Crook, William Henry, Through Five Administrations: Reminiscences of Colonel William H. Crook, Harper & Brothers: New York, 1910. pp. 38-59

III

THE ENTRANCE INTO RICHMOND

 

ABOUT noon of March 23d the President called me into his room, and said:

“Crook, I want you to accompany me to City Point, Virginia. We leave this afternoon. If you have any preparations to make, you must attend to them at once.” I hurried home to get the few necessary clothes and say good-bye to my family. It was late in the afternoon when I rejoined Mr. Lincoln on board the River Queen, which was lying at the Seventh Street wharf.

There were a good many people on the quay watching the boat. Rumors of the President’s departure were about—I’m sure I don’t know how; there had been no announcement—and everybody wanted to know where he was going. It took very little to get up an alarm during those last months of the war. But the questions were not answered, and the crowd had to content itself with a glimpse of the President on the deck. They watched while the River Queen left her moorings and slowly steamed down the Potomac.

The President was accompanied by Mrs. Lincoln, Taddie, Captain Penrose of the army, and myself. Penrose had been detailed to have general charge of the party. He was a tall, fine-looking man, fair like an Englishman. Bradford, who was the captain of the River Queen, had done everything he could on such short notice to make his guests comfortable. He took me all over the boat and showed me, with some pride, how he had had the state-rooms fitted up. Taddie’s investigating mind led him everywhere. Before he went to bed he had studied every screw of the engine and he knew and counted among his friends every man of the crew. They all liked him, too.

Mr. Lincoln watched the city until he could see it no more. At first he was interested in the sights along the shores. But as we drew near Alexandria he turned back to catch a last glimpse of the city. All the sadness of his face came out now when he was quiet. I realized, as I had never done before, what the war meant to him and how anxious he was. It was growing dark, and the air was raw and chilly. But he stayed on deck until we had passed Alexandria. Then every one went inside.

Captain Bradford’s long experience of the Potomac had made him acquainted with the histories of spies and blockade-runners who, in the early days of the war, had stolen across the river to the Maryland side. He told us many exciting incidents; he pointed out the landings they had made. The President was very much interested, and kept the captain busy answering questions. It was nearly midnight when he went to bed.

Tad and I had a state - room together. Toward morning I was startled out of a sound sleep by some one entering the room. Before I could speak I heard Mrs. Lincoln’s voice: “It is I, Crook. It is growing colder, and I came in to see if my little boy has covers enough on him.” In a little while I was awakened again. This time it was by a sensation of great discomfort. I will have to explain that I was a countryman and had been no great traveller. I had never slept on a boat before. It appeared to me that the steamer was slowly climbing up one side of a hill and then rushing down the other. I have since learned that I was seasick. I know I felt awfully blue. Taddie was still asleep. I dressed as best I could, and hurried out to demand from the captain what was the matter with the boat. He laughed at me a little, and then informed me that we were in Chesapeake Bay, nearing Fortress Monroe, and that it was a little rough.

Evidently Mr. Lincoln was a better sailor than I was, for he came on deck in a few minutes looking very much rested.

“I’m feeling splendidly,” he said. “Is breakfast ready?” He did full justice to the delicious fish when it was served. When we steamed into the mouth of the James and calmer water I recovered my spirits and found that I was hungry.

It was after dark on the 24th when we reached City Point. It was a beautiful sight at this time, with the many-colored lights of the boats in the harbor and the lights of the town straggling up the high bluffs of the shore, crowned by the lights from Grant’s headquarters at the top.

It was known at Grant headquarters that the President was coming, and a lookout had been kept. As soon as the River Queen was made fast to the wharf, General Grant with some members of his staff came aboard. They had a long consultation with the President, at the end of which Mr. Lincoln appeared particularly happy. General Grant had evidently made him feel that the end of the conflict was at hand, nearer than he had expected. After General Grant had gone, Taddie and I went ashore to take a look at the place by starlight. We did not get many steps from the steamer before we were halted by a sentinel. I explained who we were, but Taddie thought he would go back. He said he did not like the looks of things. He wasn’t used to being halted by sentinels who didn’t know who he was. We went back to the boat. Everybody was up until late. The President and Mrs. Lincoln talked of the trip; they were in very good spirits.

