November 22, 1864

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Telegram Sent on: November 22, 1864.
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Transcript

Office U.S. Military Telegraph,

War Department,

Washington, D.C., Nov. 22, 1864

Gov. Bramlette

Frankfort, Ky.


Yours of to-day received. It seems

that Lt. Gov. Jacobs & Col. Wolford are stationa-

ry now. Gen. Sudarth & Mr. Hodges are here &

the Secretary of War, and myself are trying

to devise means of pacification and harmony

for Kentucky, which we hope to effect soon, now

that the passion-exciting subject of the election

is past.

A. Lincoln.


57Chg Ex [...]

no 51W

Rec'd 7.05P

Sn 7.25 P.M.

By G


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 http://www.historicalinquiry.com

Summary of the telegram

In this telegram, President Abraham Lincoln sent a response ("yours of to-day received") to the Governor of Kentucky, Bramlette, telling him that Lieutenant Governor Jacobs and Colonel Wolford would remain where they were and that some members of his staff were with him in D.C. developing a strategy to bring peace and harmony to Kentucky. He emphasized at the end of the telegram that he would have time to begin improving the situation soon now that the "passion-exciting" subject of the election was over.

The Context for this telegram

Thomas Bramlette became the governor of Kentucky on the Union Democrats' ticket due to election interference by the Union army. While a supporter of the Union, Bramlette was also a slave owner and did not support the decision to require Kentucky to recruit Negroes for the Union Army. Because of this federal order, Bramlette abandoned his support of Lincoln and quickly developed a racist agenda, vowing to "baptize the state into the Confederacy" [1]. Lieutenant Governor Richard Taylor Jacob (Bramlette's running mate) was banished by General Stephen Burbridge, who helped to enlist Negroes into the military service. Jacob was banished for his attacks on the Lincoln administration and sent to Richmond, Virginia [2]. General Burbridge stated in communication on November 23 to Colonel Chipman that Jacob was arrested for "advis[ing] armed resistance to the enrollment and enlistment of slaves" and that he was being disloyal to the Union [3].

Because of the arrests of Jacob and Colonel Wolford, Bramlette sent a telegram to Lincoln earlier on November 22 asking for the two to be released or that their order of expulsion be suspended until further communication. Along with his telegram, Bramlette sent a petition to Lincoln which included the signatures of several men who wanted the release of Jacob and Wolford [4].

Interestingly enough, Abraham Lincoln allowed Jacob to return to Kentucky, which shows the type of character Lincoln had.

Inferences about the telegram

This telegram was sent as a direct response to Governor Bramlette from Kentucky. It is clear from the communication Bramlette shared with Lincoln that the two did not have a positive relationship. The way Bramlette spoke to President Lincoln was insubordinate when he stated that Lincoln should suspend the order to expulsion from Kentucky "until [he] receive[d his] communication." Additionally, Bramlette's having to send a petition as an appendix to his telegram showed that he knew that he would need convincing evidence to try to persuade Lincoln.

Lincoln's response to Bramlette told him that Jacob and Wolford were "stationary," meaning they were staying put for the time being. He also implied in his response to Bramlette that he would get to the matter at a later time and clearly did not want to make this his top priority. Bramlette was very vocal against Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and Lincoln's response showed that he did not want to appease Bramlette. Although Lincoln ended up allowing Jacob to return to Kentucky, Lincoln wanted to put off Bramlette as long as possible.

Lastly, Lincoln emphasized the phrase "passion-exciting" in his telegram when referring to the past election. This seemed to be a direct dig at Bramlette as Bramlette was a staunch supporter of McClellan during the election. The "passion" that Bramlette exhibited during the election was clearly anti-Lincoln in spirit.

Notes

  1. More information about Bramlette can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Bramlette.
  2. More information about Jacob can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Taylor_Jacob#Civil_War.
  3. Information gathered from http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/lincoln8/1:262?rgn=div1;view=fulltext.
  4. Information gathered from http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/lincoln8/1:262?rgn=div1;view=fulltext.