August 11, 1863: A President Declines an Offer to Resign

One of the key points of the Gettysburg campaign came when General Joseph Hooker offered to resign his command of the Army of the Potomac, and Abraham Lincoln quickly accepted the offer. Somewhat less known, however, is the correspondence that led to this letter, dated 150 years ago today:

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Frederick Douglass Meets Abraham Lincoln, August 10, 1863

In recent years there’s been a renewed interest in the relationship between Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, including several books on the subject, and some conversation as to whether Douglass’s visit to the White House during a reception in 1865 should have been featured in the film Lincoln. But what of their first meeting, which took place on August 10, 1863?

The occasion was Douglass’s demand for equal pay for black soldiers. Coming in the aftermath of several battles in which black soldiers had played a prominent role, this was a timely demand; moreover, two of Douglass’s sons had joined the 54th Massachusetts, and one had been at Fort Wagner. ┬áBut Douglass had reasons to wonder how he would be received by a man he had often criticized for not moving fast enough or vigorously when it came to emancipation.

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Update on Virginia Flagger Follies

It’s been a fun week in Flagger land. The announcement the the protest group was making plans to erect a fifty-foot-flag pole on private land in Chesterfield County off I-95 so that they could fly a modest 10′ by 15′ Confederate battle flag gave the always attention-hungry Susan Hathaway and company a chance to appear on television (one Flagger, watching herself, commented that she’d have to start losing weight for future appearances). No word yet on whether Tripp Lewis‘s good friend, Rob Walker, will shoot a documentary film commemorating the event.

Not everyone welcomed this announcement. Continue reading