On February 3, 1865, 150 years ago today, Abraham Lincoln met with three Confederate peace commissioners, including Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens, to discuss potential peace terms to bring the Civil War to an end. The conference took place aboard the steamer River Queen in Hampton Roads, after the commissioners had been escorted through the enemy lines at the Siege of Petersburg. The conference ended in failure because the two sides had irreconcilable differences which could only be solved by military victory. Grant, hoping to take advantage of temporary good weather and demoralization on the Confederate side once the result was known, would very shortly launch his Eighth Offensive against Richmond and Petersburg, resulting in the February 5-7, 1865 Battle of Hatcher’s Run.
I had initially hoped to pen a much lengthier original article on this topic for the 150th anniversary, but a new job and extensive study of the Hatcher’s Run operations left me with no more time. In lieu of my own detailed post, I instead point interested readers to an excellent online article from the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, penned by William C. Harris.
- 150 Years Ago Today at Petersburg: February 3, 1865
- CV: V29N6: Life Among Bullets—In The Rifle Pits
- Excerpt from Upcoming Hampton Roads Peace Conference Book
- NP: February 8, 1865 Philadelphia Inquirer: Grant in Motion, Feb. 5 (Hatcher’s Run)
- NP: March 3, 1865 The Bedford Inquirer: Major May of the 138th PA Describes His Kind of Peace, February, 1865