The next day, the 25th, was clear and warmer. We had an opportunity of seeing one of the great centres of the war. In Mr. Lincoln’s estimation it was the critical point, and he had placed his lieutenant-general, the man in whom he had most faith, in charge. The Appomattox and the James come together at City Point. The harbor thus made is overhung with high bluffs. On the top of one bluff was a group of houses, which Grant and his staff used as headquarters. The harbor was crowded with craft of all kinds — fishing-boats, row-boats, sail-boats, transports, and passenger-boats. From higher ground in the vicinity could be seen the tents of Lee’s army. It was a busy camp, and everything was in motion. Just west of our troops was the long, curved line of Lee’s intrenchments, stretching from Petersburg, south of the James and fifteen miles from City Point, to Richmond, northwest of City Point and nearly double that distance.

We all went ashore and visited General Grant’s headquarters. After the greetings, General Grant invited the President to take a ride to the front, where General Meade was in command. When we started, Mr. Lincoln was seen to be on a black pony belonging to General Grant. The name of the animal was Jeff Davis. Everybody laughed at the idea, and at the sight, too, for the President’s feet nearly touched the ground. Mr. Lincoln was a good horseman, but always rather an ungainly sight on horseback. He laughed at himself this time, and said, “Well, he may be Jeff Davis and a little too small for me, but he is a good horse.”

Mrs. Lincoln rode in an army ambulance with Mrs. Grant, who was a member of the party for that day.

It had been intended when we started for City Point that there should be a grand review of the troops. But the Confederates were active the first part of the ten days before we left to visit Richmond, and the preparations for the final operations before Petersburg were being made the latter part of the time. There was a lull in between, but never a time when it was possible to draw all the soldiers away from their positions. So we never had the grand review.

We saw some lively skirmishing, however, between the picket-lines of the two forces while we were at General Meade’s headquarters. We were on a hill just east of where the troops were engaged; it was not more than a quarter of a mile away from the wood where the fighting was in progress. We could see the shells as they were fired; but while we were there they burst in the air and did no damage. The President asked whether the position was not too close for the comfort of his party. When he was assured that there was no danger, he remained two hours watching the struggle, and turned away only when the firing ceased.

On the 26th Mr. Lincoln visited General Ord’s command on the northern bank of the James and reviewed the troops. They were brought out in dress parade, and went through the evolutions of actual war. Mrs. Ord was a member of the party. To get to General Ord’s command we had to cross the James in a boat, and then Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Grant got into the army ambulance as before, while Mrs. Ord and the gentlemen rode horseback. On the 27th General Sherman arrived, and there was a conference. The President was again much cheered by the confidence of both generals that they would be successful in speedily bringing the war to a close.

The next three days were filled with incidents. On one occasion the President, with General Grant, Admiral Porter, Captain Penrose, Mrs. Lincoln, Taddie, and myself, went up the Appomattox to Point of Rocks, where we were rewarded by a view of the country for miles around. General Grant pointed out the location of General Lee’s army; some of their tents were in full view. Near us, as we stood straining our eyes to see all we could of our Confederate adversaries, was a great oak-tree, said to mark the spot where Pocahontas saved the life of Captain John Smith. An inscription nailed to it—”Woodman, spare this tree”—gave us an idea of the respect due the patriarch. The best view was to be had from the “Crow’s-nest”—a lookout tower constructed by General Butler when he was “bottled up” there earlier in the war. I think that the President really threw off the load that was on his mind and enjoyed the day. He said that he had, and looked pleased.

One day, while the President and Mrs. Lincoln were going through the hospital at City Point, doing what they could to cheer up the sick and wounded soldiers and investigating the hospital arrangements, some one told them that Mr. Johnson, the Vice-President, had arrived. Mr. Lincoln said: “Well, I guess he can get along without me.” They did not meet at all during the visit. I do not know whether this meant that the President did not like Mr. Johnson or not. It may have been merely that he felt that he was at City Point for a certain purpose, and had no time for other things. The fact remains that he was not eager to see Mr. Johnson. The testimony of Major A. E. Johnson, who was Secretary Stanton’s private secretary, is interesting in this connection. Major Johnson was present when the news came that Mr. Johnson had been chosen to be Mr. Lincoln’s running-mate in the second election. He says that the President said: “So they have chosen him—I thought perhaps he would be the man. He is a strong man. I hope he may be the best man. But—” And, since the President rose then and went out of the room, the “but” was never explained.

The President made several trips up the James River to visit Admiral Porter and see his iron-clad fleet. One day he dined with him.

Not long before the final assault upon Petersburg a curious incident happened. A man came on board the River Queen and asked Captain Bradford if he could see the President. He was referred to me. Mr. Lincoln had instructed me not to admit any one but General Grant or Admiral Porter, so I told the man that the President was not to be seen. The visitor became very much excited. He said that he had rendered Mr. Lincoln valuable services in Illinois during his campaign for the Presidency, and had spent large sums of money. He was in trouble; he must see the President. He protested that he was known to Mr. Lincoln personally. I asked his name. At first he refused to give it, but finally said that it was “Smith” and that he lived near Mr. Lincoln’s home in Illinois.
I went to the President and carried “Smith’s” message. Mr. Lincoln laughed at first. “‘Smith’ is, of course, an uncommon name.” Then he became serious. “If what he says is true, I would know him. But I do not. The man is an impostor, and I won’t see him.”

I went back to “Smith” with the President’s answer. The man was very much disturbed, and again begged to be allowed to see him. When that failed he tried to bribe me to take him to Mr. Lincoln. I ordered him to leave the boat at once, and when he delayed told him I would have him arrested if he did not. He turned to Captain Bradford and said, defiantly, “If Mr. Lincoln does not know me now, he will know me damned soon after he does see me.” He went on shore, and the moment after he had crossed the gangplank he disappeared. I watched him, but could not see where he had gone.

After the death of Mr. Lincoln, every one was anxious to discover the accomplices of the murderer. I called attention to this man “Smith” who had tried so hard to be admitted to Lincoln’s presence at City Point. It was known that Surratt had been at City Point at that time, and I was requested to visit Surratt and see if I could identify him as “Smith.” I went to court, and Taddie went with me. I had seen Surratt before the war; we had lived in the same county in Maryland. I think “Smith” and Surratt were the same man. It was impossible, however, for me to be absolutely sure. For “Smith” was ragged and dirty and very much sunburned; he looked like a tramp. While Surratt, at the time I saw him, looked like a very sick man, pale and emaciated. In every other respect they looked alike. The difference in appearance might easily have been brought about by circumstances or by a slight disguise. I shall always believe that Surratt was seeking an opportunity to assassinate the President at this time.

As March 31, 1865, drew near, the President (then at City Point, Virginia) knew that Grant was to make a general attack upon Petersburg, and grew depressed. The fact that his own son was with Grant was one source of anxiety. But the knowledge of the loss of life that must follow hung about him until he could think of nothing else. On the 31st there was, of course, no news. Most of the first day of April Mr. Lincoln spent in the telegraph-office, receiving telegrams and sending them on to Washington. Toward evening he came back to the River Queen, on which we had sailed from Washington to City Point.

There his anxiety became more intense. There had been a slight reverse during the day; he feared that the struggle might be prolonged. We could hear the cannon as they pounded away at Drury’s Bluff up the river. We knew that not many miles away Grant was pouring fire into Lee’s forces about Petersburg.

It grew dark. Then we could see the flash of the cannon. Mr. Lincoln would not go to his room. Almost all night he walked up and down the deck, pausing now and then to listen or to look out into the darkness to see if he could see anything. I have never seen such suffering in the face of any man as was in his that night.

On the morning of April 2d a message came from General Grant asking the President to come to his headquarters, some miles distant from City Point and near Petersburg. It was on Sunday. We rode out to the intrenchments, close to the battle-ground. Mr. Lincoln watched the life-and-death struggle for some time, and then returned to City Point. In the evening he received a despatch from General Grant telling him that he had pushed Lee to his last lines about Petersburg. The news made the President happy. He said to Captain Penrose that the end of the war was now in sight. He could go to bed and sleep now. I remember how cheerful was his “Goodnight, Crook.”

