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Mark Twain offered Thomas Starr King and Herman Melville one of his Cuban cigars to go with their mint julip that Jessie Benton Fremont made for them and the other guests of her salon that she held at her new home in Black Point. Jessie had just introduced Brett Harte, when the conversation digressed to the scuttlebutt over the idea of General Fremont forming a nation in the west now that it was certain the South would secede from the Union. The garrison at Fort Sumpter was put on alert. With the reports coming in that a very large vein of gold was lying thirty feet under the San Joaquin River, and perhaps the whole valley cradled the largest gold deposit in the world, powerful and wealthy men were meeting with John behind closed doors. They wanted him – to grab the gold!
“Scientists are concluding a series of glaciers scraped the gold from the Sierra Foothills as they melted, and lay down a river of gold in the valley. If we don’t grab it, Napoleon may invade from Mexico – with the help of the Hapsburgs.” offered Starr, as he waved off Twain’s cigar. “I don’t smoke!”
“What is that?” Melville asked, as he saw puffs of smoke come through the haze that lingered at the Golden Gate. Then came the booms of canon.
“What the hell!” exclaimed Twain, and ran inside to get a spyglass. He emerged with General Fremont. Together they focussed on the warships that came sailing out of the mist, all cannons firing on the small fortification at the point.
“They’re flying the new flag of the Confederacy!” cried the General.
“Look! There fly the flag of Napoleon!” shouted Melville!
“To arms!” cried Mr. Harte, and he was given a look that went around world. At the exact same time a Prussian fleet sailed out of port in Chile. There were three frigates, and five troop transports. But what got the attention of the German colonizers, and the Native Americans, was the sight to the four ironclads that belched smoke and steam.
Prussia had made an offer to purchase California, but the discovery of gold, and the Gold Rush, forced the military kingdom that threatened Europe, to back out the deal. But, the Prussian Royalty had a plan. Timing is everything. When Wilhelm got news of – The Firing On Fort Mason – his fleet was sighted by the citizens of Los Angeles. Many of them were German immigrants. On cue, they formed militias, and would march into the San Joaquin Valley from the South!
‘When Senator Thomas Hart Benton was informed the South had landed an army in Oakland, he told his men to send the Ozark Brigade to Oregon to meet the British force he knew would come down from Canada to fight their old foe, the Scott-Irish. There were Germans from Saint Louis in this bunch.
“Gentleman! The Gold War….has begun!”
Jessie Fremont ins Sunshine Magazine said the British had plans to take over the San Joaquin Valley and move tens of thousands of Irish Catholics there. Prussian offered six million dollars for California. Radical German Forty-Eighters put Lincoln in office. Lincoln put tens of thousands of Abolitionist German Immigrants in Freemont’s ‘Mountain Department’ with no Confederate army anywhere near. Did Lincoln fear the Turner Germans would throw Lincoln out of office in a coup, because he kept putting off Emancipating the slaves? Did Joseph Lane have plans to make Oregon a slave slate – and California? Did Blair have a plan to make peace with the Southern slave owners by offering them the West, and ending slavery in the Original Thirteen Colonies? The British may have promised to thwart this idea because they were putting an end to slavery all over the world.
An hour ago I read an article by Joe Ryan who asks the questions I have been asking for ten years – at least! I have wondered if my great grandfather, Carl Janke, was part of a Prussian plan to colonize California – without a purchase. Just start moving in Germans from all over the world. Much of the world’s cotton is grown in the San Joachim Valley. How close did we come to having poor Irish Catholics being the Cotton Picker of The World…Cotton Mundi. Protestant England is free of the Pope – alas! Remember Drake and the sinking of the Spanish Armada that was built with New World gold.
Mankind’s love of gold……will be with us forever!
President: Royal Rosamond Press
In the process, harking back to Frémont’s glory days as the Pathfinder, Lincoln created the “Mountain Department” and sent Frémont on an illusionary mission to nowhere, conveniently stashing on the perimeter of Virginia territory thirty thousand men. It appears that most of these men were Germans, many of whom spoke no English. Whether this fact has something to do with Lincoln’s thinking here, who knows?
The Prussian Navy was created in 1701 from the former Brandenburg Navy upon the dissolution of Brandenburg-Prussia, the personal union of Brandenburg and Prussia under the House of Hohenzollern, after the elevation of Frederick I from Duke of Prussia to King in Prussia. The Prussian Navy fought in several wars but was active mainly as a merchant navy throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, as Prussia’s military consistently concentrated on the Prussian Army. The Prussian Navy was dissolved in 1867 when Prussia joined the North German Confederation, and its naval forces were absorbed into the North German Federal Navy.
