Like so many Hell Hounds

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.


R. Curtis

Otsego, Allegan County”


Source – Austin Blair Papers, Burton Collection, Detroit Public Library

4 thoughts on “Like so many Hell Hounds

    • Bill,

      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.”


  1. 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.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s