James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
in terms which could be construed as strongly recommending the measure, that the slaves should be armed, and when employed as soldiers should be freed. Without submitting the report to Lincoln, he had it mailed to the postmasters of the chief cities with instructions to hand it to the press as soon as the Presidents message was read in Congress. When this act came to his knowledge, Lincoln ordered that the copies which had been sent out should be recalled by telegraph and that the report should be modified to accord with his own policy in regard to slavery.1
On January 11, 1862, the President sent Cameron a curt note dismissing him from the position of Secretary of War and nominating him as Minister to Russia. There was reason enough for the change. The inefficiency of his administration, the belief of the country that it was corrupt, the insubordinate act in the matter of the report,all combined undoubtedly to lead the President to his decision. He then appointed Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War. Stanton, in his private correspondence during the summer of 1861, had written freely of the painful imbecility of Lincoln and the impotence of his administration, and as he was neither politic nor reserved, he had undoubtedly been equally outspoken in conversation with his friends and acquaintances in Washington, where he was then living. If Lincoln had cared to listen to Washington gossip, he might have heard many tales of this sort, but if any actually reached his ears as he was considering the appointment of Stanton, they certainly counted as nothing against his growing conviction that, in respect of local origin, previous party association and inherent ability, this Democratic lawyer from Pennsylvania
Note 1. The expunged part was published by some of the newspapers that had received it and was reproduced in the Congressional Globe (Dec. 12) by Representative Eliot of Massachusetts. Horace White, 172. [back]