Front Matter The Beginning of the U.S Franklin's Return Troubles After the War The Constitution The First President Washington's Troubles A Wonderful Invention Death of Washington The U.S. Buys Land War With African Pirates Death of Somers The First Steamboat The Gerrymander The War of 1812 "Don't Give Up the Ship" The Star-Spangled Banner Clinton's "Big Ditch" More Land Bought Jackson Stories Jackson's Presidency New Inventions Whitman's Ride The Mormons The First Telegraph The Mexican War The Slavery Quarrel Daniel Webster's Youth Webster's Speeches Early Times in California Discovery of El Dorado Rush to California The Underground Railroad The First World's Fair John Brown's Raid Lincoln's Youth The First Shot The Call to Arms The President's Decision Admiral Farragut The Monitor and Merrimac The Penninsular Campaign Barbara Frietchie Lincoln's Vow The Battle of Gettysburg The Taking of Vicksburg Riots, Raids, and Battles The Burning of Atlanta The March to the Sea Sheridan's Ride The Doings of the Fleet Lee's Surrender Decoration Day Lincoln Stories Lincoln's Rebukes A President's Son A Noble Southerner Hard Times in the South The Atlantic Cable Best Way to Settle Quarrels Our One Hundredth Birthday Gold for Greenbacks A Clever Engineer Death of Garfield The Celebration at Yorktown The Great Statue A Terrible Flood Lynch Law The Great White City The Explosion of the Maine The Battle of Manila Hobson's Brave Deed Surrender of Santiago The Hawaiian Islands The Annexation of Hawaii The Philippine War Assassination of McKinley The Panama Canal Roosevelt's Administration Two Presidents German Views The World War Since the World War

Story of the Great Republic - Helene Guerber

Decoration Day

Although Lincoln was dead, and people were almost stiff with horror, there was no break in the government. Three hours later, Vice President Andrew Johnson took the presidential oath.

On the 26th of April, 1865, General Johnston surrendered the last large Confederate army to General Sherman, at Raleigh; and on the loth of May, President Davis was caught in Georgia. Some say he tried to escape by donning a woman's waterproof, tying an old shawl over his head, and carrying a pail, as if on the way to draw water from a spring. But the United States soldiers seized him, and sent him to Fortress Monroe. There he was detained for two years, and then he was bailed out by the famous newspaper editor, Horace Greeley. But Davis was never tried before a jury, and when he died in 1889, in New Orleans, he was surrounded by his family and friends.

Libby prison


Those who had taken part in the Civil War were never called to account for their share in it, except that they were not allowed to vote or hold office for some time. The only person executed was the jailer of the Andersonville prison in Georgia. He had treated the Union prisoners with fiendish cruelty; and in punishment for this inhuman conduct he was sentenced to be hanged, because even a jailer should remember that prisoners are his fellow creatures. So many prisoners were crowded into a small space in the Libby and Andersonville prisons, that the men suffered greatly, and many of them died there from hunger, filth, and disease.

The Confederacy being now a "lost cause," the United States army, numbering more than a million men, was disbanded. Grant's and Sherman's troops were reviewed at Washington by President and Congress. They formed a column thirty miles long, and as they marched up Pennsylvania Avenue, people from all parts of the country wildly cheered them. These soldiers deserved all the credit they received, for they had saved the Union. Now they were going home, to take up their daily work again, and handle the plow or pen with the same energy as they had handled picks and guns. The veteran officers of the Revolutionary War had formed the Society of the Cincinnati, and, following their example, the veterans of the Union army soon founded another society, which is known as the Grand Army of the Republic G.A.R.

The army was disbanded on the 24th of May, and soon afterwards some Southern ladies started a beautiful custom which has since become national. They visited the places where soldiers were buried, and, after decking with fragrant flowers the tombs of their own dead, spread blossoms also over those of the Union men.

There are now in our country over eighty national cemeteries, where nearly four hundred thousand dead soldiers have been buried. Every Decoration or Memorial Day these graves, as well as others, are visited and strewn with flowers, and little children eagerly listen to the speeches telling how bravely their grandfathers fought and died.

Before going on with the story of the great events which next happened in our country, you will enjoy hearing a few of the famous Lincoln stories, for you know he stands beside Washington on our book of fame. You have already heard, however, how poor he was, how hard he worked to get an education, and how he rose step by step until, from a rawboned rail splitter, he became the most famous President of the United States.