Bloody Times: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln Austin Stoelk
and the Manhunt of Jefferson Davis Comp. II
James L. Swanson
Collins, Washington, D.C., 2010
Part 1: 82 Pages
“Varina had begged to stay with her husband in Richmond until the end. Jefferson said no, that for their safety, she and the children must go.
This quotation from Bloody Times by James L. Swanson appears relevant to explain many cases in the reading. The first half of the book explains life for Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, and the quotation has great ties to Jefferson, and even has some to Lincoln. Both men have hard times during slavery and the Civil War, and most importantly, they have exact opposite views on slaves.
Jefferson Davis grows up as a poor farmer, and Abraham Lincoln teaches himself law and serves a two year term in the U.S. Congress. This information makes me believe that the men are completely different, and these ideas back up their differences along with slavery. In an interesting way, they actually are alike in important ways. They both like to read, have children that die young, and lose women due to illness. This ties back with the quotation from above. Davis seems to be caring for his wife and his children, but if he lost women and children early in his life, I wonder how caring he actually is? Also, Abraham is in the same boat. The argument could be made that technology and medicine supply was not necessarily there at the time, but the situations still make the issue difficult to find an answer whether or not the men are caring.
Jefferson Davis is president in Richmond, Virginia, and he believes slavery should continue. While on the topic, this leads me to another issue involving the quotation from the beginning of my blog: If Davis is so caring, why does he want slavery to continue? He appears to be caring, but in a selfish way, and only about his possessions. Abraham Lincoln. on the other hand, is caring towards blacks as he wants to end slavery. He is caring for this, but also proves he will do what is necessary when his army and he go into Richmond to fight if necessary (the Confederates end up surrendering and giving up the land). These actions make me wonder if Lincoln would do the same. Times in the book show both men as caring, and who would care for their wives and children as Jefferson does in the quotation, but other times I feel the men are so tied in their army that they do not necessarily care about certain aspects of their lives.
After different battles and revolts, The Union and Lincoln take over all of Virginia. Davis starts getting worried, then does an action that makes me feel he can be extremely caring. He writes a letter to his wife when he is in troubled times while fighting, and he does not know if he’ll make it back to her. He tells her he loves her, and his children, and he tells her what to expect. Events like this lead me to believe that his quotation to his wife at the beginning does have truth. If he took the time while fighting to write to his wife, he obviously cares about her and what happens to those that are close to him spiritually, but not physically.
On April 14th, Abraham Lincoln goes to the movies around 9:30 P.M. with his wife and does not come out well. John Wilkes Booth enters the theater and shoots the president dead! This news shocked the world, and the book goes on to explain the murder, but this is interesting. The news is also ironic because that day, Lincoln tells his wife that the war is basically over, and he does so in a caring way as his wife started to worry. The situation was unfortunate, but a major surprise is that Lincoln stays alive even that long; this is due to people like Booth who are obviously angry with the Union army and President Lincoln. Another irony to this is that Davis is unaccounted for during the time of murder for Davis. Has he begun to flee and escape for being so against slavery?
With the death of President Abraham Lincoln, many Americans sob. During his life and as a president, Lincoln proves to obviously be a brave, courageous man for fighting for an end to slavery. What hit many Americans was his ability to be caring and to do actions, such as stay in Richmond when he gets the territory with little security around him. Lincoln ties into the beginning quotation again because he shows a similarity to Davis in that he is obviously a caring man. Davis is a caring man as well, as he cares for his wife and children, but he does not care for any of the slaves. Toward the end of the first half of the book, America begins talking about seeing Lincoln more than just in his coffin: They did not want that to be a lasting image. I believe the second half of the book will talk about the lasting legacies, good and bad, of these two men. Both men have opposite views on slavery when running for president, but they have similarities such as caring for their women and children. They are courageous, but leave different legacies as Lincoln and his Union defeat Davis and his Confederates. This is a great first half to a book because I believe great views are given on both men. The question that I’m interested to find out is this: Will Davis get away, and what will his punishment be?