Like every barn, house, shed and out building in an around Sharpsburg, Maryland, Smith's barn was a hospital after all the shooting stopped. President Lincoln visited shattered men in hospitals there , men who fought on both sides.
What you have to love about President Lincoln stories is the certainty it'll stir things up. Posting anyway. There's a reason his massive image looms above our nation's capitol. We'll always need him.
This could be apocryphal. Given the frequency of this President and his wife's visits to hospitals through the war it could easily be true. I can't find anything published later refuting the story and boy, did the anti-Lincoln papers jump on this stuff when it wasn't true. Lincoln's willingness to use the awesome power of the Presidency to personally help the little guy helps confirm these moments in time, to me, anyway. Case after case after case where a mother brought her despair over a doomed son in service to his office and left knowing he'd been saved. It's the kind part we cherish.
It was very mid Victorian to dress a story up to yank at heart strings, sure. Forgivable in this case.