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the President, about to return to the Wabash, I took him and Admiral Porter in my carriage. An immense concourse of colored people thronged the streets, accompanied and followed the carriage, calling upon the President with the wildest exclamations of gratitude and delight.
He was the Moses, the Messiah, to the slaves of the South. Hundreds of colored women tossed their hands high in the air and then bent down to the ground weeping for joy. Some shouted songs of deliverance, and sang the old plantation refrains, which had prophesied the coming of a deliverer from bondage. "God bless you, Father Abraham!" went up from a thousand throats.
Those only who have seen the paroxysmal enthusiasm of a religious meeting of slaves can form an adequate conception of the way in which the tears and smiles, and shouts of these emancipated people evinced the frenzy of their gratitude to their deliverer. He looked at all attentively, with a face expressive only of a sort of pathetic wonder.
Occasionally its sadness would alternate with one of his peculiar smiles, and he would remark on the great proportion of those whose color indicated a mixed lineage from the white master and the black slave; and that reminded him of some little story of his life in Kentucky, which he would smilingly tell; aud then his face would relapse again into that sad expression which all will remember who saw him during the last few weeks of the rebellion. Perhaps it was a presentiment of his impending fate.
I accompanied him to the ship, bade him farewell and left him to see his face no more. Not long after,
the bullet of the assassin arrested the beatings of one of the kindest hearts that ever throbbed in human bosom.
Lincoln's First Convictions of War.-His
The Hon. Leonard Swett, in an address before the Union Veteran Club at Chicago, gives the following interesting reminiscence:
I remember well the first time that the belief that war was inevitable took hold of Lincoln's mind. Some time after the election Lincoln asked me to write a letter to Thurlow Weed to come to Springfield and consult with him (Lincoln). Mr. Weed came, and he, the Presidentelect, and myself had a meeting, in which Lincoln for the first time acknowledged that he was in possession of facts that showed that the South meant war.
These facts consisted of the steps which the disaffected States were taking to spirit away the arms belonging to the Government, and, taking them into consideration, Lincoln was forced to the belief that his Administration was to be one of blood.
As he made this admission his countenance rather than his words demonstrated the sadness which it occasioned, and he wanted to know if there was not some way of avoiding the disaster. He felt as if he could not go forward to an era of war, and these days were to him a sort of forty days in the wilderness, passed under great stress of doubt and, perhaps to him, of temptations of weakness. Finally, however, he seemed quietly to put on the armor and prepare himself for the great responsibility and struggle before him.
Gen C. H. Howard's Reminiscences.
Gen. Howard in the Northwestern Christian Advocate says:
It need not be
It was soon after the battle of Antietam, and while our army was resting and refitting with clothing and other needed supplies in the vicinity of Harper's Ferry, that I first saw Abraham Lincoln. He visited the different corps and divisions, reviewed the troops and held brief interviews with the leading officers. stated that he was warm in his commendation of the valor and endurance of the troops. Cheer upon cheer greeted him as he passed from brigade to brigade, and sometimes he had a few words of encouragement for a single regiment which had distinguished itself.
Subordinate officers, when asked about the condition of their soldiers, were not backward in speaking of the need of shoes and other clothing, and of the decimated condition of many of the regiments resulting from the diseases and hard campaigning of the Chickahominy swamps scarcely less from the numerous battles in which they had taken a noble part. The fact that a campaign or a battle had been badly conducted and was disastrous was neither proof that the troops had not done their duty nor that their losses had not been great. President Lincoln expressed in the most kindly and feeling way his sympathy with the rank and file of the army. There was a gentle and serious expression of countenance which seemed to comport with his known character for truth and serenity of heart.
Nearly two years elapsed when I had another interview with Abraham Lincoln which it is the purpose of
this paper to mention. The writer had been transferred to the Western department, and had taken part in the Atlanta campaign and in Sherman's famous "March to the Sea." On the first day of January, 1865, he had left Savannah to go via steamship to New York, and thence by rail to Washington with official dispatches. Sherman had sent his unique telegram to the President on Christmas eve announcing as a Christmas present the capture of Savannah. Owing to the fact that the railroads had been destroyed this dispatch had been sent by special steamer to Fortress Monroe and thence by telegraph to Washington. But President Lincoln had not yet seen any person who had marched through Georgia with Sherman.
It was early in the day when my card was given to the messenger in the ante-room of the White House. He shook his head and pointed to the crowds in waiting, filling the ante-room and thronging even the lower hall and the stairway. He called my attention to the fact that there were congressmen of the number who were supposed to have precedence in calling upon the President. Nevertheless, I requested him to give the President the card which indicated that I had dispatches from Sherman's army. The messenger returned within a few minutes and invited me in. First, we entered a room occupied by the President's secretaries, and there I saw one or two senators in waiting, and passing through this room I was ushered into a smaller room, where I saw President Lincoln standing at a glass shaving himself. He paused a moment, came to me with a droll look, heightened no doubt by the half-lathered, half-shaved face, gave me his hand, and asked me to take a seat on the sofa, saying, as
he returned to the mirror, that he could not even wait till he had finished shaving when an officer from Sherman's army had come. Of course the youthful staff officer was somewhat abashed in coming into the presence of the President of the United States, his commander-inchief, and the now world-renowned Abraham Lincoln. But the President's frank and cordial manner when, on the completion of his toilet, he came and took the right hand of his visitor between both of his large hands and then sat down beside him on the sofa, immediately put him at his ease. Naturally, the President had many questions to ask concerning the "March to the Sea." It was apparent he had been very anxious, as no doubt had the entire North, during the thirty days or more when nothing was heard from the vanquished army. He was interested to know in detail the daily operations.
Getting at the Pass-Word.
An amusing story is attributed to the late President Lincoln about the Iowa First, and the changes which a certain pass-word underwent about the time of the battle of Springfield.
One of the Dubuque officers, whose duty it was to furnish the guards with a pass-word at night, gave the word "Potomac."
A German on guard, not comprehending distinctly the difference between B's and P's, understood it to be "Bottomic," and this, on being transferred to another, was corrupted into "Buttermilk."
Soon afterward the officer who had given the word wished to return through the lines, and on approaching