In this 45-minute program, a park ranger will discusses the significance of Lincoln’s inauguration as the event which brought the nation one step closer to the Civil War and how the Battle of Chickamauga would personally affect President Lincoln.
On Monday, March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States. In the time that passed between his election in November and the inauguration, seven states seceded from the Union, held a convention, drafted a constitution, organized the government of the Confederate States of America, and inaugurated Jefferson Davis of Mississippi as President of the newly formed confederation. President Lincoln’s inaugural address unveiled his thoughts on the legitimacy of this newly formed government, and his plans for defending United States forts that were located in the seceded states, such as Fort Sumter. He made it clear that the issue of civil war was being placed in the hands of the secessionists.
While President Lincoln never visited the Chattanooga area during the war, the 1863 campaign for control of the “Gateway to the Deep South” would have a direct effect on the chief executive. The “brother against brother” phrase that is often used to describe the American Civil War can be applied to Abraham Lincoln. Benjamin Hardin Helm, Lincoln’s brother-in-law, chose to fight for the Confederacy and was mortally wounded at Chickamauga Sept. 20, 1863.
For information about programs at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, contact the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center at 706-866-9241, the Lookout Mountain Battlefield Visitor Center at 423-821-7786, or visit www.nps.gov/chch.