Six Months at the White House/LXXII
At the Cabinet meeting held the morning of the day of the assassination, it was afterward remembered, a remarkable circumstance occurred. General Grant was present, and during a lull in the discussion the President turned to him and asked if he had heard from General Sherman. General Grant replied that he had not, but was in hourly expectation of receiving despatches from him announcing the surrender of Johnston.
"Well," said the President, "you will hear very soon now, and the news will be important."
"Why do you think so?" said the General.
"Because," said Mr. Lincoln, "I had a dream last night; and ever since the war began, I have invariably had the same dream before any important military event occurred." He then instanced Bull Run, Antietam, Gettysburg, etc., and said that before each of these events, he had had the same dream; and turning to Secretary Welles, said: "It is in your line, too, Mr. Welles. The dream is, that I saw a ship sailing very rapidly; and I am sure that it portends some important national event."
Later in the day, dismissing all business, the carriage was ordered for a drive. When asked by Mrs. Lincoln if he would like any one to accompany them, he replied, "No; I prefer to ride by ourselves to-day." Mrs. Lincoln subsequently said that she never saw him seem so supremely happy as on this occasion. In reply to a remark to this effect, the President said: "And well I may feel so, Mary, for I consider this day the war has come to a close." And then added: "We must both be more cheerful in the future; between the war and the loss of our darling Willie, we have been very miserable."
Little "Tad's" frantic grief upon being told that his father had been shot was alluded to in the Washington correspondence of the time. For twenty-four hours the little fellow was perfectly inconsolable. Sunday morning, however, the sun rose in unclouded splendor, and in his simplicity he looked upon this as a token that his father was happy. "Do you think my father has gone to heaven?" he asked of a gentleman who had called upon Mrs. Lincoln. "I have not a doubt of it," was the reply. "Then," he exclaimed, in his broken way, "I am glad he has gone there, for he never was happy after he came here. This was not a good place for him!"