William O. Stoddard was one of three private secretaries to President Abraham Lincoln. He was the author of over one hundred books.
Inside Lincoln's White House in War Timesby William O. Stoddard
William O. Stoddard was one of three private secretaries to Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. His view back to his youth in the White House from decades later is full of humor, pathos, and abiding
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A unique work on the years of the Lincoln presidency that provides a look at White House life that is fascinating in detail and intimate in its viewpoint.
William O. Stoddard was one of three private secretaries to Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. His view back to his youth in the White House from decades later is full of humor, pathos, and abiding affection for the man who he observed closely through the war.
Wrote Stoddard of Lincoln: "There is a world of natural majesty in this man's manner and presence."
Stoddard was able to contrast Lincoln with McClellan on several occasions, including an evening at McClellan's home with Lincoln. Despite the general's superior education, Stoddard clearly sees Lincoln's wisdom...and his iron will when he has made a decision.
The secretaries around Lincoln keenly felt the horrible tension of the war years and its impact on their boss. Stoddard felt the staff to be like a family and his affection for Lincoln is evident throughout his book. One night finds Stoddard still at his desk until 3:00 am, hearing Lincoln's slow, heavy footfalls across the hall as he paces and ponders a crushing decision.
Like all Lincoln biographers, Stoddard emphasizes the importance of humor in keeping Lincoln sane and he shares wonderful stories not to be found in other works on Lincoln. Share a delightful scene of Lincoln crossing the hall to his secretaries' office to hear a joke by Nicolay and Hay. Stoddard gets a roar out of Lincoln by telling him a story of Seward and Stanton being ordered by a German-American sergeant to put out their cigars before entering the White House grounds.
He describes an evening at Joe Hall's, the gambling house that sat among other gaming establishments, taverns, and bordellos between the White House and the Capitol. Judges, congressmen, soldiers, contractors, and lobbyists could all be found playing faro and other games of chance on any given night.
A morning on the Capitol Mall finds Lincoln and his secretaries test-firing new weapons. While he watches his nation "bleeding terribly and spending oceans of money," Stoddard seems to miss no detail of life around him. He more than once notes that the White House is an oven in the summertime.
For less than you'd spend on gas going to the library, this long out-of-print volume is available as an affordable, well-formatted book for e-readers and smartphones.
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