Abraham Lincoln was the president of the Union from from November 6, 1860 to April 14, 1865, the date he was assasinated while watching a play at Ford's Theatre in Washington D.C.
On September 22, 1862 Lincoln had issued his first Emancipation Proclamation which had freed all slaves in areas still in rebellion. This allowed former slaves to join the Union Army.
Famous speech or quote: The Gettysburg Address (see below)
The Gettysburg Address
"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, have struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; but it can never forget what we did here. It is for us,the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under god, shall have a new birth of freedom, and the government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not parish from the earth."