This book is a compilation of letters written to and by the revered president, Abraham Lincoln. This makes it so that the same stories are told from different perspectives. All together this book is filled with historically accurate information. The opening passage is Lincoln’s own Autobiography. I wish I could insert the entire passage. I think the closing paragraph is a wonderful description of the man, both in appearance and in demeanor.
“If any personal description of me is thought desirable, it may be said I am in height six feet four inches, nearly; lean in flesh, weighing, on an average, one hundred and eighty pounds; dark complexion, with coarse black hair and gray eyes – no other marks or brands recollected.
“Yours very truly,
On the stormy morning of Sunday, February 12, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, wife of Thomas, gave birth to a boy. He was born on a bed of poles covered with cornhusks. The baby was named Abraham after his grandfather. In 1811 the Lincolns moved to a farm on Knob Creek, what was also near Hodgenville. In 1811 or 1812, Abraham’s younger brother, Thomas, died in infancy. Abraham spent a short amount of time in a log schoolhouse. He began to learned reading, writing, and cipherin’ to the rule of three, from a teacher named Zachariah Riney. He attended school with his sister, Sarah. Late in 1816 the Lincoln family moved to southern Indiana and settled near present day Gentry Ville. A cabin was constructed near Little Pigeon Creek. It measured 16 X 18 feet, and it had only one window.
Abraham’s mother, Nancy, passed away on October 5th, 1818, she died of milk sickness. In 1819, Abraham would barrow books from his neighbors to read. In 1821 Abraham attended school taught by James Swaney for about 4 months. In 1824 Abraham also attended school taught by Azel Dorsey. In 1827 Abraham’s sister, Sarah died giving birth to her son. In 1831, Lincoln decided to leave his family and go off on his own, but not before spending a year to build his parents a house. In July he moved to New Salem, Illinois, where he boarded at Rutledge’s tavern and became acquainted with the owner’s daughter, Ann. New Salem was a frontier village consisting of one long street on a bluff over the Sangamon River.
During the Black hawk War Lincoln was elected captain of the volunteer militia. Without any true attempt on his part Lincoln defeated a particularly unpleasant former employer. It was his most pleasurable victory. On August 6th, 1832 Lincoln was defeated while running for the Illinois State Legislature. Lincoln began to operate a general store in New Salem along with William F. Berry. Again, in 1834, Lincoln ran for the Illinois State Legislature, but this time he was elected. During the summer, John T. Stuart advised Lincoln to study law. On December 1 he took his seat in state government in Vandalia. In 1837 Lincoln, 28, was admitted to the Illinois Bar on March 1, and he moved to Springfield on April 15. He became a law partner of John Stuart and lived with Joshua Speed. Lincoln now had income from a law practice as well as a state legislator.
November 4,1842 Lincoln married Mary Todd. The first son of the Lincolns, Robert Todd, was born August 1, 1843 at the Globe Tavern. In 1844 Abraham and Mary purchased a home from Dr. Dresser in Springfield for $1,500. It was located at the corner of Eighth and Jackson. The family moved in on May 2nd. In 1849 Lincoln failed in his attempt to be appointed commissioner of the General Land Office, and he returned to a full time law practice in Springfield as his term in the House of Representatives had expired on March 4th. On March 7th he was admitted to practice law before the United States Supreme Court.
Lincoln’s son, “Eddie” died on February 1, 1850. His third son, William Wallace was born on December 21st. The fourth and last son of the Lincolns, Thomas, was born on April 4th, 1853. In 1858 Lincoln was nominated by the Republicans to run for the U.S. Senate against Stephen Douglas. He gave his famous “House Divided” speech in the Old State Capitol in Springfield. During the summer, Lincoln and Douglas engaged in a series of 7 debates throughout Illinois. On November 2nd Douglas won the election. On May 18th, 1860 Lincoln was nominated for President at the Republican National Convention in Chicago. On November 6th Lincoln was elected President over 3 opponents (Stephen Douglas, John Breckinridge, and John Bell) winning 39% of the popular vote but nearly 60% of the electoral vote.
On January 1st, 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves in the rebelling areas, took effect. On March 3rd Lincoln approved the first draft law in U.S. history. In early July the Union won two major battles at Gettysburg and Vicksburg. In 1864 Lincoln nominated Ulysses S. Grant as the first full lieutenant general since George Washington. Grant assumed his role as General-in-Chief of Union armies. Lincoln received the Republican nomination on June 8th to run for a 2nd term as President. Andrew Johnson was his Vice-presidential running mate. On November 8th he easily defeated Democrat George B. McClellan in the Presidential election. The Lincolns attended the play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater on April 14th, and John Wilkes Booth at shot Lincoln about 10:15 P.M. The President died the next morning at 7:22 A.M. He was 56 years old at the time of his death. Andrew Johnson took the oath of office as the 17th President on April 15th. On April 21st a nine car funeral train that included 300 dignitaries left Washington, DC and began a nearly 1700 mile journey back to Springfield. In the afternoon of May 4th, Lincoln’s body was buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery. This was one of the first modern-day funeral precessions and is an event that all others like it will be compared to. Lincoln was one of the most revered presidents and people in the history of this country.