Ami's SOA Today's Date in Lincoln's Life

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Wednesday March 19, 1862

Washington DC

President calls special meeting of cabinet in morning, "purpose unknown."
At 6 P.M. discusses with Sen. Browning (Ill.) gift of yacht from Cornelius Vanderbilt to navy. Browning introduces Peter Peckham and Mr. Taylor, inventors of new type of fuse.
In evening artist George P. A. Healy confers with President on placing in Executive Mansion series of paintings of Presidents ordered by Congress.
President Lincoln responds to Dr. Samuel B. Tobey, who is a prominent member of the Society of Friends in New England. Tobey wrote to Lincoln on behalf of the Society's members, known as Quakers, and suggested that the country's civil war could be resolved through peaceful "direct negotiation." Lincoln writes, "Engaged, as I am, in a great war, I fear it will be difficult for the world to understand how fully I appreciate the principles of peace . . . Grateful to the good people you represent for their prayers in behalf of our common country, I look forward hopefully to an early end of war, and return of peace."
 

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Monday March 20, 1865

Washington DC

President Lincoln telegraphs Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, who invited Lincoln to visit him "for a day or two" at City Point, Virginia. Grant explained, "I would like very much to see you and I think the rest would do you good." Lincoln responds, "Had already thought of going immediately after the next rain. Will go sooner if any reason for it. Mrs. L. and a few others will probably accompany me. Will notify you of exact time, once it shall be fixed upon."
Invites Gov. Swann (Md.) and Sen. John A. J. Creswell (Md.) to conference on appointments.
Receives Gov. Pickering (Washington Terr.) for conference on reappointment.
Asst. Sec. Fox accompanies Lt. Comdr. John S. Barnes (USN) commanding U.S.S. "Bat" to White House for instructions regarding trip to City Point.
President interviews Baron de Stoeckl and expresses belief that war will be over by end of year.
Grants request of Granville Moody, Ohio clergyman, and appoints Joseph M. Patterson, one-armed soldier, postmaster.
 

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Tuesday March 21, 1865

Washington DC

President confers again with Lt. Comdr. Barnes with respect to accommodating Mrs. Lincoln and friends on trip to City Point, Va. They decide to charter steamer "River Queen" and use U.S.S. "Bat" for protection.
Sec. Welles calls on President regarding Smith brothers law case. Cabinet meets.
President and Mrs. Lincoln attend performance of Francois-Adrien Boieldieu's opera La Dame Blanche at Grover's Theatre.
Lincoln telegraphs Capt. Robert T. Lincoln at City Point: "We now think of starting to you about One P.M. Thursday. Don't make public."
 

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Wednesday March 22, 1848

Washington DC

Congressman Lincoln writes to Usher F. Linder, of Coles County, Illinois. Linder expressed concern about Lincoln's criticism of President James K. Polk's prosecution of the recently-ended war with Mexico. Linder suggested that some might equate criticism of the war with criticism of the soldiers, in particular, General Zachary Taylor. Lincoln disagrees, and argues, "There are in this H[ouse]. [of] R[epresentatives]. some more than forty members who support Genl. Taylor for the Presidency, every one of whom has voted that the war was 'unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced by the President' every one of whom has spoken to the same effect, who has spoken at all, and not one of whom supposes he thereby strips Genl. [Taylor] of any laurels."
 

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Friday March 23, 1860

Chicago, IL


One of Lincoln's famous cases—Johnston v. Jones & Marsh—comes to trial in U.S. Court. Title to important accretions of land north of Chicago River is involved. This is third trial of case, and first time Lincoln has appeared as counsel. With him, for defense, are Fuller, Higgins, and Van Arman; Morris, Arnold, and Wills represent plaintiff.
 

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Monday March 24, 1862

Washington DC

President Lincoln writes to New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley regarding Lincoln's recent call to Congress for a resolution to encourage the "abolishment of slavery." Lincoln proposes that the government "compensate for the inconveniences public and private, produced by such change of system." He writes, "I am a little uneasy about the abolishment of slavery in this District, not but I would be glad to see it abolished, but as to the time and manner of doing it. . . . I would like the bill to have the three main features—gradual—compensation—and vote of the people."
[Tad Lincoln has recovered enough to "play about," and Mary Lincoln continues her slow recovery from the loss of Willie Lincoln.
 

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Saturday March 25, 1865

City Point, Va. on board the steamboat River Queen


President arises early, does not look too well, eats very little. Robert comes aboard during breakfast and reports fighting at front. Several officers, including Rear Adm. Porter, assemble and walk with President to Gen. Grant's headquarters. Lincoln expresses desire to visit scene of fighting. About noon special train is made up, and large party proceeds over military railroad to Gen. Meade's headquarters and sees evidence of fighting during visit.
Lincoln mounts horse and rides over part of battlefield where dead are being buried. Train returns slowly to City Point. Cars with wounded attached. President weary and worn; declines invitation to supper at Grant's headquarters and returns to River Queen.
At 8:30 A.M. informs Sec. Stanton : "Arrived here, all safe about 9 P.M. yesterday. No War News."
At 1:25 P.M. telegraphs Stanton : "I am here within five miles of the scene of this morning's action. I have nothing to add to what Gen. Meade reports, except that I have seen the prisoners myself and they look like there might be the number he states—1600."
 

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Thursday March 26, 1863

Washington DC

President Lincoln writes to Tennessee's military governor, Andrew Johnson, and urges him to "rais[e] a negro military force." The move would inspire Unionists because, Lincoln explains, Johnson is an "eminent citizen of a slave-state, and himself a slave-holder." Lincoln adds, "The colored population is the great available and yet unavailed of, force for restoring the Union. The bare sight of fifty thousand armed, and drilled black soldiers on the banks of the Mississippi, would end the rebellion at once."
Interviews Eli Parker of New York regarding appointment.
 

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Monday March 27, 1865

General Grant's HQ, on board the steamer River Queen

Lt. Comdr. Barnes reports as usual aboard River Queen and walks with President to General Grant's headquarters. Lincoln returns for lunch. After lunch President's party, including Barnes and Robert, makes trip to Appomattox River to Point of Rocks.
General William T. Sherman arrives at City Point, Va., in evening, and President has conference with him, Grant, and Rear Adm. Porter.
Lincoln telegraphs Secretary of War Stanton : "Yours inclosing Fort-Sumpter order received. I think of but one suggestion. I feel quite confident that Sumpter fell on the thirteenth (13th.) and not on the fourteenth (14th.) of April as you have it. . . . Look up the old Almanac & other data and see if I am not right."

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Tuesday March 28, 1865

Steamboat River Queen

Generals Grant and Sherman and Rear Admiral Porter ride out to River Queen in tugboat and have general conversation with President about military situation and strategy. Generals Meade, Ord, and Sheridan also present.
Writes Secretary of War Stanton: "After your explanation, I think it is little or no difference whether the Fort-Sumpter ceremony takes place on the 13th. or 14th. Gen. Sherman tells me he is well acquainted with James Yeatman, & that he thinks him almost the best man in the country for any thing he will undertake."
President Lincoln writes to Great Britain's Queen Victoria and acknowledges that foreign minister Lord Lyons resigned due to the "state of his health." Lincoln writes, "[Lyons] has, I do not doubt . . . assured your Majesty, of the invariable friendship of the United States, and of their cordial good wishes for the prosperity and happiness of your Majesty's Realm. I derive much satisfaction from the assurance contained in your letter, of the interest your Majesty takes in all that concerns the welfare and prosperity of the United States."
 

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Wednesday March 29, 1865

City Point, Va

Lincoln stays aboard the steamer, River Queen, while on a visit to General Ulysses S. Grant's headquarters. At 10:15 p.m., Lincoln hears "a furious cannonade, soon joined in by a heavy musketry-fire, opened near Petersburg and lasted about two hours." In a letter the next day to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, Lincoln recounts, "It seemed to me a great battle, but the older hands here scarcely noticed it, and, sure enough, this morning it was found that very little had been done."
Telegraphs Gen. Grant: "Your three despatches received. From what direction did the enemy come that attacked [Gen. Charles] Griffin? How do things look now?"
 

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Sunday March 30, 1862

Washington DC

In evening Gen. McClellan visits President preparatory to sailing down Potomac to begin campaign.
Lincoln writes a letter introducing Superintendent of U.S. Army nurses Dorothea L. Dix to the Medical Director of the Military Hospital at Winchester, Virginia. Lincoln requests, "Please receive her kindly, and avail yourself of her services among the sick and wounded soldiers."
 

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Friday March 31, 1865

City Point, Va

Lincoln is depressed. Knows Gen. Grant expects to make general attack on Petersburg, Va. with great loss of life.
President informs Sec. Stanton : "At 12:30 p.m. to-day Gen. Grant telegraphed me as follows: There has been much hard fighting this morning. The enemy drove our left from near Dabney's house back well toward the Boydton plank road. . . . Later he telegraphed again as follows: Our troops, after being driven back on the Boydton plank road, turned and drove the enemy in turn and took the White Oak road, . . . There have been four flags captured to-day. . . . I infer that he moved his headquarters about one mile since he sent the first of the two dispatches."
Lincoln is urged by Stanton to remain few days more at front. "A pause by the army now would do harm; if you are on the ground there will be no pause."
 

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Monday April 1, 1861

Washington DC

Sec. Seward sends President document headed: "Some thoughts for the President's consideration." It contains thoughts relating to office seekers, relief of forts, blockade, martial law, foreign affairs, war with European powers, and Lincoln's responsibilities. Lincoln insists: "I remark that if this must be done, I must do it."
Seward, Capt. Meigs, and Lt. David D. Porter (USN) hasten to White House with plans prepared by them, without knowledge of Sec. Welles, for reinforcing Fort Pickens, Fla. President signs papers, directing that plans be approved by Gen. Scott, and USS Powhatan is withheld from Sumter expedition against President's wishes.
Sec. Welles goes to White House to protest recent instructions for expedition to Vera Cruz, Mexico and Pensacola, Fla.
President writes: "Would it impose too much labor on General Scott to make short, comprehensive daily reports to me of what occurs in his Department?"
 

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Sunday April 2, 1865

City Point, Va

President remains at front. Mrs. Lincoln returns to Washington on steamer Monohasset. Lincoln goes ashore in barge ordered by Rear Adm. Porter. Rides out to entrenchments near battleground and watches fighting for short while. Sends message 7:45 A.M. to Mrs. Lincoln: "This morning Gen. Grant, . . . telegraphs as follows. . . . 'The battle now rages furiously. . . . All now looks highly favorable.'"
In afternoon telegraphs Mrs. Lincoln: "Gen. Grant telegraphs that he has Petersburg completely enveloped . . . suggests that I shall go out and see him . . . which I think I will do. Tad and I are both well."
At 11 A.M. telegraphs Sec. Stanton : "Despatches frequently coming in. All going finely."
At 2 P.M. sends Grant's report to Stanton: "'We are now closing around the works of the line immediately enveloping Petersburg. All looks remarkably well.'"
At 8:15 P.M. telegraphs Grant: "Allow me to tender to you, and all with you, the nations grateful thanks for this additional, and magnificent success. At your kind suggestion, I think I will visit you to-morrow."
 

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Monday April 3, 1865

Petersburg, Va

At 8 A.M. President starts for meeting with Gen. Grant in Petersburg, Va., now evacuated.
Receives message from Grant suggesting that he come to headquarters. Train is made up and takes Presidential party to Patrick Station, about mile from town. President and Tad proceed in ambulance.
Lincoln on special train receives message at Pitkin Station from Robert: "I am awaiting you at Hancock Station."
Lincoln and Grant talk for hour and half in small house in Petersburg.
President returns to train and to USS Malvern, flagship of Rear Admiral Porter, in high spirits. Receives message from Gen. Weitzel in evening that Richmond is being evacuated. Weitzel takes possession of Richmond at 8:15 A.M.
At 5 P. M., from City Point, Virginia, located near the front lines and General Ulysses S. Grant's headquarters, Lincoln writes to his wife, Mary. The Lincoln's youngest son Tad accompanies his father. Lincoln reports on the war's progress and on a visit with their oldest son Robert. Lincoln writes, "Petersburg & Richmond are both in our hands; and Tad & I have been to the former & been with Bob four or five hours. He is well & in good spirits. Come down as you proposed."
At 5 P.M. President telegraphs Secretary of War Stanton from City Point: "Yours received. Thanks for you caution; but I have already been to Petersburg, staid with Gen. Grant an hour & a half and returned here. It is certain now that Richmond is in our hands, and I think I will go there to-morrow. I will take care of myself

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Tuesday April 4, 1865

Richmond, Va

At 8 A.M. President orders Samuel A. Beckwith, cipher operator at General Grant's headquarters, to accompany him to Richmond.
Presidential party travels on River Queen to meet Rear Admiral Porter's fleet. Transfers to flagship USS Malvern for trip to Richmond. Abandons Malvern for Captain's gig manned by 12 sailors. With President are Porter, Captain Penrose, Tad Lincoln (celebrating his twelfth birthday), and William H. Crook. Party lands around 3:00 PM at point called Rocketts on edge of town, 100 or more yards back of Libby Prison. With six sailors in front of President and six in rear, with Porter and Penrose on one side and Tad and Crook on other, party proceeds on foot to General Godfrey Weitzel's headquarters, the house recently occupied by President Jefferson Davis.
At Davis house is shown into room used for office. Sits and remarks, "This must have been President Davis's chair." Inspects house accompanied by aide to General Weitzel.
Lunches with Generals Weitzel and Shepley; rides around in ambulance through crowded streets to various points of interest, stopping only at Capitol, before returning to Malvern for night. Among visitors to see President is Duff Green, diplomat and journalist.
Interviews former Assoc. Justice Campbell on subject of peace.
Lincoln's reception at Richmond is described by Weitzel as "enthusiastic in the extreme."

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Wednesday April 5, 1865

Richmond, Va and City Point, Va

At 9 A.M. President comes ashore in Rear Adm. Porter's barge and goes to army headquarters.
Again meets former Assoc. Justice Campbell, to discuss how Virginia can be brought back into Union.
After morning meeting with Campbell, President leaves Richmond for City Point
President replies to Seward: "Yours of to-day received. I think there is no probability of my remaining here more than two days longer. If that is too long come down. I passed last night at Richmond and have just returned."
At 6 P.M. receives message that Sec. Seward has been thrown from carriage and dangerously injured.
Receives March salary warrant for $1,981.67.
 

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Thursday April 6, 1865

City Point, Va

President authorizes Gen. Weitzel to give permission to "gentlemen who have acted as the Legislature of Virginia, in support of the rebellion" to assemble at Richmond and take measures to withdraw Virginia troops.
Mrs. Lincoln and party join President on board steamer River Queen.
President informs Gen. Grant of Sec. Seward's accident and of conferences with former Assoc. Justice J. A. Campbell in Richmond. If war is further persisted in South, confiscated property will bear additional cost. Confiscations will be remitted to people of any state which promptly withdraws its troops from resistance to government. If Confederate Legislature of Virginia wishes to meet for this purpose, Weitzel will protect them. "I do not think it very probable that anything will come of this; but I have thought best to notify you."
President visits military offices, anxious for news from Grant.
 

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Friday April 7, 1865

City Point, Va

President forwards to Secretary of War Stanton telegrams from Generals Humphreys, Meade, and Wright.
Interviews Assistant Secretary of War Dana and remarks that "Sheridan seemed to be getting Virginia soldiers out of the war faster than this legislature could think."
Lincoln reviews troops and tires himself out shaking hands.
Lincoln telegraphs Gen. Grant: "Gen. Sheridan says 'If the thing is pressed I think Lee will surrender.' Let the thing be pressed."
 
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