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Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

 *** Approximately 7,000 North Carolina soldiers were either killed, wounded, or captured at the Battle of Gettysburg. Today is the anniversary of the dedication of the cemetery at the Battlefield.  The remains of North Carolina soldiers were moved to Raleigh’s Oakwood Cemetery beginning in 1871. 

Source: Abraham Lincoln Online

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Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation,  on September 22, 1862 with the final draft of the document effective on January 1, 1863.  Catherine Edmondston pasted a newspaper copy of the proclamation in her journal and remarked on its contents in today’s post from her journal.  A military move by President Lincoln as commander in chief of the military, the proclamation directed that  “all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United states, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.”

View a printed copy of the September 22, 1862 version on the Library Congress’ website here.

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March 4 [1861]

 There has been no sunshine today.  The heavens seem to be hung with darkness, over our nation’s wrongs. Yes today, I fear, will seal the sad, sad fate of our country’s history, for this is the day for the inauguration of a President.  That will cause a dissolution of our Union; and we know not what other ill will follow.  We can only look to Him whose power alone sways heaven & earth.  But this die is cast; our Star spangled banner will wave no more over us as a free united & happy people.  The mad fanatics of the North seem bent on the destruction of the South.  They have been throwing fire brands in our midst for years, secretly.  Now they have come out with a black republication President resolved to carry out their wicked designs at the risk of life, happiness & virtue.  My Lord subdue the foul spirits & save us as a people from war & blood shed.  The South has borne the insults of the North too long.  But forbearance has ceased & now the crisis has arrived; some are standing idle instead of presenting one unbroken front.  We are divided among ourselves; some noble States have seceded while others are quietly submitting to the Enemy & talking about Union when there is NONE.  The SAD TRUTH, the UNION is gone, and the tie that bound us is broken.  The golden links have been rudely severed by the politicians & the abolitionists of the North.  Instead of peace, now, we hear rumors of war & division, & today…

            Amid convulsive sighs & heartfelt groans

            Our dear bought Union Sinks in sad decay

            And now our Mighty Nation mourns

            To see her day of Glory pass away.

 

            Today our once proud Capitol of states

            Will pass into the hands of mad fanatics, who

            Have sought the tie of Sisterhood to slay

            And scatter peace and civil rights away.

 

Sources: Thomas C. Parramore, F. Roy Johnson, and E. Frank Stephenson, Jr., eds. Before the Rebel Flag Fell. (Murfreesboro, NC: Johnson Publishing Company, 1965).

 PC 222 Annie Darden Diaries.  North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC. http://www.archives.ncdcr.gov/

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March 6, 1861

Came Mr Lincoln’s Inaugral. I scarcely know which to dwell most on, its wickedness or its weakness! The cloven foot is there & an attempt made to draw a drapery around it — an attempt which fails so signally as to excite ones contempt.

Rode with Patrick. Had a long & gloomy talk about the state of our country. I hope no one will say any thing more about SC to him. It needs but the spark to fall upon the carded flax. Went to the Ploughs & the Ditchers.

At Father’s. Could I have believed that any Southern person could find any thing to commend in Lincoln’s message? But so it is. Mama & Sue both think “he means well”! Heaven save the mark! Father does not like it & looks gloomy. Lincoln’s intense vulgarity disgusts him, his talk about “running the Machine as he finds it” revolts every sentiment of good taste. Rather say he will drive in his wedge where he finds the split & that Mr Lincoln will be Mason & Dixon’s line Virginia surely cannot stand every thing, nor can this so called “Peace Congress” long throw sand in her eye. Should she secede, what an odd position N Carolina would occupy, fairly “squeezed” out of the Union. Mrs Lincoln’s invitation to Mr Buchanon to stay with them when he came to Washington must have made him wince, for he at least understands how gentle folks ought to behave.

Heard Frank’s lessons. He begins to think that Mrs Devereux “dont like South Carolina at all!”

Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979). http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html

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Excerpts from CHAPTER V. “MY INTRODUCTION TO MRS. LINCOLN.”

       Ever since arriving in Washington I had a great desire to work for the ladies of the White House, and to accomplish this end I was ready to make almost any sacrifice consistent with propriety.

