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1862 December 17: Wisconsin Politics

December 22, 2012

This letter to the editor, from “Wisconsin,” appeared in the December 17, 1862, issue of The Prescott Journal.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 1862.

Dear Lute :—In the death of Hon. Luther Hanchett, the sixth Congressional District of the State of Wisconsin, and the Republican cause at the Capitol of the Nation, have received a blow which is felt.  It is a time when representatives of the loyal Northwest are wanted; men who will always be found in their place, voting and working, with a will, in support of the Administration, and for a vigorous prosecution of the war.  Such men are wanted here, and now more than soldiers are wanted in the field.  If the voters of our Congressional District could sit in the audience gallery of the House of Representatives, and see how persistently and untiringly the democrats and “border State men” present, and press anti-administration and antiwar measures, under the lead of such men as Vallandingham¹ and Wickliffe,² they would see to it that their “vacant chair” in Congress was filled by a man whom they know to be as true as steel. The secessionists here glory over the democratic victories in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and elsewhere; and tauntingly tell us that when the fourth of March next brings the results of these elections into the National councils they will give the Union cause “marry h—l.” Now if ever, is the time for the fathers and brothers and friends of the brave soldiers from the St. Croix Valley to see well to it that the “right man” is nominated and elected, to work and vote, for the measure without which all the blood and soil and pain they have given and suffered will be worse than nothing.

It is time for every true patriot to attend the caucusses [sic], and see to it that the right steps are taken to ensure the nomination of the “right man.”  It is a time for every true patriot to remember that now is the time when votes are worth than Minie bullets. It is a time for patriots to remember that the man who fails to do his duty at the caucus and the polls is more guilty than the man who hides when he battle is raging.

I understand that at the earnest solicitation of Wisconsin men in the army and elsewhere, abroad as well as at home our present State Treasurer, Samuel D. Hastings, has consented to allow his name to be used as a candidate for the term in  Congress for which Mr. Hanchbelt was elected; but that the duties of the office he now fills will prevent his accepting the place for the remainder of the present session.  Even Mr. Hastings’ few enemies admit that he is an honest, earnest, industrious man; they admit that he is just such a man as we here in Washington, could we know that he would be nominated and elected, would draw a good long sigh of relief.  McIndoe [Walter D. Mclndoe] would suit us for the remainder of the present term.  Anything which we here can do to bring about such an arrangement of our present unfortunate, unrepresented situation, we shall be more than willing to do.

Earnestly and respectfully yours,

WISCONSIN.

1.  Clement Laird Vallandigham (1820-1871) was a U.S. Representative from Ohio.  Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton,  and Vallandigham were “intimate personal friends” before the Civil War. Vallandigham lost his bid for a third term, in 1862, by a relatively large vote.
2.  Charles Anderson Wickliffe (1788-1869) was a U.S. Representative from Kentucky from 1861 to March 1863. He tried to avert the Civil War by serving as a delegate to both the 1861 Peace Conference and the Border States Convention. He had also been the governor of Kentucky from 1833 to 1835.

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