Recollections of Abraham Lincoln

Recollections of Abraham Lincoln

Recollections of Abraham Lincoln

Recollections of Abraham Lincoln

Synopsis

These recollections were compiled from Lamon's notes and papers by his daughter, Dorothy, and published in 1895. The expanded second edition of 1911 has been used for this reprinting. Recollections of Abraham Lincoln has often been cited for its firsthand testimony about key episodes and incidents, including the phantom-like train trip to Washington in 1861, a visit to Charleston during the secession crisis, and Lincoln's foreboding dreams.

Excerpt

"Hill," said the tall, thin, cavernous-cheeked man, to the giant, paunchy figure with sagging jowls, "on the 11th I go to Washington, and I want you to go along with me. . . . In fact, I must have you. So get yourself ready and come along."

The speaker was Abraham Lincoln, president-elect of the United States, urging Ward Hill Lamon to accompany him to Washington on February 11, 1861. "You must go," Lincoln exhorted, "and go to stay." Lamon--Lincoln familiarly called him Hill--was Lincoln's law partner in Danville, Illinois. He would travel with Lincoln to Washington, sneak his friend into the capital city by night, and escort the martyred president's corpse back to Springfield in 1865. Lincoln appointed him marshal of the District of Columbia; and for more than four years he was responsible for the president's safety.

Lawyer and confidante, Federal officer, singer of southern songs and teller of off-color jokes, he inevitably saw Lincoln frequently and served as court jester, lightening the often heavy heart of the chief executive. Born in Virginia, reared in Berkeley County, which during the war became a part of West Virginia, Lamon, after getting a common-school education, migrated west, studied law and was admitted to the Illinois bar. In 1852 he became the Danville partner of Lincoln and rode circuit with his senior on extended excursions of county courthouses. The two southern-born men, fellow lawyers, and storytellers found much in common.

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