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.
Tuesday, April 18, 1865
Today the remains of the lamented dead have been lying in state in the Executive Mansion. The crowd has been terrific. Mother, Mrs. Bonsall, and myself started to see him and strange to say succeeded in getting in. Never in my life shall I forget the awful solemnity which enshrouded the place the moment you crossed the threshold it came upon you. The most solemn stillness reigned throughout the house. The soft and shadowy light falling so gently on the placid features of the dead while the habiliment of mourning which invested the various apartments lately so radiant with bright and festive throngs caused me to think as I have never before.
Isabella, her mother and their friend, Mrs. Bonsall, were three of the thousands of people filing through the East Room of the White House on April 18th.