The Lincoln Forum – 2008

By Mel Maurer
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2008, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: The Lincoln Forum ( is an organization that “endeavors to enhance the understanding and preserve the memory of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.” Founded in 1995, the Forum meets each year in Gettysburg, PA, on the anniversary of Lincoln’s address at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Several members of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable are also members of the Lincoln Forum and attend its meeting each year. CCWRT past president and Lincoln Forum member Mel Maurer once again agreed to our request to provide a recap of this year’s event. (Read Mel’s reports on the 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012 Forums.)

Our Webmaster, Paul Burkholder, asked me to report on this year’s Lincoln Forum as I did on last year’s sessions (“if it would not suck all the pleasure out of attending for you.”), and I am happy to comply – any opportunity to talk about my favorite president is good for me. (Sucking and all.) Please realize that no brief notes of mine can do justice to our speakers – I only hope to give you a feel for or a sense of what they said. This, our 13th Forum, was one of the best ever. Its theme was: “The Forum Launches the Lincoln Bicentennial.”

These annual symposiums always begin on November 16 – a Sunday this year. Once again, the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable was well represented. Attending along with me were Lou Braman, Anne Davis, Kirk Hinman, Gordon Doble, Dick Crews, Maynard and Betty Bauer. My son Mike, Rick’s brother, also attended for the first time.

Mel Maurer

Mike, Betty and Maynard rode to Gettysburg with me. Jim Getty, a noted portrayer of Abraham Lincoln (he once performed for our Roundtable), told me that he would be in a show that Sunday in Hanover, PA – just 15 miles from Gettysburg. This show was the “Mount Rushmore Presidents,” so after checking in for the symposium, we drove to Hanover to see it. It featured, as you might imagine, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln (Jim Getty.) The show was presented in the very nice auditorium of Southwestern High School.

This high school appeared to be new and is quite modern. The presidents were very well played – each had about 15 minutes on the program to talk about their experiences, after being introduced with their favorite songs as played by the high school’s 24 member chamber music group. Lincoln was introduced by U.S. Grant. After an intermission, the presidents returned for a press conference, taking questions from the audience. Those portraying the presidents, with years of experience as their subjects, have appeared together several times in this show. They played off each other very nicely. It would be nice if we could bring them to Cleveland sometime. It was a wonderful program – a nice addendum for our trip.

November 16th – Sunday evening – Opening session

The Lincoln Forum officially began as usual with cocktails at 5:30, dinner at 6:00 followed by the first talk of the session. However before the Forum begins we are always welcomed to Gettysburg by a local representative. Sometimes we are welcomed by Gabor Borrit, Lincoln scholar and professor at Gettysburg College (he spoke to our Roundtable several years ago) but as I will explain later, Gabor and Harold Holzer, co-chair of the Forum, had business to attend to at the White House before they could be with us. Tina Grim, administrator of the Civil War Institute of Gettysburg College and the Pennsylvania Lincoln Bicentennial Commission welcomed us as she has in some others years. Her big news was that Gettysburg is a finalist for acquiring the Lincoln material from the now closed Lincoln Museum in Ft. Wayne. The town faces tough competition for this collection from the Lincoln Museum and Library in Springfield. It was good to know that whoever wins, the material will some day be on display again. Tina also told us that the renovation of the Wills House, where Lincoln stayed in Gettysburg, will be completed by February, when it will open to the public.

John Marszalek

In opening the Forum, its co-chair, Judge Frank Williams, paid tribute to John Y. Simon who died this past summer. John was a professor at Southern Illinois University and the country’s leading authority on U. S. Grant. He worked on Grant’s papers for 17 years, publishing a number of volumes, nearly completing this work before he died. John Marszalek, who wrote the definitive book on William T. Sherman, Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order, among others, will complete John’s work. Marszalek is a good friend of our Roundtable – he spoke to our Roundtable four years ago on General Halleck.

The provocative title of the evening’s talk was: “Who Won Lincoln’s War? Grant or Sherman?” Jean Edward Smith, noted biographer – including a book on Grant – spoke for Grant. John Marszalek went first, presenting the case for Sherman. John said that Grant and Sherman together made the perfect officer – they were great partners. He then pointed out that Sherman revolutionized war (total war), taking much territory and bringing the war to an end sooner. Sherman also took Atlanta, saving Lincoln’s presidency – and at one point talked Grant into staying in the Army when, in despair, he wanted to quit. (No Sherman? No Grant or Lincoln.)

