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Manuscripts about Lincoln, 1860-1865


Letter from Thomas T. Hunt, Dublin, Wayne County, to Abigail H. Stanley, Plainfield. Hunt writes that the neighbors he thought were Democrats now vote for Lincoln. He looks for Lincoln and Hamlin to win the election. 16 July 1860. Thomas T. Hunt Collection (SC 0803), Folder 1.

Letter to James Crandall from Robert Crandall, New Castle. Crandall tells James to “go to the election in November and put in a ticket for honest Abe.” 30 September 1860. John W. Hamilton Papers, 1851-1864 (SC 0676), Folder 3.

Letter from James and Sarah Ireland, Brownstown, to their children. Ireland writes that the Republicans are happy about Old Abe’s election, but they are going to give them a run for their money later. 28 October 1860. James Ireland Family Papers (M 0169), Box 1, Folder 6.

Letter by Abner H. Hyde, Indianapolis. He writes that the elections were disastrous for Douglas and the democracy. He hopes that Lincoln will lash out on southern discontents and show them that treason is a punishable offense. Despite that, Hyde feels that Lincoln has little political experience. 9 November 1860. Abner H. Hyde Collection (SC 0810), Folder 1.


Diary entry of Perry Hall. Hall writes that in the afternoon he witnessed a reception for Lincoln, the president-elect. Hall says that he had a “fair view of him while Governor Morton addressed him and he replied.” Later that evening, Hall writes, he shook Lincoln by the hand. 11 February 1861. Perry Hall Papers and Diary, 1861 (SC 0670), Folder 2.

Letter from Catharine Merrill, Stuttgart, Germany, to Jane Ketcham. Merrill is glad to hear that Lincoln is doing something. She writes that “the papers here call him weak and unfit for the position.” 30 April 1861. John Lewis Ketcham Collection (M 0173), Box 2, Folder 1.

Letter from Charles Pierce, written in Memphis, to his aunt living in the North. Pierce defends his fighting with the South. He feels that Lincoln’s cause is wrong and his support of abolition is solely political. 26 May 1861. Charles Pierce Family Civil War Papers, 1834-1867 (SC 2300), Folder 3.

Diary entry by Perry Hall. He writes “This is the day appointed by the Proclamation of the President to be observed as a National humiliation, fasting, and prayer. It has been greatly observed.” 26 September 1861. Perry Hall Papers and Diary, 1861 (SC 0670), Folder 2.


Letter written to Amanda in Attica from E. Miller in Crawfordsville. Miller writes that Mrs. Lincoln is made fun of by everyone and that she is “decidedly a snob.” Miller also says that he is “sorry we have a president with so little mind, and a presidentess with so little of the lady.” 2 March 1862. Robert B. Hanna Family Papers, 1859-1927 (M 0129), Box 1, Folder 2.

Letter from Robert J. Price at Fort Henry to his father. Price writes that the soldiers received word of the abolishment of slavery in Washington, D.C., passed by Congress under the sanction of Lincoln. He describes the soldiers as being in “supreme contempt.” He claims that Congress is adding fuel to the fire and that because of the abolishment the Rebel leaders will be able to gain more volunteers to fight. Price writes that the soldiers “curse President Lincoln loud, long and deep for not vetoing the bill.” 21 April 1862. Robert J. Price Collection (SC 1221), Folder 4.

Diary entry from George W. Lambert. Lambert writes that on that evening there was a grand review by Uncle Abraham and Secretary Stanton in person. Lincoln came through asking each colonel what regiment they represented. Lincoln was mounted on a white horse so he was easily distinguishable. Lambert describes Lincoln as wearing a hat and being better looking than he had expected, based on descriptions and photographs. 23 May 1862. George W. Lambert Diaries (M 0178), Box 2, Folder 3.

Letter from Maj. Gen. Robert H. Milroy, Buckhannon, Va., to Schuyler Colfax. Milroy discusses their “cowardly retreat across” Bull Run. Gen. Schenck told Milroy to see Lincoln to tell him of the infamous affair. Milroy writes that he told Lincoln what he saw in “very rough Hoosier style” of the disgraceful and unnecessary retreat. 27 October 1862. Robert H. Milroy Collection (SC 1092), Folder 1.


Letter of Captain Orville T. Chamberlain, 74th Regiment, near Lavergne, Tenn. Chamberlain describes the soldiers as being discontented about their pay and are “almost all down” on Lincoln’s New Year’s Proclamation. 29 January-6 February 1863. Joseph W. and Orville T. Chamberlain Papers (M 0044), Box 1, Folder 10.

Letter from Stephen A. Miller, Louisville, to Nancy Brown. Miller is discouraged with the Union’s war policy. He is opposed to freeing slaves, and disagrees with “Old Abe’s Mancipation Proclamation.” 31 January 1863. Stephen A. Miller Collection (SC 1073), Folder 4.

