November 15, 1864 (5)

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Telegram Sent on: November 15, 1864.
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Note: This is page two of a three page telegram message.

Page 1 is here - November 15, 1864 (4)

Page 3 is here - November 15, 1864 (6)


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Image of the November 15, 1864 telegram

Next telegram November 15, 1864 (6)


[column 1]

ime Received 330pm

Saml Cony ^450pm No. 11 nf

Gov of Maine

Augusta, ME

Jos. A Gilmore No. 12 nf [with K written over nf]

Gov of NH. Concord, NH.

Jno Gregory Smith No.13 nf [with K written over nf]

Govr of Vermont

Montpelier, Vt.

John A. Anderson No. 14 nf [with K written over 14]

Govr of Massachusetts

Page 335 [written in other handwriting] Boston Mass.---

Jas Y Smith No.15 nf [K written over 15 nf]

Gov. of Rhode Island

15q [other handwriting] Providence, RI

Wm. A Buckingham No.16 nf [K over and above 16]

Govr of Connecticut

Hartford Conn.

Horatio Seymour No.14(?) nf [K written over]

Govr of New York

Albany, N.Y.

Joel Parker No. K Pf [with 625 pm written over No..]

Gov of New Jersey

Trenton, N.J.

A.G. Curtin No.3 P [with K over 3]

Gov. of Penna

Harrisburg Pa




[End of Column 1, Start Column 2]

Office U.S. Military Telegraph

War Department

Wm. Cannon

No.5 [...] Gov of Delaware

640pm Dover Del


nd [640pm crossed out] A.W. Bradford 830pm

[K crossed out] No.10nf Govr of Maryland K

[No.7 anh N.D. crossed out] Annapolis [Annapolis, Md crossed out]

A. I. Boreman

Govr West Va

No.23 JfD Wheeling, Va

Page 250 [other handwriting]

Andrew Johnson 18L1

No.24[...]D Mil Govr of Tenn. 251

Nashville Tenn

Thos. E. Bramlette 233

Gov of Kentucky 245

No.25 WD Lexington Ky.

John Brough 65

Govr of Ohio 250

N. 26 WD Columbus O.

Page 250 [in different handwriting] Austin Blair

No. 27 WD Gov of Michigan

Lansing Mich

O.P. Morton 200

Gov of Indiana 250

No.28 W.D Indianapolis Ind


Historical analysis

This analysis makes use of a heuristic for historical thinking know as SCIM-C developed by David Hicks, Peter Doolittle and Tom Ewing. For more about this historical thinking heuristic please see

Summary of the telegram

Abraham Lincoln has sent a telegram to the governors of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, California, Nevada, Arkansas, and Louisiana to inquire as to the number of votes cast in each state during the Presidential election from earlier in the month. This telegram was sent from the U.S. Military Telegraph office on November 15. Lincoln is calling on these governors to deliver this data because he wants to reference it in a future "Message."

The Context for this telegram

This telegram was written on November 15, 1864, a week after President Lincoln was reelected for a second term in office (November 8). This telegraph was written in order to ask the governors of 27 states to share with him the number of votes cast in each state on election day. Abraham Lincoln easily won reelection by defeating his former Civil War general and the Democratic candidate, George B. McClellan. Lincoln originally believed that he would lose this reelection, but he ended up defeating his opponent 212-21 in electoral votes [1]. Abraham Lincoln had his annual message to congress scheduled on December 6, in which he planned on using the data to analyze the election [2].

Inferences about the telegram

The recipients of this telegram make this quite an interesting message from Lincoln. When looking at the recipient list, 27 governors were sent this message, but when looking at which states were included, it should be noted that more than just Union states were included in this telegram. Abraham Lincoln sent this original telegram to the governor of every Union state except Oregon. While it could be speculated as to why Lincoln did not include Oregon, the best guess is that he simply forgot to include Oregon. When looking at his list of recipients, there was no specific order and it seems that he was listing them as he remembered them. The omission of Oregon's governor should not be read into as he was later sent a telegram on November 29 (along with the governors of seven other Union states) where Lincoln said "May I renew my request for the exact aggregate vote of your state." By including Oregon's governor in this follow-up telegram, Lincoln showed that he clearly didn't omit the governor of Oregon intentionally [3].

Additionally, Lincoln sent this telegram to the governor of four "border states" [4]. Most interesting to note, however, is that Lincoln also sent this telegram to the governors of three confederate states (Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana). It is not exactly clear why Lincoln sent this to those particular governors as none of those states participated in the 1864 Presidential Election.

It can be inferred that Lincoln wanted to utilize this data during his "Message" to congress on December 6. Lincoln won by a landslide, so it is possible that Lincoln wanted to encourage Congress even more and show that the change that he is trying to make is wanted by a majority of his constituents. The fact that Lincoln also asked the governors of the three states he lost (Kentucky, New Jersey, and Delaware) for their data showed that he was going to include a comprehensive view of the election during his Message.

The fact that Lincoln had to send a follow-up message to seven governors (plus a first message to the governor of Oregon) could show that there still wasn't a strong buy-in to the telegram in certain areas of the country.


  1. Information gathered from It is additionally interesting to note that no confederate states participated in this election, which makes this telegram particularly interesting.
  2. Information gathered from;view=fulltext.
  3. For more information on Lincoln's November 29 telegram, visit,_1864
  4. Information gathered from The governors of the border states of Missouri, Kentucky, Delaware, and Maryland all received this telegram from Lincoln