Lincoln’s war legacy not worth celebrating

President Abraham Lincoln hired a "representative recruit," who donned a uniform to serve as his substitute on Sept. 30, 1864, during the Civil War.

Lincoln paid John S. Staples of Stroudsburg, Pa., $500 to represent him in uniform. The going rate at that time for others was $300 or less.

Lincoln’s personal secretary, John G. Nicolay, drafted in 1864, employed the services of Hiram Child, a black man from North Carolina, to represent him. Nicolay’s substitute died in battle, while Lincoln’s survived the war.

Ninety days after his inaugural address, Lincoln asked for five times as many volunteers as were in the army, proclaimed a Southern blockade, ignoring international law and suspended the writ of habeas corpus, all clearly in violation of the law.

It is estimated 2,776,000 men served in the Union military, while approximately 750,000 served in the Confederate military, for a total of more than 3.5 million men. Of these, Lincoln is responsible for killing more than 620,000 — 432,000 Union soldiers and the balance Confederate, whose casualties may be off due to incomplete records in the South. This is more than all Americans combined who were killed in all wars fought up through World War II.

Happy birthday, Mr. Lincoln.

Harry Joe King