Thanks to generous donations from our supporters, we created “Q & Abe” – a podcast that investigates real questions from visitors to the Cottage. This bonus episode accompanies our first episode, How could Lincoln sleep if slavery was happening?
Our journey answering these questions has led to conversations, discoveries, and stories of all kinds, not all of which fit directly within the question we’re answering. But they’re so interesting that we didn’t want to keep them to ourselves. During our interview with Jon White, he told us a fascinating story about a Civil War soldier’s dream that illustrates the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation on the subconscious of everyday people.
In addition to the embedded media player below, you can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts / Spotify / Stitcher / Google Podcasts or wherever you get podcasts. You also can read below for a transcript of the episode (PDF version here).
Callie Hawkins: Hi everyone, this is Callie and Joan from Q & Abe, a podcast by President Lincoln’s Cottage.
Joan Cummins: Our journey answering these questions has led to conversations, discoveries, and stories of all kinds, not all of which fit directly within the question we’re answering, but they’re so interesting we didn’t want to keep them to ourselves.
CH: This bonus episode accompanies Episode 1: How could Lincoln sleep, if slavery was happening?, so if you’ve not yet listened to that episode, that might be a good place to start.
JC: During our interview with Jon White, he told us a fascinating story about a Civil War soldier’s dream that illustrates the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation on the subconscious of everyday people.
Jon White: I think that the dreams of Civil War Americans offer a really powerful window into the world of the Civil War, into the emotional and psychological experiences of that generation, and since we’re talking about slavery, I suppose I could close with a, a story that gives us a lot of insight into the experiences, and I found an Arkansas soldier in January of 1863 – and this was a very politically astute soldier, he, from his correspondence I could tell he was paying attention to things, and in January of 1863 he writes a letter to his parents, and he says that he had a dream where he went to his Aunt Polly’s house, and, and when he went to his – to her house, there was a black man there who she invited to dinner, and this black man was given a plate, or a chair, and he was not. And he couldn’t understand this dream, he couldn’t understand why Aunt Polly would do this, put a black man at the table and not him, and so he wrote his parents, and said, I don’t know what this means, but if you know, you know, I’d love to hear what you think. Well, the timing of this dream is incredible – cause he has it in the first two weeks, within the first two weeks of January 1863 [laughter]
Jenny Phillips: Hmm… wonder what was happening?
JW: Yeah that’s right, Lincoln has just issued the Emancipation Proclamation. So clearly this guy was worried about the social revolution he saw coming, and it was invading his, his dreams but he hadn’t yet connected what was going on in the world outside with the world of, of his sleeping mind, but it just shows us how all-encompassing the war was, the things that were going on in Washington, or on the battlefields, or at home, were having a major impact on the emotional experiences of soldiers.
JC: On the inside of people’s heads.
JW: That’s right.
JC: We hope you’ve enjoyed this extra tidbit. Stay tuned for our next full episode in two weeks. This episode was produced by me, Joan Cummins, and Callie Hawkins. Music for Q & Abe was written, performed, and is copyrighted by Clancy Newman.
CH: Q & Abe is possible thanks to generous supporters of President Lincoln’s Cottage. To find out how you can support this podcast and other programming, visit www.lincolncottage.org. You can also write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JC: President Lincoln’s Cottage is a home for brave ideas. Stay curious!