MARCH 22ND, 1865: Assistant secretary Fox directed Commodore Montgomery, Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard, to have the USS Bat ready to convoy the steamer River Queen, bound for City Point at noon the next day: "The President will be in the River Queen, bound for City Point."
Lincoln was headed for a conference with his top commanders.
In a hard battle (19-22 March), General Sherman had just defeated a slashing attack by General Johnston at Bentonville, midway between his two river contacts with the sea at Fayetteville and Goldsboro.
At Goldsboro Sherman was joined by General Schofield's Army, which had been brought to Wilmington by ships.
Confident of the security of his position, Sherman could leave his soldiers for a few days and take the steamer Russia to City Point and the meeting with Lincoln, Grant and Porter.