Tag Archives: Abraham Lincoln

The Earliest Photo of Lincoln

lincoln1848  Kaplan Lincoln

The photo on the left is the oldest known photo of Abraham Lincoln. It was donated by a Lincoln relative to the Library of Congress. Albert Kaplan bought a daguerreotype of a young man Kaplan believed could be a young Lincoln in 1840. Kaplan had the pic tested by experts who determined that it could well be the earliest known portrait of Lincoln. Lincoln who was several inches over six feet had lost forty pounds in the early 1840s, possibly as a result of a serious bout with depression. Both pictures have the disfiguration of his forehead Lincoln was known to have from being kicked by a horse and knocked unconscious.   Tomorrow, More Lincoln.  Rita Bay

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President Lincoln’s Defense of the Emancipation Proclamation

534px-Abraham_Lincoln_seated,_Feb_9,_1864After Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, he was forced to defend his action. In Lincoln’s Fourth Annual Message to Congress, December 6, 1864 he stated the following: “I repeat the declaration made a year ago, that ‘while I remain in my present position I shall not attempt to retract or modify the emancipation proclamation, nor shall I return to slavery any person who is free by the terms of that proclamation, or by any of the Acts of Congress.’ If the people should, by whatever mode or means, make it an Executive duty to re-en slave such persons, another, and not I, must be their instrument to perform it. (See Pic of Lincoln in 1864)

Tomorrow, Recruiting Blacks for Enlistment during the Civil War    Rita Bay

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The Emancipation Proclamation

emanprocPresident Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. The proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” The Emancipation Proclamation confirmed that the war for the Union must become a war for freedom. It added moral force to the Union cause and strengthened the Union both militarily and politically. The original of the Emancipation Proclamation , is in the National Archives in Washington, DC.
There is a common misconception among Americans that Abraham Lincoln freed the American slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation. Slaves were not immediately freed as a result of the Proclamation, as it only applied to rebelling states not under Union control. Also, the proclamation did not apply to parts of rebelling states already under Union control. The Proclamation did not cover the 800,000 slaves in the Union’s slave-holding border states of Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland or Delaware. As the regions in the South that were under Confederate control ignored the Proclamation, slave ownership persisted until Union troops captured additional Southern territory. It was only with the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865 that slavery was officially abolished in all of the United States.

Tomorrow, Lincoln’s Defense of the Emancipation Proclamation  Rita Bay

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Rita Bay’s Wonder of the World #2: Mount Rushmore


The Avenue

The Shrine to Democracy features the 60-foot high faces of four American presidents sitting 500 feet up looking out over South Dakota’s Black Hills. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln were selected by sculptor because of their role in preserving the Republic and expanding its territory. Controversy was involved with the construction of the monument because the Black Hills area was granted by an early treaty with the US to the Lakota Sioux. The US later exerted a claim to the area.


Confederate Memorial Stone Mountain, GA

In 1927, sculptor Gutzon Borglum who had  worked on the Confederate Memorial at Stone Mountain selected the Presidents to be honored and began drilling into granite of the mile+ high mountain near Keystone, South Dakota. After 14 years and $1 million the project was completed by Lincoln Borglum with no loss of life.  The Avenue of Flags, the primary approach to the monument, features the flags of all of the states and territories. The Memorial is managed by the National Parks Service.

FYI, the monuments were originally designed to be carved from waist up. The design was modified to busts only due to financial limitations.  The original carving of Jefferson that was located on Washington’s right but was dynamited and recarved because of technical problems with the rock.

Tomorrow, St. Peter’s Basilica     Rita Bay

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Abraham Lincoln: President in Training

About Abraham Lincoln Training for the Presidency

           by Orison Swett Matden

Earliest pic of Abraham Lincoln

     “I meant to take good care of your book, Mr. Crawford,” said the boy, “but I’ve damaged it a good deal without intending to, and now I want to make it right with you. What shall I do to make it good?”

      “Why, what happened to it, Abe?” asked the rich farmer, as he took the copy of Weems’s “Life of Washington” which he had lent young Lincoln, and looked at the stained leaves and warped binding. “It looks as if it had been out through all last night’s storm. How came you to forget, and leave it out to soak?”

     “It was this way, Mr. Crawford,” replied Abe. “I sat up late to read it, and when I went to bed, I put it away carefully in my bookcase, as I call it, a little opening between two logs in the wall of our cabin. I dreamed about General Washington all night. When I woke up I took it out to read a page or two before I did the chores, and you can’t imagine how I felt when I found it in this shape. It seems that the mud-daubing had got out of the weather side of that crack, and the rain must have dripped on it three or four hours before I took it out. I’m sorry, Mr. Crawford, and want to fix it up with you, if you can tell me how, for I have not got money to pay for it.”

