From a Chicago Tribune list of little-known Lincoln facts:
Lincoln declined the King of Siam’s offer to supply elephants to the U.S. government, writing in 1862 that his country “does not reach a latitude so low as to favor the multiplication of the elephant.”
I appreciate the great struggle to rid the country of slavery as much as anyone, but that story is somewhat well-worn ground. Wouldn’t it have been even more interesting to see Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis take on the tale of Lincoln and the elephants? The hours he stayed up late, pondering how to reply to the King’s offer? The difficulties with his troublesome Cabinet members, including Seward, who told anyone who would listen how much he would love to have an elephant with him at the White House – when he was president? How General McClellan plotted against the elephants, spreading rumors that they actually did forget and how dangerous that would be during wartime? And how, when the elephants arrived by accident despite Lincoln’s letter, Grant and Sherman made them the heart of the Union advance – and tramped through Atlanta on Christmas Day 1864?
Ok, not all of the above is accurate, but it would make for a terrific movie. I’ve even uncovered the famous Matthew Brady image of the President with a friend called Peanuts: