While the Lincoln family continued to mourn the loss of family friend Edward D. Baker, ten-year-old Willie Lincoln put the finishing touches on a poem he had been working on. That’s right. Lincoln’s precocious son memorialized the fallen hero of Ball’s Bluff in a poem, which he shared with a local newspaper editor.
On this date in 1861, the National Republican in Washington printed the following letter and poem:
I enclose you my first attempt at poetry.
William W. Lincoln
There was no patriot like Baker,
So noble and so true;
He fell as a soldier on the field,
His face to the sky of blue.
His voice is silent in the hall,
Which oft his presence grac’d.
No more he’ll hear the loud acclaim
Which rang from place to place.
No squeamish notions filled his breast,
The Union was his theme;
‘No surrender and no compromise,’
His day-thought and night’s dream.
His Country has her part to play,
To’rd those he has left behind;
His widow and his children all,
She must always keep in mind.