President Lincoln Goes to Grover’s Theater to Watch Othello

October 6, 1863

Accompanied by Secretary of State William H. Seward, President Lincoln attends a performance of Shakespeare’s “Othello” at Grover’s Theater near the White House. The Washington Star reports: “The President had intended to remain only an hour, but was so pleased with the play that he stayed it out.”

Of the regular Tuesday cabinet meeting, Navy Secretary Gideon Welles writes: “At Cabinet, Stanton absent. Some talk with Blair in relation to his speech last Saturday, in which he places himself in direct antagonism to Chase and Sumner. As we came out, Seward joined me and said he did not mean to commit himself on these questions and disputes till it was unavoidable. It does not displease him to have Chase and Blair at issue, but a remark of mine that we had better see wherein we agreed than where we disagreed pleased him and in a friendly way he complimented me as occupying a position more independent, philosophic, and patriotic than others.”

President Lincoln is sent a letter from Georgia announcing the death of his brother-in-law, Benjamin Hardin Helm, whose wife was Mary Todd’s closest sister: “At the instance of Mrs E T Helm it becomes my painful duty to announce to you the death of General Ben. Hardin Helm — your Brother-in-law– W And although opposed, as he was, to your forces, it will no doubt be a satisfaction to you to know that he fell at the head of his Brigade — honorably battling for the cause he thought Just, and righteous– he was leading his “Kentucky Brigade” to a charge, which was successful, and for daring and results is unprecedent in ancient or modern warfare — even in this terrible war — as the result, and fruits of that charge was the capture of not only a Battery, but a mass of artillery, at least 30 pieces, with very many prisoners — and I know you can but admire him for his deeds, and will regret that he could not have survived the conflict, and shared in the glories of the victory–

Mrs Helm is crushed by the blow — almost broken hearted — and desires to return to her Mother and friends in Kentucky – indeed, this is a necessity, as you must be aware that her means are very small and expences of living in the South much more than in the United States – she is now at my home in this place – and it will afford me pleasure to minister to her wants, and comfort so long as it may be agreeable for her to remain under my roof, mean time she asks that you order the war department to send her a pass to enter the Federal truce Boat at City Point – and would suggest that you send triplicates, say, one to me here, one to care Col Wm Preston Johnston, Richmond, and one to Mrs Helm here, by different Boats – Would also be obliged if you would send at the same time a pass for Mrs Bruce and her sister –, Mrs Hutchinson – a pass to accompany Mrs Helm, to Kentucky, their father having recently died leaving their Mother in a very desolate condition – and thereby relieve the war of much of its stern rigor–

William Dole, commissioner of Indian affairs, sends President Lincoln a note from Kansas Senator Samuel Pomeroy regarding the complex situation in Missouri and Kansas: “I shall be detained here a few days & therefore send it to you as Senator Pomeroy evidently wishes you to know his views – As it is marked “private” to me, I leave you to judge as to its use other than for your own eye – After having spent a month or more in Kansas – and having been some time in Mo & Ill I found it impossible to make up my own mind as to the dificulties in Mo– In Kansas they are purely political – It is not entirely so in Mo there is an honest and earnest party there who believe that Scofield and those acting with him are to conservative to ever put down the rebellion – Kansas and Mo I think aught to be seperated – Kansas should have a commander not connected with their state politics – Mo requires a strong hand to control her people.”

Published in: on October 6, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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