A Quieter Place:
What brought Abraham Lincoln to the Soldiers' Home? When the Lincolns first came to stay here in June 1862, they were mourning their son Willie. Mary was despondent and in her own words "in need of quiet." The president may have hoped for some relief from his grief and the stress of pressing the Union's war effort while calming political discord.
As it turned out, the Soldiers' Home was not as far removed from the war and White House hubbub as Mary had hoped. Union troop tents dotted the grounds. Soldiers' graves multiplied in plain view. Favor seekers and casual visitors learned the route to the Lincolns' door. Nonetheless, the president found time here to concentrate on the war, to consider emancipation, and to sustain his vision of the nation.
"When we are in sorrow, quiet is very necessary to us."
-- Mary Todd Lincoln, May 29, 1862