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January 26 , 2008

I Wish I Had Never Been Born: Rediscovering Abraham Lincoln


It was a fine day for a battle. Hundreds of spectators from Washington took the day off to tag after the army. They came in buggies and on horseback, riding seven long hours in the hot Virginia sun. Mostly men, a few women, a host of politicians – among them Ohio Senator Ben Wade, New York Congressman Alfred Ely, and Illinois Congressman Elihu Washburne.

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English war correspondent William Howard Russell reported, “The spectators were all excited, and a lady with an opera glass who was quite beside herself when an unusually heavy discharge roused the current of her blood…’that is splendid, oh my, is not that first rate? I guess we will be in Richmond to-morrow,’ she exclaimed.” An officer told them, “We are whipping them good!” and a cheer went through the crowd.

Later that afternoon many of the spectators were caught in the wild frenzy of Union troops stampeding their way back to Washington in a disorganized unruly retreat.

For Abraham Lincoln the defeat at Bull Run meant only one thing. It was going to be a long war, with no quick end in sight. He told A. G. Riddle, “I am the President of one part of this divided country at least, but look at me! I wish I had never been born! I’ve a white elephant on my hands, one hard to manage. With a fire in my front and rear, having to contend with the jealousies of military commanders and not receiving that cordial cooperation and support from Congress that could reasonably be expected, with an active and formidable enemy in the field threatening the very life blood of the Government, my position is anything but a bed of roses.”

I Wish I Had Never Born is a quick easy read following the life of Abraham Lincoln. You’ll learn about his early days, his loves, his disappointments, his rise to power, and his assassination. And, yes, we will talk about that annoying rumor of Lincoln being gay. Say it isn’t so Abe?

Read the book. Learn all you need to know about Abraham Lincoln in short, illustrated bites.

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