Letter from Marion Elwell in Washington Junction, Virginia, to Mollie Fowler in Lawrenceburgh. Elwell mentions that he saw Stanton and Lincoln at Fredericksburg. 27 May 1863. Marion Elwell Letter (SC 2671), Folder 1.


Letter from Capt. James W. Hamilton, Co. H, 83rd Regiment, Bellefont, Ala., to James and Agnes Crandall. Hamilton writes that he stands “square on the platform of Old Abe.” 4 January 1864. John W. Hamilton Papers, 1851-1864 (SC 0676), Folder 2.

Autobiography and journal of David McDonald started on July 20, 1860. Relevant discussions taken from 1864-65. On page 90-A, written 5-10 November 1864, McDonald mentions that he was trying to get a judgeship position for the U.S. District Court in Indiana. He met with Lincoln on Wednesday, the 7th, and notes that he does “not see how Lincoln can refuse it.” November 1864. Autobiography and Journal of David McDonald (M 0193), Box 1, Folder 2.

Unconditional Union Ticket. The ticket encourages citizens to vote for Lincoln for president and Andrew Johnson for vice president. It also mentions the electors, David S. Gooding from Hancock County and Richard W. Thompson from Vigo County. The ticket mentions the state electors that are running: James C. Denney, 1st District; Cyrus T. Nixon, 2nd District; Henry R. Pritchard, 3rd District; Leonidas Sexton, 4th District; Benjamin F. Claypool, 5th District; J. J. Wright, 6th District; John Osborn, 7th District; R. P. Davidson, 8th District; James B. Belford, 9th District; Timothy R. Dickinson, 10th District; John M. Wallace, 11th District. 1864. Abraham Lincoln Papers, 1840-1866 (M 0567), Box 1, Folder 10.

1865: January

Letter from George Washington Lambert from a camp near Stephensburg, Va.. Lambert writes that the president’s message is a stupendous document, and he feels that the proclamation of amnesty is right. He believes that Lincoln will get a chance to “run the machine of the State” again. 16 January 1865. George W. Lambert Papers (M 0178), Box 1, Folder 4.

1865: April

Letter to Charles Buckley in Delphi from his brother in Indianapolis. His brother went to the statehouse with other mourners after word of Lincoln’s assassination. He notes that businesses were closed, and black crepe hung from doorknobs and windows. He mentions that Gov. Morton was to speak, but was too choked up to say much. Buckley mentions the possibility that Seward might be dead, and if so, the nation would have lost “two of the greatest men that ever lived.” 15 April 1865. Buckley Family letters, 1854-1909 (M 0769), Box 2, Folder 4.

Autobiography and journal of David McDonald. On Saturday, April 15, 1865, McDonald mentions a crowd had gathered at Statehouse Square. McDonald proceeds to give a tribute to Lincoln. On Wednesday, April 19, 1865, McDonald discusses Lincoln’s funeral. On April 29 and 30,1865, McDonald mentions meeting Lincoln’s funeral train and a 1:30 p.m. procession to the Governor’s Circle. April 1865. Autobiography and Journal of David McDonald (M 0193), Box 1, Folder 2.

Letter from Maggie E. Robinson. Robinson describes the “excitement” over Lincoln’s death involving some Irish residents who expressed happiness over it and Dr. Beck, who was disturbed at this. One of the Irishmen was accused of being a traitor. Robinson concludes by asking for a framed portrait of Lincoln. 16 April 1865. Buckley Family letters, 1854-1909 (M 0769), Box 2, Folder 4.

Letter from Henley C. Lybrook, Dowagiac, Michigan, to Mary Lybrook, St. Mary’s Academy, Notre Dame, Indiana. Lybrook speaks of Lincoln’s assassination by John Wilkes Booth. Lybrook believes that Lincoln’s death came at a time when “things were taking a direction to a humane honorable and speedy peace.” 17 April 1865. Henley C. Lybrook Papers (SC 2708), Folder 1.

Letter from J.W.J. Culton, Chicago, to William Starr, Richmond. Culton is sure Starr, “as all loyal men are,” is shocked over Lincoln’s assassination. Culton writes that the assassination seems more like a “horrid dream than reality.” He continues saying, “In this awful affair, the slave power and its friends have stricken down their best friend, one that by his large heartedness and humanity had saved many a just retribution on their guilty heads.” 18 April 1865. William C. Starr Papers (SC 1400), Folder 6.

Letter written from Raleigh, N.C., by Augustus Van Dyke to his father. VAnVan Dyke writes that he heard about Lincoln’s assassination and Seward’s stabbing on the 17th, and was very overwhelmed. 18 April 1865. Augustus Mortimer Van Dyke Letters, 1865 (M 0284), Box 1, Folder 8.

Letter from Isaac Barker written from Stephens Station, Va., to Josephine Barker. Barker was in the army and was rejoicing over the prospect of coming home when his regiment received word of Lincoln’s assassination. Barker writes that the military was to meet for the funeral, all would fire salutes, and flags would be at half-mast. 19 April 1865. Isaac Barker Civil War letters, 1865 (SC 0057), Folder 1.

