Commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation
Tuesday, 1 January marks the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. As part of the Society's ongoing celebration of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War we have staged two related exhibitions, both of which will open on Monday, 1 January with special exhibition hours (12:00 PM to 4:00 PM) and a public program (details below).
Forever Free, features the pen Abraham Lincoln used to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, and a number of paintings, broadsides, engravings, and manuscripts that tell the story of how Boston celebrated Emancipation.
Lincoln in Manuscript and Artifact offers visitors an opportunity to view Lincoln's letter to Joshua F. Speed explaining his evolving views on slavery as well as the casts of the life mask and hands of Lincoln made by Leonard Volk in the spring of 1860.
At 2:00 PM on New Years Day, MHS Librarian Peter Drummey and Curator of Art Anne Bentley will guide visitors through the story of when the news arrived in Boston on New Year’s Day 1863 that Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, focusing on how this epochal event in American history became an extraordinary moment in Boston history, and how the pen Lincoln used to sign the proclamation became one of the most treasured artifacts in the MHS collection.
| Published: Sunday, 30 December, 2012, 12:00 PM
When Adams Met Lincoln
By Amanda A. Mathews, Adams Papers
Recent viewers of Steven Spielberg’s film Lincoln may be wondering whether an Adams-Lincoln connection exists as the Adamses always seem connected to the major figures of American history. John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln indeed served together in the 30th Congress for three months before John Quincy Adams died on February 23, 1848. Lincoln served on the Committee of Arrangements for Adams’s funeral, but that is the only conclusive connection between the two. They shared similar political outlooks, particularly on slavery, but what Adams thought about the young Lincoln, history does not record.
We do know, however, what John Quincy Adams’s son Charles Francis Adams, minister to Great Britain during the Civil War, thought of President Lincoln. “Mr Lincoln is a tall, illformed man,” Adams wrote in his diary after their first meeting in February 1861, “with little grace of manner or polish of appearance, but with a plain, goodnatured, frank expression which rather attracts one to him.” Adams, part of the Boston elite, had little respect for his ability as a social host or leader. Shaking hands with Lincoln at his inauguration ball on March 4, Lincoln appeared to have forgotten him. “Were it any body but a Western man I should have construed it as an intentional slight,” Adams wrote.
Lincoln’s handling of the Civil War only partially softened Adams’s impression. “Mr Lincoln has certainly in some respects acquitted himself with honor,” Adams wrote on March 30, 1865, “But nothing could ever make him a gentleman, or a sagacious administrator in the selection of agents.”
Upon hearing of Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865, Adams’s final assessment is in true Adams style, accurately recognizing Lincoln’s larger place in history as well as the questions left unanswered:
To the country, the loss of Lincoln is hardly reparable. There was a grandeur about the national movement under his direction which even he might not have been able fully to sustain, but which his successor will not attempt to continue. For his own fame, the President could not have selected a more happy close. The just doubts about his capacity for reconstruction are scattered to the winds in the solemnity of the termination. From that moment his fame becomes like that of Washington the priceless treasure of the Nation.
Images: Top, John Quincy Adams (17 -1848), carte de visite of daguerrotype (1847) by Brady's National Photographic Portrait Galleries, [Matthew B. Brady], after 1860; Middle, Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), photomechanical, from Portraits of American Abolitionists, MHS photograph #81.410; Bottom, Charles Francis Adams (1807-1886), photogravure, from Portraits of American Abolitionists, MHS photograph #81.2
| Published: Wednesday, 12 December, 2012, 8:00 AM
Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch Diary, Post 18
The following excerpt is from the diary of Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch.
Saturday, Nov. 29th, 1862
The election in Massachusetts disappointed the party just named [the People’s party], & maintained the high patriotic position of the state. On the other hand, an opposition ticket has prevailed in New York, Ohio, and other states where it had hardly been anticipated. Among the reasons that account for this are dissatisfaction at the slow progress of the war, and the absence of many in the army who would have voted the Republican ticket. The election was soon followed by the removal of Gen. McClellan, - on the ground of slowness and disobedience of orders, - and the appointment of Gen. Burnside in his place. The country and the army acquiesce in these changes. Burnside, of whom I have a very high opinion from what I hear, has advanced & is encamped before Fredericksburg, Va. The rebel army under Lee is opposite him, & a large rebel force, under ‘Stonewall’ Jackson, is or was in the valley of the Shenandoah. An expedition has been preparing, & is now embarking under Gen. Banks, from Long Island; - destination unknown, - rumor points to Texas or Georgia; but many, of whom I am one, hope that it will cooperate with Burnside in Virginia, and Foster in N.C. against Richmond & its defenders. I have two young parishioners, - the Weymouths -, in the 42d Mass. in this expedition.
| Published: Friday, 16 November, 2012, 8:00 AM
A Civil War Surgeon & Prisoner of War
By Susan Martin, Collection Services
The Joseph H. Hayward family papersis one of five collections on deposit at the MHS from the Mary M. B. Wakefield Charitable Trust. The collection contains over two centuries of correspondence, diaries, sketchbooks, and other personal papers of members of the Hayward family of Milton, Mass., including Civil War surgeon John McLean Hayward (1837-1886).
John McLean Hayward, or “Mac,” graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1858. His family had already produced a number of doctors, including his father Joshua Henshaw Hayward, his uncle George Hayward, and his grandfather Lemuel Hayward. While still in his twenties, Mac was commissioned surgeon of the 12th Regiment of Massachusetts Infantry, otherwise known as the “Webster Regiment” after its first commander Col. Fletcher Webster. Mac served with distinction at Bull Run, Antietam, and other battles.
Unfortunately, on 19 November 1862, he was captured by the Confederate Army at Warrenton, Va. The Hayward collection contains some fascinating documents related to this incident, including the certificate of his parole, signed by Capt. Robert Randolph of the Black Horse Troop, 4th Virginia Cavalry. On the reverse of this document is a note granting Hayward passage “from Confederate into Federal lines.”
Hayward's capture was complicated by the fact that he served as a non-combatant. General Order No. 60, issued on 6 June 1862 by the U.S. War Department, stated in no uncertain terms that medical personnel were off-limits. Paragraph 4 of the order read: “The principle being recognized that medical officers should not be held as prisoners of war it is hereby directed that all medical officers so held by the United States shall be immediately and unconditionally discharged.” On 26 June, the Confederate States of America did the same with its General Order No. 45.
On 26 November 1862, Hayward forwarded his parole to the assistant adjutant general in Washington, enclosed in a letter describing the circumstances of his capture. He explained that he had been ill for some time. When the 12th Regiment had decamped from Warrenton, he stayed behind to recuperate and was captured when Confederate troops marched into town. He wrote, “On the 19th Gen. Steward [Jeb Stuart] arrived and demanded my parole. I at first refused to give it on the ground that I was a surgeon and could not be paroled, but Steward took the ground that as I was not in charge of any sick at Warrenton I should be treated like any other officer in the same circumstance and if I refused my parole I should go a prisoner to Richmond.”
Annotations on the back of Hayward's letter show a series of referrals. In just three days, the letter made its way to the Commissary-General of Prisoners Col. William Hoffman, then to Lt. Col. William H. Ludlow at Fort Monroe, Agent for Exchange of Prisoners. In his referral to Ludlow, Hoffman wrote, “This case comes clearly under Order No. 60, June 6th par. 4 – and Dr. Hayward should be released.” Ludlow agreed, writing, “The parole given by Dr. Hayward is null and void.”
Hayward eventually returned to his regiment, but had to resign his commission in April 1863 due to poor health. After serving for a short time as post surgeon at the Long Island conscript camp in Boston Harbor, he opened a private practice in Boston. In an interesting postscript to his Civil War service, documents in the collection indicate that, on 26 March 1864, he exhibited an invention to the Suffolk District Medical Society – a “mule ambulance” of his own design. The society immediately approved his invention for submission to the War Department.
John McLean Hayward was clearly well-respected as a doctor and a military man. His friend Col. James L. Bates, speaking on behalf of the regiment in a letter to the surgeon general, described Hayward as “a gentleman whom we all love and esteem, and in whose skill in surgery and medicine we have an unbounded faith.”
To learn more about the Hayward family, please visit the MHS library.
| Published: Wednesday, 14 November, 2012, 8:00 AM
Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch, Post 17
The following excerpt is from the diary of Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch.
Saturday, Oct. 26th, 1862
Of public affairs, the chief have been the defeat of the rebels near Sharpsburg & elsewhere, & their evacuation of Maryland and Kentucky, - and the President’s emancipation proclamation. This measure I approve, though with some hesitation. A year since, I was much opposed to such a thing, lest it should disgrace our case by the horrors of a servile war; but the south are now in arms & can defend their homes if they please; it will therefore only weaken the force which they bring against us; and the danger of a servile war is eclipsed by the nearer and worse danger of national destruction. The President does not call on the slaves to rise; and he gives the rebels three months’ warning before his promise of freedom to the slaves goes into operation. Our hope is, it will be a means of weakening their force and dividing their counsels, and that our forces may advance, & put down the rebellion & slavery together...I chronicle, with decided disapproval, the formation of a party here, - old acquaintances under a new name, - called ‘the People’s party.’ The object is to displace Gov. Andrew and Senator Sumner, - and such men; the pretence is, to support the president. He does not seek to be supported against his best friends.
| Published: Wednesday, 10 October, 2012, 1:00 AM