Item #7835 [Autograph letter, signed, eulogizing Abraham Lincoln.]. S. J. Heatherly.
[Autograph letter, signed, eulogizing Abraham Lincoln.]

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[Autograph letter, signed, eulogizing Abraham Lincoln.]

Charlotte, North Carolina, 5 June 1865. 9.75” x 7.25”. 3 pp. Brief note on page four. CONDITION: Very good, old folds, no losses to the text.

A rich letter revealing a Union soldier’s high regard for President Abraham Lincoln, composed less than two months after both Lincoln’s assassination (on 15 April 1865) and the close of the Civil War.

Provost Marshall and Lieutenant S. J. Heatherly writes here to J. V. Wood from the Headquarters of the 3rd Brig., 1st Div. 28th Army Corps, which at this time was stationed in Charlotte, North Carolina to restore order following widespread looting and burning. His letter is largely a panegyric for the assassinated president, whose extraordinary qualities seem to have long been evident to him. Judging him “the most illustrious president since the days of Washington”—a contemporary estimation that has stood the test of time—Heatherly also characterizes Andrew Johnson as one “who will punish traitors as they well deserve,” a judgment that would prove less sound. Johnson had, in fact, issued his controversial amnesty proclamation less than a week before Heatherly wrote this letter.


“Dear Sir, Having a few spare moments I thought I would drop you a word. I wrote you a letter in the winter but the only reply I ever got was a paper from you, which I am under many obligations to you for. Well for several weeks past we have been rejoicing over the great victories achieved by the armies & mourning the loss of our noble President a few days since the most illustrious of all presidents since the days of Washington, but now his body rests quietly beneath the flowery plains of his western home. What is mortal of that great man has passed away, but his immortal soul [?] from honesty in every thought determined as the sun in its course to do right still sheds its light like the God of day at high noon, its rays penetrating every heart in this broad land. less than five years ago he came from his [?] home to take his seat as chief magistrate of this nation. the storm so long threatened was about to burst upon the land.” 

“So for the first time through the intervention of American bayonets was conducted into office but the wild passion of ambition demagogues ruled the people and his words were fruitless. No power but God’s could stay the storm & he through wisdom beyond the comprehension of man permitted[?] the most civilized people upon the face of the earth to plunge headlong into a war so cruel & terrible that the people of the north stood aghast and trembled at the conflict, but the President’s hands trembled not but with an energy equal to the task he [?] by honesty & through labors beyond the ability of common men to passed unharmed. His heart was not hardened by cruelty or his honesty corrupted by power. The world was taught to know & respect his character. His faith in the right sustained him in every trial, disaster added to his determination. Success emboldened his generosity. He employed the sword to subdue the nation’s enemies, but it was only used after the olive branch of peace had failed.” 

“In short his administration was one of honor & his character was one well worthy of imitation & while we mourn his loss we should be thankful that we have one to take his place who is so loyal & true to his country and who will punish traitors as they well deserve. Soldiers have but little sympathy for rebels since the assassination. Well I have no news to write to you more than that we are coming home in a short time. I applied for a furlough a few days sincere & after it had started up we rec’d an order that we would not be granted any leaves of absence so I did not get to [?] very much wished to but I hope ere [before] another month rolls around to be at home when there is no rank to [?] or superior to obey…”

Item #7835

Price: $675.00

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