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Abraham Lincoln to Reverdy Johnson, Washington, DC, July 26, 1862

Abraham Lincoln, Brady image, 1863, detail
In this striking note to a Unionist senator from Maryland, Lincoln coolly informed Reverdy Johnson that he would play "any available card" in order to defeat the rebellion. Johnson had traveled to Union-occupied Louisiana and had reported to the president that southern unionists in the state were upset over Union general John W. Phelps's enticement policies regarding fugitive slaves. Phelps was an abolitionist. Lincoln responded by questioning the "sincerity" of these so-called friends of the government. He was sensitive on this point of Union policy regarding slavery because just a few days earlier, he had announced privately to his cabinet that he planned to emancipate all slaves in Rebel territory after January 1, 1863. (By Matthew Pinsker)


How to Cite This Page: "Abraham Lincoln to Reverdy Johnson, Washington, DC, July 26, 1862," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,