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150 Years Ago: Saturday, May 18, 1861

The state of Arkansas is officially admitted into the Confederate States of America.

Missouri Governor Claiborne Jackson is not only maneuvering to support the Confederacy, but he’s looking for their help in gaining control of his state out of the hands of Union volunteers that are set on keeping control. His Lieutenant Governor Thomas Reynolds is traveling to meet with the Confederate government to seek their assistance. In addition, there is discussion of getting delegates together from the previous state convention to re-discuss the topic of secession.

In Washington City, Horatio Nelson Taft writes in his diary about the perfect cool weather for the soldiers, who are constantly drilling throughout the city.

Two days ago President Lincoln and several key advisers had agreed to remove General William Harney in Missouri, as he is believed to have Southern sympathies. It was decided that Frank Blair, Jr. would have the final say on whether Harney would be relieved of duty. Lincoln writes Blair today; he is having second thoughts:

My Dear Sir.

We have a good deal of anxiety here about St. Louis. I understand an order has gone from the War Department to you, to be delivered or withheld in your discretion, relieving Gen. Harney from his command. I was not quite satisfied with the order when it was made, though on the whole I thought it best to make it; but since then I have become more doubtful of its propriety. I do not write now to countermand it; but to say I wish you would withhold it, unless in your judgement the necessity to the contrary is very urgent.

There are several reasons for this. We better have him a friend than an enemy. It will dissatisfy a good many who otherwise would be quiet. More than all, we first relieved him, then restored him, & now if we relieve him again, the public will ask, “why all this vacillation.”

Still if, in your judgment, it is indispensable let it be so.

Yours very truly A Lincoln

While Lincoln attends an evening concert at the White House put on by the Marine Band, his wife Mary is with their oldest son Robert in Boston for the weekend.

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