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 2: 92 Pages
“But now all was peaceful as the train arrived at Baltimore at 10:00 A.M. Townsend telegraphed Stanton promptly: “Just arrived all safe.” Thousands of sincere mourners stood in heavy rain to await the president (93).”
This quotation ties well with much of the second half of the book. The quotation shows how Lincoln leaves an imprint on the thoughts of many people; in contrast, the quotation also shows the shift in power to Lincoln and helps explain that many people were siding with Lincoln’s views, not those of Davis. With the killing of Abraham Lincoln, many did not want to be seen with Davis. Nobody would let Davis into their house because they were afraid enemy people would burn down their homes if Davis was let in. This is an understandable action because if I were in the shoes of the confederate shoes, I neither would take that risk! Davis then reads a speech to the men to comfort them. At the end of the speech, he is informed that Abraham Lincoln was shot in a movie theater. This news is shocking to Davis who does not like that the death had to be Lincoln, which seems a lie because he is basically against Lincoln’s word. Furthermore, Davis becomes worried about what rebels and angry people may do against him.
The book then transfers from Davis and his worries to talking about Lincoln’s trip on his train from Washington to Springfield. The train is a way of transporting Lincoln’s body, but also a symbol. The train gets many people out of their houses as it goes by, just so people can say they saw the train that carried the dead Abraham Lincoln. The train also served a symbolic meaning for bringing together all deaths of the war, Confederates and the Union, and basically showing that there needs to be an end to the devastating Civil War. While the train journey continued, Lincoln is taken to Baltimore, a place where people discouraged everything about him four years ago. Lincoln’s body is taken out of the carriage and brought to the city for people to see. The next part of the book is shocking to me: In Baltimore, people actually are sad and caring about the death of Lincoln. They cannot believe that President Lincoln is dead, and this proves that over the four years, he gained the respect of many different people. This ties well with the quotation and shows Lincoln’s power he had to change people, not just through the war and everything he does, but symbolically as well.
With a changing legacy being made by Lincoln in Baltimore, the train continues. Lincoln’s train shops at several places including Albany, Little Falls, and Syracuse to present the body of Lincoln. This area of the book also ties well with the quotation I chose because the many stops show that many different areas now accept Lincoln due to what he has done over the years. During these stops, John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated Lincoln, is cornered and killed at a farm by soldiers. These actions of the president going to many places make Jefferson Davis even more worried. He is losing power at a fast rate, and he writes this in a letter to Varina: “The Cavalry is now the last hope . . .” and ends his words with “will try to see you soon.” I find this interesting that he ends what he says with “try” involved. This proves that he may be dead soon, and his words begin tying with the quotation in a negative way: the words “just arrived all safe” will not be coming out of Davis’s mouth soon.
With Lincoln still going to different cities to be viewed and honored, people such as President Andrew Jackson are beginning to offer rewards for anyone who can find Jefferson Davis who now cannot be found. During this time Davis was with his men in Abbeville. His men told him to flee to the coast of Florida, but he does not. I find this a wise move because with so many people trying to find him, there’s a chance he would be caught. With Davis being worried, Lincoln’s body returns to Springfield where the quotation again ties in: many people honor his body. Springfield, in contrast, is unique; this city of Illinois is Lincoln’s home city, which makes these people show more love than any other city. On the day of his burial, flags are at half staff, Washington D.C. is shut down, and many more actions are taken across the country.
Later, Jefferson Davis is found at his camp and there is such a large enemy present that his only option is to flee on his horse. If I were in Davis’s position, I’d most likely just face death. Davis ends up putting on certain clothing that makes him look like a woman, and he attempts to escape on his horse. He does not make it far when Union members find him and capture him. Back at Davis’s camp, Union soldiers are fighting each other for the legacy of saying they found the camp of Davis, which I find ridiculous! Davis is ridiculed by many and in many ways now as time goes on for trying to escape as a woman. Davis goes to prison, but dies of a disease shortly after getting out. Davis’s death is like Lincoln’s, and has his train goes to Richmond, he’s actually honored by many for being a great American in aspects bigger than opposing Lincoln.Davis may have been honored in some ways, but even towards the end of the book, the quotation I chose ties in well. The end of the book explains that the twentieth century basically belongs to Lincoln, not Davis. Both men did great things for our country, but I believe Lincoln comes out on top with his view on slavery. Slavery continued after the death of President Lincoln, but he had a huge impact on many Confederates and people of America.