Abraham Lincoln remains one of the most significant presidents in the history of the United States, and his reforms and the tragic assassination that marked his life continue to have a profound impact today. An astonishing and strange anecdote has been relayed by a close confidant of the president...
Elected as the 16th President of the United States in 1860, his tenure was undeniably defined by the American Civil War, which took place from 1861 to 1865. He is globally renowned for having ratified the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery.
Regrettably, his second term was cut short, as on April 14, 1865, while attending a theatrical performance at Ford's Theatre in Washington, he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, a sympathizer of the Confederate States. Abraham Lincoln was mortally wounded in the head, and he passed away the following day at 7:22 in the morning.
Three days before this tragedy, the president is said to have had a premonitory dream foretelling his own death. This dream, or more precisely, this particularly vivid nightmare, deeply disturbed him. This anecdote was reported by Ward Hill Lamon, a longtime friend of the president and his bodyguard. Here is what Abraham Lincoln is believed to have shared with his dear friend:
"About ten days ago, I retired very late. I had been up waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could not have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed along. I saw light in all the rooms; every object was familiar to me; but where were all the people who were grieving as if their hearts would break? I was puzzled and alarmed. What could be the meaning of all this? Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered. There I met with a sickening surprise. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. 'Who is dead in the White House?' I demanded of one of the soldiers, 'The President,' was his answer; 'he was killed by an assassin.' Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which woke me from my dream. I slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since."