As the first Union general officer to enter Richmond, Godfrey Weitzel laid claim to the choicest headquarters, setting himself up in the abandoned Governor’s Mansion—for four years the Confederate White House. After walking two miles through the streets of the fallen capital, Abraham Lincoln was tired. Weitzel admitted him into Jefferson Davis’s study.
Perhaps it was war weariness, or simply the long walk—or something deeper—that prompted Lincoln to slump into Jefferson Davis’s chair. He made no speech, no profound pronouncement, just a request: “I wonder if I could get a glass of water?”
During these moments, there was neither rest nor refreshment for Grant, Lee, and their armies. This chapter describes the final ...