The newest temporary exhibit at LMU’s Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum opened on April 15. “Abraham Lincoln and the Technology of War” examines the impact of nineteenth-century innovations on the Civil War and explores Lincoln’s personal involvement with these new tools of war making:
Modern weapons such as ironclad ships, repeating rifles and breech-loading cannons increased the capability of one side to inflict damage on the other. Wooden ships in navy fleets around the world were rendered obsolete when the ironclads U.S.S. Monitor and C.S.S. Virginia battled in early March 1862. Railroads increased the logistical capabilities of both North and South, and Samuel’s Morse’s telegraph created an almost instantaneous means of communications between armies and governments.
President Abraham Lincoln spent much of his time in the Telegraph Office of the War Department, pouring over telegrams from his generals so he could better understand the methodology of warfare. Lincoln’s fascination with machines and machinery was well documented throughout his life and presidency. In fact Lincoln was the only United States president to hold a patent. He even test fired Christian Spencer’s repeating rifle on White House grounds.
Included in the exhibit are artifacts from the B&O Railroad Museum, the Kentucky Military History Museum, the National Firearms Museum, the Center for Northern Indiana History, the Tennessee State Museum and the Vicksburg National Military Park-U.S.S. Cairo. Some rare items from the collection of the ALLM are a Greene bolt-action breech-loading rifle, Captain John Worden’s speaking trumpet and a collection of carte de visite photographs.
For additional information, see the press release at LMU’s website.