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NP: June 30, 1864 Baltimore Clipper: The President’s Visit to General Grant

Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Bryce Suderow and is included in a collection of articles from the Baltimore Clipper.  His transcription of this article is published here with his written permission.


The Army correspondent of the New York Commercial writes:

You have already been informed of the President’s visit to this army and his return. A few incidents connected with his stay here will be found interesting.

Mr. Lincoln desired to reach Gen. Grant’s headquarters without being recognized, evidently to surprise him, and succeeded in doing so. Gen. Grant having been greatly annoyed by hangers-on, and loafers generally with the army, who are constantly besieging his headquarters to “have a good look” at the hero of Vicksburg, had issued an order not to see any one except through his adjutant general. The guard were instructed not to admit any civilian with the grounds staked off for the headquarters.

The President, after his arrival at City Point, obtained the direction to Gen. Grant’s tent, and made his way there alone. As he was about passing the guard the sentry brought his musket to an “arms aport” and politely informed Mr. Lincoln that no one is allowed inside of the sentry, especially “you Sanitary fellows.” Mr. President very quietly told the guard to call the corporal and inform him that “Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, wanted to see General Grant.” Before, however, the guard could call his corporal, one of General Grant’s aids recognized the Chief Magistrate of the Union, and walking towards him, greeted and conducted him to the General-in-Chief. The meeting between Mr. Lincoln and Gen. Grant was very cordial.

The President shook Gen. Grant’s hand warmly, and very soon after Secretaries Fox and Dana, and little “Tad” came up, and exchanged salutations with the General. It being about lunch time, the entire party adjourned to General Grant’s tent, and partook of such luxuries as camp life afforded. After lunch horses were saddled, and the President, accompanied by General Grant and staff, also a detachment of the 5th United States regular cavalry, proceeded to inspect the works in front of Petersburg.

A number of soldiers recognized the gaunt lean form of Mr. Lincoln, and in less time than it takes to describe it, the news spread to every camp, and as the cavalcade passed through the different corps, cheer after cheer rent the air. At the headquarters of the 2nd Corps, commanded by General Hancock, the President met General Meade and also several corps commanders. An earnest conversation of about an hour’s duration ensued, during which past and future plans were discussed and debated on.

The line of the Army of the Potomac having been fully inspected, General Grant accompanied the President across the Appomattox river to Major General Butler’s headquarters. General Butler had been informed of the President’s arrival by telegraph from City Point, and was prepared to receive him. The entire party then adjourned to General Butler’s marquee, when a substantial dinner was partaken of, after which the President, General Grant, General Butler, and an immense cavalcade of staff officers, proceeded to inspect the fortifications erected on a line between the James and Appomattox rivers, by the able and skilful engineer, General Godfrey Weitzel.

Returning from this fatiguing expedition, the President, General Grant, and General Butler next visited Acting Rear Admiral Lee, whose pennant was flying on the United States steamer Agawam. About the same time Mr. Lincoln visited the flag-ship, the rebel iron-clads moved down the James River, and commenced to fire on our Monitors across a bend in the river. The Admiral, accompanied by his distinguished visitors, embarked on one of the dispatch tugs, and proceeded to a point where the iron clad duel could be witnessed without any risk being incurred from annoying rebel shells.1


  1. “The President’s Visit to General Grant,” Baltimore Clipper, June 30, 1864, p. 4 col. 5-6
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