Inside the White House in War Times: Memoirs and Reports of Lincoln's Secretary

By William O. Stoddard; Michael Burlingame | Go to book overview

Sketch 8

Dear General--Sunday at the White House was, even more than elsewhere, a day by itself. No anxious visitors waited in the vacant ante-rooms; no busy committee men promenaded up and down in the halls; no strolling parties of gaping sight-seers peered into the corners and examined their dresses in the mirrors of the parlors and the East Room. It was evident to every eye that this was Sunday, and yet under all the surface of silence and decorum, the great work was uninterrupted even by the Lord's Day. The sentries paced their beats up and down the several entrances, the messengers came and went, and unceasingly the electric click sustained its irregular pulsations in the dingy rooms in the War Office Building, carrying orders to and bringing reports from the countless armies of the Great Republic.

War has no Sunday, no day of rest, no hour that is sacred above the others--and civil war least of all.

President Lincoln was deeply and genuinely religious, without being in any way what may be called a religionist. His religion was in his faith and in his life rather than in any profession.1 So far as I know, his religious belief or opitions never, at any period of his life, took the shape of a formal profession. His nature was not at all enthusiastic, and his mind was subject to none of the fevers which pass with the weak and shallow for religious fervor, and in this, as in all other things, he was too thoroughly honest to assume that which he did not feet.

In Dr. Gurley's church (Presbyterian), in Washington, there is a pew set apart for the President of the United States, and, as Mrs. Lincoln was a member of that denomination, she attended morning service pretty regularly, and frequently;2 when affairs of State permitted, Mr. Lincoln accompanied her. He was not, however, a man to pay much attention to or care much about the thin walls of separation between different denominations.

Either his ancestors or some near relatives of his had been Quakers, and

-176-

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Inside the White House in War Times: Memoirs and Reports of Lincoln's Secretary
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Editor's Introduction vii
  • 1 - Inside the White House in War Times 1
  • Opening the Door 3
  • Persons and Papers 11
  • Weapons and War Ships 19
  • Gifts and Visitors 26
  • The Critics and the Gamblers 33
  • Bronzes and Earthworks 40
  • The Reception 47
  • A Variety of Uniforms 54
  • The Two Chieftains 61
  • The Monitor and the Union League 68
  • The Capitol and the Future 75
  • Sentries and Passes 82
  • A Battle Summer 89
  • The Echoes of the Proclamation 96
  • Realities and the Drama 103
  • A Vigil and a Victory 110
  • July 4th, 1863 117
  • The Contrabands and the New Captain 121
  • Pictures and Reports 127
  • There is an End of All Things 134
  • 2 - White House Sketches 141
  • Sketch 1 143
  • Sketch 2 148
  • Sketch 3 153
  • Sketch 4 156
  • Sketch 5 160
  • Sketch 6 165
  • Sketch 7 170
  • Sketch 8 176
  • Sketch 9 180
  • Sketch 10 184
  • Sketch 11 189
  • Sketch 12 193
  • Sketch 13 198
  • Notes 203
  • Index 221
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