On Monday, the 3d, a message came to the President that Petersburg was in possession of the Federal army, and that General Grant was waiting there to see him. We mounted and rode over the battle-field to Petersburg. As we rode through Fort Hell and Fort Damnation—as the men had named the outposts of the two armies which faced each other, not far apart—many of the dead and dying were still on J the ground. I can still see one man with a bullet-hole through his forehead, and another with both arms shot away. As we rode, the President’s face settled into its old lines of sadness.
At the end of fifteen miles we reached Petersburg, and were met by Captain Robert Lincoln, of General Grant’s staff, who, with some other officers, escorted us to General Grant. We found him and the rest of his staff sitting on the piazza of a white frame house. Grant did not look like one’s idea of a conquering hero. He didn’t appear exultant, and he was as quiet as he had ever been. The meeting between Grant and Lincoln was cordial; the President was almost affectionate. While they were talking I took the opportunity to stroll through Petersburg. It seemed deserted, but I met a few of the inhabitants. They said they were glad that the Union army had taken possession; they were half starved. They certainly looked so. The tobacco warehouses were on fire, and boys were carrying away tobacco to sell to the soldiers. I bought a five-pound bale of smokingtobacco for twenty-five cents. Just before we started back a little girl came up with a bunch of wild flowers for the President. He thanked the child for them kindly, and we rode away. Soon after we got back to City Point news came of the evacuation of Richmond. must have been at least half a peck. The President reached forward for one.

In the midst of the rejoicing some Confederate prisoners were brought aboard transports at the dock near us. The President hung over the rail and watched them. They were in a pitiable condition, ragged and thin; they looked half starved. When they were on board they took out of their knapsacks the last rations that had been issued to them before capture. There was nothing but bread, which looked as if it had been mixed with tar. When they cut it we could see how hard and heavy it was; it was more like cheese than bread.

“Poor fellows!” Mr. Lincoln said. “It’s a hard lot. Poor fellows—”

I looked up. His face was pitying and sorrowful. All the happiness had gone.

On the 4th of April Admiral Porter asked the President to go to Richmond with him. At first the President did not want to go. He knew it was foolhardy. And he had no wish to see the spectacle of the Confederacy’s humiliation. It has been generally believed that it was Mr. Lincoln’s own idea, and he has been blamed for rashness because of it. I understand that when Mr. Stanton, who was a vehement man, heard that the expedition had started, he was so alarmed that he was angry against the President. “That fool!” he exclaimed. Mr. Lincoln knew perfectly well how dangerous the trip was, and, as I said, at first he did not want to go, realizing that he had no right to risk his life unnecessarily. But he was convinced by Admiral Porter’s arguments. Admiral Porter thought that the President ought to be in Richmond as soon after the surrender as possible. In that way he could gather up the reins of government most readily and give an impression of confidence in the South that would be helpful in the reorganization of the government. Mr. Lincoln immediately saw the wisdom of this position and went forward, calmly accepting the possibility of death.

Mrs. Lincoln, by this time, had gone back to Washington. Mr. Lincoln, Taddie, and I went up the James River on the River Queen to meet Admiral Porter’s fleet. Taddie went down immediately to inspect the engine and talk with his friends the sailors; the President remained on deck. Near where Mr. Lincoln sat was a large bowl of apples on a table—there must have been at least half a peck. The President reached forward for one.

“These must have been put here for us,” he said. “I guess I will sample them.” We both began to pare and eat. Before we reached the Admiral’s flagship every apple had disappeared—and the parings too. When the last one was gone the President said, with a smile, “I guess I have cleaned that fellow out.”

When we met Admiral Porter’s fleet the question of the best way to get to Richmond had to be decided. While some effort had been made to fish the torpedoes and other obstructions out of the water, but little headway had been made. The river was full of wreckage of all sorts, and torpedoes were floating everywhere. The plan had been to sail to Richmond in Admiral Porter’s flag-ship Malvern, escorted by the Bat, and with the Columbus to carry the horses. But it was soon evident that it would not be possible to get as large a boat as the Malvern through at Drury’s Bluff, where the naturally narrow and rapid channel was made impassable by a boat which had missed the channel and gone aground. It was determined to abandon the Malvern for the captain’s gig, manned by twelve sailors. When the party, consisting of President Lincoln, Admiral Porter, Captain Penrose, Taddie, and myself, were seated, the Bat, a little tug which the President had used for his trips about City Point, came alongside and took us in tow. There were a number of marines on board the tug. We were kept at a safe distance from the tug by means of a long hawser, so that if she struck a torpedo and was blown up the President and his party would be safe. Even with this precaution the trip was exciting enough. On either side dead horses, broken ordnance, wrecked boats floated near our boat, and we passed so close to torpedoes that we could have put out our hands and touched them. We were dragged over one wreck which was so near the surface that it could be clearly seen.
Beyond Drury’s Bluff, at a point where a bridge spans the water, the tug was sent back to help a steamboat which had stuck fast across the stream. It seems that it was the Allison, a captured Confederate vessel, and Admiral Farrago, who had taken it, was on board. The marines, of course, went with the tug. In the attempt to help the larger boat the tug was grounded. Then we went on with no other motive-power than the oars in the arms of the twelve sailors.

