tv Edwin Stanton Lincolns Assassination Aftermath CSPAN March 30, 2018 5:42pm-6:35pm EDT
american history tv was recently in ford's theatre. next, walter stahr, author of "stanton." he talks about the role stanton played after lincoln's assassination. this is about 50 minutes. welcome back to our final speaker of the afternoon. for those of you who celebrate, happy st. patrick's day today. i'm michelle krowl with the
abraham lincoln institute. he's been described by his enemies and admirers alike as irritable -- this is not about walter -- irritable, capricious, good-hearted, vindictive, duplicitous, strong-willed, hateful, cruel, selfless, fearless, corruptible. to abraham lincoln, this man. but rather to the subject of his latest biography, the always fascinating edwin m. stanton. fortunately walter only shares the sterling qualities that made stanton indispensible.
to stanton, walter's background is in the law. after attending harvard, he joined a law firm that focused on international law and this became walter's legal specialty with a particular emphasis on work related to asia. but walter's career went in another direction in the early 2000s when he turned his attention of writing biographies of other notable lawyers in american history. his biography of chief justice john jay was published in 1925 to be followed by biographies of william h. seward in 2012 and edwin stanton in 2013. he is currently working on secretary chase. i recently learned that the library of congress where i work was an important factor in his path to becoming the historian
that we welcome today. as a young lawyer, he researched state law questions in the law library. from there he progressed to releasing questions in genealogy. that advanced to the collector's division of john jay. walter compared the compact high of doing historical research to taking drugs. honestly, he said mainlining heroin, but i didn't think that was appropriate. so just say no to drugs. and in his own words, there is no hope for the addict at that point. you are talking with a man who has taken the red eye flight from california and taken a taxi directly to the library of congress. we are grateful that there is as yet no 12-step program or rehab to cure walter stahr of his
research of addiction. please help me welcome walter stahr. >> thank you for that kind introduction. i was going to start on april 14 right here in ford's theatre, but listening to some of the earlier speakers, i thought i should go back just a few days before april 14th. let's start on april 3rd, 1865. at about 10:00 in the morning, a telegram arrives in the war department, which is then where the old executive office building is today, a much smaller and more modest building. it's a telegram from richmond. after four years, the union army has finally entered richmond. and the word flashes around the war department building and the clerks run out into the streets shouting, and soon a large crowd gathers there in front of the war department dmemanding a speech from stanton, the
secretary of war. he steps out at once, as a war reporter noted, overcome with emotion, and he says, friends and fellow citizens, in this great hour of triumph, my heart as well as yours is penetrated with gratitude to almighty god for his deliverance of this nation. our thanks to the president, to the army and navy, to the great commanders by sea and land, to the gallant officers and men who have perilled their lives upon the battlefield and drenched the soil with their blood. henceforth, our commiseration of the war with their suffering. let us humbly offer up our thanks with his care over us and beseech him as he has carried us to victory in the past, that he
will teach us how to be humble in the midst of triumph, how to be just in the hour of victory and that he will enable us to secure the foundations of this republic, soaked as they have been in blood, so that it shall live forever and ever. if you hear echoes there of lincoln's second inaugural, i think you're right to hear those echoes. this is sort of stanton's second inaugural, if you will. this is a fairly sober speech, but i assure you that night in washington, there was drinking and fireworks and celebration, and that continued over the next few days with the news that lee had surrendered to grant and that sherman down in north carolina was about to capture the second -- the last, really -- large confederate army. it was a too many of unrestrained rejoicing here in washington. and then on april 14th, 1865,
news arrived at stanton's home a couple blocks from here that someone had shot lincoln here in ford's theatre and that almost at the same time someone had slashed and stabbed secretary of state seward at his home on lafayette square. stanton was incredulous. he told the messenger, that can't be, i was just with seward an hour ago. indeed, he had been with seward an hour ago. seward had been injured in a carriage accident, as we heard earlier today, and was confined to his bed. so over his wife's protests, stanton pulled on his clothes and got into his carriage and headed first over to seward's where he learned to his horror that it was true, that someone had slashed the secretary of state about the face and neck. seward had survived, however, and he was able to talk with stanton briefly and then stanton
