December 21, 1862: George Templeton Strong, with his usual savvy eye for the political climate in the North, writes in his journal about the tempest in the Federal Administration:
Seward has tendered his resignation! Whether it will be accepted and if so, who will succeed him, and whether other changes in the Cabinet are to follow, we don’t yet know. Edward Everett and Charles Sumner [Senator from Massachusetts] are named as candidates for the succession. I do not think Seward a loss to government. He is an adroit, shifty, clever politician, in whose career I have never detected the least indication of principle. He believes in majorities, and it would seem, in nothing else.
An editorial in a very Democrat newspaper in Seneca County, New York, excoriates in the strongest terms the crimes of the Administration in regard to the disaster at Fredericksburg---and thus is a clear barometer to the mood of the public:
Never was heroism more sublimely displayed, – never an army more needlessly, wickedly sacrificed. The blundering strategy and the incompetent generalship that hurled our forces against the impregnable intrenchments of the enemy should be characterized and denounced as indiscriminate murder slaughter, and the authors, whoever they may be, execrated and driven from the presence of God and man. We have no patience to speak in milder terms. Too many of the noblest and bravest of the land have already been slaughtered in this wicked and unrighteous war; and too many, alas, have perished through the combined stupidity and criminal incapacity of ABRAHAM LINCOLN, HENRY W. HALLECK and EDWIN M. STANTON. They have too long trifled with the very existence of the nation. When the rebellion was about to be crushed they interposed, defeated the plans of the Generals in the field, and blasted the hopes and expectations of a loyal people. Through their intrigue and imbecility the disaster under POPE and the slaughter at Antietam were brought upon us. And now the fruitless butchery on the heights of Fredericksburg is the last drop in the bitter cup of anguish and despair. A whole nation is in mourning over the awful scenes of desolation and death that come to us from the battle field, and God alone can wipe away the twenty thousand fireside tears that to-day are being shed throughout the length and breadth of this once happy country. Is there no hope for a suffering people? Must this dreadful war go on until the whole nation is in mourning? The public patience is exhausted.