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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Greene, William G. 'William G. Greene to William H. Herndon (interview)' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: interview]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=herndon017.html


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-- 19 --

any man thinks I am a coward let him test it," rising to an unusual height. One of the Regiment made this reply to Mr Lincoln's last remarks — "Lincoln — you are larger & heavier than we are". "This you can guard against — Choose your weapons", replied Mr Lincoln somewhat sourly. This soon put to silence quickly all Charges of the Cowardice Cowardice of Lincoln. This is the first time or amongst the first times I ever saw Mr Lincoln aroused. He was unusually kind, pleasant — good humored, taking any & all things. But this was too much for Lincoln. This hushed up at once all disputes about Lincolns courage. I was through the Black Hawk war with Lincoln and can say no man was more Courageous, truly & manly so. No man had more moral courage. He would do justice to all though the heavens fell. He had a considerible Eye for military affairs. By the by he was the strongest man in our regiment and one of the very best wrestlers. One man in the army alone could throw him and that man's name was Thompson. Speaking of Lincoln physical Strength let me say I saw him lift one thousand & twenty four pounds. He was harnessed with straps in the New Salem Mills. One other instance of his honor — his moral Courage. The Company to which I belonged knew that Mr Lincoln was physically powerful and artful & skilled in wrestling. The Company bet their Knives — blankets — tomahaks &c. on Mr Lincolns wrestling. The man Thompson was his opponent. The men Lincoln & Thompson walked out & fixed for the match. Thompson threw Lincoln fairly the first fall. Lincoln remarked to his friends "This man is the most powerful man I ever had hold of: he will throw me and you will loose your all unless I act on the defensive Mr Lincoln caugh Mr Thompson and held him off sometime. At last the man got the crotch lock on Mr Lincoln. Lincoln slid off, but the man Caught him and partially threw Mr Lincoln. We were taken by surprise at the result & being unwilling to give up our property & lose our bets got up a kind of an Excuse as to the result in order to avoid giving up our bets. We declared that the fall was a kind of a Dog. fall. We so asserted — did so apparently angrily to avoid the result. A fuss was about to be a fight in the Companies generally. Lincoln rose up and said — "Boys the man actually threw me once fair — broadly so. & the second time — this very fall he threw me fairly, though not so apparently so. One other word in reference to Mr Lincolns Care for the health — welfare & justice to his men. Some officer of the US had claimed that the Regular Army had a preference in the rations & pay. Mr Lincoln was ordered to do some act, which he decreed unauthorized: he however obeyed, but went to the officer and said to him — "Sir — you forget that we are not under the rules and regulations of the war department at Washington — are only volunteers under the orders & Regulations of Illinois. Keep in your own speere & and there will be no difculty, but resistance will hereafter be made to your injust orders. & further my men must be Equal in all particulars in rations — arms — camps &c to the regular Army." The man saw that Mr L was right and determined to have justice done. Always after this we were treated
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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Greene, William G. 'William G. Greene to William H. Herndon (interview)' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: interview]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=herndon017.html
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