Smith, who was filling in for John Simon, is an irascible old guy. (Dick and I thought we had Jean straightened out last year in the bar but it didn’t last.) He opened his talk by saying this was a “silly topic” implying that everyone knows that Grant won the war, pointing out that Grant was in charge and that Sherman was his subordinate – Grant, as general in chief, gave the orders. “Grant was Eisenhower and Sherman was Patton.” Even Sherman, he said, called Grant the “greatest in the war if not of all time.” He went on to list Grant’s many achievements from Ft. Donelson to Appomattox. Both speakers were excellent – using humor with knowledge to make their points. No vote was taken but I suspect that Grant would have won had there been one.

November 17th – Monday morning session

Allen Guelzo

The morning session on November 17th with three speakers was arguably the best ever for the Forum. The first speaker was Allen C. Guelzo, professor of the Civil War era at Gettysburg College and noted author on Lincoln. (His latest book is Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates that Defined America.) His topic was: “The Lincoln-Douglas Debates.” Guelzo, an excellent speaker with a humorous style, first told us what “we thought we knew about the debates” and then corrected or confirmed the facts of what really happened in that Senate race in Illinois in 1858. Each of the seven debates lasted three hours. The first debater – Douglas led off in the first debate – spoke for an hour, followed by the second debater, who spoke for an hour and a half. The first debater then finished up in 30 minutes. Neither man spoke from a prepared text. Hecklers, often loud and raucous, were a part of every debate, along with banners – some mild, some with slurs and other insults. For Douglas, slavery was merely a controversy while for Lincoln, it was an issue to be solved. Douglas believed that democracy was an end in itself – majority rule. Lincoln believed, as Guelzo put it so well, that democracy was more than “two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner.”

Lincoln believed democracy was a means to an end to ensure people of their natural rights. After a slow start, Lincoln went on to win the debates but as we know, he lost the election – in the State Senate. He would have won had there been a popular vote. I asked Guelzo if Lincoln and Douglas were really friends as we have often read. He said they were not, and there was always some jealousy between them. In reply to another questioner, Guelzo said that Lincoln always used others’ under-estimation of him to his advantage. He then closed with a story that when a rambunctious senator came to his White House office to complain to Lincoln about the poor conditions in the country, saying that “Hell was just a mile off,” Lincoln pointed out that that was just about the “distance from the White House to the capital.”

Jean Baker

Our second speaker that morning was Jean Baker, professor of history at Goucher College and noted biographer, including the “still authoritative bio,” Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography. Baker is a feisty ole gal, a “great dame” who tells it as it is with apologies to no one. Her direct style with blunt statements informed and entertained. She defends Mary against all comers, so much so, that some years ago when she spoke at the Forum, I led off my question to her by saying, “Given all that you’ve said about Mary, I’m surprised we are not called the “Mary Lincoln Forum.”

Her topic was: “Abraham and Mary: A 166th Wedding Anniversary Assessment.” She opened her talk by saying that Lincoln was not ,“A flowers and chocolate kind of guy.” The Lincolns were married on November 4, 1842 with about 30 people in attendance. While it was common in those days to just have initials engraved on the wedding ring, Lincoln had Mary’s gold ring engraved with the words, “Love is eternal.” (Maybe the poet in him.) They were married by an Episcopal minister – who, when he was asking Lincoln to love, honor and obey, etc. was interrupted by Lincoln’s friend, Judge Brown, who loudly said, “Jesus Christ Lincoln! Those things are covered by the statutes.” (He probably wasn’t a flowers and chocolate kind of guy either.)

The spacing of the Lincoln’s children seems to indicate they used some form of birth control. Robert, their first child, was named after Mary’s father, William (Willie) was named after a brother-in-law, William Wallace, Edward (Eddie) after a local politician and Thomas (Tad), their last, was named after Lincoln’s father. They were good parents if somewhat permissive and delighted in showing the children off at parties in their home.

Baker accuses Lincoln’s one time law partner, Herndon, who put together a bio on Lincoln soon after his death, and who did not like Mary (she did not like him either), for “gross unfairness” to Mary, calling the Lincolns’ marriage, “miserable.” Baker told us that Mary brought more to the marriage than Abe did but he was in control. They had 22 years together – some good, some not so good, as with many marriages. I think they did love each other – a friend of Mary’s said, “Oh, how she did love that man,” and it’s a shame they were not able to eventually retire in peace.

Craig Symonds

Craig Symonds, professor of history emeritus at the U. S. Naval Academy (who spoke to our Roundtable a few years ago) and author of a number of books on naval activities during the Civil War (his latest book is Lincoln and His Admirals), spoke next. His topic was: “Lincoln Assumes Command.” Craig focused on May 1862, when Lincoln cruised down the Potomac to Hampton Roads, getting seasick along the way, to get an update from McClellan. “Little Mac” was not at his headquarters when Lincoln arrived. While waiting for McClellan’s return, and no doubt just tired of waiting for his generals to do anything, Lincoln noticed a nearby Confederate Battery, he asked Admiral Goldsborough why it was not being bombarded – the admiral took the hint and blasted the battery from his ships, one of which held Lincoln.

The battery was soon abandoned and Lincoln gave orders to general Wool to secure the battery’s ground. Lincoln then left in a boat with 20 men to find a good landing place for the troops. The general’s men took the ground the next morning and began a march to Norfolk. Realizing Norfolk would soon be taken and with no time to effect an escape for the Virginia (Merrimac), the ship was scuttled. Lincoln, as commander, had led his first campaign. Later that month, Lincoln sent McDowell to reinforce McClellan by land and sent troops to the valley in an attempt to trap Jackson. It was this month, Craig said, that Lincoln became in fact – the commander in chief. He remained active, directing military events by telegraph ever after.

November 17th – Monday afternoon session

After a break for lunch, the symposium resumed with a talk by author and documentarian, Philip Kunhardt III. He and his father put together the ABC movie, Lincoln, and its accompanying book, Lincoln: An Illustrated Biography about 10 years ago. His new book is in a way a sequel to that one called: Looking for Lincoln: The Making of an American Icon. It is also based on an upcoming documentary he produced. His talk was titled: “Looking for Lincoln: The Book and the Documentary.”

Philip Kunhardt III

Kunhardt talked of the “Unfolding of Lincoln in history” – his growing reputation after his death and how the public learned of various aspects of his life. He found the “richest period” for this was the first 50 years after he died as the Lincoln we’ve come to know took shape. Robert Lincoln played a major role in defending and shaping his father’s image. Frederick Douglass, who helped to form Lincoln’s views on his race, although he also criticized Lincoln, praised him too, calling him the “Great man of the century,” and saying that Lincoln’s second inaugural talk was “a sacred effort.” Lincoln did see a multi-racial future for our country and strongly supported the 13th Amendment banning slavery. He also looked ahead to suffrage for blacks (which may have cost him his life when Booth heard him say this.)

Kunhardt also described a horrible race riot in Springfield in 1908 with much destruction and many deaths, Some blacks were lynched, including Lincoln’s former boot maker.

As time went on “all (politicians) wanted Lincoln on their side.” (Teddy Roosevelt wore a ring to his inauguration containing some of Lincoln’s hair.) The 100th centennial of Lincoln’s birth in 1909 was thought to be the single largest celebratory event to that time in our history.

Kunhardt concluded that Lincoln “was not without blemish” and that he left a “great but imperfect legacy,” saying something I’ve experienced too – “the more I study Lincoln, the more he holds up.” He then showed us some scenes from his documentary which will be on PBS on February 11, 2009. I know I’ll be watching and recording.

Edna Greene Medford

Our final speaker of the day’s sessions was Edna Greene Medford, associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of History at Howard University. Her topic, one close to her heart as an African American, was: “What Slaves Expected from Emancipation.”

She first told us how the news spread to slaves in the rebelling states after Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation – by word of mouth, by reading of it and even rumors. They were free! Some, upon hearing the news, packed up and left immediately. Lincoln knew for the proclamation to be effective slaves would “have to come over” and many did – 10,000 and more just to Fort Monroe. Others overflowed other camps and forts with some serving as laborers, cooks, guides, etc. And, of course, many blacks served in the Union army – at least 183,000 in over 400 battles. (Serving even though they received less pay than whites and received no clothes allowance as the white soldiers did.) Although most slaves stayed on the plantations – “the thread was pulled”- the terrible fabric of slavery would now come apart wherever it existed.

