Andrew H. Reeder to Simon Cameron, April 24, 1861

    Source citation
    Andrew H. Reeder to Simon Cameron, April 24, 1861, Philadelphia, PA, 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.


    Ap. 24. 1861

    Dear Gen.

    I rejoice at the opportunity of sending you this hasty note to say that you can have no idea of the state of the public mind here, unless you are personally present. I am sure there has been nothing like it since the organisation of our government. Men women and children are for fight, and a scattering traitor here and there (not one in ten thousand) rushes into the ranks of procession and puts on badges for fear of popular violence. The administration will be sustained in every thing except half way measures. If Baltimore was laid in ashes the North would rejoice over it and laud the Spirit that dictated the act. There is scarce anything of stern determined retaliation which we are not ready for. All hope of help, and almost all hope of neutrality, from the Border States is given up by our people. They expect to fight them all except two or three, and are ready and willing to do it fight the whole of them if necessary. Our own Lehigh Valley with 8.000 or 10.000 votes has sent off 13 companies and the rolls are filling for Six more. We can send two Regiments ourselves if necessary. The very women and children will fight, and they will pitch into the administration as readily as into the South if there is an this war spirit is not responded to in a determined manner. Already I have heard the mutterings and grumblings of the people that the adm. does not move with enough vigor and aggressive force. The time has gone by for mere self defence and courtesy and soft words. The policy of conciliation which a few weeks ago had so many friends has now no friends at all. The people thirst with an insatiate desire for stern words -- hard blows -- crushing force and unrelenting retaliatory aggression. The burning of rebel their towns and destruction of rebel their Rail Roads wd give you if you want it, an army of half a million of men. When men are told that they cannot go to their own Capital for fear of Maryland rebels each man smarts as under a blow or personal insult and a feeling is excited with which the administration dare not trifle, it it wants to be backed up and sustained. The report made by the Mayor of Balt. of his interview with the Presdt I am sorry to say has excited a good deal of indignation and if he tells the truth, the bearing of the Presidt. was too weak and lowly for the commander in chief to use to the representative of rebels, most especially with the fighting spirit of our people to back him I know it is necessary to crouch before a Spring -- and that it is the best of generalship to have your enemy disarmed by fancied safety, and not see or suspect your blade till he feels it cleaving his head, and this I have said to our people. God grant that God grant that the electricity is now gathering for a shattering stroke. If not, it is my duty to say to you as a tried devoted friend, the adm. will incur the censure of its own best supporters

    I presume not to judge of details. I do not need to be told that there are many causes and difficulties of which I am ignorant and that in respect of these time is necessary to bring justification; but I claim that there is a popular thirst for war and fight and vengeance which the admin. cannot disregard without losing power and vantage ground. I address this letter to you because I can write you freely but I hope the President will see it and peruse it as well as such other members of the administration as you think proper

    Very Truly and Sincerely

    A H Reeder.

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