Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 6.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To Augustus W. Bradford [1]

Gov. Bradford Executive Mansion
Baltimore, Md. Washington, Nov. 2 1863.

I revoke the first of the three propositions in Gen. Schenck's general order No. 53, not that it is wrong in principle, but because the Military, being of necessity, exclusive judges, as to who shall be arrested, the provision is too liable to abuse. For the revoked part, I substitute the following: That [2] all Provost-Marshals, and other military officers do prevent all disturbance and violence at or about the polls, whether offered by such person as above described or by any other person or persons whomsoever

The other two propositions of the order, I allow to stand. My letter at length will reach you to-night. A. LINCOLN

Page  556

Annotation

[1]   ALS, RPB. The text of this telegram was also incorporated in Lincoln's letter, infra. On October 27, General Robert C. Schenck issued his General Orders No. 58, instructing provost marshals (1) to arrest all persons ``who have been engaged in rebellion . . . or have given aid and comfort or encouragement to others so engaged'' if ``found at, or hanging about, or approaching any poll. . . .''; (2) to require an oath of allegiance ``of any one whose vote may be challenged on the ground that he is not loyal. . . .''; (3) to ``report . . . any Judge of an election who, shall refuse his aid in carrying out this order . . . or who, . . . shall refuse to require the oath of allegiance. . . .''

On October 31, Governor Bradford wrote Lincoln:

``Rumors are today current . . . that detachments of soldiers are to be dispatched on Monday next to several of the counties of the State with the view of being present at their Polls on Wednesday next, the day of our State Election. These troops are not residents of the State and consequently are not sent for the purpose of voting, and as there is no reason in my opinion to apprehend any riotous or violent proceedings at the Election, the inference is unavoidable that these Military detachments if sent are expected to exert some control . . . in that Election. I am also informed that orders are to be issued from this Military Department on Monday presenting certain restrictions . . . in the right of suffrage. . . .

``From my knowledge of your sentiments on these subjects as expressed to Hon R Johnson in my presence on 22d Inst, as also disclosed in your letter of instructions to Genl. Schofield since published, in referrence to the Missouri Election, I can not but think that the orders above referred to are without your personal knowledge. . . . I can not but feel that to suffer any Military interference in the matter of our Election, or to prescribe any test oath to voters, when all the Candidates . . . with the exception perhaps of two or three in one Congressional District, are all loyal men, would be justly obnoxious to the public sentiment of the State . . . would appear as an offensive discrimination against our State. Our citizens are aware that highly important Elections have recently taken place in other States, without . . . any such interference . . . with no limit upon the Elective franchise other than the State laws prescribe, and where one at least of the Candidates so supported was considered so hostile to the Government that for months past he has been banished from the County, certainly any such interference as between the loyal men now candidates in this State would under such compassions, be more justly objectionable and find nothing in the present condition of things here to justify it.

``I rely therefore upon your Excellency for such an order as will prevent it. . . .'' (DLC-RTL).

[2]   The remainder of this sentence is in John Hay's handwriting.