Missouri and Music Occupy President Lincoln’s Attention

June 8, 1863

For a year because of mourning for Willie Lincoln by the Lincoln family, regular Marine Band performances at the White House had been cancelled.  Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles writes in his diary: “Spoke to the President regarding weekly performance of the Marine Band.  It has been customary for them to play in the public grounds south of the Mansion once a week in summer, for many years.  Last year it was intermitted, because Mrs. Lincoln objected in consequence of the death of her son.  There was grumbling and discontent, and there will be more this year if the public are denied the privilege for private reasons.  The public will not sympathize in sorrows which are obtrusive and assigned as a reason for depriving them of enjoyments to which they have been accustomed, and it is a mistake to persist in it.  When I introduced the subject to-day, the President said Mrs. L. would not consent, certainly not until after the 4th of July.  I stated the case pretty frankly, although the subject is delicate, and suggested that the band could play in Lafayette Square.  Seward and Usher, who were present, advised that course.  The President told me to do what I thought best.”

Lincoln wrote General Samuel R. Curtis, who had been replaced as Missouri’s military commander, regarding the military and political situation in Missouri: “I have scarcely supposed it possible that you would entirely understand my feelings and motives in making the late change of commander for the Department of the Missouri. I inclose you a copy of a letter which I recently addressed to Gen. Schofield, & which will explain the matter in part. It became almost a matter of personal self-defence to somehow break up the state of things in Missouri. I did not mean to cast any censure upon you, nor to indorse any of the charges made against you by others. With me the presumption is still in your favor that you are honest, capable, faithful, and patriotic.”

Published in: on June 8, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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