Norfolk Captured, President Lincoln Departs for Washington

May 11, 1862

President Lincoln telegraphs Gen. Halleck: “Norfolk in our possession, Merrimac blown up, & Monitor & other boats going up James River to Richmond. Be very sure to sustain no reverse in your Department.”   Th president, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase return to Washington aboard the U.S. S. Baltimore.

General John Wool would report to Secretary of War Stanton the next day: “The taking of Norfolk caused the destruction of the Iron Clad Steamer Merrimac which was blown up by the Rebels about five oclock on the morning of the eleventh 11th of May which was soon after communicated to you and the President of the U. S. On the eleventh I visited the Navy yard & found all the work shops, storehouses and other buildings in ruins having been set on fire by the rebels who at the same time partially blew up the dry dock I also visited Crany Island where I found thirty nine guns of large calibre most of which were spiked also a large number of shot and shells with about five thousand pounds of powder all of which with the buildings were in good order. As far as I have been able to ascertain we have taken about two 2 hundred cannon including those at Sewells Point Batteries with a large number of shots and shells as well as many other articles of value stationed at the Navy Yard, Craney Island Sewells Point and other places.”

Secretary  Chase writes: “This morning, as the President had determined to leave for Washington at 7, I rose at 6 and just before 7 came into the parlor where Commander Goldsborough astonished and gratified us that the rebels had set fire to the Merrimac and had blown her up.  It was determined that before leaving, we would go up in the Baltimore, which was to convey us to Washington, to the point where the suicide had been performed and above the obstructions in the channel if possible, so as to be sure of the access to Norfolk by water which had been defended by the exploded ship.  This was done; but the voyage was longer than we anticipated, taking us up to the wharves of Norfolk by water which had been defended by the exploded ship.  This was done; but the voyage was longer than we anticipated, taking us up to the wharves of Norfolk, where, in the Elizabeth River, were already lying the Monitor, the Stevens, the Susquehanna and one or two other vessels.  General Wool and Commander Goldsborough had come up with us on the Baltimore and as soon as they were transferred to the Susquehanna, our prow was turned down stream and touching for a moment at the Fort we keep on our war towards Washington, where we hope to be at Breakfast tomorrow.”

Chase, not normally an effusive fan of Lincoln’s leadership, wrote: “So has ended a brilliant week’s campaign of the President, for I think it quite certain that if he had not come down, it would still have been in possession of the enemy and the Merrimac as grim and defiant and as much a terror as ever.  The whole coast is virtually ours.  There is no port which the Monitor and Stevens cannot enter and take.”  Chase wrote a few weeks later: “On Sunday morning, May 11, the President, becoming uneasy on account of his long absence from Washington, determined to return forthwith.  The explosion of the Merrimac, however, detained him long enough to go to the spot, ascertain the exact condition of things and return to Ft. Monroe, whence we proceeded immediately towards Washington.  On our way up, I remarked on the probability that a small force, say 5000 men, embarked on transports and convoyed by gunboats, might contribute largely to the taking of Richmond, if sent immediately up James River.  But nothing was determined on.  After our return to Washington I frequently spoke of this matter and urged the sending of General Wool up James River with all his disposable force.  It was thought General McClellan could be reinforced more effectually in another direction.”

Published in: on May 11, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Presidential Expedition Under General Wool Captures Norfolk

May 10, 1862

Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase had allowed aging General John Wool to command the expedition to capture Norfolk, but he insisted on accompanying Wool.  President Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton wait nearby.   As Chase later reported, “I was up early. We breakfasted at six o’clock, and got away as promptly as possible. When we reached the place selected for the landing, we found that a considerable body of troops had already gone forward. I then took the tug and went along the shore to the point where the President’s boat had attempted to land the evening before, and found it only about three-quarters of a mile distant. I then returned to the Miami and found that the General had gone ashore. I followed, and on the shore met General Viele. he asked me if I would like a horse. I said that I would; and he directed one to be brought to me, and I was soon mounted. I then proposed to ride up to the place where the pickets had been seen the night before. General Viele agreed, and we were not long in getting up as far as I had been with the tug, and even some distance beyond. We found a shed where a picket had stayed the night before, and found fresh horse-tracks in many places, showing plainly that the enemy had withdrawn but a few hours previously. Returning, 1 made report to General Wool. Meantime, Mr. Stanton had come, and he asked me to go on with the expedition, which I finally determined to do. I accordingly asked General Wool for a squad of dragoons, and for permission to ride on with General Viele ahead of him, following the advance which had already been gone sonic three or four hours. He acceded to both requests, and we went on; that is, General Viele, myself, and a half-dozen dragoons.”  General Egbert Viele recalled:

Starting at once to the front with our escort, we had not gone very far before it became evident that a great deal of confusion existed in the command,—in fact, that there was no organization, and an utter absence of definite instructions or orders of any kind. Overtaking a regiment that was scattered along the road,—most of the men lying down wherever any shade could be found, as the day was intensely warm,—Mr. Chase inquired of the colonel to whose command he belonged and what his orders were. He replied that he had no idea who was his commander; that some said Weber and some said Mansfield. He had received no orders, except that when he landed he was told to take a certain road, and he thought he would wait to see what was to be done next. Overtaking another regiment, a mile or two beyond, the Secretary received the same answers.

The operation continues all day while President Lincoln waits impatiently as Fort Monroe.  Historian William E. Baringer wrote that he was “hurrying reinforcements…A soldier aboard one of the transports watched in amusement as the commander-in-chief went into action: ‘Abe was rushing about, hollering to someone on the wharf — dressed in a black suit with a very seedy crepe on his hat, and hanging over the railing, he looked like some hossier just starting for home from California, with store clothes and a biled shirt on.’

At 11 P.M. President Lincoln receives word from General Wool that Norfolk has been captured.  Secretary Chase wrote: “ The President had been greatly alarmed for our safety by the report of General Mansfield as he went by to Newport News; and you can imagine his delight when we told him Norfolk was ours.  Stanton soon came up to his room and was equally delighted.  He fairly hugged General Wool.  For my part, I was very tired and glad to get to bed.”  Colonel Le Grand B. Cannon, who served on Wool’s staff, remembered: “General Wool embarked, and all day long we heard nothing from him. At times we could hear firing and could see some smoke. It was a day of most fearful anxiety. The President and Secretary of War were almost overcome with their anxiety concerning this expedition. They could not but feel that they were in a measure responsible, as they had consented to it.

The whole day passed, and no word came from Norfolk. Evening set in, and when it got to be about 9 or 10 o’clock, I persuaded the President to go to bed in my room. I also persuaded Secretary Stanton to retire. He had a bed in my office. I went outside the fort with Captain Rogers, of the navy, and we went down on the ordnance wharf. It was a beautiful moonlight night. There we remained, waiting for some news to come.

After a long time I heard a distant sound of paddle-wheels splashing in the water. The sound came nearer and nearer, and finally up came a little gunboat with General Wool and the members of his staff and Secretary Chase on board, and the news that Norfolk was taken. [Confederate] General [Benjamin] Huger had run.
The excitement was wonderful. General Wool came up into the fort, and we approached headquarters the sentinel challenged, ‘Who goes there?’ The President heard the challenge, and the next thing we saw was six feet of white nightshirt at the French window.
“What is it?” asked the President.
“General Wool, to present Norfolk to you!” I replied.
“Call up Stanton, and send Wool up here,” he said.
I roused up Secretary Stanton and told him, General Wool has returned, and we have taken Norfolk.
“My God!” he said, and jumped out of bed, and started up in his night-shirt to the President room.
President Lincoln was sitting on the edge of the bed. General Wool was there, in full uniform and all covered with dust, and one or two of his officers were also there. Secretary Stanton rushed impetuously into General Wool’s arms in his excitement, and embraced him fervently. The Present broke out laughing at seeing the General in full uniform and the Secretary in his nightshirt clasped in each other’s arms, and said:
“Look out, Mars! If you don’t, the General will throw you.”75

While Chase and company were active, nearby General George B. McClellan was less so.  McClellan writes Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “From the information reaching me from every source, I regard it as certain that the enemy will meet us with all his force, on, or near the Chickahominy.  They can concentrate many more men than I have, and are collecting troops from all quarters, especially, well disciplined troops from the South.  Casualties, sickness, garrisons and guards have much reduced our numbers, and will continue to do so.  I shall fight the Rebel army, with whatever force I may have, but duty requires me to urge that every effort be made to reinforce me, without delay, with all the disposable troops in Eastern Virginia, and that we concentrate all our forces, as far as possible to fight the great battle now impending, and to make it decisive.”

It is possible that the enemy may abandon Richmond without a serious struggle, but I do not believe he will, and it would be unwise to count upon anything but a stubborn and desperate defense, — a life and death contest.  I see no other hope for him than to fight this battle, — and we must win it.  I shall fight them, whatever their force may be; but I ask for every man that the Department can send me.  NO troops now should be left unemployed.  Those who entertain the opinion that the Rebels will abandon Richmond without a struggle, are, in my judgment, badly advised, and do not comprehend their situation, which is one requiring desperate measure.

I beg that the President and Secretary will maturely weigh what I say, and leave nothing undone to comply with my request.  If I am not reinforced, it is probable that I will be obliged to fight nearly double my numbers, stronger entrenched.  I do not think it will be at all possible for me to bring more than seventy thousand men upon the field of battle.

Published in: on May 10, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Plots Capture of Norfolk

May 9, 1862

President Lincoln, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase seek a spot for Union forces to land in preparation for capture of Norfolk.  There are two reconnaissance cruises – the second including President Lincoln – to determine a landing spot.   They confer at dinner with General John Wool, who promises: “If you stay here 48 hours, I will present Norfolk to you.”  Attack plans are readied.  President Lincoln, as usual, has poured over the relevant maps.

Historian William E. Baringer noted that President Lincoln had waited for General George B. McClellan to join them, but when he did not they decide to act: “They ordered General Wool to prepare his force for an attack early Saturday morning.  Stanton, impressed with the work and determination of his friend Chase, said he had a mind to make Chase the over-all commander of the assault, General Wool being too old, at seventy-eight, although a veteran of the War of 1812, to take the field in a shooting battle.  Not so, returned the aged general, and he entered a formal request to hold the command.  Chase had no objection, remarking that he could not inflict sorrow upon gray hairs,’ and Wool was designated commander.  He asked Chase to go along in the assault, and went off to write orders setting troops in motion.  Chase turned the Miami over to Colonel Cram, who would use it to protect the transports.”

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

President Lincoln Plots the Capture of Norfolk

May 8, 1862

President Lincoln urges Flag Officer Louis to land troops on Sewell’s Point while Confederate installations there are shelled by Union gunboats.   Lincoln watches from tugboat stationed mile behind gunboats watches shelling of Sewell’s Point and Craney Island all afternoon.  As General Egbert Viele recalled, “the next morning, the President and party went over to the Rip Raps to see the naval combat. The Merrimac moved out of the mouth of the Elizabeth River, quietly and steadily, just as she had come out only a few weeks before when she had sunk the Congress. She wore an air of defiance and determination even at that distance. The Monitor moved up and waited for her. All the other vessels got out of the way to give the Vanderbilt and the Minnesota room to bear down upon the rebel terror in their might, as soon as she should clear the coast line. It was a calm Sabbath morning and the air was still and tranquil. Suddenly the stillness was broken by the cannon from the vessels and the great guns from the Rip Raps that filled the air with sulphurous smoke and a terrific noise that reverberated from the fortress and the opposite shore like thunder. The firing was maintained for several hours, but all to no purpose; the Merrimac moved sullenly back to her position. It was determined that night that on the following day vigorous offensive operations should be undertaken. The whole available naval force was to bombard Sewall’s Point, and under cover of the bombardment, the available troops from Fortress Monroe were to be landed at that point and march on Norfolk. Accordingly, the next morning, a tremendous cannonading of Sewall’s Point took place. The wooden sheds at that place were set on fire and the battery- was silenced. The Merrimac, coated with mail and lying low in the water, looked on but took no part. Night came and the cannonading ceased. It was so evident that the Merrimac intended to act only on the defensive. and that so long as she remained where she was, no troops could be landed in that vicinity, that they were ordered to disembark.”  The result was disappointing, wrote historian William E. Barringer: “The boats could not get close enough in to shore to discharge the men.  If they ran in closer, they might go aground and fall easy prey to enemy troops or the rebel ironclad.  SO the transports sailed back and the troops ingloriously disembarked, blocked by shallow water and the threat of enemy sea power.”

Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase was determined to act, wrote Gener Egbert Viele: “The failure of the proposed attack upon Sewall’s Point and the disembarkation of the troops that had been hastily crowded into everything in the way of a transport that could be made available was not a very inspiriting spectacle, and no one felt the mortification of the occasion so much as Secretary Chase. He was so keenly alive to the necessities of the hour, and so sensitive to the least thing that savored of defeat that he fairly chafed under a sense of disappointment as he saw the disembarking troops. Turning to me, he said, “Let us take our man-of-war (the Miami) and reconnoiter the place you suggested for a landing.” Of course I was gratified at the proposition, and we started at once. General Wool was sitting at the door of his quarters as we passed, and learning our design, volunteered to accompany us, and sent his orderly for the very officer (Colonel Cram) who had pronounced the plan impracticable. The Miami was soon under way, accompanied by a small tug. As Colonel Cram still insisted upon it that we would get aground if we attempted to approach the shore in so large a vessel, we anchored in six fathoms of water and betook ourselves to the tug, which was in its turn anchored at quite a distance from the shore. A row-boat was quickly manned with armed sailors, and in this Colonel Cram, with another officer, undertook a closer reconnoissance, but returned in great haste before they were halfway to the land, with a breathless account of a large body of men on shore. While they were recounting their narrow escape, Mr. Chase was watching the shore with a powerful field-glass, with the hope of discovering the force that had so alarmed the reconnoitering officer. Instead of defiant warriors he saw some people waving a white sheet as a flag of truce; a longer scrutiny revealed a white woman, a negress and child and a dog, as ;he sole cause of the colonel’s terror, and le was therefore instructed to return to the shore with the crew, while Mr. Chase and myself followed in another boat. The result of all this was the demonstration that this was not only an available, but a most admirable, landing-place, with depth of water sufficient for the largest transport to approach to within a few feet of the shore; yet these officers had been stationed at Fortress Monroe a whole year! On our return Secretary Chase reported the result of our reconnoissance to the President, who was so much astonished that he insisted upon going in person that very night to verify the fact. Accordingly, with the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Treasury, he went over on the Miami to the Virginia shore, and by the light of the moon landed on the beach and walked up and down a considerable distance to assure himself that there could be no mistake in the matter. How little the Confederacy dreamed what a visitor it had that night to the “sacred soil “! No time was lost on the following morning in re-embarking the troops for the purpose of marching on Norfolk by the rear. At the last moment General Wool, with much emotion, begged the Secretary to allow him to command the troops. The Secretary had decided to relieve him of the command of the expedition on account of his advanced age, but finally reversed his decision with the remark that he could not inflict sorrow upon gray hairs.”

General George B. McClellan writes Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “I respectfully ask permission to [reorganize] the Army Corps.  I am not willing to be held responsible for the present arrangement experience having proved it to be very bad & it having very nearly resulted in a most disastrous defeat.  I wish either to return to the organization by Divisions or else be authorized to relieve incompetent Commanders of Army Corps.  Had I been one half hour later on the field on the firth we would have been routed & would have lost everything.”

Notwithstanding my positive orders I was informed of nothing that had occurred & I went to the field of Battle myself upon unofficial information that my presence was needed to avoid defeat.  I found there the utmost confusion & incompetency, the utmost confusion & incompetency, the utmost discouragement on the part of the men.  At lest a thousand lives were really sacrificed by the organization into Crops.  I have to much regard for the lives of my comrades & too deep an interest in the success of our cause to hesitate for a moment.  I learn that you are equally in earnest & I therefore again request full & complete authority to relieve from duty with this army Commanders of Corps or Divisions who prove themselves incompetent.

More boastfully, McClellan writes his wife about his failure to act aggressively: “It would have been easy for me to have sacrificed 10,000 lives in taking Yorktown, & I presume the world would have thought it more brilliant — I am content with what I have done, & history will give me credit for it.  I am sorry that you do not exactly sympathize with me in the matter.  The battle of Williamsburg was more bloody — had I reached the field three hours earlier I could have gained far greater results & saved a thousand lives — it is perhaps well as it is, for the officers & men feel that I saved the day.”