went back downstairs and with gideon welles, the two of them got into a carriage and came over here to 10th street. the street was so crowded with whatever rumors and news they had that they had to get out of their carriage and walk. i don't know how they learned that lincoln was no longer here in ford's up in that box there, that he had been carried across the street to the peterson house, but they did learn and so they entered the peterson house and that actually is where my stanton book begins, with a short, burly man kind of pushing his way through the crowd up the curved staircase into the peterson house, into the back bedroom where lincoln is lying diagonally on a bed bleeding and dying. stanton learned from the doctors within a minute that lincoln would never open his eyes, and rather than go to the war
department, he decided to stay put. he went into the next room, he sat down at a small table and he went to work. his first message was to general grant, who was on a train heading north to see his family in new jersey. he said come back to washington. he followed up with a message saying take care of your personal security. messages to close the bridges, to question those leaving washington, to arrest suspicious perso persons. he summoned folks from ford's across the street to the peterson house because he wanted to question witnesses while their memory was still fresh. he was a lawyer, he knew the value of questioning witnesses right away. when his aides couldn't keep up with the question and answer in longhand he turned and said find someone who can take shorthand. soon a crippled clerk, james tanner, found himself sitting next to the secretary of war
taking shorthand notes of this interrogation. stanton also sent out a series of what we would call press releases, telegrams nominally addressed to general john dix in new york city which were in practice disseminated immediately to the nation's newspapers. let me read the first few lines of the first of those messages sent at about one in the morning on april 15th. quote, this evening, at about 9:30 p.m., at ford's theater, while sitting in his private box with mrs. lincoln, mrs. harris and major rathburn, was shot by an assassin who suddenly entered the box and approached behind the president. the assassin then leaped upon the stage, brandishing a large dagger or knife, and made his escape in the rear of the theater. the pistol ball entered the back of the president's head and penetrated nearly through the
head. the wound is mortal. the president has been incen insensible ever since it was inflicted and is now dying. those of you lincoln assassination buffs will have noted a couple minor errors in what i read compared to what happened. i'm not going to reveal them now. but overall, the message goes on to talk about seward and seward's son and described the assassins to the extent he had a description. it's an amazingly detailed, amazingly accurate description of the events here in ford's and at the seward house written within a couple hours of those events. in another of these press releases, sent a few hours later, stanton reported that a letter found in booth's trunk at the hotel showed that quote, the murder was planned before the fourth of march but fell through then because the accomplice backed out until richmond could
be heard from. until richmond could be heard from. so even before lincoln passed away, stanton was focused on what would become his obsession, proving that booth was not just a madman acting on his own, proving that booth was paid and working for the confederate government. early the next morning, stanton was in the back bedroom as lincoln died. stanton supposedly said right after lincoln's death now he belongs to the ages. i say supposedly, because i do not think stanton said that. there were detailed accounts written about lincoln's last hours and last minutes and death right after the assassination. some of them appeared in the newspapers, some of them were in private letters including a long letter by james tanner. none of those accounts mentioned
stanton saying anything right after lincoln died. what they describe is how lincoln's pastor led everyone in a prayer, then people dispersed. those words first appear in print in 1890, when lincoln's secretaries hay and nikolei are publishing month by month their biography of lincoln. so they might -- i'm not saying that i'm 100% sure he didn't say it. after all, hay was there. it's possible. but i think that if stanton had said anything so memorable, it would have somehow survived in print before 1890. so going back to april 1865, stanton was incredibly busy in the days and weeks that followed the assassination, organizing the funeral here in washington, d.c., organizing the route for the funeral train that would take lincoln's remains back to
what was referred to as the sacred ground of springfield, organizing the manhunt, the investigation into this complicated plot to assassinate not only lincoln, but also johnson and perhaps stanton and grant. on april 20th, stanton spent part of the day drafting what is one of the most famous things from the lincoln assassination, the poster offering rewards for the capture of booth and his colleagues. let the stain of innocent blood be removed from the land by the arrest and punishment of the murderers. a draft of that famous poster in stanton's own hands is in the archives of the new york historical society. here in washington, in the files of the national archives, there's the record of the investigation such as the paper record exists, and that shows that stanton directed the investigation.
there's an undated note in stanton's hand, for example, directing his aides to collate the evidence about the horses, the horses that were used by booth and his colleague powell, that's the man who slashed seward. for about two weeks after lincoln's death, stanton had no idea where booth was. there were rumors from all points of the compass, booth is here, booth is here. my favorite came from chicago, where there was a reliable report that booth was in a brothel dressed as a woman amidst the prostitutes. and can't disregard it. stanton sent a message to military authorities in chicago to go to the brothel, i forget on what street, check it out. so yes, there were clues pointing to what we know as the escape route which you can take if you take the tour, but there
were clues pointing in every other direction and moreover, he had another problem, namely he had no idea where jefferson davis was. he was hunting for jefferson davis as well. the reports were that davis intended to reunite with a rebel army and to die fighting in mexico or texas or some such place. it was not until the 26th of april that two detectives showed up at stanton's house to report that they had got booth, and baker described for stanton how booth had been located at this bar about 100 miles south of here, surrounded, how his colleagues surrendered, there was a shot, then there was another shot, as one of the federal soldiers shot, and booth was shot but lingered for awhile on the porch of the farmhouse, then died. they brought to stanton the objects they had taken from booth's body, including a diary. he looked at them all and handed
them back to the detectives. he gave orders that when the body arrived here in washington, it should be taken to a secure place and there should be a medical and dental examination. he wanted to be 100% sure that this was booth. booth was dead. many of his colleagues were in prison or more precisely, they were on prison ships anchored out in the potomac river. stanton now turned his attention to the military commission that would try the booth conspirators. it was controversial at the time. it remains controversial today but it was an easy decision for stanton to use a military commission rather than a civil court to try the murderers. after all, there were dozens of military commissions in progress at that very moment trying men on charges of attempted arson in new york city or attempted sabotage of railroad tracks.
if military commissions could be used to try those offenses, surely stanton thought a military commission was the proper way to try those who had attempted to and had indeed killed the military leader of the united states in the military capital of the united states. stanton prepared in his own hand the procedures for that military commission. they're at the new york historical society. so for example, he required that the defense lawyers take the so-called iron-clad oath that they had neither supported nor aided the rebellion in any way. he thus assured that no southern lawyers would be defending booth's colleagues. he wrote no reporters but the official reporter shall be admitted in the courtroom and as the trial started, it started behind closed doors. this led to a firestorm of protests in the newspapers. the "new york world" for example referred to mr. stanton's star
chamber. the "new york tribune" usually supportive of the administration wrote that there was a quote, curious old document in existence known as the constitution of the united states and it continued since it appeared that no copy of this document was in washington, and quote, certain sections including the sections that guarantee criminals trial by jury. stanton relented somewhat. he opened the doors of the military commission to selected newspaper reporters and thus, the remainder of the trial which went on for quite awhile, was reported daily and in detail in the newspapers. one of the hundreds of witnesses who testified, testified that one of the defendants was at stanton's house on the night before the murders asking questions about stanton and his
habits, and this and other evidence suggested that stanton was not only conducting the investigation, he was conducting an investigation into his own attempted murder as well as the murder of lincoln, and attempted murder of seward. there were eight defendants ranging from louis powell, the man who had slashed and nearly killed seward to mary serotte who ran the boardinghouse a few blocks from here where booth had stayed. stanton tried to use the mill tha military commission to prove not only the guilt of the eight defendants but also to prove they were working for richmond. in my view, this was a mistake. he should have waited to try to prove the richmond-booth connection until he had more evidence from richmond, from canada, from banks, from other witnesses, but stanton was never a man to wait. the military commission reached its decision at the end of june.
it sentenced -- convicted all of the defendants and sentenced four of them, including mary serotte, to die. five members of the commission wrote a petition to president johnson recommending that she, on account of her age and sex, not be executed. the sentences were not announced immediately in the newspapers because the judge advocate, the prosecutor in effect, joseph hold, had to present the proposed findings and sentences to president johnson. johnson was ill so it took a couple days. on the 5th of july, johnson and hold finally had this meeting. in later years, the two men fought and their allies fought, indeed, down to this day historians fight about whether hold showed johnson the petition regarding mary serotte.
i'm going to take a pass on that one. whether he did or didn't show the petition, we know that johnson confirmed the sentences. they were announced the next day. the 6th of july, to take effect on the following day, the 7th of july. the four convicted defendants were executed on that day at about noon and the chapter -- this chapter of my book ends with the picture, the grim picture, of the four bodies hanging from the gallows on that day. stanton himself only lived for about four more years. he died in december of 1869, just after being nominated and confirmed to the supreme court, a position that he never was able to fill. within weeks after he was dead, some newspapers were claiming
that stanton had quote, died by his own hand rather than longer bear the torture which was his own to bear from the execution of mary serotte. a longer version of this story appeared a few years later in which stanton's black servant supposedly was shaving stanton, stepped across the room for a moment, then turned in order to see the razor slit across stanton's throat. yes. dramatic stuff. to counter such stories, stanton's doctor, surgeon general joseph barnes, wrote a long newspaper article listing all the people who were present as stanton died of congestive heart failure. he also went out and found stanton's former servants and got affidavits from them about the circumstances of stanton's death and in particular, that there were no slash marks about his neck.
