Letter from Apr. 17, 1865

Instruction, Hunter to Adams

  • Full Title

    State Department Instruction 1352: William Hunter to Charles Francis Adams

  • Description

    Official dispatch from William H. Hunter to Charles Francis Adams, U.S. Minister to the United Kingdom, informing him of Lincoln's assassination and the attempt on Secretary of State William H. Seward's life. Hunter notes that William and Frederick Seward are both expected to recover, but that, in the meanwhile, Hunter is serving as Acting Secretary of State. Because the Transatlantic telegraph cable was no longer functioning, Adams received this dispatch on April 30.

  • Transcription

    Read. 30 Apr. 65.
    No. 1352
    Department of state.
    Washington. 17th April 1865


    The melancholy duty devolves
    upon me officially to apprise
    You of the assassination of the
    president at Ford’s theatre in this
    city in the evening of the 14th instant.
    He died the next morning from
    the effects of the wound.

    About the same time an
    attempt was made to assassinate
    the Secretary of State in his own
    house where he was in bed &
    Suffering from the effects of the
    late accident. The attempt failed, but Mr. Seward was
    severely cut, on the face especially
    it is supposed with a bowie knife.
    Mr J; H, Seward was felled by a
    blow or blows on the head, from
    the assassin, and for some time
    afterwards was apparently

    Charles Francis Adam, Esquire,

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    Unconscious. Both the Secretary
    and assistant Secretary are better
    especially the former.
    Andrew Johnson has formally
    entered upon the duties of
    I have been authorized
    temporarily to act as Ssecretary
    of State.

    [[?]], Sir
    Your obedient servant
    W.J. Hunter
    Acting Secretary

    [Transcription Team: Joshua H., Caleb D., Conner R., Carson B.]
    [New Hampton Middle School, New Hampton, Iowa]

  • Source

    Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State and National Archives, Record Group 84

  • 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

    William Hunter. "State Department Instruction 1352: William Hunter to Charles Francis Adams". Remembering Lincoln. Web. Accessed April 22, 2024. https://rememberinglincoln.fords.org/node/744