A few disclaimers are in order –
First, the following has nothing to do with cavalry.
Second, I recently mentioned that I will not write book reviews, but that I am happy to acknowledge worthy books. I recognize some readers may not see the distinction.
Third, it is also my intention to leave political commentary to others. I prefer to offer a story based on contemporary sources, largely, without commentary, and enjoy the conclusions of others.
Still, as we gird ourselves for the political conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia, I cannot resist posting this letter. I also acknowledge I may be blurring another line.
Though not dated, the letter was written in 1864 to Austin Blair, Michigan’s Republican Governor.
“In a few days you will be mingling in the national convention to nominate a candidate for the next presidency. God evidently designated John C. Fremont to lead the people in this struggle – gave him a clear and comprehensive mind to comprehend the nature and extent of our trouble – gave him energy, patriotism and devotion to our cause – gave him all the great qualities that distinguish a good and successful leader.
By the striking down of John C. Fremont our cause was imperiled and nearly ruined – the perpetration of that wickedness brought every [copperhead] Secesh Scoundrel to his feet and set them upon our cause like so many Hell Hounds throughout the length and breadth of the land – the policy that followed upon the heels of this base act elected some [copperhead] governors and came fearfully near of electing a majority of [copperheads] to this present Congress in which event our ruin would have been complete.
[Governor] I beg and pray you to strike for God and Fremont – Strike boldly – Strike resolutely – Strike defiantly – you will find a host to back you. [Governor] it is too awful to think of that our young men are being slain to gratify an ignorant policy, acting on the reverse of [common] sense. I was of the number that shouted for Abraham Lincoln – I go for backing him fully to the end of his turn and no farther.
Otsego, Allegan County”
Source – Austin Blair Papers, Burton Collection, Detroit Public Library
4 thoughts on “Like so many Hell Hounds”
Was the letter’s author likely to influence Blair? Where was Blair on the Abolition spectrum?
I’d be way out of my league to attempt an answer to your first question. As to your second question, Blair is described as a “rising Republican radical and old Abolitionist…descended from Abolitionist forebears.”
Always appreciated President Lincoln’s comment regarding the emergence of Fremont as a challenger: “A good many things in this world at which timid people become greatly alarmed are found on nearer approach to be mere noise.”
Still good words to live by