The naval preference of the last Prussian king, German Emperor Wilhelm II, prepared the end of the Prussian monarchy. The German naval buildup of the late 19th and early 20th centuries was one of the causes of World War I; and it was the mutinying sailors of the High Seas Fleet who forced the abdication of the Emperor during the German Revolution of 1918–1919. The Navy continued as the Reichsmarine (Reich Navy) and later the Kriegsmarine (War Navy), until at the end of World War II, it faced its own end.
Between the mid-1860s and the early 1880s, the Prussian and later Imperial German Navies purchased or built sixteen ironclad warships.[a] In 1860, however, the Prussian Navy consisted solely of wooden, unarmored warships. The following year, Prince Adalbert and Albrecht von Roon wrote an expanded fleet plan that included four large ironclads and four smaller ironclads. Two of the latter were to be ordered from Britain immediately,
Civil War at Fort Mason
|This 1910 image of Fort Mason shows many of the army’s military structures built during the Civil War. The barracks, officers’ residences, post hospital and military headquarters were all constructed around the rectangular main parade ground at the center.PARC, GGNRA The National Park Service is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (1861 – 1865.) We acknowledge this defining event in our nation’s history and its legacy in continuing to fight for civil rights, or as Abraham Lincoln said in his Gettysburg Address, “that this nation….shall have a new birth of freedom.” To learn more about the National Park Service’s Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the Civil War, please visit The Civil War: 150 Years.|
Point San JoseIn 1848, the U.S. Government took over California as a result of the Mexican War, and a joint Army and Navy commission was appointed to select points of defense for California. This commission identified the former Mexican battery called Bateria de Yerba Buena located at the sandy hill overlooking San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz Island as an ideal site for fortification. Here the army established Point San Jose Military Reservation, now known as Fort Mason, for its strategic value. On December 31, 1851, when California was finally a state, President Millard Fillmore signed an executive order that also established other military reservations in the Bay Area. The U.S. Army took possession of the 1,450-acre Presidio and the Castillo San Joaquin (now known as Fort Point.)
Civilian Years at Black Point (1852-1861)While the army legally established the Point San Jose military reservation, they did not maintain any military presence on the land. Known to locals as “Black Point” because of the hill’s dark laurel trees, this appealing location offered stunning views of Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate, and the Marin Headlands. Because of confusing property title laws and the city’s crushing housing shortage, a few San Francisco citizens began to move onto the unoccupied military land; soon private citizens were illegally ‘squatting’ in the area. Taking advantage of the legal confusion, prominent San Francisco real estate developers Leonidas Haskell and George Eggleton constructed at least five large, private homes at Point San Jose by 1855. Haskell claimed that he never knew the land was army property, and sold the five houses repeatedly during the 1850s. These fine homes with a view attracted the city’s newly emerging middle class and over the next few years, Black Point became a preferred location for San Francisco’s well-educated bankers, merchants and literary figures. This important civilian period in Fort Mason’s history represents a crossroads between local and national history, as a chapter of the national anti-slavery movement was written at Black Point. Jessie Benton Fremont reading on the front porch of “Porter’s Lodge,” her home at Black Point (Fort Mason.)PARC, GGNRA John and Jessie FremontJohn Charles Fremont, knicknamed “the Pathfinder,” was known for his exploration of the West. He had led the Bear Flag Rebellion in 1846, fighting on the American side against Mexican forces in the soon-to-be state. Fremont allegedly was the one to name the narrow entrance of the San Francisco Bay the “Golden Gate” after the Golden Horn in Constantinople. John’s wife, Jessie Benton Fremont, was quite influential herself. The daughter of Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton, Jessie Benton Fremont was a sophisticated, well read, and opinionated woman and held a deep disdain for slavery.In the late 1850s, California played an important role in the years leading up to the Civil War. Much like the rest of the nation, California’s population was politically divided. In San Francisco, the Democrats divided themselves into two camps: one in favor of slavery and the other against it. The first group, made up largely of Southerners, was known popularly in San Francisco as the “Chivalry,” due to the South’s old-fashioned genteel values. The “free-soilers” were transplanted Northerners who were opposed to the extension of slavery and active supporters of the “Shovelry” faction of the Democratic Party (their popular nickname in San Francisco was the “Shovelry,” since they often