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LINCOLN, ABRAHAM, President. Autograph letter signed ("A. Lincoln") TO MAJOR-GENERAL HENRY WAGER HALLECK, n.p., n.d. [Washington, D.C., 7 January 1863]. 1 page, an oblong portion of a sheet of lined paper (top portion and dateline apparently torn away, left-hand margin soiled, a triangular wedge of paper at top right missing and renewed, neatly backed with strong paper.

Details
LINCOLN, ABRAHAM, President. Autograph letter signed ("A. Lincoln") TO MAJOR-GENERAL HENRY WAGER HALLECK, n.p., n.d. [Washington, D.C., 7 January 1863]. 1 page, an oblong portion of a sheet of lined paper (top portion and dateline apparently torn away, left-hand margin soiled, a triangular wedge of paper at top right missing and renewed, neatly backed with strong paper.

THE PRESIDENT PROPOSES A NEW CAVALRY CORPS FOR THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC

A hastily scrawled but pointed inquiry from the President regarding the formation of a new corps of cavalry--a seemingly simple proposal by the Commander-in-Chief which precipitated the reorganization of one corps, the creation of another and provoked a bitter quarrel between generals: "My dear Sir: What think you of forming a reserve cavalry corps of say 6000, for the Army of the Potomac? Might not such a corps be constituted from the cavalry of [Franz] Sigel's and [Henry Warner] Slocum's corps, with scraps we could pick up here and there? Yours truly..."

Printed in Official Records, Ser.I, 21:954, and in Collected Works, ed. R.P. Basler, 6:43. An official copy, identical in text, in the hand of the Acting Assistant Adjutant General (possibly the copy delivered to Halleck) is in the National Archives, War Department files (a photocopy accompanies the lot). As Basler notes, no written reply from Halleck is recorded, but it seems apparent that he relayed Lincoln's idea to General Burnside, Commander of the Army of the Potomac. Only a week later, the plan had crystallized to the point that General Carl Schurz enthusiastically wrote Lincoln: "To-day I went with Gen. Sigel to see Gen. Burnside, who fully agreed to it that I should command the Eleventh Corps and Gen. [Julius] Stahel the Cavalry Reserve. Gen. Stahel also is very well satisfied with it. All concerned now agreeing upon the point the only thing that is wanted is that you should be kind enough to issue an order placing me in command of the Corps and Gen. Stahel in command of the Cavalry-Reserve, consisting of the Cavalry now with the Grand Reserve Division and such regiments as will be attached to it..."

Lincoln had written to Stanton on the 12th: "I intended proposing to you this morning...that Schurz and Stah[e]l should both be Maj. Gens.; Schurz to take Sigel's old corps, and Stah[e]l to command Cavalry. They, together with Sigel, are our [the administration's] sincere friends; and while it may seem rather large, any thing less is too small. I think it better be done..." (Basler, 6:55). Sigel, though, protested the plan and insisted that Stahel should take command of the XI Corps. A fascinating exchange of letters and endorsements between Lincoln and Sigel followed (see Basler 6:79-80 and 6:93). In the end, both Schurz and Stahel, as originally plannned, were promoted to Major General and Schurz was placed in command of the XI Corps. Lincoln's final letter to Sigel on the subject is published in Collected Works, Basler, 6:93. The newly created Cavalry reserve, under Stahel, became part of the XXII Corps, created from the motley assortment of units guarding the Washington, D.C. area (see Boatner, 199).
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