Soldier Vote 1864
Charles Granville Hamilton

The Rusian ambassador wrote home:
If the vote were free,
McClellan would most certainly be victor;
But with the powers the government posseses
It will control the election.
Universal Suffrage is managed here as easily
As anywhere on earth.

The Czar was busy putting down the Poles
Who suffered from ideas of liberty,
Secession, independence at the same time
Lincoln was stipping such. Together
They shared so much in common that the Czar
Sent his Atlantic and Pacific fleets
To Lincoln's harbors as a mighty token,
Where they were safe from sudden British attacks,
Where they could keep an enemy from Lincoln.
When Simon Cameron was discovered
Guilty of stealing red hot stoves and more,
Abe sent him to the Russians as ambassador,
Mrs. Lincoln toasted the gracious Czar.
The Czar has given every serf some land;
And Lincoln means to do so for the slave.
Freedom without a way to eat is zero.
The Northern flag and Russina intertwined
Greeted visiting sailors; palaces and cathedrals
Saw the mingling of the Yankee and the Russian.
Everlasting friendship was pledged
In two united to stop liberty.
Republicans and Russians are alike,
Noted Governor Horatio Seymour of New York;
They only go about it different ways,
In neither are the common voices heard.
No wonder Karl Marx is strong for Lincoln.


Whoever wanted to be legislator
Was angling for captaincy, while senators
Seemed to be probabale for majors,
Brigadier generals saw themselves in congress,
And major generals in the capitols,
They helped to vote the soldiers in the ranks
And count them twice or thrice as need might be.
The soldiers never saw a Democratic paper
Or heard a Democratic campaign speech.
A peon insulated from all facts,
He knew his extra kitchen duty came
If he objected to dictatorship.
Some cast their votes in companies and then
Sent home another vote to be used by proxy.
Soldiers were furloughed only if they voted right;
Who would not vote to see again his sweetheart?
Remarkable how such a flood of letters,
Almost identical, endorsing Lincoln,
Came to home papers from promotion hunters.
Soldiers home on furlough wrecked the office
Of every Democratic newspaper they ran on.

McClellan with the innocence of prewar
Democracy thought that he had a chance
And that votes would be counted as they were cast.
The old men never reconciled themselves
To fighting for Lincoln instead of Union.
Mac would restore a union as it was,
Not a Delian Confederacy of tyrants.
But Little Mac was not to have a chance;
State agents went to see each doubtful soldier;
Postmasters in the army and at home
Burned or threw away Democratic papers;
Free press, another casualty of Lincoln.
Montgomery Blair, who had kept Maryland,
Also Missouri, in the early days,
Was dropped like a hot potato on condition
Fremont winthdraw and not divide the vote.
A hundred clerks in capitol rotundas
Mailed out one million campaign circulars
To Sherman's army, sixty bags a day.
One man gave out a million documents,
Working from Maine clean down to Louisiana.
The hospitals were filled with Lincoln pamphlets.
You do not want to aggravate your doctor?

There were no passes for Democrats.
Republicans had passed to all armies.
The dodgers in the Sanitary outfit
Spent all their time campaigning against Mac.
A regiment that was all for McClellan
Discovered that its colonel could not be
Promoted unless it reversed its ideas;
Old Stanton puffed stern spirals from his lips;
This was the only way to get promotion.
The man who ran West Point invited Mac to speak.
Stanton blew up, fired the superintendent.
Detective Pinkerton put his armed thugs
Around, assuring Lincoln that he had
The situation well in hand.
When Rosecrans made it plain Missouri men
Could not leave front lines, Abe interfered,
And sent them home to vote. In Washington
The wounded in the hospital voted
Ten to one against him. He said they knew him best.
Maryland votes were stolen, soldier ballots
Were ten to one for Abe; less than three thousand
Voted or rather had their votes recorded. About the same
Were counted to give Abe Connecticut,
By a majority less than these ballots.
Half of these were boys who had never voted.
One presidential pardon to deserters
Came too late for their lives and for their votes.

There is a North still full of Democrats
Who have been voting with us 60 years.
Poor Democrats are drafted,
And die of disease or bullets,
Which guarantees fewer left to vote.
After they saved the Union armies
At Antietam, Perryville and Shiloh,
The Democratic generals were run off.
This is a war for stealing, not for killing;
Perhaps that's what most wars are for;
A war to save the Republican Party.
And Old Abe knows it, Chandler told him so.
With Morton, Sumner, Andrews, Blair they started
To guarantee their party fifty years
Of stealing by Wall, State and Beacon Streets
With bullet-headed generals in a White House
That millions may be stolen every hour.

Steele could not move until troops had been voted;
All who prefer McClellan, come out front
And let us have your names. Not even then
Was anyone sure that his vote was counted.
Banks stayed in Louisiana till the totals
Would tally over all civilisan leads.
The line of men behind a single tree
Wavering to miss the minie balls was nothing.
Two thousand Pennsylvanians voted
In camp and then in thirty Indiana precincts,
Then voted at home, and saved the state for Lincoln
By five thousand, with ten thousand soldier votes.
Hordes of soldiers on furlough stole for Curtin
The Keystone state over the sober voters.
Some twenty thousand poured into New York,
Around the Buffalo and Rochester area
And were counted four times each by Thurlow Weed's thugs.
Michigan troops voted in Indiana
Along with soldiers from eight other alien states.
The 66th Massachusetts voted six times.
Nurses certified that all New Jersey wounded
Were ready for a furlough home;
New Hampshire men went home also by thousand.
There was an agent in each regiment,
A bigger politician in each corps,
An inbetween to keep brigades in line;
This is a far sight from democracy;
Who was it bleated of and by the people?
His conscience ought to hurt him; where is Robert,
His slacker son? Upon the Harvard green,
A student shirker in civilian clothes.

So that is what this suffering all comes to,
A million Northern boys, killed, wounded, missing,
To save no Union, end no slavery,
But only make it certain that the party
Can keep the power, patronage and plunder.
You can be sure that liars
Will dress it up a war to save the union,
The constitution, freedom, and the people;
But the boys in blue know better;
They're only fighting to preserve a party.
They die to make an era for good stealing.
But Lincoln has a simple answer; Would you
Let one election lose four years of fighting?


The Flag Was Flame Above a Sea of Gray by Charles Granville Hamilton, pages 152-159
Times, Fulton, Mississippi, no date, my copy inscribed by the author 1978.