appealed to the working class.) Of all the issues that divided those two factions, slavery became the most important.Jessie Benton Fremont used her home, known as “Porter’s Lodge”, as an intellectual salon, where active and bright people could gather. The people who met at her home were openly opposed to the expansion of slavery into the territories newly acquired from Mexico. People who visited “Porter’s Lodge” included politicians, like Edward Baker, future U.S. Senator from Oregon for whom Fort Baker was named, noted writers like Herman Melville, wealthy merchants, and influential public figures such as Reverend Thomas Starr King. Many of these individuals were active in anti-slavery politics. Senator David C. BroderickDavid C. Broderick, son of an Irish stonecutter, was a New Yorker who achieved success in politics. In 1857, he was elected as a Democrat to the United State Senate at a time when the Democratic Party of California was sharply split between the pro-slavery group and the “Free-Soil” advocates. Broderick was staunchly opposed to the expansion of slavery and worked closely with his political friends, including Leonidas Haskell, to support the anti-slavery movement. In 1859, Broderick’s political opponent, California State Supreme Court Chief Justice David S. Terry, a vocal advocate of slavery expansion in California, gave a searing speech attacking Broderick and his antislavery stance. Tempers flared between the two politicians and Terry challenged Broderick to a duel. Tragically, Terry mortally wounded Broderick in the duel. Friends rushed Broderick to Leonidas Haskell’s home at Black Point. Despite the doctor’s best efforts, he died in Haskell’s house three days later, reportedly saying “They killed me because I am opposed to the extension of slavery and a corrupt administration.” The Broderick-Terry duel drew national attention and Senator Broderick’s death turned him into a martyr for the anti-slavery movement. Political opponents accused Terry and his southern sympathizers of assassination. The duel, reflecting the nation’s larger and more violent divisions, pushed the country further towards a civil war. Reverend Thomas Starr Kingweb photoReverend Thomas Starr King
A New Yorker by birth, King made a name for himself preaching at the Hollis Street Church in Boston. He emigrated to California in 1859, when he was invited to serve as the pastor for the First Unitarian Church of San Francisco. The Reverend preached against slavery, segregation and the mistreatment of free blacks. Due to his liberality and his amazing oratory skills, King quickly became a highly respected figure amongst both San Francisco’s white anti-slavery cohort and its African-American community. King became close with Jessie Benton Fremont, frequenting her home to convene with other, like-minded anti-slavery activists and political figures. His spellbinding oratory at public rallies helped arouse anti-slavery spirit in San Francisco and gave the name to Union Square.
The Haskell House (now known as Fort Mason Quarters 3)PARC, GGNRALeonidas HaskellAlong with Jessie Benton Fremont, Leonidas Haskell was very politically active and well-connected as a “free-soiler.” As one of the real estate developers of the Black Point neighborhood, he helped shape and direct the political leanings of this civilian community. The little neighborhood of fine houses on Black Point became home to a small but influential group of residents who were openly hostile to secession and slavery and as a San Francisco neighborhood, it became a focal point in the growing conflict over slavery in California.
Military Use during the Civil WarThe outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 changed Black Point forever. John Fremont returned to military service as commanding general of the Department of the West; his wife Jessie moved with him to St. Louis. The Fremont’s neighbor and longtime friend, Leonidas Haskell, accompanied them to serve as his chief of staff. In 1863, San Francisco hummed with worrisome rumors of Confederate warships lurking in Pacific waters, preying on California gold shipments. In response, Army officials called for construction of a new fortification at Black Point, to supplement the two recently completed fortresses at Alcatraz Island and Fort Point.On October 13, 1863, the military took formal possession of Black Point, reestablishing the area’s original name, Point San Jose. The army constructed two batteries at the northern tip of the point, destroying Fremont’s house in the process. By May of 1864, construction was complete and soon the West Battery mounted six 10-inch Rodman cannons, while the East Battery held six 42-pound rifles. To accommodate the new officers and soldiers, the military constructed a post headquarters, hospital and barracks, clustered around a rectangular main parade ground. Fort Mason, circa 1890PARC, GGNRA To learn more about Civil War historical events that took place at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, please visit the Civil War at Golden Gate page.
To learn more about the Civil War defenses in San Francisco, please visit the San Francisco harbor defenses pages.To learn more about Fort Mason and its history after the Civil War, please visit the Fort Mason history page.
