Lincoln gave his last public address on April 11, 1865… and reconstruction was on his mind. He was just back from Richmond, the front, and high level meetings with Grant. But, he was ready to bring his nation back together- to “heal the wounds” as he stated in the Second Inaugural.
“By these recent successes the re-inauguration of the national authority — reconstruction — which has had a large share of thought from the first, is pressed much more closely upon our attention. It is fraught with great difficulty. Unlike a case of a war between independent nations, there is no authorized organ for us to treat with. No one man has authority to give up the rebellion for any other man. We simply must begin with, and mold from, disorganized and discordant elements. Nor is it a small additional embarrassment that we, the loyal people, differ among ourselves as to the mode, manner, and means of reconstruction.”
There was difficult work ahead and Lincoln anticipated a new battle… with members of the opposition and his own party. Three days later, Boothe’s treachery had far reaching effects no one could have foreseen.