Tuesday, November 6, 2012

He too wanted to vote for Lincoln

One unexpected development in the presidential election of 1864 was that 71 percent of the vote in the Army of the Potomac went to Abraham Lincoln and not its old commander George McClellan. In a strange turn of events that war year, Wisconsin and Michigan men of the Iron Brigade were allowed to vote while those from Indiana could not. The Indiana legislature had voted against soldiers from their state being allowed to vote in the field. "We all agreed that what the Rebels liked was just what we had no right to like, and if it was going to do them so much good to elect McClellan, we just wouldn't do it," one Badger wrote home. In the end the old Iron Brigade regiments voted 749 for Lincoln and 147 for Little Mac. In the 6th Wisconsin, the very satisified  Sgt. Frank Wallar wrote in his diary the vote of his Company I was "unanimous for Abe. I am going to have two canteens of whiskey tonight." During the day-long balloting a lone Confederate deserter stepped into the Michigan picket line to announced that he too wanted to vote for Lincoln. It is not recorded whether he was given that opportunity.

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