Spotlight on Lincoln

The following references to Abraham Lincoln (“Old Abe”) or his family were gleaned from some of the letters that have appeared in Spared & Shared Publications over the last decade and up to the present date 19 May 2023). I may have left out some references to the President if he was not mentioned by name or if nothing remarkable was said.


“Politics were, when I left home and I suppose are still, raging in Illinois. The canvass is by far warmer than ’56. Three big men are ranting up and down the state—[Stephen A.] Douglas, [Abraham] Lincoln, and [Lyman] Trumbull. There are three candidates for Congress in our district—the Fifth. They are now on the stump. Little Dug [Douglas] will have his hands full notwithstanding his opposition to the Lecompton “swindle.” — Michael Robert Buttz, Citizen, Indianapolis, 19 September 1858


Hurrah for honest Abe of the West, Flat Boat, Rail Fence, and all. Now Frank, don’t you think this paper is “sum.” There is everything being done that will tend to cause excitement in this part of the country.” —J. Jones, Citizen, Illinois, 10 June 1860

“Business is about so so but old Abe will make it right. The traveling candidate [Douglas] made a short stop here but got awfully skunked in Maine. Free tickets mustered 9,000. The next day the rail splitters [Lincoln supporters] had over 30,000 — the greatest meeting ever held in that State.” —John Byrns, Citizen, East Cambridge, Massachusetts, 20 August 1860

“Four years more have rolled around and they present to us Abraham Lincoln & Hamlin. The abolition element has gained strength and has fairly shows its hand—a powerful party—a party which has no existence except at the North—is attempting to gain possession of the government with the avowed intention of administering it for the exclusive benefit of the North and in a spirit of hostility to the South.” —George Washington Wortham, Citizen, Buchanan, North Carolina, 10 October 1860

“The Wide Awakes are having great times here now over the Pennsylvania Election. They are going to Boston Tuesday evening to the torchlight procession which will be a grand thing. They have got another new Wide Awake company called the Lincoln Guard. Their uniform is a red cape and black cap. They look well, I tell you. I shall not go to Boston but Father will and all the rest in the store. I shall stay at home and tend store. I tell you that “Honest Abe” is going to be the next President of these United States.” —Albert Freeman Dow, Student, Lawrence, Massachusetts, 14 October 1860

“Politics is quite lively here now. ‘Old Abe’ seems truly to be the “peoples candidate.” [Owen] Lovejoy and several other celebrated men have spoken to very large crowds here and tonight, Samuel Galloway speaks in the ‘wigwam.'” — Frank Gould, Citizen, Chicago, Illinois, 27 October 1860

“The Northern mail has just reached us bringing election news from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, &c. &c. of multitudes for Honest Old Abe of the West. The citizens look grim & their faces are mighty elongated. I hear no appeal for discussion. I can’t tell you how North Carolina has gone. No news. “Don’t reckon they done voting yet in the pitch pine woods.” — Joseph Brown Abbott. Citizen, New Bern, North Carolina, 7 November 1860

“Times are 10 times harder than they have ever been. In fact, this and last month have been the dullest I’ve experienced since 1855. Lincoln’s elected [President]. Curtin’s elected [Governor]. In fact, the whole Black Republican force have carried the Free States. The Republican Party will either “make or break” this winter. If we get a tariff through their influence, they are a party forever. If they don’t, there’ll be no party under “cognomen” of Republican. And what is Lincoln but a minority President. He was not the choice of the People of the U.S. He was only elected by the North. He has no power whatever. The House of Representatives & Senate being largely against him, he will not have a “bed of roses” to sleep upon.” —Frederick W. Lauer, Citizen, Pottsville, Pennsylvania, 13 November 1860

“And there is a great excitement about the President that was elected. Some are almost scared to death while others only laugh at them. But for my part, I didn’t lose any sleep about it yet. But I don’t know but what we will have hard times if the South don’t cool down before the fourth of March for the way the papers say, they are going to kill the new[ly] elected President and if they will do that, then it will give hard times. But I guess they will cool down yet before that time. But all this fuss would not have been if that Old John Brown would have kept his fingers out of the Harper’s Ferry scrape. But that made the South spunky and now they are determined to dissolve the Union, and I, for my part, can’t blame them much for the black republican party used the South very mean so that I can’t blame them very much. But still it would be better to cool down than to dissolve the Union.” — Peter J. Miller, Citizen, Bridgeport, Ohio, 23 December 1860


“If possible, we will go to Texas this fall though you need not say anything to anyone for it is uncertain. Times are harder—if possible—here since Old Abe’s election than ever. The banks have failed [and] every man has lost money—that is, if he had any.” — Lizzie Fisher, Citizen, Bement, Illinois, 6 January 1861

“I have little hopes of anything valuable being done while Old Buck [Pres. James Buchanan] remains at the head of affairs. He is certainly a pitiable old cuss. Were it not for the high position he holds, he would be beneath contempt. But let us patiently await the fourth of March. Then, if the South will be good enough to let Mr. Lincoln occupy the White House, I think we shall have better times.” — William Brown, Citizen, Carey, Ohio, 10 January 1861

“I do not like the idea of a dissolution of the Union, but if it cannot remain together unless we bow in submission to the slave power, then I say let the bond be severed. This slavery question has just come to the crisis I have wished it to come to for years. It is not now whether slavery shall be protected in the territories but whether it shall be recognized everywhere and the right to hold property in man denied nowhere. Nor is it the election of Lincoln or our refusal to protect slavery in the territories that alarms the South but that the public conscience of the North has been awakened and has taken form for once in political action. It is the public sentiment that chose Lincoln an exponent of itself. Lincoln’s election is a finger-board pointing to the way the event has come. It is a weathercock sowing which way the wind is blowing. “Slavery is wrong”—that is the sentiment in the North today and in a country like ours where public sentiment is almost law, it is no wonder the South trembles and grows white with rage. Death does not more relentlessly follow its victims to the grave than the roused spirit of Freedom will advance forward to the complete extinction of the crime and folly of human slavery. I believe Seward uttered nothing more than the truth when he said there was an irrepressible conflict between North and South on this question.” — Robert McKee Gaston, Citizen, Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, 18 January 1861

“How do the Republicans in Indiana like the complexion of things by this time? Old Abe gave them a little hint of coercion in his Indianapolis speech. Since then his speeches—if they can be called such—convey to my mind, and I think to many others, his utter incapacity for the duties of the office to which he is elected. He arrived in New York City yesterday with comparatively very little excitement, less enthusiasm, and is now at this hour I presume, at the City Hall, not far from my office, shaking hands with those of the citizens who choose to call for that purpose. My curiosity to see the man does not lead me sufficiently strong to go to the City Hall and he will probably leave tomorrow unseen by me unless by accident.” — Nathan Howard, Jr., Citizen, New York City, 20 February 1861

“From the papers today things look peaceable at Washington. I see that some of the most ultra Republicans are now coming out against coercion. They begin to see such a course will never do. That was a rapid trip of Lincoln’s to Washington from Harrisburg. I however look upon the rumor of an attempted assassination as a hoax. So do most of us here.” — Charles Augustus Greiner, Citizen, Savannah, Georgia, 1 March 1861

“I shall go to Washington pretty soon to see what the new [Lincoln] Administration will do for us poor fellows—about twenty in the immediate neighborhood where I settled that is in the same fix with me about their titles. Of one thing I am very certain, we cannot have a worse government than we have had for from the time of Adam down in any age or country, a more corrupt and rotten government than Old Buchanan’s there never was. This very day, thank kind Heaven, the old public functionaries actives and I hope President Lincoln will make a thorough cleaning out of the Augean Stable and turn out to the last one the most corrupt set of unmitigated scoundrels there is in this or any other country ever produced.” — Levi Clark, Citizen, Newark, New Jersey, 4 March 1861

“Our annual town meetings come off tomorrow all through the state. I think “Old Abe will win.” As far as secession is concerned, I wish that all the slave states might be set off together so that we might have a free country if t’was not so large. In regard to fighting the South and “whipping them into the truces” as they tell about, I have not much courage for that (not but what they deserve it and I should like to shoot some of them well enough). But it would be fighting to gain just what I want to get rid of, so all I can do is to hope and pray that they will stick to secession and that the border states will join them and that finally a convention of all the states will be called and vote them out of the Union. But I fear that war is inevitable and that we shall see bloody times. In case of a war, I should not be surprised if the South were victorious at first if not in the end, for they will be fighting for what they call liberty and for their homes, while our soldiers will be as the English were in the [American] Revolution, fighting for pay. If war comes, we must let the regular paid army do the fighting but must arise one and all and strike for real liberty now and forever to all mankind or there is no use in fighting at all.” — James Webster Carr, citizen (later Lt. Col. of 2nd New Hampshire Infantry), Manchester, New Hampshire, 11 March 1861

“You seem to say that Old Abe is the man for us. I think that his election has caused more distress in the country than is possible for any pen to relate. The hundreds and thousands he has been the means of starving to death and will be is almost a caution. It would have been a good thing for the country if him and all the niggers were in hell. If you were here to express your sentiments, you would not stay more than a few hours and [if you] had to live amongst niggers, you would soon change your opinion. But since it is so, it is all right. If you can live under the present administration, we can. — Robert Elliott, Citizen, Granby, Missouri, 14 March 1861

“…we at last bid farewell in political friendship never to meet until this nation and country is drenched in blood, unless you turn from the error of your way and quit following such a heartless demagogue as Andrew Johnson whose speech is like himself—black as hell. Nothing but slander and a disgrace to the state and age in which he lives and is endorsed by all the damned black-hearted abolitionists in the North. I do believe if hell was raked and sea scummed, there could not be another such a damned, heartless hypocrite found—Judas not accepted. Yes, a Benedict Arnold to give up his country. Oh! may the gods be angry with him. May they blast all his efforts and aims. May they cut him down. Oh! may Mars be upon him and send him down to his proper place and may his prosperity if imbibed in his doctrines, be blasted from off the face of all the earth. May all his seed be forgotten among men & those who will now say amen to his hellish notions. He has always been an abolitionist in my opinion and as he thinks that it is getting popular, he will now show his hand. Abe [Lincoln] is a gentleman to all such and would be preferable to him with me. I hate a traitor.” —Wyly J. Smith, Citizen, Lindley, Missouri, 24 March 1861

“You ask me if I saw Lincoln while in New York. I did not, as I happened at that time to be more profitably engaged; besides I never like to look upon suffering humanity if unable to render assistance. You say that he is a “great & good man.” Of this I know but little as his past record is much too meagre for me to base an opinion upon. He should combine both these qualities, as his position requires the possession of both, if good results are to follow. You ask what I think of his policy as thus far developed? This can be answered in a few words; he has not developed any policy yet; has refused to do so up to this moment, and consequently no opinion can be given. We are just now, like a man at sea in an open boat, tossed about at the mercy of the wind & wave without oars, rudder, or compass, and with no land in sight, or friendly hand to save him.” — Dan Westervelt, Citizen, New York City, 29 March 1861

“I will give you an account of our proceedings here and how our company began to form. In the first place, Abe Lincoln’s election was received by us with disgust. We immediately resolved to hold secret meetings here in Newark to see what we could do in regard to helping your Southern Brethren in case they should secede. The crisis has now come. If it is true that you need the services of our men, we shall come down to you at the first word that you send.” — Edward N. Fuller, Editor, Newark, New Jersey, 2 April 1861

“I think South Carolina has been rather hasty and committed many wrongs and blunders and I fear will give trouble wherever she goes though I hope I will be mistaken. But between her and the Republicans, I am for her or anybody else. I hope if Sumter is not given up soon, she will be taken and all who go to help her and if a fight begins, I hope Washington will be taken and all the Black Republican concern and keep them prisoners until peace is declared. I thought until yesterday that Jackson put down South Carolina in 1832, but such was not the case for Mr. Clay brought forward a Compromise Bill that Calhoun accepted though reluctantly though it was a change from the original tariff. I hope every Southern State will secede if Lincoln attempts coercion and whether they do or not, thousands from all the Slave States will join the southern army to prevent coercion and that every Republican who goes there to help coerce will never get back.” — Henry William Morgan, Citizen, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 9 April 1861

“If the Arkansas Convention was in session, it would secede before night. The South will all oppose Old Abe’s Coercion Policy so likely you will hear that I am a citizen of another government before this reaches you. My heart sickens at the recital. I turn away in sorrow and anguish.” — Clement Hayden, Citizen, Maysville, Arkansas, 21 April 1861

