Manuscript/Mixed Material Letter, Abraham Lincoln to Charles Sumner outlining the president's belief that the dependents of black and white soldiers should be treated equally, 19 May 1864.

About this Item

Title
Letter, Abraham Lincoln to Charles Sumner outlining the president's belief that the dependents of black and white soldiers should be treated equally, 19 May 1864.
Created / Published
19 May 1864
Subject Headings
-  African Americans
-  Pensions
-  Presidents
-  Army officers
-  Civil War, 1861-1865
-  Lincoln, Abraham (1809-1865)
-  Booth, Lionel F
-  Booth, Mary Elizabeth Wayt
-  Fort Pillow (Tenn.)
-  Sumner, Charles (1811-1874)
-  Manuscripts
Genre
Manuscripts
Notes
-  Reproduction number: A59 (color slide)
-  To anyone familiar with the life and career of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), it should come as no surprise that the widow of Maj. Lionel F. Booth, an African-American soldier, would be admitted to the White House and given a personal audience with the president. However, not only did Lincoln speak privately with Mary Elizabeth Wayt Booth, he penned this letter to Charles Sumner (1811-1874), who was both friend and critic, knowing that the senator from Massachusetts would pursue the issue of equal compensation for the wives and children of black soldiers who had given their lives in the cause of freedom. Major Booth had been the commanding officer at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, and was killed by a sniper's bullet just hours before the fort fell and the victorious Confederates engaged in one of the most brutal massacres of the Civil War. The president's letter to Sumner appears to have initiated the legislative action that resulted in H.R. 406, Section 13, which provided equal treatment for the widows and orphans of black soldiers. Interestingly, whatever her efforts in behalf of widows and orphans, there is no evidence that Mrs. Booth ever applied for or received a government pension.
Source Collection
Abraham Lincoln Papers
Repository
Manuscript Division
Language
English
Online Format
image
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Chicago citation style:

Letter, Abraham Lincoln to Charles Sumner outlining the president's belief that the dependents of black and white soldiers should be treated equally, 19 May. 19 May, 1864. Manuscript/Mixed Material. https://www.loc.gov/item/mcc.079/.

APA citation style:

(1864) Letter, Abraham Lincoln to Charles Sumner outlining the president's belief that the dependents of black and white soldiers should be treated equally, 19 May. 19 May. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mcc.079/.

MLA citation style:

Letter, Abraham Lincoln to Charles Sumner outlining the president's belief that the dependents of black and white soldiers should be treated equally, 19 May. 19 May, 1864. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/mcc.079/>.

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