The shore for some distance before we reached Richmond was black with negroes. They had heard that President Lincoln was on his way—they had some sort of an underground telegraph, I am sure. They were wild with excitement, and yelling like so many wild men, “Dar comes Massa Linkum, de Sabier ob de lan’—we is so glad to see him!” We landed at the Rocketts, over a hundred yards back of Libby Prison. By the time we were on shore hundreds of black hands were outstretched to the President, and he shook some of them and thanked the darkies for their welcome. While we stood still a few minutes before beginning our walk through the city, we saw some soldiers not far away “initiating” some negroes by tossing them on a blanket. When they came down they were supposed to be transformed into Yankees. The darkies yelled lustily during the process, and came down livid under their black skins. But they were all eager for the ordeal. The President laughed boyishly; I heard him afterward telling some one about the funny sight.

We formed in line. Six sailors were in advance and six in the rear. They were armed with short carbines. Mr. Lincoln was in the centre, with Admiral Porter and Captain Penrose on the right, and I on the left, holding Taddie by the hand. I was armed with a Colt’s revolver. We looked more like prisoners than anything else as we walked up the streets of Richmond not thirty-six hours after the Confederates had evacuated.

At first, except the blacks, there were not many people on the streets. But soon we were walking through streets that were alive with spectators. Wherever it was possible for a human being to find a foothold there was some man or woman or boy straining his eyes after the President. Every window was crowded with heads. Men were hanging from tree-boxes and telegraph-poles. But it was a silent crowd. There was something oppressive in those thousands of watchers without a sound, either of welcome or hatred. I think we would have welcomed a yell of defiance. I stole a look sideways at Mr. Lincoln. His face was set. It had the calm in it that comes over the face of a brave man when he is ready for whatever may come. In all Richmond the only sign of welcome I saw, after we left the negroes at the landing-place and until we reached our own men, was from a young lady who was on a sort of bridge that connected the Spottswood House with another hotel across the street. She had an American flag over her shoulders.

We had not gone far when the blinds of a second-story window of a house on our left were partly opened, and a man dressed in gray pointed something that looked like a gun directly at the President. I dropped Tad’s hand and stepped in front of Mr. Lincoln. I was sure he meant to shoot. Later the President explained it otherwise. But we were all so aware of the danger of his entrance into Richmond right on the heels of the army, with such bitterness of feeling on the part of the Confederates, the streets swarming with disorderly characters, that our nerves were not steady. It seems to me nothing short of miraculous that some attempt on his life was not made. It is to the everlasting glory of the South that he was permitted to come and go in peace.

We were glad when we reached General Weitzel’s headquarters in the abandoned Davis mansion and were at last among friends. Every one relaxed in the generous welcome of the General and his staff. The President congratulated General Weitzel, and a jubilation followed.

The Jefferson Davis home was a large house of gray stucco, with a garden at the back. It was a fine place, though everything looked dilapidated after the long siege. It was still completely furnished, and there was an old negro house-servant in charge. He told me that Mrs. Davis had ordered him to have the house in good condition for the Yankees.

“I am going out into the world a wanderer without a home,” she had said when she bade him good-bye.

I was glad to know that he was to have everything “in good condition,” for I was thirsty after so much excitement, and thought his orders must surely have included something to drink. I put the question to him. He said,

“Yes, indeed, boss, there is some fine old whiskey in the cellar.”

In a few minutes he produced a long, black bottle. The bottle was passed around. When it came back it was empty. Every one had taken a pull except the President, who never touched anything of the sort.

An officer’s ambulance was brought to the door, and President Lincoln, Admiral Porter, General Weitzel, with some of his staff, Captain Penrose, and Taddie took their seats. There was no room for me.

“Where is the place for Crook?” Mr. Lincoln asked. ”1 want him to go with me.” Then they provided me with a saddle-horse, and I rode by the side on which Mr. Lincoln sat. We went through the city. Everywhere were signs of war, hundreds of homes had been fired, in some places buildings were still burning. It was with difficulty that we could get along, the crowd was so great. We passed Libby Prison. The only place that we entered was the capitol. We were shown the room that had been occupied by Davis and his cabinet. The furniture was completely wrecked; the coverings of desks and chairs had been stripped off by relic-hunters, and the chairs were hacked to pieces.

