Lincoln saved his lesson on how bones heal for his summation to the jury. Then, holding up two chicken-leg bones—one from an old chicken and the other from a young one—he demonstrated to the jury their respective texture and resilience. The bones of the young bird were supple, while those of the old chicken were brittle and broke easily.
Fleming, being in middle age, Lincoln pointed out, would have bones more closely resembling the latter than the former. This graphic demonstration had the desired effect on some of the jurors, a majority of whom probably entered the courtroom predisposed toward Fleming and prejudiced against the more affluent defendants. After 18 hours of deliberation, the jurors failed to reach a decision. Judge Davis put the case over to the fall term of court. By September, the doctors had suffered the loss of another vital witness from the Bloomington area. Isaac Small, who had helped to administer the chloroform to Fleming at the time the attempt was made to re-break his right thigh bone, had moved to Nashville, Tennessee.
The retrial of the case never took place, both sides having agreed to a settlement before the March court term began. The doctors named in the suit agreed to pay the fees incurred by Fleming, whose expense probably totaled less than a thousand dollars. Soon after the Fleming suit was settled, Lincoln became preoccupied with the race for U.
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Douglas, that propelled him onto the national political stage. Although Lincoln lost that election, the campaign was an important step on his road to the White House. And to a great extent, he used the talents that he had honed as an Illinois circuit lawyer to maintain popular support in the North for the war effort and to develop a political constituency that sustained the army in the field. Logan, again as a junior partner. In , Lincoln teamed up with William H. Herndon, this time as a senior partner.
Charles M. This article was originally published in the August issue of American History magazine. More out of necessity than inclination, Abraham Lincoln became one of the most active commanders in chief in American history, directly influencing and managing events and generals in every field of operations during the Civil War. Never before had a president been able to communicate his desires to far-off commanders as quickly as Lincoln was able to.
He could do this because of recent inventions that speeded communication, most notably the telegraph. At the beginning of that year, the Union was poised on all fronts to take the offensive. When this was done, the Confederacy would be cut in two.
In Tennessee, a Northern army had fought the Confederates to a draw at Stones River and was preparing to push the Southerners out of middle and eastern Tennessee. In the East, after suffering many defeats in , Union forces had a new commander and were preparing to take the war deeper into Virginia. As promising as the Union outlook was at the beginning of the year, there would be many problems and disappointments before ended. Lincoln would be forced to deal with numerous commanders who failed to understand that the main objective of the Union military machine should be defeating the Confederate armies, not merely occupying enemy territory.
Lincoln often had to beg his commanders to take action, or relieve and replace a general when he failed to prosecute the war in an aggressive manner. The stage had been set in July , when Maj.
Henry W. Halleck had replaced Maj. George B. McClellan as general in chief of the Union Army. Lincoln hoped that he had found a competent leader to aggressively prosecute the war without much direction from the White House, and at first glance Halleck appeared to be a fine choice. Events, however, soon showed that Halleck was not the aggressive general Lincoln believed him to be. After the Union defeat at the Second Battle of Manassas in August , Halleck seemed to lose confidence in both himself and his generals, and adopted a style of giving suggestions and advice to his subordinates rather than direct orders.
If a general is unwilling to fight, he is not likely to gain victory. Although Lincoln continued to work through Halleck, he also often communicated directly with his field commanders by telegraph. Earlier in , Lincoln had made a wise move by establishing governmental control of the U.
Initially, telegraph operations were under the Signal Corps, but by they were placed under a separate entity known as the U. Military Telegraph Service. Initially, each of these areas had a main field commander with whom Lincoln would have many dealings over the course of the year.
In the West, the campaign to capture the last major Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River was under the direction of Maj. Ulysses S. Grant had proved to be an aggressive general, winning several important victories in that helped to clear the Confederate presence from western Tennessee. Promoted to head the Department of the Tennessee when Halleck left to become general in chief, in November Grant launched a campaign to capture Vicksburg by an overland route through the state of Mississippi. Confederate cavalry raids on his supply lines forced Grant to cancel this operation and return his army to its initial starting point near Memphis, Tenn.
