Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday April 16 through 19, 2009 Ruth Dobyns , Quaker Heritage Center, (937) 382-6661 x 719, [email_address] Karen Campbell , Mary L. Cook Public Library, (513) 897-4826, [email_address]
This PowerPoint presentation is also available on CD-Rom. CIVIL WAR TOPICS ONLINE CD-Rom Compiled by Karen S. Campbell In honor of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial 1809 ~ 2009 The Mary L. Cook Public Library Waynesville, Ohio January 1 st , 2009
Abraham Lincoln The President Honor, duty, and illness take their toll. Colorized version of black and white photograph taken by Alexander Gardner four days before Lincoln’s death. The Physical Lincoln: Photo-Medical Solution to the Puzzle of Abraham Lincoln's Height, Face, Pseudo-Depression, and Imminent Cancer Death . by John G. Sotos, MD
The nation was a house divided. Churches split into northern and southern branches over slavery. Families were divided by the war. The Lincoln family was decimated by the war. <ul><li>The Todd family is divided by the war. </li></ul><ul><li>Mary Lincoln is ravaged by the press. </li></ul><ul><li>Willie Lincoln dies February 20th, 1862 in the White House </li></ul><ul><li>Abraham Lincoln is assassinated on Good Friday, April 15 th -16 th , 1865. </li></ul><ul><li>Tad (Thomas Lincoln) dies at the age of 18 in 1871. </li></ul><ul><li>After the White House years, Mary’s relationship with her oldest son, Robert Todd Lincoln is destroyed. </li></ul>
<ul><li>I shall do all that may be in my power to promote a peaceful settlement of our difficulties. The man does not live who is more devoted to peace than I am. None who would do more to preserve it. But it may be necessary to put the foot down firmly. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>~~ Abraham Lincoln to the New Jersey General Assembly at Trenton, New Jersey, February 21st, 1861 ( Collection Work of Abraham Lincoln , 4:236-37) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
This leaf was printed on December 31, 1864. The print shows Mr. Lincoln standing at the door, inviting the Southern Rebels to come in from the cold and snow, and rejoin the union.
“ Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac ". It is an original leaf from an 1863 Harper's Weekly newspaper.
The illusiveness of peace and of an end to the excruciatingly bloody American Civil War would plunge Lincoln into a deep inward search to understand the will of a compassionate but enigmatic God.
What was the purpose of the excruciating suffering of the war?
<ul><li>At least 618,000 Americans died in the Civil War, and some experts say the toll reached 700,000. The number that is most often quoted is 620,000. </li></ul><ul><li> The Union armies had from 2,500,000 to 2,750,000 men. </li></ul><ul><li>Their losses: </li></ul><ul><li>Battle deaths: 110,070 </li></ul><ul><li>Disease, etc.: 250,152 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Total: 360,222 </li></ul></ul><ul><li> The Confederate strength, known less accurately because of missing records, was from 750,000 to 1,250,000. </li></ul><ul><li>Its estimated losses: </li></ul><ul><li>Battle deaths: 94,000 Disease, etc.: 164,000 Total: 258,000 </li></ul>
" Honor the Brave. The Union Must and Shall be Preserved ." Surrounding the caption are US flags, bearing the names of the bloody conflicts of the war, including; Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, Williamsburg, Bull Run, Vicksburg, Stone River, and more. The print is a centerfold from an original 1863 Harper's Weekly.
Through his deep reflection, Lincoln, a man who never formally joined any church, would become the great articulator of the American sense of purpose and its mission to enlighten the world, often referred to as the “ American Civil Religion. ” His belief centered on America as an instrument of Providence to fill the world with the light of democracy. He would become for many the “ Theologian of American Anguish ” as christened by Quaker minister David Elton Trueblood. One can see the similarities between Lincoln’s “ anguish ” and the inner “ Lamb’s War ” of Quaker contemplation; an intense meditative way of seeking God’s will in the immediate moment. Indeed, Lincoln’s spirituality seems very Quaker-like. But, it can also be said that his spirituality is very Unitarian or Universalist-like . Drawing by Lloyd Ostendorf of Dayton, Ohio
The following is one of his reflections, which Lincoln’s secretary, John Hay, in September of 1862, saved for posterity. This short personal reflection that Lincoln had left laying on his writing desk in the White House is about the nature of God’s will; a will which is different from humanity’s will: John Nicolay, Abraham Lincoln, and John Hay
The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party; and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to affect his purpose. I am almost ready to say that this is probably true; that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet. By his mere great power on the minds of the contestants, he could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And, having begun, he could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds (September 30th, 1862) .
These same thoughts are repeated, and are refined, in his brilliant “ Second Inaugural Address ”:
Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully.
The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
<ul><li>With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>~~ March 4, 1865 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>Statue is located in Richmond, Virginia
Lincoln’s spiritual beliefs were forged in the furnace of experience, not found exclusively in creeds and dusty theology books. There is a profound reality and comforting honesty to Lincoln’s religious statements throughout his presidency which are surprisingly powerful. Unlike previous presidents he was quite willing to express religious ideas publicly and to proclaim days of prayer and thanksgiving.
<ul><li>Because of his lack of formal education, Lincoln would not be tied down to specific schools of thought. He would also not be tied down to specific Christian creeds and dogma. There would be no dogmatic short-cuts to Truth for Abraham Lincoln. He certainly was influenced in his childhood by his parent’s church, the Pigeon Creek Baptist Church , a church also known as and “ old shell ” Predestinarian Baptist Church . But, it is clearly evident that Lincoln transcended the old Calvinist dogmas of severe double predestination. His understanding of “ determinism ” remained with him his entire life. It was a “ determinism ” stripped of dogmatic absolutes that emphasized logical progression; previous events mold the present events, and present events mold future events, etc. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ There are no accidents in my philosophy. Every effect must have its cause. The past is the cause of the present, and the present will be the cause of the future. All these are links in the endless chain stretching from the finite to the infinite." </li></ul></ul>
The “ Will of God ” is to be found in the flow of events which are generated by human instruments inspired by God to behave in certain ways. Lincoln had honed his sense of destiny with his lawyer’s logic and politician’s knack for understanding where the people were politically from moment to moment. He said, " Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed .” Members of the public in a democracy constitute a collective instrument of God. And, Lincoln thought of himself as an instrument of God struggling to follow God’s will through his contemplation of the events of the war and his assessment of popular opinion. Lincoln’s statement that " I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me" is a statement of faith because God is in command of those events and the instruments that cause them. Taken by Alexander Gardner in Washington on April 26, 1864
Abraham Lincoln was not a Quaker, although a few generations back, the Lincoln family had been Friends. Even though it was not a lived tradition any more in the family, Abraham Lincoln understood the Quaker dilemma of choosing between pacifism and abolition. On February 22nd, 1861, while on his way to Washington, D. C., Lincoln gave a speech in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in which he refers to the Quaker Peace Testimony : Allusion has been made to the peaceful principles upon which this great Commonwealth was originally settled. Allow me to add my meed of praise to those peaceful principles. I hope no one of the Friends, who originally settled here, or who have lived here since that time, or who live here now, has been or is a more devoted lover of peace, harmony and concord than my humble self.
