Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Looking back at Lincoln: On February 17, 1863

On this day in 1863, Lincoln wrote a letter to Major General William Rosecrans, suggesting the formation of smaller, mounted units - similar to the raiders that were being employed with great success by the Confederacy - to capture Confederate railroads and interrupt their supply lines.

It is unclear whether Rosecrans ever followed up on this suggestion.

Executive Mansion, Washington,
Major General Rosecrans. February 17, 1863.

My dear Sir:

In no other way does the enemy give us so much trouble, at so little expence to himself, as by the raids of rapidly moving small bodies of troops (largely, if not wholly, mounted) harrassing, and discouraging loyal residents, supplying themselves with provisions, clothing, horses, and the like, surprising and capturing small detachments of our forces, and breaking our communications. And this will increase just in proportion as his larger armies shall weaken, and wane. [2] Nor can these raids be successfully met by even larger forces of our own, of the same kind, acting merely on the defensive. I think we should organize proper forces, and make counter-raids. We should not capture so much of supplies from them, as they have done from us; but it would trouble them more to repair railroads and bridges than it does us. What think you of trying to get up such a corps in your army? Could you do it without any, or many additional troops (which we have not to give you) provided we furnish horses, suitable arms, and other appointments? Please consider this, not as an order, but as a suggestion.

Yours truly A. LINCOLN


While I wish the required arms to be furnished to Gen. Rosecrans, I have made no promise on the subject, except what you can find in the within copy of letter A. LINCOLN

March 27, 1863.


[1] ADfS, DLC-RTL; copy and AES, DLC-Stanton Papers. Lincoln sent a copy of this letter to Stanton with the endorsement as reproduced. See Lincoln's endorsement to Halleck, February 14, supra. No reply from General Rosecrans has been located.

[2] Lincoln deleted semicolon and "if they ever shall" after "wane."

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