Lincoln’s Renomination in Doubt
June 8, 1864. “In the early months of 1864, Lincoln’s renomination was seriously in doubt. For one thing, tradition argued against it. No president since Andrew Jackson [President, 1829-37] had sought, much less won, reelection. Worse, the Republican Party seemed for a time hopelessly split. The radical wing hoped to cajole its unsuccessful 1856 contender, former general John C. Fremont, into the race, while another potential challenger loomed inside Lincoln’s cabinet: the ambitious Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase.”
Lincoln Renominated, Change in Running Mate Would Prove a Tragic Mistake
“Lincoln eventually outflanked them both, winning renomination on June 8 by acclamation when the Republicans, briefly renamed the National Union party, convened at Baltimore in early June. One of the great unsolved mysteries surrounding the convention remains the replacement of Vice President Hannibal Hamlin with a longtime Democrat, [former Senator and] the military Governor of Tennessee, Andrew Johnson. No one has ever proven whether Lincoln knew, accepted, or even engineered the change in the ticket. If he participated in the dump Hamlin effort, however, it certainly ranks as a tragic mistake. Johnson later succeeded Lincoln, and proved to be a disastrous chief executive.”
Lincoln in the Times, The Life of Abraham Lincoln As Originally Reported in The New York Times, David Herbert Donald and Harold Holzer, eds., pages 207-208.
Two-Hour Ceasefire to Retrieve the Dead from the Battlefield
“At 2 O’clock this morning they made a long determined charge, but the boys never wavered. We could hear the Reb officers shouting forward, forward. On they came but it was only to be mowed down by the Thousand. We never thought of getting drove out, I rather enjoyed it and I believe the rest of the boys did also. At daylight this morning all was quiet. The enemy advanced a white Flag, asking permission to bury their dead, which was granted. We had an armistice of two hours. The quietness was really oppressive. It positively made us feel lonesome, after a continual racket day and night for so long. We sit on the works and let our legs dangle over on the front and watch Johnnies carry off their dead comrades in silence, but in a great hurry. Some of them lay dead within twenty feet of our works — the live Rebel looks bad enough in his old torn, ragged Butternut suit, but a dead Rebel looks horrible all swelled up and black in the face. After they were through there was nothing left but stains of Blood, broken and twisted guns, old hats, canteens, every one of them reminders of the death and carnage that reigned a few short hours before. When the 2 hours was up we got back in our holes and they did the same. A large gun at the fort gave one shot and both sides passed a few but no damage was done. Things quieted down except the continual crack of the Sharpshooters rifles. They are busy from daylight until dark, they hide in trees, behind stumps, along banks, or where ever they can protect themselves and see their enemies.”
– Submitted by Vermont Humanities Council Executive Director Peter A. Gilbert