Marquis de Chambrun
Arrived at the Potomac wharf, our party was forced to disperse. Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln, Senator Sumner, and myself drove home in the same carriage. We were nearing Washington when Mrs. Lincoln, who had hitherto remained silently looking at the town a short distance off, said to me: “That city is filled with our enemies.” On hearing this the President raised his arm and somewhat impatiently retorted, “Enemies! We must never speak of that.” This was on the evening of April 9th.
Quoted in Marquis de Chambrun, “Personal Recollections of Mr. Lincoln,” Scribner’s (1893), p. 35
He is gone, and he has been mourned sincerely. Only private sorrow would recall the dead. He is now removed beyond earthly vicissitudes. Life and death are both past. He had been happy in life: he was not less happy in death. In death, as in life, he was still under the guardianship of that Divine Providence, which, taking him early by the hand, led him from obscurity to power and fame. The blow was sudden, but not unprepared for. Only on the Sunday preceding, as he was coming from the front on board the steamer, with a beautiful quarto Shakespeare in his hands, he read aloud the well-remembered words of his favorite “Macbeth”: —
“Duncan is in his grave;
After life’s fitful fever, he sleeps well.
Treason has done his worst; nor steel, nor poison,
Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing.
Can touch him further.”
Impressed by their beauty, or by some presentiment unuttered, he read them aloud a second time. As the friends about listened to his reading, they little thought how in a few days what was said of the murdered Duncan would be said of him. ” Nothing can touch him further.” He is saved from the trials that were gathering. He had fought the good fight of Emancipation. He had borne the brunt of war with embattled hosts, and conquered. He had made the name of Eepublic a triumph and a joy in foreign lands.
Quoted in “The works of Charles Sumner”Volume 9， by Charles Sumner，P407
On Sunday, April 9th, we were steaming up the Potomac. That whole day the conversation dwelt upon literary subjects. Mr. Lincoln read to us for several hours passages taken from Shakespeare. Most of these were from “ Macbeth’ and, in particular, the verses which follow Duncan’s assassination. I cannot recall this reading without being awed at the remembrance, when Macbeth becomes king after the murder of Duncan , he falls a prey to the most horrible torments of mind.
Either because he was struck by the weird beauty of these verses, or from a vague presentiment coming over him, Mr. Lincoln paused here while reading, and began to explain to us how true a description of the murderer that one was; when, the dark deed achieved, its tortured perpetrator came to envy the sleep of his victim; and he read over again the same scene.
Quoted in Marquis de Chambrun, “Personal Recollections of Mr. Lincoln,” Scribner’s (1893), p. 35
The President’s mind was upon the subject of reconstruction; but he made no confidential communication to Sumner upon it, as each had fixed ideas not accepted by the other. In the course of the day the President read to the few friends about him, with a beautiful quarto copy of Shakspeare in his hands, the tribute to the murdered Duncan — ‘Macbeth’ being his favorite play, and ‘impressed by the beauty of the words, or by some presentiment unuttered,’ he read the passage aloud a second time.4 He repeated also from memory some lines from Longfellow’s ‘Resignation.’5
4 Works, vol. IX. pp. 407, 408. 5 Mrs. Lincoln’s letter to Sumner, July 5, 1865 (manuscript).
Quoted in Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 4，by Edward L. Pierce Edward Pierce-Memoir-235
As the River Queen steamed toward Washington on Sunday, “the conversation,” Chambrun recalled, “dwelt upon literary subjects.” Holding “a beautiful quarto copy of Shakespeare in his hands,” Lincoln read several passages from Macbeth, including the king’s pained tribute to the murdered Duncan:Duncan is in his grave;After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well.Treason has done his worst; nor steel, nor poison, Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing,Can touch him further.
Lincoln read the lines slowly, marveling “how true a description of the murderer that one was; when, the dark deed achieved, its tortured perpetrator came to envy the sleep of his victim,” and when he finished, “he read over again the same scene.” Lincoln’s ominous selection prompted James Speed to deliver Seward’s warning about the increased threat upon his life. “He stopped me at once,” Speed recalled, “saying, he had rather be dead than to live in continual dread.” Moreover, he considered it essential “that the people know I come among them without fear.”
