The Carriage Ride

This is the fifth post in a weekly blog series connecting Spielberg’s Lincoln to President Lincoln’s Cottage.

(Image courtesy of Dreamworks)

Spielberg’s film “Lincoln” touches on many facets revolving around the sixteenth President’s last term in office. However, it does not explicitly mention the Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home. There are many reasons the Cottage was left out. Most notably, the movie focused on four months of Lincoln’s Presidency, which he was not residing at the Cottage.

However, there is a scene in the film that I can’t help but wonder is taking place on the Soldiers’ Home’s grounds. One of the last scenes shows President Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln riding in a carriage in the countryside. They talk about the future and show the affection between the President and First Lady. There are many stories about Lincoln family taking carriage rides to and from the Cottage and on the grounds. When I saw this scene, I was excited because it made me think of their rides together at the Soldiers’ Home.

The Solders’ Home and the Cottage were a sanctuary for the Lincolns. After loosing their son, Willie, at the White House to typhoid fever, the Lincolns needed a quite retreat away from the chaos of the White House and DC. In a letter to a friend Mary wrote, “When we are in sorrow, quiet is very necessary to us.” The Soldiers’ Home allowed the Lincoln’s to grieve and reflect as a family. The Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home provided a sanctuary for the Lincoln family.

-Michelle Martz, Interpreter at President Lincoln’s Cottage

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