- Historic Sites
Spring 2011 | Volume 61, Issue 1
Abraham Lincoln Address
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
SourceNew York Times
Washington, Monday, March 4—ABRAHAM LINCOLN has been inaugurated, and “all's well.” At daylight the clouds were dark and heavy with rain, threatening to dampen the enthusiasm of the occasion with unwelcome showers. A few drops fell occasionally before 8 o’clock, but not enough to lay the dust, which, under the impulse of a strong northwest wind, swept down upon the avenue from the cross streets quite unpleasantly. The weather was cool and bracing, and, on the whole, favorable to the ceremonies of the day. Mr. LINCOLN rose at 5 o'clock. After an early breakfast, the Inaugural was read aloud to him by his son ROBERT, and the completing touches were added, including the beautiful and impassioned closing paragraph. Mr. LINCOLN then retired from his family circle to his closet, where he prepared himself for the solemn and weighty responsibilities which he was about to assume.
SourceCatherine Edmonston Diary
Thirty-seven-year-old North Carolinian Catherine Edmondston decried the inauguration of Lincoln in her journal, right. She and her husband owned the Looking Glass and Hascosea plantations in Halifax County, a spread of 1,894 acres worked by 88 slaves.
March 4, 1861, Diary entry, Halifax County, North Carolina—Today was inaugrated 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 Dignity... Well, we have a Rail Splitter and a tall man at the head of our affairs!
From "Journal of a Secesh Lady": The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston, 1860–1866, ed. Beth G. Crabtree and James W. Patton (North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979).