“I went to Mrs. Stewart’s the other day and had a good talk. I just feel like going right to see everyone I hear favors the South, for my heart goes right out to them. Someone gave Katie a Union flag the other day and I told her at first she should not have it, but she begged so hard and I could not explain to her then why I did not wish her to carry it, so I let her have it. As we were going home, she was running along before me and I stopped to speak to Nettie Stewart. I noticed some lady stop Katie and talk to her for some time and when I came up with her, I asked her what the lady said to her. She says, “So little girl, you are for the Union, are you?” “No ma’am,” says Katie, “I am for Bell. My mamma said I should not carry this flag at first, but a little girl gave it to me and I begged her to let me keep it, but I am a Southerner.” “I ain’t for Lincoln,” she always says whenever she hears his name mentioned.” —Katherine Pinckard, Civilian, Indianapolis, Indiana, 23 April 1861

“The war has been inaugurated & may continue to rage with a fury hitherto unknown. We have heard of the Alpha which was painted in flattering colors, but who of us can describe the Omega. The first battle has been fought and determined in cheering results. It was miraculous & immeraculous because bloodless. But shall the description depict the final struggle? We would all wish that such would be the case but our wishes are of small moment. That a war policy would have been adopted by men of understanding appears superficially at least to be preposterous but this Lincoln & his advising host have done [so]. I am of opinion that were their brains microscopically examined or chemically analyzed, they would be found deficient or at least made up of a unpure material so that were they weighed in the balance, they would be “found wanting.” — Unidentified Citizen, Augusta, Georgia, 1 May 1861

What sad news that was of our Beloved President’s death. They have caught the Assassin but I [am] sorry they could not have taken him alive. I would liked to have been where you were—then I could have seen him and all of those officers. We had quite a sad time in Corry. Almost every house & store were draped in mourning. They preached his funeral sermon. Elder Wilson and Elder Staples & Mr. Merrils and several others were the speakers. They had the sermon in the Baptist Church but there was not room for more than half of the people so they had speaking out doors also. They had their flag at half mast draped and a splendid banner [which read,] “To the memory of Abraham Lincoln” on one side & something else on the other side which I cannot remember now.” — Unidentified Alice, Citizen, Corry, Pennsylvania, 1 May 1865

“Everything is down to the lowest point. No currency good for anything. If a man has anything to sell, he dare not take money for it for fear it will be worthless next day. But we hope when “Honest Old Abe” has won his laurels, times will improve.” — Lydia (Judd) Stockwell, Citizen, Tipton, Iowa, 4 May 1861

“I have just come from the barracks in the [City Hall] Park where the volunteers were drawn up in line around a square space and Mrs. Lincoln walked inside, reviewing them. She is quite fine looking, but wait—shall I tell it? Oh my!—painted—much, too!” — Unidentified Soldier named “Charley”, New York City, 17 May 1861

“You express surprise that Tennessee should change her position taken in February, yet what else can she do? We can but regret the present condition of our country, knowing and feeling that let things go as they may, we are a ruined people. While we have had no hand in bringing about this awful state of affairs—on the contrary have strove to avert it, believing that the preservation of the Union was the palladium of our liberties—but the North has by unfriendly legislation, the press, the pulpit, and a good portion of her citizens goaded and insulted the South, driving them as a last resort to seek peace and safety in secession—a policy advocated by Mr. Lincoln, an inherent right a people had he said in a speech made in Congress in 1848 to secede. He surely has grown wiser or weaker now, to deny a people a right he said was due to a people, but ’tis then and now…Tennessee does not endorse secession but claims the inherent right to rebel against the policy of fighting her Southern brethren and whipping them back into the Union where she would gladly remain, but never help to force an unwilling people to go with her. That fated policy of coercion, subjugation, was indeed a fatal stroke, that which has driven the other border states out of the Union and ’tis that which will induce every true Tennessean to cast his vote for Independence on the coming morrow.” — Unidentified Citizen, Madisonville, Tennessee, 7 June 1861

“We was visited day before yesterday by the president, honest Old Abe as he is called, and I should think he might be honest—at least he is homely enough to be honest.” — Stephen Millet Bragdon, Co. E, 5th Massachusetts Infantry, Camp Massachusetts, Alexandria, Va., 16 June 1861

“We cannot wage this war without money. Mr. Lincoln is calling for a large amount, but I think stands much less chance to get it than Mr. Davis. As to his 400,000 men, he will have to double the number before he can hope to make and impression on the South. In less than 30 days, we will have nearly that number (400,000) in the field, and there are 10’s of thousands only waiting to see our country invaded to fly to arms.” — Horace Moore Polk, Citizen, Bastrop, Louisiana, 15 July 1861 

“We received glorious news here last Wednesday of the great battle at Manassas stating that our side lost 5,000 and the Yankees lost 15,000. Our side only had 15,000 and they had 35,000. I tell you it was a glorious victory. Jeff Davis and Old Scott was in the battle. Old Abe was not there and you never will hear of him being where the Dixie Boys can get a shot at him. I think if I ever get to see the young man, I will try my old musket at him and if he was not very smart, I think I would get his scalp.” — Charles L. Dupree, Co. D, 7th Alabama Infantry, Warrington, Florida, 27 July 1861

“Went to Chain Bridge August 20 [1861]. Visited the camp of the 33rd [New York], Col. [Robert F.] Taylor. In the afternoon witnessed a review by General McClellan of General [William F.] Smith’s Brigade [Division]. The 31 Regiments composing the brigade [Division] were formed into line—open order—and McClellan and staff rode through scrutinizing closely every man. He is a fine-looking man but has been so much exposed to the hot August sun that he is bonzed like a Texan. President Lincoln [and] Secretaries Seward, Cameron, and Chase were also present and witnessed the firing of the battery which commands the river and the bridge. Lincoln is as rough and unassuming as when he was an ordinary lawyer in Springfield, Illinois. “Pigmies perched on Alps are pigmies still!” Secretary Seward I have always had a great curiosity to see which was fully gratified. He is a different-looking man than I had imagined him to be with a full-leaf Panama Hat which concealed the whole of his countenance but his interminable & exhaustless nose. He resembled a moderate sized toad sitting under an overspreading cabbage leaf. Secretary Chase is a fine-looking man and has a look of intelligence. Of Secretary Cameron I could not look at him without thinking of Pennsylvania Railroad Speculations and what excellent roads they were to transport the soldiers to Washington—superior to all others in the Union. And then again, what great facilities his friends in Philadelphia had for manufacturing clothes &c. &c. No other city could begin with it. And besides, what an excellent place to select Generals from—excellent—glorious institutions of ours and giants to administer the government.” — Henry S. Joy, 3rd New York Cavalry, Washington D. C., 20 August 1861

“We are expecting to have [to fight] every day but we don’t know when it will be but they will have some trouble to ride over us all for there is a good many of us when we are all together. We was out on drill the other day and there was about ten or fifteen thousand soldiers in the field and old Abe Lincoln was there and he went all around the field and we all had a good chance to see him and after he was around, we all gave him three cheers and it made a good deal of noise, I assure you.” — George Bender, Co. B, 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery, Washington D. C., 25 August 1861

“The brigade to which our regiment belongs was drawn in line of battle and inspected by the President and Wm. Seward and three Major Generals and the 24th Regiment got the praise. I was not able to go with the boys so I did not have the honor of seeing those gentlemen. I have not told Mr. Lincoln what you wished I should.” — Theodore Holmes, Co. G, 24th New York Infantry, Arlington Heights, Va., 28 August 1861

“Fremont alone has met the question and handled it as God would have it handled and government will probably remove him for it. Seward is a mighty humbug and Lincoln is his willing tool. Neither of them meet the crisis like men, nor Christians, but like politicians who dare not say their souls are their own.” — Daniel Burdick Maxson, Co. F, 4th Wisconsin Infantry, Relay House near Baltimore, 23 September 1861

“I expect to be at home to take dinner with you on New Years Day as I think the war will be over by that time. Old Abe went past here last Friday evening. Just before he came along, there was a company of artillery came along and fired a salute of ten guns and when Lincoln came along, the boys broke past the guards and surrounded him and gave him three rousing cheers and then called for a speech but he said this was no time for speeches. He said he would make them a speech when the war was over. This was the first time I had seen him.” — David Walker Beatty, Co. K, 63rd Pennsylvania Infantry, Washington D. C., 6 October 1861

“We had fine times last Sunday [October 6th] when the President & Mr. Seward reviewed us. I think that Abe is a good looking old fella for the care of his office are wearing upon him. He seems very shy and reserved. God bless him…” —Richard Whittock Clink, Co. B, 11th Massachusetts Infantry, Near Bladensburg, Maryland, 7 October 1861

I saw President Lincoln riding out. I thought he was quite a good-looking man.” — Orville Robinson, Co. F, 9th Maine Infantry, Maryland, 16 October 1861

“I have just been reading the address of Mr. Breckinridge to the people of Kentucky & am perfectly inflamed with a mixture of enthusiasm, anger, and indignation. It is the finest document of the age and I believe will find its way to the minds & hearts of the sensible, brave, & patriotic portion of the people of that state. I have the utmost confidence in the final redemption of Kentucky from under the tyranny & oppression of Lincoln and his miserable meagre wisdoms—and when I think of the outrageous treatment of ex-Gov. [Charles Slaughter] Morehead & his compatriots whose hands are manacled & whose hearts are bleeding under the wounds of tyranny & oppression, I feel a desire irrepressible to aid the true gallant sons of Kentucky in defending their homes & liberties and in avenging the wrongs of their unoffending brethren.” — Capt. Meredith Kendrick, Co. C, 3rd Georgia Infantry Battalion, 30 miles from Savannah, 21 October 1861

“As for my part, I don’t care much where I go nor where I am for I expect to be a soldier the balance of my days for I cannot see any happiness anywhere else. Sometimes I think I had just as soon be dead as alive for our country is ruined anyhow and what is there on the earth that would make me want to live except my relations. Cousin, to think one man [Lincoln] and his crew can ruin this once happy country!” — William T. Davis, Co. E, 4th Tennessee Infantry (CSA)

“We had 120,000 men reviewed here last Wednesday [20 November 1861 at Munson’s Hill, Bailey’s Crossroads] by Gen. McClellan & Prince de Joinville, President Lincoln, Seward, Cameron, and all the Big Boys—a beautiful sight it was. Only think, Old Abe was all smiles for everyone he saw. There was 100 pieces of nice field pieces on the ground & they would begin and fire them one after another in secession. I reckon there was a plenty of noise. These men all belong on the Virginia side of the Potomac on the space of 10 miles, 10 miles farther as many more could be had & you may a well believe there is an awful army here in Virginia.” —Thomas Davis Peck, Co. F, 5th Vermont Infantry, Camp Griffin, Va., 22 November 1861

“I have been around the city [of Springfield] several times. It contains some 10,000 inhabitants. President Lincoln’s residence is here. It is nothing more than common. Three or 4,000 dollars would build such a house.” — Cyrus Marble Cummings, Battery G, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery, Springfield, Illinois, 20 December 1861


“The majority of the naturalized Americans in Canada will do as much in this war, if it comes to that, as the natural born Canadians or old countrymen will. The impression is very general here that the present administration are convinced they cannot regain the Southern States and that to unite the Northern people and to in some degree make up for the loss of the South, they wish to go to war with England and if possible annex Canada to the United States. If such is their idea—and the fortification of the Northern frontier and the tone of the Republican press has convinced us of it—we Americans in Canada can feel no great sympathy for the government for we cannot see that Canada would be anything but injured by a change…My own private notion is that the republican form of government in the United States is dead, and that we will never see another President. When a Republican government rewards with a prison those who are politically opposed to it, and silences such newspapers as criticize its cause or are opposed to it in principle, we may be sure that it is near its end. It is too much like the Old French Republic to last. There is likely a Napoleon in the army who when the proper time comes will clear out the Houses if Congress with his bayonets and take his place as dictator in the White House. But even this, to my notion, would be better than President Lincoln’s government for the people would be prepared for a military despotism and would have the satisfaction of knowing that they had a clever man at least at the head of affairs and not such a ninny as Lincoln nor such a babbling, blundering man as Seward.” — Henry Augustus Sims, Citizen, Ottawa, Canada, 2 January 1862

“I was down to to hear Horace Greeley lecture last Friday eve. We got there some time before the hour for the lecture but we waited patiently until the house was full. Then amid cheers that made the great building tremble, Greeley entered accompanied by “Old Abe” and several members of Congress, also other distinguished men.” — Henry C. Long, 11th Main Infantry, Washington D. C., 5 January 1862

“Was ever the fidelity and patient endurance of a devoted people more heavily taxed? All faith and enthusiasm is gone from the army and hope only a glimmer off. With the news of the bombardment of Sumter, the enthusiasm of the country burst forth with irresistible power and within an incredible short period over one million men were offered the president of the loyal states—six hundred and sixty thousand were received and are now in the field. For what? to maintain the integrity of the Union and the supremacy of the Constitution? or to be the dupes of a treacherous, imbecile and cowardly administration? “Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad.” If the destruction should be limited to those in power, it will be well. Neither the army nor the people are at fault—but I fear the hand of futurity will point the finger of scorn at “Old Abe” and say, “Thou art the man.” —Aaron Brown, Co. F, 3rd Iowa Infantry, St. Louis, Missouri, 7 January 1862

President Abram Lincoln, — “an honest, patriotic man, but none too great for the occasion.”

