Looking back at Lincoln: On April 30, 1864 & 1865
On this day in 1864, Lincoln reiterated his complete faith in General Ulysses S. Grant - a full year before the war was won - in the following letter:
Executive Mansion Washington,
April 30, 1864
Lieutenant General Grant.
Not expecting to see you again before the Spring campaign opens, I wish to express, in this way, my entire satisfaction with what you have done up to this time, so far as I understand it. The particulars of your plans I neither know, or seek to know. You are vigilant and self-reliant; and, pleased with this, I wish not to obtrude any constraints or restraints upon you. While I am very anxious that any great disaster, or the capture of our men in great numbers, shall be avoided, I know these points are less likely to escape your attention than they would be mine. If there is anything wanting which is within my power to give, do not fail to let me know it.
And now with a brave Army, and a just cause, may God sustain you. Yours very truly A. LINCOLN
Grant replied immediately on May 1st, with the following:
Your very kind letter of yesterday is just received. The confidence you express for the future, and satisfaction with the past, in my military administration is acknowledged with pride. It will be my earnest endeavor that you, and the country, shall not be disappointed.
From my first entrance into the volunteer service of the country, to the present day, I have never had cause of complaint, have never expressed or implied a complaint, against the Administration, or the Sec. of War, for throwing any embarassment in the way of my vigorously prossecuting what appeared to me my duty. Indeed since the promotion which placed me in command of all the Armies, and in view of the great responsibility, and importance of success, I have been astonished at the readiness with which every thing asked for has been yielded without even an explaination being asked. Should my success be less than I desire, and expect, the least I can say is, the fault is not with you.
This was shortly before the Wilderness Campaign, or Battle of the Wilderness: a three day battle of attrition that marked the beginning of Grant's sustained offensive against Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Lee actually inflicted more casualties on the Union troops in three days of intense fighting, but unlike the North, was unable to spare any great loss of men -- he could no longer replace them.
In 1865, Lincoln's funeral train crossed the border of Ohio and into my home state (and Lincoln's boyhood home) of Indiana.
From an excellent Lincoln research site that documents the entire journey:
In Indiana the train went through Richmond (while the church bells rang tumultuously), Centreville, Germantown, Cambridge, Knightstown, Charlotteville, and others. It arrived in Indianapolis at 7:00 A.M. The coffin was carried to the Indiana State House in a hearse topped by a silver-gilt eagle. Although rain had been almost an everyday occurrence on the journey, it was so heavy in Indianapolis that the giant procession was canceled and the entire day devoted to viewing. Because of the rain, Governor Oliver P. Morton failed to give his oration. Streetcars in Indianapolis bore slogans of mourning: Car #10 said, “Sorrow for the Dead; Justice for the Living; Punishment for Traitors.” Car #13 said, “Fear Not, Abraham; I Am Thy Shield; Thy Reward Shall Be Exceedingly Great.” Car #20 said, “Thou Art Gone and Friend and Foe Alike Appreciate Thee Now.” Late in the evening the Lincoln Special departed Indianapolis destined for Chicago, a journey of 210 miles.