Mary Todd Lincoln's Secret Life, Men! Wounded Soldiers By The Score!

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Feb 14, 2012
Central Pennsylvania
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Washington's Carver Hospital, perhaps a stop for Mary Todd Lincoln. She was so secretive, it is difficult finding information on which hospitals were her targets- perhaps numerous. No one wished to know at the time and she refused to talk about it.

Thought the thread title would get some scandal, shock-horror attention. Ooops. Mary Todd Lincoln asked to please, please be allowed privacy in her endless visits to the wounded, in hospitals dotted around DC. We know so little of it to this day- her compassionate secret. That awful Mary, making life bearable for lonely wounded. Who knew?

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It's how so many love to view Mary Todd Lincoln, dripping finery, posing for a camera. She was in fact wearing roses, not jewels, posing because a President's wife was expected to do so. Mary Todd, ' aristocratic ' as any Southern family could hope, Washington women received her as a bumpkin, actually assigning a social usage instructor to her. Mary Todd Lincoln's compassionate visits to wounded are only one facet of a hugely ( and deliberately ) misunderstood woman- who no one knew. Perhaps the soldiers she visited had some idea.

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Tiny article, sleeping in a tent, seeing wounded- from 1861. Most are tiny articles- if she wore a gown thought ostentatious? Half page articles. You can tell a lot about someone watching what they do. She did this.

Amongst the rubble of her alleged public and private life, nearly buried beneath shambles created by Agenda and that his wealthy cousin, Commerce, like a glint catching sun lies the story of Mary Todd Lincoln's determined visits to wounded soldiers throughout the war. " Mrs. President " was so aware of the negative press's determination to turn her every movement into mud, like a backwards Midas, unlike the majority of Washington glitterati, she kept her compassion quite secret. Nearly.

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1863, word had indeed gotten around- you do not see it in print like this very much. " Observed the quiet and unostentatious manner... ". That really was how Mary Todd Lincoln stole away to do this work with her wounded soldiers.

Once in awhile you see it- a report would land in a paper. You could imagine the poor woman holding her breath - please dear Heavens, ignore this one. Since it showed her genuine goodwill, it was largely ignored. It still is. Have a collection of various, always tiny snips from era papers.

There's generally no hope a thread" Mary Todd Lincoln " does not attract the usual negative commentary and misinformed dreck which has followed her, like a shadowed assassin who ensured her husband's brains adorned her lap, one April evening in Ford's theatre. Fair warning. Zero tolerance on Mary bashing on the grounds that bullying women- even dead women is a dishonorable pastime.

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Cannot find the source- the usual journal noted she visited the wounded. There's always wounded.

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Dressed in deep mourning. In all the vilifications, very, very little room is given the fact Mary and her husband had lost their second child- we see her emerging from some dark place to keep her promises to wounded men. It's a lovely, touching picture.

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" This is the third time she has been in this hospital since I have lain here..... boys always love to see her come. "

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Armory Square Hospital, a sprawling part of war time Washington landscape would certainly have been one of Mrs. President's stops- this is Ward K. A fairly well known photo, sometimes these stories help put you there, you know?

Still on the hunt for diaries, journals, articles etc. mentioning her visits. It's all out there somewhere- Mary, interestingly, could have made an awful lot of money writing a book, or books and books and books about her husband and life. Books sure sold about her and still do. She refused, dying in poverty, vilified, preferable to violating her husband's most private moments. That's dignity- we just are unfamiliar with what it looks like in 2017. One, more indication of her character- the real one.


Bumpkin? Ha. Grateful, wounded men would tell us a lot about her, if we would listen. No one asked.

John Hartwell

Forum Host
Aug 27, 2011
Central Massachusetts
Mary Lincoln was very active also in support of all the military hospitals around Washington. In this she seems to have worked closely with Elizabeth Watton Smith, wife of Interior Secretary Caleb Smith. Attached are two pdfs of full pages from the Washington Evening Star, 26 and 27 Dec. 1862, giving descriptions of Christmas Day at each of the hospitals. Both ladies are mentioned frequently for their contributions, and the accounts conclude:


  • XMas62DCEveStar26Da.pdf
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  • XMas27D62DCEveStar.pdf
    1.1 MB · Views: 142


Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017
Dec 21, 2015
It seems that Mary Lincoln suffers the same fate of lack of interest over her good aspects much like the interest in Black Confederates will always overshadow that of the USCT.