[TWO ARMY FIELD PRESS PRINTINGS OF TELEGRAPHS REPORTING THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN, THE ATTACK ON WILLIAM H. SEWARD, AND NEWS OF THE FINAL SURRENDER OF THE CIVIL WAR]
by [Lincoln Assassination]: [Stanton, Edwin]
Greenville, Tn, 1865. Two broadsides, 10 x 8 inches and 7 3/4 x 5 inches respectively. Light foxing, a couple of spots of staining, old folds. Very good. Two fascinating Army field press printings of telegraph messages reporting the assassination of President Lincoln and the attack on Secretary William H. Seward, with other important news of the day, including Gen. Sherman's offer of surrender terms to Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston. Each broadside is titled, "Latest by Telegraph," with the individual dispatches addressed to either Maj. Gen. David S. Stanley or Maj. Gen. John A. Dix, some from Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton. These messages were printed on an Army field press at the headquarters of the Fourth Army Corps, commanded by Stanley, in Greenville, Tennessee. The first broadside was printed on April 16, 1865, printing three telegraph dispatches from the previous day. The first dispatch, dated April 15, contains three dispatches pertaining to the Lincoln assassination and the attack on Secretary of State William H. Seward. The first dispatch gives a detailed account of the Lincoln assassination: "President Lincoln and wife with their friends, last evening, visited Fords theatre, for the purpose of witnessing the performance of 'Our American Cousin'.... Before the third Act, and while there was a temporary pause for one of the actors to enter, the sharp report of a pistol was heard, which momentarily attracted the attention of the audience, but suggested nothing serious, until a man rushed to the front of the President's box waving a long dagger in his hand, and exclaiming, 'SIC SEMPER TYRANUS,' and immediately leaped from the box.... There was a rush towards the President's box, when cries were heard of 'stand back,' 'give him air,' 'has any one stimulants?' etc. After a hasty examination, it was found that the President had been shot through the head, above and back of the Temporal Bone, and that some of the brains were oozing out." The dispatch continues with a re-telling of the examination of the president's box, including the "single barreled pocket pistol found upon the carpet." At the end of the first dispatch, a one-line message to Maj. Gen. Dix from Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton dated April 15 delivers the tragic and somber news to the troops in east Tennessee: "Abraham Lincoln died this morning at twenty-two minutes after seven o'clock." The second dispatch is dated at 4:00AM on April 15, again from Stanton to Dix. This telegraph message informs the troops about the attack on Secretary Seward, and informs them of the details so-far-uncovered about John Wilkes Booth's plot to assaassinate the president. The latter part of this dispatch includes a detailed recounting of the attack on Seward. The third dispatch includes information on the swearing- in of Andrew Johnson, the condition of Secretary Seward ("[his] wounds are not mortal, but very severe"), plus interesting but unsubstantiated rumors from Cincinnati (regarding John Wilkes Booth's brother having to leave Cincinnati for his own safety) and New York, where it was reported that John Wilkes Booth was arrested near Fort Hawkins. The second broadside was printed on April 18, and prints telegraph messages received the previous day. The news here includes the possible surrender of Gen. Johnston's Confederate troops to Gen. Sherman, the naming of Seward's attacker as "Thompson," the closing of the post office and the Navy Department for Lincoln's funeral, the improving medical condition of Secretary Seward, the rumor that Booth was "captured and is on board of a gun boat, on the Potomac," and two reports regarding the Johnston surrender: that Gen. Lee has gone to Danville to encourage Johnston to surrender, and that Gen. John D. Imboden's men deserted him and joined with Johnston after the former refused to accept the same surrender terms offered to Gen. Lee. Fascinating contemporary news from one of the most tragic, crucial, and transitional moments in American history. (Inventory #: WRCAM50623)
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