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    "We have all been appalled at the death of Mr. Lincoln by the hands of an assassin. . . . Brave men never instigate such acts."

    [Lincoln Assassination]. General Edward Johnson Autograph Letter Signed. Two pages, 8" x 9.75", Fort Warren [Boston, Massachusetts], April 19, 1865. Confederate General Edward Johnson had already spent time in a military prison when he was captured a second time during the Battle of Nashville, December 16, 1864. He was transferred to Fort Warren, a prison for officers in the Confederate Army and officials in the Confederate government, and was at that place when he sent this letter to his cousin Emily. He discusses the recent arrival of General Seth Barton, who was captured two weeks earlier at the Battle of Sayler's Creek in Virginia and asks after her friends, remarking on the desperate situation people in the Confederate States are experiencing: "I regret exceedingly to hear by your letter, what I have feared, that your friends have been burnt out in Richmd. . . . No one but an eyewitness, can form any idea of the suffering that our people have endured during this painful struggle."

    Five days earlier, President Lincoln was struck down by an assassin's bullet, an event which shocked the nation, both North and South. Johnson expresses his horror, in part: "We have all been appalled at the death of Mr. Lincoln by the hands of an assassin. . . . We regard the event as unfortunate for the South, and hope and believe that no southern man had any participation in it. I am glad to see that meetings have been held in Richmond and elsewhere expressing their detestation and horror of the act. The Southern people, my dear cousin, have no sympathy with assassins. Brave men never instigate such acts." Johnson was only partly right. Only one of the ten conspirators, Lewis Powell, a former soldier in the Confederate Army, was a native Southerner. The letter shows the usual folds, else fine.

    Johnson (1816-1873) was transferred from Fort Warren south to Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C., in May 1865, where he testified during the trial of the Lincoln conspirators. He was finally released from prison on July 22, 1865, and returned to Virginia where he spent the remainder of his life farming.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2014
    7th Saturday
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