Montgomery Blair to Abraham Lincoln, May 16, 1861

    Source citation
    Montgomery Blair to Abraham Lincoln, Thursday, May 16, 1861, Washington, DC, Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress,
    Date Certainty
    Transcribed by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College, Galesburg, IL
    Adapted by Don Sailer, Dickinson College
    Transcription date
    The following transcript has been adapted from the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress.


    The error in Meigs programme is common to the whole army and this is the reason why I have been so persistent in seeking an outsider for a leader. The military look upon the contest as one between the whole people of the South and the people of the North. This is a fundamental and fatal error and if our military movements are predicated on it & we fail to go to the relief of the people of the South they will be subjugated and the state of consolidation now falsely assumed will be produced. The Union must then be severed unless we exterminate the people or subject them. Prompt relief will now be hailed with joy by the people of the South every where and it can be given with a very inconsiderable part of the force at our command by a forward movement.

    Genl. Scotts system arises from the constitution of his mind & is but a continuation of the compromise policy with which his mind and that of all his political associates is imbued. He does not comprehend the true theory of this contest and for that reason, cannot adopt wise military measures. I do not seek any controversy with him or his friends. I honor him for his patriotism as I do Mr. Crittenden who has always been my personal friend. But I cannot yield my judgement of vital questions to personal considerations-- Nor do I think there is any disrespect to Genl. Scott involved in the Presidents adopting his own policy instead of Scotts in the management of the war. His is the responsibility whether he adopts Scotts views or that of the humblest citizen.

    I am Sir respectfully

    Your obedt. Servt
    M Blair
    Washington May 16. 1861

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