American Civil War in the News is a edited review of American Civil War related news and articles, providing collection of hand-picked 1861-1865 era history.

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Abraham Lincoln

Latest hand-picked Civil War news and articles.

Last living eyewitness to Lincoln assassination interviewed on Feb 9, 1956
Lincoln Assassination eyewitness appears on I've Got a Secret in 1956.

Abraham Lincoln tried to deport slaves to British colonies
Evidence from the British legation in Washington - that has turned up at the National Archives in Kew, UK - reveals that Abraham Lincoln planned black colonization right up until his assassination in 1865. Phillip Magness and Sebastian Page claim that after Lincoln announced the freedom of three quarters of America's four million slaves with his 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, he authorised plans to set up freedmen's settlements in Belize and Guyana. As black soldiers were dying for the Union cause and a mission to send 453 freed slaves to colonize an island off Haiti met with a disastrous small pox outbreak, Lincoln secretly authorized British officials to recruit blacks for a new life on the plantations of Central America.

Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln`s Corpse
Just days earlier, they were 2 presidents who lived in White Houses separated by a few dozen miles and a canyon as wide as the world. Now one was assassinated and the other on the run, both embarking on journeys that would transform them from men to martyrs. One became a country's savior and the other a noble leader whose lost cause, at least for some, was just. How'd it happen? Civil War historian James Swanson - author of 2006 bestseller "Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer" - finds the answer in "Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln's Corpse."

Artifacts like Booth`s bullet reveal lesser-known side of Lincoln's murder   (Article no longer available from the original source)
It is the size of a thumbnail, its once-round form now oblong with misshapen edges. This object is the handmade ball of britannia that John Wilkes Booth fired out of his Philadelphia Derringer on April 14, 1865, into the head of President Abraham Lincoln. The bullet that killed the 16th president is among a number of items linked with his murder and autopsy in an exhibition called "Abraham Lincoln: The Final Casualty of the War." The exhibit is running indefinitely, as part of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial, at the National Museum of Health & Medicine on the campus of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Lincoln's last signature? Signed envelope, thought to be real, found at flea market
"Let this man enter with this note. April 14, 1865. A. Lincoln." The short sentence on an envelope marked the beginning of an adventure for Bruce Steiner, who discovered the relic at a box of mixed papers he bought at Jamie's Flea Market in 2006. "It can't be real," Steiner thought when he first saw the signature, dated the fateful day a bullet from John Wilkes Booth's Derringer ended Lincoln's life. Steiner, a Civil War buff, antique collector and amateur historian, said the envelope raised skepticism - for example historical societies refused to return his phone calls. But expert John Lupton carried out a handwriting analysis, and he thinks the item is authentic.

Lincoln 1864 manuscript sells for record $3.44 million at Christie`s auction
The bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth became a celebration at Christie's as Lincoln's original, handwritten reelection speech of 1864 fetched $3.44 million and set a new auction record for any American historical document. The 4-page speech was delivered at the White House on Nov. 10, 1864, after Lincoln's reelection to a second term as president. The unique document, never before offered for sale, was one of a very few Lincoln speech manuscripts not in permanent institutions like the Library of Congress.

Looking for Lincoln features rare photographs   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) is one of the greatest Presidents in American history. During his presidency he prevented the breakup of the Union and the extension of slavery by leading the country through the Civil War. The Lincoln Bicentennial celebration of Lincoln's birth date is in 2009. There will be numerous new books - One of them is outstanding "Looking for Lincoln, The Making of an American Icon." The Kunhardt family has produced a masterful photographic tracing of the legacy of Lincoln after his assassination on April 14, 1865. The rare pics reproduced in this book go back to Frederick Hill Meserve (1865-1962) who spent his life collecting these photographs.

A handwritten copy of Abraham Lincoln's 1864 re-election speech to be auctioned   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Christie's is auctioning a handwritten copy of the 1864 speech Abraham Lincoln delivered at the White House on Nov. 10, 1864 after being re-elected in the midst of a Civil War - with 55% of the popular vote. Lincoln's war policies were unpopular, and his chances for a second term had looked bleak. The 4-page manuscript, in the family's hands until 1916, will be sold on the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth on Feb. 12, 2009. It is expected to fetch over $3 million. Lincoln said the results "demonstrated that a people's government can sustain a national election in the midst of a great civil war."

Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief - Book review
Looking out over the battleground where 11,000 soldiers died during the 3 bloodiest days of the Civil War, historian James M. McPherson cites Georges Clemenceau: "War is too important to be left to the generals." Abraham Lincoln came to the same conclusion. Faced with ineffective generals who lost battles and failed to go after the retreating enemy, "Lincoln was forced to become the most hands-on commander in chief of any president." Lincoln became a great military leader by spending his days with field reports and his nights with military strategy books. As Lincoln himself joked, his only military experience was being a militia captain during the 1832 Black Hawk War.

Abraham Lincoln's anger revealed in Civil War letter
Abraham Lincoln's emotions ran high during the Civil War, reveals a letter, by the U.S. president, in which he harshly chastises a couple for disloyalty, at one point even suggesting their line of reasoning is insane. The letter, written Feb. 13, 1864 to a Mr. and Mrs. Vch (sic) Neagle, recently turned up in preparation for a Sotheby's auction of important U.S. presidential and political books and manuscripts. Lincoln was trained as a lawyer, so normally he kept up a more neutral demeanor, so it is uncharacteristic for Lincoln to allow himself to become so emotional - his frustration clearly comes out.

Lincoln's Darkest Year - The War in 1862 by William Marvel   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Either the fighting or the politics of 1862 - the second year of the American Civil War - could have given President Abraham Lincoln a bad case of depression. "Lincoln's Darkest Hour" makes a point of his struggle in putting General George McClellan in charge of Washington's defence after the Union defeat in the Second Battle of Bull Run. The question of McClellan caused him such distress that he was willing to resign the presidency: he "felt almost ready to hang himself." The book reveals the dissatisfaction in both the Union army and the general public - and gives a lot of space to harsh (possibly unconstitutional) measures against dissidents.

Handwritten Account of Lincoln assassination donated to museum   (Article no longer available from the original source)
A handwritten account of Abraham Lincoln's assassination is being given to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The account of the 1865 shooting was penned by Ohio Congressman John R. Morris, who was inside Ford's Theatre when John Wilkes Booth entered the presidential box and shot Lincoln as he was watching a play. The dramatic description was written by Morris 30 years later.

Abraham Lincoln's letter sets record at auction with $3.4 million
Abraham Lincoln's letter to youngsters who asked him to free "little slave children" was sold for $3.4m to an anonymous American private collector. The 1864 letter set a record for a Lincoln manuscript, as well as for any presidential and American manuscript. Lincoln's hand-penned reply was contained in a letter to a woman who had mailed the children's petition from Concord, Mass. "Please tell these little people I am very glad their young hearts are so full of just and generous sympathy." The sale broke the previous record (2002, $3.1m) for a Lincoln manuscript - a speech sketching postwar reconstruction strategy.

New York university to share its Abraham Lincoln letters online   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Only a year into the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln proposed purchasing slaves for $400 apiece under a "gradual emancipation" plan that would bring peace at less cost than hostilities. The proposal was drafted in one of 72 letters by Lincoln in the University of Rochester's archives. The correspondence will be posted online, with the 215 letters sent to Lincoln by political and military leaders. On March 14, 1862, Lincoln laid out the cost to the nation's coffers of his "emancipation with compensation" proposal. Paying slave-holders $400 for each of the 1,798 slaves in Delaware, would come to $719,200 at a time when the war was comsuming $2 million a day.

Dave Wiegers traveled 20,000 miles to take photos of 190 Lincoln statues   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Civil War history buff Dave Wiegers has traveled over 20,000 miles to photograph Abraham Lincoln ... again and again. He has crisscrossed the nation and flown to Hawaii over the past 3 years to take pictures of over 190 Lincoln statues in almost 3 dozen states - so many images, in fact, that he's now thinking of putting them together in a book. He has a working title: "A Life Worth Remembering: the Monumental Legacy of Abraham Lincoln." "I'm probably the only person in the U.S. and the world who's visited every statue worth visiting," says Wiegers. Or, at least, every one he knows about.