To learn about Fort Alcatraz during the Civil War, please visit the Civil War at Alcatraz page.To take a self-guided walking tour of historic Fort Mason, please download “A Reflection of San Francisco Through Time; A 19th Century Army Post on a San Francisco Bluff” (PDF file, 2.4 MB)
Understanding John Fremont
By: Joe Ryan
|The most crucial moment in John C. Frémont’s life came when he found himself one of the top three Union Regular Army major-generals, ranked only by George B. McClellan. The credentials that got him there, had nothing to do with his professional reputation, or established skill, as a Regular Army officer, and everything to do with his political status among the Radicals of the Republican Party. Nonetheless, he was at the top of the list of generals appointed by Lincoln to the rank of major-general in the Regular Army. Why, then, didn’t Lincoln have Frémont in command of the armed forces that he withheld from McClellan, in the spring and summer of 1862? From the point of view of West Point principles of military science, Lincoln’s top two generals should have been in command of all the Union troops in the field in Virginia and should have been cooperating with each other in the advance and siege of Richmond. Why weren’t they doing this? Had they done so, can anyone, knowledgeable about the details of the war, think the probability would not have been greatly in favor of the Union seizing the Confederate Capital, in 1862? Despite the obvious importance of understanding why this did not happen, the historians have ignored the issue completely, those who have written biographies of Frémont ignore the details of why Lincoln appointed Frémont to take the place of William Rosecrans, in the command of the “Mountain Department,” and to extend the scope of the department’s mission to include the capture of Knoxville, Tennessee; instead of putting him in command of the forces in front of Washington. Indeed, it seems the historians go out of their way to distract us from this issue, by harping on Frémont’s acknowledged fame as the “Pathfinder,” and his brief army days in California, during the War with Mexico. Was the problem for Lincoln, political? Did Lincoln actually fear Frémont as a political competitor for the White House? Did he shrink from giving Frémont such a crucial command position, because he thought Frémont was professionally incompetent to perform the task of commanding troops in an effort to capture Richmond? If Lincoln thought this, why was it that Frémont found his name on the Union list of first-appointed “top” generals in the first place? Apparently, the historians―several generations of them—have not taken the trouble to investigate these questions and report the evidence pointing to the most probable answer. It makes sense why Frémont was placed in command of the “Department of the West,” the region including Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, and western Kentucky. Frémont was married to the daughter of Thomas Hart Benton, who had represented Missouri in the Senate for thirty years. (He died in 1858) Frémont, at this time, was a close personal friend of Francis P. Blair, Jr., a very influential Missouri Democrat, whose father and brothers were key supporters of Lincoln. The evidence shows that Frémont was in France when the war broke out and did not know he was appointed major-general until some weeks after the appointment was made. Frémont returned to the United States on June 28, 1861, arrived in Washington to meet Lincoln on July 1, and was appointed commander of the Department of the West on July 6, two days after the Battle of Bull Run. It also makes sense why Lincoln removed him from this command about three months after he assumed it. Frémont, as he had showed time and again in his life, was a morally ambiguous man, who palled around with the sort of men who steal easily from the public weal. He quickly fell out of favor with Frank Blair, and his publication of an “Emancipation Proclamation,” along with his refusal to modify its terms at Lincoln’s insistence, explains the removal. All that is easy. But how could it be that, within just a few months of his dismissal from the command of the Department of the West, Frémont is hired by Lincoln again, Lincoln hiring him to supposedly mount what can plainly be seen by everyone to be an impossible mission: march an army of about 30,000 men through the Alleghenies 400 miles to Knoxville. Just ridiculous; especially, when those 30,000 men could have been used, in conjunction with another 25,000 men Lincoln was hoarding, to move on Richmond from the north while McClellan moved against it from the east. The Comte de Paris, in his tome, History of the Civil War in America, described the situation this way: The President, who, six months before, had suddenly taken away the command of the great department of the Missouri from General Fremont, had just created a new one in West Virginia expressly for him, called the `Mountain Department.’ This department had been so curiously marked out that Fremont was unable to find an enemy within its prescribed limits, and yet the President could not withstand the representations of those who were urging him to dismember the army of the Potomac for the purpose of adding unnecessary strength to this new army. Blenker’s strong division, composed exclusively of German soldiers, was, for no other reason, taken away from General McClellan on the eve of his departure for Fort Monroe, and transferred to Fremont. General Banks, with his twenty-five thousand men of the Fifth coprs, was kept in the valley of Virginia by the fears which Jackson and his eight thousand soldiers created in Washington, and the authorities only waited for the departure of McClellan to convert this corps into another independent army. And yet neither Fremont’s troops, with no enemy in front of them, nor Blenker’s ten thousand men, sent in search of the former, nor Banks’s twenty-five thousand were considered by the President as forming part of the defenders of Washington. He regarded them as separate armies, destined to wage war on their own account and desired to provide for the protection of the capital [by taking McDowell’s corps away from McClellan]. For Allan Nevins, the author of Frémont: Pathfinder of the West, a 700 page book, the issue of Frémont’s second departure from command is addressed in one convoluted and misleading sentence: [John] Pope believed that he should be the major-general of the dominating Illinois army. He was perhaps just as lukewarm in Frémont’s service as Fitz-John Porter later proved to be in John Pope’s. He at any rate escaped the court-martial that befell Porter; but Frémont felt so strongly that he declined to serve under Pope in the Virginia theater. Mr. Nevins has no clue what he is writing about. John Pope was very effective as a corps commander in Frémont’s department, having successes in the field and getting promoted to bigger and bigger work. Pope never participated in a battle with Frémont. Porter participated in a battle with Pope and Pope believed the loss of the battle was Porter’s fault; Porter, according to Pope’s view, having disobeyed orders at decisive moments in the battle. Nor is Nevins correct in his assumption that Frémont had feelings against Pope based on his past association with him. Frémont refused to serve under Pope, because he held senior rank to Pope. The historian, Cardinal Goodwin, in his John Charles Frémont: an explanation of his career, writes 260 pages of text, but devotes only a sentence or two to the issue of Frémont’s resurrection to army command in March 1862, just as McClellan is heading out to do battle on the Yorktown Peninsula. But Fortune did not desert Frémont. Before a partial committee made up from members of both Houses of Congress, using evidence which it admitted was incomplete, Frémont won a verdict from a majority approving his administration in the West, and his influential friends kept up a ceaseless agitation and clamor for his reassignment to action in the field. If Lincoln ever had any confidence in the General he had lost it, but his tolerance and forbearance prompted him to yield, and toward the end of March, 1862, while the House Committee (the full committee) was still instigating charges against Army officials, Frémont replaced General Rosecrans in command of a recently created Mountain Department in West Virginia. It was not an important command, but it served to allay the most virulent criticisms for a while. However, it was not in the cards for Frémont to succeed as a commander of armies. He held the new appointment for a few months, until convinced that he did not have the full confidence of his superior, and then he withdrew sullenly to New York, there to become the center of a disgruntled faction. Just amazing the gibberish of these people. What are the names of these “influential friends” and where is the physical evidence of this “ceaseless agitation and clamor?” Is it evidenced in the newspapers, letters, speeches, diaries, the historians claim they have read? And what silliness to write that Lincoln was “prompted to yield” by “his tolerance and forbearance?” What does Goodwin mean by Lincoln’s “tolerance” and “forbearance?” How did Lincoln’s “tolerance and forbearance” induce him to “yield” to Frémont’s “influential friends? Just gibberish. And this is after Lincoln had “lost confidence” in Frémont? Why would a President, who has lost confidence in his general, return that general to a command of importance, at a critical moment in the development of an offensive that might easily lead to the capture of Richmond? Why exactly was it that Lincoln was prompted to yield? What was the reason? Obviously the answer is not that Lincoln thought Frémont might actually be a decent general, one capable of cooperating with another decent general to get the job done. So why, at this critical moment, give Frémont command of any troops? Just does not make sense, unless there is something laying underneath that no one seems willing to find. The answer certainly does not lie in the concept of pressure being applied by members of Congress at this time. We have reviewed all the important bills that passed through Congress in the second session of the Thirty-Seventh Congress, none of them, except the funding bill, Lincoln could have cared about, and the funding bill the Radicals could hardly have filibustered given the circumstances. Who could have brought to bear, then, against Lincoln pressure to force him to do what obviously he had no good reason to do? William Rosecrans had been a subordinate, under McClellan’s command, when the latter commanded the “Department of the Ohio,” which included West Virginia. After McClellan went to Washington, the Department of the Ohio was divided in two: one half, retained the name, Department of Ohio, and included east Tennessee, and came under the command of a general named Mitchel; the part of the old department that was West Virginia, became the Department of West Virginia and it went to Rosecrans. Rosecrans held command of this department from about July 4, 1861, to March 1862. During that time, his forces penetrated into the west Virginia