in 1937, otto eisenshimble published a book "why was lincoln murdered" and the answer was simple, because stanton wanted him dead. yeah. stanton, according to this book, wanted l wanted lincoln out of the way because the two of them disagreed on reconstruction and with lincoln gone, stanton could impose his own ideas about reconstruction. otto argued mainly through questions so for example, why did that first message not mention john wilkes booth by name? why did stanton deny lincoln a stronger guard here in ford's theater? why did stanton not give strict orders that booth was to be captured and not killed? is it possible that stanton wanted booth dead so that booth
couldn't tell his tale, pointing towards stanton's own role? i think you get the general drift of it. serious historians were not especially impressed. i would not mention otto, who is long gone, but for the fact that in a sense, this argument that stanton had a role in the assassination that occurred right here in ford's theater is alive and well. in a 2011 book by bill o'reilly and martin dugard, they resurrect and amplify on eisenshimel's argument using the same question and insinuation method. for example, they suggest at one point that stanton hoped if both lincoln and johnson were killed, that stanton himself could become president. that's nonsense. the act of succession which was
in place at the time provided that the order was president, vice president, the president pro tem of the senate and speaker of the house of representatives. secretary of war is not on the list. if there had been an election, everyone would have said well, there's no chance that stanton, given all the things he's done during the war that make him unpopular, would be a candidate for president. that book, as some of you may recall, i'm sure the ford's people know, there was a controversy about whether that book should be stocked in the bookstore here at the ford's theater and the park service decided not to stock it, viewing it as not sufficiently serious. [ applause ] that's an appropriate point to applaud because i'm going to end and field questions, so seward questions, stanton questions, assassination questions, whatever you would like to ask about.
[ applause ] yes. >> of course in your book about stanton you go over a lot of the times he had disagreements with various generals, he had an opinion about everybody from porter to grant, but he particularly had problems with william sherman, in regards to just before atlanta, there was an issue where sherman issued an order about recruiting blacks, the laborers who were working with sherman's army. how many times did basically stanton had the issue with sherman and did they have to have a meeting or basically, you had stanton going back to president lincoln, so how many times was that occurring over the war and how did that complicate things, because otherwise, it became clear sherman probably wasn't following what the law was. >> yeah.
as secretary of war, he has relations with all of the major generals and those range from reasonably warm and friendly and supportive in the case of stanton and grant to atrocious in the case of stanton and mcclellan, and sherman is somewhere in the middle. on how should we say practical, tactical things, stanton and sherman see eye to eye, and sherman is grateful for the rapid and fulsome support that the war department provides to him for the march from atlanta to the sea and then the restocking in savannah and the march north into the carolinas. but the issue upon which stanton and sherman disagree is blacks. black soldiers. stanton, from the time of the emancipation proclamation, indeed, even before the
emancipation proclamation, is keen to recruit blacks into the army and sherman will have none of it. sherman believes that blacks are not ready to be soldiers in his army, and he really pretty much succeeds all the way through in ensuring that blacks are not part of his army, and this is the issue, the main issue. there are some other issues that leads stanton in early 1865 to get on a boat to go down to savannah and see sherman face to face to talk about this, and amazingly, the two of them agree on what becomes sherman's most famous war time document. sherman's special orders number 15, which reserves the sea islands for blacks and says no whites can enter this space other than those in the army and with army passes.
sherman liked it because it was going to keep the black refugees who from his perspective were kind of clogging the roads, near savannah, and stanton liked it, as did his sort of philanthropic friends here in the north because it created kind of a temporary experiment in black self-government. so the stanton/sherman relationship is in a sense the most complicated, because it's neither black nor white. it's a mixture of they get along well on some issues and not well on this issue. yes. >> a simpler question. i noticed in the museum that there was a single guard in the box. >> yes. >> when the president was shot, that guard was out getting a drink? was he ever identified and punished, and was he ever tied in with the possible conspiracy
with booth? >> i do not know the answer to that. i think he was identified, for sure. i think they had, by the end of the investigation, i think they had sort of the names of almost everyone who was here in the theater, but whether he was punished for dereliction of duty, by our standards the security around lincoln was ridiculously lax. stanton did talk about lincoln with this from time to time. the president sort of said well, if someone wants me dead, they will kill me. so, you know, it wasn't just that night that the security around the president was lax. the security around the president was lax all the time. you could walk into the white house. over here. >> you have written two really interesting books which i have
read, first about seward and then about -- i haven't read the john jay book. the seward book and the book about stanton. the heart of your stanton book, you didn't get into today, but that's his service during the lincoln administration and all that he did on recruitment, direction of the army, organization of the bureaucracy. it's a great insight or many great insights in your book about what he did. but your book about seward referred to him as the indispensable man or lincoln's indispensable man. it occurs to me, having read both books, that of the two, who could have replaced stanton? who could have done what he did in the way he did to lead lincoln's department of war?
>> midway through the stanton book, as i was thinking about the title, i felt a little like the late jim fixx who published the complete book of running. then when it came time to publish the sequel, what are you going to call it if it wasn't complete? i don't know, stanton himself at some point in '64 or early '65, someone asked him that question and he said no, no, if i were to die because his health even then was bad, said no, no, if i were to die, there were other men who could do what i do. but i'm not sure. joseph holt does come to mind. indeed, he was considered by lincoln in early '62 as a potential secretary of war. but i don't think he would have been as efficient, as effective as stanton was in organizing the war department, in organizing the army. in some sense, organizing the
whole north to kind of bring the north's manpower and industrial advantages to bear steadily in fighting and reducing the south. i'm not sure that there were, as stanton claimed in that conversation, 100 men in the north who could do the job as well as he did. i think it's probably a small number who could have accomplished what he did in the war department. yes. >> as stanton came into lincoln's cabinet he was a war democrat. did he ever actually change his political affiliation to that of republican as he continued to support lincoln in lincoln's bid for re-election? >> no. i mean, he lived here in the district of columbia where of course one couldn't vote for president on sort of political lines. he wasn't a registered democrat because that concept didn't exist. but i think if you had asked him say in 1864, when he spends a great deal of his time on the
lincoln re-election campaign, are you still a democrat, he would say yes, i'm a union-loving democrat like our candidate for vice president, andrew johnson, like thousands of other union-loving democrats, and i would support the union party. we tend to forget that lincoln's second presidential campaign was not run as a quote, republican. it was run as a union party candidate. i think that would have even been stanton's answer in the election of 1868, when he campaigned for grant against the democratic nominee, if he had been asked are you still a democrat, he would say yes, i still believe those things i believed as a democrat, but it's far more important to preserve the union and elect grant and continue the policies of lincoln by electing grant. yes. >> i have not read your new book but i believe that stanton and
lincoln were together in some piece of commercial litigation before the war and had some kind of interaction there. could you refresh my memory? >> oh, yes. okay. so this is actually -- so stanton and lincoln are both lawyers. they are both hired on the same side of a patent case. the patent case was originally set for trial in illinois. so lincoln was hired as kind of the local expert, the guy who could tell you the judge's pet peeves. the case was then transferred, it was going to be tried in cincinnati, ohio, and no one bothered to tell lincoln that he wasn't needed. so he showed up. and we know he was there. his name is reported in the newspapers. stanton was there, so they had some interaction.
it's usually said, you can find it in dozens of books, that stanton insulted lincoln at that time. and i don't, you know, stanton insulted a lot of people a lot of the time so it's quite possible that he did, but when you look at the sources for that proposition, they are not -- there's no letter from lincoln to his wife saying i have never been so insulted in my life as i was by that edwin stanton. and there are letters from edwin stanton to his then fiancee, soon-to-be wife, describing what's going on and they don't even mention lincoln. they don't say anything like and that lincoln. all the sources are after both lincoln and stanton are long dead and they are of the nature of well, my uncle told me that, dot dot. i'm not sure. but that they met in cincinnati, that they had that one brief
period of a couple days of work on that patent case together. yes. they were there together. they did know one another. over here. actually, sorry. sorry. i need to alternate. yes. >> stanton was in cabinets of two other presidents. >> indeed. >> buchanan and johnson. we tend to focus on johnson and the impeachment and all of that. what's important for us to know about his service in the buchanan cabinet? >> okay. so after the election of lincoln as the southern states start to secede, buchanan's cabinet starts to fall apart. so he needs some reliable democrats to fill kind of short-term positions. stanton's close friend, jeremiah black, who has been the attorney general is promoted, becomes secretary of state, and black goes to buchanan and says look, here's a reliable democrat, edwin stanton. make him attorney general. which he does. in those days, it doesn't take
months and months for confirmation. it's instantaneous. as a lawyer, i really was looking forward to stanton as attorney general. oh, boy, i said, you know there are going to be some interesting legal opinions and issues that he wrestled with. no. no. but he wrestles with the interesting and important issue of fort sumter. buchanan was debating whether to just hand the keys to fort sumter over to the southerners and the cabinet debated this issue at considerable length in late december, and it's reported in great detail in the newspapers and stanton, along with black, form what you might call the don't give in bloc of the buchanan cabinet. indeed, stanton reportedly told buchanan to his face that if he gave up fort sumter he would go down in american history with benedict arnold, another man who gave up another fort.
he was not a man to mince words. so you know, his service in the buchanan cabinet is basically kind of arguing buchanan out of some things that buchanan is thinking of doing and also pushing buchanan. we tend to forget that before the incidents that led to the firing on fort sumter, there was the star of the west in which buchanan actually tried to get arms into fort sumter and stanton was in favor of that. so stiffening buchanan's spine is the short version of stanton's service during the roughly three months that he serves as attorney general for buchanan. over here. >> you alluded to stanton's use of a military tribunal to try, convict and execute the conspirators which all happened in a span of less than three months. >> yeah. >> was there any sort of public outcry for the use of civil
court and/or any involvement of the supreme court, perhaps? >> yes. that was something, when you do a book like this you don't make huge contributions to history but i thought that was a small contribution. i found quite a number of newspapers that criticized not only the fact that the trial was going to occur behind closed doors but that it was going to be a military trial rather than a standard criminal trial in civilian court. that criticism died down a lot once the doors were opened and the newspapers had something to report but there was criticism at the time of the decision to use a military commission. as i said, for stanton this wasn't a particularly hard issue. from pretty much the day he became secretary of war, he and his colleagues were using military commissions to try
offenses against the law of war, some of which are clearly offenses against the law of war. spying for the confederates, sabotaging railroad bridges, but some of them when you look at them, you say hm, that seems more political than a military crime. but there were thousands of military commissions, not just sort of on and near the battlefield, but in ohio, indiana, new york, massachusetts, so by the time that the trial of the booth conspirators came up, it was sort of dead easy for stanton. i don't even have any document in which he's kind of considering the pros and cons. a jury here in the district of columbia, no, he does not want to present his case to a jury of southern sympathizing residents of the district of columbia. he wants to present his case to a panel of generals whom he chose and who ultimately answer to him.
yes. >> are you familiar with and how ridiculous are the conspiracy theories, one that i read that claimed that the guy shot in the barn was not booth, but somebody named boyd, and that years later, booth was sighted, he got away and was sighted somewhere else. >> well, this was why -- i am slightly familiar because as i mentioned in my talk, in a sense, stanton foresaw this. he knew that 20 years, a hundred years later, there would be such theories, so he did everything he could with the body of john wilkes booth in order to prove that this was john wilkes booth. he not only had doctors examine the body, he had booth's dentist, he had his investigators find booth's dentist to look at booth's teeth
and say this is booth. among other things, on the body, there was a tattoo, j.w.b. you also have to bear in mind that booth was one of the most famous actors in america. he would walk into this theater, everyone would say oh, well that's john wilkes booth. i view this as almost impossible that it was someone other than john wilkes booth whose body was, you know, who was shot at the bar and brought here and ultimately buried on stanton's instructions. >> i actually do think your comment about the drug addiction with the research is actually very funny and very appropriate. didn't want to make it sound i thought that was inappropriate at all. to the point, since stanton and chase were such close friends, intimate friends in the 1840s, what kind of trajectory of their friendship or relationship do they have during the lincoln
