Brooks D. Simpson, "Fish, Hamilton," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-00375.html.
Fish supported the candidacy of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 primarily for the lack of a more satisfactory alternative. In the secession crisis that followed, he advocated compromise. During the Civil War he headed New York's Union Defense Committee and was appalled by the July 1863 draft riots…Cheered by Andrew Johnson's ascent to power in 1865, Fish supported the president's initial course during Reconstruction. However, he also cultivated a friendship with Ulysses S. Grant, subscribing to a fund for the general and hosting the general and his family. By 1867 he was disenchanted with Johnson. Grant, he believed, could best restrain Republican radicalism while denying the Democratic party control of the presidency. He became an active supporter of Grant's presidential candidacy and contributed freely to his campaign.