counties and fought successfully several small scale encounters with forces ostensibly under the command of General Lee. Then, out of the blue, on March 11, he was superceded in command by Lincoln’s appointment of Frémont to command the “Mountain Department,” which was to include what had been Rosecrans’ command. Later, when Lincoln called Pope to Washington, Rosecrans went west to take his place as commander of the Army of the Mississippi. Here is Rosecrans’ story, as told by William M. Lamers, in The Edge of Glory: A Biography of William S. Rosecrans. Meanwhile, unknown to Rosecrans, his affairs were becoming entangled with those of Major John C. Frémont, the “Pathfinder.” Frémont’s record in the post of commander of the Department of the West was undistinguished. He had won no victories. . . , became involved in procurement scandals etc. The Radicals proclaimed him a martyr, and determined to restore him to command. Lincoln yielded to their pressures. Not wishing to remove McClellan, yet needing a post for Frémont, he created the Mountain Department, which included West Virginia, and on March 11, 1862 put Frémont in charge. So the Radicals “pressured” Lincoln into giving Frémont a command, with the mission of marching as far away from the vicinity of Richmond as possible? The “Radicals” were about ten to fifteen senators and a percentage of the members of the House of Representatives. It escape intelligence altogether, to understand what possible strength of pressure could have been brought to bear by these men against Lincoln, sufficient to compel Lincoln to appoint Frémont to command. Something must have gone on here that does not meet the eye. At the same time, the Radicals are pushing Fremont on Lincoln, the Democrats, especially the Blair family, Montgomery Blair, Lincoln’s Postmaster General included, were publicly at war with Frémont. Frank Blair, in the House, made fiery speeches castigating Frémont at this time. So Lincoln would have gotten about as much pressure to ignore Frémont as to favor him. During this same time―March 1862—Lincoln is pulling troops away from McClellan and giving some of them to Frémont. It really seems as if Lincoln did not want to succeed in the capture of Richmond, or was it that he knew he did not have the generals to get the job done and was simply keeping some eggs out of the basket? Apparently, in the past, at least some of the historians have been married to the conspiracy theory. For example, T. Harry Williams wrote, “Plots and counterplots boiled beneath the troubled surface. Stanton hatched innumerable schemes to destroy his enemies. McClellan twisted and turned as the Radical struck (again!). And behind all was the implacable Committee [On The Conduct Of The War]. The Radicals wanted a quick victory, but not at the expense of abolition; a great victory but not one that would make McClellan a candidate.” The Radicals wanted a quick victory, but not at the expense of abolition? What does Williams mean? A quick victory? Does Williams mean victory in Virginia, victory over the Confederacy? The fall of Richmond would have led eventually to the Confederacy abandoning Virginia to Union control, but then the Union armies would still have to penetrate into the Confederate heartland which would not have happened “quickly.” How could a “quick victory,” whatever Williams expects his readers to think that means, have been at the “expense of abolition?” These historians are writing pure gibberish. How pathetic is this? And the great political scientist, John W. Burgess, wrote this: “Whether a crushing victory over the Confederates, ending at once the rebellion, before slavery was destroyed, was wanted by all those who composed the Washington government may well be suspected.” More silliness! Even if Richmond had fallen to Lincoln in the summer of 1862, it certainly would not have ended at once the rebellion. By the close of the second session of the Thirty-Seventy Congress, as we have seen, the Union Government’s policy had clearly changed from restoring “the Union as it was,” to conquering the seceded States and taking control of their domestic policies. By the close of that session, it was becoming quite clear to everyone that the war would destroy slavery, however long it were to continue. Oh but for the likes of a David Halberstam to drill into this mess the historians have made and get it straightened out. The only rational explanation for Lincoln’s conduct, is that Frémont was popular, and must have been perceived by Lincoln as a threat to his office. Assuming these factors induced Lincoln to give Frémont a military command, the nature of the command selected raises another stack of questions: because of Frémont’s obvious incompetence, the command could not be one that might actually be the key to conquering Virginia. Lincoln did not trust McClellan to have charge of all Union troops in Virginia, and he did not trust Frémont to command in tandem with McClellan. Lincoln must have thought he had no general available to him, with the necessary level of skill and ability, to use to push the forces he was holding back from McClellan against Richmond. McClellan was all he had, and so he hedged. In the process, harking back to Frémont’s glory days as the Pathfinder, Lincoln created the “Mountain Department” and sent Frémont on an illusionary mission to nowhere, conveniently stashing on the perimeter of Virginia territory thirty thousand men. It appears that most of these men were Germans, many of whom spoke no English. Whether this fact has something to do with Lincoln’s thinking here, who knows?|