During the last month of his life President Lincoln enjoyed the company of a young visiting French aristocrat, Charles Adolphe Pineton who was the Marquis de Chambrun. Although he was at odds with the reigning Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (Napoléon III), the monarch permitted the young man to visit the federal Union because Chambrun was a descendent by marriage of the Marquis de Lafayette who aided America in her revolution against Great Britain.
On March 28, 1865 Lincoln visited his military commanders in Virginia to arrange plans for a hoped-for final offensive. He lingered until April 8th hoping to be nearby at Lee’s surrender. In the meantime his wife joined him and brought along the Marquis de Chambrun. During the visit the Frenchmen remarked upon his regret that Napoléon III forbade the playing of La Marseillaise in his home country because of its rebellious implications. When the group finally left to return to Washington Lincoln requested a nearby military band to play the revolutionary tune for his guest. Next he asked band to play Dixie. He wanted “to show the rebels that [even] with us in power they will be free to hear it again.”
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To be released in May and available for pre-order: The Confederacy at Flood Tide