March After Action Report by Archie Lintz

Professor Brian R. Dirck gave the evening program with the title of his forthcoming book (February 2019)  The Black Heavens: Abraham Lincoln & Death, a monograph on an aspect of Lincoln biography not addressed in scholarly depth among the 150,000-some Lincoln titles.  If the hour presentation is representative of his talk, the book will be in demand.  Beginning with his own mother, Nancy, whom he lost while still a small boy; then followed as the years rolled: Ann Rutledge, his early love, his own boy Eddie in 1850, a 52-day ordeal from tuberculous (“consumption”), his young friend Col. Elmer Elsworth and old friend, Col. Edward D. Baker, early casualties of the War, his son Willie of typhoid in 1862.  The case of the death of his father was a special case, which his book may develop for us to learn about.  He met these with a fatalism that became “finding God” by the time he delivered his Second Inaugural Address.  ***  The opposition press put out fake news about Lincoln’s visit to the Antietam battlefield, which was described in some detail by Professor Dirck, along with other instances of press abuses against our first Republican President.  ***  The Professor delivered his presentation with an animated passion for his subject that made the hour go by like a fast train.  I only remember looking at my watch once to see where we were, surprised to find the hour had gone by and questions beginning to be a asked.  We were helped to imagine the lonely post Abraham Lincoln occupied during the harvest of death that was our civil war.  I am sure there is a great deal more in his book worth reading, and we can look forward to the publication of this most unique and worthy addition to the story of Abraham Lincoln.

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