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From The Constitution, Wednesday, April 26, 1865 (volume 28, number 1426)

War News.

The rumors which have been circulating for some days about negotiations between Sherman and Johnston have at length taken definite shape. A courier from Gen. Sherman arrived at Washington last Friday, with the intelligence that that General had assumed the responsibility of arranging terms of peace with Gen. Johnston, and had agreed upon a temporary suspension of hostilities. At a Cabinet meeting held Friday night, the action of Gen. Sherman was disapproved by the President, by the Secretary of War, by Gen. Grant, and by every member of the Cabinet, and he was ordered to resume hostilities immediately. Lieut.-Gen. Grant left immediately, by a special steamer, to take supervision in person. A dispatch from Fortress Monroe announces his arrival at that place on Saturday. It is to be apprehended that these operations have given Jeff. Davis time to make good his escape, with the plunder of the Richmond banks.

Maj.-Gen. Canby reports that there were over 150 pieces of artillery found in the works around Mobile, with large quantities of ammunition and War supplies. The prisoners taken number about 1,000, and the cotton secured is about 3,000 bales.

All of Mosby’s gang have surrendered except himself; he has fled, and some of his late soldiers are in search of him, prompted by the offer, by Gen. Hancock, of $2,000 reward for the great guerrilla.

The Funeral Ceremonies on Wednesday.

From the information received from all parts of the country, it is safe to say nothing that has occurred since the organization of the government, has so moved the hearts of all the people, as the death of President Lincoln. The day fixed upon for the funeral ceremonies was universally observed, and in no part of the land with more apparent sincerity and unanimity than in Middletown—be it said to the honor of the heads and hearts of all our citizens. On Wednesday morning the whole city appeared in the habiliments of woe, and we are not of those who insist that any displayed, through fear of public sentiment, the outward symbols of sorrow which had not touched their hearts. It is one of those mighty afflictions in the presence of which prejudice, bigotry, partizan malignity and sectarian hate are awed into silence, and the soul, assuming its true dignity, is moved by those kindly sentiments and feelings which tell of the real nobility of human nature.

The day was one of the fairest that the season brings. At 10 a. m., the stores and other places throughout the city were closed; the church bells tolled from 11 to 12. One hundred minute guns were fired by the Douglas and Alsop Batteries commencing at 12 m. One of the largest meetings we have ever attended in this city, was held at the North Cong. Church, beginning at noon and lasting three hours. The house was crowded in every part, and hundreds went away unable even to get within sight of the exercises. The order of exercise was as follows:

Voluntary on Organ, and Singing.—Solo and Chorus, “Almighty Lord, before thy throne.”

Invocation and Reading of the Scriptures, Rev. Jeremiah Taylor.

Reading of Hymn—Rev. John Pegg.—“Why do ye mourn.”

Prayer—Rev. J. H. Gilbert.

Music—Solo and Quartette.—“Bow down thine ear.”

Address—Rev. Joseph Cummings, D. D.

Address—Rev. J. E. Bruce.

Music—Solo and Quartette.—“Rest, Spirit, rest.”

Address—Prof. F. H. Newhall.

Address—Rev. J. L. Dudley.

Hymn.—“God moves in a mysterious way.”


His Honor Mayor Warner, in opening the exercises, said:

The event which calls us together to-day is more momentous than any since the formation of our government, or any in the progress in the last decade of centuries. The personal embodiment of our nationality; of its power, sovereignty and dignity, the chief executive of the will of this people; the constitutional guardian of their rights, liberties and destinies; and as such the living symbol of constitutional form of governments, of human progress, of social and political equality; of civil and religious liberty, and of the high hopes of struggling humanity throughout the world, in the discharge and exercise of these sublime and almost divine functions and characteristics is struck down and at this hour lies straightened for the grave.

We have come to contemplate our dead President in the light, and through the gory shades of his tragic martyrdom,–we are gathered to contemplate those elements of his character which in their purity, simplicity and greatness have already silenced the voice of partizan malignity and hate; which has palsied the tongue of his defamers, and which have alike defied the scarcely less malignant and deadly touch of the assassin’s bullet; elements of character which defy any vicissitudes of time or eternity—which to-day can look Jehovah face to face and live, and which for all coming time, will command and receive the benediction of his countrymen and all future generations of men.

We are here under the shadows of a great affliction whilst the heart of the nation throbs its unutterable anguish at the tomb of its twice chosen chieftain; and apprehension, doubt and despondency seem to shut out and encurtain the future. Here, under the sanctions of our religion, around the altar and before the God of our fathers, we seem to see their martyrdoms walking in the gloom of their conflict; and they point to us the cheering, God-trusting motto which they inscribed upon the banners and which still beams upon us. We are here for invocation to that God to again place His bow of promise and peace in our political skies, and to indicate to this people the paths they can safely tread.

It is not my purpose to point out the moral of this calamity, and my poor common words would be mockery should I attempt to give utterance to the nation’s grief. But I cannot and will not forego the reflection,–almost a religious one—which steals over me and which seems also to have possessed the mind of our people, that the clotted shroud of this our dead, yet more than a living Cæsar, will be more powerful in impressing his virtues, his spotless example of political integrity upon the nation’s mind, more grand in its operations and effect in human events, more significant in the cause of liberty and justice, more weighty in the scale of human destiny, and more potent in moving the car of human progress, than he could have been had he moved in the sphere and accomplished the work which the partiality and choice of our people had assigned him to do.

Rev. Jeremiah Taylor, read numerous selections of Scripture. Mr. Pegg and Mr. Gilbert being absent, the hymn was read by Prof. Newhall and a lengthy and earnest prayer was offered by Rev. J. Taylor.

A Solo and Quartette was then given by a choir consisting of Miss Condon, Miss Ingham, Mrs. P. M. Wright, Mrs. Dr. Baker, Prof. Harrington, Messrs. J. N. Camp, Charles Stearns, and M. C. Elliott, under the direction of M. B. Copeland, Esq., who presided at the organ.

Rev. Dr. Cummings spoke with evident emotion. He referred in a touching manner to the sufferings of our soldiers in Southern prisons, and at the close of his remarks there were few dry eyes in all the vast audience. Dr. Cummings is always heard with pleasure by our citizens, but never have we seen his audience more interested than on this occasion.

