Today we are seeing an echo from 1864, Donald Trump faces an uphill battle against Democrats who are pissed they lost an election and are scared they will do so again. The Democrats are bringing back an old play from 1864 used to try and derail one of the greatest Presidents ever, Lincoln
In 1864, Abraham Lincoln and the National Union Party wanted to continue the war and defeat the Confederacy. Meanwhile antiwar Democrats, also referred to as Copperheads, looked for an immediate compromise with the Confederate leaders and the end of the abolition movement.
So The results of the 1864 election would heavily affect the outcome of the war. This lead to Lincoln sending a man named Orville Wood to Baltimore in the fall. This would lead to Woods uncovering one of the biggest election conspiracies in Americas brief existence.
New York legislators had established the state’s mail-in voting system in April with the intent of ensuring the suffrage of White troops battling the Confederate Army.
Troops from New York were allowed to authorize individuals back home to cast a vote on their behalf. Along with their mail-in ballots, troops would assign their power of attorney on slips that required four signatures: the voter’s, the person authorized as a recipient, a witness to the signed affidavit and a fellow officer
These documents would be sealed in an envelope and shipped back home to be counted in the final vote. This was the process that Orville Wood intended to uphold, he would testify in court later. He quickly found out what a challenge that would be.
During this time in history Lincoln had grim chances for winning a second term as the Civil War raged on and the North began to lose confidence in a president who refused to compromise with the Confederacy.
It was at that time that a plot materialised to bring down Lincoln’s National Union Party and assist his opponent, General George B. McClellan. A group of conspirators in Washington and Baltimore were forging the papers and the signatures to rig the vote in favour of McClellan, according to The New York Times’ reporting from 1864.
One of the masterminds was Edward Donahue, who was authorised as an agent of New York State to receive the soldiers’ votes.
Donahue and his crew put the names of active-duty, dead and non-existent soldiers and officers in the blanks. They also left the envelopes open so they could replace the votes of Lincoln supporters with fraudulent votes for McClellan.
Wood arrived at Fort McHenry in Baltimore to visit with the 91st New York Regiment. There, an Army captain suggested that there had been some “checker playing” when it came to the gathering of soldiers’ mail-in ballots.
These suspicions of fraud were echoed when Wood visited wounded men at the Newton University Hospital. The rumors of election medaling led Wood to the office of Moses Ferry in Baltimore.
Ferry had been hand pickedd by New York Gov. Horatio Seymour to help oversee the voting process for New York’s enlisted men. Seymour had vetoed the initial bill to establish mail-in voting and would go on to run against Ulysses S. Grant in the 1868 presidential election.
Wood masked his suspicions as he entered Ferry’s office, portraying himself as a strong supporter of Lincoln’s opponent, George McClellan. This was enough to gain Ferry’s trust, he testified later.
Ferry told Wood that the votes from New York’s 91st Regiment had already been tallied: 400 for McClellan and 11 for Lincoln.
Wood returned to the office later and, following Ferry’s instructions, began forging signatures of the 16th New York Cavalry. Meanwhile, a clerk sat across the room signing ballots from the roster of names Wood had brought with him from home.
Wood asked to personally deliver these fraudulent ballots, but Ferry said they would have to receive final approval from his colleague in Washington – Edward Donahue Jr.
Wood, later testified that he could tell something was up when Donahue’s associate Moses Ferry told him that Lincoln had received just 11 votes in the regiment compared with McClellan’s 400.
Ferry, who used “signatures” of dead soldiers to help his candidate win would joke, “Dead or alive, they all had cast a good vote.”
Ferry, Donahue, and their fellow conspirators found humor in their work. One accomplice mocked the outcry he expected from abolitionist newspapers following the corruption of the election. The men bragged about their past successes in fixing local elections back home.
Together, the men had shipped crates of fraudulent votes back to New York. But their scheme was over. Wood reported the operation to authorities. Ferry’s office was searched, and on the morning of Oct. 27, 1864 The two were arrested and tried before a military commission less than two weeks before the election.
Ferry pleaded guilty on 27 October 1864; Donahue initially rejected the charges but later asked the judges for mercy as evidence mounted and more accomplices were caught.
Ferry offered a full confession that same day, even offering up the names of others involved in the scheme. Donahue proved more of a challenge.
Arrests in New York and Washington continued to mount as Donahue returned to trial. Following Wood’s damning testimony and supporting evidence, Donahue begged for mercy from the court.
He was a young man, newly married, with no previous record. He visibly wilted as he realized the weight of his current situation, no longer expressing the defiance with which he had entered the proceedings.
The judge advocate called the case “one of the most gigantic frauds ever attempted to be perpetrated on this nation”.
If successful, it could “have produced a disruption of our entire country, and our war for the preservation of the Union will be practically at an end and futile”, he added. “A crime so enormous as this calls for a vigorous punishment, and I do not hesitate to say merits the extreme penalty of death.
Lincoln, approved the tribunal’s recommendation of life in prison for the two men, according to The Washington Post. He went on to win the election with 212 out of 233 total electoral votes as a series of victories boosted the North’s morale and McClellan had to repudiate his own party’s anti-war platform.
In the months following Lincoln’s victory – he won 221 electoral votes to McClellan’s 21 – anti-abolitionist newspapers attacked his legitimacy, calling the trial another aspect of a conspiracy conducted by the president to ensure his reelection.
So now we see the Importance of this years election, the democrats have tried this type of shenanigans before and are looking to do it again!