Published in: on May 8, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln spends day near Fort Monroe with Secretaries Stanton and Chase

May 7, 1862

President Lincoln has traveled to the war front.  Now he wants action.  He writes to Flag officer Louis Goldsborough: “Major General McClellan telegraphs that he has ascertained by a reconnaisance that the battery at Jamestown at Jamestown [sic] has been abandoned, and he again requests that gunboats may be sent up the James River.  If you have tolerable confidence that you can successfully contend with the Merrimac without the help of the Galena and two accompanying gunboats send the Galenana [sic] and two gunboats up the James River at once. Please report your action on her to me at once. I shall be found either at Gen Wools Head Quarters or on board the Miami.”

But President Lincoln was also something of a military tourist. Historian William E. Barringer wrote: that Lincoln “spent May 7 visiting the soldiers in General John Wool’s garrison, and then paid a special visit to the USS Monitor, the new ironclad that had electrified the country in its dramatic battle with the Confederate behemoth ironclad CSS Virginia just two months before. The president inspected every nook of the ship, talked with the officers, and then asked that all the seamen be mustered on the deck.  Holding in his hand a hat that still showed mourning on the deck.  Holding in his hand a hat still showed mourning crepe for Willie, he walked slowly past the line of sailors, looking at each man.  When he had finished and was leaving the vessel, they gave him three cheers.”  In the afternoon, the presidential party on horseback visited the ruins of Hampton Roads and then watched a military parade.  Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase wrote that “first, the cavalry regiments, well mounted and well equipped; then regiment after regiment of infantry, looking handsomely also.  It was inspiring to see them marching by, so orderly and so strong.  When they passed we rode on, but already on regiment was draw up in line, and the colonel and his troops were made glad by the President, who rode along their line alone, uncovered, and inspiring a great enthusiasm.  It is delightful…to observe everywhere the warm affection felt and expressed for the President.”

Historian Baringer wrote: “Evening brought the council of war back into session.  What was to be done now? The fabled Merrimac, it seemed clear, would stay on the defensive.  Hence the naval show of the day was judged a success, and the way was open for an assault on the rebel shore.  The planners decided that on Thursday morning a place called Sewall’s Point would be attacked with the ‘whole available naval force’; then land troops would invade and march south and west against Norfolk.  New assault orders were written for the army.”

Published in: on May 7, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Arrives at Fortress Monroe After Rough

May 6, 1862

The revenue cutter Miami makes its way slowly to Fortress Monroe.  Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase writes in his diary:  ” By 3 of Tuesday morning we were again on our way.  We passed Acquia about day, and found ourselves about noon tossing on the Chesapeake.  It would have amused you to see us take our luncheon.  The President gave it up almost as soon as he began, and declaring himself too uncomfortable to eat, stretched himself at length on the locker.  The rest of us persisted; but the plates slipped this way and that–the glasses tumbled over and slid and rolled about–and the whole table seemed as topsy-turvy as if some Spiritualist were operating upon it.  But we got thro, and then the Secretary of War followed the example of the President and General [Egbert] Viele and I went on deck and chatted.”

Arriving at the fort around 10 PM, President Lincoln meets with General John Wool and Flag Officer Louis M. Goldsborough.

Published in: on May 6, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Sneaks out of Capital to Visit War Front

May 5, 1862

President Lincoln writes Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton to “please give fair and respectful consideration to the within recommendations of Miss [Dorothea] Dix” regard appointment of women nurses at Union army hospitals.  President Lincoln also visits with Navy Lieutenant John L. Worden, who had commanded the U.S.S. Monitor in the March battle between the Monitor and the Merrimack; Worden had been wounded in that encounter.

Illinois Senator Orville H. Browning writes:  “After tea Mrs Browning, Miss Bushnell and myself called at the Presidents.  He was out and Mrs Lincoln was sick, so we saw neither of them.  We then went to Mr Sewards and spent an very pleasantly.”  In fact, President had left town with Secretary of War Stanton and Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase aboard the revenue cutter Miami – bound down the Potomac to Fortress Monroe.   Because it was a Treasury Department ship, Chase was technically in charge.  The Lincoln officials also brought along General Egbert L. Viele, an engineer.   After dinner, the Union officials poured over maps of the war front.   As Secretary of the Navy later reported the story:“In the early part of May, the President accompanied by Secretaries Chase and Stanton, took a steamer to visit Fortress Monroe and the army under McClellan, then on the York peninsula.”

While descending the Potomac the attention of the party was directed to a string of boats nearly a mile in length on the Maryland shore, some fifty miles before Washington.  Inquiry was made as to the object of such an immense collection of miscellaneous water craft.  The pilot said he believed they were put there to oppose the ‘Merrimac,’ but the little ‘Monitor’ had taken care of her.  ‘Oh!’ said the President, pointing to the boats which lined the shore, ‘that is Stanton’s navy; that is the squadron that Welles would have nothing to do with, and about which he and Stanton had the dispute.  It was finally decided, I believe, that the War Department might have a fleet of its own to fight the ‘Merrimac,’ and there it is.  We were all a little scared at that time.  Mr. Welles felt bad enough, but was not enough scared to listen to Stanton’s scheme of blockading the river; said the fleet of boats would be useless, and if used, worse than useless.’

“Stanton, who was a little disconcerted by the President’s levity, said he had believed it was best to provide for an emergency, and should the ‘Merrimac’ now attempt to come up the river, the boats which he had procured and loaded might be found to answer a useful purpose in protecting Washington.

‘Your emergency,’ said Mr. Lincoln, ‘reminds me of a circumstance which took place in Illinois.  We had on our circuit a respectable lawyer named B—, noted for a remarkable development of his breast, the glands being enormous, more protuberent that those of many females.  In a conversation which took place among the lawyers at one of the hotels, there was a discussion regarding the singular development which, in a man, was almost a deformity, and could be no possible use.  B— controverted this, and said that, supposing he were to be cast away upon an uninhabited island, with no other human being but a nursing infant, for which he would have too provide.  In such an emergency, he had no doubt Providence would furnish, through him, nourishment for the child.’  This he said, remarked the President ‘with as much apparent sincerity as Stanton showed when he urged a navy composed of canalboats to stop the ‘Merrimac.’  I think B—’s paps to nurse an infant will be as serviceable, and required about as soon, as Stanton’s fleet to fight and keep back an iron frigate.  The preparation for an anticipated emergency, which is about as likely to occur in one case as the other, is very striking.’

Mr. Chase related to me this incident, which was afterwards, at his request, repeated by the President in the presence of others, to the great annoyance of Mr. Stanton, who never enjoyed the same anecdotical humors of the President if at his expense.”

Published in: on May 5, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Yorktown Falls without a Fight

May 4, 1862

News reaches Washington that the month-long Union siege of Yorktown had ended and that Yorktown had been abandoned by the Confederates.   General George B. McClellan believed that he faced over 100,000 Confederate troops and had requested siege guns to attack their fortifications.   President Lincoln had been frustrated by McClellan’s laborious preparations – which proved unnecessary when a Union general saw from a balloon that the Confederates had left.

Published in: on May 4, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Attends Ordinance Demonstration

May 3, 1862

As he often did, President Lincoln visited the Washington Navy Yard, commanded by his friend John Dahlgren, a fellow advocate of ordnance innovations and tests.   Such excursions were for the president a form of recreation.  The Lincolns are accompanied, according to the New York Herald, by “A large number of ladies and gentlemen, including several members of Congress.” The Herald reports: “The first discharge of the piece interrupted one of the President’s stories, after which the experiments proceeded in a satisfactory manner.”

Published in: on May 3, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Falls Ill

May 2, 1862

Normally, the hard-working President Lincoln was in his office from early morning until late at night – unless he was at the nearby War Department or staying at his cottage on the grounds of the Soldiers Home on the northern edge of Washington.  Today was different.  Illinois Senator Orville H. Browning wrote in his diary: “At night went to the Presidents and spent an hour with him in his family room — He had he head ache and was not in his office.”

Published in: on May 2, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment