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Abraham Lincoln Civil War Caricature

August 23, 1862

From Lincoln in Caricature by Rufus Rockwell Wilson

The cartoon, Lincoln’s Two Difficulties, drawn by another hand than Tenniel, appeared in London Punch on August 23, 1862. The President, again in the guise of Uncle Sam, with hands in pocket and a perplexed expression on his face, exclaims to a tax collector on his right and to a soldier on his left: “What? No money! No men!’’ The men who made up the ruling class of England were, as events proved, sadly at fault in weighing the moral forces behind the Union cause; they were also sorely in error when, until the war was in its final stages, they over-estimated the Union need for men and money with which to wage a winning contest.

Volunteer enlistments and then conscription solved the first, and the sale of bonds, in steadily increasing volume the second of these problems. It is true that for a short but anxious period during the last weeks of 1862 and the first of 1863 the Union finances were at a low ebb. Due to faulty methods Government bonds were not selling, and many million dollars back pay were due the men of the army and navy. But there followed a quick and welcome change. Jay Cooke and his agents found ways to induce the people to lend large sums of money to the government, and by early July of 1863 Secretary Chase, well content with results, could declare the popular loan he had devised an assured success, bond purchases then averaging over three million dollars a day.

 And news of these changed conditions were promptly reported to those in high places in England. ‘‘The secretary of war told me yesterday,’’ Charles Sumner on April 26 wrote to the Duchess of Argyll, ‘‘that our rolls showed eight hundred thousand men under arms—better clothed and better fed than any before. —Besides our army, we have a credit which is adequate to all our needs; and we have powder and salt-petre sufficient for three years, even if our ports should be closed, and five hundred thousand unused muskets in our arsenals, and the best armorers of the world producing them at the rate of fifty thousand a month.”

 In a measure the soldiers produced by the draft were in some ways inferior to those who had volunteered in 1861 and 1862, but only in a measure. Brawny men from Canada, and sturdy newcomers from Europe entered the Union army in 1863 and 1864, drawn by the high wages offered for military service, and these proved fighting men of the first-class. ‘‘I will see,’’ wrote General Sherman to his brother in April, 1864, ‘‘that by May first I have on the Tennessee one of the best armies in the world.’’ This promise had splendid fulfillment in the months that followed, while in Virginia soldiers of like training and quality enabled Grant to battle Lee to a standstill.

Price: $45

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