President Abraham Lincoln faced difficult odds in his reelection bid of 1864. The early successes of the Union Army had fallen off during the first few months of the election year and there was even opposition within the Congress to Lincoln’s leadership. The Democratic Party entrusted their hopes for election victory in General George McClellan who had served during the initial stages of the Civil War as Lincoln’s commander. Candidate McClellan supported a negotiated peace with the Confederacy. An end to the war, even a negotiated one, was an attractive option for many Americans who were war weary. Even Lincoln himself thought his chances for reelection were limited.
The following Lincoln Documents demonstrate Lincoln’s attention to political affairs throughout 1864 while simultaneously conducting the war effort.
Click on each document icon below to access
the full text of each document.
JUNE 9, 1864
Lincoln’s Reply to the National Union League’s nomination for Re-Election
August 22, 1864
Lincoln Speech to the 166th Ohio Regiment concerning the War’s purpose
August 29, 1864
Frederick Douglass letter to Abraham Lincoln concerning plan to help slaves escape from the Confederacy
September 17, 1864
Gen. Sherman to Pres. Lincoln concerning possible meeting with GA Gov. Joseph Brown
September 19, 1864
Abraham Lincoln Letter to William Sherman concerning the furlough of soldiers to vote
September 28, 1864
Gen. Sherman letter to Pres. Lincoln concerning conflict between GA Gov. Joseph Brown and Confederate Pres. Jefferson Davis
November 10, 1864
Abraham Lincoln’s Response to Re-Election Victory Serenade
December 6, 1864
Abraham Lincoln Response to White House Serenaders concerning unknown location of Sherman’s forces in Georgia
December 22, 1864
Gen. Sherman to Pres. Lincoln presenting Savannah as a Christmas present
December 26, 1864
Abraham Lincoln letter of thanks to General Sherman for the capture of Savannah
January 5, 1865
Abraham Lincoln letter to Sec. of War William Stanton concerning Sherman’s next move
January 6, 1865
Gen. Sherman letter to Pres. Lincoln concerning “next objectives”
January 6, 1865
Lewis Tappan letter to Abraham Lincoln concerning mistreatment of former slaves by Union Soldiers at Ezra Creek.