The Final Struggles: September 1864 to April 1865

Beginning of the End

How did the people act toward Lincoln?

There were two very different receptions. Confederate and white Richmond largely remained indoors, while Union, and recently emancipated, black Richmond turned out to hail the deliverer, as many blacks called Lincoln. A number fell on their knees before him, but he said they must stand and kneel only to God. That action only endeared Lincoln more to the African Americans, who were coming to realize, moment by moment, that the Confederacy was finished and they were free.

Moving through the city, Lincoln was protected only by the twelve sailors, each of whom carried a short naval carbine. Had a group of Confederates organized themselves as cavalry, they might have overwhelmed the group and had a lone assassin take aim from a second-story window, who might have succeeded in killing the president. Lincoln appeared unperturbed, however. Arriving at the Confederate White House, he asked merely for a drink of water, while some of the sailors took shots of brandy, toasting the Confederate president who had fled.


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