The Confederate Five Dollar Bill in Lincoln’s Pocket

Confederate Five Dollar Note

Confederate Five Dollar Note

Among the various items found in President Lincoln’s pockets after he was assassinated was a Confederate Five Dollar note. Of course, no one really knows why he was carrying a Confederate bill. I remember reading somewhere that he found the money while visiting the newly fallen Richmond just a little more than a week prior to his assassiantion. I don’t know if that’s true, either.
I like to think he kept the note as a reminder that the war was finally over-and yes-that the North had been victorious. He had expressed many times that the war was really about whether or not the United States was going to continue on as a nation or become, more or less, a footnote to history. He felt that the country was the “last best hope” on earth. He reasoned that if the American democracy ceased to be-that if the “experiment” had failed-then the cause of liberty for the whole world failed with it. So perhaps he kept the bill to remind himself that the nation remained intact and the dream of the founders first conceived would live on.
That being said, I think he also realized that a “new birth of freedom” had taken place. The country, for the first time, was free of slavery. The words of the Declaration were applied to the former slaves. This was new ground for the nation.He also knew that the country faced enormous challenges. However, the challenges were part of the growing process that had been initiated. He died too soon to see the fruition of that growth.
I’d like to think that all those things stated above were the reason President Lincoln was carrying on his person a Confederate bill. I am just as willing to admit, even so, that he may not have had a reason for keeping it at all. He may have seen it, picked it up, and tucked it away without giving it any thought at all. But, that really would not have been like Lincoln at all, would it?
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4 Responses to “The Confederate Five Dollar Bill in Lincoln’s Pocket”

  1. B. Nash says:

    No, not so. Lincoln’s image was placed on the Five Dollar bill to coincide with the Lincoln Memorial opening.

  2. Darinda says:

    So this is why he’s on our five dollar bill today, right?

  3. Danny says:

    I just find it funny that it was a FIVE dollar bill he had on him since, you know, it’s Lincoln.

  4. Marty says:

    Whatever the reason it’s interesting that Lincoln carried it.

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