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"FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND MORE."

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thousands of soldiers were expiring, tle waste of war was thinning our ranks, and it became necessary to the continued success of the armies for the President to repeat his call, so often before sounded over the land, for "five hundred thousand more.” His over-cautious political friends protested that it would be suicide to lay this new burden on the people on the eve of the Presidential election. It was urged that Grant and Sherman could at least hold their own during the brief time to elapse previous to the election, and that if the election was lost the cause would be lost. Mr. Lincoln replied that his duty required him to sustain the armies who were fighting at the front; that the election was no part of his business—the people must attend to that; and, at any rate, he had perfect confidence in the patriotism of the masses and the favor of God. The wheels of the lot again began revolving in every provost-marshal's district, and the song of July, 1862, was again heard :

“We are coming, Father Abraham, five hundred thou

sand more;

From Mississippi's winding stream, and from New

England's sbore;

a

We leave our plows and workshops, our wives and

children dear, With hearts too full for utterance, with but a silent tear: We dare not look behind us, but steadfastly before; We are coming, Father Abraham, five hundred thou

sand more!"

The Five Hundred Thousand came forth, and Abraham Lincoln was reëlected, while the columns were marching in, by the heaviest majorities ever rolled up for a presidential candidate.

Then Sherman marched to the sea, and up through the hot-bed of secession, South Carolina, leaving ruin in his track, and sending despair to traitorous hearts. Grant dealt his unceasing and tremendous blows upon the staggering rebellion at Richmond. The crash came sudden and resounding as the fall of some monarch tree in the forest, and the long, glad shout of triumph rang and reëchoed from Maine to California.

As the last battles at Richmond drew near, Mr. Lincoln went to City Point, to be near the field of operations and convenient for any emergency in which his presence would be desirable. When the news came of the evacuation of Richmond by the feeble remnant of the late power

AMONG THE FREEDMEN.

159

66

ful rebel army, he took a steamer, and, in company with Admiral Porter, and his little son, whom he held by the hand, steamed up the river, and was landed with a small boat in the rebel city. An eye-witness, Mr. C. C. Coffin, thus describes the scene: “He entered the city unheralded; six sailors armed with carbines stepped upon the shore, followed by the President, his son, and Admiral Porter; the officers followed, and six marines brought up the rear.

There were thirty or forty freedmen who had been sole possessors of themselves for twentyfour hours, at work on the bank of the canal. Somehow they obtained the information that the man who was head and shoulders taller than all others around him, with features large and irregular, with a mild eye and a pleasant countenance,

a was President Lincoln.

“«God bless you, sah!' said one, taking off his cap and bowing very low.

66. Hurrah! hurrah! President Linkum has come!' rang through the streets.

- The lieutenant found himself without a command. What cared these freedmen, fresh from the house of bondage, for military orders! Their deliverer had come-he who, next to the Lord

the rear.

6

Jesus, was their best friend. It was not a hurrah they gave, but a wild jubilant cry of inexpressible joy. They gathered around the President, ran ahead, hovered upon the flanks of the little company, and hung like a dark cloud upon

Men, women, and children joined the constantly-increasing throng; they came from all the by-streets, running in breathless haste, shouting, hallooing, and dancing with delight. The men threw up their hats, the women waved their bonnets and handkerchiefs, clapped their hands, and sang, 'Glory to God! glory! glory! glory!' rendering all the praise to God, who had heard their wailings in the past, their moanings for wives, husbands, children, and friends sold out of their sight, had given them freedom, and, after long years of waiting, had permitted them thus unexpectedly to behold the face of their great benefactor.

“I thank you, dear Jesus, that I behold President Linkum,' was the exclamation of a woman who stood upon the threshold of her humble home, and, with streaming eyes and clasped hands, gave thanks aloud to the Savior of men.

Another, more deinonstrative in her joy, was jumping and striking her hands with

AMONG THE FREEDMEN.

161

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all her might, crying, “Bless de Lord! bless de Lord !' as if there could be no end of her thanksgiving. The air rang with a tumultuous chorus of voices. The street became almost impassable on account of the increasing multitude. Soldiers were summoned to clear the way. How strange the event! The President of the United States—he who had been hated and maligned above all other men living, to whom the vilest epithets had been applied by the people of Richmond—was walking their streets, receiving the thanksgivings, blessings, and praises from thousands of those who received him as the ally of the Messiah!”

The walk was long and the way obstructed by the blackened ruins of the part of the city swept by a devastating conflagration a short time previous, as well as by the throngs of jubilant freedmen. Pausing to rest a moment, an aged negro removed his tattered hat from his fleecy locks, and, with a deep obeisance, said: “May de good Lord bless you, President Linkum !” The President reverently removed his own hat and bowed to the man, representative of his race, who had for three-score years borne the blows and insults of the cruel oppressor.

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