The Day Lincoln Was Almost Shot: The Fort Stevens Story

The Day Lincoln Was Almost Shot: The Fort Stevens Story

by Benjamin Franklin Cooling III


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The Day Lincoln Was Almost Shot: The Fort Stevens Story recounts the story of President Abraham Lincoln’s role in the Battle of Fort Stevens in July 1864. This engagement stands apart in American history as the only time a sitting American president came under enemy fire while in office. In this new study of this overlooked moment in American history, Cooling poses a troubling question: What if Lincoln had been shot and killed during this short battle, nine months prior to his death by John Wilkes Booth’s hand in Ford's Theater? A potential pivotal moment in the Civil War, the Battle of Fort Stevens could have changed—with Lincoln's demise—the course of American history.

The Day Lincoln Was Almost Shot, however, is more than a meditation on an alternate history of the United States. It is also a close study of the attempt by Confederate general Jubal Early to capture Washington, DC, to remove Lincoln and the Union government from power, and to turn the tide of the Civil War in the South's favor. The dramatic events of this attempt to capture Washington—and the president with it—unfold in stunning detail as Cooling taps fresh documentary sources and offers a new interpretation of this story of the defense of the nation’s capital. Commemorating this largely forgotten and under-appreciated chapter in the study of Lincoln and the Civil War, The Day Lincoln Was Almost Shot is a fascinating look at this potential turning point in American history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442252783
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 07/16/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 366
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Benjamin Franklin Cooling III is a well-known Civil War historian who has authored many publications in that field, as well as in military and naval history.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction ix

Chapter 1 Mr. Lincoln's Capital as Center of Gravity 1

Chapter 2 Lincoln and the Army Come to the Suburbs 20

Chapter 3 Abe's Reelection, Old Jube, and the Moment of Greatest Danger 42

Chapter 4 Sigel, Weber, and Delays on the Upper Potomac 61

Chapter 5 Monocacy, a Secretary's Son, and the Road to Washington 81

Chapter 6 Blindness or Stupidity on a Hot Weekend 101

Chapter 7 First Defenders to the Front: Lincoln at Fort Stevens, July II 117

Chapter 8 The President Is Almost Shot, July 12 161

Chapter 9 Rebel Recessional/Yankee Repercussions 195

Chapter 10 Lincoln, Fort Stevens, and American Memory 232

Appendix A Fort Stevens Battle in the Suburbs: Self-Guided Motor Tour 260

Appendix B Union Order of Battle, July 11-12, 1864 275

Appendix C Battle of Fort Stevens, July 11-12, 1864 280

Appendix D Confederate Order of Battle 284

Appendix E Memorialization at Battleground National Cemetery: Regimental Monument Inscriptions and Roll of Honor of Burials 290

Bibliography 297

Index 313

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