The great Horace Greeley was wont to criticize Lincolnís plan of conducting the war. He finally wanted to know "what were the purposes and aims of the President, anyway?" The following is Lincolnís reply, showing that his sole purpose was to save the Union at whatever cost.
"If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object is to save the Union, and not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it. If I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it, and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would do that. What I do about slavery and the colored race I do because I believe it helps to save the Union, and what I forbear I forbear because I do not believe it helps to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe that what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I believe doing more will help the cause."