 One of my patrons was Mrs. Gen. McClean, a daughter of Gen. Sumner. One day when I was very busy, Mrs. McC. drove up to my apartments, came in where I was engaged with my needle, and in her emphatic way said:

       “Lizzie, I am invited to dine at Willard’s on next Sunday, and positively I have not a dress fit to wear on the occasion. I have just purchased material, and you must commence work on it right away.”

       “But Mrs. McClean,” I replied, “I have more work now promised than I can do. It is impossible for me to make a dress for you to wear on Sunday next.”

       “Pshaw! Nothing is impossible. I must have the dress made by Sunday;” and she spoke with some impatience.

        “I am sorry,” I began, but she interrupted me.

        “Now don’t say no again. I tell you that you must make the dress. I have often heard you say that you would like to work for the ladies of the White House. Well, I have it in my power to obtain you this privilege. I know Mrs. Lincoln well, and you shall make a dress for her provided you finish mine in time to wear at dinner on Sunday.”

        The inducement was the best that could have been offered. I would undertake the dress if I should have to sit up all night–every night, to make my pledge good. I sent out and employed assistants, and, after much worry and trouble, the dress was completed to the satisfaction of Mrs. McClean. It appears that Mrs. Lincoln had upset a cup of coffee on the dress she designed wearing on the evening of the reception after the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, which rendered it necessary that she should have a new one for the occasion. On asking Mrs. McClean who her dress-maker was, that lady promptly informed her, “Lizzie Keckley.”

        The next Sunday Mrs. McClean sent me a message to call at her house at four o’clock P.M., that day. As she did not state why I was to call, I determined to wait till Monday morning. Monday morning came, and nine o’clock found me at Mrs. McC.’s house. The streets of the capital were thronged with people, for this was Inauguration day. A new President, a man of the people from the broad prairies of the West, was to accept the solemn oath of office, was to assume the responsibilities attached to the high position of Chief Magistrate of the United States. Never was such deep interest felt in the inauguration proceedings as was felt to-day; for threats of assassination had been made, and every breeze from the South came heavily laden with the rumors of war. Around Willard’s hotel swayed an excited crowd, and it was with the utmost difficulty that I worked my way to the house on the opposite side of the street, occupied by the McCleans. Mrs. McClean was out, but presently an aide on General McClean’s staff called, and informed me that I was wanted at Willard’s. I crossed the street, and on entering the hotel was met by Mrs. McClean, who greeted me:

        “Lizzie, why did you not come yesterday, as I requested? Mrs. Lincoln wanted to see you, but I fear that now you are too late.”

        “I am sorry, Mrs. McClean. You did not say what you wanted with me yesterday, so I judged that this morning would do as well.”

        “You should have come yesterday,” she insisted. “Go up to Mrs. Lincoln’s room”–giving me the number–“she may find use for you yet.”

        With a nervous step I passed on, and knocked at Mrs. Lincoln’s door. A cheery voice bade me come in, and a lady, inclined to stoutness, about forty years of age, stood before me.

        “You are Lizzie Keckley, I believe.”

        I bowed assent.

        “The dress-maker that Mrs. McClean recommended?”

        “Yes, madam.”

        “Very well; I have not time to talk to you now, but would like to have you call at the White House, at eight o’clock to-morrow morning, where I shall then be.”

        I bowed myself out of the room, and returned to my apartments. The day passed slowly, for I could not help but speculate in relation to the appointed interview for the morrow. My long-cherished hope was about to be realized, and I could not rest.

 

        Tuesday morning, at eight o’clock, I crossed the threshold of the White House for the first time. I was shown into a waiting-room, and informed that Mrs. Lincoln was at breakfast. In the waiting-room I found no less than three mantua-makers waiting for an interview with the wife of the new President. It seems that Mrs. Lincoln had told several of her lady friends that she had urgent need for a dress-maker, and that each of these friends had sent her mantua-maker to the White House. Hope fell at once. With so many rivals for the position sought after, I regarded my chances for success as extremely doubtful. I was the last one summoned to Mrs. Lincoln’s presence. All the others had a hearing, and were dismissed. I went up-stairs timidly, and entering the room with nervous step, discovered the wife of the President standing by a window, looking out, and engaged in lively conversation with a lady, Mrs. Grimsly, as I afterwards learned. Mrs. L. came forward, and greeted me warmly.