Lincoln would also express to a spiritual friend, Orthodox Quaker minister Eliza P. Gurney in a letter dated September 4th, 1864 that: Your people, have had, and are having, a very great trial. On principle, and faith, opposed to both war and oppression, they can only practically oppose oppression by war.
Most conservative Friends concerning abolition decided to walk a middle way between the shrill demands of the radical abolitionists and the unfortunate status quo while still remaining anti-slavery in orientation but determined to obey the Rule of Law. They feared that the radicals, especially those involved in the clandestine Underground Railroad , would egg on a civil war; a violent end to slavery. Most Friends advocated a peaceful and slow demise of slavery in order to avoid an immediate and violent end of slavery. Friends for years had promoted the idea of the “ Colonization ” of freed blacks as a peaceful way of slowly demolishing American slavery.
Abraham Lincoln, who was a devoted disciple of Henry Clay, for years had also advocated for “ Colonization ” as well as the political confinement of slavery by isolating it in the South. Lincoln’s moderate political anti-slavery position was very popular with members of The Society of Friends . However, with the progression of events, most Friends by the time of the war had become more liberal in their views concerning slavery and saw slavery as the primary cause of the Civil War . Delegations of Quakers to the White House encouraged Lincoln over and over again to act against slavery. Lincoln too had been moved by the progression of events to realize that he could only save the Union by the emancipation of the slaves and the eradication of Slavery as an institution. The military and political opportunity for emancipation has come and is now immediate. Consequently, Lincoln acts.
Present day Lincoln Bedroom in the White House
Mr. Lincoln in his White House office. Taken by Alexander Gardner in Washington on April 26, 1864
Print of Francis Bicknell Carpenter’s painting of The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation.
One Quaker minister that Lincoln had great regard for was Eliza P. Gurney. He felt this way because she and those who accompanied her to the White House did not have an agenda or any extraordinary demands except to pray for and support the President. Eliza Paul Kirkbride Gurney Photograph of Eliza Paul Gurney, front piece in Memoir and Correspondence of Eliza P. Gurney edited by Richard F. Mott (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippencott & Co, 1884).
October 26th, 1862 ~ Orthodox Quaker minister, Eliza P. Gurney, the American widow of Joseph John Gurney, the British defender of Orthodox Quakerism, visits Abraham Lincoln in the White House . Others with her are: John Mickle Whitall, Hannah B. Mott, and James Carey. Lincoln was deeply moved by Quaker silent prayer and by Mrs. Gurney’s spontaneous prayer and exhortation. Since Mrs. Gurney and company arrived at the White House solely to offer spiritual support to the weary President, Lincoln, who was constantly harangued by office seekers and officious persons who wanted to tell him what to do, was deeply impressed by her sincerity. The interview lasted more than the allotted fifteen minutes. The following is part of Eliza Gurney’s prayer and blessing for the President:
. . . trials and persecutions are the lot of all who endeavor to maintain a just weight and a just balance, and who desire to be found walking in the path of uprightness. Then how sweet is the assurance to the Christian believer that God is his refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. There is a river the streams whereof make glad the whole heritage of God. And seeing how difficult it is to accomplish that which we wish, and how vain is the help of man, I have earnestly desired that the President might repair day by day, and oftener than the day, to this river of God, which is full of water, even to the well-spring of Eternal Life, that thus his spirit may be strengthened and refreshed, and be fitted for the right performance of his various and arduous duties; and by the grace of God he may be made an instrument in hastening the coming of that glorious day when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and of his Christ, and He shall rule and reign forever and for evermore; when swords shall be beaten into pruning-hooks, when nation shall no longer lift up sword against nation, nor the people learn war any more. What a glorious transition would be witnessed here, from a scene of desolation and sorrow and suffering to one of peace and joy and love! The wilderness would become as Eden, the desert as the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness would be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.
And now, my dear friend, if so I may be permitted to call thee, may the Lord bless thee and keep thee, lift up the light of His glorious countenance upon thee, and give thee peace! How precious is the assurance, contained in the blessed book of Divine inspiration that they that dwell in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. He shall cover them with His feathers, and under his wings shall they trust. His truth shall be their shield and buckler. A thousand may fall at their side, and ten thousand at their right hand, but it shall not come nigh them, because they have made the Lord their refuge, even the Most High their habitation; there shall no evil befall them, neither shall any plague come nigh their dwelling. Photograph of Eliza Paul Gurney, used with permission from Haverford College , Quaker Collection .
One of the Quakers present reported concerning the scene: It was a time not soon to be forgotten; the deep solemnity, the almost awful silence reigned within that room formed, as thou wilt believe, a striking contrast to the fearful scene of strife and carnage that was enacted, almost within sight, just on the other bank of the Potomac. And then to see the tears run down the cheeks of our honored President as E. P. Gurney solemnly addressed him. I cannot possibly describe the impressive scene. When prayer was offered, he reverently bowed his head, and certainly evinced deep feeling. When we rose to go, he very kindly took leave of us all, and, retaining E. P. Gurney’s hand, he made a beautiful response to what had been previously said.
