Abraham Lincoln, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 286 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, Volume I.
for me, take that place?  Your rank is one grade too high;... but will you not serve the country, and oblige me, by taking it voluntarily?” Kindly consideration, however, was thrown away upon Fremont, whose self-esteem was so great that he could not see that he ought to be grateful, or that he must be subordinate.  He owed his appointment largely to the friendly urgency of the Blair family; and now Postmaster-General Blair, puzzled at the disagreeable stories about him, went to St. Louis on an errand of investigation.  Fremont promptly placed him under arrest.  At the same time Mrs. Fremont was journeying to Washington, where she had an extraordinary interview with the President.  “She sought an audience with me at midnight,” wrote Lincoln, “and taxed me so violently with many things that I had to exercise all the awkward tact I have to avoid quarreling with her....  She more than once intimated that if General Fremont should decide to try conclusions with me, he could set up for himself.”  Naturally the angry lady’s threats of treason, instead of seeming a palliation of her husband’s shortcomings, tended to make his displacement more inevitable.  Yet the necessity of being rid of him was unfortunate, because he was the pet hero of the Abolitionists, who stood by him without the slightest regard to reason.  Lincoln was loath to offend them, but he felt that he had no choice, and therefore ordered the removal.  He preserved, however, that habitual strange freedom from personal resentment which made his feelings, like his action, seem to be strictly official.  After the matter was all over he uttered a fair judgment:  “I thought well of Fremont.  Even now I think well of his impulses.  I only think he is the prey of wicked and designing men; and I think he has absolutely no military capacity.”  For a short while General Hunter filled Fremont’s place, until, in November, General Henry W. Halleck was assigned to command the Department of Missouri.  In February, 1862, General Curtis drove the only regular and considerable rebel force across the border into Arkansas; and soon afterward, March 7 and 8, within this latter State, he won the victory of Pea Ridge.

In Tennessee the vote upon secession had indicated that more than two thirds of the dwellers in the mountainous eastern region were Unionists.  Mr. Lincoln had it much at heart to sustain these men, and aside from the personal feeling of loyalty to them it was also a point of great military consequence to hold this district.  Near the boundary separating the northeastern corner of the State from Kentucky, the famous Cumberland Gap gave passage through the Cumberland Mountains for the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, “the artery that supplied the rebellion.”  The President saw, as many others did, and appreciated much more than others seemed to do, the desirability of gaining this place.  To hold it would be to cut in halves, between east and west, the northern line of the Confederacy.  In the early days a movement

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Abraham Lincoln, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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