In this book by authors John and Charles Lockwood, history comes alive as they explore these crucial questions, as well as the relationship his 2 key aides played during the 12 days between April 15th and April 25th, 1861; a mere 6 weeks after Lincoln had assumed the Presidency in March. These 2 remarkable men; John Nicolay; aged 29, from Springfield, where he had worked as Lincoln’s assistant; and John Hays, aged 22, who was hired as Nicolay’s assistant in Washington; were instrumental throughout Lincoln’s Presidency. But they were never more effective than they were in the crucial first days of the War Between the States, as the new President struggled to come to grips with the enormity of the task before him.
Calling upon General Winfield Scott, the General in Chief of the nation’s Army, plans were immediately put into effect to secure the roads and railways entering the city. Washington was; at that time, and on into my own youth; a decidedly “southern” town. Segregation existed there openly up until the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The threat of hostilities breaking out within the city itself was a real and constant danger that had to be dealt with. To that end, the President called upon 75,000 Union volunteers, each of whom would serve for 3 months. Just as the South expected to crush the North in a short while, the North fully expected the same of themselves.