1842 - 1913
Village Life in America
Including the Period of the American Civil War as Told in the Diary of a School-Girl
by Caroline Cowles Richards
April 15. 1865—The news came this morning that our dear president, Abraham Lincoln, was assassinated yesterday, on the day appointed for thanksgiving for Union victories. I have felt sick over it all day and so has everyone that I have seen. All seem to feel as though they had lost a personal friend, and tears flow plenteously. How soon has sorrow followed upon the heels of joy! One week ago to-night we were celebrating our victories with loud acclamations of mirth and good cheer. Now every one is silent and sad and the earth and heavens seem clothed in sack-cloth. The bells have been tolling this afternoon. The flags are all at half mast, draped with mourning, and on every store and dwelling-house some sign of the nation's loss is visible. Just after breakfast this morning, I looked out of the window and saw a group of men listening to the reading of a morning paper, and I feared from their silent, motionless interest that something dreadful had happened, but I was not prepared to hear of the cowardly murder of our President. And William H. Seward, too, I suppose cannot survive his wounds. Oh, how horrible it is! I went down town shortly after I heard the news, and it was wonderful to see the effect of the intelligence upon everybody, small or great, rich or poor. Every one was talking low, with sad and anxious looks. But we know that God still reigns and will do what is best for us all. Perhaps we're "putting our trust too much in princes," forgetting the Great Ruler, who alone can create or destroy, and therefore He has taken from us the arm of flesh that we may lean more confidingly and entirely upon Him. I trust that the men who committed these foul deeds will soon be brought to justice.