Hopewell, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
“Let them surrender and go home, they will not take up arms again. Let them all go, officers and all, let them have their horses to plow with, and, if you like, their guns to shoot crows. Treat them liberally . . . I say, give them the most liberal and honorable terms.” - Abraham Lincoln, City Point Virginia, on board the President’s Ship, River Queen, March 28, 1865
The best-remembered visitor to General Grant’s headquarters at City Point was President Abraham Lincoln. During his first visit between June 21 and June 23, 1864, the President was greeted enthusiastically, especially by the black soldiers of General William F. Smith’s Eighteenth Corps, who had captured a portion of the original Confederate defense lines on June 15th. In February, 1865, Vice-President Alexander Stephens, Assistant Secretary of War John Campbell, and Senator Robert Hunter of the Confederate Government came to City Point in an effort to negotiate a peaceful end to the war. Grant hosted the Southern emissaries at his headquarters, then sent them through the lines to meet with President Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward at Hampton
Lincoln’s second visit began the evening of March 24, 1865, and lasted two weeks. During this time President Lincoln met with his staff on board the River Queen to discuss the military situation. The meeting established the basis for the magnanimous surrender terms by Grant and Sherman to the defeated Confederate armies.
. . . Old Abe’s Last Joke
Yesterday about one o’clock a long, gaunt, bony man with queer admixture of the comical and doleful in his countenance . . . undertook to reach the General’s tent by scrambling through a hedgerow and coming in the back way alone. He was stopped by one of the hostlers, and told to “keep out of here.” The individual in black replied that he thought Genl. Grant would allow him inside, and strode ahead. On reaching the guard he was stopped with “No sanitary folks allowed inside.” After some parleying the intruder was compelled to give his name, and announced himself to be Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, desiring an interview with Gen’l Grant. The guard saluted and allowed him to pass. Genl. Grant recognized him as stepped under the large “fly” in front of his tent, rose and shook hands with him cordially . . . It was ascertained that the President had just arrived . . . and was accompanied by his son “Tad” . . . (at dinner) the President was duly seated, ate much as other mortals, managed to ring in three favorite jokes during the meal, under the plea of illustrating the topics discussed . . .
- Excerpt from Mr. S. Cadwallader’s Dispatch, City Point, June 11, 1864, New York Herald, June 25, 1864
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, the Former U.S. Presidents: #18 Ulysses S. Grant, and the Virginia Civil War Trails series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1865.
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 37° 18.936′ N, 77° 16.586′ W. Marker was in Hopewell, Virginia. Marker was on Pecan Avenue, on the left when traveling east. Marker is in the City Point Unit of Petersburg National Battlefield. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: Hopewell VA 23860, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. A different marker also named The Peacemaker (here, next to this marker); City Point's Rails And Waterways (within shouting distance of this marker); General Grant's Headquarters (within shouting distance of this marker); Appomattox Manor (within shouting distance of this marker); City Point (within shouting distance of this marker); City Point, Virginia (within shouting distance of this marker); Porter House (within shouting distance of this marker); General Grant's Headquarters at City Point (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hopewell.
More about this marker. The bottom right of the marker features a drawing with the caption, “President Lincoln and his son, Tad, sketched by Winslow Homer, artist for Harper’s Weekly during their visit to City Point in June 1864.” The top of the marker contains a painting of the famous meeting at City Point. It has a caption of “Painted after the fact, the G.P.A. Healy painting of The Peacemakers shows Major General William T. Sherman, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, President Abraham Lincoln, and Admiral David Dixon Porter on board the River Queen at City Point.”
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This marker has been replaced by the linked marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 9, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 4, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,237 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 4, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.