Local author draws attention to friend of Lincoln

July 17, 2011|By DAVE MCMILLION |

SHARPSBURG — Abraham Lincoln’s bodyguard is getting some fresh attention these days thanks to local author Bob O’Connor.

O’Connor, who also wrote about Ward Hill Lamon in his book “The Virginian Who Might Have Saved Lincoln,” edited a new book that Lamon wrote about Lincoln.

“The Life of Abraham Lincoln as President” was written by Lamon, but O’Connor edited the book to define 19th- century legal terms used in the book. O’Connor also added footnotes for further clarification of parts of the book, according to

On Sunday, O’Connor signed copies of the book at the Antietam National Battlefield visitors center and spoke about the book in an auditorium there.

O’Connor talked Sunday about how Lamon said Lincoln was always blamed for the Civil War. But Lamon insisted it was the U.S. Congress that allowed it, according to O’Connor.

O’Connor, who lives in Charles Town, W.Va., said historians often criticize Lamon for being a braggart.

“If you were best friends with Abraham Lincoln, are you going to brag? Probably,” O’Connor said.

But O’Connor pointed out how Lamon does not identify himself in the book.

Lamon was with Lincoln in Sharpsburg because the president liked Lamon’s banjo playing, O’Connor said. But in the book, Lamon only referred to the “marshal” playing the banjo, O’Connor said.

Lamon was Lincoln’s closest and probably best friend for a period of 19 years, according to O’Connor’s book. Lamon’s book followed another about Lincoln’s life that also listed Lamon as its author.

Lamon is buried in Gerrardstown, W.Va., in southern Berkeley County.

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