Wednesday, October 17, 2018

John George Nicolay-- Part 2: After Lincoln's Death

Shortly before his death, Lincoln appointed Nicolay to to a diplomatic post in France.  After Lincoln's death, Nicolay became  became U.S. Consul in Paris (1865-1869).    After his return, he became editor of the Chicago Republican and later was Marshal of the United States Supreme Court (1872-1887).

In 1881, he wrote "Outbreak of the Rebellion."

Nicolay and John Hay, who was Lincoln's  assistant secretary collaborated on the official biography of Lincoln which appeared in the Century Magazine from 1886 to 1890 and then was issued in 10-volume book form.

Poor health forced him to resign from his job as marshal of the U.S. Supreme Court and he suffered from many ailments in his final years.  He lived with his daughter in Washington, D.C.,  until his death of unspecified cause on September 26, 1901, and was buried at  Oak Hill Cemetery in that city.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

John George Nicolay-- Part 1: Good Friends With Lincoln

The last several posts I have written this man's thoughts on the John Yates Beall case.  What insight might he have on it?

From Wikipedia.

(February 26, 1832 to September 26, 1901)

German-born American who served as private secretary to President Abraham Lincoln and later co-authored a biography on the 16th president.Born Johann Georg Nicolai  in Bavaria.  In 1838 immigrated to the U.S. with his father and later moved to Illinois.  Edited a newspaper and later became assistant Illinois  secretary of state.  While in this position, he met Abraham Lincoln and they became friends.

In 1861, with his first act as president, Lincoln appointed Nicolay as his private secretary where he served until Lincoln's death on 1865.

--Old Secesh

Monday, October 15, 2018

John Nicolay's Thoughts on the Beall Case-- Part 3: Lincoln Would Not Yield

"Loath as Mr. Lincoln was at all times to approve a capital sentence, he felt in this case he would not permit himself to yield  to the promptings of his kindly heart.

"He sent a private message to General Dix, saying he would be glad if he would allow Beall  a respite of a few days to prepare himself for death, but positively declines to interfere with the sentence, and Beall was hung in the latter part of February."

Nicolay Diary.

--Old Secesh

John Nicolay's Thoughts on the Case of John Y. Beall-- Part 2: "Spy, Guerrillero, Outlaw and Would-Be Murderer"

"Mr. Jefferson Davis took the same view of the talismanic  character of the Confederate commission upon which Beall had relied, and issued a manifesto assuming responsibility of the act and declaring that it was done by his authority.  There was great clamor in regards to the case, and many people of all parties pleaded with Mr. Lincoln to commute the sentence of Beall.

"A petition in the cause was signed by most of the Democratic members of the House of Representatives and by many Republicans.

"But the Judge Advocate General reported that Beall, convicted upon indubitable  proof as a spy, guerrillero, outlaw and would-be murderer of hundreds of innocent persons traveling in supposed security upon one of our great thoroughfares, fully deserved to die the felon's death, and summary enforcement of  that  penalty was a duty the government owed society."

Summing It Up.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Illinois' O.H. Browning-- Part 2: A Life-Long Friend of Lincoln

His political and military careers overlapped that of Lincoln and they became life-long friends.

He served the rest of Douglas' term until 1863 and did not run again.  After Lincoln's death, he became a supporter of Andrew Johnson and in 1866 was named Secretary of the Interior where he served until the end of Johnson's presidency in 1869.

After that he was a lobbyist and practiced law in Washington, D.C., and Illinois.

Browning died in Quincy, Illinois, on August 10, 1881 and was buried at Woodland Cemetery in Quincy.

--Ols Secesh

Friday, October 12, 2018

Illinois' Orville Hickman Browning-- Part 1: A Man of Strong Connections

Earlier this week I wrote about this man pleaing to Lincoln to commute the death sentence of John Yates Beall.  I'd never heard of him, but it seemed as if he was on a friendly relationship with the president so went to good ol. Wikipedia for a background on him.


An attorney in Illinois and a politician active in the Whig and Republican parties.  Also a U.S. senator during the Civil War and secretary of the  Interior after the war.

Born in Kentucky and trained as a lawyer  Settled in Illinois, served in the militia during the Black Hawk War.  Successful attorney and active in politics as a Whig.  Served in the Illinois General Assembly.  Joined the republican Party after the Whigs broke up and helped organize the new party in Illinois.

In 1861, he was appointed to  fill the Senate seat of Stephen A. Douglas after his death.

No Wonder He Had Access to Lincoln.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, October 11, 2018

John George Nicolay's Thoughts On the Beall Case-- Part 1

From the "Lincoln, Beall & the Gallows" By Jim Surkamp in Civil War Scholar site.

John Nicolay was one of Lincoln's two private secretaries.