Rev. Mr. Bruce spoke of the assassin, whose name, he said, is Slavery. He gave a number of facts and arguments to prove the correctness of the statement.

The address of Prof. Newhall was in every sense an excellent one. In closing he called upon all to swear by the Eternal God that no traitor shall press the soil or breathe the air of this land of Liberty—the home of Abraham Lincoln. The words were so well spoken and the sentiment was so acceptable that the audience, almost involuntarily loudly applauded.

Rev. Mr. Dudley said he had thought that the Rebellion had never done anything worthy of itself; and he had often wondered what dark and damnable thing would yet be disclosed. He wondered no longer—the deed was done. Then there was joy in Hell, and in some hearts not yet there. He spoke for nearly half an hour and the address was characterized by great earnestness and force,–at times by great beauty of thought and expression. The closing hymn was sung by the Choir and the benediction pronounced by Dr. Cummings.

The buildings throughout the city were with few exceptions, draped in mourning. Among which we will mention the Custom House and Post Office, which was heavily decorated, a full-length portrait of the late President being displayed in the porch; the Middletown and the First National Bank; the buildings of the fire companies with their flags at half mast; the store and windows of S. Stearns & Son, G. N. Ward, Wm. H. Ford, J. B. Southmayd, Chas. W. Hills, Foster & Vinal, H. C. Ransom, J. Bacon, N. V. Fagan, the rooms of the “Eurodelphians,” Bradley & Treadwell, Levy & Mooney, F. Brewer, J. S. Fairchild, J. Dessauer, H. D. Hall, Geo. Prior, J. D. Neale, E. Rockwell, Strauss & Schwartz, Benham and Boardman, H. Woodward, Miss Spaulding, E. Ackley, Mrs. Brooks, Misses Greenfield, F. D. Marvin, A. R. Parshley, Wm. Southmayd & Son, A. Kelsey, Adams Express and Telegraph offices. Among the residences were those of Mrs. J. K. F. Mansfield, Benj. Douglas, Dr. J. Ellis Blake, Mrs. Dyson, Miss Alsop, D. H. Chase, E. H. Roberts, Curtiss Bacon, Mrs. Woodward, Rev. M. Smith, J. W. Baldwin, D. Glover, Edwin Stearns, Wm. S. Camp, Misses Robertson, Mrs. Tobey, C. C. Hubbard, E. Loveland, H. Rutty, H. Boardman, S. G. Hurlburt, C. F. Collins, Beach, C. A. Boardman, N. Smith, J. S. Bailey, H. Cooley, J. W. Hayes, C. E. Putnam, H. Stancliff, A. Putnam, Miss M. Payne, A. Newton, J. G. Baldwin, Wm. J. Trench, J. W. Douglas, H. Ward, E. & F. Chaffee, M. Culver, C. C. Tyler, Mrs. Tompkins, Elijah Hubbard, D. J. Neale, J. Danforth, Mrs. M. Bradley, W. W. Wilcox, F. Comstock, Prof. Huber, E. Penfield, J. H. Sumner, Wm. Woodward, Dr. Gilman, H. G. Hubbard, J. H. Watkinson, A. B. Calef, G. M. Smith and B. C. Bacon. The flag of the Russell Manf’g Co., was trimmed in black and displayed at half mast. Several private dwellings in South Farms were appropriately draped including the store of Messrs. G. & J. Hubbard.


Wes students' tribute to Lincoln 1865


The Granite State was crowded with passengers on Monday, anxious to attend the funeral ceremonies of the President in New York. The body arrived there Monday afternoon.


Returned From the War.—George Loveland, eldest son of Elijah Loveland, Esq., of this city, returned to his home in this city last week, with an honorable discharge from three years service, in company A. 1st Conn. Heavy Artillery. He enlisted with Joseph Tobey, whose death we recorded a few months ago, a short time after the regiment had been in the field, and has remained faithful to his duty, without as much as a furlough, until his time of service expired. We acknowledge the receipt of a late Richmond paper.


Gov. Buckingham has issued a proclamation, withdrawing the State bounty of $300 to volunteer, or any person who may be mustered in the service of the United States, after the 17th inst.


A. S. Hotchkiss, (formerly of this city,) local editor of the Courant, was elected last week, clerk of the Board of Common Council, in Hartford. Good for Albert.


Editor of the Constitution:

Sir: I notice in your last paper that Samuel Birdsey, who once lived here, but now a traitor and rebel soldier, had returned (having lost his property south,) to receive and enjoy an ample property here, which his friend and agent had carefully managed for him, while engaged with his two substitutes in a warfare against the government. This fellow, after the battle of Bull Run, came here to look after his property, boasted of the masses of the south, sneeringly alluding to our defeat. Finding all safe, and leaving his property with his friend, he again started for his post in the confederate army, to assist in his cherished object of destroying the government. The war now being about closed, having done all he could to destroy our country, losing every penny south, returns to his native place to receive, from his faithful friend and agent, the property committed to his trust. The question seems to arrive, shall this rebel and avowed enemy be allowed to remain in this community, an eye-sore to every loyal soul, and living curse among us! Very tender and kind-hearted, indeed to their enemies, are the citizens of Middletown, if they allow it.



Messrs. Newtons: I am sorry to trouble you again, and should not, had not the Sentinel man (!) repeated his falsehood respecting repairs on the Turnpike. His motto probably is, “That a lie well stuck to is as good as the Truth.” In answer to my last communication he says, “That he certainly saw them [that is the City repairers and teams] at work at the point named.”

Now this is a repetition of his barefaced, unmitigated falsehood! and he knows it to be such. If he wishes light on the subject let him go to the archives of the Town; he will find there a written contract between the Town of Middletown and the Turnpike Company, made soon after it was chartered, conditioned that the Town shall keep the Turnpike in repair from where the Catholic Church now stands to Sumner’s Creek, for the consideration of Twenty five dollars per annum, and that from that time to the present, the Turnpike Co., have yearly paid the amount into the Town Treasury. We repeat, that the city have never, since the contract was made, worked at the point where the sharp vision of the Sentinel blunderhead says he saw them. I do not propose to notice any more of his malicious slanders. If it is any enjoyment to him let him go on, it hurts no one.