Quoted in “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”,By Doris Kearns Goodwin Goodwin-717-489-27 ,28
Soon after we regained our carriages. While we were on the road which was to lead us back to the train, Mr. Lincoln noticed on the roadside a very tall and beautiful tree. He gave orders to stop the carriage, looked a while at the tree with particular attention, and then applied himself to defining its peculiar beauty. He admired the strength of its trunk, the vigorous development of branches, reminding one of the tall trees of Western forests, compared it to the great oaks in the shadow of which he had spent his youth, and strove to make us understand the distinctive character of these different types. The observations thus set forth were evidently not those of an artist who seeks to idealize nature, but of a man who seeks to see it as it really is; in short, that dissertation about a tree did not reveal an effort of imagination, but a remarkable precision of mind.
Quoted in Marquis de Chambrun, “Personal Recollections of Mr. Lincoln,” Scribner’s (1893), p. 29 ;
On Saturday morning, Lincoln and his guests visited Petersburg. At a certain spot, the marquis recalled, “he gave orders to stop the carriage.” On his previous visit, Lincoln had noticed a “very tall and beautiful” oak tree that he wanted to examine more closely. “He admired the strength of its trunk, the vigorous development of branches,” which reminded him of “the great oaks” in the Western forests. He halted the carriage again when they passed “an old country graveyard” where trees shaded a carpet of spring flowers. Turning to his wife, Lincoln said, “Mary, you are younger than I. You will survive me. When I am gone, lay my remains in some quiet place like this.” On the train ride back to City Point, Lincoln observed a turtle “basking in the warm sunshine on the wayside.” He asked that the train be stopped so that the turtle could be brought into the car. “The movements of the ungainly little animal seemed to delight him,” Elizabeth Keckley recalled. He and Tad shared “a happy laugh” all the way back to the wharf.
Quoted in “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”,By Doris Kearns Goodwin. Goodwin-717-489-24
On our return to City Point from Petersburg the train moved slowly, and the President, observing a terrapin basking in the warm sunshine on the wayside, had the conductor stop the train, and one of the brakemen bring the terrapin in to him. The movements of the ungainly little animal seemed to delight him, and he amused himself with it until we reached James River, where our steamer lay. Tad stood near, and joined in the happy laugh with his father.
For a week the River Queen remained in James Piver, anchored the greater portion of the time at City Point, and a pleasant and memorable week was it to all on board. During the whole of this time a yacht lay in the stream about a quarter of a mile distant, and its peculiar movements attracted the attention of all on board. General Grant and Mrs. Grant were on our steamer several times, and many distinguished officers of the army also were entertained by the President and his party.
Mr. Lincoln, when not off on an excursion of any kind, lounged about the boat, talking familiarly with every one that approached him.
The day before we started on our journey back to Washington, Mr. Lincoln was engaged in reviewing the troops in camp. He returned to the boat in the evening, with a tired, weary look.
“Mother,” he said to his wife, “I have shaken so many hands to-day that my arms ache tonight. I almost wish that 1 could go to bed now.”
As the twilight shadows deepened the lamps were lighted, and the boat was brilliantly illuminated; as it lay in the river, decked with many-colored lights, it looked like an enchanted floating palace. A military band was on board, and as the hours lengthened into night it discoursed sweet music. Many officers came on board to say good-by, and the scene was a brilliant one indeed. About 10 o’clock Mr. Lincoln was called upon to make a speech. Rising to his feet, he said:
“You must excuse me, ladies and gentlemen. I am too tired to speak to-night. On next Tuesday night I make a speech in Washington, at which time you will learn all I have to say. And now, by way of parting from the brave soldiers of our gallant army, I call upon the band to play Dixie. It has always been a favorite of mine, and since we have captured it, we have a perfect right to enjoy it.” On taking his seat the band at once struck up with Dixie, that sweet, inspiring air ; and when the music died away, there were clapping of hands and other manifestations of applause.
At 11 o’clock the last good-by was spoken, the lights were taken down, the River Queen rounded out into the water and we were on our way back to Washington. We arrived at the Capital at 6 o’clock on Sunday evening, where the party separated, each going to his and her own home. This was one of the most delightful trips of my life, and I always revert to it with feelings of genuine pleasure.
