The head of WKU's Special Collections, Timothy Mullin talks about the Abraham Lincoln note
A new piece of American history is now on display at the Kentucky Museum, but if you don’t look closely, you might miss it.
The handwritten note from 1864 measures only three inches by three inches, but comes with enormous historical significance. It was written by Abraham Lincoln.
“If it were in anyone else’s hand, it would be insignificant,” said Timothy Mullin, head of the Department of Library Special Collections at WKU. “But because it is Lincoln, and because it refers to the oath and it really is the essence of how he wanted the war to end.”
The note is dated March 31, 1864 and is written on behalf of a Confederate prisoner of war. It indicates that he’s taken an oath of allegiance to the Union and is to be set free.
The Kentucky Museum has several Lincoln artifacts, but Mullin notes, this one is special.
A significant Civil War battle took place in Kentucky on October 8th, 1862. The Battle of Perryville claimed the lives of about 7600 soldiers, and some historians now say the battle was more important than some researchers thought in the past. Dr. Glenn LaFantasie of the WKU Institute for Civil War Studies and WKU Military Historian Dr. Jack Thacker say Confederate forces moved into the state, hoping to get Kentuckians to join their cause.
In his storied career as a federal judge and former director of the FBI and CIA, William Webster was guided partly by the great-grandfather he never knew who died on a Civil War battlefield. His ancestor, Union Col. George Penny Webster, was mortally wounded in savage fighting at the Battle of Perryville on Oct. 8, 1862, the biggest Civil War confrontation in Kentucky.
Eight Civil War battlefields, including three in Kentucky and Tennessee, are receiving more than $2.4 million in grants to help with land acquisition. The National Park Service said the grant money will help in the permanent preservation and protection of the battlefields. This year marks the 150 year anniversary of several important Civil War battles.