A greatly affected and grateful Lincoln responded: I am glad to this interview, and glad to know that I have your sympathy and prayers. We are indeed going through a great trial ~ a fiery trial. In the very responsible position in which I happen to be placed, being a humble instrument in the hands of the Heavenly father, as I am, and as we all are, to work out His great purposes, I have desired that all my works and acts may be according to His will, and that it might be so, I have sought His aid; but if, after endeavoring to do my best in the light which he affords me, I find my efforts fail, I might believe that for some purpose unknown to me, He wills it otherwise. If I had had my way, this war would never have been; but, nevertheless, it came. If I had had my way, the war would have ended before this; but, nevertheless, it still continues. We must conclude that He permits it for some wise purpose, though we may not be able to comprehend it; for we cannot but believe that He who made the world still governs it.
Another positive Quaker experience for Abraham Lincoln was on September 19th, 1862. Orthodox Friends Isaac and Sarah Harvey, who lived on a farm between Wilmington and Harveysburg, Ohio, visited Lincoln in the White House and were kindly received. Isaac expressed his “ concern ” about slavery and suggested that the Federal government buy the slaves and free them. Lincoln informed them that this option had already been attempted but rejected by the Confederacy . Then the couple offered their humble support and prayers for the President. Lincoln wrote a note: “ I take pleasure in asserting that I have had profitable intercourse with friend Isaac Harvey and his good wife, Sarah Harvey. May the Lord comfort them as they have sustained me. Abraham Lincoln”
THE QUAKER PEACE TESTIMONY & SECULAR PACIFISM Because of the sectarian “ wall ” or “ hedge ” that protected Quakerism during the early part of the 19th century, there was little if any direct cooperation between Quaker pacifists and secular pacifists. Just as with its sister reform movement for abolition, only liberal Quakers during the antebellum period were involved in the secular peace movement. They were a small minority of Friends. And, some Friends, as with the abolition movement, left the Society to pursue their peace reform interests. One local example of this “ come outing ” is Thomas Newport, an ex-Quaker who became a Swedenborgian minister and the secretary of the Warren County, Ohio Peace Society , the second peace Society founded in the United States in 1815. This was a sad reality in a century that institutionalized violence in American slavery and fought the bloodiest wars imaginable. One must wonder what good could have transpired if sectarian and secular pacifists had more effectively coordinated their work together?
1814 ~ In response to the horrors of the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 , Unitarian ministers Dr. William Ellery Channing and Dr. Noah Worchester in early 1814 begin to urge friends of Peace to organize in America. Dr. William Ellery Channing Dr. Noah Worchester
May 8th, 1828 ~ Many local secular peace societies unite to form the American Peace Society lead by William Ladd. This organization condemned aggressive wars but did not address the issue of defensive wars since that issue was so divisive among its membership. The peace societies that united were: New York, Ohio, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.
From the antebellum Quaker point-of-view, the APS was not “ pure ” (not modeling an absolute perfectionist pacifism) since it compromised itself on the principle concerning defensive wars and advocated a world legislature which included other Christians. “ Our plan is composed of two parts, viz: a Congress of Nations and a Court of Nations, either of which might exist without the other; but they would tend much more to the happiness of mankind if united in one plan, though not in one body. A Congress of Ambassadors from all those Christian and Civilized nations who should choose to unite in the measure is highly desirable to fix the fluctuating and various points of international law, by the consent of all the parties represented, making the law of nations so plain that a court composed of the most eminent jurists of the countries represented at the congress, could easily apply those principles to any particular case brought before them . . . War is called ‘the last resort of kings,’ simply because there never has been an international tribunal on an extended scale. Every man who refuses to lend his aid in bringing forward a Congress and Court of nations, neglects his duty to his country, to the world, and to God, and does not act consistently with the character of a statesman, philanthropist, or Christian. It is time that Christian nations should be ashamed to attempt to settle disputes by physical force, like bullies and pugilists. It is time they had more compassion for human suffering, and more respect for the precepts of Christ. ~~~ William Ladd
Interestingly, after the Civil War , the most famous leader of The American Peace Society would be Quaker Benjamin Franklin Trueblood, who would write a book entitled The Federation of the World in 1899 calling for the establishment of an international state to bring about lasting peace in the world. Today, the papers, mainly of B. F. Truebood, can be found in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection , Swarthmore College. <ul><li>Benjamin Franklin Trueblood was born in Salem, Indiana in 1847. </li></ul><ul><li>He graduated from Earlham College in 1869. </li></ul><ul><li>He was the president of Wilmington College (Ohio) & Penn College from 1879 to 1890. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1872 he married Sarah Terrell of New Vienna, Ohio. </li></ul><ul><li>General Secretary of the American Peace Society from 1892 to 1915. </li></ul><ul><li>Editor of the periodical " The Advocate of Peace ". </li></ul><ul><li>In 1913 he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize . </li></ul>
The American Peace Society was also not “ radical ” enough for many 19th century reformers due to its position on defense war. Consequently, two groups would break off from the APS . First Garrison’s Non-Resistance Society in 1838, who were absolute pacifists, and then the Universal Peace Union drew itself out of both the APS and The Non-Resistance Society in 1866 after Garrison and most of his followers decided to support the Union and Lincoln’s policies during the Civil War . The Peace Society ~ Two British Quakers, Friends William Allen and Joseph Tregelles Price, work to establish the “ Peace Society ” of England in 1814. It is not an exclusive Quaker Organization. American Garrison’s Universal Peace Non-Resistance Peace Society Society Union The League of Universal Brotherhood (Absolute Pacifism)
One of the most brilliant persons of the 19th century was Elihu Burritt, known as the “ Learned Blacksmith .” An amazing self-education intellectual, who was the master of many fields of learning and a linguist who commanded 40 languages, Burritt became convinced of the oneness of all of creation which included humanity. He saw violence as the destroyer of “ God’s perfect symmetry .” He was a member of the American Peace Society for a while but left to start his own international organization that promoted absolute pacifism, The League of Universal Brotherhood . In September of 1848 he founded the first International Congress of the Friends of Peace in Brussels. He developed a pledge of abstinence from any war: The “ Learned Blacksmith ”
The Pledge of The League of Universal Brotherhood Believing all war to be inconsistent with spirit of Christianity and destructive to the best interests of mankind, I do hereby pledge myself never to enlist or enter into any army or navy, or to yield any voluntary support or sanction to the preparation for or prosecution of any war, by whomsoever, for whatsoever proposed, declared, or waged. And I do hereby associate myself with all persons, of whatever country, condition, or color, who have signed, or shall hereafter sign this pledge, in a “League of Universal Brotherhood”, whose object shall be to employ all legitimate and moral means for the abolition of all war and all spirit, and all the manifestation of war, throughout the world; for the abolition of all restriction upon international correspondence and friendly intercourse, and of whatever else tends to make enemies of nations, or prevents their fusion into one peaceful brotherhood; for the abolition of all institutions and customs which do not recognize the image of God and a human brother in every man of whatever, clime, color, or condition of humanity.
<ul><li>The reformers seeking Peace, like the antebellum churches, were fundamentally divided. </li></ul><ul><li>The American Peace Society allows for defense wars </li></ul><ul><li>The Garrisonian non-resistors and the members of Burritt’s League of Universal Brotherhood promote absolute non-compromising pacifism. They were “ dissolutionists” a dvocating northern secession from the south. They believed in a “ peaceable division ” and were against a forced union through violence. They believed that slavery would not last long without the economic support of the North once the North seceded. They wanted to see the Canadian boundary line, which guaranteed freedom for the slave, drop down to the Mason-Dixon Line and the mass exodus of slaves from the south would destroy slavery. </li></ul>William Lloyd Garrison founded the New England Non-Resistance Society in reaction to the American Peace Society’ s unwillingness to condemn defensive wars. The “ non-resistors ” would condemn all coercive force used by governments.
<ul><li>Many “ houses ” were “ divided ” over the issues of reform, anti-slavery and peace during the antebellum period: </li></ul><ul><li>The secular peace movement divided over absolute (perfectionist) versus modified pacifism. </li></ul><ul><li>The peace churches disagreed among themselves on the issue of self-defense (The Brethren, The Anabaptists, The Society of Schwenkfelders, The Moravians, The Shakers, and The Quakers). </li></ul><ul><li>The mainline churches divided over slavery, and, </li></ul><ul><li>The Quakers were splintered into a number of groups ( Orthodox , Gurneyite , Wilburite , Hicksite , Anti-Slavery Friends , and Progressive Friends ). </li></ul><ul><li>No “ house ” was more divided than the Quaker “ house ” even though the Anti-Slavery Friends reunite with the Orthodox shortly before the Civil War . Paradoxically, the overwhelming suffering caused by the Civil War and the Quaker unified response to it, would be the spur to eventual Quaker re-unification. However, theological differences will keep the Orthodox and Hicksite Quakers apart until the middle of the 20th century. </li></ul>
The truly shared experience of all Quakers during the Civil War was that the protective sectarian “ hedge ” was being destroyed. At the end of the war, Gurneyite Friends would continue to struggle with and debate the “ Peace Testimony ” in a conference in Baltimore in 1866. Out of that conference they would establish the “ Peace Association of Friends in America ,” which would advocate international arbitration and encourage pacifism for Quakers and non-Quakers alike. Unlike their rejection of non-Quakers in the pursuit of peace and all other reforms during the early antebellum period, Friends now were reaching out to welcome all people of good will who would work for peace. The headquarters of the “ Peace Association of Friends in America ” was in southwest Ohio located in the town of New Vienna. It would later move its office to Chicago, Illinois. The more radical Quakers (absolute pacifists), who had always worked along side non-Quakers, had formed the Universal Peace Union in 1866.
" Morning Mustering of the 'Contraband' at Fortress Monroe, on Their Way to Their Day's Work, Under the Pay and Direction of the U.S.--From a Sketch by Our Special Artist at Fortress Monroe ," Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper , November 2, 1861, 375.
More than two hundred Quaker women headed south to establish and/or teach in the first schools for the “ contraband ” and former slaves during the Civil War and the period of Reconstruction .
The following is a report from an agent of the Cincinnati Freedmen’s Aid Association concerning the plight of children in this disaster: One of the Women had the small pox, her face a perfect mass of Scabs, her children were left uncared for except for what they accidentally rec[eive]d. Another woman was nursing a little boy about 7 whose earthly life was fast ebbing away, she could pay but little attention to the rest of her family. Another was scarcely able to crawl about. They had no bedding. Two old quilts and a soldier’s old worn out blanket comprised the whole for 35 human beings. I enquired how they slept, they collect together to keep one another warm and then throw the quilts over them. There is no wood for them nearer than half a mile which these poor children have to toat [sic] . . . hence they have a poor supply, and the same with Water . . . [T]he only vessel they had to carry it in was a heavy 2 gallon stone jug, a load for a child when empty . . . They were filthy and will all probably have the small pox and a number of them likely [will] die (An agent for the Cincinnati Contraband Relief Commission conditions in Davis Bend, Mississippi, in 1864. Quoted in James Marten, The Children's Civil War , 131-132.)
November 1862 ~ Friends Tacy Burgess and Job Hadley, who had married on February 19, 1846 in Harveysburg, Ohio, more recently of Hendricks County, Indiana, move to Cairo, Illinois where they start a school for blacks (“ contraband ”). The Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends helped to support this endeavor and paid the teaching salary of Hannah Hadley, their niece. The school had an enrollment of over 400 students. Levi Coffin, on a mission to see the situation of thousands of “ contrabands ” at Cairo, Illinois, meets his friends Job and Tacy Hadley who are on their way to Cairo:
“ We were greatly rejoiced to meet and preceded on our way together. We arrived at Cairo that evening, and took quarter s at the Commercial Hotel. Job Hadley and his wife had left home with the intention of opening a school among the colored people, if privilege could be obtained, and remaining with them through the winter. No schools had yet been opened among the contrabands; they were not yet called Freedmen, as it was before the emancipation proclamation of President Lincoln (January 1st, 1863). . . . . . On the morning of the next day, which was the Sabbath, we visited the old military barracks where the contrabands were located. We first went to the office of J. B. Rogers, the chaplain and general superintendent. Although an entire stranger, he appeared much rejoiced to meet us and gave us a general account of the conditions and wants of the contrabands under his care. He went with us to visit some of them in their crowded huts and sick rooms. We found their condition to be even worse than it had been represented to us before leaving home. Many were sick from exposure and for want of sufficient clothing; they had no bedding nor cooking utensils, none of the comforts and few of the necessaries of life. The scanty rations issued by Government were their only subsistence. The weather being quite chilly, many of them were suffering with coughs and colds; that dreadful suffering ~ small-pox ~ was quite prevalent among them, and added to the horrors of their situation. A large part of the contrabands collected at this point were women, children, and old people.”
