Diary of Orrin Brown—March 4, 1865

Lincoln at Second Inaugural AddressDiary of Orrin Brown, Sneedsboro, North Carolina

Saturday–March 4th

We broke up camp at 6 AM and found very bad roads AM but the roads were good PM. We had about 2 hours rain after we started this morning but it faired off and was quite pleasant the rest of the day we must have marched about 18 miles today and went into camp about 6 PM near the Big Peedee river. I rode in the Ambulance today. We came in with the 20th Corp just before we went into camp. I read 6 Chapt. in the Testament today. We drew rations of Hardtack sugar and coffee today to last two days more or less. We crossed the line into North Carolina this PM.

On 4 March 1865, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated into his second term as President, and Andrew Johnson of Tennessee was inaugurated into his first term as Vice President.  Widely considered Lincoln’s greatest speech, at 700 words it is only slightly longer than Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and with it is engraved on the Lincoln Memorial.  Rather than a victory speech, Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address is a rumination on Divine Will, and a vision for national reconciliation, destined for betrayal in his assassination and bungled Reconstruction.  It is best known in its closing:

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.



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