Abraham Lincoln's paper trail
"Anyone can find a Lincoln document when it`s signed A. Lincoln. But finding his name hidden in an unrelated letter? Or recognizing his handwriting? That`s a real challenge." --- Bouncing down a country road, past cotton fields, historian John A. Lupton hunches over a steering wheel. He has been traveling for 6 days - covering 5 states and 1,400 miles - in a pursuit of anything handwritten by Abraham Lincoln, as well as files addressed to him: a frayed envelope the president addressed to a Confederate sympathizer; a faded journal entry with notes about property rights that Lincoln scribbled in the margins.

Historic Gettysburg Photo May Contain Lincoln's Image
"I think it's absolutely staggering to see something like this that was in a sense hidden in plain sight," said Harold Holzer, who thinks the image of a person in one of only two known photographs taken at Gettysburg on the day of Lincoln's address looks like Lincoln arriving to the stage on horseback. Last year, a Hanover man found the photo. It was on the Library of Congress' Web site all these years. For one thing it has not been confirmed that the photo shows Lincoln. Historians say one of Lincoln's friends was at Gettysburg that day. He was a tall, bearded man who wore a top hat as well.

Case of Abraham Lincoln: A Story of Adultery, Murder and...
It's always a bit unsettling to catch a glimpse of someone you think you know in an unfamiliar setting. Like middle-aged country attorney Abraham Lincoln sitting in his office. A would-be client recalls walking in on Lincoln, long legs crossed and propped up on a table. "He was so different from any person I had ever seen that for a moment I was dazed. The man looked like a cathedral." Julie Fenster has become expert at catching surprise glimpses of Abraham Lincoln. In "The Case of Abraham Lincoln: A Story of Adultery, Murder and the Making of a Great President" Fenster chooses to focus on one particular case and one particular year in the life of Lincoln.

President Lincoln`s Cottage to reopen - Wartime summer White House
The house where Abraham Lincoln wrote a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation and retreated from the bustle of White House will open in Feb 2008 after an 8-year renovation. The house, a 34-room Gothic revival mansion, is also known as the Soldiers` Home but will be called President Lincoln`s Cottage. It was here that Lincoln spent nearly a quarter of his presidency. "This will not be a traditional house museum, but rather it will tell the story of Lincoln," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Matthew Pinsker, who has written a book on Lincoln`s time at the cottage, said that the house was a "personal sanctuary."

Ford's Theatre renovation: Lincoln's bloodstained clothes packed up
The goatskin boots that Abraham Lincoln had on that night at Ford's Theatre were worn down at the heels. His long black frock coat was unadorned. Its buttons were of plain gray metal. And most of what he wore in the private box on Good Friday of 1865 comes down to us still stained with his blood. Under police escort the National Park Service transported the assassinated president's clothing and items from the Ford's Theatre museum to a Park Service storage center in Maryland. One by one, Civil War expert Gloria Swift opened the acid-free boxes in which she and others had packed the clothes Lincoln was wearing when he was shot by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865.

Shops stocking up memorabilia for Lincoln's 200th birthday   (Article no longer available from the original source)
The iconic image of Abraham Lincoln's solemn face drawn with a beard and topped with a stovepipe hat will soon have the commercial draw of a pop icon. Shops surrounding the spots of Lincoln's life are searching for all of knickknack to sell, with the nation preparing to celebrate the former president's 200th birth anniversary. Lincoln was born in a log cabin near Hodgenville, Kentucky, on February 12th, 1809. A granite memorial now houses a replica of Lincoln's birthhome.

Lincoln`s facial defects: kicked in the head by a horse, inherent defect
Ronald Fishman evaluated 2 plaster casts of Abraham Lincoln`s face to analyze his facial characteristics. His research used laser scans of the masks to show that Lincoln had cranial facial microsomia. The sporadic drifting of his right eye, noted by contemporaries, was most likely caused by strabismus, a possible result of facial microsomia. The findings provide evidence for why Lincoln`s photographs mainly show his right profile: The left side of Lincoln`s face was smaller than the right. Lincoln was kicked in the head by a horse as a young child, though it is unclear from the scans whether this, or an inherent developmental defect, contributed to his condition.

Looking for the real Lincoln, flaws and all
Andrew Ferguson, a passionate Lincoln buff, has reawakened his interest to discover the complex status of Lincoln's reputation. His book is part historiography, part travelogue, part memoir and part indictment - if not of Lincoln, then of some of the Americans who devote themselves to preserving his memory. Much of the book is devoted to his hilarious efforts to force-feed Lincoln to his Internet-conditioned children. The youngsters are dragged to the Lincoln sites Ferguson treasured in his own childhood. No parent who ever packed a family into a station wagon will fail to identify with the adventures of the Ferguson clan on the Lincoln Heritage Trail.

