Friday, February 22, 2013

The president meets with the head of the Naval Ordinance Department

This week Mr. Lincoln met several times in consult with John H. Dahlgren concerning a possible attack on Charleston, South Carolina. Dahlgren was the chief of the Union Navies ordinance department and had designed and patented several important naval guns. Dahlgren has also recently been appointed as  commandeer of the South Atlantic Blockading squadron designed to keep blockade runners from gaining entrance to and exit from southern ports.

Mr. Lincoln also petitioned for Congress to elevate Dahlgren to Rear Admiral, which they did in a move that was made retroactive to February 7.

The president declined an invitation to preside at the U.S. Sanitary Commission with the House of Representatives. Major General Winfield Scott and General Ambrose Burnside did appear and speak at the event.

The president did spend considerable time meeting with and speaking to tribal chiefs of the Chippewa Indians.

Friday, February 15, 2013

P.T. Barnum's famous "Tom Thumb" visits the White House

On February 13, one day after the president's birthday, and after almost a year in mourning their son Willie's death, Mrs. Lincoln came down to the main floor of the White House wearing a pink gown. Her mourning clothes had been discarded.  Comments around the house included surprise and delight.

The occasion was a formal reception for the president and First Lady and attended by about 50 guests, to meet General Tom Thumb and his bride Lavinia. General Thumb, actually Charles Sherwood Stratton, was a midget who had been discovered by showman Phineas T. Barnum. Barnum toured the 25 inch tall man around the world as part of his side-show.  At age 23, Tom Thumb had married another midget, Lavinia Warren.

It was quite a site to see Mr. Lincoln, at 6'4", bending over and shaking hands with their very tiny guests. Their guests spent the night at the White House, leaving the following morning.


Friday, February 8, 2013

President Lincoln opens the White House doors to most anyone

President Lincoln continued to meet with nearly everyone and anyone who stood in line at the door of the White House to speak to him. Many were seeking political appointments or favors such as the appointment to the Naval Academy or West Point. I feared someone would harm him in the process, but he insisted that it was every citizen's right to speak to the president about any of their concerns. Mr. Lincoln was not an easy man to guard, as he had less regard for his personal safety than anyone.

The president decline an invitation from Indiana Governor Oliver Morton to meet with Peace Democrats in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. They were attempting to set up a Northwest Confederacy. Although the two were friends and Mr. Lincoln knew that Morton was leading his state in hardy support to save the Union, he also knew that Morton was ruthless.  Mr. Lincoln called Morton "at times the shrewdest person I know."

The president also received a petition from Crafts J. Wright to raise and train a regiment of Negro troops in Cincinnati  Ohio. Mr. Lincoln was hesitant to support the idea, as he was fearful that the four Border states would secede if Negro soldiers were included in the Union army.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mr. Lincoln reminds General Hooker of past transgressions

The president assigns Major General Joseph Hooker to replace General Ambrose Burnside who had just resigned. The president chided General Hooker because Mr. Lincoln knew that General Hooker had been critical of Burnside's command. In a letter, Mr. Lincoln told General Hooker "you thwarted him as much as you did a great wrong to the country and to a most meritorious and honorable brother....beware of brashness, but with energy, and sleepless vigilance, go forward and give us victories."

Mr. Lincoln also encourage Congress to send the proper congratulatory tribute to Acting Rear Admiral David Porter for his leadership in the recent capture of Fort Hindman in Arkansas.

My wife Sally and I searched throughout the city for a house that would suit her lavish tastes and satisfy her need to position herself as a person of means, even on my salary.  We finally purchased a home at 410 F. Street North that she claimed would suit. I knew if Sally Lamon was not happy, there was no chance in my being happy.