The persistent commander then determined that his next attempt to capture Vicksburg would be via the Mississippi River itself. In central Tennessee, Maj. William S. Rosecrans was in command of the Army of the Cumberland. In October , he had relieved Maj. Don Carlos Buell as head of the army. Rosecrans was then poised to begin a campaign to drive the Confederates from the eastern half of the state. In northern Virginia, Maj. Ambrose Burnside led the Union Army of the Potomac at the start of Joseph Hooker. Lincoln had his doubts about Hooker, too, mainly due to his vocal criticism of Burnside, but he had performed well as a corps commander and talked aggressively about what he intended to do in the spring campaign.
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In , a politically appointed general named John A. Stanton to raise troops in several northwestern states as an expeditionary force for use in capturing Vicksburg. The wording of the order made it appear that McClernand would be in command of the operation. But after McClernand had raised the troops and sent them to Memphis, Grant simply took control of the soldiers for his operations down the Mississippi. Although he disliked and distrusted McClernand, Grant wisely retained him as a corps commander, knowing that Lincoln wished to keep the Illinois Democrat in an important capacity for political reasons.
Catalog Record: Speeches and letters of Abraham Lincoln, 1832-1865 | HathiTrust Digital Library
McClernand was not satisfied by the arrangements, and he appealed directly to Lincoln. You are now doing well—much better than you could possibly be if engaged in open war with Gen. Lincoln also let Grant know when he thought a particular project was especially important. In order to keep his men occupied and make them feel they were making some headway against the Confederates, Grant had his soldiers work on cutting a canal that would bypass the Vicksburg defenses.
Although Grant had little hope of success for the effort, Lincoln felt the project was important. The President attaches much attention to this. As weeks dragged by, Rosecrans continued to request more supplies from the government while making no effort to move. The government tried many different tactics to get Rosecrans to advance, but to no avail.
Finally, in an apparent attempt to infuse some spirit of competition between Rosecrans and Grant, Halleck sent each a telegram that offered what could fairly be interpreted as a bribe. He let his superiors know that he was offended, further worsening relations between himself and Washington. Meanwhile in the East, the Army of the Potomac was being reorganized in the early months of Lincoln was still uncertain about Hooker mainly due to his outspoken opinions about the government and Burnside.
During the next few months, however, Hooker proved to be a good administrator of the army, reorganizing it into an efficient fighting force. By April, it was ready once again to begin offensive operations. The Northern public was growing weary of inaction by the Army of the Potomac. Having done all that he could to ensure success, Lincoln should have felt confident about victory. The president could not visit and actively supervise the Union armies in the West, but he could send a personal representative to be his eyes and ears.
Dana on a fact-finding mission in April. That spring Grant attempted several different schemes to bypass the Confederate defenses at Vicksburg.
While none proved successful, at least he and his command were making attempts to defeat the enemy. Their efforts did not go unnoticed in Washington, but Lincoln was concerned that Grant was dividing his army before the enemy, which might prove costly. He wanted Grant to unite with Maj. Then the Navy would ferry his men to the east bank of the river, where they would be on the same side as their objective—Vicksburg. In mid-April, Grant did just what he said he would do.
Hooker was also ready to fight by the end of April. In a series of brilliant maneuvers, he managed to keep the South in the dark about his intentions and get his army across the Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers without interference. Once the army began to move, Lincoln monitored its progress by telegram. We are busy. Will tell you as soon as I can, and have it satisfactory.
On May 1, the Union and Confederate forces collided in a region known as the Wilderness. Over the next three days, a tremendous battle would be fought near a crossroads known as Chancellorsville. Loss heavy on both sides. General Hooker slightly, but not severely, wounded. Finally, on May 5, Butterfield sent a telegram to Lincoln that was not received until the next day explaining the dire situation that Hooker and the Army of the Potomac faced.
Butterfield advised that the army was still south of the Rappahannock in a strong position, but that Hooker believed it was possible the enemy might have crossed the river and turned his right flank. My God!