Tide Turns Case 4

Fall of Richmond

The Last Axe

Abraham Lincoln’s visit to Richmond in early April 1865 has become a legendary part of his story. The city fell to U. S. troops on April 2, but Lincoln had already been on the Virginia front for almost two weeks, anticipating major successes. Robert, serving as one of Ulysses S. Grant’s aides, was there before his father and here writes asking about his pending travel plans.

While in Virginia, Lincoln often visited soldiers in camp, many of whom now viewed him as the paternal “Father Abraham.” On his last day with the army, Lincoln took a final stroll through the ranks and military hospitals to chat with enlisted men. During one such encounter, he reportedly picked up this axe and lived up to his “railsplitter” reputation by chopping a few logs—possibly making it the last axe he ever used.

Axe gift of Gertrude Turner Wild, 1955

AC-LR283 – Camp Grant Axe
MS-1865.03.21 – Robert asking if Abraham will visit


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