tv Edwin Stanton Lincolns Assassination Aftermath CSPAN March 31, 2018 6:35am-7:29am EDT
basic healthcare costs and i think that is an outrage and that we should be ashamed. >> sunday fight at 8:00 eastern on c-span's kwq & a. america history t.v. was recently at forbes theater in washington, d.c. for the symposium hosted by lincoln institute. next, author star, lincoln and stanton. he talks about the role lincoln played. this is about 50 minutes. all right, welcome back to our final speaker of the afternoon and first of all, for those of you who celebrate, happy st. patrick's day today.
i'm michelle crow and i'm here with the abraham lincoln institute. and to describe or next speaker he is -- well this part doesn't describe him. he has been described by his enemies and admirers alike as irritable -- that's why i said this is actually not about walter. irritable, capricious, good hearted, twoeted, patriotic, venue vicktive, due police tiff, aggressive, strong willed, hateful, cruel, honest, selfish, fearless, sometimes on seekuous, incorruptible. to abraham lincoln this man was above all indepence bl. this litany of adjectives was
not applied to walt r stahr but rather to his biography. fortunately walter only shares the sterling qualities that made stanton inpersist bl like ill against, per sis tense and ability to advertise data. after graduating from harvard walter joined a law firm that focused on international law and this became his specialty in particular with work leading to asia. walter's career went in a different direction in the early 2000s when he turned his attention to writing biographies of other lawyers. his biography of chief justice john jay to be published in 2005. and edwin stanton in twchb.
he's counselor working on another biography of another lawyer, press secretary chad minute chase. i learned from walter this was an historic -- as a young lawyer in the pre-internet age he research state law questions in the law library. from there he progressed to researching family history and local history in genealogy, that led to visits in the main reading roam to research his die yog if i of john jay. walter compared the exact high of dug his historical research to taking drugs. okay, honestly he said main line and heroin but i didn't think that was important. so just say no to drugs. in his own words there are no hope for the addict at this point. you were talking to the man who had taken a red eye flying from
california and taking a taxi to the law library of congress. we are grateful there is yet or as of yet no 12-step program to cure walter of his addiction. please help he welcome walter stahr. >> thank you for that kind introduction. i was going to star on april 13th but listening to the other speaking i thought i should go back before april 13th. let's start at april 3rd, 186510:00 in the morning a program arrived. it's a telegram from richmond. after four years the union army
has finally entered richmond and the word flashes around and the clerk ran out to the street shouting. soon a large crowd came -- and he steps out for once as a reporter noted overcome by emotion and he says, friend and fellow citizens, in this great hour of triumph my heart as well as yours is penetrated with gratitude for almighty god for deliverance of this nation. all thanks to the president, navy and seeing land to the guiding officers and men who have pearled their lives upon the battlefield and dreched the soil with his blood. henceforth commiseration and age to give to our union. who bear the marks of great sacrifices in the struggle.
but offering up thanks to provide providence and care over us and beseech him that he'll guide and govern us in our duties afterwards add he has carried us forward in our victory. teaches us to be humble and just if the hour of victory and he will enable us to secure the foundation of this republic, soaked as it has been in blood so it will live forever and ever. i think you're right to hear echos in the listen con's ig inaugural. this is a fairly sober speech but i assure you that that night in washington there was drinking and fire works and celebration and that continued over the next few days with the news that lee has surrendered to grant and shoreman down in north carolina was about to capture the second
and last confederate army. it was a time of unrejoiced, 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 forbes theatre. and almost at the same time someone had slashed and stabbed secretary mark stewart at his home. stanton was claiming that can't be i had been with stewart an hour ago. indeed he has been with stewart an hour ago. stewart had been injured in a carriage incident and confined to his bed. so, over his wife's protest stanton pulled on his clothes
and got into a carriage and lever to stewart's and learned it was true. someone had slashed his neck. stewart survived and had talked with stanton. stanton went back downstairs with gideon wells and the two of them got in a carriage and came over here to 10th street. the street was so crowded with people exchanging rumors and news that 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 forbes up in that box there, that he had been carried across the street to the peterson house but they did learn. they entered the peterson house and that's where my book began with a short man pushing his way up the house into the staircase
into the peterson house into the back bedroom where lincoln was lying diagonally on the bed bleeding and dying. stanton had learned from a doctor in minutes that lincoln would not op his eyes. rather than to go to the war department he decided to stay put. he went into the next room, sat down at a small table and went to work. he -- 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 persons. he summoned folks from forbes across the street to the peterson house because he wanted to question witnesses while their memory was still fresh. he was a lawyer and knew the
value of questioning witnesses right away. when his aids couldn't keep up with the question and answer in longhand he turn and said find me someone who could take shorthand. and 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'd call press releases. telegrams addressed to general john dicks in new york city which was in practice december semi nated immediately to the nation's newsroom. let me reed the first few lines of those m.j.s isn't at 1:00 in the morning on april 15th. devote, this evens at about 9:00 p.m. in forbes theatre sitting in his private box was shot by an assassin who suddenly entered
the box and approached by the president. the assassin leaped upon the stage branding his knife and made his escape. the ball entered the back of the president's head and opinion traited through the head. the wound is mortal. the president has been insensible ever since it was inflicted and is now dying. those of you who are lincoln assassination buffs would notice a minor error in what i read compared to what happened, overall the message goes on talking about stewart, and stewart's son and described the aas sin to the extent he has a description. it's amazingly detailed and accurate, the events of the stewart house written within a couple hours of those events. in another of these press releases sent a few hours later,
stanton reported that a later found in booth's instruction at the hotel showed that quote, the letter was planned before the 4th of march but fell through then because the accomplice backed out until richmond could be heard from. until richmond could be heard from. so before lincoln passed away stanton was focussed on what became his obsession, proving that booth was not a mads man 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 listen con 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 newspaper, some of them were in private letters including a long letter by james tanner. none of the accounts mentioned stanton saying anything right after lincoln died. what they describe is howlin' con's paster led everyone into prayer and people dispersed. those words first appear in print in 1890 where lincoln's secretaries are publishing month by month they're biography of lincoln. and so, they might -- i'm not saying that i'm 100% sure he didn't say it, afterall hey was there, it's possible. i think if stanton had said anything so memorable it would have somehow survived in print before 1890. so, going back to april 18, '65
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'll take lincoln's remains back to what was referred to as tsai credit ground of springfield. organizing the man hundred, 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 booth and his colleagues. let the stain of innocent blood be removed from the land by the ar and punishment of the
murderers. a drat of that post in tan ton's on hands is in the ar chives of the society. here 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 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 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. none. 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 ] next week is the 50th anniversary of martin luther
king's assassination. join us with live coverage on cspan and american history tv on cspan 3 on cspan tuesday at 1:00 p.m. eastern. we're live from the university of memphis holiday inn with pulitzer prize winner taylor branch. and wednesday beginning at 4:30 p.m. eastern, live coverage of the outdoor service in front of the lorraine hotel, the site of the assassination with remarks by civil rights leaders including jesse jackson. and american history tv on c-span3 tuesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern archival events including cbs news anchor walter cronkite announcing king's assassination nation and a portion of his funeral in atlanta. and wednesday beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern, live coverage with civil rights leaders both past and present, including georgia congressman john lewis and tamika mallry. the 50th anniversary of the assassination of dr. martin luther king jr. live next tuesday and wednesday on c-span
and american history tv on cspan 3. the c-span bus is traveling around the country on the 50 capitals tour. we recently stopped in sacramento, california, asking folks what is the most important issue in their state. >> right now affordable housing and homelessness are two issues that are critically important to you a our state and future. we can't afford to have people live here. economic development is suffering. so affordable housing is critical to california. and the homeless population has just exploded in california. and cities are trying to do their best to help out with homeless, spending their own moneys trying to fix this problem. the federal government hasn't become a fully backed partner. so we are looking to step up
affordable housing. >> we are looking at the current gas tax that wases passed this fall. i'm concerned that some of the money from the high-speed rail is getting into taxpayers now having to pay for the problems that are going on with the high-speed rail. >> so as a first-generation college student, it's really important for me, immigration policies, that give access to hire education, to everyone here that's in the united states. >> next up is veterans affairs and veteran benefits. that seems like us being veterans, i feel like we're entitled to a couple of benefits, a number of benefits that seem to be either really slow in coming or kind of our budget cuts in washington. >> we need counselors in middle and elementary schools throughout the whole state of california.
every elementary school should have a counselor because of all the problems that we're having with mental issues and illness. they tried to pass it called ab-64 and they did not pass it because the governor said he was not going to support it at this time. it was too expensive. so they're going to -- so i would like to see that happen. and i think we'll solve a lot of problems for teachers and schools. >> "voices from the states" on c-span. american history tv was recently at ford's theater in washington, d.c. for the 21st annual similar pose young hosted by the abraham lincoln institute and ford's lincoln society. next a panel featuring the simil