Young man writes future wife about learning of President Lincoln's death

Date Written

April 15, 1865

John J. Mileham was 24 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Margaret M. Trotter, was 22 when it was received.

John J. Mileham died 49 years, 6 months, 5 days after writing this.
It was written 158 years, 5 months, 20 days ago.
It was a Saturday.

Cynthiana, Indiana
Saturday, April 15, 1865

Miss Maggie,

My Dear “friend” I write you a letter one week since but as I rec’d one from you day before yesterday I must write you again. Moreover the heart is so full of strange things now that it must find utterance in some manner. One rumor after another could in quick succession and so true that we are prepared to believe almost anything. First the fall of Richmond was heralded through out the land but was received with incredulity by many though true.

Then came the intelligence of the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia with its commander Genl. Lee. This was almost more than the loyal north could stand at once. And we could see men almost frantic with joy. Shouting. Singing, firing cannon and exhibiting their pleasure at the downfall of the rebellion in various other ways.

But joy does not always come unmixed with sorrow. I have just this evening learned of the death of President Lincoln. I do not know that it is true but as I said before, I am prepared to believe almost anything. Rumor has it he was assassinated at the theatre last night at Washington City. Some one shooting him through the head. Secretary Seward it is also rumored was stabbed at the same time and place, but if it is true you will have learned all the particulars long ere this reaches you. But one thing I suppose is certain—that is—the war is about over for it will be useless for the rebs to protract the struggle longer. I hope peace may soon come and bring back the prosperity and good feeling of other days.

I have nothing of interest to write about myself, only that I am well—No hour passes without its thoughts of you—how I wish to see you and have a conversation with you—and tell you of so many thigs I cannot write, but I shall perhaps not see you till this difficulty is fully settled.

Excuse bad writing as it is night. Write soon to your sincere friend.

J. J. M.

Scans of Letter