        “You have come at last. Mrs. Keckley, who have you worked for in the city?”

        “Among others, Mrs. Senator Davis has been one of my best patrons,” was my reply.

        “Mrs. Davis! So you have worked for her, have you? Of course you gave satisfaction; so far, good. Can you do my work?”

        “Yes, Mrs. Lincoln. Will you have much work for me to do?”

        “That, Mrs. Keckley, will depend altogether upon your prices. I trust that your terms are reasonable. I cannot afford to be extravagant. We are just from the West, and are poor. If you do not charge too much, I shall be able to give you all my work.”

        “I do not think there will be any difficulty about charges, Mrs. Lincoln; my terms are reasonable.”

        “Well, if you will work cheap, you shall have plenty to do. I can’t afford to pay big prices, so I frankly tell you so in the beginning.”

         The terms were satisfactorily arranged, and I measured Mrs. Lincoln, took the dress with me, a bright rose-colored moire-antique, and returned the next day to fit it on her. A number of ladies were in the room, all making preparations for the levee to come off on Friday night. These ladies, I learned, were relatives of Mrs. L.’s,–Mrs. Edwards and Mrs. Kellogg, her own sisters, and Elizabeth Edwards and Julia Baker, her nieces. Mrs. Lincoln this morning was dressed in a cashmere wrapper, quilted down the front; and she wore a simple head-dress. The other ladies wore morning robes.

         I was hard at work on the dress, when I was informed that the levee had been postponed from Friday night till Tuesday night. This, of course, gave me more time to complete my task. Mrs. Lincoln sent for me, and suggested some alteration in style, which was made. She also requested that I make a waist of blue watered silk for Mrs. Grimsly, as work on the dress would not require all my time.

         Tuesday evening came, and I had taken the last stitches on the dress. I folded it and carried it to the White House, with the waist for Mrs. Grimsly. When I went up-stairs, I found the ladies in a terrible state of excitement. Mrs. Lincoln was protesting that she could not go down, for the reason that she had nothing to wear.

        “Mrs. Keckley, you have disappointed me– deceived me. Why do you bring my dress at this late hour?”

        “Because I have just finished it, and I thought I should be in time.”

        “But you are not in time, Mrs. Keckley; you have bitterly disappointed me. I have no time now to dress, and, what is more, I will not dress, and go down-stairs.”

        “I am sorry if I have disappointed you, Mrs. Lincoln, for I intended to be in time. Will you let me dress you? I can have you ready in a few minutes.”

        “No, I won’t be dressed. I will stay in my room. Mr. Lincoln can go down with the other ladies.”

        “But there is plenty of time for you to dress, Mary,” joined in Mrs. Grimsly and Mrs. Edwards. “Let Mrs. Keckley assist you, and she will soon have you ready.”

         Thus urged, she consented. I dressed her hair, and arranged the dress on her. It fitted nicely, and she was pleased. Mr. Lincoln came in, threw himself on the sofa, laughed with Willie and little Tad, and then commenced pulling on his gloves, quoting poetry all the while.

        “You seem to be in a poetical mood to-night,” said his wife.

        “Yes, mother, these are poetical times,” was his pleasant reply. “I declare, you look charming in that dress. Mrs. Keckley has met with great success.” And then he proceeded to compliment the other ladies.

        Mrs. Lincoln looked elegant in her rose-colored moire-antique. She wore a pearl necklace, pearl ear-rings, pearl bracelets, and red roses in her hair. Mrs. Baker was dressed in lemon-colored silk; Mrs. Kellogg in a drab silk, ashes of rose; Mrs. Edwards in a brown and black silk; Miss Edwards in crimson, and Mrs. Grimsly in blue watered silk. Just before starting down-stairs, Mrs. Lincoln’s lace handkerchief was the object of search. It had been displaced by Tad, who was mischievous, and hard to restrain. The handkerchief found, all became serene. Mrs. Lincoln took the President’s arm, and with smiling face led the train below. I was surprised at her grace and composure. I had heard so much, in current and malicious report, of her low life, of her ignorance and vulgarity, that I expected to see her embarrassed on this occasion. Report, I soon saw, was wrong. No queen, accustomed to the usages of royalty all her life, could have comported herself with more calmness and dignity than did the wife of the President. She was confident and self-possessed, and confidence always gives grace.

        This levee was a brilliant one, and the only one of the season. I became the regular modiste of Mrs. Lincoln. I made fifteen or sixteen dresses for her during the spring and early part of the summer, when she left Washington; spending the hot weather at Saratoga, Long Branch, and other places. In the mean time I was employed by Mrs. Senator Douglas, one of the loveliest ladies that I ever met, Mrs. Secretary Wells, Mrs. Secretary Stanton, and others. Mrs. Douglas always dressed in deep mourning, with excellent taste, and several of the leading ladies of Washington society were extremely jealous of her superior attractions.

Source: Elizabeth Keckley, ca. 1818-1907. Behind the Scenes by Elizabeth Keckley, Formerly a Slave, But More Recently Modiste, and Friend to Mrs. Abraham Lincoln, or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House. (New York: G. W. Carleton & Co., Publishers, 1868) Electronic Edition: http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/keckley/keckley.html


Elizabeth Keckley, ca. 1818-1907

Biography: http://www.ncmarkers.com/Results.aspx?k=Search&ct=btn

On a dress she made for Mrs. Lincoln now in the Smithsonian: http://objectofhistory.org/objects/intro/dress/

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March 4, 1861

Today was inaugurated that wretch Abraham Lincoln President of the US. We are told not to speak evil of Dignities, but it is hard to realize he is a Dignity. Ah! would that Jefferson Davis was our President. He is a man to whom a gentleman could look at without mortification as cheif of his nation. “How glorious was the” President elect on his tour, asking at Railway Stations for impudent girls who had written him about his whiskers & rewarding their impudence with a kiss! Faugh! Sweet Republican simplicity how charming thou art, when the future head of a great nation, a man upon whom all eyes are bent measures his august person inch by inch with a visitor whom he fears is taller than himself & chuckles to find himself mistaken. But then Saul was a head & shoulders higher than the multitude — why should not Abraham rest his importance on his stature? How dignified was his entrance in disguise into his future Capital. How grateful should we be to the long cloak & Scotch Cap which saved him from the bloody designs of his Southern enemies. Well, we have a Rail Splitter and a tall man at the head of our affairs! Ned Bartley is both & perhaps excels Mr Lincoln in one or both points, but then he is not of Anglo Saxon blood. Neither is the Vice President Mr Hannibal Hamlin. Gentlemen we can match you on all points to a nicety. Ah my country! God keep you when such hands hold the helm!

Went to the nursery. Noticed an Aldermanic development about one or two of the children & called Gatty’s attention to it. She said, “Miss, I’se give them chillun worm seed fried & worm seed biled & it dont do em no good. I have laid off to ax Master for some worm draps.” I taxed Dicy with dirt eating which she vehemently denied until most traiterously Ailsie stepped in & said, “Now Dicey you know you does.” “& how do you know Ailsie?” “I seed her when we went to the spring & she give me some”! So Dicey & Ailsie were put on a course of rusty nails & Vinegar, with severe threats for the future if they continued it.

Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979). http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html

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Monday, [March] 4th [1861]

 Today old Abe Lincoln takes his seat as president.  Mr. Henry & Mr. Hendrix went to Asheville … Terry said he would give possession of the house & hotel in two weeks.  Mr. Henry got some cups & saucers, the children some candy, me a pair shoes & some cloth for sacks for wheat & other bolt for flour.  I made sacks for wheat at night & mended some old coffee sacks.  John got back from Haywood Saturday night with the wagon.  Cleaned the yard all day Sunday.  I began to work a skirt today.  Sister Jane gave me one ready pointed so I layd off another like it.  Atheline stewed some fruit & I made the pies after dinner.

Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).

 

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