Extremely rare photo of Abraham Lincoln, Wife to be Auctioned
A rare photograph featuring President Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, is heading to the auction block. The pre-Civil War ambrotype was created with a photographic process that was used in the early 1850s. The photo can be traced back to the home of Union Civil War General Joshua Chamberlain. The image is directly on the glass and can be viewed because of the black paper behind it in the frame. It is the only known photograph of Lincoln and his wife together. A third figure in the picture is Elizabeth Todd Edwards, Mary Todd Lincoln's sister.

PBS show finds man's yard sale purchase is authentic Lincoln letter
Joseph Skanks has received confirmation that an 1858 Abraham Lincoln letter he bought at a yard sale for $8 is the real thing. His discovery will be featured in a PBS "History Detectives" episode. Joseph Skanks had been known around Tampa as the guy with the Abraham Lincoln letter. Maybe. In May, "History Detectives" brought the letter to John Lupton, associate editor of the Springfield-based Papers of Abraham Lincoln. "Lincoln`s handwriting is very fluid. Most can`t replicate its fluidity perfectly." Lupton also knows some tricks: Many forgers don`t know Lincoln crossed his T`s backwards, leaving a heavier streak on the right end of the cross.

Lincoln museum gets collection of items
A battered old hat, a pair of stained gloves, a child's silly rhyme - hardly the stuff of history. Except that the gloves are stained with a president's blood and the rhyme was written by a young Abraham Lincoln. All part of a private collection put together by a Lincoln fan over 35 years. Now the collection is about to go public after purchased for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The strength of collection is the array of personal items related to the 16th president, his wife and his assassin John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln hated wearing gloves, yet he always carried them. This pair has stains - blood from Lincoln's assassination on April 14, 1865.

History professor releases new book "Lincoln the Lawyer"
Dr. Brian Dirck has released Lincoln the Lawyer, a book focusing on the law career of the 16th president of the US. The book examines what the law did to and for Abraham Lincoln, and its important impact on his future presidency. "A lot of people forget that Lincoln was a lawyer, and a very good one. in fact, he is the most experienced trial attorney we ever put in the White House." Lawyering was also how Lincoln learned to become a mediator between angry antagonists, as he applied his knowledge of the law and of human nature to settle disputes.

Lincoln wanted Lee chased down after Gettysburg
The U.S. National Archives has unveiled a handwritten note by Abraham Lincoln exhorting his generals to pursue Robert E. Lee's army after the battle of Gettysburg. A Civil War specialist for the Archives discovered the July 7, 1863, note 3 weeks ago in a batch of military papers stored among the billions of pages. The text of Lincoln's note has been publicly known because the general to whom Lincoln addressed it telegraphed the contents to the front lines at Gettysburg. There, the Union army's leaders failed for more than a week to pursue Lee after his defeat. By that time, the Confederate army had slipped across the Potomac River. The war continued for 2 more years.

Flags for the Soldiers Who Saved Washington, Abraham Lincoln
At the Battle of Fort Stevens, July 11-12 1864, Confederate General Jubal Early's troops were near the capital. When Abraham Lincoln went to watch the battle, sharpshooters took aim, and he became the only sitting president to be fired upon in a battle. Among the Union soldiers defending Washington were the rawest of recruits. With the help of more seasoned troops, they turned back the attack. "We're not short, are we?" Ron Harvey Jr. shouts at Jessica Kusky, who cradles an armful of American flags. The two park rangers are marking the graves of Union soldiers who fought at the Battle and were buried at Battleground National Cemetery on Georgia Avenue NW.

Lincoln came near death from smallpox: researchers
President Abraham Lincoln may have come closer than realized to dying from smallpox shortly after delivering his Gettysburg Address, medical researchers said. After giving the Civil War speech, he became ill with symptoms of smallpox: high fever, weakness, severe pain in the head and back, "prostration" /an old-fashioned word for extreme fatigue) and skin eruptions that lasted for 3 weeks in late 1863. "His death due to smallpox would have undoubtedly changed the subsequent history of the country."

