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1864 September 24: General Hooker—“Some are crying peace; but there can be no peace where there is no peace!”

September 29, 2014

The following is from The Prescott Journal of September 24, 1864.

Some of the Copperhead papers are stating that Gen. HOOKER [Joseph Hooker] supports the Chicago nominations.  How much truth there is in the report let the subjoined speech indicate.—The hero of the Battle in the Clouds [the Battle of Lookout Mountain] was at Watertown, N. Y., on a short visit to some relatives there when the news of the victory of Atlanta came.  In the evening, the people got out the old Wide-Awake torches of 1860, formed a procession, and called upon the General.  He came forward and addressed them as follows :

General Joseph Hooker, from the Library of Congress

General Joseph Hooker, from the Library of Congress¹

“FELLOW-CITIZENS.  You have come here to rejoice at the success of the Union arms, in which I am ready to join you heart and hand.  My business is fighting not speech-making ;  but let me now tell you that the army of Sherman [William T. Sherman] is invincible, and cannot be disheartened.  We must treat this rebellion as a wise parent would a vicious child—he must whip him into subjection—no milder discipline will answer the purpose.  Some are crying peace ;  but there can be no peace where there is no peace !  This Union must be preserved, and there is no way of preserving it but by the power of our arms—by fighting the conspiracy to death.

This rebellion is tottering now while I speak ;  it is going down, down, and will soon tumble into ruin.  Politicians may talk to you about the cause of the war, but I say put down the insurgents—first whip them, and then talk about the cause of it if you have nothing else to engage your attention.  I believe in treating the rebellion as Gen. Jackson treated the Indians—whip them first and treat with them afterwards.  The Union cannot be divided, let politicians talk as they may ;  for if division commences, where are you to end? First, the South would go, then the Pacific States, then New England, and I hear that one notorious politician has advocated that the City of New York should secede from the Empire State.  In such case, there would be no end to rebellion.  Gentlemen, every interest you have depends upon the success of our cause, every dollar you possess is at stake in the preservation of this Union.  It will better accord with my feelings to see the limits of our glorious country extended, rather than circumscribed, and we may feel it a national necessity to enlarge our borders at no distant day.  This Union, gentlemen, cannot be dissolved, as long as the army have guns to fight with ;  furnish men and muskets, and the Union is secure.  Fellow citizens, thanking you for the honor of your call and the patriotic spirit you manifest, I bid you a cordial good-night.

1.  “[Portrait of Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, officer of the Federal Army],” by the Brady National Photographic Art Gallery (Washington, D.C.), ca. 1860-65. A digital copy is available from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

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