Stanton, Edwin McMasters (1814-1869) ["Deposition of Edwin M. Stanton"].
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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00720.01 Author/Creator: Stanton, Edwin McMasters (1814-1869) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Manuscript document signed Date: 1 April 1865 Pagination: 7 p. ; 36 x 22 cm.
Stamped as pages 86-92. Signed by Stanton ("Edwin M Stanton") on the seventh page (p. 92). Also signed vertically on the left margin of each of the seven pages by Commissioner A.B. Olin, whose autograph endorsement signed appears below Stanton's signature on the seventh page. The first page (p. 86) introduces the document as Stanton's deposition (note: it is written in a different hand than the remaining pages). The ensuing six pages contain Stanton's answers to five interrogatories and five cross-interrogatories regarding the 1862 recruitment order that attempted to institute a draft, and the verbal order issued by Lincoln that authorized the arrest of anyone interfering with the draft.
Excerpts from Stanton's answers to the interrogatories:
"â€¦On the 8th day of August, 1862 by the verbal direction of Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, given to me at the War Department in Washington City, an order was made and issued by me as Secretary of War, in relation to the arrest of any persons, or persons, engaged by act, speech, or writing, in discouraging volunteer enlistments, or in any way giving aid or comfort to the enemy, or in any other disloyal practice against the United States; which order was in writing and a certified copy thereof marked 'A' is hereto attachedâ€¦The original order is on file in the Archives of the War Departmentâ€¦To fill up the army after the disasters of the Peninsula Campaign, a call was made by the President on the first day of July 1862, upon the Loyal States for volunteers. Violent opposition to this call was manifested in many parts of the countryâ€¦In order to recruit the army and uphold the government, the President, on the fourth day of August, ordered a draftâ€¦A copy of that order marked 'B' is hereto attachedâ€¦The order for a draft gave fresh strength to disloyal persons â€¦The President considered that the order of the 8th of August, would tend to avoid the necessity of a draft, would prevent discouragement of volunteer enlistments, would contribute to hasten the filling up of the army, and that in the State of things then existing, this, with other measures taken, about the same time, was a military necessity, in order to prevent the overthrow of the government and the triumph of the rebellion. For these reasons, the President directed the order of the 8th of August to be made and issued by me, as Secretary of Warâ€¦"
Excerpts from Stanton's answers to the cross-interrogatories:
"â€¦The authority was given to me by the Presidentâ€¦verbally and not in writingâ€¦I am unable to state the exact words of the President in giving his directions to meâ€¦but his direction was, in substance, the same as expressed in the official orderâ€¦The order was reduced to writing in the official form in which it was issued, was read by the President and signed by me as Secretary of War in his presenceâ€¦I do not recollect that any other person but the President and myself was present at the timeâ€¦."
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