Three horrifying shootings have taken place, all of them in the South, in States once part of the Confederacy: Dylann Storm Roof, South Carolina; the Chattanooga shooting of unarmed U.S. Marines, Tennessee; the Lafayette theater shooting, Louisiana. These occur coincident to a “Capitol Dome Restoration Project” in Washington, DC. The “Restoration” is, in other words, Reconstruction 2.0. (Background: Unfinished, Like the Union Itself, Ersjdamoo’s Blog, July 26, 2015.)
Signifying the Restoration Project, the Steven Spielberg “Lincoln” movie appeared just after President Barack Obama had been re-elected in 2012. In the movie, President Abraham Lincoln is portrayed making Herculean efforts to secure passage of the 13th Amendment in the House of Representatives. The action takes place in January 1865. In Cabinet meetings the sessions are stormy: Cabinet members interrupt each other in their passion; Lincoln slams his hand down on the table; dramatics worthy of “Shakespeare” (Francis Bacon, et al.) are displayed by plodding Secretaries of various departments.
Well this is all most amazing. In Gideon Welles’ diary, his descriptions of Lincoln Cabinet meetings show orderly, reasoned, passionless weighing of pros and cons. Each member is called upon and he states his position on the subject under discussion. Then the next member is given the floor. People are not being interrupted. On the surface of the Cabinet meetings the waters are calm. (Beneath the surface, away from the meetings, quiet plots are sometimes hatched and there are hints of bitter feelings.)
Was Abraham Lincoln really on fire in January 1865? That is what the “Lincoln” movie exhibits, with Old Abe focused like a laser on pushing forward the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery. Turning to the Gideon Welles diary entries for January 1865, in yesterday’s blog entry I had progressed to January 6, 1865. Nothing at all about the 13th Amendment had been found.
The next entry from Welles, Secretary of the Navy under Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, is dated January 14, 1865. “Much speculation has been had concerning the dismissal of General Butler,” noted Welles. “It was anticipated that, being a favorite with the extremists, his dismissal would create a great excitement, but it has passed off without irritation, almost without sensation.”
General Benjamin Butler was popular with the Radical Republicans.  These would be “the extremists” mentioned by Welles.
On January 16, 1865, Welles records, “General Butler called on me this P.M. He has come to testify before the Committee on the Conduct of the War…” This Committee was “dominated by Radical Republicans of no military experience, urging rash movements, at odds with Lincoln’s more considered strategies.”  Gideon Welles calls most of the members of the Committee “narrow and prejudiced partisans, mischievous busybodies, and a discredit to Congress. Mean and contemptible partisanship colors all their acts. Secretly opposed to the President, they hope to make something of Butler…”
It is already past the middle of January and Welles has written absolutely nothing about the 13th Amendment, supposed by Hollywood to have been Lincoln’s central focus at the time.
The next entry in the Welles diary is for January 17, 1865. Fort Fisher had been captured by Union forces. “At the Cabinet meeting there was a very pleasant feeling. Seward thought there was little now for the Navy to do… The President was happy. Says he is amused with the manners and views of some who address him…”
On January 18, 1865, Welles writes, “The congratulations over the capture of Fort Fisher are hearty and earnest.” Still no mention at all of the 13th Amendment.
January 21, 1865: “The congratulations and hearty cheer of the people over the victory at Fort Fisher are most gratifying.”
On March 27 or 28, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln met at City Point (now Hopewell, Virginia) with Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman along with Admiral David Porter aboard the River Queen, as depicted by G.P.A Healy’s 1868 painting The Peacemakers (image).  General Sherman later followed what he believed to be Abraham Lincoln’s wishes when he negotiated surrender terms with Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston. Agreement was reached between Johnston and Sherman on April 18, 1865, three days after Lincoln’s death. Among the terms of agreement: “The recognition, by the Executive of the United States, of the several State governments, on their officers and legislatures taking the oaths prescribed by the Constitution of the United States…” 
But General Sherman, following what he believed to be what Abraham Lincoln had wanted, did not yet realize that a coup d’état government of Radical Republicans had by then superseded Lincoln’s benign wishes. Sherman’s terms of surrender enraged U.S. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.  The 13th Amendment needed to be voted upon by the individual States before it could become law. How could the Radical Republicans ram through the 13th Amendment if the several State governments of the defeated Confederacy were freely allowed to vote yes or no? Better served would we be if Hollywood focused upon the passions of Edwin Stanton and “the extremists” instead of inventing same for Abraham Lincoln about the 13th Amendment.
——- Sources ——-
 “Benjamin Butler (politician)”, Wikipedia, July 27, 2015.
 “United States Congress Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War”, Wikipedia, July 27, 2015.
 “City Point, Virginia”, Wikipedia, July 27, 2015.
 “April 18, 1865 Agreement between Johnston and Sherman”, http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/primarysources/april-18-1865-agreement.html
 “9 Things You May Not Know About William Tecumseh Sherman”, by Evan Andrews, November 14, 2014. http://www.history.com/news/9-things-you-may-not-know-about-william-tecumseh-sherman