Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas From The Abraham Lincoln Blog!

On this Christmas Eve 2009, I simply want to take a few moments and wish my readers a very Merry Christmas! To those of you who don't celebrate Christmas, I wish you a very blessed Holiday Season and Happy New Year.

I am grateful to those of you who take time from your schedule to drop by The Abraham Lincoln Blog, whether you're a repeat visitor, or those of you who visit just once. It is because of you that I continue what is for me a labor of love. I have been fascinated by the story of Abraham Lincoln for as long as I can remember, and I enjoy sharing my knowledge of him with others.

Thank you for your comments, corrections, and continued visits. I look forward to more posts in the coming year.

General Sherman's Christmas Gift To Lincoln

This week marks the 145th anniversary of the capture of Savannah, Georgia by Union troops under the command of Major General William Tecumseh Sherman. It completed his "March To The Sea" which had begun just a few weeks earlier in Atlanta. The march cut a large swath through the Georgia landscape and did much to destroy the will of the Confederacy.

After the fall of Savannah, Sherman sent a now-famous telegram to President Lincoln in which he presented the city as a "gift" to the president. The original War Department transcription of the telegram is shown above. Sherman stated: "I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the City of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty guns and plenty of ammunition, also about 25,000 bales of cotton."

Lincoln of course was overcome with joy at the news, for he recognized that it was the beginning of the end of the Civil War. On December 26, 1864 Lincoln sent an eloquent letter of thanks to Sherman, reading: "Many, many thanks for your Christmas gift - the capture of Savannah. When you were leaving Atlanta for the Atlantic coast, I was anxious, if not fearful; but feeling that you were the better judge, and remembering that 'nothing risked, nothing gained' I did not interfere. Now, the undertaking being a success, the honour is all yours; for I believe that none of us went farther to acquiesce." Lincoln went on to mention other actions by other troops and wondered what was next for Sherman and Grant. Lincoln concluded: "Please make my grateful acknowledgements to your whole army - officers and men."

Savannah suffered almost no damage during its capture by Sherman's troops. It remains much the same in appearance as it did 145 years this week. It is a beautiful southern city. If you ever have a chance to visit, take the opportunity to do so. I had the pleasure of seeing it for the first time in 2008, and was struck by the charm and history of the city.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Unique Way Of Looking At Lincoln

The bicentennial year of Abraham Lincoln's birth is drawing to a close. The year has seen many ceremonies, museum exhibits, television specials, concerts, artwork, books, articles, and celebrations to commemorate Lincoln throughout the country. One of the more intriguing ways that Lincoln has been honored this year is through a new work by famed American choreographer, Bill T. Jones.

Jones created the full-length work titled Fondly Do We Hope....Fervently Do We Pray which was commissioned by the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois. Through this work, Jones interprets many aspects of Lincoln's life and what might have been had Lincoln been permitted to live through Reconstruction. To learn more about this work, please click here for photos and video.

Fondly Do We Hope...Fervently Do We Pray will be featured on next week's episode (December 25) of the acclaimed PBS show "Bill Moyers Journal." Mr. Moyers has long been one of this country's greatest journalists. He served as President Lyndon Johnson's press secretary in the 1960's; has worked for many of the major networks; and has been awarded the prestigious Peabody Award for journalism. I was contacted by the Director of Communications for "Bill Moyers Journal" asking if I would be interested in informing my readers of this unique way of honoring Lincoln. I am pleased to do so.

According to the email I received, "In a ground breaking work of choreography called Fondly Do We Hope...Fervently Do We Pray, Jones reimagines a young Lincoln in his formative years through dance. Bill Moyers speaks with Jones about his creative process, his insights into Lincoln, and how dance can give us fresh perspective on America's most-studied president. "This piece,ultimately, is not a biopic... It is supposed to be, 'How can we use Lincoln and his time as a mirror through which we look darkly at ourselves?'" says Jones."

This link is an excerpt of the upcoming episode. Christmas is of course a very busy day for most of us. I'll record it so I can watch it at a later date. Check your local listings for the time of the show in your area.

Bill Moyers Journal was also the setting for this year's best televised tribute to Abraham Lincoln. Back on April 10, the show featured "Lincoln's Legend and Legacy." The format featured the wonderful actor Sam Waterston reading excerpts of writings about Lincoln across the years, with interpretation provided by the leading Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer. It was an incredibly moving performance. You may still view that show by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

One Of The Best History Blogs Around

I've been blogging about all things related to Abraham Lincoln for more than two years. In that time, I've become friends with several fellow bloggers who write about their particular passion in American history. Some write about other presidents, while others write about American history in general.

One of my favorite blogs is "My Adventures In History," written by Rebecca, a history enthusiast based in Boise, Idaho. She blogs primarily about her own trips to historical sites throughout America, sharing her impressions and thoughts about her visits. This past spring, for example, she journeyed to the Eastern U.S. for the first time, visiting Antietam, the Museum Of The Confederacy, and the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. I don't think she would mind if I post a photo of her and "Abe" posing together on a bench in Lincoln's hometown.



Every post from Rebecca is informative, entertaining, and beautifully written. Like me, she is not a trained historian. She simply has a love of history which she wants to share with her readers.

I encourage my own readers to drop by "My Adventures In History" and see for yourself why it is truly one of the finest American history blogs around.

 
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