1865 peacetime


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From The Constitution, Wednesday, April 19, 1865 (volume 28, number 1425)


“He stood upon an eminence and glory covered him.”

The American nation to-day is bowed down with a great sorrow. Millions of sad hearts lift up their cry of mourning to Heaven. It is but a few days since that great joy of glad tidings lit up every hearth-stone in the land, every roof tree was hung with the garlands of rejoicing, and heartfelt thanksgiving smiled at every board. These were gala days, for the dawning of the great era of peace and national grandeur, the compact sealed with patriot blood and written with the sword of justice, had come. But of a sudden like a thunder cloud in a bright day came a great bereavement to the people. Their joy was turned to sadness. Every heart in the city, town, hamlet and highway of this broad land was stricken with sadness as if a father had been taken from every household. Abraham Lincoln is dead. The great emancipator, and thus the most notable name that history will have the honor of writing for the nineteenth century, he who with one trenchant blow struck down the evil that the ages had contended with, Abraham Lincoln is dead. Dead by the cowardly hand of assassination. Why or wherefore we do not know – the great sad fact of these days for all the world is, though his good works still live and are invulnerable to the bullet and dagger of the murderer, he is dead—the saddest words that have been spoken to the American people since the birth of the republic. Stricken down in his and the nation’s prime. The well earned glory of this great internecine struggle had just begun to gather around this beloved leader and his people, after struggling through four dark years of wilderness just as the light had begun to break, like Moses of old, he was fated to die with a far off glimpse of the promised land. We can draw no parallel for this great and good man’s character in the whole; it is its own parallel; it stands out before the centuries unique, incomparable. It would be a work of superrogation to recapitulate the events that have transpired during the Executive career of our beloved President. They are familiar in all of their prominent points as household words to every loyal man and woman, and history will take care of the details. Already a monument has grown up in the hearts of the people in memoriam of this wise and good man that all coming generations will be glad and proud to add to in humble romance. History furnishes us no ruler that ever had such a deep abiding hold upon the hearts and confidence of a nation. He was hedged about by no kingly divinity born of superstition and royal heritage; but his fascinating power over this mighty and incongruous people consisted of the same elements of character, that distinguished Washington; his incorruptible integrity, his wonderful honesty, his unfaltering patience, his large hearted leniency and total lack of vindictiveness. And that too, in a time, every day of which developed events, startling and potent, unparalleled in the worlds past, unthought of by philosophers, undreamed of by reformers. Surrounded by ambitious advisers, he was deaf to temptation, goaded by hungry place seekers, he was unflinching in his settled policy. The scepter he swayed was not made of the stern material of haughty magistracy, but was simply the strong arm of a great people who loved him and confided in him. He was a patriot of the present type, when to be a patriot was a dangerous thing; his unalterable policy was simple, grand and enduring. All his dealings with halter deserving traitors have been tinctured with the christian spirit of “forgive and forget.” The great love of country mingled with conciliation that flowed from his first message has tempered his whole Executive career, and the motto “Sic semper tyrannis,” whether the deed was of a diseased mind of a Judas bargain, as uttered by the wretched dastard who did it, was simply absurd as applied to this generous man, and history and the divinity in history that never dies, will retract no comfort from this motto for the bloody wretch and those who sympathize with him. Whatever pretext the assassin might have assumed, he signally failed here. But repinings are useless, the arrow is sped and the blow cannot be recalled. Though the noble head is bowed low, the name of the good man shall remain forever a tower of strength, for “Virtue alone outbuilds the pyramids; her ornaments shall last, when Egypt’s fall.”

But we can make his memory hallowed, by cherishing his example, and applying his principles to the institutions of his beloved country. Now while his goodness is fragrant in our hearts, let us strike hands over his grave with the unflinching resolve to maintain the Union and the integrity of the nation at all hazards. Now that the traitors at the South, are nearly disposed of, let us maintain eternal vigilance among us at the North, in these delicate days of reconstruction. Let us hope and pray that the goodness and wisdom of our dear departed President may inspire and strengthen his successor. Let us remember in our bereavement that Right is still, through much blood and sacrifice, triumphant and lives.

Local News.

How the news was received in this City.

The news of the assassination of President Lincoln was received in this city with sadness and sorrow on Saturday morning last. Hon. Benj. Douglas received the news first, and at once made it public by tolling his bell, and displaying his flags at half mast. Business generally was suspended, and the citizens gathered in crowds, anxious to learn the particulars of the terrible tragedy. The arrival of daily papers fell short of the demands, and an extra was immediately issued from this office. The bells of the city commenced tolling at 10 o’clock. Strong men were seen weeping and the general expression was that a great calamity had befallen the people. One or two persons were fool-hardy enough to express joy at the event, and they at once met their desserts. Many private dwellings and stores were draped in mourning, while the same was done to all public building. All of the churches were appropriately draped in mourning, and appropriate sermons delivered on Sunday.

The South Church was draped in mourning. A flag covered with crape hung over the desk, and flags were festooned in front of the singers’ gallery and upon the organ. The vase before the pulpit contained a cross of white flowers. The exercises commenced with singing a hymn of trust in God. Mr. Dudley’s text was in Isaiah 24:11; “All joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone.” It was not the first time, he said, that the chief magistrate had died in office. Harrison and Taylor so died and the men to succeed them ruled quietly in their place. For the first time a President’s life has gone down suddenly by an assassin’s weapon. It destroys the tissues of official plans and gives us all things to fear and to doubt. Abraham Lincoln died in the height of his fame. He has accomplished a work, perhaps all that he was fitted to do.—He saw the soul of his adversary die before it took his bodily life. He was the mildest and meekest of men, offending even by his leniency. One lesson this deed makes emphatic, and we need stronger moral muscle to stand for it: that treason is the end of all honor, and that treason defeated is treason still. It is useless to kiss infamy into high places, or trying to love a dastard into a saint.

