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

Lincoln's Rebukes

Lincoln could be firm and severe when there was occasion for him to be so, and he never allowed disrespect to God or disobedience to his generals. Two anecdotes will illustrate this. A man once came to him with a petition; before long this individual began to swear horribly. Lincoln gently, yet firmly, checked him. Still, in a few minutes the man swore harder than ever. Then Lincoln rose with great dignity, opened the door, and said: "I thought that Senator had sent me a gentleman. I find I am mistaken. There is the door, sir. Good evening."

Sherman and the Soldier


Many of the Union soldiers had enlisted thinking the war would soon be over, and fancying they would surely be released at the end of three months at the latest. After the battle of Bull Run, an officer came to Sherman, and coolly announced that he was going home. Sherman reasoned with him a few moments; but perceiving that he was defiant, and that several of his companions were inclined to follow his example, he said sharply: "Captain, this question of your term of service has been submitted to the rightful authority, and the decision has been published in orders. You are a soldier, and must submit to orders till you are properly discharged. If you attempt to leave without orders, it will be mutiny, and I will shoot you like a dog! Go back into the fort now, instantly, and don't dare to leave without my consent."

There was such a firm look in Sherman's eye that the officer went back to his post until he could find a chance to make a complaint against his superior. Shortly after this, President Lincoln visited the camp, and, meeting Sherman on the way thither, invited him to take a seat in his carriage. They now exchanged a few remarks, and knowing the President would make a speech, Sherman begged him to encourage the men to do less cheering and boasting, and prepare to be "cool, thoughtful, hard-fighting soldiers." When the carriage drew up before the ranks, Lincoln made one of those simple, touching speeches which, once heard, were never forgotten. But when the men started to cheer him, he quickly checked them, saying: "Don't cheer, boys. I confess I rather like it myself; but Colonel Sherman here says it is not military, and I guess we had better defer to his opinion."

Then, as usual, he went on to explain that as President, and therefore commander in chief of the United States army, it was his duty to see that the soldiers were well and happy, and that he was ready to listen to any just complaints. He was scarcely through speaking, when the officer whom Sherman had threatened stepped up to the carriage, saying: "Mr. President, I have a cause of grievance. This morning I went to speak to Colonel Sherman, and he threatened to shoot me."

"Threatened to shoot you?" asked the President, looking at the man with his deep, keen eyes.

"Yes, sir; he threatened to shoot me."

Lincoln looked at the man again, then at Sherman, and, bending over, said to the officer in a loud whisper: "Well, if I were you, and he threatened to shoot, I would not trust him, for I believe he would do it."

This answer sent the man back to his post without another word; but later on Sherman explained the facts to Lincoln, who said: "Of course I didn't know anything about it, but I thought you knew your own business best." Sherman warmly thanked the President for the way in which he had settled the question, and added that it would have a good effect upon his men, some of whom could not realize that a soldier must obey his superior without asking why.