From the diary of Private John W. Nichols:
I’ve always been so worried about President Lincoln. He dislikes having the protection of my men and me and says it makes him feel like an emperor. I don’t see why he has such a problem with it and this only causes me more stress. We’ve been working for him for so long and we are very friendly so I’d think he’d have accepted us by now, but unfortunately, he has not. He’s always loved his freedom, so I suppose our presence may make him feel uncomfortable. Still, his disregard for his own safety causes me anxiety and the scare today made things even worse.
The President left today for his residence in the Soldiers’ Home without any protection. I later rode over there to make sure everything was alright. When I got there, I noticed the President was without his usual head wear. I asked him about it and he said that a shot had rang off, frightening his horse and making his hat fall to the ground as it galloped away. I went back along his normal trail towards the White House and found his eight-dollar plug hat on the ground. I picked it up and saw a hole going straight through it, made by a bullet. When I went back and showed Mr. Lincoln the hat, he refused to believe that it had been an attempt at his life. He thought it had been an accident. Still, he told me that the even should be “kept quiet” as he did not want to worry Mary.
I so worry for his safety and I do all that I can, but when he sneaks out, there is nothing I can do. I really hope that he never has an experience like this again and that he lives a long, happy life even after his presidency.
Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lincoln%27s%2Bhat.jpg (from Wikipedia Commons)