The sermon in the Methodist Church, in memory of our late President, was delivered by Dr. Cummings. He evinced much feeling over the sad event, and spoke of Mr. Lincoln as a man of the highest endowments; that he had been a father indeed to the American people, in whom they could confide their hope and trust inviolate. He attributed the fearful deed to a class of men who had neither the manly courage to go and take up arms with their southern brethren against us, nor openly to declare their purpose to destroy our national life, but that while our brave men stood like a wall of steel in battle defense and nobly died, they were drinking the life blood of the nation. That in this deed they have shown their total depravity. Yet, he thanked God that our noble President was permitted to lead us through the darkest hours of our trials; that he was permitted to see the signs of peace.

Rev. Mr. Gilbert delivered and impressive sermon from Deut. 34:5, “And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, by the commandment of the Lord.”

Rev. Mr. Bruce preached from the 46th Psalm, 10th verse, “Be still, and know that I am God.” We shall give extracts from his sermon next week.

At the North Cong. Church, the text of the pastor was from Psalms 82; 6th and 7th verses. In the concluding portion of the sermon, Mr. Taylor spoke of the President being in a theatre at the time of the assassination, would have desired it should have been different. Alluded to the first inauguration and to escape the assassin’s dagger—he travelled from Baltimore to Washington in disguise. He concluded by remarking that the tragedy on Friday night, in his opinion, was not the work of any combination of persons—but simply that of the tragedian, to add interest to the drama.

In the Church of the Holy Trinity in this city, a prayer for a sick person was offered in behalf of the Secretary of State, also the prayer for persons under affliction adapting it to the sorrowing family and relatives and the sorrows of a whole people. The sermon was dispensed with, only a few brief remarks being made, appropriate for the occasion. The officiating clergyman, the rector of the Church, reminded the congregation of the day, as the joyous festival of Easter. We commemorate, he observed, to-day the all glorious resurrection of our Saviour from the dead, and the certainty of our own resurrection also. It is a day ever associated in our minds with feelings of the deepest interest and the most heartfelt thankfulness, gladness and rejoicing. It is a day identified with our highest interests and our brightest hopes. These beautiful flowers, so appropriately laid here upon the morning of this festival season and so tastefully arranged, are fit emblems of the pure, the delightful, the life inspiring, the glorious associations connected with a day like this.—But we evince our gladness and our rejoicings to-day mid the deepest gloom and sadness, gloom and sadness pervading the thoughts, the minds and the hearts of all alike, irrespective of everything like party or political feeling and hence it is we have these indications of mourning and sorrow, which have so long been before us, in the very midst of this happy festival, still continued, still kept up. We are sorrowing at the terrible calamity that has befallen us as a people, at the awful crime that has been perpetrated at our national capital, and the possible, most fearful future results that yet may follow. Our Chief Magistrate has been stricken down by the hand of an assassin and is now no more. Abraham Lincoln is dead. He has died a martyr to his country. We feel ourselves unsuited and utterly unequal to the task of saying another word, and we proceed at once to the administration of the holy communion.”

At a meeting of the citizens of Middletown at Town Hall, Monday, to take into consideration the subject of having some appropriate exercises on the occasion of the Funeral of President Lincoln, Hon. Benj. Douglas was appointed Chairman, and A. Putnam and B. Bent, Jr. were appointed Secretaries. …


Returned from Dixie.—Samuel Birdsey who was a resident of this town some years before the breaking out of the war, but who removed to Wilmington, N. C. some five years since, returned to this city Saturday before last. After the breaking out of the war he visited here, and it was well known that he was then a strong sympathizer with the south. After his return he entered the rebel service, and remained there three years.—During the war his father died at Wilmington, the owner of property both at the north and the south. The son now returns without a farthing, while the property at the north has remained safe and increasing in value under the protection of the government which for three years he has sought to destroy.


We are gratified to learn that there is now a certainty that a public institution of great value, is to be established in this city, and, by the liberality of various friends, placed on a firm basis. We refer to the plan in contemplation of establishing a “Home for aged and destitute women,” to be known as “St. Luke’s Home”; and to be connected with the Church of the Holy Trinity, of this city. We are informed that although the management of the institution will be under the control of the Episcopal Church, the charity will include persons from all religious denominations, others than Episcopalians, having generously and with true christian philanthropy, contributed to the institution. It is also intended to offer the benefit and shelter of the Home to those who, desirous of its privileges may yet be enabled, in whole, or in part, to defray the expenses of their residence. We understand that the committee, having the matter in hand, have purchased from Mr. Peck, for the sum of $3,350, the large house, corner of Court and Pearl street, now in part occupied by the “Widows Home”; it being intended that this last institution shall be merged in “St. Lukes Home.” Among the liberal contributions and pledges to this noble charity are the following: One subscription of $1000; three of $500; four of $300; one of $250; one of $200; six of $100; and several of $50. The names of the contributors thus far, are: Mrs. Margaret DeKoven; Mrs. Henry DeKoven; Mrs. Mutter; Mrs. Jane Huntington; the Misses Sebor; Mrs. Elizabeth S. Dyer; Mrs. Frances Russell; Mrs. H. G. Hubbard; Mrs. F. B. S. Smith; Miss Oliver; Mrs. Oliver; Mrs. Joseph Alsop; Mrs. C. S. Watkinson; Aaron Pease, Esq.; Clinton Sage, Esq.; C. R. Sebor, Esq.; Dr. J. W. Alsop and S. W. Russell, Esq.; &c, &c. We trust that others of our citizens may become interested in this excellent object and subscribe liberally to the permanent endowment and efficacy of so important a charity in our midst.


It has been supposed that the genius who conducts the Sentinel, could occasionally tell the truth; but perhaps being in the constant habit of publishing political falsehoods, his disease has become chronic. He says in his last paper, “That he saw last summer, the City Street Repairers and Teams at work on a portion of the Road between the Ferry and Cromwell.

The fact is, he never saw any such thing. No City Street Repairers or Teams have ever worked on said road since the Turnpike was chartered. The next time you repeat your attacks upon the Street Commissioner, we beg of you to keep as near the truth as your habits will admit of.



Middletown obituaries, April 1865Obituary poem, 1865

Washington, April 15th, 3 A. M.

Major Gen. Dix: The President still breathes, but is quite insensible, as he has been ever since he was shot. He evidently did not see the person who shot him, but was looking on the stage, as he was approached behind.

Mr. Seward has rallied, and it is hoped he may live.

Frederick Seward’s condition is very critical. The attendant who was present was stabbed through the lungs and is not expected to live. The wounds of Major Seward are not serious.

Investigation strongly indicates J. Wilkes Booth as the assassin of the President. Whether the same or a different person that attempted to murder Mr. Seward remains in doubt.

Justice Carter is engaged in taking the evidence. Every exertion has been made to prevent the escape of the murderer. His horse has been found on the road near Washington.

E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War.

Laura Keene says J. Wilkes Booth is the assassin. She also says that she saw him and knew him.

Senator Sumner is at the President’s bedside weeping like a child. His cabinet and Vice President Johnson are also with him.

At twenty minutes past seven o’clock Saturday morning, the President breathed his last—closing his eyes as if falling to sleep, and his countenance assuming an expression of perfect serenity. There were no indications of pain, and it was not known that he was dead until the gradually decreasing respiration ceased altogether.

Dr. Gurley then proceeded to the front parlor, where Mrs. Lincoln. Mrs. John Hay, the Private Secretary and others were waiting where he offered a prayer for the consolation of the family.

Immediately after the President’s death, a Cabinet meeting was called by Secretary Stanton, and held in the room in which the corpse lay.

Secretaries Stanton, Welles, and Usher; Postmaster General Dennison; and Attorney-General Speed were present.

On Saturday, 12 m. Andrew Johnson was sworn into office as President of the United States by Chief Justice Chase. Secretary McCullough and Attorney General Speed and others were present. He remarked: “The duties are mine. I will perform them trusting in God.”

The President’s body was removed from the private residence opposite Ford’s theatre, to the Executive Mansion, at half past 9 o’clock in a hearse, and wrapped in flags. A dense crowd accompanied the remains to the house, where a military guard excluded the crowd, allowing none but the persons of the household and friends of the President to enter. Senator Yates and Representative Farnsworth were among the number admitted.

It is believed that the assassins of the President and of Secretary Seward are attempting to escape to Canada.


President Lincoln assassinated


Washington, April 14—President Lincoln and wife, with other friends, this evening visited Ford’s Theatre for the purpose of witnessing the performance of the “American Cousin.” It was announced in the papers that General Grant would also be present, but that gentleman took the late train of cars for New Jersey.

The theatre was densely crowded, and everybody seemed delighted with the scene before them. During the third act, and while there was a temporary pause for one of the actors to enter, a sharp report of a pistol was heard, which merely attracted attention, but suggesting nothing serious, until a man rushed to the front of the President’s box, waving a long dagger in his right hand, and exclaiming: “Sic Semper Tyrrannes,” and immediately leaped from the box, which was in the second tier, to the stage beneath and ran across to the opposite side, making his escape amid the bewilderment of the audience from the rear of the theatre, and mounting a horse fled.

The screams of Mrs. Lincoln first disclosed the fact to the audience that the President had been shot, when all present rose to their feet, rushing toward the stage, many exclaiming: “Hang him! hang him!” The excitement was of the wildest possible description, and of course there was an abrupt termination of the theatrical performance.

There was a rush toward the President’s box, when cries were heard, “Stand back and give him air,” “Has any one stimulants?”

General Grant and wife were advertised to be at the theatre, but he started for Burlington, N. J., at 6 o’clock. A cabinet meeting at which General Grant was present, the subject of the state of the country and the prospect of a speedy peace, was discussed. The President was very cheerful and hopeful, and spoke very kindly of General Lee and others of the confederacy, and of the establishment of a government in Virginia. All the members of the cabinet, except Mr. Seward, are now in attendance on the President.



From The Constitution, Wednesday, April 12, 1865 (volume 28, number 1424)

Eagle icon 1865

War News.

Lee telegraphed on Sunday that Grant had driven him a mile and a half, that he had suffered severely, held an untenable position, and requested that the city should be evacuated that night. The flight of the rebel leaders began at once—Jeff. Davis is said to have heard the news while in church. He had previously sold his furniture, and was ready to go at once. Leaving Mrs. Lee behind, he started for Charlotte, N. C. Other accounts say that he started with his family the previous Wednesday—the day Grant began his march—but subsequently returned to his capital. Gen. Weitzel now occupies his house, and Gen. Devins resides in the house Gov. Smith of Virginia. Our men approached the city very cautiously on Monday morning over ground, thick with torpedoes—so thick that our main body marched in single file, while pioneers pointed out the dangerous places.—No opposition was made to our approach; a small squadron of cavalry rode in, and Mayor Mayo handed over the keys at 7 A. M. Monday morning. Gen. Weitzel soon followed, and was greeted with enthusiastic cheers by citizens both white and black. The rebels set fire to many important buildings, in order to burn the tobacco on storage, and most of Main street is destroyed; but our men soon extinguished the fire. The State House, the Enquirer and Dispatch newspaper offices, and two or three bridges were burned. All the rebel magazines and gunboats were blown up. There were no Union prisoner found, all having been sent off for exchange the day before. Commissioner Ould handed to Gen. Mulford all the papers in his possession on the subject. The departure of the rebel army after Sheridan’s victory at Five Forks must have been very sudden, since they left all their tents behind. Our captures in Richmond amount to about one thousand rebel soldiers in health, and five thousand wounded, mainly in the hospitals, with 5,000 stands of small arms, and five hundred pieces of artillery. President Lincoln visited Richmond on Tuesday.

Official and general dispatches from Grant’s army and from Richmond continues to bring us good news. Our troops got possession of Burkesville, the place of junction of the Richmond and Danville, and Petersburgh and Lynchburgh Railroad, on Wednesday afternoon. Sheridan himself states that reinforcements were coming to him, and he feels confident of capturing Lee’s army. Grant was at last advices only a few miles east of Burkesville, and Sheridan was operating north of Grant. No junction between Lee and Johnson is possible, and the retreat of the rebel army of Virginia must be toward Lynchburg and the mountains.

Sheridan reports at 11 ¼ P. M. of Thursday, “The army made a stand at the intersection of the Burkes Station road with the road upon which they were retreating. I attacked them with divisions of the Sixth Army Corps and routed them handsomely, making a connection with the cavalry. I am still pressing on with both cavalry and infantry. Up to the present time we have captured Gens. Ewell, Kershaw, Burton, Corse, De Barre, Curtis, Lee, several thousand prisoners, fourteen pieces of artillery, with caissons and a large number of wagons. If the thing is pressed, I think Lee will surrender. As for the “pressing” we may safely leave Grant and Sheridan alone for that. Further dispatches from Gens. Meade, Humphreys and Wright give details of operations on Thursday, all of which were in every way favorable to our arms.—Meade says: “It is evident that to-day’s work is going to be one of the most important of the recent brilliant operations.” Humphreys says: “Our last fight, just before dark, at Sailor’s Creek, gave us two guns, three flags, considerable numbers of prisoners, 200 wagons, 70 ambulances, with mules and horses to about one half the wagons and ambulances.” Wright says: “The result has been a complete success.” And so the good work goes on.

There was great excitement on Friday by a report that Lee’s army had surrendered, but the joy was premature; it was Fitz Hugh Lee, and not the General in-chief, who had succumbed; at least such was the ultimate story—from Philadelphia. But there was enough of genuine news to keep up the joyful fever of patriotism which has marked every day and hour since Grant began his last glorious campaign. Our dispatches make it very clear if not already at the point of surrender, Lee will very soon be brought to that alternative; the unremitting blows of Sheridan’s avenging sword are too powerful to be endured; the rebels have not time to form an effective line of battle before our troops are upon them, and another disorderly rout is the result.


General Grant writes to General R. E. Lee, dated at Appomattox Court House, April 9th, 1865, in which he says: “In accordance with the substance of my letters to you of the 8th inst., I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia on the following terms, to wit: Rolls of all the officers and men are to be made in duplicate, one copy to be given to an officer designated by me, the other to be retained by such officers as you may designate. The officers to give their individual paroles not to take arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged, and each company or regimental commander sign a like parole for the men of their commands. The arms, artillery and public property to be packed and stacked and turned over to the officers appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage. This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they reside.”

General Lee replies: “I have received your letter of this date, containing the terms of surrender of the army of Northern Virginia, as proposed by you. As they are substantially the same as those express in your letter of the 8th inst., they are accepted. I will proceed to designate the proper officers, to carry the stipulations into effect.”


Richmond is taken and the rebel army completely routed—two things which the peace croakers have declared could not be done. They now turn their attention to the national debt, prophecying that it can never be paid. They might as well save their breath, if they wish to live to a good old age; for they will be as much mistaken in the last as in the first prediction. Every dollar of the government indebtedness will be paid. The people will remember the traitors who caused it.


The copperhead chairman of the town meeting in Milford on election day ordered the arrest of a man for hurrahing over the capture of Richmond. No constable was found willing to undertake the job, and cheers were given by the Union men to their hearts’ content.

Local News.

The news of the surrender of Lee’s army was received in this city early Monday morning, and caused great rejoicing. The fire bells were rung, steam whistles sounded, flags were displayed, and notwithstanding the rain, the firemen and citizens assembled and with drum and fife paraded the streets. At noon the procession visited Portland. The “little quaker” as usual was at work. At the factory of W. & B. Douglas, the bell which has rung for every union success during the war, was the first to ring out the welcome news. Work was immediately suspended for the day. The flag staff at the south park displayed bunting from top to bottom. At ten o’clock in the evening, the bells were again rung, bonfires burned, fire crackers set off, and for nearly an hour, 4th of July enacted over again.


If the Rip Van Winkle leather head who presides over the Sentinel & Witness, who I understand for some reason has taken up his abode in Cromwell, has not yet discovered that the city does not repair turnpike roads it is time he aroused himself from his sleepy state. Should he again get stuck in the mud on the south side of Sebethe bridge, I advise him to call on some other Hercules to extricate him than the Street Commissioner.



It is done, ‘Twere done quickly, and ‘tis well. A “political idiot” has been joyfully consigned to a political grave. The deed has inspired us all with new confidence in, and more respect for the old Second District. We take new courage. We understand our people now. They have shown us that their hearts are in the right place. They have become thoroughly awakened to their duties as citizens of the great Republic of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, and all our illustrious fathers who solemnly declared that “all men are born free and equal.” We did not expect that things would go otherwise in this District, Mr. Editor. Considering the quality of the candidates on each side, it was a moral impossibility for our good people to vote their majority otherwise than they did. In the election just past so gloriously our people have acted like brave soldiers of right and truth. Like men they have vindicated principle, honor, and patriotism, and have given a death blow to duplicity, dishonor and treason. They have covered themselves with imperishable glory. This staunch old stronghold—‘the Second Congressional District”—shall henceforth and forever stand as the faithful exponent of the free principles of this great Republic.

Mr. Editor, what’s the matter with the little “Witness” man, or rather the ignorant booby who furnishes the twaddle and billingsgate for that dirty sheet? My article published in the Constitution previous to the late election worried the “Witness” editor (?) so much he had to trump up his ablest “knight of the quill,” (whom we suppose was none other than the man known as “Ed,”) and got him to write a long editorial for the Witness in reference to it, headed, “Hon. E. A. Russell.” In this remarkable production Ed says, “Mr. R. has always maintained for the Union and the Constitution !!!” Ed, we all know this to be an untruth, and for two reasons: 1st. Because we know that Russell hasn’t brains to maintain anything, else why did he try to enlist another man’s talent in the advocacy of his famous notion that “capital should own labor.” 2d. Because he has been long known to all as a self-acknowledged Disunionist. This can be proved, Ed, and the less you say about it the better. But what use is it to multiply words! The great statesman has fallen, and we shall hear of him no more forever. Peace be to his ashes, as for his memory it is not worth preserving.

