Illinois Congressman Visits Still Mourning First Family

May 17, 1862

Illinois Congressman Elihu Washburne, a longtime friend of the Lincolns, writes his wife: “Last night I went up to see old Abe, and after I got through I thought I would pop in and see Mrs. Old Abe, particularly as she was so gracious when I saw her last September. I found her holding her hands all alone in a great big room in the great big White House. She received me very cordially and rather reproached me for not having been more friendly. She well knew the reason. She was very much affected when she spoke of her boy that died last winter — that the house seemed to her like a tomb and that she could not bear to be in it. “

President Lincoln is concerned about failure of gun boats to penetrate Confederate defenses of Richmond. Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus V. Fox to writes Admiral L.M. Goldsborough, urging him to move his fleet to Virginia: “I think you better get all the vessels you can spare, out of the North Carolina sounds to leave in York & James rivers and at Norfolk so as to give you the whole of the present force of regulars which are now with you.

“Please write me unofficially what you think of it, so that we can pull together in accomplishing it. The Pres’t seems very much disappointed at the gun boats not being in Richmond. Rodgers seems to have fallen back. I am afraid the army people are holding him in check. It would be natural; Halleck held Foote back at Clarksville, so that Buell could enter Nashville. If I were you I would take all the gun boats you can muster {Letter illegible. Eds.] one of them and take Richmond with the Navy. It is a dash that would immortalize you, and cover the Navy with additional laurels.

Published in: on May 17, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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