Skip to comments.Original Lincoln document found
Posted on 06/07/2007 3:26:01 PM PDT by bnelson44
WASHINGTONThe National Archives on Thursday unveiled a handwritten note by Abraham Lincoln exhorting his generals to pursue Robert E. Lee's army after the battle of Gettysburg, underscoring one of the great missed opportunities for an early end to the Civil War. An archives Civil War specialist discovered the July 7, 1863, note three weeks ago in a batch of military papers stored among the billions of pages of historical documents at the mammoth building on Pennsylvania Avenue.
The text of Lincoln's note has been publicly known because the general to whom Lincoln addressed it telegraphed the contents verbatim to the front lines at Gettysburg. There, the Union army's leaders failed for more than a week to aggressively pursue Lee following his defeat.
A week after Lincoln's note, the Confederate army slipped across the Potomac River into Virginia and the war continued for two more years.
Though Gen. George Meade led the Northern troops in the battle at Gettysburg that marked the turning point of the war, he has always been faulted for not closing in and destroying Lee's army.
At a news conference, archivist Trevor Plante said he was looking for something else last month when he found Lincoln's note tucked away in a drawer among other papers. His reaction was "wow" when he recognized the handwriting and Lincoln's signature.
Lincoln's note says "the rebellion will be over" if only "Gen. Meade can complete his work." Lincoln says he wants the "substantial destruction of Lee's army."
Plante's find reinforces "Lincoln's desperation to turn Gettysburg not just into victory, but decisive victory that stops the bloodshed," said historian Allen Guelzo, director of Civil War era studies at Gettysburg College.
The importance of the newly discovered document is that it is in Lincoln's own handwriting, pinning down in time what he was thinking.
The accuracy of the long-known telegram communicating Lincoln's thoughts was not in doubt. At the same time, "there are always risks" relying on documents by a third party for what Lincoln was saying or writing, said Guelzo.
I’ve been watching Ken Burns’ Civil War recently. The parallels between Lincoln/civil war and Bush/wot are noticeable. Very unpopular presidents but both sticking to their guns. The inabilty to finish off the enemy due to political concerns, etc.
Doesn’t say to whom the original note was addressed, but I assume it was MG Halleck.
Meade’s reluctance paled in comparison to McClellan’s ineptitude at Antietam.
Meade wasn’t the guy to go after Lee.
By the way, anyone ever see this colorization? Don`t know who did it, but damn, this has to be one of the best colorizations I`ve ever seen of any B&W photo out there. It must have taken this guy ages to do this...
Always liked this portrait of him. He's got a crafty look in his eye.
Mmmmm, mmmmm, if only I were gay.
incredible photgraphs...are those Matthew’s?
I don`t know, I found them on some website a few years ago and I just can`t find that website again, it`s been driving me crazy. That is obsession that kind of colorization. This guy must have went literally pixel by pixel.
A few Freepers probably have that photo hanging right next to their Lincoln desktop statues.
Did you catch the Chamberlain speech at Fredericksburg in Gods and Generals? I thought they overdid it- too much drama.
Someone told me once that when they had those pics taken back then, the photographer would tell them to hold their breath so they didn`t move, and he would mention “cheese” as cheese smelled bad. I always thought saying “cheese” was meant to make people look like they were smiling, but you look at those old pics from the 1800`s, it does look like they are holding their breath doesn`t it? Lincolns mouth for example is always closed, he looks like he is holding his breath.
I got Bedford on my wall....Travis can attest to that!
That`s not a bad idea. I used to have a color printer and I wouldn`t mind printing that out and framing it. The first time I saw that pic it just absolutely blew me away.
And just think; all those pics we take today with digital cameras will look exactly the same, just as clear as they do now 100, 200 even 2000 years from now. All those digital camcorders, if saved right, people 1000 years from now can look at them and they will look like they were taken minutes ago.
Can you imagine if that kind of tech existed back in the time of Lincoln, Washington even Christ? You could pop in a DVD and watch Lincoln giving a speech and it would look like it was taken seconds ago. We are living in an age now where we are at the cusp of that kind of tech but will never live to see the kind of effect it will have on people a few hundred years from now. But I guess people back 200, 300 years from us said the same about paintings and photographs. Who knows, 200 years in the future digital photos and videos will seem “old”. They`ll probably have 3d interactive photos or something. That`s if people are still around by then. It all depends who wins the election in `08. Duncan Hunter, we will continue..Hellary, all bets are off.
There was also a military inability to “finish off” enemy armies, caused by up to date technology tied to tactics and strategies from the War of 1812 and the Mexican War. The only time an army of either side was “finished off” was Hood’s Army of Tennessee, at Nashville, at the hands of George Thomas. And that was late 1864.
Disagree. If Lee had stopped attacking after Day 2, history still would have been different, and he wouldn’t have lost a whole bunch of casualties on Day 3.
And besides, the war was basically lost when Grant took Vicksburg - the next day [July 4th]
I agree it was a bit dreamy. I did enjoy that book for its laying out of the events closing the war, I had not realized how down-to-no-options the South and General Lee were.
He was UGLY.
The Union was pretty good at blowing opportunities in general until Grant and that later generation of Union commanders (Sherman, Sheridan, etc.) got on the scene.