The ambulance took us back to the wharf. Admiral Porter’s flag-ship Malvern had by this time made her way up the river, and we boarded her. It was with a decided feeling of relief that we saw the President safe on board.

We did not start back until the next morning, so there was time for several rumors of designs against the President’s life to get abroad. But although he saw many visitors, there was no attempt against him. Nothing worse happened than the interview with Mr. Duff Green.

Duff Green was a conspicuous figure at the time. He was a newspaper man, an ardent rebel. He always carried with him a huge staff, as tall as he was himself—and he was a tall man. Admiral Porter published an account of the interview in the New York Tribune of January, 1885, which was not altogether accurate. What really happened was this:

As Mr. Green approached him, the President held out his hand. Mr. Green refused to take it, saying, “I did not come to shake hands.” Mr. Lincoln then sat down; so did Mr. Green. There were present at the time General Weitzel, Admiral Porter, one or two others, and myself. Mr. Green began to abuse Mr. Lincoln for the part he had taken in the struggle between the North and the South. His last words were,

“I do not know how God and your conscience will let you sleep at night after being guilty of the notorious crime of setting the niggers free.”

The President listened to his diatribe without the slightest show of emotion. He said nothing. There was nothing in his face to show that he was angry. When Mr. Green had exhausted himself, he said,

“I would like, sir, to go to my friends.”

The President turned to General Weitzel and said, “General, please give Mr. Green a pass to go to his friends.” Mr. Green was set ashore, and was seen no more.

That night Taddie and I were fast asleep when I was startled into wakefulness. Something tall and white and ghostly stood by my berth. For a moment I trembled. When I was fairly awake I saw that it was Mr. Lincoln in his long, white nightgown. He had come in to see if Taddie was all right. He stopped to talk a few minutes.

He referred to Mr. Duff Green: “The old man is pretty angry, but I guess he will get over it.” Then he said, “Good-night, and a good night’s rest, Crook,” and he went back to his stateroom.

Our return trip to City Point was in the Malvern, and quiet enough in comparison with the approach to Richmond. When we reached the “Dutch Gap Canal,” which was one of the engineering features of the day, the President wanted to go through it. Admiral Porter lowered a boat, and in it we passed
through the canal to the James below. The canal cuts off a long loop of the river. We had to wait some time for the Malvern to go around.

Mrs. Lincoln had returned to City Point with a party which included Senator Sumner and Senator and Mrs. Harlan. They made a visit to Richmond, accompanied by Captain Penrose, while the President remained at City Point, the guest of Admiral Porter, until the 8th. Then, having heard of the injury to Secretary Seward when he was thrown from his carriage in a runaway accident, he felt that he must go back to Washington. He had intended to remain until Lee surrendered.

We reached home Sunday evening, the 9th. The President’s carriage met us at the wharf. There Mr. Lincoln parted from Captain Penrose; he took the captain by the hand and thanked him for the manner in which he had performed his duty. Then he started for the White House.

The streets were alive with people, all very much excited. There were bonfires everywhere. We were all curious to know what had happened. Tad was so excited he couldn’t keep still. We halted the carriage and asked a bystander,

“What has happened?”

He looked at us in amazement, not recognizing Mr. Lincoln.

“Why, where have you been? Lee has surrendered.’’

There is one point which is not understood, I think, about the President’s trip to City Point and Richmond. I would like to tell here what my experience has made me believe. The expedition has been spoken of almost as if it were a pleasure trip. Some one says of it, “It was the first recreation the President had known.” Of course, in one sense this was true. He did get away from the routine of office-work. He had pleasant associations with General Grant and General Sherman, and enjoyed genial talks in the open over the camp-fire. But to give the impression that it was a sort of holiday excursion is a mistake. It was a matter of executive duty, and a very trying and saddening duty in many of its features. The President’s suspense during the days when he knew the battle of Petersburg was imminent, his agony when the thunder of the cannon told him that men were being cut down like grass, his sight of the poor, torn bodies of the dead and dying on the field of Petersburg, his painful sympathy with the forlorn rebel prisoners, the revelation of the devastation of a noble people in ruined Richmond—these things may have been compensated for by his exultation when he first knew the long struggle was over. But I think not. These things wore new furrows in his face. Mr. Lincoln never looked sadder in his life than when he walked through the streets of Richmond and knew it saved to the Union and himself victorious.

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