Now, as Ed proceeds in a lengthy editorial, written for the soap-grease man who pretends to edit the “Witness,” he pays his respects to Mr. Warner—says Mr. W. opposed the war at its commencement, and that he “said openly on the street if Mr. Lincoln should insist on making war the people ought to go to Washington and hurl him from his place, &c.” Really, Ed, we are at a loss to know whether you meant this as a joke, or whether you was in earnest. However, after much effort to suppress our laughter sufficiently to enable us to write, we will endeavor to treat it as though we thought you serious. In the first place, if Mr. Warner opposed the war he did no more than every other good and true man ought to have done, and did do. What patriot in the land was not opposed to Sumpter’s being fired upon? Why, Ed, Mr. Warner would have been a monster not to have opposed the commencement of this war. We all opposed it, except those who said that the South was right, and that “they ought and would succeed!” But the cream of the joke comes in where you assert the Mr. Warner was for hurling President Lincoln from his place if he should make war! The idea is utterly preposterous. Such a remark, it is true would have been proper, about Mr. Lincoln or any other of our presidents, but as this war was commenced before Mr. Lincoln’s inauguration, it is not at all obvious that Mr. Warner ever made any such remark in regard to it.

Now, Ed, a parting word in your private ear! Let me advise you to post up a little on the elements of logic before you again write for Greasy’s paper.


April 8th, 1865.


Fast Day occurs on Friday of this week, the 14th. Public services will be held in several of the churches on the morning of that day.


Peace prices ad 1865 1Peace prices ad 1865 2

From The Constitution, Wednesday, April 5, 1865 (volume 28, number 1423)

War News.

All except two corps of the Army of the Potomac started early on Wednesday morning for a demonstration toward the Southside Railroad. Sheridan, with a heavy force of cavalry, took the advance, and early on that day was at Dinwiddie Court-house. Our advices represent no fighting of consequence up to Wednesday evening. The infantry crossed Hatcher’s Run without opposition and kept on until 3 in the afternoon, when the Fifth Corps had a pretty sharp encounter with the enemy on the Quaker Road, but lost in the affair less than 300 men, and drove the rebels nearly a mile, with loss to them, and captured a number of prisoners. At City Point, on Thursday, heavy cannonading was heard from 10 A. M. until 1 ½ P. M., but the reason thereof was unknown. It was guessed however, that the rebels were making an attempt to break our lines near Fort Steadman. Our last dispatches this morning brings a rumor of the evacuation of Petersburgh.

In a recent letter to his father at Covington, Ky., Gen. Grant says: “We are now having fine weather, and I think will be able to wind up matters about Richmond soon. I am anxious to have Lee hold on where he is a short time longer, so that I can get him into a position where he must lose a great portion of his army. The rebellion has lost its vitality, and if I am not mistaken, there will be no rebel army of any great dimensions a few weeks hence. Any great catastrophe to any of our armies would, of course, revive the enemy for a short time, but I expect no such thing to happen.”

The following dispatch is from President Lincoln, dated City Point, April 1st:

A dispatch has just been received, showing that Sheridan, aided by Warren, had, at 2 p. m., pushed the enemy so as to retake the five forks, and bring his own headquarters up to Fork Boysears. The five forks were barricaded by the enemy, and carried by Devlin’s division of cavalry. This portion of the rebel army seem to be now trying to work along the White Oak road, to join the main forces in front of Grant, while Sheridan and Warren are pressing them as closely as possible.

The annexed dispatches from President Lincoln are dated City Point 2d inst.:

Last night General Grant telegraphed that General Sheridan with his cavalry and the fifth corps had captured three brigades of infantry, a train of wagons, and several batteries, with prisoners amounting to several thousand. This morning General Grant having ordered an attack along the whole line telegraphed as follows: “Both Wright and Parke got through the enemy’s lines. The battle now rages furiously. General Sheridan with his cavalry, the fifth corps, and Miles’ division of the second corps, which was sent to him since one o’clock this morning, is now sweeping down from the west. All now looks highly favorable. General Ord is engaged, but I have not yet heard the result in his front.”

11 A. M. Dispatches are frequently coming in. All is going finely. Parke, Wright, and Ord, extending from the Appomattox to Hatcher’s Run, have all broken through the enemy’s entrenched lines, taken some forts and many prisoners. Sheridan, with his own cavalry, the 5th corps and a part of the 2d, is coming in from the west on the enemy’s flank and Wright is already tearing up the South Side railroad.

At 10.45 a. m., Gen. Grant telegraphs as follows: “Everything has been carried from the left of the ninth corps. The sixth corps alone captured more than three thousand prisoners. The 2d and 24th corps captured forts, guns and prisoners from the enemy, but cannot tell the number. We are now closing around the works of the line immediately enveloping Petersburg. All looks remarkably well. I have not yet heard from Sheridan. His headquarters have been moved up to Park’s house, near the Boydtown road, about three miles southwest of Petersburg.”

At 4.30 p. m., to day Gen. Grant telegraphs as follows: “We are now up and have a continuous line of troops, and in a few hours will be entrenched from the Appomattox below Petersburg to the river above. The whole captures since the army started out will not amount to less than twelve thousand men, and probably fifty pieces of artillery.—I do not know the number of men and guns accurately however. A portion of Foster’s division, twenty-fourth corps, made a most gallant charge this afternoon, and captured a very important fort from the enemy, with its entire garrison. All seems well with us, and everything is quiet just now.”


The re-capture of fort Sumter is to be appropriately commemorated on the 14th inst., by the restoration of the identical flag which was lowered by Anderson and his brave garrison. Rev. Henry Ward Beecher Sunday morning announced to his congregation, that he had been invited to deliver the address on the occasion. He and numerous Government officials and guests of the government will take passage for Fort Sumter some time during the present week. Such of the public who wish to participate in the joyous event will find the opportunity on board private steamers, of which, several are to make an excursion trip to the scene of the festivity.