Quoted in Elizabeth Keckley,Behind the Scenes. Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House.The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers Series (New York: G. W. Carleton & Co., 1868; New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), p 170.
The inspection we made of the hospitals, on the afternoon of April 8th, was to show us war scenes under a different aspect, and Mr. Lincoln in a light altogether new. In the most salubrious portion of the vast plains where the encampments were located a large area had been reserved for ambulances. These were organized according to a plan as simple as it was logical. Each army corps had its separate ambulance space. This consisted of a large rectangle of ground divided by open corridors placed at equal distances from one another. Between these corridors stood a row of tents or of frame huts, each of which was capable of containing about twenty wounded. One side of these corridors was given up to officers, the other to privates. At the centre of each rectangle of ground was located a pharmacy, a kitchen, and that which Americans consider as always essential – a post-office. Those who have visited one of these tents or of these frame huts have seen them all. A Bible and newspapers were to be found on nearly every bed. The Christian Commission had distributed in each tent Bible verses printed in large type, and these had been hung on the walls.
Our visit began with the hospitals of the Fifth Corps. Mr. Lincoln went from one bed to another, saying a friendly word to each wounded man, or at least giving him a handshake. It was principally the Fifth Corps’s mounted infantry which had been in battle under Sheridan during the preceding days ; it had fought incessantly from Petersburg to Burkesville, over a distance of more than a hundred miles, and the enemy’s fire had made cruel havoc in its ranks. The greater number of wounds were located in the abdominal regions, and were therefore of a serious character, and caused much suffering.
During these moments, when physical torture makes one nearly lose all self-control, the American displays a sort of stoicism which has nothing of affectation. A control, nearly absolute, over himself is the distinctive trait of his nature ; it manifests itself in all phases of his life – in the depth of the wilderness, as well as upon the field of battle. His life is an incessant struggle, and when he falls in that struggle in which his life is at stake, he will suffer without complaining, for by complaining he would deem that he is lowering himself. Strange men they are, whom many approach and cannot understand, but who explain to him who does understand them the true greatness of their land.
Following Mr. Lincoln in this long review of the wounded, we reached a bed on which lay a dying man ; he was a captain, aged twenty-four years, who had been noticed for his bravery. Two of his friends were near him ; one held his hand, while the other read a passage from the Bible in a low voice. Mr. Lincoln walked over to him and took hold of his other hand, which rested on the bed. We formed a circle around him, and every one of us remained silent. Presently the dying man half-opened his eyes ; a faint smile passed over his lips. It was then that his pulse ceased beating.
Our visit to the ambulances lasted over five hours. We inspected, with Mr. Lincoln, that of each corps. As we were visiting the wounded of the Ninth Corps, passing before the kitchen, one of the surgeons who accompanied us invited me to enter. In the midst of five or six servants stood a woman whose dress barely distinguished her from them, and who seemed to share the same labor they performed. On seeing her the surgeon went to her, spoke with marks of profound respect, and presented me. Soon after she left us a moment to give an order ; then the officer said to me : “ Miss G belongs to one of the wealthiest families of Massachusetts ; when the war broke out, she gave up all comforts of life in order to devote herself to the following of those regiments which New England sent over to join the army. Since then she has lived with us, and her occupation has been to tend the wounded.”
Just then Miss G came back, and when I expressed to her the particular admiration which that sort of heroism awakened in me, “There is nothing peculiar in that,” she answered. “You are not aware then, that nearly all our regiments are accompanied by women who share camp life in order to minister to the suffering soldiers. You would have found them in the Tennessee campaign, at the siege of Vicksburg, and as far as the Bed River, just as you see me at the Potomac encampments.” Before me was standing one of the most perfect types of New England womanhood. It was my first acquaintance with these women, whom I have often since had occasion to study ; women in whom it may be said that the Puritan flame lighted some two hundred and fifty years ago still continues burning ; who, in the performance of deeds most heroic, remain stiff and proud ; who sustain themselves by efforts of stoical fortitude, and not by the more tender feelings of charity ; who accomplish by a yearning of the mind what women of other countries would accomplish by a yearning of the heart ; who aspire to command admiration, rather than to awaken gratitude ; women, in short, whom the wounded must thank, but whom he cannot bless.
