Lincoln’s Presidential Retreat, An Early Emancipation Proclamation Draft
June 18, 1862. President Eisenhower and succeeding presidents have had Camp David, a getaway from the White House. President Lincoln had a cottage — actually a sizable house — at the Soldiers’ Home on a picturesque hilltop just over three miles north of the center of Washington. It was established about ten years earlier as a home for retired and disabled veterans. President Lincoln and his family lived there seasonally, from June to November of 1862, 1863, and 1864, finding some relief from Washington’s heat and humidity in the hilltop’s breezes.
On June 18, after riding together by horseback to the Soldiers’ Home, Lincoln and Vice President Hannibal Hamlin ate dinner together. Then, retreating behind locked doors, Lincoln read him a draft of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. This occurred more than a month before Lincoln read a draft of the proclamation to a surprised cabinet on July 22.
– Submitted by Vermont Humanities Council Executive Director Peter A. Gilbert
Philip Kunhardt, Lincoln: An Illustrated Biography, p. 183.