From The Gettysburg Battlefield To The Appomattox Courthouse


William Shakespeare. The plays of William Shakespeare. From the corrected text of Johnson and Steevens. London: John Stockdale, 1807. Vol. 3.

This is the third of a six-volume set of Shakespeare’s works owned by Lincoln. The volume is opened to Macbeth, one of Lincoln’s favorite plays of Shakespeare.  From 24 March to 9 April 1865 Lincoln was in Virginia visiting General Grant and his army.  During the extended visit, the president met with Grant, General Sherman (1820-1891), and Rear Admiral David Porter (1813-1891) to discuss strategy to end the war and visited Richmond after it was captured by Union forces.  On the last day of the trip, as the steamer River Queen carried Lincoln and his party back to Washington, he read aloud from this volume to his guests, including Mrs. Lincoln, Senator Charles Sumner, Adolphe, Marquis de Chambrun (1831-1891), and Senator James Harlan (1820-1888) and his daughter Mary (who later married Robert Todd Lincoln).  Lincoln’s readings included passages from Macbeth shown here. 

A10.80F   Gift of Charles Moore, 1931.