Finding Mr. Lincoln near by, I spoke to him of my encounter, and we returned together to the kitchen. Miss G- urged the President to enter into what she was pleased to call her room, and invited us to enter with him. It was a small room adjoining the kitchen, in which was a soldier’s bed, a table which stood on four rustic legs, and several tree-stumps in lieu of chairs.
While the conversation was in progress I noticed a book lying on a small table at the bedside. Finally I deciphered its name. It was a Bible. Its well-worn pages testified that it had been often read. Possibly Miss G sought in it, from preference, those texts where the Almighty is represented as marching along with the chosen people, mingling, so to speak, its cause with His own, and crushing down His enemies by acts of His omnipotence. She had doubtless seen in such descriptions a faithful reproduction of the American people, imagining that same God stretching out His protecting hand over the Federal armies, and, in such a religious view, she had derived a firmer conviction in the holiness of the Northern cause, and in its final triumph. She observed the sort of curiosity which the sight of that book stirred in me, and spoke of it to Mr. Lincoln. “That is not my only book,” she added ; “here is another I found in the pocket of a German soldier who died a few days ago.” We looked at the book. It, too, had been often read. The title was : “How to Make One’s Way in the World.” Strange subject for this poor German to meditate; he who, dreaming of wealth, perhaps of liberty, had come to Virginia to die!
It was in the midst of these scenes, so varied in their character, that Mr. Lincoln revealed himself to me. Amid the many incidents that filled these few days, I was able to study him at leisure ; a study easy enough to make, indeed, for Mr. Lincoln would have scorned that sort of art which consists in showing one’s self to a looker-on in a carefully-prepared light. At this stage of my narrative I wish to explain how I have understood him.
I have seen many attempts at portraits of Mr. Lincoln, many photographs ; neither his portraits nor his photographs have reproduced, or are likely ever to reproduce, the complete expression of his face ; still more will they fail in the reproduction of his mental physiognomy.
He was very tall, but his bearing was almost peculiar ; the habit of always carrying one shoulder higher than the other might at first sight make him seem slightly deformed. He had also a defect common to many Americans – his shoulders were too sloping for his height. But his arms were strong and his complexion sunburned, like that of a man who has spent his youth in the open air, exposed to all inclemencies of the weather and to all hardships of manual labor; his gestures were vigorous and supple, revealing great physical strength and an extraordinary energy for resisting privation and fatigue.
Nothing seemed to lend harmony to the decided lines of his face; yet his wide and high forehead, his gray-brown eyes sunken under thick eyebrows, and as though encircled by deep and dark wrinkles, his nose straight and pronounced, his lips at the same time thick and delicate, together with the furrows that ran across his cheeks and chin, formed an ensemble which, although strange, was certainly powerful. It denoted remarkable intelligence, great strength of penetration, tenacity of will, and elevated instincts.
His early life had left ineffaceable marks upon the former rail-splitter, and the powerful President of the United States made no efforts of bad taste to conceal what he had been under what he had become. That simplicity gave him perfect ease. To be sure, he had not the manners of the world, but he was so perfectly natural that it would have been impossible I shall not say to be surprised at his manners, but to notice them at all.
After a moment’s inspection, Mr. Lincoln left with you a sort of impression of vague and deep sadness. It is not too much to say that it was rare to converse with him a while without feeling something poignant. Every time I have endeavored to describe this impression, words, nay, the very ideas, have failed me. And, strange to say, Mr. Lincoln was quite humorous, although one could always detect a bit of irony in his humor. He would relate anecdotes, seeking always to bring the point out clearly. He willingly laughed either at what was being said to him, or at what he said himself. But all of a sudden he would retire within himself ; then he would close his eyes, and all his features would at once bespeak a kind of sadness as indescribable as it was deep. After a while, as though it were by an effort of his will, he would shake off this mysterious weight under which he seemed bowed ; his generous and open disposition would again reappear. In one evening I happened to count over twenty of these alternations and contrasts. Was this sadness caused by the warnings and threats in the midst of which Mr. Lincoln lived? by those letters which, soon after, were found carefully classified on his table under the general heading of “Assassination Letters?” I am inclined to think not. No one more than he possessed that confident audacity so common among Americans, and which cannot be termed courage, because it is not the result of determination.
Was it owing to the constant anxieties of his first years in office? to the civil war scenes cruelly disturbing the peaceful soul of this descendant of Quakers?
These questions remain unanswered for me, and will probably never be answered at all.
Quoted in Marquis de Chambrun, “Personal Recollections of Mr. Lincoln,” Scribner’s (1893), p. 30
On the Monday before the assassination, when the President was on his return from Richmond, he stopped at City Point. Calling,upon the head surgeon at that place, Mr. Lincoln told him that he wished to visit all the hospitals under his charge, and shake hands with every soldier. The surgeon asked if he knew what he was undertaking, there being five or six thousand soldiers at that place, and it would be quite a tax upon his strength to visit all the wards and shake hands with every soldier. Mr. Lincoln answered with a smile, he’ guessed he was equal to the task; at any rate he would try, and go as far as he could; he should never, probably, see the boys again, and he wanted them to know that he appreciated what they had done for their country.’ 4″ Finding it useless to try to dissuade him, the surgeon began his rounds with the President, who walked from bed to bed, extending his hand to all, saying a few words of sympathy to some, making kind inquiries of others, and welcomed by all with the heartiest cordiality. ” As they passed along, they came to a ward in which lay a Rebel who had been wounded and was a prisoner. As the tall figure of the kindly visitor appeared in sight he was recognized by the Rebel soldier, who, raising himself on his elbow in bed, watched Mr. Lincoln as he approached, and extending his hand exclaimed, while tears ran down his cheeks:’ Mr. Lincoln, I have long wanted to see you, to ask your forgiveness for ever raising my hand against the old flag.’ Mr. Lincoln was moved to tears. He heartily shook the hand of the repentant Rebel, and assured him of his good-will, and with a few words of kind advice passed on. ” After some hours the tour of the various hospitals was made, and Mr. Lincoln returned with the surgeon to his office. They had scarcely entered, however, when a messenger came saying that one ward had been omitted, and’ the boys’ wanted to see the President. The surgeon, who was thoroughly tired, and knew Mr. Lincoln must be, tried to dissuade him from going; but the good man said he must go back; he would not knowingly omit one,’ the boys’ would be so disappointed. So he went with the messenger, accompanied by the surgeon, and shook hands with the gratified soldiers, and then returned again to the office. “The surgeon expressed the fear that the President’s arm would be lamed with so much hand shaking, saying that it certainly must ache. Mr. Lincoln smiled, and saying something about his’strong muscles,’ stepped out at the open door, took up a very large, heavy axe which lay there by a log of wood, and chopped vigorously for a few moments, sending the chips flying in all directions; and then, pausing, he extended his right arm to its full length, holding the axe out horizontally, without its even quivering as he held it. Strong men who looked on – men accustomed to manual labor – could not hold the same axe in that position for a moment, Returning to the office, he took a glass of lemonade, for he would take no stronger beverage; and while he was within, the chips he had chopped were gathered up and safely cared for by a hospital steward, because they were’the chips that Father Abraham chopped.’ In a few hours more the beloved President was at home in Washington; in a few days more he had passed away, and a bereaved nation was in mourning.” LXXI. Mr. Lincoln returned from Richmond with a heart-full purpose to issue immediately a proclamation for a day of National Thanksgiving. “Babylon ” had fallen, and with his own eyes, as from another- Pisgah, he had looked over into the promised land of Peace, – a land which, like his great prototype, his feet were not to tread!
–Six months at the White House with Abraham Lincoln. The story of a picture. Page 288 By F. B. Carpenter.
Such distractions could not forestall the afternoon’s grim task. Lincoln visited injured soldiers at City Point, moving “from one bed to another,” the marquis recalled, “saying a friendly word to each wounded man, or at least giving him a handshake.” At one bed, he held the hand of a twenty-four-year-old captain who had been cited for bravery. “The dying man half-opened his eyes; a faint smile passed over his lips. It was then that his pulse ceased beating.” Lincoln remained among the wounded for five hours and returned to the steamer depleted. “There has been war enough,” he said when the marquis inquired about troubles with France over Mexico, “during my second term there will be no more fighting.”
Years later, Chambrun remained intrigued by Lincoln’s temperament. On first impression, he “left with you with a sort of impression of vague and deep sadness.” Yet he “was quite humorous,” often telling hilarious stories and laughing uproariously. “But all of a sudden he would retire within himself; then he would close his eyes, and all his features would at once bespeak a kind of sadness as indescribable as it was deep. After a while, as though it were by an effort of his will, he would shake off this mysterious weight under which he seemed bowed; his generous and open disposition would again reappear.”
Lincoln’s bodyguard, William Crook, believed he understood something of the shifting moods that mystified the French aristocrat. He had observed that Lincoln seemed to absorb the horrors of the war into himself. In the course of the two-week trip, Crook had witnessed Lincoln’s “agony when the thunder of the cannon told him that men were being cut down like grass.” He had seen the anguish on the president’s face when he came within “sight of the poor, torn bodies of the dead and dying on the field of Petersburg.” He discerned his “painful sympathy with the forlorn rebel prisoners,” and his profound distress at “the revelation of the devastation of a noble people in ruined Richmond.” In each instance, Lincoln had internalized the pain of those around him-the wounded soldiers, the captured prisoners, the defeated Southerners. Little wonder that he was overwhelmed at times by a profound sadness that even his own resilient temperament could not dispel.
visited injured soldiers…“no more fighting”: Chambrun, “Personal Recollections of Mr. Lincoln,” Scribner’s (1893), pp. 30, 33–34. By Doris Kearns Goodwin，“Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”，Goodwin-717-489-25，Goodwin-717-489-30
It was at City Point, on Wednesday, April 6 th, that a small party of invited guests, which comprised members of the Cabinet and distinguished Senators, and in which Mrs. Lincoln had been kind enough to include me, came to join the President. We found him established on board the River Queen.
He led us at once to the drawing-room of that handsome boat. Curiously enough, it was in that very drawing-room, two months previous, that there had taken place, between Stephens, Hunter, and Campbell, delegates from the Richmond government, on the one hand, and Messrs. Lincoln and Seward, on the other, the conference called that of Hampton Roads.
Mr. Lincoln showed us the place that each delegate had occupied, and spoke a moment about the details of that historic interview, which took place, as he himself told us, unrecorded by any secretary, the five men present not even having with them a pencil or bit of paper to note down what had been said or done.
But he remained silent regarding the questions agitated during the conference. One of the few confidants of Mr. Lincoln’s thoughts, however, added, indicating the place occupied by Mr. Campbell at the interview : “ From there came the only serious proposition.” He was alluding to the proposed war with Mexico, which the rebel government had submitted, and which Mr. Lincoln’s political uprightness had made him decline.
Drawing then from his pocket a bundle of papers, the President read to us the despatches he had just received from General Grant. In the midst of this reading he paused a moment, and went to fetch his maps. He soon returned holding them in his hands, and spreading them on a table, he showed us the place of each army corps, indicating further the exact spot where, according to General Grant’s precise messages, it was certain that the rebels would lay down their arms.
It seemed evident that his mind was satisfied and at rest ; but in spite of the manifest success of his policy it was impossible to detect in him the slightest feeling of pride, much less of vanity. He spoke with the modest accent of a man who realizes that success has crowned his persistent efforts, and who finds in that very success the end of a terrible responsibility. He had visited Richmond, he said to us ; the reception given him there did not seem to be of good omen ; his only preoccupation appeared to be the necessity of wiping out the consequences of the civil war, and to drive the war itself from the memory of all, nay, even of its criminal instigators ; far then, from feeling any resentment against the vanquished, he was rather inclined to place too much confidence in them.
After having thus explained to us the state of affairs, which seemed so satisfactory, Mr. Lincoln left us and went ashore to the headquarters. He was obliged, he told us, to draw up instructions for the Lieutenant-General. We then spent the entire forenoon visiting the Federal encampments.
