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Lincoln's Summer of 1864

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by Susan Johnson on 12 December 2013

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Transcript of Lincoln's Summer of 1864

Lincoln's Summer of 1864:
Supporting the Troops

Summer begins
In May and June General Grant and the Army of the Potomac fight numerous battles in the Overland Campaign. Eventually on June 15th, they begin the attack on Petersburg, Virginia.
Great Central Sanitary Fair
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia Fair was open for three weeks and raised over $1,000,000 dollars. President Lincoln attended the fair on June 16th along with his wife Mary, and son Tad. He brought along 48 signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation that sold for $10 each.
Union Avenue Exhibits and Shops
President Lincoln spoke to a supportive and festive crowd during a meal, rising to speak after a toast in his honor.
Departing Chattanooga, Sherman's forces battled their way through Georgia, with the objective of capturing the important Confederate city of Atlanta. They reached the outskirts of the city by the end of July.
General Sherman's Atlanta Campaign
May to August 1864
The U.S. Sanitary Commission
This was a volunteer group of both men and women who were dedicated to assisting the Union soldiers however they could. Over the summer of 1864 the Philadelphia Great Central Sanitary Fair was one of several fairs across the North raising money to aid the troops both on and off the battlefield.
Engine displays
Petersburg, Virginia
The Union and Confederate troops fought from trenches around this city. On July 30th, the Battle of the Crater was one of the most costly for the Union. Eventually after nine months, Petersburg fell, in April 1864.
A Drastic Change for Prisoners of War
At the beginning of the war, if a soldier was captured, he could be exchanged or paroled. According to rank, officers and enlisted men were exchanged for their counterpart taken by the other side. If no exchange could be promptly made, then soldiers were paroled on their honor to return to their lines and not fight until officially exchanged.
After the Emancipation Proclamation and black soldiers officially joined the Union army, this system was changed. In May of 1863, the Confederate Congress passed the policy refusing to exchange any captured black soldiers, either returning them to their "masters" in the South, or sometimes outright killing these soldiers and their white officers.
President Lincoln's Resolve
In an election year, there was significant pressure on the President to resume the prisoner exchanges. But he would not go back on his commitment to the black troops to protect them from being re-enslaved. Thus, the prisoner of war camps began to fill in both the North and the South.
Wordle of President Lincoln's speech at the Great Central Fair
Sherman's Atlanta Campaign

Speech at the Great Central Sanitary Fair
The President extolled the patriotic volunteer support of the city of Philadelphia and their Refreshment Saloons for the care of the soldiers. More than that, he saluted the soldiers themselves and their great sacrifices. He concluded the speech with these words...
Camp Sumpter, Andersonville Georgia

Although prisons both North and South were dismal places, none was more notorious than Camp Sumpter. Built outside the Georgia town of Andersonville, this prison was an open stockade originally designed for 10,000 prisoners of war. By August 1864, more than 33,000 prisoners were held there. More than 100 prisoners died each day during this same month.
The Summer Battle Campaigns
Fund Raising
Prisoners
Close Reading video of the closing comments of the speech
Addressing the Soldiers
Union prisoners inside the Andersonville stockade
A Commission of Prisoners is sent to see President Lincoln
On August 16, a handful of prisoners from Andersonville were exchanged. These men had been selected by their fellow prisoners to go the President and beseech him to do something to free the soldiers being held at prisoner of war camps across the South. Their story flashed across northern newspapers, revealing the atrocities of Andersonville.
Abraham Lincoln to Ethan A. Hitchcock
Will Gen. Hitchcock please see private H.C. Higginson, who comes from our prisoners at Camp Sumpter, Ga

A. Lincoln September 6, 1864
General Hitchcock was the Union Commissioner of the Exchange of Prisoners. We do not know what was said at this meeting, but there was no change in the US policy towards releasing prisoners until 1865 when the Confederacy relaxed its policy about exchanging black soldiers.

President Lincoln Speaks to the 166th Ohio Regiment
On August 22nd, President Lincoln stepped aside from stressful political and military issues to talk with a regiment of soldiers, just before they are mustered out of the war.

This regiment was part of the "Hundred Days' Men". Serving the Union for simply 100 days, these soldiers from states in the old northwest were assigned to the defenses of Washington City.

Lincoln addressed the troops as often as he could. Some regiments marched in formation in front of the Executive Mansion, some had bands played "Hail to the Chief", and some gave a 21 gun salute to the President as he passed their units.
Soldiers assigned the defense of Washington
Music: Sanitary Fair Grand March
Music:
Sanitary Fair Polka
Although the Andersonville commissioners were not able to restart prisoner exchanges...
... the commissioners went on to be involved with two famous Civil War trials after the war.

H.C. Higginson offered information on John Wilkes Booth's aid for the South to the Lincoln Assassination investigators.

E.W. Boates and Prescott Tracy testified at the trial of Captain Henry Wirz, who was the Confederate officer in charge of Andersonville Prison.
Captain Wirz
Captain Wirz was the only Confederate officer to be found guilty of war crimes after the Civil War
He was hung in Washington City on November 10, 1865. His guilt is still debated; he is either seen as a evil man or a martyr for the Cause.
Camp Sumter - Andersonville, Georgia
'...
I present you sincere thanks for myself and the country..."
Lincoln wanted to stress the "
...importance of the success in this contest. It is not merely for to-day, but for all time to come what we should perpetuate for our children's children this great and free government, which we have enjoyed all our lives."
At this time of the summer, the war and Republican politics were not going well. Yet Lincoln was looking forward, and wanted to remind these men who were headed home,
"The nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an inestimable jewel."
Lincoln faced a long difficult summer in 1864
Although the President had many issues to handle: the war, the upcoming Presidential election, the affairs of State with other countries, and personal family issues, he always had time for the soldiers. These three
Lincoln Writings
help tell that story.
Thanks also to:

•My Civil War students for their feedback
•Mark Stoddard, M.Ed in Theater, Lincoln voiceover
•Kirsten Johnson, Piano performance of the
Sanitary Fair Polka (1864)
by Fred Beyer, and the
Sanitary Fair Grand March (1864)
by E. Mack
•Chesney Carter, my former student and now research assistant for her work at the National Archives in Washington, DC
•Rick Johnson, technical feedback and cheerleader
•Dr. Matthew Pinsker, Professor and creator of the
Lincoln's Writings
course from which I have learned so much
Fair Ephemera
The Ohio 166th Regiment were stationed in Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington City
Many thanks to those who helped create this project
Thanks to my great great grandfather, Edward Jefferson Young, 111th Illinois. Wanting to know why he was one of the few who was exchanged from Andersonville prison in September 1864 was what started me on this journey.
Thanks also to:

•My Civil War students for their feedback
•Mark Stoddard, M.Ed in Theater, Lincoln voiceover
•Kirsten Johnson, Piano performance of the Sanitary Fair Polka (1864) by Fred Beyer, and the Sanitary Fair Grand March (1864) by E. Mack. Kirsten is my daughter and third great granddaughter of EJ Young.
•Chesney Carter, my former student and now research assistant for her work at the National Archives in Washington, DC
•Rick Johnson, technical feedback and cheerleader
•Dr. Matthew Pinsker, Professor and creator of the Lincoln's Writings course from which I have learned so much
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