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Monday, June 04, 2007

A Lincoln presence

I just read a fascinating article by John Hanchette about Abraham Lincoln. (Niagara Falls Reporter: Mountain Views: National Fascination with Lincoln Continues 142 Years after His Death.)

Hanchette sets the background for his Lincoln experience (as I'm calling it) by detailing an interview he did ten years ago or so at and about the Soldiers' Home in Washington, D.C. The interview itself had nothing to do with Lincoln. It is in retrospect that Hanchette recounts his Lincoln experience. (I love his style of kind of writing, by the way.)

Anyway, during his presidency, Lincoln and his family would often take relaxation at a small cottage on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home not far from the White House. The cottage still has some furnishings from Lincoln's time. As Hanchette sat at the desk where Lincoln may have written the Emancipation Proclamation:

I remember the buzz -- a small, almost electric shock -- that started at my fingertips and ran up my right arm. OK, this may be personally overdrawn and a bit sensationalistic, but it happened, and it happened to me.

Sensational, perhaps. But, definitely chilling.

The article reveals other interesting things, not the least of which is recent discussion of Edwin Stanton's last words at Lincoln's deathbed. Did he say what we've always been taught, "Now he belongs to the ages." Or, could he have said, "Now he belongs to the angels." The possibility is being explored.

Read the whole thing. It's great. (Link.)

Posted by Marie at June 4, 2007 11:57 PM


For more on the Lincoln Cottage at the Soldiers'Home, you might want to read my book, Lincoln's Other White House: The Untold Story of the Man and His Presidency. I was invited to write this book by the president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, who had liked my coverage of the Lincoln home in Springfield, in myh book If This House Could talk: Historic Homes, Extraordinary Americans. The Trust is restoring and preserving this wonderful site.

Posted by: Elizabeth Smith Brownstein at June 6, 2007 9:55 AM