Quoted in Marquis de Chambrun, “Personal Recollections of Mr. Lincoln,” Scribner’s 13 (January 1893), p. 28.
Early that evening, the steamer passed by Mount Vernon, prompting Chambrun to say to Lincoln, “Mount Vernon and Springfield, the memories of Washington and your own, those of the revolutionary and civil wars; these are the spots and names America shall one day equally honor.” The remark brought a dreamy smile to Lincoln’s face. “Springfield!” he said. “How happy, four years hence, will I be to return there in peace and tranquility.”
–Marquis de Chambrun [Charles Adolphe Pineton], “Personal Recollections of Mr. Lincoln,” Scribner’s 13 (January 1893). By Doris Kearns Goodwin，“Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”，Goodwin-717-489-29
Evening came on quickly. Passing before Mount Vernon, I remember saying to him: “Mount Vernon and Springfield, the memories of Washington and your own, those of the revolutionary and civil wars; these are the spots and names America shall one day equally honor.” This remark appeared to call him to himself. “Springfield!” answered he. “How happy, four years hence, will I be to return there in peace and tranquillity!”
Marquis de Chambrun [Charles Adolphe Pineton], “Personal Recollections of Mr. Lincoln,” Scribner’s 13 (January 1893)
I am very greatly rejoiced to find that an occasion has occurred so pleasurable that the people cannot restrain themselves. [Cheers.] I suppose that arrangements are being made for some sort of a formal demonstration, this, or perhaps, to-morrow night. [Cries of `We can’t wait,’ `We want it now,’ &c.] If there should be such a demonstration, I, of course, will be called upon to respond, and I shall have nothing to say if you dribble it all out of me before. [Laughter and applause.] I see you have a band of music with you. [Voices, `We have two or three.’] I propose closing up this interview by the band performing a particular tune which I will name. Before this is done, however, I wish to mention one or two little circumstances connected with it. I have always thought `Dixie’ one of the best tunes I have ever heard. Our adversaries over the way attempted to appropriate it, but I insisted yesterday that we fairly captured it. [Applause.] I presented the question to the Attorney General, and he gave it as his legal opinion that it is our lawful prize. [Laughter and applause.] I now request the band to favor me with its performance.
By Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8
Later in the morning a great crowd came marching into the White House grounds. Every man was cheering and a band was playing patriotic airs. The workmen at the Navy- Yard had started the procession, and by the time it had reached us it was over two thousand strong. Of course they called for the President, and he stepped to the window to see his guests. When the cheering had subsided he spoke to them very kindly and good-naturedly, begging that they would not ask him for a serious speech.
“I am going to make a formal address this evening,” he said, ”and if I dribble it out to you now, my speech to-night will be spoiled.” Then, with his humorous smile, he spoke to the band:
”I think it would be a good plan for you to play Dixie. I always thought that it was the most beautiful of our songs. I have submitted the question of its ownership to the Attorney-General, and he has given it as his legal opinion that we have fairly earned the right to have it back.” As the opening bars of Dixie burst out, Mr. Lincoln disappeared from the window. The crowd went off in high good-humor, marching to the infectious rhythm of the hard-won tune.
Quoted in “Through Five Administrations: Reminiscences of Colonel William H. Crook, Body-Guard to President Lincoln”,by William H. Crook, Margarita Spalding Gerry (Editor)(New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1910), p. 62.
We were to leave City Point on Saturday, April 8th. A few hours prior to our leaving, the military band came from the headquarters on board the River Queen. We assembled to hear it. After the performance of several pieces, Mr. Lincoln thought of the “ Marseillaise,” and said to us that he had a great liking for that tune. He ordered it to be played. Delighted with it, he had it played a second time.
“ You must, however, come over to America,” said he to me, “ to hear it.” He then asked me if I had ever heard “Dixie,” the rebel patriotic song, to the sound of which all their attacks had been conducted. As I answered in the negative, he added : “ That tune is now Federal property ; it belongs to us, and, at any rate, it is good to show the rebels that with us they will be free to hear it again.” He then ordered the somewhat surprised musicians to play it for us.
Quoted in Marquis de Chambrun, “Personal Recollections of Mr. Lincoln,” Scribner’s (1893), p. 34