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

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

July 4th, 1863

He is a statesman and an orator, and his response emphasizes a request already brought you by a committee from a public meeting of dispirited citizens, that the celebration should be given up. It was a more hopeful assembly which in the first place determined to have one, and made you chairman of the general Fourth of July Committee. You now repeat to the despondent statesman the reply you made to the representative of the wet-blanket meeting:

"Sir, there will be a Fourth of July celebration in Washington this year, if we can hear Lee's cannon all the while, and if we adjourn from the speaker's stand to the trenches!"

The Mall below the White House is a capital place for a speaker's stand, and the Commissioner of Public Buildings gives you permission to do anything you please with it. So does the President. You have secured the Marine Band, of course. It is accustomed to play upon the White House grounds and does not care what day it may be. General Martindale, in command of the city, is an old friend, and he is full of Fourth of July.

"My dear boy! Certainly! I've a lot of batteries and cavalry and infantry to move up the river. I'll fix you. Give you another band, too. Go ahead! Going to have it on the White House grounds? Best place in the world for Fourth of July this year. Meade's going to whip Lee out of his boots!"

Other preparations go on apace, but the summer days grow lurid with intense heat and the pressure of terrible suspense. The White House seems a furnace, and the entire city takes on more perfectly than ever before the air belonging to its real character of a frontier post in peril of capture by the enemy.

"If Meade is defeated, he will strike at Baltimore and we shall be cut off?"

"No, Mrs. Lincoln, all that's left of him after beating Meade will be too lame to march as far as Baltimore."

-117-

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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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