The Civil War in Primary Resources: An Exhibition by the Special Collections Library


William Ballew


image preview

Creation Date



During the 1864 presidential election, over 3,000 disenfranchised Black Americans held a mock election in Nashville, Tennessee with Abraham Lincoln receiving a landslide victory. 12th Kentucky Infantry soldier William Ballew recounts the event in this letter. He writes: “I think that if the election is carried on every whare like it was in Nashville that abe will be reelected for the negroes had the same privilege of voteing that the white man has thare was 5000 of the negroes that voted for abe at Nashville.”

Page 1:

Nov. the 19th 1864
Camp Springhill, Tenn.
Dear Friend

I this evening take the pleasure of writing you a few lines for the first To let you know that I am well at present Truly hopeing when Those few lines comes to hand They may find you all well and doing well I have nothing of interest to write to you at present more Than you know the --- is all well and harty the helth of the enemy in General is Good Times is hard There is a Great excitement in the army about the election as for my part I donot know what will be the best for the U.S.


U.S. Civil War 1861-1865, Blacks, African Americans


Image Location