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ORIGINAL CIVIL WAR DIARY – INCLUDES THE NOTIFICATION OF THE OF DEATH OF PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN ON THE MORNING FOLLOWING THE ASSASSINATION:  Periodically a special piece comes to light, that while not available on the market, is of interest to many in the collecting world and through the generosity of the family can be shared here. 

A friend of our family recently shared the contents of one of the diaries kept by his great-grandfather through his service during the Civil War.  Of particular note is the entry on Saturday, the 15TH of April, 1865, wherein Lt. John B. Jones of the 44TH Wisconsin Infantry wrote:

           “Received the awful news today that our beloved President and Servant             was assassinated by Booth and others in the rebel employ.”       

John Butler Jones, a native of Lewis County, New York was born in 1836.  As a young adult he visited Washington County, Wisconsin for a short period returning to New York in 1860, and then in 1861 he returned to Wisconsin to enlist as a private in the 12TH Wisconsin Infantry.   

Attaining the rank of sergeant, Jones was mustered out of the 12Th and commissioned as a 2ND Lieutenant in the 44Th Wisconsin Infantry.  According to his diary entries, he was serving with the 44TH on picket duty around Paducah, Kentucky in April of 1865.  Upon mustering out at the end of the war, Jones was appointed as the United States Consul to the city of Hamilton, Canada.  He went on to private endeavors that included farming and book keeping, eventually settling in New Jersey with his wife and family.  After a full life that included government service and elected office, Jones passed away in 1921. 

Lt. Jones left behind an extensive record of his Civil War service, documented in a series of diaries – three of which are held by the family today for the years 1862, 1863, and 1865.   These diaries, his original commission as Lieutenant, his Model 1850 Foot Officers Sword, and a Colt pistol owned by Lt. Jones have remained together in the family collection.  Shown below is a photograph of the diary pages which contain the entries for April 14 and 15, 1865.  

While we all endeavor to build collections of weapons, uniforms, images and documents of the various periods of history, it is very special to find family collections that have remained intact and have been passed down through the generations and appreciated for the history they represent.   

A special thank you is extended to the family for allowing us to share this diary entry with you.


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