Early 1863 ~ After his visit to Cairo, Illinois with Job and Tacy Hadley, Levi Coffin decides to dedicate his time to helping the western “ contraband.” He begins to approach Friends and other friends for help and realizes that “ It seemed necessary to have some regular and responsible organization here on the border (Cincinnati) , to receive and forward the supplies .” Mural on the flood wall at Covington, Kentucky
“ A meeting was called and the Western Freedmen’s Aid Commission was organized, comprising many prominent members of the different religious denominations of our city. I was appointed general agent of this commission. We went to work at once and opened an office and wareroom where the supplies sent for the freedmen could be received and stored until forwarded to their destination. The members of the Society of Friends in various parts of the country had become deeply interested in the subject and were actively at work. Miami Quarterly Meeting (Indiana Yearly Meeting Orthodox) had appointed a committee, the members of which had issued a printed circular to Friends on the subject of the sufferings and wants of the freedmen. The response to this appeal came in the shape of supplies from various parts of Ohio and Indiana . . . . . . General Grant, who at that time had command of the Southern division of the army, gave us free transportation for all supplies for the freedmen and for our agents and teachers. We sent efficient agents to attend to the proper and judicious distribution of the clothing and other articles, and a number of teachers, well supplied with books, to open schools among the colored people. Boats passing down the river were often fired into by guerrillas concealed in the trees and shrubbery along the bank and the trip was a hazardous one on other accounts. To Nashville and other points in Tennessee, then in possession of the Union forces, the freedmen had gathered by thousands, in great destitution and suffering.
1863 ~ Indiana Yearly Meeting ( Orthodox ) the “ Committee on the Concerns of the People of Color ” changes its name to the “ Committee on Freedmen ” for the purpose of giving aid to the “ contraband ” in the south. Quaker Gurneyite ministers Elkanah and Irena Beard (right) were sent south to scout possible places where the necessities of life and education could help those freed from slavery. The Beards settled upon the “ contraband ” camps around Vicksburg on the Mississippi. They distributed goods and started day schools.
Latter part of May 1863 ~ Levi Coffin begins a trip down the Mississippi River to various points in the South to observe for himself the many contraband camps and the efforts being made to help the Freedmen with the donations collected in the North. One of the first places Coffin visited was Memphis where he was welcomed by Chaplain Eaton. He visited Camp Holly Springs and visited the teachers in their tents. He remained in the Memphis area for two days and then received the required passes to travel to Corinth, Mississippi by way of La Grange, Bolivar, and Jackson, Tennessee. The conditions that Friend Levi Coffin encountered on his journey through the “ contraband ” camps were desperate.
One of our teachers, John L. Roberts, had prepared a long shelter of brush and was about to open a school . . . Next morning I returned to the large double tent which constituted the headquarters of Chaplain Grant. He told me that during the night a large number of contrabands had come in ~ mostly women and children n~ for whom no shelter could be provided, as the tents were already crowded full. A few blankets were all that could be furnished them, and they remained exposed to the heavy dews during the night and the hot sun during the day, unless they made a shelter of green brush. “ At La Grange, some fifty miles south of Memphis, there was a contraband camp in charge of Chaplain Joel Grant, of the Twelfth Illinois Infantry. I had previously forwarded boxes of schoolbooks, clothing, blankets, and farming utensils to this place and to Corinth. Of the two thousand contrabands gathered at this point, many had no shelter but cast-off army tents; there was much destitution and suffering among them. I visited them as they sat in their rags and dirt, and listened to their accounts of the privation and suffering they had undergone before reaching the Union lines. Although their destitution was extreme, I heard no murmurs or complaints . . . I attended the opening of John L. Roberts’ school under the shelter of green brush and was much interested to see the eagerness with which his pupils pressed forward to have their names registered and receive the school-books.”
Levi Coffin also visited Corinth and on his return to Memphis, he visited Bolivar and Jackson. He then journeyed to Helena, Arkansas. There at Helena Levi Coffin saw 3,600 contraband, 800 having just arrived the night before. He also visited three camps located outside of Helena: Camp Deliverance , Camp Wood , and Camp Colony . Before returning to Cairo, Illinois, he visited Island Ten where he found more than a thousand contraband in camp. On his way back to Cincinnati, he stopped at the contraband camps in Smithland and Paducah, Kentucky. The need was enormous. [i] Reminiscences of Levi Coffin edited by Ben Richmond (Richmond, Indiana: 1st Reprint by Friends United Press, 1991), pp. 361-363.
Levi Coffin also visited Corinth and on his return to Memphis, he visited Bolivar and Jackson. He then journeyed to Helena, Arkansas. There at Helena Levi Coffin saw 3,600 contraband, 800 having just arrived the night before. He also visited three camps located outside of Helena: Camp Deliverance , Camp Wood , and Camp Colony . Before returning to Cairo, Illinois, he visited Island Ten where he found more than a thousand contraband in camp. On his way back to Cincinnati, he stopped at the contraband camps in Smithland and Paducah, Kentucky. The need was enormous. Reminiscences of Levi Coffin edited by Ben Richmond (Richmond, Indiana: 1st Reprint by Friends United Press, 1991), pp. 361-363.
December 1863 ~ Representatives of the many Freedmen’s Associations meet in Washington, D. C. on the suggestion of Abraham Lincoln to lobby the Congress for a Freedmen’s Bureau. Delegations from the associations of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Chicago met in Washington. Friend Levi Coffin is one of the representatives of the Western Freedmen’s Association in Cincinnati: “ We had interviews with the heads of the different departments and found Secretary Stanton and Secretary Chase warmly in favor of the establishment of the Bureau. President Lincoln promised to send a message to Congress on the subject. We appointed a committee to draft an address to the members of Congress; several prominent members who were interested in the matter agreed to have a bill brought before their body and do all they could to promote its passage. We felt assured that our labors would result in success .”
