"The people of the South may be divided into two classes. There is the industrious class, laboring earnestly to build up what has been broken down, striving to restore prosperity to the country, and interested mainly in the great question of providing food and clothing for themselves and families. These form the great majority of the people. Then there is another class, an utterly irresponsible class, composed mainly of young men who were the "bucks" of Southern society before the war, and chiefly spent their time in lounging round the courtrooms and bars, in chicken fighting and gambling. These have been greatly broken up by the war; many of them have been killed; but those who remain are still disturbing elements in the community, and are doing much mischief. It is this class of men, and a number of the poor whites, who have formed gangs for horse-stealing. It is they who in some instances have made attacks on officers of the Freedmen's Bureau, and have ill-treated the freedmen. It is they who afford the main pretext for saying that there is among the people of the South a feeling of hostility toward the United States Government. But they are not the representatives of the Southern people. They form but an insignificant minority in the community, and even they are actuated not so much by a feeling of opposition to the Government as by a reluctance to earn their own livelihood by honest labor and individual exertion."
"We write under a deep sense of responsibility. The fate of our country is suspended on the events of a few short months. By virtue of prompt, earnest, faithful efforts, we may be redeemed from a fate worse than death, and our country may be blessed with peace and free government. If we sleep, or if we meanly and ignobly refuse to listen to the calls of our struggling, bleeding land, we may plunge into a yawning abyss of degradation, ruin and misery, and fall like the darkened star to rise no more."
"I am especially proud of and gratified for the loyal support and soldierly devotion of the corps and division commanders, all the more touching to me as the movement was one which they regarded with some doubt, if not distrust. It affords me pleasure to return my thanks to Major-General Gordon Granger and Major-General Stanley, commanding the cavalry, for their operations on our right, resulting in the capture of Shelbyville; and to General Granger for subsequently despatching our supplies when they were so pressingly needed."
"In racial politics, the issues are never just black and white. The Herald sent two reporters — a white man raised in Jacksonville and an African American from Los Angeles — in a journey through the South."
"The will of God prevails to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be and one must be wrong. God can not be for, and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party — and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect His purpose. I am almost ready to say this is probably true — that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet. By his mere quiet power, on the minds of the now contestants, He could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And having begun He could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds. -Abraham Lincoln"