administration while they are serving together? you don't get a sense they are quite as close. >> right. as michelle says, if you had asked stanton on the day he became a member of the lincoln cabinet which of these people sitting around the table, including lincoln, do you know, he would have said chase. he had known him for 20 years. they had not been as close kind of in the immediate run-up to the war. their politics had diverged dramatically. stanton becomes a liberty party man, then a republican, and during the war there's not a lot of sort of personal interaction. there are a few little details. there's a letter in which stanton writes that one of his children is going to be baptized and he would like chase to be the godfather. but how to put it, more numerous
or slightly testy letters in which chase is chastising stanton for spending money too rapidly and stanton is chastising chase for not providing money rapidly enough to win the war. and other little sort of bureaucratic fights between the treasury department. so how to put it. i think they are like two people who remember that they were once very close friends, but they have grown apart and they wouldn't, you know, if you were to ask chase who are your best friends here in washington, he wouldn't have included during the lincoln years, would not have included stanton on that list. okay. i'm told that i have time for one last question. if there isn't -- oh, i'm sorry. it's a little hard to see you. yes. >> it was interesting that you talked about the generals on the tribunal having to answer to stanton and one of the things that i found so interesting in
the book was how little the generals thought that they had to answer to stanton or even to lincoln. if we tried to run wars today the way they ran wars then, it was like insanity. lincoln and stanton would say do this and the generals would sit there. could you talk about that a little bit? >> so the prime example of this would be general george mcclellan in 1862, you know, lincoln issues a presidential order, the army shall move on washington's birthday. and nothing happens. and then lincoln and stanton press mcclellan to sort of press on towards richmond to capture richmond, and he does inch by inch. i love that this morning, the original virginia creeper just keep creeping towards richmond.
but you know, the generals, mcclellan again, a prime example of this because they were in the newspapers every day, they had a certain sort of political power themselves. they had political followers so they knew that they really didn't have to do every think that washington ordered them to do. of course, the means of communication were much more rudimentary than we have today. yes, there were telegrams but the telegram often went down and i think some generals were not beyond saying oh, the telegram -- telegraph lines were down when they simply had received an order they didn't want to pay much attention to. so -- and it's not just mcclellan. sherman, with respect to the black troops, just disregarded it and he was quite confident, sherman was quite confident in his relationship with grant and in his relationship with his brother, senator john sherman, and his power base back home in
ohio, that he wasn't going to be sacked and being sherman, he probably said to himself and if they sack me, what the heck, it's their loss. yes. the generals in those days felt much more sort of authority to take telegrams from washington as advisory rather than as orders. okay. i think i'm done. we will have the panel of all six of us momentarily. [ applause ] this weekend on the c-span networks, saturday at 9:20 p.m., on c-span, a debate on the suit by a same sex couple against a colorado bakery for refusing to make their wedding cake. from the national constitution center in philadelphia. and sunday at 6:30 p.m., daniel mark, chairman of the u.s.
commission on international religious freedom, on the current state of religious liberty in the u.s. and around the world. saturday on book tv, c-span 2 at 10:00 p.m. eastern, on after words, james swanson talks with associated press writer jesse holland about events leading up to the assassination of martin luther king, jr. sunday at 10:00 p.m., second lady karen pence and her daughter charlotte share the story of their family's pet rabbit, marlon bundo. c-span 3 at 8:00 p.m. eastern on lectures in history, tulane university professor blake gilpin on moonshine drivers and the origins of nascar. sunday at 8:00 a.m., landscape historian jonathan pliska about the annual white house easter egg roll which began in 1878 and the changes made along the way. this weekend on the c-span net works.
for nearly 20 years, in depth on book tv has featured the nation's best known non-fiction writers for live conversations about their books. this year as a special project, we are featuring best-selling fiction writers for our monthly program, in depth fiction edition. join us live sunday at noon eastern with walter mosley. his most recent book is "down the river unto the sea." his other books include "devil in a blue dress," "gone fishin'" and "fearless jones" plus over 40 critically acclaimed books and mystery series. we will take your phone calls, tweets and facebook messages. our special series in depth fiction edition with author walter mosley sunday live from noon to 3:00 p.m. eastern on book tv on c-span 2. c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a
public service by america's cable television companies and today, we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> next, georgia state university professor maurice hobson talks about his book "the legend of the black mecca, politics and class and the making of modern atlanta" looking at the history of atlanta's black community from the 1970s to the 1990s. from the atlanta history center, this is an hour and 25 minutes. >> good evening. i'm sheffield hill, president of the atlanta history center. i want to welcome you tonight to this lecture featuring dr. maurice hobson.