March 1864 ~ American Friend Levi Coffin makes another visit to the South to visit “ contraband ” camps, to distribute supplies, and encourage teachers sent by the Western Freedmen’s Association . On his return home to Cincinnati, he begins to feel called to journey to England and share with fellow British Quakers the neediness of the “ contraband .”
May 5th, 1864 ~ Having felt a call to lay before London Yearly Meeting of Friends the plight of the Freedmen in America and feeling that a way had opened for him to commence, Friend Levi Coffin begins his thirteen day journey to Liverpool, England on the steamship “ City of Edinburgh .” He is heartily welcomed by Friends in London during Yearly Meeting. He speaks widely among Friends and then an “ invited meeting ” is held where other prominent men, ministers and members of Parliament met with him in the home of a well-known person. At this meeting, Levi Coffin stood and spoke:
“ We are now engaged in a work that has no parallel in history; there has been nothing like it since the children of Israel were led out of the land of bondage.” I then explained the conditions and wants of these people; the extent of our field of labor and the daily increase of the number of sufferers. ‘Although I was an agent of the Western Freedmen’s Aid Commission, the first organization established west of the mountains, I had no personal or local interests to promote. I plead for the thousands of suffering freedmen in the United States, and when the most needy cases were met through the most economical channel, my mission would be completed. I told them that I had not come to England to beg but to lay the matter fairly before them; it was not simply an American Question but one of Christian Philanthropy the world over.” Reminiscences of Levi Coffin edited by Ben Richmond (Richmond, Indiana: 1st Reprint by Friends United Press, 1991), p. 381. The British Quakers respond by establishing the London Freedmen’s Aid Society . Friends are very generous and Coffin arranges to have supplies and money sent home to Cincinnati.
From colonial times onward, America has had a dual voluntary military system ~ The “Home Guard” ~ State Militias “ The Citizen Soldier” ~ “The Irregulars” The Army Reserves Army National Guard The “Regular” Standing Army This was a very controversial idea at the beginning of our nation. There was great fear of European style standing armies.
The big debate was over who would control the militias ~ the states or the central government. A switch in mentality concerning the control over militias occurred when the “ Articles of Confederation ” was abandoned and the new “ U. S. Constitution ” was ratified and the Federal government gained more control over the military. The U. S. Constitution granted Congress the power to “ provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining (regulating/training) the Militia. ” This was further defined and affirmed by the Militia Act of 1792 , which gave the President the right to gather all the state militias together under his command as Commander-in-Chief . Service in the militias became a requirement and was no longer just voluntary. A second act passed during 1792 provided for state militias. Ideally, every " free able-bodied white male citizen " between the ages of 18 and 45 was to report twice a year to a local militia company overseen by the state.
The issue of conscientious objection did not become a serious problem until national conscription/a national draft became the law of the land in 1863 during the Civil War . Up until that time, a Quaker could avoid the military by just not volunteering. The modern expression, “ conscientious objectors, ” was not applied to pacifists during the Civil War . The terms used for those who refused to fight because of religious or philosophical scruples were “ non-resistors ,” “ non-resistants ” (two terms inspired from William Lloyd Garrison’s pacifist “ Non-Resistance Society) , and “ non-combatants .” Ohio Militia buttons
The debates over the Second Amendment to the Constitution did include a discussion about conscientious objection (religious scruples). The amendment reads: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Many legislators believed that an exemption for “ religious scruples ” from militia duty would endanger the country by making the militias weaker than the “ regular ” army, which was still viewed with great suspicion. One exemption would lead to another and so on until eventually the militias would loose their manpower and their ability to be a check and balance to the “ regular ” army. Within this argument, a man has a “ duty ,” as well as a “ right,” to bear arms in a militia. A “ religious Scruples ” clause was abandoned in the Second Amendment .
Indeed, by the time of the Civil War, most state militias displayed a great deal of incompetence and a chronic lack of discipline. They were inadequately manned with soldiers and trained leadership. The local militias were devoid of enough uniforms, arms, and supplies. None-the-less, the “ citizen soldier ” myth of the Revolutionary War period endured up to and throughout the Civil War. The vast majority of soldiers on both sides of the conflict were volunteers. 96% of Union soldiers were volunteers. 80% of Confederate soldiers were volunteers. Dress of the “ citizen soldier ” during the American Revolution
THE BOUNTY SYSTEM Part of the success of the early volunteer enlistments was due to the bounty system. The bounties were a financial inducement to join the military, separate from and beyond the regular army pay of $11.00 per month. The state and the Federal governments had to compete with an expanding economy full of opportunities for young men as the nation grew. The bounties were like insurance. Ideally, a soldier could make as much in bounties and his pay as he would make working in the mercantile, industrial, or agricultural realms. It was hoped that he would not suffer economically from his service in the military. In light of the rapid expansion of American, some bounties were not monetary but consisted of western lands. Civil War reenactors from Hardee's Guard Battalion at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park .
Demand Notes were the first type of paper money issued by the United States in the sense that they were the first in the series of emissions which has continuously achieved wide circulation down to the present day. The U.S. government placed the Demand Notes into circulation by using them to pay expenses incurred during the Civil War including the salaries of its workers and soldiers. “ Greenbacks ”
THE DRAFT The national draft/conscription was organized through the Federal government and not the states. A Provost Marshals Bureau within the War Department enforced the draft/conscription. On March 3rd, 1863, the post of U.S. Provost Marshal General was established by Congress. Colonel James Fry was appointed to the post. Each congressional district was appointed a deputy provost marshal who had his own district board made up of himself, a medical doctor, and a civilian named a “ commissioner .” The board had the power to appoint enrollment officers from the local area. Ohio was divided up into nineteen enrollment districts. These congressional districts could be further sub-divided into sub-districts “ at the rate of one for each city ward, one for each county, and, in sparsely populated districts, one for each township. Rioters attacking a building on Lexington Avenue during the New York Draft Riot of 1863.
