On Friday, December 19, 1862 a caucus of prominent Republican Senators, including Charles Sumner, demanded that Lincoln remove Secretary of State William Seward because of Seward’s alleged indifference to the existing war.
The actions of these senators inferred that Lincoln was not in charge of the executive branch of government, a perspective unfortunately cultivated by Secretary Seward himself since he wanted the nation to believe that he, not Lincoln, was in charge.
Lincoln met with these Republicans and tactfully, but firmly, addressed the relationship between the branches of government. Meeting later with his Cabinet, he asked each to express his opinion on the matter. Several volunteered to resign, if Seward was replaced. Lincoln then announced these offers of resignation and rejected them all, preserving the integrity of his Cabinet.