Blood-stained Lincoln flag goes on loan   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Onlookers gathered at the Columns Museum of the Pike County Historical Society in Milford, Pa. as the blood-stained "Lincoln Flag" was ceremoniously removed from the museum to begin its 2-hour trek to the Leigh Valley Heritage Museum in Allentown, Pa. The 36-star American flag was used to cushion Abraham Lincoln's head after he was fatally wounded by an assassin's bullet April 14, 1865. The flag is being loaned to the museum for 1 week and will join other Lincoln artifacts and memorabilia on display as part of the Lehigh Valley museum's "Abraham Lincoln and the Promise of America" exhibit.

Stealing Lincoln's Body - The odd reburials of Abraham Lincoln   (Article no longer available from the original source)
April 15,1865, Abraham Lincoln died. After ceremonies and public viewings, from Baltimore through New York to Chicago, he was buried on May 4, 1865, at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield. His elaborate marble tomb became a tourist destination. And then on Nov. 7, 1876 a gang of counterfeiters tried to steal Lincoln's body. Their plan was to hold it for ransom and force the release of engraver Benjamin Boyd, but agents of the Secret Service had infiltrated the gang. The attempted body snatching so disturbed the cemetery's custodian that he removed Lincoln's coffin and buried it under the tomb.

Intern steals Lincoln death notice from U.S. archives   (Article no longer available from the original source)
A 40-year-old intern with the National Archives stole 165 Civil War documents - including the War Department's announcement of President Abraham Lincoln's death - and sold most of them on eBay. Denning McTague, who runs a Web site that sells rare books, worked at a National Archives site in the city last summer. McTague has helped officials recover most of the missing items and plans to plead guilty. The stolen Civil War-era documents include telegrams concerning the troops' weaponry. "These are pieces of American history to be preserved, not sold to the highest bidder."

How did Abraham Lincoln compose his famous speeches
How did Abraham Lincoln compose his famous speeches? A historian Douglas Wilson has won the Lincoln Prize for examining the process by which the 16th president crafted prose that is among the most memorable in American history. In April, Wilson will receive $50,000 and a bronze cast of Augustus St. Gaudens's Lincoln sculpture in recognition of his book "Lincoln's Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words." In Lincoln's Sword, Wilson has examined drafts of composition, second thoughts, refinement and recasting in which Lincoln transformed ordinary thoughts into immortal speech.

The telegraph is a window into Lincoln's mind
The Abraham Lincoln is known for his soaring prose. What we remember, however, is Lincoln's planned prose; he kept no diary or other record of his thoughts. Yet insight is possible through the nearly 1,000 messages he sent via the new telegraph technology. These messages preserve his spur-of-the-moment thoughts and are the closest we will come to a transcript of a conversation with Abraham Lincoln. In their unstructured form, Lincoln comes alive. Since Lincoln wrote his telegrams by hand, their cross-outs and insertions show his mind at work.

Tales from the Crypt: A History of the Lincoln Tomb
Think you've seen everything at the Abraham Lincoln Museum in Springfield? The museum's got a new temporary exhibit that features an unusual topic: Lincoln's tomb. "Tales from the Crypt: A History of the Lincoln Tomb" recreates the events and decisions surrounding the creation of the tomb. It details stories around the martyred remains of the 16th president, including tomb raiders and plots to steal Lincoln's body. Some of the artifacts on display include the mourning sash worn by Ulysses S. Grant and burglary tools used during an 1876 attempt to steal Lincoln's body.

Mutant Gene Shatters Nerves: Was Abraham Lincoln Affected?
If you bend a knee, the nerves in your limbs stretch but do not break. A study suggests why: A gene produces a protein that keeps nerve cells flexible. The discovery may provide a new explanation for spinocerebellar ataxia type 5 (SCA5) - a disease identified in 11 generations of Abraham Lincoln's family. SCA5 may have afflicted Lincoln himself. The new study suggests how. "Were Lincoln's nerves shattered? We don't know. But our study raises the possibility that they were." There is a journalist's 1861 description of the tall, lanky Lincoln's "shambling, loose, irregular, almost unsteady gait."

