Grant's Headquarters

A Deadly Premonition

During the first week of April 1865, encouraging news came from the battle lines. Grant and his army were on the verge of complete victory. This news came as a welcome reprieve for the worried President, who had slept little and often paced the deck of the River Queen as he awaited word. When President Lincoln was actually able to sleep during this stressful time, he experienced a most prophetic dream. The President had a horrid premonition of his own assassination.

Later, the President recounted the dream to his wife and colleagues:

"I could not have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. . . . Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered. There I met with a sickening surprise. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, some gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. 'Who is dead in the White House?' I demanded of one of the soldiers. 'The President,' was his answer; 'he was killed by an assassin!' Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which awoke me from my dream. I slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it since." (Pfanz.)

Learn more about Grant's Headuarters at City Point, VA:

Setting Up Camp
President Lincoln Comes to City Point
The Meeting That Changed the Course of History
A Vision For Peace
Lincoln Waits For the War's End
A Deadly Premonition
The Siege of Petersburg
Lincoln's Plans For Reunification
Lincoln's Dream Comes to Life
Preserving Grant's Cabin
Visiting Grant's Headquarters at City Point, Petersburg National Battlefield, Hopewell, VA