Rebel News.—Some interesting facts about affairs in Richmond are given by a person who escaped from Castle Thunder a few days ago. He says that there were evident signs of evacuation; the assets of the banks had been sent off by the Danville railroad; the machinery of two percussion cap factories had gone in the same direction, and some of the machinery of the Tredgar iron-works had been packed up ready for shipment. There were not more than ten days’ supplies in the city for the army. The same person sold a gold dollar for one hundred in rebel currency. Tea was $100 per lb; coffee, $50; bacon, $18; beef, $15; and eggs rose in consequence of Sheridan’s raid from $12 to $35 per dozen. It was thought that Alex. H. Stevens had abandoned the cause of the confederacy. Several intelligent Georgians who visited the Philadelphia Inquirer office recently, say that the desertions from Lee’s army average over a hundred every day. In their estimation, the whole rebel force in front of Grant cannot exceed forty thousand men, and if it should be depleted at the rate mentioned, cannot long be available for evil. They say that Stevens left for the South immediately on his return from the late Peace conference, and refused to have anything more to do with the confederacy.


Miss Clara Barton has kindly undertaken to furnish information by correspondence in regard to the condition of returned soldiers, especially those in the hospitals at Annapolis, and also as far as possible to learn the facts in reference to those that have died in prisons or elsewhere. All letters addressed to Miss Clara Barton, Annapolis, Md., will meet with prompt attention.


The Platteville (Wisconsin) Witness notes the return home of a Miss Georgianna Peterman, who has been for two years a drummer in the Seventh Wisconsin Regiment. She lives in Ellenboro, is about twenty years old, wears soldier clothes and is quiet and reserved.


The slave pens in Louisville, Ky., like those of Baltimore, Washington, and New Orleans, have been broken up. On the 4th Gen. Palmer ordered the release of all the slaves confined in Louisville.


The rebel Legislature of Louisiana, which has been holding a three weeks’ session, in some unknown place, has just adjourned.—No account of their doings has been published; but it is fair to presume that two of the three weeks were devoted to the removal of the capital from place to place, as the miserable fugitives were stirred up by Union demonstration.


The new State Government of Tennessee was organized at Nashville on Monday of this week. A much larger vote, was thrown for the State ticket than was expected, and in many counties there was an unanimous anti-slavery vote.


George B. McClellan and lady are now travelling with August Belmont, chairman of the national democratic committee. Fernando Wood will soon join them, and it would not be surprising to hear that Jeff. Davis was following after Fernando. What a re-union of “old friends” will then occur.

 Election Results 1865!


The result of the election in this State has been most decisive for the Union cause. The State ticket has been re-elected by overwhelming majorities, while Congressmen and Senators have swept clean. Such a vote has never been known before. Even in the lower House there will be hardly enough of the opposition for seed hereafter. In Old Middlesex where from time immemorial they have claimed a standing foothold they now have only three towns. If other towns in the State have made the same gains, Buckingham’s majority will be overwhelming. Connecticut takes her stand beside her sister States of New England and strikes a fatal blow at disloyalty. In their strength the people have arisen, and have trampled treason in the dust, and emphatically say that the “Union must and shall be preserved.”


The Union men of this town have done nobly. They have carried three of the four districts. In the first district, where they had a majority last fall of over one hundred against them, they now have but 22. Middletown gives a Union majority on the State ticket of 127. Last fall the copperheads carried the town by 95. The slang and falsehoods of our opponents have not helped them. The people understand the issue thoroughly, and have given a glorious decision. Below is the vote of this town:


Union Dis. 1st. 2d. 3d. 4th. Total
Buckingham, 254 407 94 75 830
Averill, 254 411 94 75 834
Trumbull, 254 411 94 75 834
Coite, 253 407 94 75 829
Cutler, 254 410 94 75 833
Seymour, 276 321 58 48 703
Bond, 276 321 58 48 703
Hoyt, 276 321 58 48 703
Kidston, 276 322 58 48 704
Baldwin, 276 322 58 48 704



Warner, 254 406 92 75 827
Russell, 272 321 58 46 697



Russell, 241 404 94 75 814
Niles, 275 326 58 48 701



Elmer, 237 401 94 72 804
Starr, 280 323 58 48 709



Douglas, 239 399 93 78 804
Barry, 241 404 93 71 809


Bacon, 273 316 55 45 688
Griffin, 269 306 55 43 673


Local News.

The News from the Army was received in this city on Sunday with general satisfaction, and as it came better on Monday morning the difference between the faces of the Union and copper’s was in direct contrast. Upon the receipt of the occupation of Richmond, the “little quaker” was brought out. At noon the bells were rung.


Political.—Thos. H. Gallagher of New Haven, addressed his copperhead brethren in this city on Saturday evening at the Town Hall. His style of argument, to use the expression of a respectable citizen, was “silly and disgusting.” Its effect was apparent on Monday, by the large increase of the Union vote. If Gallagher wishes to have the copperheads succeed here, he must either keep away or change his style of expression.


In consequence of the storm on Friday evening, the social hop which was to have been given at McDonough Hall, by A. J. Spencer, was postponed to this (Tuesday) evening. It is the last of the season, therefore the friends of the manager will make a note of it. Colt’s quadrille band will be in attendance.


The Army Moving !

It has been the earnest wish of the American people that the rebel capital should be taken by the soldiers of the Army of the Potomac. That wish is now gratified. During the past eight days movements have been in progress which have caused the evacuation of both Petersburgh and Richmond. A terrible battle lasting three days, in which the whole strength of both armies have been engaged has been fought, and the rebel leaders are driven from the field. It is the opinion of many that Grant found Lee endeavoring to get away, and therefore brought on the fight. Whether this is so or not we have the comforting assurance from the Secretary of War, that Richmond is now held by United States colored troops, under Gen. Weitzel, who says that the citizens received him with the most enthusiastic expressions of joy. What a transition from a state of despotism and tyranny, to the protection of the national flag, must it be to those of Union sentiment in that city. Unless he has already met retributive justice Jeff. Davis is now a fugitive in this country. All honor to the noble army who have accomplished that for which it was created. Disasters have not subdued or broken its spirit, but rather urged it on in heroic deeds. By their efforts and persistency the once proud army of the confederacy is now broken, and its opportunity for destruction entirely gone. The Waterloo of this country has been fought, and the old flag waves in triumph over the field. Our generals are closing around what remains of the rebel army, and it will soon cease to exist. Connecticut sends greeting to the brave soldiers. They have driven traitors from their strongholds, while she has driven their sympathizers to their holes !



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Wordle: Middlesex County Historical Society - Civil War in Middletown, CT
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