Sunday, October 20, 2013

Edward Dickinson Baker, died October 21, 1861 at the Battle of Ball's Bluff

Death of Edward Baker at the Battle of Ball's Bluff
Currier & Ives Print
Edward Baker stopped at the White House on October 20, 1861 to visit his old friend, Abraham Lincoln.  Lincoln sat against a tree on the White House lawn while Baker lay on the ground with his hands behind his head.  Willie Lincoln played in the leaves while the two men talked. 

Baker picked Willie up and kissed him before shaking the President’s hand as he left. Mary Lincoln gave Baker a bouquet of flowers, which he accepted and said: “Very beautiful. These flowers and my memory will wither together.”
Willie Lincoln
On October 21 at the Battle of Ball's Bluff, Baker was struck at around four o’clock by a volley of bullets through his heart and brain that killed him instantly. 

President Lincoln was at General George McClellan's headquarters that evening when he got the news of Baker’s death. Charles Carleton Coffin of the Boston Journal saw Lincoln crying when he received the news of Baker’s death: “With bowed head, and tears rolling down his furrowed cheeks, his face pale and wan, his heart heaving with emotion, he almost fell as he stepped into the street.”
Ball's Bluff
At Baker′s funeral, Mary Todd Lincoln scandalized Washington by appearing in a lilac ensemble, including matching gloves and hat, rather than the traditional black. Despite Baker's close friendship with her husband, she retorted, “I wonder if the women of Washington expect me to muffle myself in mourning for every soldier killed in this great war?”  

After funerals in Philadelphia and New York City, Baker’s body was sent by ship and the Panama Railroad to San Francisco for burial. He was buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery.

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