After the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed he said to some men who had called to congratulate him on the success of the Union arms:
On many a defeated field there was a voice louder than the thundering of cannon. It was the voice of God crying, "Let my people go." We were all very slow in realizing that it was God's voice, but after many humiliating defeats the nation came to believe it as a great and solemn command. Great multitudes begged and prayed that I might answer God's voice by signing the Emancipation Proclamation, and I did it, believing that we should never be successful in the great struggle unless we obeyed the Lord's command. Since that the God of battles has been on our side.
Just before the Battle of Gettysburg all of the members of the Cabinet were in a state of terrible anxiety. General Lee with a powerful army had swept up into Pennsylvania. On the eve of the battle General Meade, almost an untried general, had been placed in command, A defeat meant the loss of the Capital and perhaps the occupation of Philadelphia and even New York. Everywhere was panic. Only Lincoln remained unmoved and unafraid. After the battle he told General Sickles the reason of his confidence: