Perhaps the most memorable instance of Lincoln visiting the sick and wounded troops at the hospital occurred on Sunday, May 18, 1862. As she recalled in her biography, Lincoln took special pains to offer kindness, saying “Mrs. Pomeroy, I want to do something for you; what shall it be? Be perfectly free to tell me what you want most, and if it is in my power, you shall have it,” to which the startled lady replied “If Mr. Lincoln would only come to Columbia College and see my boys, how much good it would do them!” Lincoln readily agreed. He took with him Senator Orville Browning, who recorded the incident in his diary: “At 3 P M the President sent for me, and he and I rode out to the Hospital at Columbia College – Went all through it, and shook hands with and talked to all the sick and wounded”
In a letter written at the time, Pomeroy related the scene: “I was in my room at the time, and the surgeon in charge came and told me that the President would like to see me. As I went to the door, lo and behold! A great company of gentlemen were waiting for me to introduce them to His Excellency. I was taken by surprise and did the honors of introducing him to all the surgeons, stewards, cadets, and the gentlemen that followed, as well as the nurses. Then the Surgeon-General invited me to do escort duty to the President, by going all through the hospital, which I did, and then went out into the tents and performed the duty there. The soldiers were called out by the officers, arranged in a straight line, and Mr. Lincoln, in his unpretentious way, with his hat off, shook hands with each one, asking his name and the name of his regiment and company. Such a scene will never be effaced from the memory of the soldiers as the lame, halt and withered came straggling into line at the unexpected beat of the drum.” Pomeroy even took the controversial step of introducing Lincoln to the hospital’s African-American kitchen staff. Though several officers later expressed their disgust with Pomeroy’s egalitarianism, Lincoln reportedly greeted the help kindly, grasping their hands and asking their names.
The incident was commemorated in verse by a friend of Pomeroy’s, Mrs. E. J. Russell:
“A blessing on our President
Who came to see us all,
Best blessings on his care worn face
Is echoed from each hall.
Yes blessings on our President,
From the over-worn & weary,
The desolate & comfortless,
To whom the earth is dreary.
A blessing on his home & store,
Comes from the soldier hoary,
And from the man in middle life
The young man in his glory.
To evry man, in evry words,
From fourth to lower story,
He gave the word of kind regard,
The “rebel” with the “tory.”
A welcome had to all he gave,
Of every clime and nation,
The sable son, from off the wreck,
The “daughter” from the kitchen.
Blessings from the young & old,
“the nurse” hears without number,
As wrapping in the blanket folds,
They sink in peaceful slumber.”
The poem is addressed to Mrs. R. R. Pomroy “through whom we received the honor of a visit from our President” and dated May 18th 1862.
Rebecca Pomeroy’s relationship with the Lincoln family would continue throughout the war. Lincoln’s assassination on April 14th ended the warm relationship between the woman he called “one of the best he ever knew” and the man she called “my dear friend, the President.” Pomeroy would return to Chelsea, Massachusetts, where she founded a home for indigent women and quietly lived out the rest of her days. History would soon largely forget this woman, and she would become no more than a footnote in the story of Lincoln’s presidency. In reality, however, she was a dear and trusted friend and confidant to both Lincolns who gave them strength through the darkest hours of the war.
 Anna L. Boyden, Echoes from the Hospital and White House: A Record of Mrs. Rebecca R. Pomeroy's Experience in War-Times (Boston: D. Lothrop and Company, 1884), 93-94.
 Theodore Calvin Pease and James G. Randall, eds. The Diary of Orville Hickman Browning, Volume 1 1850-1864 (Springfield, Illinois: Illinois State Historical Library, 1925), 546.
 Ibid, 94-95.
 Boyden, 96.
 “Our President at C. C. Hosp.” by E. J. Russell, 18 May 1862. Rebecca Pomeroy Collection of the Winthrop Public Library, Winthrop, MA.
 Rebecca Pomeroy to Mrs. F, 2 May 1865, quoted in Boyden, 248.