Abraham Lincoln and Wilmington

DSCF0122I saw “Lincoln” recently. Daniel Day-Lewis was phenomenal. He is one of the few actors who achieve perfection, or near-perfection, in every role they play (I would place Meryl Streep in the same category).

Until I saw the film, I had forgotten the importance of Wilmington NC as a strategic shipping port in the Civil War. By August 1864, when Mobile, Alabama fell to Union forces, Wilmington had become the last big Southern seaport open to the outside world. As the hub of the Confederate shipping trade, it was a major target for Abraham Lincoln and General Ulysses S Grant and blocking access to the Cape Fear River was one of their key objectives.

I had none of this in mind when I selected Wilmington as the location for a big chunk of The Girl with the Haunting Smile. I chose it because (a) I know it well, as my sister and brother-in-law live there (b) in my eyes, it is an extremely pleasant and attractive place. I featured Airlie Gardens, the riverwalk and some downtown streets because they are so picturesque and colourful. There are plenty more I could have included.

Still, it’s good to be reminded that the town where I set much of my novel is a key part of America’s great history. It will be clear from The Girl with the Haunting Smile that I love Wilmington. Now that I recall its place in the growth of a great nation, I’ll view it with awe.


About Richard Louden

Maybe it was because languages were my thing but I loved writing at school and I've loved it ever since. Obviously, I hope others will enjoy reading what I write but, now that I am turning my hand to novels, what matters most to me is to write what, as a reader, I would like to read. As a journalist with UK papers, I've written widely on education, business, sport and law. In the creative writing field, I've written the scripts of two TV dramas (BBC and ITV), contributed sketches to TV and radio comedy shows and had short stories published in national anthologies. That doesn’t make me a novelist but I hope it gives me a push in the right direction.

Posted on February 16, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I love tracking down the history of the places I use in my books. What a nice historical note for Wilmington.

  2. Many thanks for your kind comment, Malcolm. To me, Wilmington is a picturesque, fascinating town with the added bonus of enjoying an honourable place in American history.

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