Lincoln and His Circle: Fanny Seward Diary - Entry Information

Engraving: The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln by Francis Bicknell Carpenter (1830-1900)

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Fanny Seward Diary Information
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Writer Fanny Seward
Place of writing Washington, D.C.
Collection Diary, 1863-1865
Date 4/14/1865
Number of pages 17
Place of writing Washington, D.C.
Notes Transcription by Patricia Carley Johnson, as part of her University of Rochester Ph.D. thesis, "Sensitivity and Civil War: the selected diaries and papers, 1858-1866, of Frances Adeline (Fanny) Seward."

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Good Friday. April 14th 1865.
Father had a better night
than any of late, and seemed the better after his re-
freshing sleep— He took solid food for the first time
since his accident—breakfasted on soft egg, milk-toast,
shad and coffee. Today a distinguished party
perform the ceremony of raising the flag on Fort Sumter,
taken from us 4 years ago.

So far I had written in pencil, in my pocket diary on
the day of the date— I think I remember beginning
the page, & wondering if I should have anything unusual
to enter there later in the day. The rest of the page is
filled with out-lines of what occurred later— from which,
& from a longer account written three weeks later
at my earliest leisure—(to relieve my mind of its weight
of recollection) I write the following account.
I can only give my remembrances, which are very
vivid in my own mind—but I cannot describe
all that took place, because in many instances
I cannot remember to have seen some who were
in the room Anna, for instance—& Robinson
part of the time.

First we had a quiet afternoon. Father so much better
that he told Donaldson18 he need not stay— I sat

[Page 183]
alone with him some time and read “Enoch Arden” to him. He
spoke very highly of it. In the evening a torch-light procession
of employees from the Navy Yard or Arsenal, visited the White House.
I think it was earlier than that, that I was some time with Mother,
in our room—part of the time she was lying down. I was telling
her how any recital of suffering affected & haunted me—and
she told me it had always been so with her. I think we
talked much together Anna & I watched the procession, &
listened to the music—they played “Rally Round the Flag,”
& were singing too I believe, as they approached the White House.
I came to my room to show Anna a book of soldier’s songs, in
which was the “Year of Jubilee,” of which I had been telling
her. Mother & she & I talked a little there. Then
came the quiet arrangements for the night, in father’s room—
Fred & Anna & Mother had been up a great deal— That
evening it was arranged that Gus should rest till 11—then
sit up till in the night when Donaldson would come—
Meantime I was to have the watch while Gus rested,
& Robinson was to be there till George, the
german nurse, relieved him. I sat ^by^ the front side
of the bed nearest the door, reading “Legends of Charlemagne,”
Robinson was near. I saw that Father seemed inclined
to sleep—so turned down the gas, laid my book on
a stand at the foot of the bed, & took a seat on
the other side. About 10 o’c—Dr Norris paid
his visit—& left us all quiet. Father fell into a
light sleep. Fred came in at the door, & glancing at
the bed, saw his father slept, and said he would

[Page 184]
come in again. After he had gone, Father opened his
eyes with a little smile of recognition as he saw me at the
foot of the bed. He was lying close on the edge,
farthest from the door— I do not remember hearing
voices outside, but something led me to think that Fred
was there with some one else. It occurred to me that
he might have some important reason for wishin
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