CHAPTER XII
RECONSTRUCTION: EFFORTS FOR ITS SOLUTION

On the last Sunday in April, 1865, I preached my farewell sermon in Terre Haute and started immediately thereafter for the East. On our way we met the funeral cortège bearing the body of Abraham Lincoln to its resting-place in Springfield, Illinois. As soon as my wife and children were settled in our temporary home in the boarding-house in New York where my father was living, and I had acquainted myself with the details and with the workers at the office of the Commission, I started for Washington and Richmond. In the former city I wished to see General O. O. Howard, the head of the newly constituted Freedmen's Bureau; in the latter city I hoped to acquaint myself with conditions in Virginia and with the agent of our Society who was already there engaged in the work. My letters to my wife were briefer than they had been from Tennessee, but extracts from two letters will give the reader a better idea of my work than I could do now from my faded recollection: --

Wednesday. Breakfast at 7.30 A.M. Then went down to boat for Alexandria. . . . Went to General Howard's. I had undertaken to draw up a circular letter to the public to give the outline of his policy. Obtained his ideas, quietly insinuated some of my own, and took the draft home to draw up in form. I like General Howard very much. And, unless I greatly mistake, my stay in Washington will pay in my future intercourse with the Government, though it has accomplished very little now.

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