A dead Confederate soldier in the trenches of Fort Mahone, also known as “Fort Damnation,” Virginia, 1865
Photograph, Confederate soldier killed at Petersburg, Virginia, 1864.
Union soldiers killed while charging a Confederate artillery battery at Antietam, Maryland, 1862.
In this terse memo to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, Lincoln makes it clear he wants Stanton to help William Dole organize what would be the first regiment of African-American soldiers formed in Washington, DC. Coincidentally, in Boston, the Massachusetts 54th Infantry was mustered on the following day, 13 May 1863, and officially became the […]
Lincoln’s assassination inspired Walt Whitman to write this poem of mourning. It is one of the few poems in which he used a conventional meter and rhyme scheme. His tribute became extremely popular at the time of its first publication, in 1865, and it was the only poem of Whitman’s to be anthologized during his […]
This document stands out in the history of a man renowned for his mercy and willingness to forgive. His refusal to grant the condemned Nathaniel Gordon clemency for his capital crime made Lincoln the only American president to execute a slave trader. Predictably, Lincoln’s decision caused a huge public stir. The execution made an example […]
By September, Tennessee was under Union control, and this letter to Johnson is considerably more imperative than usual, as Lincoln told him “not a moment should be lost [in] re-inaugurating a loyal state government.” Despite the exigency, Lincoln remained reasonable in his tone, deferring to Johnson’s local knowledge and offering “a few suggestions” only. With […]
In this 1909 tribute to Lincoln delivered to the Republican Club of New York City, Booker T. Washington remembers his mother on the dirt floor of their slave cabin praying that Lincoln would succeed in ending slavery. Now a prominent public figure, the former slave Washington sees Lincoln’s legacy as the “blending of all tongues, […]
Facing a crisis that threatened the security of Washington, DC, Lincoln erupts at the bureaucratic delay and angrily orders General Charles H. Russell to move troops to Fort Monroe, 180 miles from the capital: “I want you to cut the Knots and send them right along.” In his haste he mistakenly writes “Fort Sumpter” where […]
In this memorandum, Lincoln deftly prohibits the efforts of Louisiana planters to hold an election under a state constitution that preserved slavery. Instead Lincoln insists on a state constitutional convention that would implement antislavery measures. Thus Lincoln subtly signals that Louisiana will not be readmitted to the Union until slavery is abolished. Lincoln skillfully cloaks […]