Posted by: The staff | April 6, 2011

A Concluding Look at Abraham Lincoln’s Review, April 8, 1863, and the Widow Alsop


from: Harrison

Over at Spotsylvania Civil War, our friend and fellow blogger, John F. Cummings III, steps into neighboring Stafford County for some impressive detective work on President Abraham Lincoln’s April 8 review.

John’s post concludes a four-part series by several authors:

-introduction to the review, keyed to the modern streetscape

-introduction to the 1863 map and sketch of the review

-evaluation of the map specifically

-evaluation of the sketch specifically, keyed to the modern streetscape

Check ‘em out. In the process of bringing the pagentry of April 8, 1863 into focus, this collaborative resarch effort shows it to be both more complex than previously understood—the President reviewing each of the component units of four army corps twice in the same day—and more geographically expansive as well—covering a vast wedge of ground extending from the Phillips House property on the southwest to the Boscobel estate on the northeast.

Whew. That’s a lot of reviewing.

Sketch by Alfred R. Waud. Date and place unknown. Library of Congress.

John has also uncovered a new photograph, believed to be of the Widow Susan Alsop, whom we have written about here

Noel G. Harrison

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Responses

  1. Thank you Noel for the cross referencing of our combined efforts at the Stafford Review site.
    As for the Susan Alsop image, I must stress that it was not myself who uncovered it. That full credit goes to Terry Dougherty who interacted with the Alrich family and gained access to the attic of the Spotsy Courthouse home before the contents could be disposed of in a less beneficial manner. Terry’s forethought saved a great treasure, and his continued efforts will be bringing more of it to light in the next few months with a well designed museum display in the new government building at the Courthouse Village developement.

    John Cummings

  2. This is a superb bit of research. Very nicely done. Has anyone determined whether Waud’s vantage point could have been a balloon?

    • Erik, Good point, and a possibility we should consider. None of the review-accounts I have read mention an ascension, but my survey of the sources is far from comprehensive. Possibly, too, ascensions may have become too commonplace by April 1863 to absolutely guarantee a mention in period accounts, at least when all the ground-level pageantry of the review needed to be written about as well. If there was an ascension nearby, however, it would seem likely that someone would have written about President Lincoln visiting the launch-site or the aeronaut, or talking/joking about an ascension of his own…an account that I have not come across so far. Noel


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