“I have had quite an opportunity of forming the acquaintance of big Generals and big officers of state. I visited the White House, shook hands with the President, looked at Mrs. Lincoln, surveyed the whole affair and was glad that I did not live in the establishment for greatness has its corroding cares. The President is an honest, patriotic man, but none too great for the occasion. Secretary Stanton is a burly, English-looking, fast living man—rather puffed up by his position. Admiral (Commodore) Foote is a plain, easy, sensible, practical, energetic man; I enjoyed his society much. Halleck I have not yet seen, but he loves to have his hand on the helm.” — Frederic Denison, Chaplain, 1st Rhode Island Cavalry, Washington D. C., 19 January 1862

“And I may enlist for 2 years or the war. I hope I won’t have that to do, but it looks very much like all of us will have it to do or let Mr. Lincoln pollute the sacred soil & you know we can’t stand that.” — Thomas Radford Hollowell, Co. H, 12th Tennessee Infantry, Columbus, Kentucky, 27 January 1862

“We feel afraid here that Lincoln and his wife have too many relatives in the rebel army. Why did he modify Frémont’s proclamation and then turn him out when he was doing more than all the rest? Soon after that, the story was McClellan was to be superseded, but he was too cunning. He fell into the do-nothing policy and kept his post. Why was the White House gardener promoted to a Lieutenancy? Look at the Potter Investigating Committee and you will see why he should not [have] been. There are a great many things around Washington which looks dark. Why do they not clean out the traitors?  If I had the control, I would make everyone of them pull hemp as fast as I could find them and it appears they are not hard to find, but the government is afraid of hurting them. I do not think it would hurt them long to make them pull a very little hemp. It appears there is a vast number of them there and the women—they that are traitors—are a great sight worse than the men.” — Ira Cole, Citizen, Fowler, New York, 6 February 1862 

“There are no families of small children in this place that I know of except of the class called “poor whites,” and they are poor indeed for they seem not to realize the cause of their poverty. Our revolutionary fathers were poor, and the oppressions of the Mother County were calculated to make them poorer, but they had intelligence—enough to appreciate the cause of their distressed condition. But the masses here are made the victims of misrepresentations from the political leaders who compel the people to dig their own political and social graves. Thousands of men are now fighting in the ranks of the rebel army who are the ignorant victims of a lie. They are made to believe that Lincoln is conspiring for their destruction. Their leaders tell them that the Yankees desire only to destroy and pillage. But when they find it otherwise, they must feel an awful indignation against their leaders, and unless the unfortunate originators of this terrible rebellion are either killed or taken prisoners, an awful reaction must sooner or later take place.” — Frederick Kinsman Bailey, Surgeon, 20th Illinois Infantry, Savannah, Tennessee, 18 April 1862

“Last Saturday one of the boys in the Kentucky 8th was on picket and secesh came along and he halted him three times and he did not stop. Then he went on across his post and turned around and told him that he would not halt for no damned Lincolnite nor Black Republican son-of-a-bitch and as the “bitch” came out of his mouth, he got a bullet through his heart. It went in at his left breast and through his heart and right lung and he dropped. Sensible? I don’t know.” — Horace S. Chapin, Co. F, 9th Michigan Infantry, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 22 April 1862

“I have just heard of the destruction of McClellan’s army before Richmond & Old Abe has called for 300 thousand more troops. The Lord only knows when and where this damnable nigger war will end or what it will bring us to. It seems that the nigger worshippers are determined to ruin the country in taxes and loss of life.” — Dolphus Clark, Citizen, Manlius, Illinois, 3 July 1862

“We have had considerable news from Richmond since you wrote but it don’t seem to amount to much except destruction of life and limb. I have some doubts about their ever accomplishing much so long as Lincoln is so afraid of hurting the Rebels or disturbing their slaves or other property. I think he has much more sympathy for the Rebels than Jeff Davis has for us.” — George Quint, Citizen, Dover, New Hampshire, 17 July 1862

Signature of A. Lincoln on the torn envelope bearing the proposal by Maj. Lane (Signature could not be authenticated)

The envelope accompanying the letter has docketed upon it the following words, “Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War and Gen’l Totten & asking special attention to it. — A. Lincoln, July 14, 1862.”  Though someone has traced over the President’s handwriting—perhaps written originally in pencil or pale ink—it does appear to be the signature of the President and characteristic of his handwriting. A similar endorsement was docketed on an appointment of a surgeon named Owen M. Long in 1862 that read, “Respectfully submitted to the War Department, with the remark that I personally know Dr. Long to be a good man. — A. Lincoln, July 21, 1862.”

“I think that these draw backs [are] due to the fault of our generals and not the president. I do not think that we could get another man more fit for the place that Old Abe holds than he himself. But I do think we could place a general at the head of our army more fit for that office than those that now hold that situation. Perhaps we have not. If so, I think it is time to give up the ghost.” — Theodore F. Ostrander, Co. F, 58th Pennsylvania Infantry, Portsmouth, Va., 18 September 1862

If President Lincoln says emancipation, let the people be a unit in supporting him. I think President Lincoln desires to execute the will of the People. I think he has striven to act so as to keep them united. In his delay in issuing the late proclamation, I think he has adopted its policy and the approval of the majority of the People. It is all twiddle about our inability to crush the rebellion without interfering with slavery. Let us have united will and action and we must either crush it or acknowledge ourselves cowards and imbeciles. It is the fault of this faction who have left no means untried to thrust this one idea of slave emancipation upon the President, thereby embarrassing the government which has so long prolonged the struggle. They would displace the greatest chief of our armies today solely on account of party.” —Joseph Edward Kimball, Chaplain, 8th Massachusetts Infantry, Fortress Monroe, 30 September 1862

“Drilled this forenoon in company drill. In the afternoon we were brought out in review (Col. Brooke commanding) and formed in “close column” on the heights. Just as we got into line a pelting rainstorm came on but soon after the sun smiled gladly upon us. A salute of 24 guns warned us that some high dignitaries were on hand. In a few minutes “Old Abe” came riding down the line accompanied by “Mac” and [his] staff. Round after round was heartily given to them as they passed from the enthusiastic soldiers. Long live “Old Abe” and “Little Mac.” They are the soldiers’ hopes, and the pets of the Nation.” — James Wilson Barnett, Co. K, 53rd Pennsylvania Infantry, near Harper’s Ferry, Va., 30 September 1862

“There is a good deal of talk here about President Lincoln’s Proclamation to free all Negroes which is said to have passed but nobody knows anything about it. I can’t find a man that has seen it but still they say it is so.” — George Henry Shaw, Co. A, 3rd New Hampshire Infantry, Port Royal, South Carolina, 30 September 1862

“Phebe, we had a hard fight in Maryland. I presume you have read all about [it]. We had the pleasure of having a call from Old Abe and Little McClellan yesterday. Old Abe looked like a shark more than like a man. Mc[Clellan] is the one that looks the best to us. The boys like to see him. He looks good to them.” — Daniel Wiley Lafferty, 64th New York Infantry, Harper’s Ferry, 3 October 1862

“Friday, October 3, 1862—Weather exceedingly foggy in the morning but after the fog disappeared it was exceedingly warm for this season. We arose early. Were assembled for the reading of orders against pillaging. Were again assembled at 7 a.m. and marched to a suitable place to be reviewed by President Lincoln. General McClellan, Burnsides, and many other generals accompanied him. We did not return until about 11 a.m. The President looks care-worn. Working at my gun. Dress Parade. Some orders were read. Prayer Meeting.” — Christopher Columbus Lobingier, Co. A, 100th Pennsylvania Infantry, Near Antietam Creek, Maryland, 3 October 1862

“Last Friday our Corps was reviewed by the President accompanied by Gen. Burnsides, Gen. McClellan and staff, and a score of spouters from the White House. Old Abe looks very much like other men except he is the sleepy giant looking man that his pictures represent him. He seemed greatly pleased with the looks of the troops. Burnside is the dirtiest, reckless, most careless looking man I ever saw. He had a shocking black, old Kossuth hat pulled over his head and ears. He had huge side whiskers and mustache and an excellent set of pearly white teeth. His face—or the part of it not covered with hair and hat—was terribly tanned. He had an old blue nightgown on for a coat, and his pants were tucked into a pair of boots that were covered with patches. But he rode a splendid horse. Bully for him. He puts on no airs but looks worse than any private in the ranks. We’ll back him up wherever he goes. McClellan is a young looking man with a full, round face with no whiskers, but a handsome mustache and imperial. His hair [was] neatly combed and he sported a fatigue cap with a light blue velvet band around it. His uniform was neat but not extravagant. His horse is the handsomest animal I ever put eyes on. The yells and cheers that the boys gave “Little Mac” as he passed were perfectly deafening.” — Charles Henry Howe, 36th Massachusetts Infantry, Antietam Iron Works, 5 October 1862

“The army was reviewed day before yesterday by Old Abe accompanies by General McClellan and his staff. The men looked well as they was drawn up for review, not withstanding the hardships they have passed through lately. As the President rode in front of our regiment (only numbering one hundred men), Gen. McClellan asked the President if he remembered the fine large regiment the 44th Ellsworths that passed through Washington about a year ago. On being answered in the affirmative, he said this is what remains of them.” — Anthony G. Graves, Co. F, 44th New York Infantry, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, 5 October 1862

“The whole camp is cheering the patriotic address of General McClellan. George B. McClellan has more honor in this camp than Lincoln and all of his friends. The whole blame lies in the men that are wanting office in the old regiments and they think they will do it at the cost of old Pennsylvania.” — James Drolsbaugh, Co. F, 171st Pennsylvania, Camp near Harrisburg, Pa., 7 November 1862

“You would perhaps like to know what is thought of “Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation” by the soldiers in this army. It is endorsed by the majority of them for they cannot otherwise be consistent with views expressed & held on other matters connected with the management of the war. The most of all those that I got acquainted with that were proslavery now say “God speed to it.” Yes, anything that will tend to end this unholy war. The army is undoubtedly is with the President & when it gets home, it will settle with those that are at home misrepresenting them & have not given the Proclamation a hearty support.” —William Davidson McCord—Co. E, 37th Infantry, Marionville, Missouri, 8 November 1862 

“Well, McClellan is gone from us, I am sorry to say. I think he is the best man in the country to lead an army but for the 3d time “Old Abe’s” courage has failed and again he yields to the damned politicians of the fanatical school. What they expect to gain is more than I can see. They complain of inactivity and just as the army commences to move, they take away a leader in whom all have the utmost confidence. Why? The Abolitionists never meant that “Mac” should take Richmond.” —Isaac Arnold, Jr., US Army, 2nd Light Artillery, Manassas Junction, 16 November 1862

“Father, you have the same opinion of Old Abe that I once had. I have now no right to speak ill of the President or any of his subordinate officers (see army regulations), but this much I will say—that notwithstanding the hardships a soldier endures when the army is advancing. If the soldiers were allowed to vote, the Democrats would carry the day ten to one. And it was the earnest wish of the old army that all the States would go Democratic. Things now appear as if Abe was running his party ashore. I think that a change in the cabinet could be made for the better.” Charles Henry Howe, 36th Massachusetts Infantry, Camp near Fredericksburg, 30 November 1862


