Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address and Petersburg, VA

Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address and Petersburg, VA


Read about the events of March 1865

Stories about Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address and Petersburg, VA

Events of March 1865

March 1865 was to see two momentous events relative to the Civil War. The first of these was Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address given on Saturday 4 March at the Capitol in Washington, DC, and the second culminated on Tuesday 21 March at a tavern near Petersburg, VA.

Most students are familiar with Lincoln's Second Inaugural speech (...with malice toward none...). You can see a complete copy at His thoughts were subdued and weary, as were most of the people after years of war.

With this backdrop, we turn to the lengthy Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, which began in June 1864 and ended 28 March 1865. Unable to gain Richmond by direct attack, Grant knew that if he could destroy the rail lines at Petersburg, 25 miles south of Richmond, he could cut off supplies and force Lee out of both cities. Five railroad lines met near Globe Tavern, aka Blick's Station and Ream's Station, south of Petersburg and this was where Grant sent Maj. Gen. Warren after an unsuccessful assault on Richmond. Lee may have thought that this was a feint to lure Confederate troops away from Richmond so did not immediately follow. When he did send troops, eight months of seige followed around Petersburg, ending on 28 March 1865. This signaled the beginning of Lee's retreat. The final surrender was but days away, as was Lincoln's assassination.

One flamboyant personality who spent the winter at the Siege of Petersburg was Brevet Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer!

The Mathew B. Brady Collection of Civil War Photos, on Footnote, contains photos of the Globe Tavern and four of the key military leaders who were involved in the seige. Gen. Charles Griffin's division was assigned to tear up the tracks while Gen. Ayres and Gen. Crawford formed an east-west line north of Globe Tavern and began advancing north toward Petersburg. Gen. A. P. Hill, CSA, led the Confederate attacks. In fact, he was killed by a Union soldier as he was riding toward the front of the Petersburg line on 2 April.

The Globe Tavern stood on the Halifax Road, which ran parallel to the railroad tracks and the edge of the Blick farm. When the tracks were built in the late 1850s, the station was already there, probably acting as a tavern/station for coaches. It was a two-story brick building surrounded by a boxwood hedge. Gen. Gouvernor Warren used the tavern as his headquarters during the seige. On 25 March, President Lincoln arrived nearby by train then rode a horse down the Halifax Road past the Globe Tavern toward the front line, where he witnessed some of the last skirmishes. Thanks goes to Tracy at Petersburg National Battlefield for this information.

The Globe Tavern was owned, apparently, by a Blick family, since it was also known as Blick's Station. According to the 1860 census, there were 4 Blick families and 3 single Blick men in Dinwiddie County, VA. None of them is mentioned as being a tavern owner, but that would not be unusual since most families farmed as well as any other occupation they might have had. The most likely candidate would be John S. Blick since he owned $15,200 in real estate and $40,288 worth of personal property in 1860. Ten years later, his wealth had been reduced to $4680 and $500 respectively. There are Blick families in neighboring Prince George County, but none of them are listed as being tavern owners either.

In the Halifax Gazette newpaper of 1 April 1965 appears an article commemorating the rout of the Confederates 100 years before. You can see the image attached.

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