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.
Monday, April 17, 1865
All is excitement. I feel unable to do anything but read the dispatches and reports as they are brought in to us. The papers hum with the dreadful news. We are well nigh paralyzed by the awful accounts which force themselves in upon our minds – Every moment brings out new and more startling developments. We know the man whom we so much loved and whom the nation loved is dead. This bitter cup is ours God holds it to our lips and bids us drink it up. Arrangements are being perfected for the burial of the President and I suppose the whole affair will be one of much grandeur and solemnity.
By this time, the newspapers and dispatches were saturated with sensational accounts of the events at Ford’s Theatre, the president’s last moments, and the continued search for John Wilkes Booth and his accomplices. Add to that the gossip swirling around Washington, D.C., and preparations for the grand funeral for Lincoln and you can imagine the city was nearly bursting with drama, excitement and anticipation.