While local governments asked for help in controlling their slaves, no troops were ever sent for that purpose. One former slave, when told he needed someone to take care of him, replied that he had been taking care of his master and himself for years so he knew he could just take care of himself. Formerly freed slaves helped the newly freed and eventually sharecropping was initiated but it wasn’t unusual for blacks to be cheated in this arrangement. She also repeated what we heard earlier – Lincoln looked towards education and the suffrage for blacks. She also pointed out that blacks originally didn’t have any problem with segregated schools as long as they were getting educations. Overall, Lincoln wanted the races to gradually come to an understanding and then to come together.

We often hear that the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free any slaves since Lincoln was not in control where they were set free but it’s clear his words did take control of that hateful institution and that they did set many free. He was the one who “pulled that thread.”

November 17th – Monday evening program

That evening, before the speaker was introduced, a new award – The Volk Award – was given to Ford’s Theatre (which will reopen in the new year with a new play on Lincoln after extensive behind-the-scenes renovations) for its contribution to the Lincoln Legacy. (I was impressed to see the award itself was a version of the Lincoln Life Mask from 1860, a copy of which no one has bought any tickets for in our special Lincoln raffle this year. I should have tried to sell tickets at the Forum.)

We then learned that Holzer and Boritt had missed the first day of the Forum because they were at the White House receiving, along with others, the Humanitarian of Arts Award from the president. (Yes, that old excuse.) Both awards were well deserved especially for Boritt who arrived in our country as a child, a refugee from oppression in Europe. (As an aside, Holzer was almost moved to tears when I presented him with one of my Lincoln lapel pins – at least it seemed that way to me.)

George Buss

George Buss, secretary of the Forum and acclaimed Lincoln portrayer, then performed Lincoln’s farewell address to the people of Springfield as he left for his Inauguration. (George has presented to our Roundtable twice. Some may remember that he brought his son, Jordon, with him the first time – just before Jordon was to leave for the Navy. Jordon is now a Navy Seal – a medic – and is overseas on assignment. Jordon never forgot the recognition and thanks we gave him when he was here.)

The evening’s speaker was Harold Holzer, vice president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, co-chair of the Forum, Lincoln scholar and author. His latest book is: Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861. His topic as you might suspect was: “Abraham Lincoln: President-Elect.”

Harold Holzer

In opening, Harold told us that Lincoln did not speak from a prepared text in giving his farewell remarks which left the reporters unprepared, so he did his best to write out what he said for them on the train, and in the process probably improved on his words. (Harold also gave us one insight into his White House award ceremony, saying that the actress Olivia DeHaviland (Gone With the Wind), age 93, insisted on rehearsing her movements to the platform to get her award. She politely told the staff that she never performed without a rehearsal and “was not going to start now.”)

Harold noted the challenges faced by president-elect Lincoln, who had only an office in the Illinois Capitol building with virtually no staff or security despite many threats on his life. The stock market was also declining. He listed the major issues facing Lincoln, as some states began to secede from the Union, as six C’s: compromise, conciliation, constitution, coalescence (patronage), communication, cabinet and conveyance. I won’t go into detail on each point (partly because I can’t read some of my napkin notes) but some of his points were: that Lincoln would not compromise on the extension of slavery (telling Seward that he was “inflexible” on the issue), he would not appear in any way to apologize for his election – he would not be, “a sucked egg,” someone without principle.

Lincoln also took time to visit his stepmother – as he left her, she said: “I know they are going to kill you.” As we know – all too well these days – Lincoln put together a cabinet of rivals. In picking Cameron for Secretary of War, Lincoln said, “He has the stink of corruption” but he needed Pennsylvania representation. (This would pay off 4 years later with its support of him for another term.) Harold also related the story of the threats on Lincoln’s life (from several sources) that led him reluctantly to quietly enter DC causing much derision. Partly to offset this, he made a number of public appearances and visited members of the House and Senate and Roger Taney at the Supreme Court. He also went to the White House without an appointment to see President Buchanan. Incredibly, Lincoln’s only security briefing during his pre-presidency was a letter from General Winfield Scott.

