Thursday, January 31, 2013
the last book I ever read (Rise to Greatness by David Von Drehle, excerpt eight)
from Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year by David Von Drehle:
From the beginning of the war, New Orleans was the prize Lincoln coveted most. It was the first great city he ever saw as a young man, his destination during the flatboat journey that marked his personal declaration of independence from his father. No other place reflected quite so well the geographical and commercial ties binding North and South, for in happier time the bounty of the continent collected there for shipments around the world. Lincoln had closely monitored months of arduous preparation, first in Washington and then in the Gulf of Mexico, for a Union campaign to take the city. Now, on April 25, the day of Browning’s visit to the White House, a fleet of battered warships under David Farragut finally steamed toward the docks of the Crescent City, dodging unmanned barges carrying blazing loads of cotton. The citizens of New Orleans, the largest city and most important port in the Confederacy, had only this futile gesture to make in response to the arrival of Lincoln’s conquering armada.