Friday, February 24, 2012

Willie Lincoln's death

Willie Lincoln died at 5 pm on February 20.  The president cancels his meetings. Mrs. Lincoln is frantic. Officials and their wives meet with the Lincolns to offer their condolences. The president comments "My poor boy, he was too good for this earth. God has called him home. I know that he is much better off in heaven, but then we loved him so much. It is hard, hard to have him die." Meanwhile, the president's youngest son,Tad, continues to suffer from typhoid fever.

The Cabinet meets but President Lincoln does not attend. Congress passes a joint resolution to have the government buildings dark in the evening as a tribute to the passing of the president's son. Willie's funeral was held on February 24. Dr. Phineas D. Gurley conducted the services with burial at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown. All government offices were closed.

Reports were that Tad Lincoln's condition was improving.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The White House concerns for the two Lincoln children's illnesses

The was no regular routing in the White House as meetings and receptions were cancelled. The president spent much of his time with his two sons Willie and Tad, both who were very ill from typhoid fever. Reports varied, depending on the day and the source, saying that they were getting better or that they had made no improvement.

The war went on, with General Grant continuing to hold Fort Donelson, Tennessee. Secretary Stanton's recommendation that Grant be classified as major general was endorsed by the president.

The president defended his arrest of the state legislature of Maryland, saying it was in the public interest. Mr. Lincoln feared that the southern sympathizers in the legislature could vote for secession of Maryland which would surround Washington City with southern sates supporting the rebellion.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Social Life in Washington

Mary Lincoln hosted a ball on February 5 called by the local newspapers as "A very respectable if not a brilliant success. The East Room was filled with well dressed guests looking very beautiful and the [midnight] supper was magnificent." Over 600 invitations had been sent out. Sally and I attended. This being her first formal introduction to Washington's social life, Sally was extremely pleased with the affair, calling it "superb."

The enthusiasm for the party was overshadowed by the concern of the Lincoln family of the severe illness of their 11 year old son Willie. It was feared that Willie had typhoid fever, a common occurrence in disease ridden Washington City. They are concerned too that their son Tad has also contracted typhoid fever.

Several functions are cancelled including the weekly reception due to the illnesses.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lincoln's Order for the U.S. Marshal

President Lincoln ordered me as U.S. Marshal of the District of Columbia to refrain from arresting or committing fugitive slaves. Enforcing the fugitive slave law had become controversial. The job of enforcing the law and returning fugitive slaves to their proper owners was the duty of my office. Evidently the pressure from the radicals in Congress had caused the president to change the way I handled the fugitive slave business.

My wife Sally finally decided to come to Washington City to live. We sought out a house, finally renting a dwelling on the corner of 15th and I streets from Jonah Hoover at the cost of $170 per month. Sally furnished the house elegantly.