The Salmon P. Chase Papers - Vol. 3

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has always been thought the duty of the President to convene them regularly for consultation and to take their judgments on all important matters, and, in general,--though this is by no means obligatory -- to act in accordance with the well considered conclusions of the majority. There is, on the contrary, at the present time no cabinet except in name. The Heads of Departments come together now and then -- nominally twice a week--; but no reports are made; no regular discussions held; no ascertained conclusions reached. Sometimes weeks pass by and no full meeting is held. One can get some information about military matters if he will make due enquiry at the War Dept. or about naval matters at the Naval Department;--but full systematic accounts of the progress of the struggle; the purposes entertained; the means & modes of action by or against us, are neither made nor given, nor required.Let us rejoice that Providence rules; and let us hope that he means to save, though as by fire.Your friend S P CHASE Hon. Z. Chandler
On September 3, John Pope had issued a report highly critical of Fitz John Porter's conduct during the second battle of Bull Run. "I do not hesitate to say," wrote Pope, "that if the corps of Porter had attacked the enemy on the flank, . . . as he had my written order . . . to do, we should have crushed Jackson before the forces under Lee could have reached him. Why he did not do so I cannot understand." Chandler's letter of September 13 inquired about the accuracy of Pope's report and lambasted Federal military leaders. "Are mutinous traitorous generals now controlling our destiny," he asked indignantly. Chandler to Chase, Sept. 13, 1862 ( Chase Papers, Hist. Soc. of Pa.); OR, ser. 1, v. 12, pt. 2:12-17.
Robert E. Lee and his troops had withdrawn across the Potomac on the night of September 18-19. Long, Civil War Day by Day, 268.


Letterpress copy of autograph letter. Chase Papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania ( micro 22:0940).

Wash Septr. 20 1862

My dear Sir,

Your note with your admirable letter on Emancipation addressed to me came duly. Of course I can have no possible objection to its publication. My own judgment, as I mentioned in conversation, has inclined to Emancipation by Military orders, founded on Military exigencies, & made by the Generals of the two great Southern Departments, rather than to general Emancipation by proclamation of the President. Convinced, however, as I am of the indispensable necessity of the thing I am comparatively indifferent as to mode, and am entirely ready to stand by you in support of yours.1


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