I’m not really a scholar of the WBTS, but I’ve never quite understood how the South had such a large number of solid (or even brilliant) officers at the start of the War, and the Union generalship was so profoundly awful in comparison for the first two years. Then the trends crossed, and as the Union generalship improved throughout the second half of the War, the Confederates couldn’t replace those invaluable men like Stonewall Jackson.
Well I’ve got a portrait of Jackson, Lee, and Forrest in my house and one each of Jackson and Lee on my office wall. Now where is that little statue someone gave me of the 16th President......oh yes it holds the toilet paper in the bathroom..
May I borrow Five Dollars?
Maybe our Constitution would still mean what it says...and maybe not... John Adams packed the federal courts after his loss to Jefferson but before his term was up. One of his liberal appointees was Marbury of Marbury v. Madison, possibly the greatest cause of our Constitution's demise. Once again, just conjecture.
Actually I rarely carry money anymore. It’s easier to use a debit/credit card and very few places don’t take them. But when I did, I rarely used a 5 and didn’t take pennies in change.
Were these pictures taken before or after he was shot?
Thanks for ping SB
He really was NOT very attractive.
In our day of tv and Internet, I doubt that he would be elected. Unfortunately, many people now care about the exterior more than the interior.
(That colorized picture is amazing—it makes him more “real.” I do wonder, however, why he didn’t comb his hair.)
Since a lot of things have occurred the past century to upset the Founders' original plan, it's natural to suppose that things would have been different if the rebs had won. But the Confederate States of America was no champion of limited government. That is, unless you were a slaveowner. The day that engine of oppression, the CSA, was destroyed was the best day the South ever had.
He truly is the epitome of "Never judge a book by it`s cover." Einstein was the same way about his looks. The sad part is today we live in an incredibly superficial society where someone like Lincoln wouldn`t make it to manager of a porta-san never mind POTUS which is why we constantly get these metrosexual, marketing directed, generic accent talking, dunces as our "leaders".
The focus on looks today is sickening. Take the Paris Hilton crap. Never in a million years did I ever think this absolute waste of humanity would ever take precedent over our own brave men and women in Iraq, but it happened. Why? Because of her looks. And just think; The people who put her on this pedestal are the same people who the government qualifies as a "jury of your peers". Good initiative to never get into legal trouble, ever! These same jelly brained morons who freed OJ would just as soon throw an innocent into jail for life. Why? Because they`re as easy to manipulate as cockroaches to shiet. This is why I`ll never believe in the death penalty, no way. How many more example do we need of people in prison for 10, 20 years ultimtely freed due to DNA evidence? Is there anything more evil than executing a man for a crime he didn`t commit? Sure there are obvious cases like a John Wayne Gacy, but shiet like that don`t care if they die. Why? Beause their effin` nuts. Torture is much better. 23 hours a day in a cement cell for the rest of their lives. No books, no TV, no nothing.
I was going to say, how do we know that Sandy Berger didn't accidently destroy a memo from George Washington discussing the tactics of British General Clinton, mistaking it for a criticism of President Clinton.
Fair enough - I probably shouldn’t have said that, because doctors likely say he had some sort of condition that caused his features to change a bit, but he definitely has cornered the “rode hard and put away wet”. It sure does look a lot like bed hair. Who goes to a portrait from Matthew Brady? without spiffying up a little?
I accept all fives and pennies. My SCV camp is collecting them to fund restoration of several original Confederate battleflags. Why not put 'em to good use?
Actually, that picture was taken at Alexander Gardner’s studio. Gardner was a former associate of Brady’s, though Gardner had more of an artist’s background. Most of the photos attributed to Brady were taken by Gardner. Brady was more a business man than a photographer.
These pix are great. When I was young, it was these very pictures of Lincoln and the Civil War that got me interested in photography. To me, every photograph is a historical document.
I'm not sure that's right, Meade was at the front. If I recall correctly from Bruce Catton's Glory Road, Meade was the recipient of the telegraphed version, suggesting that the original had written version was not addressed to Meade, but to the overall commander in Washington for transmission to Meade and other subordinate commanders. That commander in Washington was "Old Brains" - MG Henry W. Halleck. It would be just like Halleck to simply pass the buck on to Meade.
BTW, Halleck was stationed in California during the Mexican War, and was one of the principal authors of the original California Constitution. He left the Army in the mid-1850s to practice law in San Francisco (Halleck St. is named for him) and was the owner of substantial property up in Marin (Rancho Nicasio - there’s still a hamlet by that name and the Nicasio Dam out near Red Hill Road which connects Petaluma to the Coast around Tomales Bay - perhaps you’ve spent some time there - as a teenager, I used to ride my bike out to the coast on that road, making a circuit that took me up past Bodega Bay and in through Graton and Sebastopol....)
It was Mark Twain who said The coldest winter I ever spent was a Summer in San Francisco, who undoubtedly had experience of those 35 degree fogs rolling in around 5:30 pm and not lifting until noon (downtown, and perhaps not at all out in the far Richmond and Sunset). One of the funniest things in the great Summer of Love (1967) was all the kids who'd come from all over the country in summer clothes, with light fiberfill sleeping bags or cotton blankets enjoying a sunny afternoon in Golden Gate Park, being totally frozen and bewildered as the usual July blanket of fog rolled in.... having a nice warm place was as good as having plenty of dope and a good pick-up line.....
Though Gen. George Meade led the Northern troops in the battle at Gettysburg that marked the turning point of the war, he has always been faulted for not closing in and destroying Lee's army.To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
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