By Erin Carlson Mast
There are many vivid descriptions of the Lincolns at the Soldiers’ Home captured in diary entries, letters, and articles written by those who encountered the Lincolns here. Yet there were no known images that depict these events, until now.
The National Trust commissioned a mural to be painted for the President Lincoln’s Cottage Visitor Education Center that would depict the Soldiers’ Home during Lincoln’s time. Artist William Woodward of Virginia took on the challenge of painting the mural this past spring. The mural transports the viewer to another time and place, bringing to life the many people who lived and worked at the Soldiers’ Home. From an exchange between the Lincolns’ cook Mary Williams and Presidential Guard Charles Derickson, to Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton leaving for downtown Washington, the mural portrays various events over time rather than a snapshot of a single day.
The mural is over 7 feet tall and 17 feet wide and hangs in the atrium of the Visitor Education Center.