November 18th – Tuesday morning sessions

Frank Williams opened the day’s events by reporting on the earlier meeting of the Forum’s board. He told us that 260 of us were there that year and that 50 more had wanted to come. He told us the time had come to move next year’s Forum to a facility with more room for us in Gettysburg – we didn’t really have to be told the main meeting room was too small since we could barely move once we were in it, sitting at tables. He then talked briefly on some bicentennial year events. He also said that 250,000 commemorative books on the bicentennial have been printed for distribution by the states. There is also a series of Town Hall Meetings being held in different locations around the country. The first Town Hall Meeting was scheduled for 11/20 in Gettysburg on: “Race, Freedom and Equality of Opportunity.” There will be a different topic for each one.

As is usual, this year’s winner of the Platt Family Essay Contest was announced next with much of the winning essay read to us. Its title is: “Lincoln and His Vindicated Policy of War.” It was a very scholarly legalistic work and we had no doubt that the college student writing it has a career in law in mind. (Maybe inspired by Lincoln.)

Brian Lamb

Brian Lamb, founder and CEO of C-SPAN as well as host of several programs on that network, spoke next. His topic was: “Lincoln and C-SPAN: 15 years of Television History.” He told us that the new and very expensive Congressional Visitors Center would open on December 2nd. C-SPAN did not cover this year’s Forum so Brian had to tell us that “occasionally they have to cover more than Lincoln.” He then said that in the network’s history it has done over 400 events on Lincoln. He also gave us the background of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates they instigated about 14 years ago, presented in the towns where they originally took place. (Our friend, George Buss, was Lincoln in some of those debates. We also learned during this session that George will be appearing in a play as Lincoln on the “Almanac Trial” next September in Illinois. I hope to have more information on this before the event).

Brian then told us about an upcoming program on the White House to run over 5 days starting at 9:00 pm on December 14th on C-SPAN. He said they were granted access to every room they wished to record. It promises to be an in-depth tour and history of the place. (It may be well, too, to have this record of it since it may not withstand the estimated 4 million visitors expected in DC for the Inauguration.)

He then turned the tables on us, asking for our input and ideas for a program planned for next year which will run for 48 straight hours on a weekend, focusing on all aspects of our country. He received a number of suggestions including one from Dick Crews and one from me. He appeared to be writing them down so we’ll have to see if any get used in the program.

Brian was followed by our traditional panel discussion – this year consisting of Harold Holzer, Ed Steers Jr. (author of several books on Lincoln’s assassination), Gerry Prokowicz (professor of history at East Carolina University) and James Percoco (history educator in residence at the American University in DC.) Frank Williams served as MC. Their topic was: “Lincoln in Myth and Memory.”

“Lincoln in Myth and Memory” panelists Gerry Prokowicz, Ed Steers Jr., James Percoco, and Harold Holzer

Each panelist started by offering their favorite myth or pet peeve myth on Lincoln. Gerry said he always liked the old one that claimed Lincoln was born in a log cabin that Lincoln helped to build with his father. He said his peeve was the myth that Johnson carried out Lincoln’s policies on reconstruction – he did not! Ed related a story about an imaginary undercover man for the Union, named Andrew Potter, about whom great stories are told – but he never did exist. One thing that this Potter allegedly did was to investigate the death of Lincoln, conducting 200 interviews and finding that Stanton and others were involved – all lies, Ed said – never happened. Percoco said his favorite is one that says if you look at the back of the Lincoln figure in his memorial you can see Lee looking towards Arlington. Not true. He went on to say the myth that Lincoln’s hands (one opened and one a fist) read “A.L.” in sign language may have some validity since Lincoln was interested in the deaf. Harold said it’s a myth that Lincoln was only involved in slavery for political reasons and that while some of his words and actions in today’s world would be considered to be racist, they were not back then, but rather were progressive. (No one touched the myth that Lincoln may have been gay.) Another panelist – whom my notes leave unnamed – said it was not true that Lincoln ever said, “Beware of big business.”

When we had the opportunity to ask questions, I asked Steers if the Confederate government was involved in the assassination. He said the evidence was clear that Booth received support from Confederate agents – financial and also introductions to people like Mudd – but exactly what actions they were supporting is not clear – kidnapping, murder? There is also no evidence that Jeff Davis knew of Booth’s involvement. Legally, since the Confederate agents were somehow involved in a conspiracy that eventually led to Lincoln’s death, they would have been held responsible as were the others who were tried for the crime. Ed also pointed out that he is frequently quoted as saying Jeff Davis killed Lincoln. He did not – he said in his book that Booth killed Lincoln – period. These panels are always good and this one was no exception.

