The conspirer

From Shelby Foote’s The Civil War: Fort Sumter to Perryville (138):

[John Slidell] was aptly named, being noted for his slyness. At the outbreak of hostilities, back in the spring, an English journalist called him, “a man of iron will and strong passions, who loves the excitement of combinations and who, in his dungeon, or whatever else it may be, would conspire with the mice against the cat rather than not conspire at all.”

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Good will to everyone … with a few exceptions

From Shelby Foote’s The Civil War: Fort Sumter to Perryville (132-133):

Two days after the first-Wednesday election an insurrection exploded in the loyalist mountain region of East Tennessee. Bridges were burned and armed men assembled to assist the expected advanced of a Union army through Cumberland Gap. … Resistance was quashed and a considereable number of Unionists arrested. … Five were so hanged, and others were held, including that William G. Brownlow who earlier had said that he would fight seccession on the ice in hell. … An honest, fearless, vociferous man who neither smoked nor drank nor swore, he had courted only one girl in his life “and her I married.” Though he was mysteriously absent from home on the night of the burnings, his actual complicity could not be established. He was held in arrest – for a time, at least, until his presence proved embarassing … Davis directed that the parson-editor be released to enter the Union lines. Though he was thus denied the chance to recite the speech he had memorized for delivery on the gallows, Brownlow went rejoicing. “Glory to God in the highest,” he exclaimed as he crossed over, “and on earth peace, good will toward all men, except a few hell-born and hell-bound rebels in Knoxville.”

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Jefferson Davis, seeker after discord

From Shelby Foote’s The Civil War: Fort Sumter to Perryville (127):

Men interpreted [Jefferson Davis] as they saw him, and for the most part they considered him argumentative in the extreme, irascible, and a seeker after discord. A Richmond editor later wrote, for all to read, that Davis was “ready for any quarrel with any and everybody, at any time and all times; and the suspicion goes that rather than not have a row on hand with the enemy, he would make one with the best friend he had on earth.”

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Jefferson Davis replies to Joseph Johnston

From Shelby Foote’s The Civil War: Fort Sumter to Perryville (126):

[Jefferson] Davis read [the letter from Joseph E. Johnston] with a wrath that quickly rose to match the sender’s. … In composing his reply, however, Davis employed not a foil but a cutlass. Rejecting the nimble parry and riposte of thetoirc and logic, at both of which he was a master, he delivered instead one quick slash of scorn:

Sir: I have just received and read your letter of the 12th instant. Its language is, as you say, unusual; its arguments and statements utterly one sided, and its insinuations as unfounded as they are unbecoming.

I am, &c.

Jeff’n Davis.

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Too much tail to that kite

From Addison Hart’s “General Fremont Has Chicken Guts!: Why John Charles Fremont Got Kicked Out Of Missouri“:

… [John Charles] Fremont did little else in his first few months in command in Missouri … He did, however, manage to get some criticisms over his choices for staff positions. Unlike many generals, Fremont wanted to be allowed to pick and choose each member of his staff and his bodyguard, and he did in fact do so. One priority, it seems, was that a candidate had to have a funny name, or at least a European one. In fact, the majority of Fremont’s staff members seem to have been Europeans, primarily Germans and Hungarians. A large amount of them seem to have been extra-legally commissioned and most had no idea of how the war in the West was to be fought. Those who knew military tactics advocated using the outdated tactics of Napoleon and Frederick the Great, as well as the Baron Jomini and that lot. A lot of them were as inefficient as possible, some were even minor nobility, and many were corrupt, mixed in with anti-Lincoln groups, Know-Nothings, and the like. …

The fact that the list of the staff members (about three hundred men in his personal bodyguard alone and a good thirty members, all over five foot eleven inches in height, made up his staff) is practically endless also bothered some individuals, especially when scrolling down the list one reads many times over French or Italian names, or running over several individuals with the surnames of ‘Kalmanuezze’ or ‘Zagonyi’. A lot of these fellows spoke English very badly at best, which only deepened the stupidity of the situation. When Fremont’s opponent in the field (not that Fremont ever bothered to fight him), General Albert Sidney Johnston, [Confederate States of America], was shown a copy of the staff list at his headquarters in Nashville, he simply commented with one of his deep chuckles “There’s too much tail to that kite!” Even the locals could feel their stomachs turn when they saw Fremont’s bodyguards and staff officers walking the streets, many wreaking of perfume, and wearing ridiculous (overly grandiose) uniforms with plumes and braids. Such men were the reason that the locals gave the men of Fremont’s staff (and the General himself) the somewhat embarrassing title ‘Chicken Guts’.

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Lincoln’s 1st political speech

From Shelby Foote’s The Civil War: Fort Sumter to Perryville (23):

[Lincoln’s] first speech was made at a country auction. Twenty-three years old, he stood on a box, wearing a frayed straw hat, a calico shirt, and pantaloons held up by a single-strap suspender. As he was about to speak, a fight broke out in the crowd. Lincoln stepped down, broke up the fight, then stepped back onto the box.

“Gentlemen and fellow citizens,” he said, “I presume you all know who I am: I am humble Abraham Lincoln. I have been solicited by many friends to become a candidate for the legislature. My policies are short and sweet, like the old woman’s dance. I am in favor of a national bank. I am in favor of the internal-improvements system and a high protective tariff. These are my sentiments and political principles. If elected I shall be thankful; and if not, it will be all the same.”

Election day he ran eighth in a field of thirteen …

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