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President Lincoln's Last Trip

Steven Spielberg's highly anticipated movie Lincoln (www.facebook.com/LincolnMovie), focusing on the president's last few months, opens in November. Much of the movie was filmed in the Richmond and Petersburg (VA) area, which is appropriate since Lincoln spent two of his last few weeks there.

LincolnAbraham Lincoln arrived at U.S. Grant's headquarters at City Point March 24, 1865. The president and the military commander toured the huge Union supply base there and traveled to the Union lines, then nearly encircling the Confederate stronghold at Petersburg.

On March 28, Lincoln held a council of war with Grant and western commander William T. Sherman aboard his boat River Queen docked at City Point.

A few days later, while sleeping on the River Queen, the president had the famous dream that foretold his assassination.

On April 2, while Lincoln was still at City Point, Confederate lines around Petersburg and Richmond finally broke. Both cities were occupied by Union troops the next day.

Lincoln wasted no time. On April 3, with the dead from the final battles not yet buried, Lincoln visited Petersburg and met again with Grant there.

The next day the president visited the former Confederate capital at Richmond. Newly freed slaves greeted him there amid the still smoking ruins of the "Evacuation Fire" that leveled much of the city's business district during the Confederate withdrawal.

Lincoln followed Grant's pursuit of the Confederate army from City Point until April 8 when he began his return to Washington. Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox April 9. Lincoln was shot at Ford's Theatre April 14.

The movie has renewed interest in the sites Lincoln visited during his trip to the front March 24-April 8, 1865.

Here is a list of landmarks associated with Lincoln's visit to the front lines.

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City Point (now Hopewell)

City Pt

Grant's headquarters – The Petersburg National Battlefield maintains its "Grant's Headquarters" unit at the former Union supply base at the confluence of the Appomattox and James rivers now in Hopewell. Lincoln made this his headquarters during the visit.
www.nps.gov/pete/historyculture/city-point.htm

Petersburg
Civil War Trails signs mark several of the locations visited by Lincoln April 3, 1865.
MonumentFort Mahone – After a short train trip from City Point, Lincoln toured this captured Confederate fort on the outskirts of Petersburg. Unburied bodies remained from the fight the day before and the president seemed deeply affected by the sight.
WallaceWallace House – Lincoln and Grant met on the front porch here for about 90 minutes. It was the last time they met.
Centre HillCentre Hill – The president visited the newly established Federal occupation commander at this prominent city home. The site is part of the Petersburg Museum system.
www.petersburg-va.org/tourism/chill.asp
Richmond
Lincoln's April 4, 1865, tour is described in a CivilWarTraveler.com podcast audio tour,
Lincoln Visits Richmond.
CapitolVirginia State Capitol – Lincoln toured the grounds of this historic building that housed both the Virginia and Confederate congresses during the war. Historians are divided on whether he entered the building or not. Virginia's capitol was a stand-in for the national capitol building in the movie. The building is open for free tours: www.virginiacapitol.gov/visitors.php?p=index
White HouseThe White House of the Confederacy – The U.S. President visited the former home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis during his tour. He met with former Confederate officials there and discussed Virginia's readmission to the Union. The White House is part of the Museum of the Confederacy. Tours of the restored house are offered every day.
www.moc.org