Confederate poster to “ Avoid Conscription ” (Draft)
The Provost Marshals Bureau , which Fry organized, dealt with recruitment and desertion issues, the capture of deserters, record keeping, enforcement of the Conscription Act of 1863 , and supervision of the Invalid Corps for disabled soldiers. His Bureau also dealt with the general enemies of the government. Consequently, each district was allowed one special agent or detective whose role was to keep the Provost Marshal informed of community activities. Large districts could have up to four detectives. The Active Assistant Provost Marshal of Ohio had four tasks to fulfill: (1) to keep informed of events within the state and to keep informed of conditions within the state, (2) to maintaining good relationships with the governor and other state, county, and city officials, (3) to supervise the district provost marshals and their subordinates, and (4) to report to Washington the condition and needs of the Ohio Bureau.
It was the district Provost Marshals that were in direct contact with the general population. They convened the Enrollment Boards, ran the meetings, and executed the decisions. They kept records and sent updated enrollment lists to their superiors. It was the district Provost Marshal, or one of his deputies, that hand-delivered the draft notices to draftees. If resisted, the district Provost Marshal would turn the man over to the Federal Marshal. If need be, the district Provost Marshal could call on the help of the local military and the Federal Marshals to quell open resistance. This tightly organized system of draft enforcement was a mighty “ arm ” of the Federal government reaching deeply into American society and was widely hated. Provost Marshal General James B. Fry
In mid-May 1863 the door to door canvassing began. Enrollment officers with the Bureau’s official printed sheets were to get the names of each male between twenty and forty-five years of age, his name, place of residence, occupation, skin color, and age as of July 1, 1863. They were also to list previous military service if any. At first the enrollment officers were easy to avoid, in the same way one can avoid receiving a subpoena. Men would hide; some even fled to Canada. Family and friends would forget or simply give false information about their whereabouts. In November of 1863, the Bureau actually asked the general public to help in the enrollment. The original enrollment lists were to be “ exposed to public view ” in each sub-district in at least five different locations. The locations were to be advertised in the local newspapers and the public was invited to help make these corrections. People could peruse the lists and report names that should be added or deleted from the enrollment lists. Ohioans did not respond well to this ploy.
When President Lincoln would issue a call for 300,000 men, the Enrollment Branch of the Provost Marshal’s Bureau would establish the quotas for each draft district in light of the number of able-bodied men enrolled. The quotas would be given the state Assistant Provost Marshal of Ohio who would then distribute them to the local district Provost Marshals. The local district quota would be divided down and assigned to towns, villages, and hamlets within the district. This is why many towns and villages would offer their own bounties to encourage volunteers. Then men were given the opportunity, over a period of time, to volunteer. If a district had filled the quota with volunteers, there would be no need for a draft. If not, the number needed to fill the quota, would be drafted. It was a point of honor for the states to recruit as many volunteers as possible. For a young man to be conscripted or drafted into the army, instead of volunteering, was a social embarrassment. It was thought to indicate cowardice or lack of character; a person unwilling to step up to his civic duty.
The draft lotteries or drawings were held publically at the district headquarters of the Provost Marshal. The names of the enrolled were individually listed on a paper card one inch to one and a half inch square. They would be placed in the hopper. After turning the wheel to shuffle the cards, a blind-folded person began to pull out the cards, the name was announced, and the name was written in the roll-book. A notice would be hand delivered to the draftee or left at his last known residence.
Illinois: Civil War Bounty Orders Registers Record shows the date and number of the bounty order, the name of the volunteer, the date of redemption, the total amount paid, and occasionally the date and amount of interest paid. Civil War Bounty Tax Delinquent Lists Record contains a list of real estate, personal property, and bank stock on which the April, 1865 Special Bounty War Tax remained unpaid. For real estate, the record shows the name of the owner, the legal description of the property, the number of acres, its equalized value, and the bounty tax due. For personal property and bank stock, the record shows the name of the owner, the equalized value, and the bounty tax due. Civil War Committee Files Files contain Militia Rolls, Bounty Committee Files, War Funding Committee Papers, and Township War Committee Records. Militia Rolls show the name, age, and recruitment status of eligible men in each township. Bounty Committee Files show bounty checks and receipts of the county board, papers pertaining to the muster of volunteers, and additional muster rolls. War Funding Committee Papers contain county bonds issued to individuals, with interest rates and redemption dates, expense vouchers for Committee members, accounts, and bank books held by the Committee. Township War Committee Files contain statements of township expenditures on bounties and enlistments, receipts for military substitutes, ledgers of payments made to the War Committees, and certification of mustering individuals.
If your ancestor was not a volunteer but a draftee: Records of the Provost Marshal General's Bureau (Civil War) At the NARA in Washington, D. C. Records of the Enrollment Branch Textual Records: Letters sent, 1863-66, with indexes. Letters received, 1863-66, with registers. Endorsements, 1863-66, with indexes. Periodic reports, 1863-66. Enrollment lists and corrections, arranged by state and congressional district, 1863- 65 (2,500 vols., 340 ft.). Weekly abstracts of medical exemptions, 1863-65. Textual Records: Letters sent, 1863-89, with indexes. Letters and telegrams sent by the Secretary of War and the Provost Marshal General to governors and other state officials, 1863-64. Letters received, 1863-65, with indexes and registers. Endorsements, 1863-83, with indexes. Correspondence and reports relating to fraudulent activities of provost marshals and bounty agents, 1863-65. Decisions of the President and the Secretary of War relating to the Provost Marshal General's Office, 1863-66. Issuances, 1861-65. Historical reports of state acting assistant provost marshal generals and district provost marshals, 1865. Personnel records, 1862-66. Financial records, 1861-70. Papers of Col. Lafayette C. Baker, 1862-66. Reports of detective Allan Pinkerton, 1865. Monthly medical reports, 1864-65. Records relating to casualties, 1861-66.
