Loring, George B. (1817-1891)
Autograph Letter Signed to Henry Wilson, Salem, August 19, 1874

octavo, 4 pages, approximately four hundred words, in fine clean, and legible condition.

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A revealing post-Civil War Letter, by George B. Loring1, written to then U.S. Vice President Henry Wilson2, (1812-1875), author of History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America and Radical Reconstructionist. George Bailey Loring, Salem doctor, Massachusetts legislator, and U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture, was a Democrat who in 1864 supported Lincoln and became a leader in the Republican Party. His conversion, entitled: Another life-long Democrat testifies to the truth!! Patriotic Letter, was published as a broadside. Loring encloses a copy (no longer present) presumably for Wilson's work then in progress with an insistent reminder of "the condition of affairs in this country when I made up my mind to do this," he rebuts the charge that he changed sides only when he was convinced of Lincoln's re-election and a swift military victory:

"My dear General:

I told you some weeks ago I would send you my letter supporting President Lincoln for re-election in 1864. I enclose it herewith. I also told you I would remind you of the condition of affairs in this country when I made up my mind to do this, because I have been charged with having been convinced of Mr. Lincoln's election & of the ultimate & rapid victory of the North before I gave the republican party my support.

As to the political condition of 1864 - you cannot have forgotten it. Mr. Greeley's propositions of peace, the universal fears of the republican party that Mr. Lincoln's Clifton House proposition would defeat it - the toil & doubt of the campaign, you must well remember. I do; & I remember also the assurance of victory everywhere expressed by democrats, during the long summer campaign, even to the very day of election.

In military matters also, that was one of the gloomiest of all the seasons of the war. In May the battles of the Wilderness were raging - and the Union armies were overwhelmed with disaster.  Sherman was toiling in Tennessee. Sigel was laboring in vain in the Shenandoah Valley. On June 6th of 1864 , the disaster at Cold Harbor fell upon the country. June 18th the disaster of Petersburg occurred. Maryland was invaded by Early. Week after week the Army of the Potomac lay idle. The horror of the defeat at Fort Pillow occurred. Forrest invaded Tennessee & Kentucky. Along the coast disaster attended our arms - Not until September did Sherman reach Atlanta; nor had at that time Thomas's campaign around Nashville commenced. The cloud was heavy. Almost everybody despaired. And it was absolutely necessary to convince the American people that the cause was not lost. At this time Mr. Greeley wrote his letter in the Manchester Guardian that the North had no more men & no more money to carry on the war. At this time I wrote the enclosed letter. Now mark the difference - & let the people be just Let History be just at any rate ..."

1. Dictionary of American Biography, volume VI, pp., 417-418

2. American National Biography, volume 23, pp., 579-581; Dictionary of American Biography, volume X, part two, pp., 322-325