Every Drop of Blood: The Momentous Second Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln

Every Drop of Blood: The Momentous Second Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln

by Edward Achorn

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Overview

A brilliantly conceived and vividly drawn story—Washington, D.C. on the eve of Abraham Lincoln’s historic second inaugural address as the lens through which to understand all the complexities of the Civil War

By March 4, 1865, the Civil War had slaughtered more than 700,000 Americans and left intractable wounds on the nation. After a morning of rain-drenched fury, tens of thousands crowded Washington’s Capitol grounds that day to see Abraham Lincoln take the oath for a second term. As the sun emerged, Lincoln rose to give perhaps the greatest inaugural address in American history, stunning the nation by arguing, in a brief 701 words, that both sides had been wrong, and that the war’s unimaginable horrors—every drop of blood spilled—might well have been God’s just verdict on the national sin of slavery.

Edward Achorn reveals the nation’s capital on that momentous day—with its mud, sewage, and saloons, its prostitutes, spies, reporters, social-climbing spouses and power-hungry politicians—as a microcosm of all the opposing forces that had driven the country apart. A host of characters, unknown and famous, had converged on Washington—from grievously wounded Union colonel Selden Connor in a Washington hospital and the embarrassingly drunk new vice president, Andrew Johnson, to poet-journalist Walt Whitman; from soldiers’ advocate Clara Barton and African American leader and Lincoln critic-turned-admirer Frederick Douglass (who called the speech “a sacred effort”) to conflicted actor John Wilkes Booth—all swirling around the complex figure of Lincoln.

In indelible scenes, Achorn vividly captures the frenzy in the nation’s capital at this crucial moment in America’s history and the tension-filled hope and despair afflicting the country as a whole, soon to be heightened by Lincoln's assassination. His story offers new understanding of our great national crisis and echoes down the decades to resonate in our own time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802148742
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 03/03/2020
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 14,160
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Edward Achorn , a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Commentary and winner of the Yankee Quill Award, is the vice president and editorial pages editor of The Providence Journal. He is the author of two acclaimed books about nineteenth century baseball and American culture, Fifty-nine in ’84 and The Summer of Beer and Whiskey. He lives in an 1840s farmhouse in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Image Credits xi

Prologue: The Nation's Wounds xv

Chapter 1 Bloody Gashes on the Face of Heaven 1

Chapter 2 One and a Half Times Bigger 21

Chapter 3 A Message from Grant 39

Chapter 4 The Real Precious and Royal Ones 58

Chapter 5 Meditation on the Divine Will 79

Chapter 6 Public Sentiment Is Everything 98

Chapter 7 Indefinable Fascination 112

Chapter 8 The Blighting Pestilence 130

Chapter 9 There Was Murder in the Air 150

Chapter 10 A Future with Hope in It 166

Chapter 11 Andy Ain't a Drunkard 187

Chapter 12 An Excellent Chance to Kill the President 203

Chapter 13 With Malice toward None 220

Chapter 14 A Truth That Needed to Be Told 238

Chapter 15 A Sacred Effort 256

Epilogue: The Stuff to Carry Them Through 273

Appendix: Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address 297

Acknowledgments 301

Bibliography 305

Notes 323

Index 361

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