Reprinted in Clara E. Laughlin, The Death of Lincoln: The Story of Booth's Plot, His Deed and the Penalty (New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1909), 298-299.
John Osborne, Dickinson College
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.
Washington, D. C, Wednesday, April 19, 1865.
Dear Sister Ida: To-day the funeral of Mr. Lincoln takes place. The streets are being crowded at this early hour (9 a. m.), and the procession will probably not move for three hours.
The past few days have been of intense excitement; arrests are numerously made — if any party is heard to utter secesh sentiments. The time has come when persons cannot say what they please, for the people are awfully indignant. Hundreds daily call at the house to gain admission to my room. I was engaged nearly all Sunday with one of Frank Leslie's special artists, aiding him in making a complete drawing of the last moments of Mr. Lincoln, as I know the position of every one present. He succeeded in executing a fine sketch, which will appear in their paper. He wished to mention the names of all pictures in the room, particularly the photograph of yourself, Clara, and Nannie; but I told him he must not do that, as they were members of my family, and I did not wish them to be made so public. He also urged me to give him my picture, or at least to allow him to take my sketch, but I could not see that either.
Everybody has a great desire to obtain some memento from my room, so that whoever comes in has to be closely watched for fear they will steal something. I have a lock of Mr. Lincoln's hair, which I have had neatly framed ; also a piece of linen with a portion of his brain. The pillow and case upon which he lay when he died, and nearly all his wearing apparel, I intend to send to Robert Lincoln as soon as the funeral is over, as I consider him most justly entitled to them. The same mattress is on my bed, and the same coverlid covers me nightly that covered him while dying. Enclosed you will find a piece of lace Mrs. Lincoln wore on her head during the evening, and was dropped by her while entering my room to see her dying husband; it is worth keeping for its historical value. The cushions worked by Clara, and the cushion by you, you little dreamed would be so historically connected with such an event.
Love to father, mother, Clara. Don't forget you have a brother, and send me a longer note soon.
I will write again soon.
Your affec. brother,