It was not unusual for wealthier men to pay someone else to take their place during the Civil War. James Voshell of West Dover Hundred paid Lawrence Thompson $500 to take his place. Lawrence was born in Ireland and was a “ labourer ” more recently from Providence Rhode Island. Lawrence joined in April of 1865 as a private in company K 1st Delaware Volunteer Infantry. In Munson’s Hill Virginia, he deserted on the 15th of June 1865. State of Delaware website: http://archives.delaware.gov/100/servewithpride/Avoiding%20the%20draft.shtml#TopOfPage
<ul><li>… we have no use for thy guns. </li></ul><ul><li>However, some Quakers did have use for their guns: </li></ul><ul><li>There were Quakers at Barrett’s Mills whose moral compasses indicated that they should carry guns to protect themselves (self-defense) and their property in “ Bloody Kansas. ” </li></ul><ul><li>There were Quakers who chose to work with the Shawnee Native Americans at the re-established Quaker Mission and School for the Shawnee in Johnson County, Kansas, and responded non-violently to the violence of the marauding Border Ruffians. </li></ul><ul><li>There were Quakers who lived the “ Peace Testimony ” at Springdale Monthly Meeting in Iowa while conducting on the Underground Railroad and working with the belligerent John Brown as long as his behavior was not blatantly violent. The following was their rationale: </li></ul>
“ Some would question: ‘Did not the Quakers ‘wink’ at the military drill and Brown’s plans, giving aid on the side?’ To this Mother’s answer was an emphatic ‘No.” The “Meeting” were united in their testimony for peace, she would say, in their efforts to free the slaves and in their disapproval of the use of force by Brown. They spoke their minds frankly and forcefully at every opportunity without avail. Yet, Mother would continue, when John Brown stated that he felt he was called by the Almighty God to deliver the nation from Slavery and that his mission was ‘divinely appointed’, the Friends could not doubt him. With their belief in the ‘Inner Light’ and “that of god in everyman’ the Quakers expected one’s conduct to be in agreement with the inner revelation. The individual must assume full responsibility for his spiritual decisions. Hence they responded to John Brown with an unwillingness to judge him or to set themselves up against him. As Brown walked among them, they shared the burden on his soul, the great weight of the shackles of the thousands of men in bondage. It is one of the striking inconsistencies of human nature that the Quakers, strongly non-resistant themselves, loved this man whose dedication to the cause of freedom and whose hatred of slavery had led him mistakenly, in their opinion, down the path of violence. Although they could not agree with his methods and thought his judgment faulty, such was his character, commanding their confidence, esteem and affection, that he and his men wintered unmolested in their midst, making preparations, the goal unknown to the Quakers, for his memorable raid on Harper’s Ferry. “ John Brown: They Had a Concern” by Jeannette Mather Lord, West Virginia History (West Virginia Archives and History, Vol. 20, Number 3 [April 1959], pp. 163-183. Please see: http://www.wvculture.org/History/journal_wvh/wvh20-2.html .
Were these abolitionist Friends merely playing a version of “ Don’t ask, don’t tell ,” when actually they were aware of the inherent violence of John Brown’s position? What about their discernment concening John Brown’s interpretation of his “ light ”? Could he have been wrong in his understanding of God’s will? Is violence always wrong or is the “ wrong-ness ” situational? There was one Quaker from Springdale, Edwin Coppoc who, after he and his brother decided to follow John Brown’s violent path, was executed with John Brown after the fiasco at Harper’s Ferry. Barclay Coppoc Edwin Coppoc
Because of the existence of “ fighting ” Quakers, the Federal government would not allow a blanket exemption from the draft for non-combatants/non-resistants. Abraham Lincoln initially dealt individually with young men who desired an exemption due to religious or moral scruples. Eventually, Lincoln and his government “ paroled ” non-combatants. But there was never a blanket exemption for members of the Society of Friends . The following is a Quaker explanation of how “ paroling ” came about:
Shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg ~ According to the pamphlet entitled “ The Conscript Quakers, Being a Narrative of the ‘Distress and Relief of Four Young Men from the Draft for the War of in 1863, ” (printed in 1883) by Ethan Foster and Charles Perry of the South Kingstown Monthly Meeting in Rhode Island, they try to help four young Quakers who have been drafted. Several Wilburite Quakers had been drafted. Some were released due to physical disabilities but two members of Rhode Island Quarterly Meeting were kept. They eventually meet with President Lincoln after speaking with state authorities. In their interview Lincoln expresses his ambiguous feelings about granting an exemption for anyone who is drafted; his attitude reflecting the same general attitude of others in his administration. The draft, in and of itself, was terribly unpopular generating great conflict and severe resistance. It was feared that exempting a group for any reason would generate even more conflict:
“ They finally recommended that we should lay the case before the President of the United States. In accordance with this advice we went to Washington not long after the battle of Gettysburg. President Lincoln received us kindly, but said he did not see how he could grant our friends exemption from military service, without so far ‘letting down the bars’ as to render nugatory all his efforts to crush the rebellion . Upon being told that we did not look upon it in that light, he said it amounted to that; dwelt much on the difficulties which would attend the exemption of any portion of those by law subject to draft; and that if he began, there would be no stopping place; spoke of the difficulties with which he was beset on every hand; of the trouble he was having with the Governor of New York on account of the draft in that state; said he had no time to give attention and thought to these matters; that, before one thing was duly considered and digested, another of a totally different character was presented and pressed upon his attention; that anything he might do or say today would be in the public papers tomorrow, and be heralded from Maine to Georgia. At length, however, he said that he ‘should be very unwilling for any truly conscientious person to be made to suffer;’ immediately adding, ‘but even this must not be repeated.’ He finally asked, ‘What can we do for you? I don’t see what we can do.’ I replied that our Governor suggested that he might think it would do to release these men on parole; to hold them subject to call. At this he was silent for some time and made no reply to the remark; but I thought it struck him favorably, and that if anything was ultimately done, this course might be pursued.
The President said it would not do to make a special exception in the case of Friends; that there were others who professed to be conscientiously opposed to war. We acknowledged this, and expressed a hope that if any favors were granted, it would be done impartially. I remarked, however, that I nevertheless thought the claims of the Society of Friends stronger than those of any other class, from the fact that they had long since abolished slavery within their own borders; and that if every other of the religious denominations had done the same, we should not have had this war; to which he replied, ‘You never said a truer thing than that.’
<ul><li>The Administration’s Resistance to Exemptions from the Draft/Conscription were due to : </li></ul><ul><li>The American attitude concerning the freedom to volunteer and an anti-draft & anti-“ imperialistic ” attitude makes the draft/conscription extremely un-popular. </li></ul><ul><li>Medical exemptions were believed to be unjustly applied. </li></ul><ul><li>The purchase of a substitute was viewed as pro-wealthy making the war a poor man’s war. </li></ul>