     “Well,” said Mr. Crawford, “come and shuck corn three days, and the book ‘s yours.”

Had Mr. Crawford told young Abraham Lincoln that he had fallen heir to a fortune the boy could hardly have felt more elated. Shuck corn only three days, and earn the book that told all about his greatest hero!

     “I don’t intend to shuck corn, split rails, and the like always,” he told Mrs. Crawford, after he had read the volume. “I’m going to fit myself for a profession.”

     “Why, what do you want to be, now?” asked Mrs. Crawford in surprise.

     “Oh, I’ll be President!” said Abe with a smile.

     “You’d make a pretty President with all your tricks and jokes, now, wouldn’t you?” said the farmer’s wife.

     “Oh, I’ll study and get ready,” replied the boy, “and then maybe the chance will come.”

Read more stories about the Presidents at Apples 4 the Teacher:


Motivational writer Orison Swett Matden  (1850-1824) was born to a poor family but through hard work and optimism became a successful businessman, writer, publisher.  His founded the magazine Success and wrote at least two motivational books each year focusing on the value of hard work and optimism that led to his own success. 

 Matsden books are available for free reads at: http://orisonswettmarden.wwwhubs.com/

Tomorrow, we begin our March salute to Americana.  Rita Bay

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Noah Brooks Reports on Abraham Lincoln


Noah Brooks, Reporter & Lincoln's Friend

Noah Brooks (1830-1903), a merchant turned reporter, had known Lincoln in Illinois before moving to Sacramento CA and then on to Washington, DC.  After 1862, he had personal access to Lincoln in his public and private life. 

     “Lincoln particularly liked a joke at the expense of the dignity of some high civil or military official. One day, not long before his second inauguration, he asked me if I had heard about Stanton’s meeting a picket on Broad River, South Carolina, and then told this story: ‘General Foster, then at Port Royal, escorted the secretary up the river, taking a quartermaster’s tug. Reaching the picket lines on the river, a sentry roared from the bank, ‘Who have you got on board that tug? The severe and dignified answer was, ‘The Secretary of War and Major-General Foster.’ Instantly the picket roared back, ‘We’ve got major-generals enough up here – why don’t you bring us up some hard-tack?’ The story tickled Lincoln mightily, and he told it until it was replaced by a new one.”

     Brooks reported his observations on Lincoln’s last hours before his assassination:

Last formal photo of Lincoln by Warren on March 6, 1865

     “He was unusually cheerful that evening, and never was more hopeful and buoyant concerning the condition of the country. Speaker [Schuyler] Colfax and your correspondent were at the house just before he went out for the last time alive, and in his conversation he was full of fun and anecdotes, feeling especially jubilant at the prospect before us. The last words he said as he came out of the carriage were: ‘Grant thinks that we can reduce the cost of the army establishment at least a half million a day, which, with the reduction of expenditures of the Navy, will soon bring down our national debt to something like decent proportions, and bring our national paper up to a par, or nearly so, with gold; at least so they think.'”  

Read LOADS more: Mr. Lincoln and Friends (a phenomenal website) at


Tomorrow, a tale of Lincoln as a lad.  Rita Bay


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Abraham Lincoln & Guns

     Henry J Reske in his article for US News and World Report called Lincoln a “weapons aficionado with an avid interest in cutting-edge technology.” His interest in weapons was part curiosity and part desire to get the best for Union soldiers and sailors and win the war.  Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson says that Lincoln personally tested both the Spencer seven-shot rifle and the seven-shot carbine. “I think he may also have tested one or more versions of the Sharps single-shot breach-loading rifle,” McPherson adds. “He also tested the ‘coffee-mill gun’—an early version of a hand-cranked machine gun.”

Coffee-Mill Gun

 Manufactured by Woodward & Cox, N.Y. – Single barrel rapid-fire gun mounted on a light artillery carriage. The weapon fired standard issue .58 caliber paper cartridges which were placed inside steel cartridge cases which fed from a hopper into a revolving cylinder were they were placed in the breech and fired, the empty cases then dropping into another hopper to be reloaded by hand with new paper cartridges.

Spencer Repeating Rifle

The Spencer repeating rifle was adopted by the Union Army, especially by the cavalry, during the Civil War.  It was a manually operated lever-action, repeating rifle fed from a tube magazine with cartridges.

 Read Reske’s full article at:  2009http://www.usnews.com/news/history/articles/2009/02/11/abraham-lincoln-a-technology-leader-of-his-time

Reske, Henry J. “Abraham Lincoln: A Technology Leader of His Time,” February 11, 2009.