Letter from Charles Pierce from prisoner-of-war camp on Johnson’s Island, Ohio, near Sandusky. Pierce writes that Lincoln’s assassination has caused a great excitement in the prison. Pierce is anxious for the assassin to be captured because he believes the Confederate government would not have done anything of the sort, and wishes for their name to be cleared. 19 April 1865. Charles Pierce Family Civil War Papers, 1834-1867 (SC 2300), Folder 4.

J.E. Williams writes from Washington, D.C., to his parents. Williams met with President Johnson and concludes that Lincoln’s assassination was the worst thing that could have happened to the Confederacy. 21 April 1865. Williams Family correspondence, 1864-69 (M 0302), Box 3, Folder 1.

Letter from Orville Chamberlain in Raleigh, N.C., to Richard. Chamberlain had received Sherman’s announcement of Lincoln’s assassination. He says that the soldiers had feelings of “mingled rage and sorrow.” Chamberlain concludes that “if the perpetrator of the damnable deed were here, he would be torn into a thousand tatters.” He wished that Lincoln could have seen the “fruits of his labors” and also so that he could be honored for his wisdom and honesty. 21 April 1865. Joseph and Orville Chamberlain Papers, 1865 (M 0044), Box 2, Folder 3.

Letter signed by H.R. Strong and Z. Strong, College Hill, Ohio. Strong writes “Booth, the Murderer of the President has not as yet been caught but I think he will be. One hundred thousand dollars now offered for his apprehension. The whole country is in tears for our good departed President Abraham, the greatest man in America.” 23 April 1865. Henry R. Strong Collection (SC 1423), Folder 2.

Letter from Barr in Eastport to Charlie. Barr’s letter tells of Lincoln’s assassination and its shock. Barr believes that Johnson will not pardon the rebels as quickly as Lincoln would have. 24 April 1865. Buckley Family letters, 1854-1909 (M 0769), Box 2, Folder 4.

Levi R. Hiffner letter to Mary and Aunt Millington, written in Indianapolis. Hiffner writes of seeing the body of President Lincoln. He believes that more than 100,000 people were present to see the president’s body in state. Hiffner mentions how rainy the day was and also gives a brief description of Indianapolis on that day. 30 April 1865. Levi R. Hiffner Letter, 1865 (SC 1867), Folder 1.

Account of Smith Griffith’s trip to Indianapolis on April 30 to see Lincoln’s body in state. Griffith describes the muddy streets in Indianapolis and the decorations at the statehouse. Griffith describes Lincoln as having “no expression of pain, almost a smile seemed to belie the story of his death.” Griffith calls Lincoln the “Great Liberator.” 30 April 1865. Smith Griffith Collection (SC 1648), Folder 1.

Letter from Jane M. Ketcham, Indianapolis, to William Ketcham, North Carolina. Ketcham writes the words to hymns sung in the Fourth Presbyterian Church on April 20, the “day of sorrow for the loss [of the] President.” April 1865. John Lewis Ketcham Collection (M 0173), Box 2, Folder 4.

1865: May

Diary entry by Martin Luther Hursh, dated 1 May, written in Montgomery, Ala. Hursh has received dispatches confirming the assassination of Lincoln and the secretary of state. He describes the event as “surprising as a clap of thunder from a cloudless sky.” Hearing of the assassination was the “most solemn scene” he ever witnessed. 1 May 1865. Martin Luther Hursh Diaries (SC 0808), Folder 4.

Unsigned letter of Charles A. McCutchan, Sergeant, Co. K, 11th Regiment, at Fort McHenry, to Mattie. McCutchan writes of the national calamity: “Our Chief was sacrificed upon the altar of our country. Peace when restored will be the salvation.” 14 May 1865. Charles A. McCutchan Collection (SC 1017), Folder 1.

1865: June

Letter from Joseph Hewitt, Cincinnati, to his father in Ireland. Hewitt informs his father that Lincoln has been assassinated and Booth shot. 1 June 1865. Joseph Hewitt Collection (SC 0745), Folder 2.

Pencil sketches of Dr. Samuel Mudd, Lewis [Payne] Powell, Michael O’Laughlin, Edman Spangler, David E. Herold, Samuel Arnold and George A. Atzerodt as drawn by Gen. Lew Wallace. The image of Arnold shows him shackled, while the other images are busts of the individuals. The sketch of Atzerodt is dated 7 June 1865. Lew Wallace Papers (M 0292). OVB Graphics, Box 1, Folders 1-3.

1865: Undated

Sketch of Samuel Arnold by Gen. Lew Wallace. Wallace was one of the judges at the Lincoln conspirators’ trial. The image shows a padded hood in use. Ca. 1865. Lew Wallace Papers (M 0292). OVA Graphics, Box 1, Folder 4.