Secret Message Found in Abraham Lincoln’s Gold Watch

Posted Mar 12, 2009 by M Dee Dubroff
The National Museum of American History has recently uncovered a secret message engraved in a gold watch belonging to Lincoln. The president never knew of the message, which marked the onset of the American Civil War.
Abraham Lincoln’s timepiece
A secret message inside Abraham Lincoln's watch.
Smithsonian Institution
According to new sources, watchmaker, Jonathan Dillon, told the New York Times (some 45 years after the fact) that he was repairing Lincoln’s watch when he heard that the first shots of The War Between the States were fired. Dated April 13, 1861, the very day Confederate troops opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, the inscription reads in part: “Fort Sumter was attacked by rebels” and “thank God we have a government.”
In the watchmaker’s account to the New York Times, he said that he unscrewed the dial of the watch and used a sharp instrument to mark the historic day on the president's watch. He told the media that, as far as he knew, no one had ever seen the inscription. The watchmaker’s great-great-grandson, Doug Stiles, of Waukegan, Illinois, contacted the museum, whose authorities readily agreed to open the watch to see whether or not the message was really there.
According to Brent Glass, director of the National Museum of American History:
“Lincoln never knew of the message he carried in his pocket. It's a personal side of history about an ordinary watchman being inspired to record something for posterity.”
Before Lincoln’s inauguration as the sixteenth president of the United States in March of 1861, South Carolina and six other states had already seceded from the Union.
The watch’s inscription is a stirring memento from a desperate time in America’s history. The Great Emancipator might have found comfort in knowing of the message he carried with him as he visited the battered soldiers along the war’s bloody front.
Maybe all that matters is that it was there all the time. After all, he (and the watch) won the war, didn’t he (they)?