Return to General David Hunter
Lincoln from David Hunter
Coup Attempt
December 18, 1860

Library of Congress
Transcription

Fort Leavenworth,

Dec. 18th 1860.--

Dear Sir:

Last spring, you recollect, it first became public that Gov. Wise, previous to the election of Mr. Buchanan, had sent a
circular to all the Southern governors, requesting their co-operation; and stating that he had twenty thousand men
ready, in case of Fremont's election, to march on Washington, and prevent his inauguration. On this occasion a
Southern Democratic Army officer, of high rank, made the following statement at this post.--

That "it was well understood at the time, among the leaders of the Democracy in Washington, that Fremont's
inauguration was to have been prevented in this way -- and that Gen. Pierce was to have co-operated with Wise, using
the Army and Navy of the United States for this purpose -- he himself, Gen. Pierce, to hold over, and keep possession
of the Government.--

Now Sir, from Mr. Buchanan's Message, and from a careful study of the signs of the times, I am very much inclined to
believe, that they intend to attempt the same game with you -- to have the Old Publick Functionary hold over, and thus
demoralize your Administration, and bring about the same anarchy and confusion at the North, as they will have
plunged into, at the South.--

Would it not be well, to have a hundred thousand Wide Awakes, wend their way quietly to Washington, during the first
three days of March: taking with them their capes and caps? By a coup-de-main we could arm them in Washington.

The reins once in your hands, I cannot doubt a triumphant result, and that you will preserve every star on our flag.

I am much honored by your kind invitation, conveyed through Col. Sumner. I shall not fail to be on hand.

I have the honor to be,

Most sincerely,

Your ob. serv.

David Hunter

U. S. Army.
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