Friday, June 23, 2023

Abraham Lincoln's Itinerary; Friday, April 14, 1865, Washington, DC.

Captain Robert Lincoln arrives in Washington from the scene of General R. E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox, Virginia, in time for an 8am breakfast with President. 

During the morning, Lincoln confers at length with Congressman Colfax (Indiana), who is preparing to visit West Coast. 

Interviews former Senator Hale (New Hampshire), newly appointed minister to Spain, and goes for a short drive with General Grant in town for a cabinet meeting. Receives many members of Congress who call to congratulate him on the successful conclusion of the war. 

Interviews William A. Howard, Detroit Lawyer. 

Writes General Van Alen: "I thank you for the assurance you give me that I shall be supported by conservative men like yourself, in the efforts I may make to restore the Union, so as to make it, to use your language, a Union of hearts and hands as well as of States." 

Visits the cipher room of the War Department, tells General Thomas T. Eckert of plans to attend the Fords Theater and invites him to come along. 

At about 10am, Governor Swann (Maryland) and Senator Creswell (Maryland) presented a memorandum concerning Maryland appointments. 

At 11am, the cabinet meets. 

Grant reported to the cabinet on the surrender of Confederate forces at Appomattox, and Secretary Stanton presents a draft of the plan for reestablishing authority in the Confederate States. 

President tells several cabinet members about his recurring dream of a ship "moving with great rapidity toward a dark and indefinite shore" that presages Union victories. 

The cabinet meeting lasts from 11am to 2pm Informal discussion relative to what should be done about President Davis and other leaders of the Confederacy. 

Between 2 and 3pm, President lunches with Mrs. Lincoln in a private parlor.

Edward D. Neill, a White House employee, sees President about the signed commission. 

Lincoln interviews Vice President Johnson at 3pm Mrs. Nancy Bushrod, a Negro woman, pushes by guards and sees President regarding her husband's pay. 

Congressman Samuel Shellabarger (Ohio) calls on President at approximately 4pm to discuss appointments. 

Assistant Secretary Dana reports to President at 4:30pm that Jacob Thompson, a Confederate agent in Canada, is now in the U.S. making ready to sail for Europe. Should he be allowed to leave the country? President is willing for him to leave. 

Secretary Hugh McCulloch makes a friendly call to President. 

Around 5pm, Congressman Edward H. Rollins (New Hampshire) calls on President to get the petition endorsed. 

In the late afternoon, President and Mrs. Lincoln go for a drive. They stop at Navy Yard to view three monitors, damaged in Fort Fisher, North Carolina, engagement. President talks of a time when they can return to Illinois and live quietly. 

Between 6 and 7pm, President and Mrs. Lincoln return from the drive and find Governor Richard J. Oglesby (Illinois) with other Illinois friends at the White House. Reads four chapters of Petroleum V. Nasby [1].

After supper, President interviews Congressman Colfax (Indiana) relative to a special session of Congress and the order of General Weitzel. Former Congressman Cornelius Cole (California) accompanies Colfax. 

At 8pm, former Congressman Ashmun (Massachusetts) sees President regarding the cotton claim against the government. President gives him an appointment as follows: "Allow Mr. Ashmun and his friend to come in at 9am tomorrow." 

President exchanges a few words with former Congressman Arnold (Illinois) while getting in the carriage to go to the theater.

At approximately 8:30pm, President and Mrs. Lincoln, accompanied by Clara Harris and Major Henry R. Rathbone, enter Ford's Theatre for a performance of "Our American Cousin" featuring Laura Keene. 
John Wilkes Booth
"It is, therefore, safe to say that John Wilkes Booth fired his shot at or close to 13 minutes past 10pm" [The exact time of the shot in the President's box is not agreed upon.]

Shortly afterward, President, completely insensible, is moved across the street to the house of William Petersen, 453 10th Street, NW, and placed on a bed in a small room at the rear of the hallway on the ground floor. Mrs. Lincoln stays near her husband. Robert Lincoln and John Hay come from the White House. Dr. Stone tells Robert there is no hope. Family and others whose official or private relations to President give them the right to be present begin their long night wait for death to overtake him. Doctors' Present just after President Lincoln was shot and during his death.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

[1] Petroleum V. Nasby was a fictional character created by David Ross Locke, a Unionist and foe of slavery who published barbed satiric attacks on the Southern position during and after the Civil War. The character of Nasby was a coarse, ignorant, and bigoted Copperhead Democrat who expressed his views in a deliberately illiterate and misspelled dialect. Nasby's letters (The Nasby Papers, pub 1864) were published in newspapers across the northern United States, and they became very popular, both for their humor and for their political commentary.
Petroleum V. Nasby

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