The Widow and Her Three Sons
One day a poor woman approached Mr. Lincoln
for an interview. She was somewhat advanced
in years and plainly clad, wearing a faded shawl
and worn hood.
"Well, my good woman," said
"what can I do for you this morning?"
"Mr. President," answered
and three sons all went into the army. My husband
was killed in battle. I get along
very badly since then living all alone, and I
thought that I would come and ask you to release
to me my eldest son."
Mr. Lincoln looked in her face for
a moment, and then replied kindly,
"Certainly! Certainly! If
you have given us
ALL, and your prop has been taken away, you are
justly entitled to one of your boys."
He then made out an order discharging the
young man, which the woman took away, thanking
She went to the front herself with the
President's order, and found that her son had been
mortally wounded in a recent battle, and taken
to the hospital.
She hastened to the hospital. But she was too
late, the boy died, and she saw him laid in a
She then returned to the President with his
order, on the back of which the attendant surgeon
had stated the sad facts concerning the
young man it was intended to discharge.
Mr. Lincoln was much moved by her story, and
said: "I know what you wish me to do now, and
I shall do it without your asking. I shall release
to you your second son."
Taking up his pen he began to write the order,
while the grief-stricken woman stood at his side
and passed her hand softly over his head, and
stroked his rough hair as she would have stroked
When he had finished he handed her
the paper, saying tenderly, his eyes full of tears,
"Now you have one of the
two left, and I have
one, that is no more than right."
She took the order and reverently placing her
hand upon his head, said,
"The Lord bless you, Mr.
President. May you
live a thousand years, and may you always be the
head of this great nation."