“Last night about twenty of us saw the “Old Year out and the New One in.” We had a jolly time. As twelve o’clock came around, we went in, “en masse,” to where our “Nig” Washington was sleeping and awoke him, tossed up and down on some shelter tents, pulled his wool, rolled him, and after frightening him almost out of his wits, pronounced him in the name of Abe Lincoln & the Constitution, a Free Man. Then such a shout & roar of laughter as we sent up over the once slave, then free man. It was rumored that “he didn’t see the point.” — William Carlton Ireland, Co. D, 44th Massachusetts, New Bern, North Carolina, 1 January 1863

“The boys are all getting out of heart. They hain’t very willing to fight anymore and I will tell why. Lincoln’s last proclamation that he has distributed out amongst his men tells that he is agoing to fight to have those black negroes free and the biggest part of the boys swears that they will throw [down their] arms and go home if that is the case for what use is it for us to risk our lives just on account of having those black free? Two regiments of the South stacked arms and went home. Then they sent one regiment of cavalry after them to bring them back and they stayed at home also. And we heard that two of our Illinois regiments went home too and the Governor of Pennsylvania says he will draw his men all in till spring and won’t let a man fight anymore if they won’t settle before long.” — Jacob M. Buroway, Co. A, 107th Ohio Infantry, near Stafford’s Station, Va., 4 January 1863

“We want one man & that man wants to be a good, careful general & statesman & one that when he makes up his mind that a thing is right, to push it through & not be talked out of it by those who know nothing about the matter. Old Abe is nothing more than a tool. Seward is the best man that he has about him.” — Charles E. Bradley, 32nd NY Infantry, 1 February 1863

“The boys are all much pleased with the Valentines received yesterday. Old Abe’s, Chases, and such pictures make very acceptable Valentines with the soldiers.” — Asa Mulford, 11th Ohio Battery, Memphis, Tennessee, 15 February 1863

“I attended the Presidential levee yesterday & was introduced by Stoddard to Mrs. Lincoln who said to her I was the gent who sent the fruit to them from Syracuse. She replied she remembered it well and that it was very fine indeed. And just now met her upon the steps as she was going to her carriage for church & we of course bowed the usual recognition.” —Samuel Newell Holmes, Citizen, Washington D. C., 1 March 1863

“Every single Rebel General of any note except Forrest and Morgan were educated at West Point but they have had an opportunity to carry on their campaigns on their own plans while every campaign we have had except one or two in the West have been managed solely by the politicians. Of one thing I feel sure, if the ultra politicians continue to rule over Lincoln and the War Department sixty days to 3 months longer, the South will certainly achieve her independence. The North has not gained one point of value for eight months & today occupies much less of the rebel soil than we did six months ago, and the rebels have probably added more men to their army than we have. If this Conscription Law is rigidly enforced and the politicians will let Lincoln and the War Department alone, I believe we shall succeed in the course of the year. I guess you will think I have croaked long enough, but although unpalatable what I have said are truths.” — Calvin Waldo Marsh, on staff of Gen. Schofield, Springfield, Missouri, 4 March 1863

“There was a “Union Supper” over at Hocke’s Hotel last evening. The way they come to have it there was this. One evening last week a number of these butternuts about town (Frinefrock, Lindsay, and others) went over there to hold one of their meetings. They abused Lincoln and the soldiers and talked “secesh” so strong that Hocke ordered them out of his house. They remonstrated, but he told them to go. They then told him that they would get their horses and go and that it would ruin him. He told the hostler to get their horses ready as soon as he could and let them go. Said there was something in his heart that told him he ought not to let them do so and he would not have it. The Union men were so pleased when they heard it that about one hundred of them went over there last night and got their supper.” Sarah Eliza (Wilson) Rice, Citizen, Fremont, Ohio, 28 March 1863

“I understand your regiment is agoing to reenlist again but don’t you, for God sake. If you do, it will kill me. If you only knew how I count the days for your return you never would punish me so and how glad I am when night comes to think that you [have] one day less to stay. Oh, if I can live to see you again you had better believe that they never get my consent for you to go to war again. The devil comes, they can’t draft you because Old Abe has exempted a poor widow’s only son.” — Sarah Ann Adams, Citizen, Hollis, New Hampshire, 29 March 1863

With respect to the duration of the war, I think it will continue till the expiration of Lincoln’s term of office. It has been occasioned by fanaticism, is prosecuted by fanatics, and they will continue it while they have the power for they are blind, foolish, and mad.” — Willis Faulke Riddick, Citizen, Richmond, Virginia, 1 April 1863

“I have no words with which to express my detestation of the course that John Furgeson is taking on the war question. What does he mean? I have no objection to his being a democrat, but in the name of heaven, can’t he be a democrat and still be a loyal man and a patriot? Why does he not side with such noble and true men as Gov. [David] Tod, Dickinson, [Benjamin] Butler, and [Martin] Van Buren, rather than be found ranged alongside of such as [Clement] Vallandigham, Jeff Davis, Sam Medary, ² Ben Wood, and Co.  You say that in his New Richmond [Ohio] speech, John asserted that Lincoln had violated the Constitution. Did he prefer any charge of that kind against the President of the Southern Confederacy? Or does he think him innocent of any violation of that instrument. He talks very hard about Abolitionists. Does he say any hard things about rebels?” — Daniel Hayford, Co. K, 25th Indiana Infantry, Memphis, Tennessee, 7 April 1863

“This Corps with three others was out on review. I believe there was about 80,000 in all. President Lincoln reviewed us. He is the homeliest man I ever saw.” — Charles E. Carruthers, Co. B, 17th Maine Infantry, Camp near Potomac Creek, 9 April 1863

“The next day but one after we come [back to] the regiment, [we] went up west of here near Falmouth on Review, this being Wednesday last, and were reviewed by Gen. Hooker & Old Abe. I was on Camp Guard and did not go. I saw Gen. Doubleday & his wife pass that day. The next day being Thursday, I saw the sight—it was Lincoln and his wife. They were in a covered wagon drawn by four horses, & his son—he was not as large as Perry & was riding a horse. He was a real nice-looking fellow. They were followed by General Hooker, Sedgwick, and other generals and officers too numerous to mention that we did not know. They went down toward Belle Plain to review some troops there. When they come back, we gave three cheers for them—-first for Old Abe, then for Hooker, & then for Sedgwick, & then we had to give three cheers for Little Mac. I don’t know what Hooker thought of us for giving three cheers for McClellan but he is the first and the last man that the Army of the Potomac will waste their breath cheering for, but we would cheer three times three if we could get him for our commander again.” — Altus H. Jewel, Co. E, 77th New York Infantry, Near White Oak Church, Va., 10 April 1863

“We have been reviewed four times within the last three days and have had a chance to see all the big men that I ever heard of. First we were reviewed by Gen. Lee, our Brigade Commander. Next by Gen. McLean, our Division Commander, 3rdly by Gen. Howard, our Corps Commander, and 4th and lastly by Uncle Abe, Gen. Halleck, Secretary Seward and Stanton, Uncle Abe’s wife and two boys, and Gen. Hooker with lots of other officers too numerous to mention. I tell you, it was a big sight. I guess there was about 20 or 25 thousand in all. Pretty good turnout for a general training. Wish you could of seen us. I tell you, twas a splendid dight. Uncle Abe looked very careworn. Don’t wonder that he should having so much on his mind. It is enough to make any man look careworn and weary.” — Sylvester Rounds, Co. D, 17th Connecticut Infantry, Brooks Station, Va., 11 April 1863

On April 13, 1863, the Ohio Legislature authorized qualified Ohio voters, in actual Military Service to vote by absentee ballot if they were away from their resident polling places on Election Day.  As a result, during the Presidential Election of November 8, 1864, Ohio Soldiers & Sailors voted from Battlefields, Encampments, Ships, Field Hospitals, Forts and other Military Installations. A handwritten ballot cast for Lincoln and Johnson in Lake County, Ohio:

Gen. [Lorenzo] Thomas has just come from Washington and made a speech to us and he said that the negroes is freed. He is sent to make up 20 thousand and he says that he will get them without any trouble. He has already raised 3 or 4 [Colored] regiments. When he was done, he ordered three cheers for Lincoln but the 26th [Missouri] didn’t cheer for him.” — David C. Jones, Co. F, 26th Missouri, Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana, 18 April 1863

Abraham’s war missive—the Proclamation—has barred foreign recognition, tripped out the underpinning of treason’s Bastile and cut the hard knot of the problem of the age. One can hardly measure the scope and results of that duty-inspired—almost divinely inspired—measure. This is less man’s war than God’s war. It is a day for heroisms of every kind, political, military, social, moral—yes, every power and every quality of every member of the nation must be tried.” — Frederick Denison, Chaplain, 3rd Rhode Island, Port Royal, South Carolina, 25 April 1863

“Tuesday night, May 5th, the whole army recrossed the [Rappahannock] river, not because we were whipped there but because Sedgwick, commanding the 6th Army Corps, he crossed down below Fredericksburg & took the heights and then left one Brigade there to hold them and started up the river where we were fighting. The rebs turned his flanks and obliged him to retreat across the river so you see the rebs had possession of the heights. They say that orders came from Abe not to fight & endanger the capitol. If that is so, I would not care a bit if the capitol was burnt to the ground.” —Wilber H. Merrill, Co. H, 44th New York Infantry, Camp nesar Falmouth, Va., 6 May 1863

Old Abe, Stanton, & Halleck is out here. They came here yesterday. A great many of our troops is demoralized. I think that we need a new leader in place of Halleck if he can’t move the army to better advantage. Hooker is not to blame for this. There is enough of troops to whip the rebel army if they was managed right. The way they have been doing is send a squad and get it slaughtered, then fall back. This is nearly played out with the soldiers. We want a forward movement of all the army. Then we will gain victories in place of defeats at all points.” Samuel Dunnan, Battery B. 1st Light Artillery, near White Oak Church, 8 May 1863

Old Abe ought to raise about 600,000 conscripts and arm and equip them. Then we would get the rebs all into Richmond, surround them, and starvation would bring them to terms mighty quick. That’s the way to do it.” — Enoch C. Dow, Co. E, 19th Maine Infantry, near Falmouth, Va., 30 May 1863

“I hope the war is done in Virginia. I want to carry it right into the heart of the enemy’s country and let them feel the effects of invasions awhile. We will show them, with God’s help, that we have more Jacksons than one. Lee has the best army in the world. We can whip any army Lincoln can put before us. General [Albert G.] Jenkins is in Pennsylvania with his cavalry playing the wild, so it is rumored here.” — Capt. Henry H. Roach, Co. K, 21st Virginia infantry, Near Sharpsburg, Maryland, 19 June 1863

“I have just heard today of the removal of Joe Hooker from the command of the Army. What in hell is that for? Can you tell? Can anybody tell? Only that he has not been able with an inferior force to defeat a superior. I am almost tempted to dam[n] Abe Lincoln up hill & down for it. I suppose that he has some reason for it or he would not have done it but it is discouraging. I had confidence in Hooker if he had been let alone. The war will never end in our favor if it is carried on as it has been for the last year.” — Anson K. Mills, Co. D, 23rd Ohio Infantry, Fairfax, Va., 23 June 1863

“I have been down to the Capitol this forenoon to hear Dr. [Robert Jefferson] Breckinridge from Kentucky—an uncle of John C. preach. His text was the 15th verse of the first chapter of the First Epistle of Paul to Timothy. The discourse was very interesting. There was the largest audience present I ever saw filling the Hall of Representatives. Abraham Lincoln was present with the members of cabinet & many other distinguished men. The singing was congregationalist of old and familiar music which sounded heavenly. Oh! I wish you could of been there. The President came in shortly after services had commenced as sly as a cat. I don’t believe there were forty persons in the House saw or recognized him unless they were acquainted with him and their eyes directly upon him when he entered the door. He was dressed very common—not as cleanly as the general average of common folks. I saw him at the White House yesterday. He had just got out of his carriage all covered with dust & sweat. Today he had on the same suit. After services he arose from his seat and assumed his characteristic Indian gait and left the crowd as soon as possible, shaking hands with a few lady acquaintances as he came in contact with them.” — J. Milton Whipple, 17th New York Light Battery, Washington D. C., 12 July 1863

