Richmond, Virginia, April 1865

Lambert Hollis
Ink wash over graphite

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Alan and Lois Fern Acquisition Fund

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 “Father Abraham’s Come!”


On April 2, 1865, the Confederate government evacuated Richmond, leaving it an open city. Union forces moved in quickly to secure the capital. Lincoln wanted to be in at the finish, and on April 4 he sailed into Richmond on a cutter commanded by Admiral David Porter. With only a small escort, Lincoln disembarked with his son Tad, whose birthday it was, and walked from the waterfront to the Virginia statehouse.


At first he went unnoticed. But then a black workman saw the group and shouted, “Bless the Lord, there is the great messiah! Glory, Hallelujah!” A crowd quickly gathered, and it swelled into a celebration of the war’s end and the end of slavery as Lincoln walked through the streets.


This sketch is a documentary record of the event, and it is the source for many illustrations of one of the war’s culminating and most electrifying moments.

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