President Lincoln Leaves for Visit to Army of the Potomac

April 4, 1863

In the morning, President Lincoln meets with Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles and Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus Fox regarding letters of marque.   He also meets with members of the Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War, which released a report on the Army of the Potomac the day before.

The president writes Spanish Queen Dona Isabel II about the birth of her grandson:  “Great and Good Friend: I have received the letter which Your Majesty was pleased to address to me on the 30th. of January last announcing that Her Royal Highness the Infanta Dona Maria Cristina, had, on the 17th. of that month happily given birth to a son, who has received at the holy baptismal font the names of Luis Jesus, Maria Isabel, Jose, Francisco de Asis Sebastian.  I participate in the satisfaction afforded by this happy event, and offer my sincere congratulations upon the occasion.”

The presidential party leaves from the Washington Naval Yard aboard the  Carrie Martin for Acquia Creek.   Their trip was delayed by a snowstorm and they were forced to anchor for the night.    Dr. Henry wrote later: “Our party consisted of the President & Lady, myself & two friends from the Pacific, (Mr. [Medorem] Crawford & Mr. Noah Brooks of Cal.)   And at my suggestion Mr. Bates of the Cabinet was invited half an hour before we started, and very gladly accepted the invitation.  Mr. Bates is an old friend of mine, and is one of the purest and best men in the world.  We were the guests of Genl. Hooker at Falmouth for six whole days.”  Attorney General Bates writes in hid diary: “Took boat at the Navy yard, about sunset, in the midst of a snow-storm.  Lady by in the night for some hours, so as to get to Aquia Creek abt breakfast.”

Journalist Noah Brooks later wrote: “As it is not every day that one can get an invitation to accompany the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States on an excursion to the vastest army now on the face of the earth, you may be sure that your correspondent  promptly availed himself of a request to make one of the small suite of the President on a late visit to the Army of the Potomac.  The thoughtful wife of the President, an able and a noble woman, ought to have the credit of originating the plan of a tour through the Army by the President, as she saw what an excellent effect would be given to the troops, now in good condition and ready to march, by coming in contact with their Commander-in-Chief and his family.  The party was small, consisting only of the President, Mrs. Lincoln, ‘Tommy” Lincoln – the President’s ten-year-old boy – Attorney General Bates, Dr. A.G. Henry, Surveyor General of Washington Territory, Captain Crawford of the Overland service, and your humble servant.  Though the trip had been postponed for several days on account of unfavorable weather, it was snowing furiously soon after the special steamer left Washington Navy Yard, and before night the wind blew a gale, so that we were obliged to come to anchor in a little cove on the Potomac, opposite Indian Head, where we remained quietly until the morning of the 5th instant.”

Published in: on April 4, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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