In this letter, Pvt. Amasa Stanhope (1843-1922) of Co. K, 1st Regiment, District of Columbia Cavalry, conveys the news that President Lincoln was dead from an assassination. Amasa enlisted as a musician in the 1st D. C. Cavalry in February 1864 along with his father, James Madison Stanhope (1819-1864) of Orneville, Piscataquis county, Maine. Though his father died in May 1864, Amasa survived the war and returned home to Maine.
Amasa wrote the letter to his uncle, John B. Stanhope (1828-1898) of Bradford, Penobscot county, Maine.
Dismounted Camp near City Point, Virginia
[16 April 1865]
As I have got a paper that I should like for you to read, I will write you a few lines and address it to you. Well, our President is dead. He died yesterday. What an awful blow on us, isn’t it? We was doing a nice thing this spring but then it may be all for the best after all. He was a nice man and we soldiers mourn our loss for he was the main man we looked to for help but he has left this world and gone to rest with his God no doubt. I want you to keep this paper.
I will tell you I am well and hope that these few lines may find you the same. It is very pleasant here today. I went down to the Point and there was a lot of Lee’s men there. They told me they was glad he [Lincoln] was dead. If I had had a pistol, I would of put a ball through his heart. Damn him. They say they will kill more blue bellies before this is over. He ought to be strung up till he blows away.
Well you was drafted and got cleared. Bully for you. Well I hope this thing is played out but Old Mosby don’t think so by this paper [as] you would see a few lines at the bottom of the page. Well, as I have written all the news that I know of, I will close my letter for this time and bid you a good day till you write to me. I want you to write me a letter and write if you get the papers.
This from your niece [nephew] in love — Amasa Stanhope
To my uncle, John Stanhope
Direct your letter to Amasa Stanhope, Cavalry Depot near City Point, (Virginia)
John, write if that old woman is there yet and write if grandfather makes you much trouble this spring. Laura wrote they was going down and work for you this summer but I have not got a letter from home for some time. I wrote mother a letter today and will put it in the office with this. Well, goodbye again. Hope you will get this all safe. — A. Stanhope