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To Bind Up the Nation's Wounds
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The Historical Visit of Abraham Lincoln to Richmond on April 4-5, 1865, remembered in a statue, located at Tredegar Iron Works, site of the National Park Service's Civil War museum of Richmond. Closes at 5 PM.
Abraham Lincoln was a worn and weary fifty-six year old, and his son, Tad, an exhuberant and irrepressible boy, the day that father and son, hand in hand, made history in Richmond. It was April 4, 1865. It was Tad's 12th birthday.
It was also the day the President of the United States entered the city, which, until 36 hours earlier had served as the capital of the Confederacy-the epicenter of the war against the Union.
Now, the bloody struggle was drawing to a close. Confederate President Jefferson Davis had fled, and the mayor had surrendered the city to union forces. As one horrified observer recalled, the ruins of Richmond were "still smoking...its devestation complete" -set afire by fleeing Confederate soldiers.
Abraham Lincoln was determined to see the grim scene for himself. For more than a week he had been visiting federal military headquarters at nearby City Point, eager to be on hand for the end of the long and bloody Civil War. But not as a conquerer. "They do not know Lincoln," predicted journalist Noah Brooks, "who suppose that he will make a parade of himself at Richmond...or given the character of personal triumph to his entry in the rebel Capital."
And so, on Tuesday morning, April 4, at around 9 a.m., the sixteenth President of the United States, along with Tad, disembarked at Richmond's Rocketts Landing to symbolically reunite his battle-torn country.
"It was the man of the people among the people," marveled an eyewitness. "It was the great deliverer meeting the delivered...such wild indescribable joy I never witnessed. The majority of the thousands who crowded the streets and hindered our advance were slaves. Now they were free, beholding him who had given them their liberty."
But the president himself would not live long enough to lead the new birth of freedom. Just a few days later, he was assasinated. As Tad bravely told a friend: "Pa is dead, and I am only Tad Lincoln now, little Tad, like other boys. I am not a President's son now."*
*Description courtesy United States Historical Society brochure from statue unveiling and dedication ceremony.
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Last Updated: on 2/22/2018 8:26:32 AM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (4:26 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum