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Abraham Lincoln Civil War Caricature

May 9, 1863

This is a nice engraving by John Tenniel of Abraham Lincoln dressed as Uncle Sam playing pool with Jefferson Davis who is getting the better of him. But as Wilson point out in his commentary on this cartoon below, the cartoon was published on the eve of the great Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg in early July, 1863.

From Lincoln in Caricature by Rufus Rockwell Wilson

 The cartoon by Tenniel, The Great “Cannon Game,” appeared in London Punch on May 9, 1863—the eve, one recalls with a smile, of the decisive Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg. The same issue of Punch contained an article entitled The Great American Billiard Match which, without design on the part of its author, but with a like blindness to the events of the morrow, affords an appropriate footnote to Tenniel’s drawing. ‘‘Considerable excitement,’’ we are told, ‘has been caused in sporting circles by this long protracted match . . . no one now dare prophesy when it will he finished. As for old Abe Lincoln, the champion player of the North, his hackers, we believe, are as confident as ever that he is the best man, although at times his play has not appeared to prove it. There is no doubt that he has more strength at his command, but strength is of small use without knowing how to use it. Abe Lincoln may have skill, but he has not shown much of it, and certainly he more than once has shown himself outgeneraled.”

 “How the game will end we won’t pretend to prophesy. There are plenty of good judges, who still appear inclined to bet in favor of the South and longish odds are offered that the game will be a drawn one. Abe’s attempt to pot the niggers some put down as a foul stroke, but whether foul or not, it added little to his score. Upon the whole we think his play has not been much admired, although his backers have been vehement in superlatively praising it. There is more sympathy for the South, as being the weaker side—a fact which Jeff’s supporters indignantly deny, and which certainly the North has not done much as yet toward proving. Without ourselves inclining one way or the other, we may express a neutral hope that the best player may win; and we certainly shall echo the desire of all who watch the game if we add that the sooner it is now played out the better.”

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