This Day in US History… 1865: A Grand Illumination in Washington Celebrates the End of the Civil War

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19 year old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10
April 11
April 12

April 13, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 13, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Thursday, April 13, 1865

This is Holy Thursday and quite a great day in the Catholic and Episcopalian churches. Mrs. Robbins and Miss Tyson called this morning. Mrs. Smith also spent the morning and lunched with us. I have been helping to get the house fixed for an illumination tonight. Judge Peck’s intend to also. I think it will be splendid. 10 pm Tired out walking and looking. I can only say the whole thing has been a grand success. The most splendid ever known in this country or even in the world. Even the Smith’s(?) made a little light in their houses. Glory enough.

The April 13 “illumination” was so large in Washington, D.C., that the merchants nearly sold out of candles.

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Filed under Eyewitness to History, This Day in Wyoming History..., WSA Collection Highlights

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