Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To Edwin M. Stanton [1]

Head Quarters Armies of the United States.
Hon. Sec. of War City-Point,
Washington D.C. April 3. 8/00 A.M. 1865

This morning Gen. Grant reports Petersburg evacuated; and he is confident Richmond also is. He is pushing forward to cut off if possible, the retreating army. I start to him in a few minutes.

A. LINCOLN

Annotation

[1]   ALS-F, ISLA. Grant had telegraphed Theodore S. Bowers: ``Petersburg was evacuated last night. Pursuit will be immediately made.'' (OR, I, XLVI, III, 509). A second telegram from Grant to Bowers followed: ``Say to the President that an officer and escort will attend him, but as to myself I start toward the Danville road with the army. I want to cut off as much of Lee's army as possible.'' (Ibid.).

Stanton replied to Lincoln's telegram: ``I congratulate you and the nation on the glorious news in your telegram just recd. Allow me respectfully to ask you to consider whether you ought to expose the nation to the consequence of anyPage  385 disaster to yourself in the pursuit of a treacherous and dangerous enemy like the rebel army. If it was a question concerning yourself only I should not presume to say a word. Commanding Generals are in the line of their duty in running such risks. But is the political head of a nation in the same condition'' (DLC-RTL).