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he had no higher ambitions - like Stanton in my opinion

As a further aside, you allow me to tell four interesting tidbits about this intriguing character which didn't fit into the diary.

Stanton had a special history with all the main players. I first mentioned him as a whistleblower – the first Republican he contacted was Seward. From much earlier, he was Chase's best friend. As for Lincoln, their first meeting was rather negative. Back when both worked as lawyers, a partner of Stanton asked Lincoln for some help in a patent case involving an Illinois company, but although Lincoln did the job, he was forgotten when the trial was moved to Ohio. When Lincoln turned up at the trial in Cincinnati, Stanton saw him as an uncouth backwoodsman and rudely told him off. However, instead of coming away with hate, Lincoln stayed and was impressed by Stanton's attention to detail in the case, contributing to his later decision to put him in the War Department. As for Stanton, in office, he practically became a fan of Lincoln, and wrote that law partner that "no men were ever so deceived as we at Cincinnati".

Back in 2006 when I wrote Monday Train Blogging: Field Railways, I thought that the 1866 Austro-Prussian War was the first conflict in which railways have been used strategically, with decisive effect, but a commenter forced me to read up on the Civil War and re-think. Now I view the September-October 1863 movement of three entire divisions from the eastern to the western theatre in a week (which proved a decisive factor in the ensuing Chattanooga Campaign) as the revolutionary step. As described in Team of Rivals, his was entirely Stanton's brainchild, his generals never thought something like this is possible until he had calculations made, organised it and supervised it 24/7 at the detriment of his health.

Then there is General Sherman, who was such a racist that during his march to the Sea, he failed to recognise that taking slaves along was the most effective means of his goal to starve the Southern war economy. It was Stanton who got him to meet slave elders and issue an order distributing land among the escaped slaves following his army.

It was also Stanton, though, who in all likelihood was responsible for issuing the order for the assassination of the Confederate government that came to light in the Dahlgren Affair. Team of Rivals completely omits this episode, and also the fact that the South retaliated by starting black flag operations, though the most successful of those was featured: that claim of scuppering a Confederate peace offer (which I mentioned in the diary in the part on Douglass), a manipulation by Southern agents in Canada meant to influence the 1864 elections.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Jan 19th, 2014 at 05:07:50 PM EST
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