From Fifth Wheel to Red Cross
THE season arrived for the rip tides of politics. On June 7 the Republican convention at Baltimore renominated Lincoln, with Andrew Johnson of Tennessee his running mate. On August 29, Democrats at Chicago put up McClellan. Farragut capture of Mobile on August 5 started the wave that eventually lifted the Republican party to victory. But the mood of summer, 1864, spoke peace at any price. Commissioners like George Strong shunned it, while Dr. Newberry thought gigantic preparations merely fed the maw of failure. The drafts took in more money than soldiers. Sherman dragged "a lengthening chain" for want of men to envelop and crush Confederate Johnston.
Earlier in 1864, Sherman had barred the commission from using transportation to the front. Railroad space should go to guns and ammunition, he reasoned, not Sanitary stores. In April, Sherman agreed to give the commission storage in Nashville; he allowed it one car of supplies a day, besides whatever the hospital train could carry; he would also furnish transportation to the front, provided the commission shipped the amounts specified by the medical director. To receive information from any other source was unmilitary and irregular, said Sherman. If the medical director failed to give him the correct information, the general could call him to account.
In preparing for Sherman's move against Atlanta, the commission sent 3,000 barrels of vegetables and large supplies of