James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
and led many thoughtful persons to fear that the game was up. Governor Brough of Ohio wrote to Stanton on March 14, 1864 that he regarded our financial position as critical; every man whom we put into the army was costing us over $300 and we were incurring a debt which we could not pay without scaling it down; such a measure would be our ruin. About the same time Chase was asked, What is the debt now in round numbers? About $2,500,000,000 was the reply. How much more can the country stand? If we do not suppress the rebellion, answered Chase, when it reaches $3,000,000,000 we shall have to give it up. Soon after Fessenden entered upon the duties of the Treasury Department,1 he wrote to his friend Senator Grimes, Things must be taken as I find them and they are quite bad enough to appall any but a man as desperate as I am. Weed placed the situation plainly before an English friend. We are beset by dangers, he wrote, foremost of which is the presidential canvass. Regiments are returning home, worn, weary, maimed and depleted. Our cities and villages swarm with skulking, demoralized soldiers. You, my dear old friend, the Englishman replied, ought to settle your affairs before the crash comes. It may be that your government will be reunited for a time; but it cannot last after this era of tremendous passion. I should really like to go to the United States if only to see your Lincoln. But will he soon be in Fort Lafayette or here in exile? If this country gets ultimately through, wrote Francis Lieber in a private letter, safe and hale, no matter with how many scars, a great civil war with a presidential election in the very midst of it (while the enemy has to stand no such calamity) I
Note 1. Fessenden succeeded Chase on July 5, 1864. This is date of taking office. He was nominated, confirmed and commissioned on July 1. [back]