John Y. Beall was captured: "in the state of New York near the Suspension Bridge in an attempt to throw a passenger train from the West off the track for the purpose of robbing the express company.  This was the third attempt which he had made to accomplish this purpose.

"He was in citizen's dress, engaged in an act of simple murder and robbery., yet he imagined that the fact that he had a Confederate commission in his pocket would secure him against punishment in case of capture.

He was tried by court martial and sentenced to death."

--Old Secesh

Pleaing for John Yates Beall's Clemency-- Part 2: Change Death Sentence To Imprisonment

"This is brief time for preparation for so solemn and appalling an event.  The friends of Capt. Beall desire to appeal to your clemency for a commutation of the sentence from death to imprisonment and that they might have the opportunity to prepare and present to your consideration the reasons which they hope may induce to a commutation.

"They now beseech you to grant the unhappy man such respite as you may deem reasonable  and just under circumstances.  As a short respite is all that is asked for now and as that can in no event harm, I forebear at present to make  any other suggestion.  Most respectfully your friend.

O.H. Browning"

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Pleaing for Clemency of John Yates Beall-- Part 1: O.H. Browning

From "Lincoln, Beall and the Gallows" by Jim Surkamp.

O.H. Browning, a powerful member of the Republican party and from Illinois appealed to Lincoln to save Beall.

"Washington, D.C., Feb. 17, 1865.
The President:

Captain  John Y. Beall has been tried by court martial in New York, found guilty and sentenced to be hung as a spy and guerrilla.

The sentence was approved by Major General Dix on the 14th Feb'y,  and directed to be carried  into execution tomorrow the 18th."

--Old Secesh

Monday, October 8, 2018

MCCWRT Meeting Tuesday Oct. 9: Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in the Civil War

This Tuesday, October 8, 2018, the McHenry County (Illinois) Civil War Round Table will hold its monthly meeting at the Woodstock, Illinois, Public Library located at 414 West Judd Street, just off the historic Woodstock Square.

This month's presentation will be by Charlie Banks and will be about the "Chesapeake and Ohio canal in the Civil War."

All are welcome to attend.

See You There.  --Old Secesh

Civil War Trust October 2018 Calendar: Port Hudson, Louisiana


256 acres saved

The Civil War Trust has partnered with The Conservation Fund to ave 256 acres of land at Port Hudson, Louisiana, the site of the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River after Vicksburg fell.

The acreage saved by the trust includes the site of the first black assault in the Civil War, made by the 1st and 3rd Louisiana Native Guard regiments on May 27, 1863.

Hallowed Ground.  --Old Secesh

Civil War Trust September 2018 Calendar: Waxhaws, South Carolina


51 Acres Saved

The Civil War Trust has expanded its vision of preservation to all battlefields in the United States, which now includes the American Revolution and the War of 1812.

In 1780, the infamous Banistre Tarleton and his British Legion massacred Continental troops at the Battle of Waxhaws.

In the subsequent battles of the American revolution's Southern Campaign, "Remember Waxhaws" became a rallying cry for Patriot forces.  In 2016, the Trust, in partnership with the South Carolina Battleground Trust, preserved the first property at Waxhaws Battlefield.

--Old Secesh

Friday, October 5, 2018

The Trial of John Yates Beall

Same source as last two posts.

**  Major Bolles, Judge Advocate of the Military Commission.

"There was nothing of Christian civilization and nothing of regular warfare in Beall's operations."

**  From General John A. Dix."The Proceedings, finding and sentence are approved and the accused John Y. Beall will be hanged by the neck till he is dead, on Governors Island, on Friday the 24th day of February, 1865.  --  General Orders No. 17, February 21, 1865.  Case of J.Y. Beall."

--Old Secesh

Pleas To Lincoln For John Yates Beall's Life

Same source as previous post.

I have already mentioned the large number of Members of Congress who appealed for Beall's life.

Here are some more:

Abraham Lincoln at the White House, February 23, 1865.

President Lincoln's log of visitors the day before Beall was hanged reflect the heavy volume of pleas  that Lincoln  spare Beall's life, leniency having been Lincoln's tendency with scheduled death sentences.

**  President receives J.W. Forney and W. McLean regarding pardon for J.Y. Beall.

**  Informs Montgomery Blair and friends, who call at the White House,  that if their visit concerns Beall they will not be granted an audience.

**  In evening, O.H. Browning sees Lincoln about Beall.

**  President undecided.    Looks badly and feels badly.

From the Browning Diary.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, October 4, 2018

John Yates Beall's Last Words: "I Die in the Service and Defense of My Country"

From Civil War  "Lincoln, Beall and the Gallows" by Jim Surkanp.

A reporter for the New York World witnessed the execution Feb. 24, 1865:

"As some author has said, we may be as near to God on the scaffold as elsewhere...  I protest against the execution of this sentence.  It is murder.

"I die in the service and defense of my country.

"I have nothing more to say."

--Old Service