Civil War & Reconstruction Civil War First Union Occupation Lincoln in Stafford and Visits Fredericksburg

Lincoln in Stafford and Visits Fredericksburg

Once Union troops were in Fredericksburg, Lincoln came to Stafford.  On May 21st he visited commanders and troops at the Lacy House.  He went over the canal-boat bridge to Fredericksburg and was met by General Marsena Patrick who was commanding Union troops in town.  The two, along with Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, had a meeting at the Farmer’s Bank.  According to Patrick’s diary the meeting lasted one half hour.  John Tackett Goolrick, a young man at the time and later a local attorney and judge recalled hearing the President make a speech after leaving the bank.  “…President Lincoln from the front steps made a short but splendid address.  The writer of this, sat on the steps of the St. George’s Church, on the opposite side of the street and heard President Lincoln’s speech.”

President Lincoln could rest assured with a corps-sized (40,000-man) force, the “Department of the Rappahannock,” positioned between the Virginia Peninsula and Washington. From there Major General Irvin McDowell could protect the capital and aid either Major General George B. McClellan’s Peninsula forces or Shenandoah Valley operations.