The White House roof was a natural location for Willie and Tad Lincoln’s fort, where they played with friends and schoolmates Bud and Holly Taft.
Shortly after the Civil War broke out, Tad Lincoln told Julia Taft at Sunday school, ‘You ought to see the fort we’ve got on the roof of our house.” Of potential rebel attackers, Tad said: “Let ’em come. Willie and I are ready for ’em.” According to Julia, “My brothers and I inspected the ‘fort’ a day or so later. It did not present a very formidable appearance, with a small log to represent a cannon and a few old condemned rifles, but the boys took a great deal of pride in it and laid private plans for the defense of the White House in case the city was attacked. All that year the roof of the White House was a favorite playground of the boys, representing alternately a fort or the deck of a man of war, according to their mood at the moment.”1
- Julia Taft Bayne,Tad Lincoln’s Father, pp. 68-69.