Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories: A Bullet Through His Hat

A soldier tells the following story of an attempt upon the life of Mr. Lincoln “One night I was doing sentinel duty at the entrance to the Soldiers’ Home. This was about the middle of August, 1864. About eleven o’clock I heard a rifle shot, in the direction of the city, and shortly afterwards I heard approaching hoof-beats. In two or three minutes a horse came dashing up. I recognized the belated President. The President was bareheaded. The President simply thought that his horse had taken fright at the discharge of the firearms.

“On going back to the place where the shot had been heard, we found the President’s hat. It was a plain silk hat, and upon examination we discovered a bullet hole through the crown.

“The next day, upon receiving the hat, the President remarked that it was made by some foolish marksman, and was not intended for him; but added that he wished nothing said about the matter.

“The President said, philosophically: ‘I long ago made up my mind that if anybody wants to kill me, he will do it. Besides, in this case, it seems to me, the man who would succeed me would be just as objectionable to my enemies—if I have any.’

“One dark night, as he was going out with a friend, he took along a heavy cane, remarking, good-naturedly: ‘Mother (Mrs. Lincoln) has got a notion into her head that I shall be assassinated, and to please her I take a cane when I go over to the War Department at night—when I don’t forget it.’”