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Recording Lee’s Surrender, Lincoln’s Assassination, and Davis’s Capture in Women’s Clothes (SOLD)
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From “the greatest times ever known” to “saddest day I ever saw,” and home in time for baseball -- Bostonian R.E. Merrill’s diary chronicles major events of 1865.

R.E. MERRILL. Autograph Manuscript Signed, Diary, Boston, Mass., 1865. 3 x 4¾”. 176 pp.

Inventory #21987       SOLD — please inquire about other items

Selected Excerpts

  • January 12 “Genl Butler has been removed”
  • January 15 “Edward Everett died this morning, aged 70 years 9 mo 3 dyes”
  • January 19 “Funeral of Edward Everett - Saw the Procession in Beacon st. Could not get near the church in Chauncy st”
  • February 1 “News of the passage of the Slavery Amendment to the Constitution, through Congress. Vote 119-56. Great rejoicing”
  • February 2 “As I write 10 AM the guns are firing, and bells ringing for the passage and signing of the Slavery amendment”
  • February 4 “Peace rumors are plenty”
  • February 19 “News of the capture of Columbia”
  • February 20 “Evacuation of Charleston confirmed”
  • February 21 “Charleston occupied by our troops and the veritable old flag again waves over Sumter”
  • February 24 “Wilmington is in our possession”
  • March 4 “Lincoln inaugurated Bells and guns made some noise”
  • March 24 “Home at 5 took tea and retd. With the Froths to Boston Theater “American Cousin” - Laura Keene - Like very much”
  • April 3 “Hard fighting followed by the great news that Richmond had fallen. Great joy”
  • April 6 “It looks as though Grant would catch Lee”
  • April 7 “Looking anxiously for Lee to get cornered - think he stands a hard chance”
  • April 10 “Great news - Lee surrendered his army to Grant yesterday. Closed stores at noon. The greatest times ever known celebrating-Illuminations”
  • April 11 “All the talk is the war news. Almost every body drunk last night. Good eveg for illuminations which continues - It is great & glorious”
  • April 12 “Lynchburg surrendered”
  • April 14 “Drafting & recruiting stopped by order of government. Everything looks joyous”
  • April 15“Such terrible news! President Lincoln murdered!! The saddest day I ever saw. Stores closed at noon. Great excitement”
  • April 16 “The murderers at Washington not arrested”
  • April 17 “The city is draped in mourning. No arrest of the murderers yet”
  • April 19 “A very sad day - Had services at chapel at noon. A very fine address from Mr. Worcester”
  • April 21 “Mr. Lincolns remains left Washington”
  • April 27 “News of the death of Booth at Port Royal Va. Capture of Harrold”
  • April 29 “Johnson surrendered in same terms as Lee - Grant put things right”
  • April 30 “Fine sermon on National affairs”
  • May 4 “Reward of $100,000 offered for Jeff Davis and less amts for other conspirators”
  • May 8 “Great excitement in England over the death of Pres Lincoln”
  • May 11 “Trial of conspirators at Washington”
  • May 14 “News of capture of Jeff Davis and family in Virginia”
  • May 15 “Neat rejoicing over Jeff's capture in Woman's cloths”
  • May 17 “Trial at Washington going on”
  • May 19 “The trial of the assassins at Washington going on still”
  • May 20 “Jeff Davis and party at Fortress Monroe”
  • May 23 “The Grand Review at Washington begins today”
  • May 24 “Heard Anna Dickinson on Pres Lincoln – Splendid”
  • May 25 “Alex H. Stephens at Fort Warren”
  • June 1 “National fast. Saw Procession at corner Beacon and Charles st, very good”
  • July 7 “The conspirators to be hanged at Washington, four in number”
  • July 20 “Saw and shook hands with Genl Meade”
  • July 31 “Grant at F Hall - Saw him at corner of Court and Washington. Grant went to Portland”
  • October 28 “Home at 1 to see baseball match”
  • November 8 “N.Y. and even N. Jersey all gone Republican”
  • November 11 “The wretch who tortured our prisoners at Andersonville hanged”
  • December 4 “Congress sits Colfax Speaker”
  • December 22 “Parade of Veterans and surrender of flags to the state”

Historical Background

The fabric of everyday life is woven into the great events of the nation – bells ring, the old flag waves, General Meade’s hand is clasped, everybody’s drunk, a baseball game is cheered…. Before that fateful shot was fired, were the Lincolns enjoying Laura Keene in Our American Cousin as much as Merrill had three weeks earlier?


Portion of back cover missing. All else is fine and complete.