During The War
The two younger Lincoln brothers (Robert was away at college by this time) were known to be “unrestrained” throughout the White House in 1861, collecting animals, interrupting meetings, charging visitors to see their father and conducting other pranks. Their father reveled in their carefree natures, and perhaps coddled Tad a bit due to a speech impediment that he had not yet learned to manage. In February of 1862, the Civil War was not going well, and to make matters worse, both Tad and Willie contracted typhoid fever and were bedridden for a time. Willie died but Tad recovered. Some say this loss made the Lincolns even more lenient toward Tad’s behavior throughout 1862 and 1863. Several tutors quit in frustration and ultimately Tad was receiving no formal education. Just before Lincoln was to leave for Pennsylvania to deliver an address in Gettysburg, Tad came down with a fever. Mrs. Lincoln did not the President to leave home during this anxious time, and of course this added to the “weight of the world” that was already on Lincoln’s shoulders throughout the Civil War.
Find and read the telegram that Mrs. Lincoln sent to Gettysburg on November 18, 1863 about Tad’s condition. Then return to Tad’s story once you have finished with the second floor exhibits.