Friday, March 28, 2014

The Four Important Men

United States President Abraham Lincoln travel to City Point, Virginia and on March 28th 1865 [I have seen the date listed as March 27th] met with his Generals about the wrap up of the Civil War.

Union General William T Sherman’s troops were moving north up through the Carolinas, and Ulysses S Grant was about the break the 10 month long siege on Petersburg, Virginia that had been holding Confederate General Robert E Lee in place.  Lincoln had come to Virginia to meet with these men; he also toured the Union line in front of Petersburg, reviewed the troops and visited with the wounded.

On March 28th 1865 Lincoln, Grant, Sherman and Union Admiral David Dixon Porter sat down together on the USS River Queen.  This was the first time Lincoln and Sherman had ever met.  Lincoln explained his worries that Lee could break out of Petersburg, move his troops south, join up with Confederate General Joseph E Johnston’s Army in North Carolina, and the war would go on for many more months.  He was assured by Grant and Sherman that the end of the war was close, although Grant wrote after the war that he “was afraid every morning that I would wake from my sleep to hear that Lee had gone, and that nothing was left but his picket line.”  Lincoln then stressed that the Confederates’ surrender term had to preserve the Union, and uphold the emancipation.  He told the men that he wanted the “Confederate armies back to their homes, at work on their farms and in their shops. Let them have their horses to plow with, and, if you like, their guns to shoot crows with. I want no one punished; treat them liberally all round. We want those people to return to their allegiance to the Union and submit to the laws.”

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