True Estimate of Abraham Lincoln
and Vindication of the South
by Mildred Lewis Rutherford
Abraham Lincoln was not humane in his treatment of the Andersonville prisoners. He refused medicine, making it contraband of war — medicine that was necessary to relieve their sufferings — and even refused to relieve them from their horrid congested condition when the Southern authorities were willing to send them home without exchange. As Commander-in-Chief of the Army, by a word he could have done this:
Abraham Lincoln indicted for cruelty to our soldiers in Southern prisons. He is held responsible for it all.
Abraham Lincoln could be indicted and arraigned for the crime against justice and humanity. There is not an impartial jury in the land that would hesitate to pronounce him guilty of murder in the first degree. He now stands before the great court of the Nation for that crime and other offenses against the laws and liberties of the country. The people will soon render against him the verdict of guilty, and the sentence of banishment and indelible disgrace will be passed and executed upon him.(1)
Percy Gregg said:
Lincoln’s order that Confederate commissions or letters of marque granted to private or public ships should be disregarded and their crews treated as pirates, and all medicines declared contraband of war, violated every rule of civilized war and outraged the conscience of Christendom.
Lincoln never hesitated to violate the Constitution when he so desired. The Chief Justice testified to this. Lincoln suspended the Writ of Habeas Corpus in 1861; he allowed West Virginia to be formed from Virginia contrary to the Constitution; he issued his Emancipation Proclamation without consulting his Cabinet and in violation of the Constitution.
He did not interfere when Seward refused to let the Southern men in Northern prisons have the $85,000 sent by the women of England in loving sympathy with Southern prisoners.
Abraham Lincoln was not humane in his treatment of those Democrat suspects in regard to freedom of speech — Vallandigham of Ohio, for instance. He said the South was right — that was all: "Mr. Lincoln stands responsible for the casting into prisons citizens of the United States on orders as arbitrary as the Lettres de Cachet of Louis XIV of France, instead of their arrest as in Great Britain in her crisis on legal arrests."(2) Frederick Bancroft says, "Some of the features of these arbitrary arrests bore a striking resemblance to the odious institutions of the ancient regime of France — the Bastille and Lettres de Cachet".(3) Judge Jeremiah Black, in his Essays, says, "Of the wanton cruelties that Lincoln’s Administration has afflicted upon unoffending citizens, I have neither space, nor skill, nor time, to paint them. Since the fall of Robespierre nothing has occurred to cast such disrepute on Republican institutions."(4)
In Galena, Illinois, Mr. Lincoln urged the Hon. Madison Y. Johnson to join the Abolition Party. He declined. Mr. Lincoln told him he could have anything he desired if he would consent, for he regretted to part with him more than any man in that section of the state. Mr. Johnson replied that his political views like his religious views were not a matter of barter. A little later Mr. Johnson was arrested on a telegraphic dispatch signed by Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War, without any cause being assigned and he was sent a thousand miles away and incarcerated in the dark walls of an American Bastille, put into a low, dirty, ill-ventilated room, and closely guarded and all personal things taken from him. To enter that fort was equivalent to being dead to the outside world. It was never known what caused his arrest. No specific charge was ever brought against him, and all that could ever be learned was that the act was directed by the President himself as a military necessity.(5) Many instances of this kind can be given of the injustices of such arrests of Democrat suspects at the time.(6)
1. New York Herald, 29 October 1864.
2. James Ford Rhodes, History, Volume III, page 232.
3. Life of Seward (1900), Volume II, page 254.
4. page 153.
5. State of Illinois, Supreme Court, 3rd Grand Division, April Term A.D. 1866.
6. John A. Marshall, American Bastile (Wiggins, Mississippi: Crown Rights Book Company,