Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 1864... And 2012

November 8: This was election-day for President, the proudest day of my life. I was eighteen years and four months old, and cast my first ballot, which was for Abraham Lincoln. The McClellan men were scarce in our regiment.”
William Bircher, drummer, 2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry (Veteran) [1]

October 29, All things have been quiet with us since the last date. The regiment voted for President. Commissioners were here from Connecticut. Each voter was given two ballots and an envelope. One for Lincoln and one for General McClellan. The voter, taking his ballots to his tent or anywhere he chose, put in the envelope the one of his choice, seal, and return to the commissioners who carried the vote home. I was not old enough to vote. I could carry a gun and do as much duty as any man.”
Charles Lynch, 18th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. Lynch was 19 years 8 months old. [2] Strange. The commissioners may have been the reason

At roll call, on the morning of the 8th, the tickets were dropped into hats, brought together, and counted. The proceeding was all together fair. There was no bribery or undue influence used. The count showed 615 votes for General McClellan and 1,665 for Mr. Lincoln.”
This casting of ballots had a twist. They did not count toward the final tally of the election of 1864. The reason? The balloting was held at Camp Ford, a Confederate POW camp housing Union soldiers. It is near Tyler, Texas. The voting was held upon the suggestion of the camp commandant, a Colonel Brown, who:
 “was astonished at the result. He had predicted another result, now he declared that Mr. Lincoln would be re-elected,and admitted the probable collapse of the Confederacy. He bought three gallons of whiskey, and with his officers, got gloriously drunk over the “indication”. [3]

I certainly hope my readers here in the US exercised their right and privilege to vote. These men served you 150 years ago to give you that freedom.

The Picket-
And I voted!!!!!!!!!

1- Bircher, William, A Drummer boys Diary, 1889, p 140   http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/007475548

2- Lynch, Charles H., The Civil War Diary, 1915, p 132 http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009586625
3- Forty Sixth Indiana Regimental Association, History of the Forty Sixth Regiment of Indiana Volunteer Infantry, 1888, page 132

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