“His Whole Face Showing Sympathetic Feeling”

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Mr. Lincoln was taken in charge by General Meade, and mounted on horseback rode to an eminence near by, from which a good view of the scene could be secured. Horses had been sent out on the train, and I was fortunate in securing one. We passed through the spot where the fight had been most severe, and where great numbers of dead were lying, with burial parties at their dreadful work. Many Confederate wounded were still lying on the ground, being attended to by surgeons and men of the Sanitary Commission, distributing water and bread. We passed by two thousand rebel prisoners of war, herded together, who had been captured within our lines only a few hours before. Mr. Lincoln remarked upon their sad and unhappy condition, and indeed they were as sorry and dirty a lot of humanity as can be imagined, but they had fought desperately, and no doubt were glad to be at rest. Mr. Lincoln was quiet and observant, makiijg few comments, and listened to explanations in a cool, collected manner, betraying no excitement, but his whole face showing sympathetic feeling for the suffering about him. Before returning to the train a flag of truce was flying between the opposing lines, now each reoccupied, and ambulances were moving and burial parties from the Confederate lines occupied in taking off the wounded and burying the dead lying between the lines where the slaughter of Confederates had been greatest. Once again on the train, to which cars filled with our wounded men had been attached, Mr. Lincoln looked worn and haggard. He remarked that he had seen enough of the horrors of war, that he hoped this was the beginning of the end, and that there would be no more bloodshed or ruin of homes. Indeed, then and many times after did he reiterate the same hope with grave earnestness.

Quoted in John S. Barnes, “With Lincoln from Washington to Richmond in 1865”

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