Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Abraham Lincoln: Simply THE FINEST First-hand Account of the Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln on March 5th 1865. Extraordinary account of the inauguration of President Lincoln by Sgt. Romanzo V. Swain of the 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery. 4 pgs., with original transmittal cover, written to his wife Mary . Written from Virginia. Reads in full: "March 5th, 1865, Dear Mary, Yesterday the fourth of March I had the pleasure of visiting Washington also the honor of seeing President Lincoln inaugurated. There was twelve went from our company. We to took the cars at Alexandria at 8 o'clock & arrived at Washington about nine. We went from the depot up on Pennsylvania avenue. Following this up we soon arrived at the White House. The procession was to start from here at half past ten. After visiting the War department we went into the park in front of the White House. Here is a splendid statue of General Jackson standing in the center of the park. The park is beautifully laid out and planted with evergreens of every description. After looking through this to our satisfaction we took up our post on the street opposite the White House. As the hour drew nigh the procession began to form in front of us. First came a company of cavalry then a row of policemen to clear the street. Next came a section of light artillery. They were dressed very nice with red trimming on their uniforms and red plume in their caps. Next was a brass fixed off very nice. Next was a reg of soldiers. After they had got formed Uncle Abe got into his carriage and with his escort started for the Capitol followed by the procession. Knowing that unless we got up to the Capitol before the crowd did we would have a poor show. We started in all haste and arrived there before the crowd did that was following the procession. Lucky was it that we did for we got a place to stand in very near where he delivered his inaugural address. We where not destined to wait long for soon Abraham Lincoln the liberator the savior of his country made his appearance and was welcomed with music and forlorn cheers. Quiet having been restored he then delivered his inaugural address and then took the oath of office (I was so close I could hear every word). This being done Andy Johnson was called for and came forward and made a bow to the vast assembly. As yet we had not seen much of the procession. We went down on the avenue and there until the procession headed by the President went past us. I tell you dear Mary it was a grand sight and one I never shall forget as long as I live. From here we went to Brady's photograph gallery. This is a very nice place. But the mail has come and I must get ready for dress parade. (4 hours later) After we got through looking through the gallery we again returned to the Capitol to see the new picture of Lincoln and Cabinet considering the passage of the bill abolishing slavery or the constitutional amendment. It is a grand picture. I have seen big crowds before but I have never anything before like this. The side walks were crowded for miles. Every window, porch & the tops of a great many houses were filled with people of every color or station from the blackest Negro to the city belle and from the street sweet to the member of congress. But night is coming on and we must return home going to the foot of seventh street. We took a ferry boat. Arrived at Alex about dark. Arrived at the fort about seven o'clock tired hungry & sleepy. There was many of which I have not time or space to mention. But hoping this will be interesting to you. I will close good night my dear wife. From your husband, Sergt. R.V. Swain", An incredible account of inauguration day, including going to Mathew Brady's studio. Certainly one of the finest such letters to appear on the market in many years.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2020
    22nd-23rd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 400

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 44 days left to consign to the 2020 July 12 Vintage Guitars & Musical Instruments Musical Instruments Signature Auction - Dallas!

    Learn about consigning with us

    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
    Howard Ballou,
    Brandon, MS
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search