Author Archives: John O'Brien

About John O'Brien

My name is John and I brake for roadside historical markers. The Civil War has been a particular interest since my dad took me to the 100th Anniversary re-enactment at Gettysburg. Since then, I have toured battlefield sites throughout the eastern theatre. My three daughters can mark their growth by the fortifications and cannons they were posed against. Living in the Washington, D.C. metro area since 2005 has allowed me access to the amazing resources here for studying the Lincoln Administration and the National Capital during the Civil War. I started looking for a guide to President Lincoln’s life in Washington, but nothing available seemed to capture enough of the story to satisfy me. So I created my own. You can buy the beautifully illustrated map on this website. I put a high personal value in trying to settle confusion in the professional literature as to where Lincoln did what. So I spent a lot of time going to source documents to verify my sites. This website will share more detail about the Lincoln sites and will continue to update the research. I want to help the reader experience Washington as Lincoln did, as if through his eyes. This is about exploring the public life of Abraham Lincoln and the civil war history of Washington, DC.

Winfield Scott’s Army Headquarters in Washington, 1861

Thaddeus Lowe was explaining to Abraham Lincoln how Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott, commanding general of the Union Army, had not been able to meet with him in spite of a letter of introduction from Lincoln. “The President looked at me … Continue reading

Posted in Purpose, Scott House, Scott, Winfield | 2 Comments

Lincoln Group Critiques Spielberg on History

Lincoln, the movie, has thrilled his devotees from the moment of its release.  The “spot-on” portrayal by Daniel Day-Lewis seems to have captured the very essence of Lincoln’s character and persona.  I’m remembering a long line of Lincoln portrayals from … Continue reading

Posted in Purpose | 3 Comments

Lincoln Honors Monitor Commander on H Street

A memorial has been dedicated at the Hampton National Cemetery in Virginia on the 150th anniversary of the sinking of the U.S.S. Monitor, December 31, 1862.  It had been only eleven months since the tiny ironclad, derided as “a cheesebox on a … Continue reading

Posted in Fox, Gustavus V., Wise, Henry A., Worden, John L. | Comments Off on Lincoln Honors Monitor Commander on H Street

Emancipation Caps Lincoln’s Desperate Month, December 1862

African-Americans and Abolitionists across the country waited nervously 150 years ago today, for confirmation that President Lincoln had actually signed the Emancipation Proclamation.  No one close to the President doubted that he would before the end of the day.  But the country … Continue reading

Posted in Burnside, Ambrose, Chase, Salmon P., Halleck, Henry W., New York Ave. Presbyterian Church, Seward House, Seward, William H., Stanton, Edwin M. | Comments Off on Emancipation Caps Lincoln’s Desperate Month, December 1862

Lincoln and the Abolitionists at the Sprigg House

A project that started as a way to better understand the influence of Lincoln’s connections with Washington, D.C., led to a real curiosity about the impact of Ann G. Sprigg on his political life.  Most Lincoln readers will recall that Congressman Lincoln lived in Mrs. Sprigg’s … Continue reading

Posted in Sprigg, Ann G. | 2 Comments

Second Manassas Drama Unfolds in Lafayette Square

Critics of General John Pope suggested that his most prominent qualification to be appointed to command the Union’s new Army of Virginia was his father’s clout as a Federal judge in Illinois and a friend of President Lincoln.  He actually had excellent battlefield … Continue reading

Posted in Gunnell House, Halleck, Henry W., McClellan, George B., Stanton, Edwin M. | Comments Off on Second Manassas Drama Unfolds in Lafayette Square

New York Avenue Church and Lincoln’s Emancipation Year

July 14, 1862 is a significant date for New York Avenue Presbyterian, the Lincoln family’s church in Washington.  One of the Lincoln artifacts that remains on permanent display at the church is a draft of an emancipation bill written by … Continue reading

Posted in Gurley, Rev. Phineas D., New York Ave. Presbyterian Church | 4 Comments

Lincoln in Washington Map at Library of Congress

Today, I was invited to the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress to present my Lincoln in Washington map for the Library’s permanent collection.  The meeting came with an opportunity to walk through the “vault” and see some of the amazing … Continue reading

Posted in Purpose | 10 Comments

Lincoln Gets Dan Sickles’ Take on Gettysburg, at F Street

Say what you will about Dan Sickles, he was a master at shaping a story to get himself out of a scrap.  Where to start on this New Yorker’s colorful career?  My post on the Seward House refers to how he … Continue reading

Posted in Sickles, Daniel E. | 3 Comments

“He Has Probably Gone to Mr. Seward’s House….”

One of the greatest losses among the historic buildings with a Lincoln connection in the District of Columbia would certainly be the Secretary of State William Seward Home on Lafayette Square.  There was no other single place in Washington that Lincoln would … Continue reading

Posted in Seward, William H. | Comments Off on “He Has Probably Gone to Mr. Seward’s House….”