Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker

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Authors: Jennifer Chiaverini
Tags: Fiction, Literary, Historical, Retail
in Feb of an alement of the liver. He did not suffer long and he was not alone at the end. Being as there was no money for a funerl he was layd to rest in the slaves field I hope this suits you. It was a gud Christian service there were prayers and hyms.
    I know you and he livd apart but I thot you should be told becauseyou are his wife and only kin. He was a gud man in his way as you know and his frens will miss him.
    I am sorry I culd not tell you sooner but I did not know were you are. But your old landlady gave me this adres and I hope this letter will find you there and well.
    Most Truly Yours I remain
    Ephraim Johnson
    Elizabeth held the letter for a long moment before folding it deliberately and returning it to the envelope. She was relieved to hear that James had not suffered long, but it pained her to think he had suffered at all.
    She wondered who Ephraim Johnson was. She knew no one by that name.
    No tears came to her eyes, and she wondered what that said about her, that she did not weep for her husband, a man she had once loved so dearly. The news of his death saddened her, but she did not feel grief stricken, perhaps because she found no small measure of relief in knowing that at last he was at peace. His earthly torment had ended.
    “So,” she said softly to the empty room, “I am now a widow.”
    Let James’s faults be buried with him. She had no desire to think ill of him now that he was gone.

    The residents of Washington City waited apprehensively to see which would arrive first, trained militia companies from the north or invaders from the south. Union troops traveling by train to the capital from Northern states would have to pass through Baltimore, about forty miles to the northeast. This should have been no concern; although Maryland was a slave state, it had remained in the Union. But rumors abounded that thousands of Marylanders with Southern sympathies were plotting to block the passage of Northern troops through the city, and since Baltimore had a history of street-mob violence, the rumors could not be ignored. Complicating matters was a quirk of Baltimore’s railway systemthat meant Washington-bound trains would arrive at President Street Station, but would then have to be towed by teams of horses several blocks west through the city streets to Camden Station, from which they could resume their journey by rail. The system, merely inconvenient in peacetime, was potentially disastrous in war.
    On the morning of April 19, the Sixth Massachusetts left Philadelphia on a train bound for Washington, arriving in Baltimore with weapons loaded. The wary men hoped for unimpeded passage through the city, but they had been warned that in the interim between stations they would likely receive insults, abuse, and possibly assault, all of which they had been ordered to ignore. Even if they were fired upon, they were not to fire back unless their officers gave the command.
    The train carrying the Sixth Massachusetts arrived in Baltimore unannounced, and cars carrying seven of its companies were towed through the city unhindered. But word of the soldiers’ presence spread quickly, and soon a crowd massed in the streets, shouting insults and threats. The mob tore up the train tracks and blocked the way with heavy anchors hauled over from the Pratt Street piers, forcing the last four companies of the Sixth to abandon their railcars and march through the city. Almost immediately, several thousand men and boys swarmed them, hurling bricks and paving stones, and dishes and bottles rained down upon them from upstairs windows. As the mob’s rage grew, some few among them broke into a gun shop, and from somewhere, the soldiers heard pistol shots. The companies pushed onward at quick time, but when the furious mob blocked the streets ahead, the soldiers opened fire. The crowd dropped back and the soldiers managed to fight their way to the Camden Street Station, and after repairing other tracks sabotaged in the melee,

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