“Last Sunday there was a man by the name of Thomas Brown — he was cutting wheat and he had his boys helping him and some others and when they got done, they all got drunk and got to fighting and quarreling, and one of Brown’s boys run another fellow off by the name of Alexander Hatten ² for hollowing, “Hurrah for Lincoln,” and Hatten started home and said he would kill three or four of the Browns that night and he got his pistol and butcher knife and went over to John Brown’s and went to the window and John was in bed asleep and his wife was not asleep yet. They was laying with their heads to the window and he snapped his pistol at Brown’s head three or four times and it did not go off. And Brown’s wife heard him and waked Brown up and he crawled out of bed and got his gun and went out and snapped it at Hatten and it was not loaded. And [then] he run at Hatten and struck him across the back and knocked him down and jumped on him and commence beating him and Hatten got his knife out and stabbed Brown in six places. He cut him two the hollow across the bowels and his guts come out and he cut him to the hollow on the shoulder. Whenever he breathed, the wind would come out of his shoulder. He cut three of his ribs loose from his back bone. Them was the worst places. Brown is still alive and they have sent Hatten to jail until court.” — Thomas P. Kirk, Co. H, 82nd Indiana Infantry, Brown county, Indiana, 18 July 1863

“I council you in the name of God and a common humanity, in the name of your own manhood, and the posterity you love,….not to be led blindfolded by a party who ignores the only constitutional authority to save our government and lead it out of this baptism of blood to a new consecration to the freedom of all men. If you have not the courage or disposition to stand by our government, for God’s sake, don’t assist the Rebels by your influence. You curse Lincoln and the American government over which he presides, but I have never seen even one Little Damn!!! for Jeff and his Rebel government. Conscription, confiscation, high taxation, &c. Can it be? I can read nothing else in your communications. I hope you will review this subject candidly unbiased by your political prejudices. Our country—weal or woe—now vibrates in the turning of the scale of this great rebellion.” — Warren Clark, Citizen, Gasport, New York, 25 July 1863

“The ignorant masses are easily led and excited as was the case with the New York rioters. But where was Vallandigham, Wood, Thain, Jim Wall, and others? Out of harms way after counseling them to resist the draft and exciting their worst fears and passions by telling them Old Abe intended to make them fight for the nigger and make slaves of their wives and children. A friend writing to me from the North says he hopes I will soon be home to help hang the Copperheads (if not with hemp) with scorn and contempt.” — William Suydam, Co. F, 9th New Jersey Infantry, Beaufort, North Carolina, 4 September 1863

“Now about this war, there is no use of saying anything about it. Old Abe took the job of putting down the rebellion and I engaged to help him three years and to risk my life when called on during the three years. I thought the cause worthy of that risk and that every free man should do all in his power to put down this rebellion and with it that great and wicked institution slavery. But after all, if the old man does not get through with the job within about a year, I think that if I live, I shall return to civil life and let someone else take my place.” — Israel Markham, Co. L, 7th Illinois Cavalry, Lafayette, Tennessee, 9 September 1863

“You wanted to know what I thought about the war now. I can tell you very well it is a hard place here but I don’t think it will last much longer. And for putting Lincoln in for 4 years more, they can’t do that — not by a vote. If he has an election, he won’t gather votes in the army and ask for the negro votes. That is not so at all.” —William C. Johnson, Co. K, 114th Illinois Infantry, near Vicksburg, 2 November 1863

“I hope Brig. Hays may be successful in getting you home to Auburn but I don’t think he will do it. It is said Abe Lincoln has had the Small Pox. You ought to ask for a pass to Washington to go and console with him. He thinks it can’t disfigure him.” — Thomas Stacey, Co. D, 111th New York Infantry, Clifton Springs, New York, 22 December 1863


“We all went to Mr. [Schuyler] Colfax’s levee Friday night [29 January 1864]. Oh how sorry we were that you and Mary could not be there. The house upstairs and down was crowded. Mr. Chase & daughters & other dignitaries were there and we had a grand time. Carrie told me her Mother and herself the evening before [28 January 1864] had dined with the President & Mrs. Lincoln. She said from what she had heard of Mrs. Lincoln for some time past that she was prejudiced against her. But she says her prejudices have all been removed—that Mrs. Lincoln is a very pleasant lady and has the nack of making her company feel perfectly easy and at home. Carrie also, on the invitation of Mrs. Lincoln, attended the theatre with her and was perfectly delighted.” — C. M. Heaton, Civilian, Washington D. C., 31 January 1864

“The expectation is universal that the coming campaign will be decisive: the North cannot continue war on a scale so gigantic without hope of success. We can and must fight on forever, if need be; we fight for home and liberty; death would be preferable to defeat. They have no such interests at stake. They propose to conquer and subjugate, and in the effort itself have lost much of their liberty and submitted to usurpations & violations of their constitution that I did never before believe a free people would submit to. The longer the struggle continues, the nearer they will approach to a despotism. Gold has risen to 1.58 and the bounties offered for soldiers range as high as one thousand dollars. The time to elect the successor of Abraham [Lincoln] is not far distant. Mr. Seward must give some proof that the rebellion is likely to be crushed in the next three months or the next three hundred years. The people of the North will not always be satisfied with promises. The Federal debt is already enormous—worse the folly to increase it—unless something is to be gained by the war.” — Capt. George Douglas Wise, Aide to Maj. Gen. Carter L. Stevenson, CSA, Dalton, Georgia, 15 February 1864

If the Republican Party nominates Lincoln and they let the army vote, he would not get but a few votes in this regiment for the most of them think he is trying to prolong the war. They think the President can do any and everything. It is of no use to try to reason with them. I should think that one half the regiment is Dutch and Irish and the rest—or a good many—are canawlers. But most of the drafted men are more like human beings. One can talk with them with reason. Some of them are well read.” — Samuel Huntington, Co. A, 100th New York Infantry, Morris Island, South Carolina, 3 March 1864

Lee Lapham wrote his letter on stationery that included an engraving of President Lincoln and his Cabinet at the time (1864)

“Business is very good though we are not driven. I have just returned from a State Convention at Madison called to nominate delegates to the Baltimore Convention. Lincoln seems to have the inside track though there is no very great enthusiasm for him. I would prefer Banks, or Chase, & perhaps Fremont. I think there is some doubt whether Mr. Lincoln will be nominated at Baltimore. I think I perceive a growing reaction in the winds of the people against him.” — DeWitt Davis, Citizen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 31 March 1864

“Tomorrow evening [12 April 1864] is the last reception at the Presidential Mansion. We are all going and expect to have a gay time. I hope better success will attend our visit this time. We had just a good joke played on us last Tuesday evening [5 April 1864]. It was noticed in the paper the day before that it would be the last reception so we concluded to go—rain or shine. The gentleman had a carriage sent around and we went. All the time the rain poured in perfect torrents but we thought, what of a little rain. But we were in a closed carriage and felt none of it. As we got opposite the [President’s] House [we] beheld nothing, not even a sentinel was to be seen, so we concluded not to get out of our comfortable quarters just to see Mrs. Lincoln—it was raining too badly. If we had looked at the paper that day, we would [have] seen that it was postponed on account of the inclemency of the weather. I saw it announced in the paper next day [6 April 1864] the President and family [were] at the theatre that evening. They attend the theatre quite frequently. I went a while ago [and] saw The Seven Sisters played.” — Josephine Elizabeth Bunnell, Citizen, Washington D. C., 11 April 1864

“I think that General Grant will settle the difficulty now soon and that my cousins had better repent soon while the doors are open and vote for Old Abe so as to wipe out all stain on the family, for now is the time to repent for the doors will be closed after awhile and then there will be no chance for them as they will of lived out their day of grace and repentance will be of no avail to them.” — J. P. Hughes, civilian, Honolulu, Hawaii, 17 April 1864

“Isn’t thee thankful that the noble fighting Army of the Potomac has at last a leader worthy of them?—one who will preserve himself & them from the horrible torpor—by the smell of gunpowder & the roar of cannon? Perhaps we may be thankful that “the Honest” wants to serve a second term. He dare not imperil that prospect by hampering Grant, though I don’t doubt his Queen—if not himself—is quaking with fear lest Grant should make himself too popular. I suppose it is very dreadful for me to feel so when President Lincoln is so honest & tells such pertinent anecdotes and—is so honest,” but I cannot feel that honesty, rare as it is, is the only thing that is requisite in a leader—especially a leader who is to conduct us over such quicksands, through such bogs as lie in our future path. But God is over all, and it cannot be that He will suffer a hollow peace to arise over all these wasted lives, these broken hearts—no, not wasted lives if henceforth our country is truly free.” — Anne (Robinson) Minturn, Citizen, Waterloo, New York, 15 May 1864

“I see the Baltimore Convention have nominated Lincoln & Johnson for President & Vice President. I would rather someone else had been chosen. I do not think either of them possess the qualifications that the  Chief Magistrates of our country should be possessed with, but still there is no use of expressing any opinion as I do not see there is any help for it. I want to see a gentleman at the head of our affairs, but it seems such qualifications are a draw back. I am sorry they did not take up Grant, but we must make the best of it.” — Lt. James Cornell Biddle, Staff of Gen. Meade, Cold Harbor, 11 June 1864

“From this place, taking a street car, we went to the President’s House. Were admitted into the reception room [the East Room]—and now, don’t ask me to give a large view of it because I cannot. There were three large chandeliers hanging from the ceiling; two large looking glasses on opposite ends of the room filling nearly the whole end, nice carpet, nice window blinds—in fact, everything in style. I seated myself and rested awhile probably on a chair that Old Abe has sat on. I did not get to see Abe as he could only be seen at certain hours.” — David Davis, Co. E, 170th Ohio National Guard, Fort Sumner in WDC, 13 June 1864

Advertisement for Ratification Meeting

“We had a great time here last night. The ratification meeting for Lincoln and Johnson was very large. The street between the Patent Office and Post Office was perfectly packed nearly the whole length of the Patent Office & you know that covers two squares & the street and sidewalks are very wide. The fireworks was on the top of the building and had the finest display of rockets & roman candles I ever seen. Some half dozen lighted balloons were sent up during the evening. No accident occurred at any time. I will send you the Chronicle containing an account of the meeting by the same mail that takes this.” — Charles M. Heaton, Civilian, Washington D. C., 16 June 1864

Old father [Pres. Abraham Lincoln] was here a few days ago [June 22, 1864]. He came up [the James River] on his boat and went up on the tower of which I was speaking and was told by General [Godfrey] Weitzel that we are hundred days men from Ohio and was quite astonished to know that we were so close to the front. The General said if he had have known it two hours sooner, we should have been sent to Norfolk. He also said we should not be sent into battle. This I have from brother Colter. General Weitzel told him and I give it to you for what it’s worth.” —William Budd Shinn, Co. H, 138th Ohio National Guard, Spring Hill, Va., 25 June 1864

“I have always been a strong Republican and am still, but I declare, I do not know whether I can possibly muster courage enough to vote for Mr. Lincoln at the next election or not. I expect to deposit my vote for him but for only one reason and that is that I consider it the only safe course for a Union now to take, in view of the immense pressure brought to bear by the “Copperheads” and enemies of the country to defeat him. So much for politics.” — Henry Hedge Mitchell, Surgeon, 36th USCT, Boston, Massachusetts, 7 July 1864

“The first thing you say you hear we are going to volunteer for another hundred days. Don’t believe any such a thing. I tell you plainly, as soon as my time is in, I will be home. Don’t believe anything you hear at all. I wouldn’t volunteer another hundred days to save Old Johnny Brough’s [Gov. of Ohio] and old Abe Lincoln’s necks from the gallows. That is the way I feel about volunteering again. So keep your spirits yet. Time will soon be in. Everything looks [   ] here but we don’t know anything about what is going on. A soldier is no more than a dog. But it won’t last long.” — William C. Barcus, Co. A, 143rd Ohio National Guard, Wilson’s Landing, 10 July 1864

“A little before sundown, the rebels made a charge on our men, but they fired their large siege guns and the Rebs were drove back with heavy loss. Such a noise! it shook the very earth. Old Abe was in the fight. Some of the Reb’s sharpshooters were concealed in a house and they was shooting at him and he told our men to set it afire. It was a house cost several thousand dollars. That was about dusk. The flames shot upward and the conflagration illuminated the country for miles around. The kept up their firing until after nine o’clock when it gradually died away.” —Unidentified “Jake,” 147th Ohio Infantry, Fort Ethan Allen near WDC, 16 July 1864

