When the Bells Tolled for Lincoln: Southern Reaction to the Assassination

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Mercer University Press, 1997 - 136 pages
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In the morning hours of 15 April 1865, tolling bells in Washington declared the devastating news of Lincoln's death. For the first time in the nation's history a president had been assassinated. As news of the assassination reached the conquered South, church bells in the former Confederacy joined in the pealing. From the President's election through the end of the Civil War, Southerners had blamed Lincoln for their misfortune and ultimate downfall. Yet in the days after the assassination, Confederates gladdened by Lincoln's death feared Northern reprisals and dared not express their feelings openly. As word spread across the South, however, many ex-Confederates turned to their diaries and journals, where they poured out their fears and wrath with impunity and without restraint. After more than four years researching and writing, Carolyn L. Harrell has produced a unique and fascinating analysis of Southerners' reactions to the death of Abraham Lincoln.

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The Souths Lincoln
Reaction in the Upper South
Reaction in the Deep South
Reaction in the Border States
A Note on Sources

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Page 15 - I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so; and I have no inclination to do so.
Page 15 - I now reiterate these sentiments ; and in doing so I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible, that the property, peace and security of no section are to be in any wise endangered by the now incoming administration.
Page 15 - I therefore consider that in view of the Constitution and the laws the Union is unbroken, and to the extent of my ability I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States.
Page 16 - In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to "preserve, protect, and defend it.
Page 15 - In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence ; and there shall be none, unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the government...
Page 15 - It follows from these views that no state, upon its own mere motion, can lawfully get out of the Union; that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void; and that acts of violence within any state or states against the authority of the United States are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances.
Page 42 - I certainly have no special regard for Mr. Lincoln; but there are a great many men of whose end I would much rather have heard than his. I fear it will be disastrous to our people, and I regret it deeply.
Page 123 - Presentation Memorial to Working Men. Oration at the Raising of " the Old Flag " at Sumter; and Sermon on the Death of Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States.
Page 36 - I remember how one poor woman took the news. She was half-crazed by her losses and troubles; one son had been killed in battle, another had died in prison, of another she could not hear if he were living or dead; her house had been burned ; her young daughter, turned out with her in the night, had died of fright and exposure. She ran in, crying : ' Lincoln has been killed ! thank God...
Page 42 - The man, who invented the story of my having read the dispatch with exultation, had free scope for his imagination, as he was not present, and had no chance to know whereof he bore witness, even if there had been any foundation of truth for his fiction. For an enemy so relentless in the war for our subjugation, we could not be expected to mourn ; yet, in view of its political consequences, it could not be regarded otherwise than as a great misfortune to the South. He had power over the Northern people,...

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