“Turning the Bloodhounds Loose”
It is Monday in
He is Benjamin Wade, from strongly abolitionist
Wade’s eyebrows are bushy, his eyes are cold, and his mouth usually downturned. He looks like a tough customer. He is.
He also is a Radical Republican leader. Radical Republicans are zealots with one-track minds, single-issue thinkers unable or unwilling to acknowledge life’s complexities. Radical Republicans are blind to the political realities which oblige more liberally minded President Lincoln to take a go-slow approach to the emancipation of the slaves. They also seem deficient in the kind of mercy which makes
On this day, the Senate approves creation of what will become know as the Committee on the Conduct of the War (CCW), composed of both Senators and Representatives. Ben Wade will become its chairman. Created out of frustration with the Army of the
Useful service will come through its civilian sharp-eyed checking on the military and the military's not-always-illustrious performance. It will uncover incompetence and corruption. To the Committee’s shame, however, it will also damage reputations unnecessarily and interfere with matters in which it had no expertise. There will be more than a whiff about it of what someday will become known as McCarthyism.
And that will be at least partly because of Bluff Ben Wade. Wade is afraid of no one and respectful of few. He has called Abraham Lincoln’s military leadership “your rosewater war” and told the President to his face that he is responsible for every military mistake the Union side has ever made, and that, as a result, he is not one mile from Hell. (
The war will go on and after