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March 5, 2015

Letter from Joseph Albert Wheelock in Washington, D.C., to his wife, Katie, about the Inauguration Ceremonies for President Lincoln – March 5, 1865

Filed under: Civil War Daybook — Lori Williamson @ 9:00 am

A partial transcription of the letter:

Washington, March 5th, 1865
[My…] darling Katie
I have just drifted out of the whirl and rush of the last three gala days into a quiet nook up here with Knox, where I can take a breath and report progress. It has. The third and fourth of March which close one Presidential Olympiad and preface another, are interesting days in Washington. The weather was bad. The rains of a weeks’ duration had made the streets impassable. […] They had what they called a procession accompanying the President to the Capitol where the Inauguration Ceremonies took place, and from the Capitol back to the White House, […] I witnessed the inauguration but at too great a distance to take in the details. […] Mr. Lincoln’s address was very happy. During its delivery an odd circumstance occurred which in older times would have been considered an auspicious and wonderful omen. As Mr. Lincoln was invoking or rather expressing a devout reliance upon the favor of the Almighty, the long hidden sun put aside its veil of clouds and a halo of glorious sunshine rested upon the head of the speaker and seemed about to illuminate his manuscript. […] An annoying and mortifying incident of the Inauguration Ceremonies was that Andy Johnson, the new Vice President, was drunk and made a loud drunken crazy speech […] in the Senate Chambers  which made every American present hang down his or her head for shame.  […]
“Joe”


See complete letter here: 1865-03-05_Wheelock_combined

Citation: March 5, 1865. Letter from Joseph Albert Wheelock, Wheelock Papers. Minnesota Historical Society. [P334 Box 4]

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