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.
Thursday, April 20, 1865
The rain has been coming down in torrents part of the day and still through it all, people have been pouring into the Capitol grounds to gaze for the last time on the features of their loved dead, having seen him yesterday I did not go again but regret very much that Aunt has not been able to go out at all and therefore has not seen him. The remains of little Willie are to be taken with those of his honored father to their home. Oh how can we school our hearts to this great affliction. Every moment brings it more vividly to our minds and makes the atrocious thing more heinous. I trust no early spot may be deemed secure enough to conceal the base assassin from the hand of justice.
Following the funeral procession from the Executive Mansion (White House) to the Capitol Building, Lincoln once again lay in state. As Isabella mentions, thousands filed by the coffin. It is no wonder that she declined to brave the rain and crowds to view the body for a second time.
Mrs. Lincoln agreed to bury her husband in Springfield, Illinois, after a promise was made to take the body of their son Willie along to be buried with him. 11 year old Willie had died in 1862. His coffin was removed from the Washington, D.C., cemetery to be re-interred in Springfield. As Isabella mentions, Booth was still at large. He was finally cornered and killed on April 26.