“The ‘Cops’ [Copperheads] must still hear that they are below par. Philip Huber the chief among them had a pretty severe treatment by some returned soldiers at Sinking Spring. They would have killed him if the citizens would not have interfered. It had a good effect for they say he intends voting for Lincoln.” — George W. Fraser, Co. G, 195th Pennsylvania. Lincoln, Pennsylvania, 29 July 1864

“You wanted to know how the soldiers will vote. They all go in for Old Abe and Johnson — whole hog too. They are a fighting hard to the front. There is a great many wounded going through here every day. I wish the copperheads of the North was in my power. It makes me so mad to see how they act.” — Charles C. Bark, Battery E, 1st Ohio Artillery, Bridgeport, Alabama, 30 July 1864

“They said the Rebels blew up one of our forts and they charged, we were ready to receive them with double shotted guns and they tried to make us believe we killed three times as many of them, but I don’t believe one word they say. My faith in General Grant is gone and if I now had 5,000 votes, I would put them all in against Old Abe—the butcher and nigger worshipper. When two men are guilty of one and the same offense, one a nigger, the other a white man, and the President hangs the white man and pardons the black, I am against him and that has been done by that old miser.” — Cornelius Van Houten, Battery B, 1st New Jersey Light Artillery, Camp near Deserted House, 8 August 1864

“You said that the rebs had played the Old Harry in Pennsylvania—that they had burnt the half of Chambersburg. That is nothing for them to do. You ought to see the country that both of the armies has passed through. We have drove the rebs one hundred miles and there is nothing but one of breastworks after another all the way and we have fought over ever[y] foot of the ground. And I think that the war will close after the election—that is, if someone is put in besides Old Abe for there is too much negro wool in him to stop the war.” — James P. Ramsey, Co. A, 125th Ohio Infantry, Camp near Atlanta, 21 August 1864

“As to the Presidential contest, if there really should be any, or if it should rise to the dignity of a contest, I cannot speak. I do not think the Butternuts & Copperheads can harmonize at [the] Chicago [Democratic Convention], but if they should, it is no matter. Old Abe can beat any nag they may trot out, out of his boots, and we are just letting him elect himself in this state as we have other matters to attend to than fighting shadows. And the opposition has not even presented a shadow unless we count Fremont as such, and if he has a single supporter in the state he has failed to make himself heard.” — James Hastings Dreenen, Citizen, Martins Ferry, Ohio, 22 August 1864

“I think the authorities have used us very mean as we never volunteered to serve as infantry and think they are not justifiable in expecting same from us. The government has hurt itself through red-taping its soldiers and the boys do not have the confidence as heretofore. I think Old Abe’s days are numbered this election, although under the circumstances he has done all in his power to uphold the progress of the United States. I hope this cruel war will be over in a short time.” — Theodore W. Stauffer, Battery A, 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, Bermuda Hundred, 28 August 1864

“The excitement is great here about McClellan and Chicago [Democratic] Convention. I don’t think Old Abe will stand any show at all. I know he won’t if the soldiers has anything to do with the election.” — Alfred B. Cree, Co. F, 22nd Iowa Infantry, Near Charlestown, West Virginia, 2 September 1864

“What do you think of that, when the Glorious Hancock—one of our best generals and the Republicans, one of the great lovers of the country come out for Little Mac, a man who the republicans say is a traitor—what do you think of that? Tell them to put that into their pipes and smoke it. Mac will carry the army by an overwhelming majority. Every true and loyal man who loves his country will vote for him. And if he be elected, peace will be once more restored to our bleeding country. But if he is defeated, we know what to look for in the future as in the past—war for another four years—until every man in the North is killed or crippled. I hope every candid man will consider these things before he votes and if Mac is elected, there will be great rejoicing throughout the country….The Johnnies are very quiet on our front and very friendly too. They do not fire at each other while on picket and we meet each other half way between the line and exchange coffee for tobacco. They say they are tired of the war but if Lincoln is elected, they will fight another four years. But if any other man be elected, there will be peace.” — Giles G. Berry, Co. B, 17th Maine Infantry, Near Petersburg, Va., 6 September 1864

“In regard to politics, it is my sincere believe that McClellan will be knocked higher than a kite next November. I do not think he will poll a very heavy vote in the army. The soldiers cannot swallow the Chicago platform and his being nominated by such men as Vallandigham (whom every soldier hates like poison) and the Woods. I saw a man from Baltimore the other day — colonel of a Maryland (white) regiment, who says that Maryland will give a good majority for Lincoln.” Charles E. Walbridge, Co. H, 100th New York Infantry, Bermuda Hundred, 11 September 1864 

“Lydia, you need not to be uneasy about the draft for Abraham Lincoln will draft them if they don’t want to go for they do us more harm at home than the Southern soldiers does and they have just as good a right to fight for the government as I have and they shall help us now.” — George W. Thompson, Co. H, 21st Illinois Infantry, Atlanta, Georgia, 13 September 1864

“Now, Runt, I will tell you that I have got over all sorts of patriotic feeling. The whole thing is a speculation from beginning to end. Old Abe has done what he could to keep the thing going till this fall and now he would like to do something merely because his election depends on something being done. He can’t have my vote anyhow. If I can’t do better than vote for him, I will not vote at all for I will never give my vote to inflict him upon the country for another four years. I believe his wife is a traitor and has more influence over him than is good for the country.” — George W. Cross, Co. K, 10th New York Heavy Artillery, Arlington county, Va., 18 September 1864

“Who do you think will be our next President? I would like to have power to appoint my man and that is Old Abe. I say let him finish this war. He can do it and he will do it if he is let alone. If Little Mac goes in for President and gets elected, there will be a compromise as sure as guns and if Abe is elected, he will keep this war going until every rebel is subdued and crushed or he will spill every drop of blood in the North. Therefore, he is my man. I say now we have commenced war, let us have war until one side or the other comes to an unconditional surrender. Let it be all North or all South. A compromise would be a disgrace to the North. We would be the laughing stock of the world.” — Marcus O. Thompson, Battery G, 5th US Artillery, Fort Hamilton, NYC, 20 September 1864

“How is McClellan going to do at home? Do you think he will get many votes? He will not get a great many in this army, but still there are some McClellan men—men who are tired of fighting and want peace on any terms. We have got the Rebs on a path for bringing them back on our own terms. And I say elect Uncle Abe again and we will do it. The rebs hate Lincoln worst than any other man we could name and that is the very reason why we should elect him.” — James Alexander Stewart, Co. B, 98th Ohio Infantry, Atlanta, Georgia, 21 September 1864

“Now you will do a great favor for me if you have me assessed and pay the election fee for me. I shall try and make it all right with you hereafter. I want to give Father Abraham a histe [hoist] and I want my vote to do some good. Our company will go in pretty strong for Lincoln although the principal part have voted the Democrat ticket heretofore.” — Francis W. Wallace, Co. G, 147th Pennsylvania, Atlanta, Georgia, 26 September 1864

“Write me a long letter & tell me if you have been down to see the Dresden folks & how you are all going for President. I see you did nobly for Governor. May the whole Union follow your lead & put Lincoln & Johnson in the Chairs of State, that Rebels may howl & gnash their teeth for the tightening of Union measures & the downfall of their arrogant pride that “Lincoln should never rule over them, &c.” —John Hawthorn, Co. F, 9th Iowa Infantry, East Point, Georgia, 26 September 1864

“Times is hard here for poor folks. Everything is high but I think that when old Abe Lincoln is elected again and our northern rebels is beat, times will change. The darkest hour is just before day and we hope the time is near at hand when this unholy rebellion will be put down and our Union restored and the stars and stripes float over us again.” — Henry C. Edgington, Citizen, Scioto county, Ohio, 2 October 1864

“Philadelphia’s great heart beat high with patriotism last night. A great political, or rather union demonstration was made in the shape of a grand torch light procession. I think there must have been at least 15,000 torch bearers and perhaps 20,000. The display was the finest I have ever seen of the kind. Such gatherings please me very much for they show plainly which way the “union wind blows.”  They show the determination of the American people never to bow their heads under the yoke of treason. The whole city was alive with enthusiasm. All along the line of march miles in length, the air was continually rent with cheers for Union and our noble old President; while from a score of bands could be heard, “The Battle Cry of Freedom, The Star Spangled Banner,” & other such patriotic, soul-stirring airs. Everybody was there. Biddy and Paddy stood upon the sidewalk & “hoorayed” for “Auld Abe.” — Lawrence Johnson, Co. A, 9th New York Heavy Artillery, Satterlee Hospital, West Philadelphia. 9 October 1864

“They have some warm times out here. This state goes for Old Abe. There is some copperheads—peace at any price—men here but they are few and as a general thing, can’t either read or write but they are crazy for McClellan. I don’t believe they know the difference between the two platforms. One offered to bet fifty cents with Wib tonight that McClellan would be elected. Wilber offered to bet him fifty dollars that he would not. He didn’t want to bet more than he was worth but he owned up that he honestly thought Lincoln would be the next President.” — Electa Young) Jolls, Citizen, Waterloo, Iowa, 11 October 1864

“We may remain here or hereabouts until Lincoln is re-elected, in view of the fact that the rebels will surely do something perfectly desperate in order to assist McClellan. It is even possible that they may load their whole army with eight or ten days rations, leave Richmond to its fate, & march with superhuman speed on Washington….In some regiments there is not a single man who will vote for McClellan. Some regiments have two or three McClellanites but I know that fully 9/10 of the army vote will be for Lincoln. Lest I should get the figure too high, I will say 4/5 — but we shall see. If the rebel army were to vote, ever real rebel among them would vote for G. B. McClellan. I have talked with several of the women in the Valley as I passed their houses and their most anxious question was whether Lincoln or McClellan was probably going to be President.” — Theodore Frelinghuysen Vaill, 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery, Front Royal, Va., 11 October 1864

The regiment went almost wholly for “Old Abe” as most sensible people do. There was some deserters came into our camp the other day from the Rebs and they said if Lincoln was elected, they would have but little hope and it would be a hard matter to get many of them to fight anymore. The coming election is looked to with a hope of its having something of an influence for the better, and such we think will be the case, but of course we cannot tell.” — Alburtus H. Peckham, Co. F, 185th New York Infantry, At front in Virginia, 18 October 1864

I put in a vote for Old Abe the other day. I thought it was my duty to do so. I could not vote for McClellan on the Chicago platform. I could not vote for a man that the Rebs would cheer for they have done it & say if he is elected, they will have their rights & I don’t know what rights they want unless it is secession. They have had every other right offered them.” — Merritt Pierce, Co. L, 1st New York Engineers, Camp near Chaffin’s Bluff, Va., 19 October 1864

“Well I guess I will tell you a little about how I am getting along. We got orders last Friday to start for City Point but did not start till Saturday [Oct 22] noon when we was ordered to fall in with everything on—namely knapsack with my clothing, blanket, and everything almost in and overcoat strapped on top, haversack, canteen, gun, cartridge box with 40 rounds of ammunition in. Quite a load! After standing about one half an hour, we marched up to the White House where Old Abe come out to see us and after talking to us a few minutes, we marched down to the wharf and got aboard a steamer tired enough having marched about 4 miles besides standing with all on.” — Norman Orlando Wheeler, Co. B, 189th New York Infantry, City Point, Va., 25 October 1864

“You wanted to know what I meant by Father’s putting in my vote. Has he not received my vote which I sent home some time ago and which fully explains on the outside of the envelope what to be done with it? I suppose Father is a going to vote for Little Mac, is he not? Or is he for honest Old Abe Lincoln & not the Copperhead McClellan or in other words, “Gunboat McClellan.” He thought he had a firm platform but how sadly mistaken he was when one of Grant’s shells burst underneath it & blew it into atoms. If I vote for McClellan, I vote for [his running mate, George H.] Pendleton & before I cast a vote for either I would cut my right arm off. I might just as well vote for Jefferson Davis as them “Peace Men.” I am for peace just as much as any man living, but I want it on honorable terms (unconditional surrender) & their Rebel leader dealt with according to the laws of the U. S.” — Charles C. Miller, 140th New York Infantry, Near Petersburg, Va., 30 October 1864

