April 15, 1865

The city last night was vocal with sounds of rejoicing, and brilliant with bonfires and fireworks.  We never saw the like before. The illumination was magnificent beyond description.  The city was wrapped in a blaze of light from one end to the other – !!! We can say no more.  Our hearts which a moment since were light with joy are now weighed down with sorrow – for we have heard the sad news from Washington. 

Yesterday all Madison bloomed gaily with flags of rejoicing, and every loyal heart throbbed with happiness.  To-day those flags are draped in mourning, and those hearts are bowed in grief.  In God is our trust!  Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?

Also on, April 15, 1865

Murdered! Murdered!! Murdered!!!  Our great and good President is murdered.  He in whom more than any other the heart of this great nation trusted, has been cruelly assassinated.  When shall we see the end of the wickedness, violence and horrors that traitors have brought upon the land?  Oh God! This is hard to bear.  But in Thee is our trust.  Lincoln is dead, but the principles he represented remain, and a people remain able and determined to maintain those principles.  Our Government lives.  No assassin’s hand can rend its heart.  Our President, so great, so kind, so patriotic, has died for our cause.  We are now sprinkled with his blood, and consecrated to the great purpose that animated his heart.  In the midst of our rejoicings comes this woe, but while our hearts are bursting with grief we renew our vows of eternal fidelity to the great principles of nationality and freedom, for his devotion to which, our President has been murdered.  

April 17, 1865

The works of Mr. Lincoln will live for ages after the present generation has passed away.  He has made his mark upon the pages of history so large and plain that eternity can never efface them.  His “Emancipation Proclamation” alone entitles him to the nation’s gratitude, and generations yet born will be taught to honor and adore his name, as we of the present generation do the name of George Washington.  We believe that history will make Washington the Father and Lincoln the Savior of this Government.  We do not pretend to say that no other man could have done the same, but doubt whether it could have been done more satisfactorily, or with so much mildness.  The times and surrounding circumstances have had much to do with making the history of Mr. Lincoln but he has been tried and was never found wanting in any particular.  Always following the dictation of right, justice and humanity, he often placed himself in direct antagonism to public sentiment, and never faltered in performing any duty devolving upon him as the chief magistrate of this great nation.   

Oct. 17, 1865

William M. Dunn, Jr., of this city, has been appointed Assistant Adjutant General on Grant’s staff.  Bully for Billy.

Oct. 29, 1865

Great Loss of Life 

By reference to our dispatches it will be seen that another of those unfortunate accidents by which human lives are hastened into eternity has occurred on the Mississippi river.  The steamer Sultana with near 2,000 souls on board, exploded her boilers when about seven miles above Memphis, and taking fire she was burned to the water’s edge.  Of the two thousand persons on board, one hundred and forty are known to be lost, and perhaps more. 

When we come to realize the fact that the unfortunate person who have thus lost their lives, were composed of our brave soldiers that had suffered death a thousand times in the prisons of the South, and were just about realizing the fondest hopes of their hearts – embracing once more their wives and children – the occurrence is particularly affecting. Note: It is estimated today that 1,800 people lost their lives on the Sultana, making this the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history. 

Research conducted by the Jefferson County Civil War Round Table.