Abraham Lincoln's Illinois tomb vandalized
Vandals destroyed a 100-year-old urn at the Springfield, Ill., tomb of Abraham Lincoln during New Year's weekend. The concrete urn, a decorative replica of the original dated to the early 20th century, was pushed off the edge of the receiving vault at the tomb, where it fell and shattered. Lincoln's tomb was built 1869-1874 and is the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary Todd, and 3 of the couple's 4 sons. The tomb has been the target of vandalism before, once in 1987 and again in 1997, at which point then-Governor Jim Edgar ordered 24-hour monitoring of the tomb.

Author analyzes Abraham Lincoln as wordsmith
The smart money was never on Abraham Lincoln: He was laughed at for his leadership skills, scorned for his corn-pone appearance. His lack of education made him a target. Lincoln became an underdog commando, a genuinely brilliant man who rarely let on just how smart he was. By never acknowledging how much he knew about the enemies he kept near, he won their most valuable gift: silence. By farming out his literary output to a variety of beta readers, he was able to sift through their equivocations, modify his speeches and proclamations, and seem ever the cautious yet charismatic leader in perhaps US' most dangerous time: the Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln exhibit: photographs, artwork and objects
Known as Honest Abe and considered to be the America's greatest president, Abraham Lincoln has a special place in American history. A chance to revisit Lincoln's legacy is coming to Riverside County. "Lincolniana," an exhibit featuring photographs, artwork and other objects from the early 1860s, is set for a Jan. 20 through April 2 run at the Temecula Valley Museum. "It's a rare opportunity to view and learn 75-100 artifacts from that period in our history. You don't often find collectors willing to share what they have with the public."

Abraham Lincoln Reconsidered
He was a man of faint faith, and yet he is remembered as the greatest believer in American history. He was a man of jokes and gags, and yet he harbored more hurt, more loss, than any public man of his time. He was an uncertain man, and yet he is remembered for articulating the great certainties in American national life. He was a humble man, and yet he is acclaimed as the greatest American of all time. "We remember him because he transcended politics. Lincoln's ability to outgrow the racist culture that produced him is one reason why he still speaks to us and one reason we can hope we can be better than we have been."

Bargain could be a priceless 1856 letter by Abraham Lincoln
An amateur historian believes he has unearthed a priceless letter written by the former American president Abraham Lincoln after buying it for 1 at a car boot sale. Kenneth Anderson-Jones found the dirt-encrusted framed document in a pile of bric-a-brac. When he got it home he cleaned it up to find it was a letter written in 1856 by Lincoln giving Lt Gen Ulysses S Grant total command of the U.S. army, a move that led to victory in the American Civil War. If it is found to be genuine, the letter could be worth more than 500,000, although U.S. authorities can declare it a federal document and therefore claim ownership.

Abraham Lincoln papers added to collection in the net
Several Abraham Lincoln papers housed at the McLean County Museum of History are on their way to joining tens of thousands of others in a future Internet publication called the Illinois Papers. The Illinois Papers is the second in a series of three Lincoln projects. The first, "Legal Papers," was completed in 2000 and is a collection of papers from Lincoln`s legal career. The Illinois Papers will include correspondence and other non-legal documents from before Lincoln`s inauguration as president in 1861. The third project in the series will be the "Presidential Papers."

Abraham Lincoln seeking support for slavery - Rare letter   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Letter written by President Lincoln seeks governors' support on legalizing slavery. The president remembered for abolishing slavery was willing to preserve that institution if doing so would preserve the union. It didn't work, as the half-million dead of the Civil War prove. Most of the 1861 letters didn't survive. Until now only three were known to exist. Then a Lincoln researcher stopped by the Lehigh County Historical Society to review its Lincoln-related holdings and found a fourth letter. The document, dated March 16, 1861 less than a month before civil war broke out was hiding in plain sight among the society's 3 million documents.

Did Lincoln Blunder Into War - Mr. Lincoln Goes to War
Civil War historian William Marvel asks provocative questions in "Mr. Lincoln Goes to War", a new account of the war`s beginnings that casts President Lincoln`s leadership in a critical light. Lincoln did little to avert war; indeed, he hastened the outbreak of hostilities. The book questions not only Lincoln`s actions but also the basic aims of the Civil War, asking, "Would the bifurcation of the United States have been worse than the war waged to prevent it?" The author emphasizes mistakes by the Union`s military and political leadership. He faults Lincoln for employing authoritarian techniques in border areas where they only inflamed preexisting anger.