Tomorrow, Noah Brook (Lincoln’s friend) on Lincoln’s sense of humor and his last hours.  Rita Bay

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Abraham Lincoln & the Mad Stone

A Mad Stone or Bezoar

     There is a tradition in Terre Haute, IN that Lincoln brought young Robert there to be treated with a “mad stone” after a dog bite, possibly in September 1859.  Never heard of a “mad stone,” so couldn’t pass it up. 

    According to several sources, a Mad Stone was reputed to be as a cure rabies. It’s stony concretion (as a hair ball) taken from the stomach of a deer or other animal.  They can be round or oval in shape in a variety of colorswith a porous but shiny surface texture measuring about 3 to 4 inches in size and very light weight. 

     Myths attached to its use include that the Mad Stone can never be bought or sold and was usually passed down from father to son.   The patient must come to the stone and there can be no charge for treatment. 

      The stone is boiled in sweet milk and applied to a bleeding wound.  If it is no longer bleeding it must be scraped until it is bleeding.  The sweet milk neutralizes the poison from the bite.  If the wound is infected with rabies, the Mad Stone will stick to the wound and draw out the poison.  When it falls off, it is boiled until it turns green (releasing the poison) and replaced on the wound until the poison is all removed.  When it will no longer stick to the wound after boiling, the poison is gone.

     My assessment.  Not all bites of rabid animals result in the injured person developing rabies and constantly scraping a wound to cause it to bleed might have some preventative power simply by removing some of the infected tissue. 

     Do Mad Stones really exist?  YES, the more correct name for them are bezoars.  They come in different sizes and colors and are found in several species.  They are also found in humans who chew and swallow hair.  Check out the picture.


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President Lincoln & Princess Salm-Salm

    This excerpt is from a delightful website, Mr. Lincoln and Friends (by The Lincoln Institute), which is filled with primary sources, narratives by people who knew Lincoln, and loads of info.

     The jealousy of Mary Todd Lincoln certainly limited the potential of Mr. Lincoln to develop female friendships. There may have been some cause for jealousy as indicated by an incident early in the Civil War. President Lincoln visited the Army of the Potomac on in early April, 1863. On April 7, he visited General Daniel Sickles and the Third Corps. Sickles was apparently struck by the sadness of the Chief Executive and sought a way to lift his gloom. Sickles claimed he asked some women if to “make him more cheerful” they perhaps could “form a line of ladies and each of you give him a kiss.”
     The only woman willing to plant the first kiss was Princess Salm-Salm, who worried that she was too short to reach the President’s face. According to General Sickles, “After I had formed the ladies in line, she went up to him, and sure enough he leaned down a little, and the other ladies followed her example with broad smiles and laughter. After that Lincoln was cheerful.” The wife of another General said that the idea for the kiss-attack came from the women themselves: “A glance from the Princess toward the ladies following in her train was all that was necessary. They quickly surrounded Mr. Lincoln, embracing and kissing him with eagerness and fervor, although it was not easy for them to reach up.”

Mary Todd Lincoln, the Jealous Wife

     “As soon as he could collect himself and recover from his astonishment, the President thanked the lady, but with evident discompsoure; whereupon some of the party made haste to explain that the Princess Salm-Salm had laid a wager with one of the officers that she would kiss the President,” reported journalist Noah Brooks.  Princess Salm-Salm had married up – having graduated from farm girl to actress to circus-rider to the wife of a European noble. She accompanied her Austrian husband, who served as a Union staff officer.
     Mrs. Lincoln was not happy when she was told about the kissathon by her tattle-tale son Tad. She blamed General Sickles, and was very cold when Sickles accompanied the family on a steamer back to Washington. President Lincoln, however, broke the ice by saying he had heard that Sickles, a notorious philander and admitted murderer, was very ‘pious” and “a great Psalmist. In response to Sickles’ denials, President Lincoln said: “Sickles, I have not only heard while in your camp that you are a Psalmist, but I have heard from the best authority that you are a Salm-Salmist.”
     In the amusement that followed Mrs. Lincoln forgave Sickles. The general subsequently recouped his status with Mrs. Lincoln and became a frequent visitor to the White House while recuperating from the amputation of his leg at the Battle of Gettysburg. Although Mrs. Lincoln strongly objected to any woman giving her attentions to Mr. Lincoln, she herself enjoyed and encouraged the attentions of many men who attended her salon in the White House Red Room.


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Lincoln’s “With Malice Toward None” Speech

Lincoln delivered his Second Inaugural Address on March 4th,1865—barely a month before his assassination.

       AT this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

    On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.

     One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

     With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

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