Letter from Apr. 15, 1865

Letter from "Mary" to "Sister"

  • Full Title

    Letter from "Mary" to "Sister"

  • Description

    In this Letter a young woman, Mary, living in Washington, D.C. writes her sister, expressing her grief over Lincoln's assassination and tells of the atmosphere of mourning in the city. She goes on to relate her own account of the night of the assassination.

  • Transcription

    Saturday Morning
    Washington April 15th 1865
    My Dear Sister

    Long ere this reaches you the news of the Nations terrible calamity will have flashed to the remotest corner of the United States of the dastardly murder of our dearly beloved President not in Richmond among his enemies but in Washington and among his avowed friends. The heart of the an nation throbs with greif at a loss it cannot soon repair but if you could look into the faces of those here today you would see that he was loved most dearly by those who knew him best. I have just passed in sight of the house where little less than an hour ago the nations heart and life ceased to beat for its welfare. Oh the agony depicted on the faces of that crowd. Men actualy tearing their hair from very greif and agony. The state of feeling is such that it is impossible to tell what it may lead to after what is past it is not safe to judge what a day may bring forth. The streets are patroled to keep the people (and its not the roughs) from assasinating every known simpathizer with the rebelion. The whole city is being draped in the heaviest mourning the bells are tolling and every-thing and every-body wears the sadest aspect a human eye ever looked upon.
    I was at Grovers Theatre at the time this desperately wicked act was perpetrated at Fords. The alarm was given and instantly the people rushed to the doors supposing the building was on fire people were thrown down stairs and the wildest confusion prevailed. I was never more frightend in my life yet I stood back thinking it was as well to stand my chance of escaping the fire as to be killed in the dense crowd when the excitement had subsided the audience took their seats without knowing what had occured and the play went on for about 15 minutes when the manager came forward and announced that the President had been assasinated and a scene ensued beyond description strong men wept like little children it was a scene which I shall remember to my latest breath. there were few pillows that were not wet with tears of true sorrow while none were visited with sleep, of those who knew of it words would fail to express the horror and indignation which pervades the entire community
    What a change in one short day. Yesterday all was bright and joyous today, gloom and sorrow cover a nation.
    Yesterday was a lovely day, today is dark and cloudy. It seems as if the sun refused to shine on the dark deed.
    I must close for I am nervous and hardly know how I have written what I have. I have changed my boarding place so you must direct to the pension Office give my love to Mother write me if she is not well for I have felt worried since her last letter she wrote so sadly. write soon. from yours
    Off, Mary

  • Source

    National Park Service, Ford's Theatre National Historic Site

  • Rights

    This item is in the public domain and may be reproduced and used for any purpose, including research, teaching, private study, publication, broadcast or commercial use, with proper citation and attribution.

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  • Cite this Item

    Mary . "Letter from "Mary" to "Sister"". Remembering Lincoln. Web. Accessed August 3, 2021. https://rememberinglincoln.fords.org/node/1131