Lincoln's Sanctuary: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers' Home

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Oxford University Press, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages
After the heartbreaking death of his son Willie, Abraham Lincoln and his family fled the gloom that hung over the White House, moving into a small cottage in Washington, D.C., on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home, a residence for disabled military veterans. In Lincoln's Sanctuary, historian
Matthew Pinsker offers a fascinating portrait of Lincoln's stay in this cottage and tells the story of the president's remarkable growth as a national leader and a private man.
Lincoln lived at the Soldiers' Home for a quarter of his presidency, and for nearly half of the critical year of 1862, but most Americans (including many scholars) have not heard of the place. Indeed, this is the first volume to specifically connect this early summer White House to key
wartime developments, including the Emancipation Proclamation, the firing of McClellan, the evolution of Lincoln's Father Abraham image, the election of 1864, and the assassination conspiracy. Through a series of striking vignettes, the reader discovers a more accessible Lincoln, demonstrating
what one visitor to the Soldiers' Home described as his remarkable elasticity of spirits. At his secluded cottage, the president complained to his closest aides, recited poetry to his friends, reconnected with his wife and family, conducted secret meetings with his political enemies, and narrowly
avoided assassination attempts. Perhaps most important, he forged key friendships that helped renew his flagging spirits. The cottage became a refuge from the pressures of the White House, a place of tranquility where Lincoln could refresh his mind.
Based on research in rarely tapped sources, especially the letters and memoirs of people who lived or worked at the Soldiers' Home, Lincoln's Sanctuary offers the unexpected--a completely fresh view of Abraham Lincoln--through the window of a place that helped shape his presidency.

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User Review  - gbelik - LibraryThing

Lincoln and his family spent summers at a house on the grounds of a wounded soldier's retirement home. It was a lovely wooded location, but an easy 30 minute commute to the White House. His time there ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - estamm - LibraryThing

Well researched book about a the Soldier's Home, where Lincoln stayed during the hot summers during the Civil War. I was aware of this location, but this book brought to life many more details about ... Read full review


Gone to the country
Am I to have no rest?
Forever Free
Capt D and his company
Mother very slightly hurt
In fine whack
Whatever is is right
There is something else there
Lincoln at the Soldiers Home

Present at Fort Stevens
Damned in Time in Eternity

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Page 10 - And that small model of the barren earth Which serves as paste and cover to our bones. For God's sake let us sit upon the ground And tell sad stories of the death of kings: How some have been depos'd, some slain in war...
Page vii - I happen to live where he passes to or from his lodgings out of town. He never sleeps at the White House during the hot season, but has quarters at a healthy location some three miles north of the city, the Soldiers' home, a United States military establishment.

About the author (2003)

Matthew Pinsker teaches at Dickinson College and writes frequently about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era. He lives with his wife in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

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