I suppose that you are all thinking about who will be our next President. I will tell you—Lincoln, of course. We want a Union man. We are not making a President for the South but for the North. Then let us as a company vote for Lincoln and have our rights or fight four years more. We can’t lose all that we have gained nor we shan’t.” — Charles A. Lamos, 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery, Strasburg, Va., 4 November 1864

“I wish that you would let me know how Montville fares and how Connecticut goes in particular for I am in hopes it will go for Little Mac. But it is all over now—either Lincoln is reelected or Mac is and I hope the latter for I don’t want to stay out here two years more. And I think that if Old Abe is reelected, I had better enlist in the regular army for they are giving eighteen hundred dollars to men to enlist in the regulars for five years.” — Chester Alphonso Chapman, 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery, Bermuda Hundred, 6 November 1864

“An expression of anxiety has marked the countenances of all supporters of the present National Administration, but the work of yesterday has dispelled the gloom, and a radiant joy beams from the face of every true Union man today. A great burden has been removed, the Presidential election is past, and that too without more than the usual amount of excitement. Lincoln is reelected, Freedom is secured, and the government is saved. In my humble opinion, from this day dates the noted decline of the hell begotten rebellion which has caused so much bloodshed and destruction for the last 3½ years, and has well nigh destroyed our very nationality. Thank God for our present happy prospects, and trust in our rulers to soon establish us as a nation, the most enviable upon the face of the earth, not merely a Republic in theory, but so in reality.” — George Eastburn, Student at Yale College, 9 November 1864

I suppose Old Abe is elected again. You spoke about Charley voting for him. He is not old enough to vote but I guess if he had been, he would. When he left home, he was a strong McClellan man, but he is straddling the fence—ready to follow the way the largest crowd goes. I stand firm yet & think I always shall. I know I am as long as this war lasts, for I long for peace. Give me peace rather than war. We have had enough for the last four years, but there is a fair prospect for four years more if Abe is elected. But I only enlisted for one year & let them get me no longer if they can—if I live the length of time.” —Ira Brown, Co. B, 188th New York Infantry, Camp near City Point, Va., 12 November 1864

“The overwhelming majority which “Old Abe” has received is the worst blow the rebs have yet received and as soon as they see this, they will conclude that a united North is against them adn all hopes of compromise, and all questions of peace, are settled, except upon our terms. The result of this election to the rebs has inflicted upon them more damage than the capture of 2 Richmonds would. I tell you, Johnny, that there is no way in which to bring them to terms except to whip them and I trust with the faithful leaders we now have, this will soon be accomplished and all enemies of our country, both South and North, will be on their knees pleading forgiveness. The mass of the people South desire peace, and on our terms also, but the damnable leaders are the men which we have got to subjugate. Those men once in our power and Southern Confederacy will be but a bubble.” — Sumner Hill, Civilian, Salem, Massachusetts, 14 November 1864

To change the subject, I must relate my trip and experience in Detroit the other day [Tuesday, November 1, 1864] — or rather it was more than a week ago. I had resolved to serve Old Abe one day at least as I could not have the pleasure of voting for Father Abraham. It was announced in the Bill. that on Tuesday at Detroit, Sec. Chase, Dan. S. Dickinson, Fred. Hauserek, Gaddis, Blair, and others would enlighten the people on the great questions of the hour. The day was as gay as sunshine and a pure bracing air could make it. The city had chartered some cars to take the Ann Arbor delegation to Detroit. We had the band ready and in due time the train from Chicago arrived. The band saluted the crowded train and our three empty coaches were unlocked and we were soon all aboard for Detroit. We had a fine trip down and marched with the band up into the city to the “Wigwam” — an enormous building, rough and capacious, for the accommodation of the great political meetings. We were informed that we would all be furnished with torchlights at six in the evening. With three cheers for Lincoln, we scattered for and “everywhere.” —Levi Jay Brown, Citizen, University of Michigan, 20 November 1864

“Who did he vote for—Old Abe or Little Piss Pot? They say—or the paper says—that Old Abe has sent men to Richmond to see what they can do on the Peace Question. I don’t think we can have peace until we run the rebs all into hell or some other good place. They won’t give up as long as they have got a man to fight.” — John March, Co. A, 23rd New York Infantry, Harper’s Ferry, 21 November 1864

“When I was at home, I had gay and happy times but they are played out now. But there may be a better day coming. I think that was alright making that blow sing, but praying I don’t think would have done much good for his country or Old Abe for the prayers of the wicked availeth nothing.” — John M. Lain, 4rd Iowa Cavalry, Memphis, Tennessee, 6 December 1864

Old Abe’s speech was an able one—well written—but poorly pointed. His administration has developed more dishonest men than the whole Republic ever did & who will care for his neighbor or Brother when his government collaterals are safe from seizure. But enough of war. I do not mean to have one word on politics when I get home.” — Thomas William Hendee, Citizen, Hull, England, 31 December 1864


“The march that day was an easy one of 11 miles. Got into camp early and the boys went out for fresh pork and chickens. I got an excellent supper at one farm house for 25 cents. The old lady of the house had a queer idea of the war. She claimed that if someone of the rebel army would kill Jeff Davis and someone of the yankee army will kill Lincoln, why then she thought there would be nobody to set men to fighting. When the soldiers came and got her chickens without paying for them, that was a hard thing for poor folks and renters at that.” — Robert Neville, Co. E, 103rd Ohio Infantry, Waynesboro, Tennessee, 6 January 1865

“I think if Old Abe would come and see some of the battlefields, he would quit issuing so many nigger proclamations but all his talk is nothing but nigger.” — Kramer Gabler, Co. A, 140th Pennsylvania Infantry, near Petersburg, Va., 27 January 1865

“It is reported that Vice President [Alexander] Stephens of the Southern Confederacy is here negotiating terms of peace but I cannot believe it until I see him. I should think the Rebs would begin to feel like coming to terms on our conditions for they are losing ground now very fast and they must know their cause is hopeless. They are like a great many girls or young ladies whom we know—see they are wrong but too proud to acknowledge they are in fault. What great rejoicing there would be if it was made known that Alexander Stephens had come here to accept of the terms which Abraham Lincoln considers to be right. I am willing to let Uncle Abe decide upon what we shall give them and what we shall not.” —John H. Stevens, Co. A, 151st New York Infantry, Washington D. C., 1 February 1865

“I say restore the Union with the abolition of slavery for there has been too much loyal bloodshed on our side to give up the contest now with disgrace to us. Slavery has always been a curse to the country and let us hope that when the Union is restored, there will be no bondmen in the land. The reelection of President Lincoln has been a crushing blow to the South and they feel it deeply too. But it is a victory on our side that all good Union men rejoice at and none more so than the soldiers of this army. McClellan was once a great General and I was once proud to say that I was a soldier in his army. But he chose bad company and his star has shone and burnt out. So as he makes his path, let him walk it.” — William A. White, Co. G, 82nd Pennsylvania Infantry, 14 February 1865

“We are closing in on the rebs on all sides. Thomas, Grant, and others with their armies will make a peace that will last. I feel glad that Old Abe is going to fight it out. The soldiers never were more determined or more confident of success. Nearly all go in for fighting it out. As for myself, I never had a doubt but we would be successful. All that we have to do is stick to it and we’ll surely conquer.” — Benjamin Franklin Blatchford, Co. K, 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Federal Point, North Carolina, 16 February 1865

“I would say this much to brother Solomon, if he sees any possible escape of the draft, that he shall take the advantage of it. For my part, I would rather prefer 10 years among entire strangers than to fight one year for Old Abe and the freedom of the niggers. It is very little that I will do if I can help it.” — Jacob D. Row, Co. B, 17th Indiana Infantry, Nashville, Tennessee, 8 March 1865

Lincoln rode along the lines with his hat off.

“Yesterday—Sunday—the 26th instant, the entire armies of the James were reviewed by Old Abe Lincoln and he rode along the lines with his hat off and such cheering and playing of national airs by the bands I never shall forget.” Henry Clay Ridgway, Co. E, 199th New York Infantry, Camp near City Point, 27 March 1865

“We were marched (our 5th Corps) near the scene of action in heavy marching order—that is, all our traps on our backs—and in the afternoon passed review before our President Abraham Lincoln. I liked the appearance of him first rate and he is by no means such a homely fellow as the pictures of him. I marched within 4 rods of him and took a pretty fair look at him. He was on horseback of course. After review we went closer to the battleground but did not come in fire. We are in reserve at present and have to go wherever we are needed along the whole line. We are in camp again but are ready to march on a moment’s notice. I do not anticipate any great danger now. The Johnnies got a severe lesson but I can not say how many they lost. There are so many different yarns about it. Our boys give ’em fits. It is said what Lincoln and the ladies thought when they reviewed us under the thunder of cannons and roar of musketry, I guess, was this; poor fellows. How many of you will lay low before long. There is no doubt there was the human feeling touched—especially as one of our company, right in front of the President while we were marching along under our torn and tattered colors, broke rank and knelt right before the ladies coach. He is half-witted only, or light-headed.” — Louis F. DuPless, Co. G, 6th Wisconsin, Front of Petersburg, 27 March 1865

“Mr. Jeff Davis—I don’t hear anything from him and he was not at home. I would think Lincoln would feel good now. Four years ago he could not travel from Washington to Harrisburg, Pa., without disguise and now he can go right into their Capitol and sleep if he likes in Jeff’s own house. But I suppose there are some men up North that yet hold to the doctrine that we can never subdue them. I don’t know as we can but we can drive them out of the United States and that is all we want—-to get rid of them. The people around here had quite a time Friday evening. Here was a grand illuminations, the fire companies paraded, and the people listened to speeches delivered by some of the leading citizens. Our office was decorated splendid. I wish you could of seen it. There was a light to every pane of glass and three flags out of every window besides one large one over the door. Besides the flags, we had 24 paper balloons made of red, white and blue paper out of the windows. But we had fun the next morning to clean up the candle grease. But that did not trouble us any for it was in a good cause that the grease was got there and so it had to come off.” — Sylvester Rounds, Veteran Reserve Corps, Trenton < New Jersey, 9 April 1865

“Well, now I want to tell you what I suppose you know before this time. Richmond has fallen at last and old Abe is occupying Jeff Davis’ house. Did you rejoice any when you heard the news? All the Union people have illuminated their houses but the cops [Copperheads] put down their blinds.” — David Spielman, Citizen, Vlandinsville, Illinois, 10 April 1865

At 3 A.M. [upon hearing of Lincoln’s death] a large number of men enlisted under several officers for the ostensible purpose of going in and burning the Old Capitol Prison and slaughtering the prisoners there confined. For some reason they did not go. There is quite a feeling among the soldiers toward these Rebel deserters. They appear to have a great dislike for them. As the President’s carriage was leaving the White House last night, the President’s little boy (some 12 years) came out in his night clothes and endeavored to go with the carriage saying that if his father was dead, he was going to see him. The family of President Lincoln is no better nor was Lincoln any better to his family than one hundred thousand other husbands and fathers killed during this war. It is his loss to his country and not to his family. No cars have passed between here and Baltimore today but now—9 p.m.—they are running again. Almost every house in Washington City is dressed in mourning. Tomorrow we are expecting that one gun in every half hour will be fired during the day. This is the salute prescribed by the regulations.” — Aurestus Sidney Perham, Co. F, 23rd Maine Infantry, Camp Berry, Washington DC, 15 April 1865

“Reports have come (I do not know whether official or not) that Mr. Lincoln is not dead but that his wound is a very dangerous one. I hope he may live to pass sentence on his would-be murderer. He is a good man and I believe has done what he could for the good of his country.” — John M. Lovejoy, Co. G, 121st New York Infantry, near Burkes Junction. Va., 15 April 1865

“Joy unspeakable is in this moment turned to deepest mourning. The national heart has for some time been aroused to its highest pitch of excitement in rejoicing over the glorious success of our national arms, the establishment of peace, and the supremacy of our national emblems. But in one moment, sorrow hath come to our jubilant people as fast as the wings of lightning can carry, the sad news. Abraham Lincoln—our President, he whom the nation feel proud (in view of his admirable capacity and undying devotion to the cause of our country) to bestow upon him the highest honors of our nation—is murdered by an assassin. Who can describe the infamy of the atrocious act? Is there a place in the “blackness of darkness” deep enough for such a perpetrator?” —Enoch Leavitt, Co. H, 2nd Ohio Cavalry, Baltimore, Maryland, 15 April 1865

“I went down to the Point and there was a lot of Lee’s men there. They told me they was glad he [Lincoln] was dead. If I had had a pistol, I would of put a ball through his heart. Damn him. They say they will kill more blue bellies before this is over. He ought to be strung up till he blows away.” — Amasa Stanhope, Co. K, 1st Regt. District of Columbia Cavalry, City Point, 16 April 1865

“Libby, I have some rather bad news to tell you of which I suppose you have heard of ere this—that is of the death of our President Abraham Lincoln. It is a sad affair and has made many a sad heart for it seemed as if he was almost a Father to us after four years of hard service and had to be assassinated in cold blood. It is too bad. I heard today that they had caught the man that shot him. I hope they have.” — Samuel A. Miller, Co. C, 123rd Ohio Infantry, Gallipolis, Ohio, 16 April 1865

Last night we received news by mail that cast a gloom over every joyous face—Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, is dead, basely murdered by a cowardly foe. He who was doing his best to preserve a Nation, extending the olive branch of peace to a treacherous & traitorous foe. They have fulfilled their threat that the war would not end under Lincoln’s administration. The sacrifice of his life seems to me a needless doings—one that will result to no good to them and I think will not materially affect the Nation’s existence. News like that flies on lightning wings. He died in Washington at 7.15 A. M. By 7 P. M. we heard of it in Liberty Village. Seward it is hoped will recover as will his sons.” — Hezekiah Banks Clements, on staff of Gen. C. H. Van Wyck, Liberty, New York, 16 April 1865

“Last night we had the sad intelligence that President Lincoln and Secretary Seward were assassinated on the night of April 14th. I can tell you I never since I have been in the army seen such a shadow cast over our regiment as that new news caused.” — Alonzo David Pierce, Co. A, 6th Illinois Cavalry, Eastport, Mississippi, 17 April 1865

“Well, I cannot overcome the awful murder of Lincoln. The people seem to be crazy with excitement and anger. I do not know how I feel in regard to his assassination. On Saturday, I thought it a false rumor, but afterwards was compelled to believe the terrible fact. Those who are willfully prejudiced say that he has been murdered by the Democratic Party — a plot long meditated by the Knights of the Golden Circle. Indeed, I feel very sorry that such a wicked crime should be committed as much so as anyone. But when we are slurred and told of it as being members and entertaining the same feelings that the assassin did, ’tis not pleasant and has a tendency to irritate and change the mind.” —Laura J. Morgan, Citizen, Sunbury, Pennsylvania, 18 April 1865

“Jane says I must tell you that she and Abell’s wife had a political battle a short time since. She was denouncing the Administration and Old Abe Lincoln in bitter terms and Jane replied to it. She is a perfect secesh or Copperhead as they are called here, and Mary, all such are now rejoicing at the Assassination of our good President.” — Sophia Morton (Williams) Harris, Citizen, Hamburg, New York, 18 April 1865

“The young people came to our house one afternoon to practice some music for exhibition. We were singing when we received the sad news that A. Lincoln was dead. Jane Sherman stood by and she said, “It can’t be true. It is too good to be true.” As soon as Emily heard it, she went out and told Pa. He was of course feeling very sad and when he heard what Jane said, he became very indignant and he came in the parlor and asked Jane if she meant what she said. She replied that she did. Pa then told her that any person who could utter such words or harbor such wishes against the President who had shown himself worthy of the love and honor of every true loyal citizen—such a person was not welcome in his house and the sooner they left the better.” —Nellie Augusta Bernard, citizen, Charlton, New York, 23 April 1865

“What a sad thing the death of the President. What a damnable act. Just on the eve of peace and such a good man to South, one of the best friends of the soldiers, and to those who he ought to hung instead of pardoning. It cast a sad gloom over the City of Raleigh and the soldiers were so exasperated that they were going to burn the place but the people seem to deplore the loss as much as our people, and the papers here speak of Mr. Lincoln very highly, and say he was the “best friend the whole South ever had.” It will retard peace, but it must come sooner or later.” — Joseph B. Texido, Co. C, 47th New York Infantry, Raleigh, North Carolina, 25 April 1865

“How does the people of Connecticut take the sad death of President Lincoln? Everything here [Jeffersonville, IN] is draped in mourning. I tell you, our country has lost a great & good man—one which will never be forgotten. Andy Johnson is now our President. I think he will make us a good leader but I tell you one thing, he will be rough on the rebels leaders. He won’t show them so much leniency as Abraham did and they know it.” — Channing S. Clark, VRC, Jeffersonville, Indiana, 25 April 1865

“I think one of the most outrageous murders ever committed was that of murdering the President and Secretary Seward. If I could catch a hold of the assassins, I would cut them up in small pieces. Hanging is too good for them. They ought to make a ring and put him in and then put some brush around him and then set it on fire and push it up to him closer and closer and would make him confess all. If he would not do it, I would burn him alive. I am glad President Lincoln lived so long as to see the end of this Great Rebellion which he has accomplished. I think the rebels have not gained anything by murdering the President. I think they have killed a friend—not an enemy. I always thought Lincoln was a little too lenient to the rebels but it might have been all for the best. President Johnson, I think, will be a little more severe on the rebels and make them come up to the mark some better.” — Samuel Musser Fry, Jr., Citizen, Lincoln, Pennsylvania, 25 April 1865

“I saw the [late] President at Independence Hall last Sunday in company with brother Charles. Although there was thousands of civilians who could not get in to see our late President, we soldiers could get in without the least trouble, always walking ahead of the whole crowd. I had a fine view of him as I took my time to it, while citizens were hurried through as fast as they could go. Charles was in to see him twice. I went in in the evening after which Charles went out to camp with me as he stayed all night, having a pass for twenty-four hours.” — Anthony Robert Fraser, Co. H, 186th Pennsylvania Infantry, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 29 April 1865

“I arrived at Albany [New York] just after the remains of the President had left and learning that they were to stop at Buffalo, I took the first train to there as I thought it might be interesting to witness the procession there. We arrived just as his remains were taken from the cars & witnessed the splendid reception of the group and the showy hearse drawn by 6 white horses handsomely decorated with black and the usual shows of carriages and military bands of marine & a great crowd of people. After viewing the remains in a hall where it was placed on exhibition, I took the cars for the Niagara Falls & Suspension Bridge where I arrived in due time witnessing that mighty structure and returning to the falls by first train visited all the wonders of our side of the river, crossed over to the island, &c. &c., and returned to Buffalo in time to see the [funeral] procession leave for Cleveland & I started two hours after.  Arriving at Cleveland on the morning just after the procession, from there I soon started for Cincinnati.” — Unidentified Citizen, Trenton, Ohio, 30 April 1865

“Gertie, for some time back our joys and sorrows have been alternate. One day we are rejoicing over a great victory achieved by some General in the field. The next we with the whole nation mourn the untimely death of a beloved President—the great statesman, the unyielding patriot, the glorious magistrate—is no more. The silent tomb will soon contain all that is earthly of President Lincoln. The Army weeps and a mighty nation mourns—yes, friend and foe!” — Hamilton McClurg, Co. G, 102nd Ohio Infantry, Decatur, Alabama, 1 May 1865

Since the assassination of Lincoln, excitement runs high in this country; in San Francisco resulting in riots and mobs. Several arrests have been made through the state. In Colusa County just below here, some 6 or 8 of the most prominent men have been arrested for being “accessories after the fact” to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and some 20 men have taken refuge in the foothills to prevent being arrested. Excitement here is dying down now, I think.” — John Kingree France, Citizen, Dayton, California. 1 May 1865

“By the way I see by the papers that the body of Booth was sunk in the Potomac a few nights ago. By the way I should like to know what David and Horatio thinks or says about the assassination of Lincoln….Well, I guess there is not quite so much chance for those Rebel leaders to get pardoned with Andrew Johnson for President as there was when Abraham Lincoln was alive, and I hope they will all be caught and hung. That is all the hurt I wish them.” — Joseph H. Prime, Co. F, 7th USCT, Point of Rocks, Va., 2 May 1865

What an awful thing—the killing of Abe Lincoln. Did you ever see or hear of such a time? But they are all Union men in this part of the country. Everybody is so sorry when some of them is glad in their hearts if they dared express their sentiments openly. But they are afraid to now.” — Mary Louise Meeker, civilian, Lodi, New York, 6 May 1865

“Just look at the mourning all over our land and nation brought about by the cursed hell-deserving rebellion. Ought it not to fall? I would say tear on, tear on. Finish the work Father Abraham undertook to do. Though we have to mourn the loss of a nation’s preserver, we have still confidence in the machinery running engineered by our most worthy Andrew Johnson that it grind out and mete out justice to each and everyone. They see the handwriting on the wall. Jeff [Davis] and his accomplices are moving. I see in yesterday’s paper there is one million dollars offered for him & his cabinet. Jeff is implicated in the assassin[ation] of Abraham. Oh, that they may receive their just rewards here at last. Some went so far as to fire large guns on receipt of the news & death of Lincoln. The report is like that of small cannon but I am glad to learn that there is and are being cared for by the proper authority a goodly number. May they be brought to a knowledge of the truth that they are not to rule supreme. Enough of them.” — Frederick Newton Barger, Citizen, Concord, Ohio, 7 May 1865

The cdv of Abraham Lincoln that George enclosed in the letter. There is no backmark on the card—only handwritten “Abraham Lincoln”

“I will send you a picture of Lincoln in this letter. It is a first rate picture of him. It looks exactly [like] him. Send that picture along. I want to see it.” —George A. Spencer, Co. I, 7th Rhode Island, Alexandria, Va., 21 May 1865

“By reading your letter, I discover that I had forgotten a part of it. I discover that you are quite a politician. You state that the copperheads are afraid that [President] Johnson will be harder on them than Lincoln would have been. I hope they are not mistaken. I hope they will be held to the line and strictly brought to an account for their treason and every traitor either hung or banished from the land. I mean the Leaders of the rebellion, the Leaders of the conspiracy to murder the President, and the Leaders of the Knights of the Golden Circle or Sons of Liberty.” — Rev. Clark C. Phillips, Chaplain of 23rd and 29th Iowa Infantry, May 1865


Lincoln’s temporary tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery

“We visited Lincoln Tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery about two miles from this city. I was surprised to see so simple and plain a structure over the remains of so Great and Good a man. It is a plain brick vault occupying a knoll near the entrance of the cemetery. It has only the “Lincoln” on a marble slab in the front. We sat on that knoll for more than an hour and the shade of several little oak trees thinking of the “Great Departed.” I could not help but wish that he could have lived to occupy that seat which is now being disgraced by Andrew Johnson.” — George W. Fraser, Veteran, Springfield, Illinois, 26 May 1866


“I was at the battle of Fort Stevens where we lost 280 men in a very short time, and most of the battle was witnessed by the President standing on the parapet of the fort...This all happened in sight and sound of where I happened to be in the line, as the 3rd Vermont was the first regiment to the left of the fort [Fort Stevens] and Co. A—to which I belonged—was on the right, so I was not more than 6 or 8 rods [~100 ft.] away, so could see the men standing on the fort. But as Mr. Lincoln was surrounded by the others in my direction, I could not see him very well—only his hat. I wanted very much to go to the entrance of the fort to see him when he came out, but we were liable to be ordered forward at any moment, so felt obliged to stay in my place…Napoleon the Great has the largest number of words devoted to him of any man in history, but he never had such a place in the hearts of the people as President Lincoln. — George E. Farrington, Veteran, Elgin, Illinois, 22 April 1912


“My band was ordered to City Point to serenade Abraham Lincoln for 3 nights. I played the best music I had for A. Lincoln. After playing ½ hour, Mr. Lincoln came and putting his hand on my should[er] said, “Mr. Leader, will you please play Dixie?” We had not played [it] for 6 months—the Rebs took it for their grand march so we let them have it. When the President asked [us] to play it, I said, “Mr President, that’s a Confederate tune,” [to which] he replied, “It was, but we have captured it now. Play Dixie.” And that made Dixie a National tune by order of President Lincoln & we’ve been playing it ever since. He called for Dixie on all three nights.” William Critchley, Veteran of 13th New Hampshire Infantry, Lake Pleasant, Massachusetts, 31 August 1927

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