Or, in a more positive vein, imagine a Civil War in which Lincoln actually shouldered his responsibilities and issued civil guidelines to commanders of military districts. As long as we're fantasizing, we may as well imagine such civil guidance spelled out in Lincolnian prose:
Show the people of ... all classes that their rights of person and property are not only to be scrupulously respected but protected instead of being invaded by the military forces we have sent among them.That's a pretty good start, but we can do better:
Our mission is not to invade or annoy any personal rights but to correct misapprehension in regard to the intentions of the Government. And while all open acts of hostility are to be punished we should labor to win back those who have separated themselves from us through a misunderstanding in regard to our motives by kindness and conciliation, and above all by rigid abstinence from all invasion of their constitutional and legal rights.Well, you've caught on by now - I'm quoting John Dix in a letter he wrote to his field commander, the Delawarean Henry Lockwood, in November of 1861.
This letter was prompted by the military arrest of a lawyer on Delmarva. Said lawyer, a Mr. E.K. Wilson, had written a letter or memo badmouthing Lincoln. Dix gave some specific instruction to Lockwood as well as the general guidance quoted above:
No [civilian] arrest is to be made without your special order in each case and then only for overt acts and giving aid and comfort to the enemy.Note that "aid and comfort" is constitutional language and that Dix does not classify speech as aid and comfort. I like this part very much:
I am well aware that such an order has not had your approval and I should direct the officer who issued it to be arrested if I were not sure it originated in mistaken zeal.Emphasis added. Next time, we can infer, you will indeed arrest officers squelching speech.
... do all in your power to repair the wrong done under it [the arrest order]. And I request your especial and prompt attention to Mr. Wilson's case, leaving it to your discretion and good judgement to do what is right.To the reader of Maryland Voices in the Civil War, General John Dix seems like an ambassador from modern times sent back to restrain the excesses of the Lincoln Administration and the barbarism of local ultras.