November 18th – Tuesday afternoon

Ken Burns

After lunch at the Dobbin House, buses took the attendees to the new Visitors Center and Museum. I drove there with the Bauers, Dick and Mike so we could also visit the battlefield later. As we left the hotel for our car we ran into Ken Burns (our speaker for that evening) who had just parked, so we were the first to welcome him to Gettysburg. We spent a couple of hours at the center, looking at exhibits, watching its movie and seeing the Cyclorama (and checking out the gift/book shop). Many of the Forum authors, including Burns, were signing books at the center that afternoon.

Dick and I had given Mike (who had not been to Gettysburg in years) a brief tour of the battlefield on Monday, except for Culp’s Hill. We wanted to do the hill and to find a relatively new monument that Maynard promised to find for a friend – one for the 11th Mississippi Infantry, which actually made it farther than any other rebels did. (A new high mark for the Confederacy?) Maynard received directions to this monument at the Visitors Center so we knew almost exactly where to locate it. Even with those directions we had to look around a bit to finally find it, just south of the stone wall across from the old Cyclorama building. It sits almost at the foot of the wall making it almost impossible to see from the road. And, as you can see, we took some pictures.

The new monument honoring the 11th Mississippi Infantry

November 18th – Tuesday evening

Jim Getty with Dick Crews

Our friend, Jim Getty, who usually does the Gettysburg Address on our last night together, did another talk of Lincoln’s this time – Lincoln’s Address to the New Jersey Legislature – given on his way to DC. Speaking from memory, Jim did a great job. It’s interesting to note that most of Jim’s work as Lincoln is giving talks on leadership to corporate groups.

Harold Holzer then made this year’s presentation of the Forum’s Richard Nelson Current Award of Achievement to Ken Burns. In accepting, Burns talked of his love of Lincoln and Civil War history – telling us that it was reading the book, The Killer Angels in 1984 that inspired him to do his highly acclaimed PBS series on the Civil War. (Our Roundtable picked that book as the best ever written on the war – as presented by Jon Thompson – several years ago in our annual debate.) Burns is an excellent speaker and when occasionally he softly said “Listen,” everyone did, as we knew something good was about to be said. He spoke of many events and people in the war during his talk, saying how they looked for ordinary folks’ stories for his documentary. He used Chamberlain as an example of an ordinary guy who, when called to serve, gave his all for the country. “He’s the kind of man we need,” Burns said. In the process of telling little stories of common men in the war he told of some Confederates who were captured, including a former blacksmith, and then in conclusion he told us that the captured blacksmith was his great grandfather. He didn’t take any questions so we didn’t get to ask him what he’s working on now.

Frank thanked Ken and then adjourned the Forum until next year.

November 19th – Wednesday morning

Although not a part of the Forum, many of us attend the annual anniversary of the Gettysburg Address at the National Cemetery on the 19th. The chilling cold weather (25 degrees) gave us some reason to reconsider whether to go or not, but after breakfast at the Lincoln Diner (a tradition for us) we decided to attend. (This was my coldest trip yet in 9 years – the weather is usually upwards of 40 and was once even 68.) Jim Getty, as Lincoln, gave the Gettysburg Address, Harold Holzer unveiled the new Lincoln Commemorative Dollar – out in early 2009. (More info at the US Mint.)

Ken Burns was then introduced as the main speaker. He gave another great talk touching on familiar but different themes from his talk to the Forum. There were more people at the ceremony than ever before – by far. The program was blessedly short, given the weather, and we left for home at 11:15.

Taking notes for this summary did “not suck” as Paul suspected it might – my hope now is that my words don’t suck either.

The Lincoln Forum website

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Books referenced in this article (Click the book title to purchase from Amazon. Part of the proceeds from any book purchased from Amazon through the CCWRT website is returned to the CCWRT to support its education and preservation programs.)

Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order by John Marszalek

Grant by Jean Edward Smith

Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates that Defined America by Allen C. Guelzo

Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography by Jean Baker

Lincoln and His Admirals by Craig Symonds

Lincoln: An Illustrated Biography by Philip Kunhardt III

Looking for Lincoln: The Making of an American Icon by Philip Kundhadrt III

Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861 by Harold Holzer

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara