Abraham Lincoln’s career as a soldier was pretty brief and pretty undistinguished. He’d have told you the same thing, if he were here: Lincoln liked to tell a story, possibly a tall one, of leading a group of about twenty men during the Black Hawk War through a field and up to a gate:

“I could not, for the life of me, remember the proper word of command for getting my company endwise, so that it could pass through the gate. So, as we came near the gate, I shouted, ‘Halt! This company is dismissed for two minutes, when it will fall in again on the other side of the gate.'”

Lincoln served mostly in northern Illinois, including a spell in 1832 on the Rock River in Dixon, Illinois. Today Dixon bills itself as a boyhood home to Ronald Reagan, but in the 1930’s Lincoln’s cup of coffee in the area was worth remembering with a statue, the only such statue depicting the Great Emancipator as a young military man, looking out at the river and trying his damnedest to remember the commands he’ll need to lead his men.

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