Lincoln Witness 1865

Lincoln came to City Point to meet with some of his principal officers, to thank the soldiers who were bringing him victory, to see for himself the war’s cost, and to gauge the mood of a defeated South. Considering that this was an active war zone, he ranged about rather freely, taking risks that today’s security protocols would not have allowed.

City Point was Lincoln’s base of operations, with the River Queen as his office. Close at hand were Grant’s headquarters, the military telegraph office, and the Depot Field Hospital.
The night Lincoln arrived the Rebels tried to break Grant’s lines at Fort Stedman. The next day Lincoln visited the scene, viewing Union wounded and Confederate POWs.
During his visit Lincoln reviewed Union troops on several occasions, the largest taking place north of the James River. Soldiers who saw him, never forgot him.
Roughly 12 hours after Rebel soldiers evacuated Petersburg, Lincoln walked in its streets. Boys in blue cheered him and he had some final words with Grant.
Lincoln’s visit to Richmond (April 4-5) was powerfully symbolic. He saw abandoned sites of Confederate power, a notorious POW prison, and was mobbed by joyful ex-slaves.