The Effect of the War on the election of 1864
John W. Bates
National Patriotic Instructor

At the end of June, 1864 The Civil War had reached an unclear quagmire. While the Union had made strides and had started to turn the tide of the war against the CSA, it was not clear if and when the fighting would cease. As the American public was made aware thru dispatches in the press and front line reports, the brutality of the fighting in the Wilderness and the Sieges of Petersburg and Spotsylvania had been so terrible that the people wanted an end. This critical time would make or break the war, either for or against the Union. As President Lincoln finally had found a General in appointing U.S. Grant in early 1864 as Commander of all Union Forces, The Union finally had a man who could fight and defeat Robert E. Lee. The fighting of 1864 would be long, hard and very costly. The copperheads in the North were starting to make people listen to their ideas. Lincoln was thinking as the year dragged on that he would not be re-elected. He even stated that as it was probable his Administration would not be re-elected, it would be his duty to co-operate with the President-Elect in coming to power in 1865. Thankfully to History and The United States, The President was in error in his thoughts on the election of 1864. As General Grant had finally succeeded in halting and at least partly containing the Army of Northern Virginia, The political mood of the North began to swing to Lincoln again. After the victories in Gettysburg and Vicksburg, The people had rallied behind Lincoln as never before. It took many events in 1864 to bring the support he needed back to him.

When General Sherman marched thru Atlanta and on to Savannah, Lincoln finally had his support back. Along with the men in the field who stood solidly behind him, the people re-elected Lincoln by a wide margin. As The story then played out, In his very shortened second term, The President was able to get The 13th amendment thru a hostile Congress, and Lived long enough to see the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House. This would not have happened if he had simply given up, or if the people in the North had given up on him. Thank God this was not the case.


In Fraternity, Charity & Loyalty,
John W. Bates III
National Patriotic Instructor