Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin.
Correspondence of the Geneva Gazette.
ELMIRA, June 28, 1864.
SECRETARY STANTON’S despatches during the battles of the Wilderness, and subsequently, were calculated to deceive the people. It was the privilege of your humble correspondent, in a communication to the “Gazette” of this city, to suggest, that if Secretary Stanton would give the public the litteral meaning of our General’s despatches, instead of the dilated trash he was pleased to serve up to the public, that it would be far better for the people and the country. I am in a position to know that the Secretary’s despatches to Gen. Dix have been, in the main, false. But the limits of this letter will not admit of my going into particulars to show the utter falsehoods of those despatches. God knows, that so severe have been our losses, opposed as I am to the policy of the Administration, I had rather the impressions Stanton has sought to make should prevail, rather than otherwise, if by suppressing the truth, the real interests of the country may be promoted. But I cannot forgive the unwillingness of the Administration to trust the people. This has been a peculiar weakness of those who have controlled the Government since the commencement of the war. The President himself is but a servant of the people, and yet we see every day of our lives, almost, evidence that he is afraid to let the people,—who ought to be his masters, if indeed they are not,—know the true state of national affairs.
I am in receipt, almost daily, of letters from officers and privates in the Army of the Potomac—those who have fought and bled in that noble army from the first organization—who declare without any reserve, that if Gen. MCCLELLAN had received one-half the support which is now, ostensibly, being given to Gen. GRANT, Richmond and the whole rebel army of Virginia would have been ours in 1862.—It is a serious question to decide, if the wholesale massacre of our fellow countrymen shall be allowed to continue, simply to build up and retain in power a party whose principles and sympathies are wholly un American and antagonistic to the institutions of our country. Who is there professing christianity, or who has any love for his fellow countrymen, that is willing that this unnatural and (if we may use a term expressive of our feelings) devilish war, shall go on.
As in 1862, when Richmond was nearer being in our power than now, President LINCOLN made frequent visits to the Army of the Potomac. Many a scared veteran of that noble army has assured me that his visits were ever regarded as omens to the army. Why should the President visit the army? He has abundantly proven his entire ignorance and ability to assume, in the least degree, the management of the war. The country will ever hear with dread that he has visited any section of the army.
God knows that the people have already been humbugged enough. This is a day of solemn realities, and no time can be spared for the further testing not only of impracticable theories, but wicked plans to lure a free people into certain bondage.
We have a right, who have ever stood by the Constitution of our Fathers, to advise our countrymen in regard to the true interests of the country. We warn you, fellow countrymen to beware of a party, which in order to obtain place and power in the State, was willing to deluge the country in blood. If you would not be involved in the responsibility of destroying beyond redemption the best country and the freest institutions on earth, see to it that you defeat the nominees of the Baltimore Convention. You who believe in the freedom of the press, the freedom of speech and the right of every man to a fair trial by jury—you who would stay this useless and wicked expenditure of blood and treason and put down those who say that the old Union and Constitution shall not be preserved, we implore you to rally now for your country. While our soldiers fight one set of our deadly enemies in the field, let those of us who remain at home fight, with equal stubbornness the equally deadly enemies near at home.
- “Correspondence of the Geneva Gazette.” Geneva (NY) Gazette. July 1, 1864, p. 2 col. 3 ↩