Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
Page  393

Response to Serenade [1]

April 10, 1865

``FELLOW CITIZENS: I am very greatly rejoiced to find that an occasion has occurred so pleasurable that the people cannot restrain themselves. [Cheers.] I suppose that arrangements are being made for some sort of a formal demonstration, this, or perhaps, to-morrow night. [Cries of `We can't wait,' `We want it now,' &c.] If there should be such a demonstration, I, of course, will be called upon to respond, and I shall have nothing to say if you dribble it all out of me before. [Laughter and applause.] I see you have a band of music with you. [Vocies, `We have two or three.'] I propose closing up this interview by the band performing a particular tune which I will name. Before this is done, however, I wish to mention one or two little circumstances connected with it. I have always thought `Dixie' one of the best tunes I have ever heard. Our adversaries over the way attempted to appropriate it, but I insisted yesterday that we fairly captured it. [Applause.] I presented the question to the Attorney General, and he gave it as his legal opinion that it is our lawful prize. [Laughter and applause.] I now request the band to favor me with its performance.''

Annotation

[1]   Washington Daily National Intelligencer, April 11, 1865. Brackets are in the source. Lincoln's remarks were reported substantially the same in other papers (Washington Daily Morning Chronicle, New York Herald, etc.), but with considerable minor verbal variation. The Intelligencer's account of the occasion is as follows:

``The procession proceeded along Pennsylvania avenue gaining accessions at every step, despite the mud and rain, and when it turned up Fifteenth street it is estimated that there were over three thousand persons in the crowd. The procession proper---that is, those who had come from the Navy Yard---and a portion of the crowd proceeded to the residence of Secretary Welles, while the other portion kept along Pennsylvania avenue to the White House and the War Department. At the latter place the band of the Quartermaster's regiment, Capt. Tompkins, under the leadership of Prof. Blish, and the band of the Fourteenth regiment V.R.C., were stationed, and their excellent music attracted an immense concourse of people, who called again loudly for Secretary Stanton, but failing to get him out, the crowd, preceded by the Quartermaster's band, moved toward the White House, and in a few moments an immense number of people were assembled, and completely filled the portico, the carriageway, and pavements on either side, while many were forced to content themselves with a stand-up place in the mud. The bands played, the howitzers belched forth their thunder, and the people cheered. Call after call was made for the President, and his failure to appear only made the people cry out the louder. Master Tad Lincoln, who was at the window, appeared to hugely enjoy the shouting, cheering, and swaying to and fro of the crowd, who evinced a determination not to depart until the Chief Magistrate acknowledged their greeting by his presence. At length, after persistent effort, the presence of Mr. Lincoln was secured. Three loud and hearty cheers were given, after which the President said: [as above]

``In accordance with the request, the band struck up `Dixie,' and at its conclusionPage  394 played `Yankee Doodle,' the President remaining at the window mean-while.

``The President then said: `Now give three good hearty cheers for General Grant and all under his command.' These were given with a will, after which Mr. Lincoln requested `three more cheers for our gallant Navy,' which request was also readily granted.

``The President then disappeared from the window, amid the cheers of those below. The crowd then moved back to the War Department, and loud calls were again made for Secretary Stanton.''