a great distrust of politicians in general. Letters exchanged between him and Sherman show that both generals looked upon Washington as a hotbed of danger and corruption. When Grant was appointed lieutenant general, Lincoln asked him to make a short speech in answer to his few words at the formal presentation, and in it to say something to prevent jealousy from any other generals, and to put the new commander on good terms with the Army of the Potomac. Grant made his little reply, and entirely ignored the President's suggestions, but on the contrary rather emphasized the fact that he felt the responsibility centred directly on himself and all the armies. There was nothing about other generals, and nothing about the Army of the Potomac. His reason for staying East was that he believed “no one else could probably resist the pressure that would be brought to bear upon him to desist from his own plans and pursue others.” It has been said that he made a special stipulation against interference, particularly by Stanton, and that he was warned not to talk over his plans with Lincoln; but the way he treats both men in his own written words shows his sympathy with the President and his hostility to the Secretary. Lincoln's own position toward his new general is honestly set forth in this letter of April 30: