Diary of Orrin Brown—April 27, 1865

Funeral car at BuffaloDiary of Orrin Brown, New Bern, North Carolina

Thursday–Apr. 27th

The weather still holds out fine beautifull growing weather. I got a pass and went down to Newberne today. The whole City was trimed in mourning even to the collored people they show great respect for their diliverer from bondage. I went to the Christian Commition rooms and they gave me a book entitled the Soldier of the Cumberland. And a tract The Mothers last words, and some paper and envelopes, some thread, needles and Pins, and they gave me some Religious Papers to read and then gave me 40 more to distribute through camp. I returned to camp about 5 PM just about tired out for it has been a very warm day. There was a few more men came to camp today. I read 9 Chapt. today.

On the 26th, Lincoln’s funeral train had traveled through Albany, where about 60,000 people had paid their respects, then traveled overnight through Upstate New York to Buffalo, where another 100,000 people filed by the casket.  At 10pm, the train departed for Cleveland.

In North Carolina, Gen. Sherman wasted no time in issuing orders for his troops to leave the state and march to Washington, D.C., by way of Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia, starting on the 29th.  Howard’s Army of the Tennessee would march by way of Louisburg and Warrenton.  Slocum’s Army of Georgia would march by way of Oxford, including Union Gen. Jefferson C. Davis and the XIV Corps.  Gen. Terry’s X Corps and Gen. Schofield’s XXIII Corps would stay as garrison troops for the time being.  Strict orders were given that “All foraging will cease.”  Not only did Sherman end his Bummers’ reign, but he also supple 250,000 rations to Gen. Johnston for the paroled Confederate troops’ to begin their own marches home.



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Diary of Orrin Brown—April 26, 1865

Surrender of Gen. Joe Johnston 1865Diary of Orrin Brown—

Wednesday–Apr. 26th

The nights are just cool enough so that we can sleep comfortable and it comes off quite warm through the day. I caught a little cold yesterday while washing. There was about 300 more men left here today for different departments. There was a salute of 15 guns fired this morning in town and then there was a gun fired every 30 minutes all day in mourning for the nations boss. The firing on the 21st was from the diferent forts in this vacinity. I read 25 Chapts. today.

Before dawn on 26 April 1865, Union intelligence officer Lt. Col. Everton Conger tracked down the assassin John Wilkes Booth in hiding at Richard Garrett’s farm south of Port Royal, Virginia. When Booth refused to surrender, Union troops fired the barn where he had been sleeping.  Booth was fatally shot and died soon after.

In North Carolina, Gen Johnston met Gen. Sherman again at Durham and quickly concluded the terms of surrender in line with Appomattox.  Sherman believed he had been within his rights, but yielded with grace to the military and political order.  Gen. Grant approved the terms that evening and the parole of Confederate troops commenced at Greensboro under command of Gen. John Schofield.  What would have happened if Johnston had fought to the last man?  What if Jeff Davis had gotten away?  Fortunately the majority of Confederate troops were more interested in going home than taking the fight to the hills.  Yet that same day, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his remaining cabinet left Charlotte, North Carolina, with the intention of removing their government west of the Mississippi River.

Angley, Cross & Hill relate this observation by Gen. Jacob D. Cox in his memoirs:

No trait of Sherman’s character was more marked than his loyal subordination to his superiors in army rank or in the State.  Full of confidence in his own views, and vigorous in urging them, he never complained at being overruled, and instantly adapted his military conduct to the orders he received when once debate was closed by specific directions from those in authority.  He had shown this in the Vicksburg campaign and at Savannah; and, hurt and humiliated as he now was, his conduct as an officer was the same, thou he resented the personal wrong…

This was Sherman’s character.



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Diary of Orrin Brown—April 25, 1865

The funeral of president Lincoln, New York, April 25th 1865: passing Union SquareDiary of Orrin Brown, New Bern, North Carolina

Tuesday–Apr. 25th

We had a cool night but it came off warm and pleasant. I done a quite a large washing roday 3 shirts one pr drawers one pr socks and two blankets and when I got through I was pretty tired, but I am gaining in health slowly. There was a squad of men left here for the front today and my Corporal friend went with them. I sold the rest of my Lemonade today. The material cost my $1.30 and I sold it for $3.11 I read 5 Chapts. today. We got some dinner today consisting of a pint of Been soup without any Beens in.

Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train left New York City.  The Library of Congress:

In New York City, the funeral procession numbered 60,000 participants. Spectators crowded the streets “standing in a dense human hedge twelve or fifteen people deep,” by one account. Between New York and Albany large crowds congregated in the small towns and cities to witness the train pass. The path of the train between the cities followed the same route, but in reverse, as Lincoln’s journey to Washington for his inauguration as president.



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Diary of Orrin Brown—April 24, 1865

Lincoln and His GeneralsDiary of Orrin Brown, New Bern, North Carolina

Monday–Apr. 24th

We had a cool night but it came off warm and pleasant through the day with a gentle S. W. wind. There was some more troops came in today and some started out but came back the same as yesterday. I am gaining in health-slowly. I bought a doz Lemons and some sugar of my Corp friend today on tick and have sold one pailfull of Lemonade today. I read 6 Chapts. today.

Half a million mourners viewed President Lincoln’s remains at New York City on this day. In North Carolina, Gen. Sherman must have felt like he had been assassinated as well, by an assassination of character by Edwin Stanton and Henry Halleck.  Major Hitchcock returned early on the morning of 24 April 1865, accompanied by Gen. U.S. Grant who had been ordered by the Secretary of War to take command of negotiations with the Confederates.  However, Grant—always the practical one—simply slapped Cump Sherman’s hand and told him to offer the same terms Grant had offered Lee, no more and no less.  And sat back and let Sherman continue negotiations.

Nobody knows the truth of the rebuke, whether Stanton and Halleck were simply bitter at being left out of the pantheon of Union heroes, or if they truly believed they alone preserved the dignity and honor of Lincoln’s Administration.  Either way, if anyone thought they had seen William Tecumsah Sherman fight at Shiloh, or Vicksburg, or on the March through Georgia, they had not seen anything until Gen. Sherman lashed into these old rivals.  The war may be almost over, but the battle for the peace was just beginning.



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Diary of Orrin Brown—April 23, 1865

Jeff Davis's last appeal to armsDiary of Orrin Brown, New Bern, North Carolina

Sunday–Apr. 23rd

We had a quite a cool night and it has been cool all day with a west wind. There was 200 or 300 more men came in today from Goldsboro. I begin to feel quite smart again the jaunders have allmost left me. We draw two cups of coffee per day 1/2 loaf Soft Bread and a small piece of salt Beef as usual. I read 8 Chapts. today.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis was at this point still hanging out in Charlotte, North Carolina, in communication with Gen. Johnston and what was left of the Rebel Army command.  Angley, Cross & Hill note his reflection on recent events:

Panic has seized the country…The issue is one which it is very painful for me to meet.  On the one hand is the long night of oppression which will follow the return of our people to the ‘Union'; on the other, the suffering of the women and children, and carnage among the few brave patriots who would still oppose the invader.

Here we see how Gen. Sherman’s concern could prove out so easily, that Davis would take his fight to the high country or Out West with whatever “few brave patriots” he could muster.  Both armies were in a holding pattern, waiting on word from Washington, D.C., which was on its way.  Major Henry Hitchcock, who had brought Sherman’s Peace terms to the nation’s capital for approval, telegraphed Gen. Sherman that he would be back at Raleigh in the morning.  He didn’t mention he was bringing a guest.



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Diary of Orrin Brown—April 22, 1865

Proclamation by the mayor of the city of libertyDiary of Orrin Brown, New Bern, North Carolina

Saturday–Apr. 22nd

The day has been very warm. There was about 100 men left here for the front today among them was my messmate a Corporal of Co. F of our regt. he is a fine man and a good companion. He was down town this AM and he said that all business was to be suspended this PM holding it sacred for the nations great loss of their President. I read 7 Chapt. today. We drew soft bread again tonight. I read another paper from the U. S. C. C. this evening. I feel better than yesterday. Those men that started for the front came back about sundown because they could not get transportation.

The assassin John Wilkes Booth had fled southeast from Washington, D.C., into the Maryland countryside, hiding in the woods near the Potomac River.  As Lincoln’s funeral train departed Washington on the 21st, Booth’s accomplices provided a boat to cross the river into Virgnia.  They couldn’t even do that right, finding themselves upriver still in Maryland the morning of the 22nd.  Meanwhile, the train continued on through Pennsylvania.  From the Library of Congress exhibit:

The train that carried the slain president was called the “Lincoln Special.” In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 40,000 people filed by Lincoln’s body in the state House of Representatives. Tens of thousands of people turned out to view the train as it traveled through small towns from Harrisburg to Philadelphia. In Philadelphia businesses were closed to observe a day of mourning. “We saw strong men deeply affected, gentle women weep, and children look awe-stricken,” wrote one reporter. In the crush of the crowd, a woman had her arm broken and a young child was killed.

An estimated 300,000 people in Philadelphia waited up to 5 hours in a line three miles long the next day.



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Diary of Orrin Brown—April 21, 1865

Lincoln Funeral Train MapDiary of Orrin Brown, New Bern, North Carolina

Friday–Apr. 21st

We had a nice night but it has been cloudy and quite warm the most of the day with light showers of rain but it is cool this evening. There has been 4 heavy guns fired about every 15 minutes all day down here in town to show their respect for our late President and they have kept their flags at half mast for the last four days. There are but few but mourn the loss of that good man. I am about the same in health as yesterday. We sold some more Lemonade today. I read 8 Chapts. We drew soft bread again tonight. I wrote a letter to J. L. Gifford today.

On the 20th of April 1865, 3,000 people per hour passed by the late President’s coffin in the Capitol rotunda.  On the 21st, President Lincoln’s body left the capital for the last time.  From the Library of Congress exhibit:

On April 21 the funeral train left Washington, D.C., en route to its final destination of Springfield, Illinois. The journey took 13 days and covered 1,700 miles through 7 states. Also on the train was a coffin containing the body of the president’s beloved son, Willie, who had died three years earlier at the age of eleven. The president’s remains were displayed in several cities along the route. On the first day, in Baltimore, 10,000 people viewed his remains on a dismal, overcast day that seemed to suit the occasion.

Meanwhile in Washington, Major Hitchcock and Sherman’s Peace were not well received by the President’s Cabinet.  In particular, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and old Sherman-rival Gen. Henry Halleck, frothing for retribution, concocted a story that Sherman was in cahoots with Jefferson Davis to allow the Confederate cabinet to escape to Mexico with their treasury.  The New York Times jumped on the story and Sherman was slimed before he ever knew what was happening.



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Livability Index: AARP Contributes a Tool Box of Community Indicators

Livability Index for City of Aztec, NM

If you create a city that’s good for an 8 year old and good for an 80 year old, you will create a successful city for everyone.
8-80 Cities

A well-designed place works for all of its residents, from the youngest family to the eldest veteran.  We seem to have forgotten that in our rush to suburbanization, embracing the mobility of the automobile (for those who can drive) to the detriment of the mobility of everybody else.  Now, after our half-century experiment of sprawl, an increasing number of folks are looking at restoring balance to our urban fabric.  It’s not a question of cars or no-cars, but of building towns and cities that work for everyone.

A first step is getting a better picture of how our communities are working for all of our residents, aged eight or eighty and everyone in between.  Deb Whitman and Rodney Harrell with AARP’s Public Policy Institute introduced a new tool, the Livability Index, at the American Planning Association’s National Planning Conference this week in Seattle.  This community indicator toolbox offers a web-based tool aggregating data across seven different categories, typically at the Census Block Group or County level.  These include:

  • Housing: ADA accessibility, multi-family options, affordability, subsidized housing
  • Neighborhood:  Food deserts, parks, libraries, accessibility of jobs (by transit and auto), mixed use, density, safety, housing vacancy
  • Transportation:  Local transit, reported frequency of walking trips, congestion, transportation costs, speed limits, crash rates, ADA accessibility
  • Environment: Drinking water quality, regional air quality, proximity to high-traffic roads, industrial pollution
  • Health: Tobacco use, obesity, exercise opportunities, health care professional shortages, hospitalization rate, patient satisfaction
  • Engagement:  Broadband access (yeah!), civic organization, voting rates, cultural institutions
  • Opportunity:  Income inequality, jobs per worker, high school graduation rates, age diversity

The Livability Index assembles data from a variety of sources (not just American Community Survey) and presents it in accessible and visually appealing maps and charts, with transparent data citations and suggested resources for further information. The index average score is defined as 50 points—half of all areas score higher, half lower—with bonus points for participation in AARP-supported policies such as Complete Streets and their Age-Friendly Communities program.  You can also compare up to three communities (block group, city, county, etc.) at one time.

My current community of choice scores 44, which is not bad for our generally sprawling area.  Up the road, Durango, Colorado, scores a 54, with more multi-family housing although the cost of housing is much more expensive, and large differences in community health and civic engagement.  It depends what your concerns happen to be.  Since people will have different preferences they give the option of slider-bars to adjust weights among the data scenarios.

As in most data tools, I urge caution in smaller geographies, although results are interesting at the neighborhood level (data available may color results).  For example, the city of Cheyenne scored 58 overall while my old neighborhood earned 56 points vs. downtown’s 62 points.  Metropolitan areas seem to score higher with transit, formal subsidized housing, and larger gross number of jobs counted than small towns.  Its a nice tool for bringing Big Data down to the community level.  Like any report card, the scores are relative, and most useful for diagnosing areas for improvement.

Kudos to AARP for this effort.

Press Coverage:


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Diary of Orrin Brown—April 20, 1865

Tryon Palace RebuiltDiary of Orrin Brown, New Bern, North Carolina

Thursday–Apr. 20th

It clouded up this morning and it has been showery all day. We drew fresh boiled beef this morning. I went out this afternoon and sold a pailfull of Lemonade for $1.20 then I went to the sutters and got 35 cts worth of Butter. I read 6 Chapt. today. There was an order came here signed by Gen. Sherman stating that he was going to have his army on their road home in a few days.

New Bern (aka New Berne) North Carolina, population about 30,000, was settled in 1710 by Swiss and Palatine German immigrants.  The town served as the British colonial capital, and briefly after the Revolution as State capital, as the largest city in the state at that time with a population of 2,500 in 1800.  New Bern became a thriving seaport in the Triangle Trade between England, Africa, and the Americas.

Early in the Civil War, on 14 March 1862, Union Gen. Burnside had captured the city in the first Battle of New Bern.  On 1-3 February 1864, Confederate troops and naval forces led an unseccessful attack on the city. The city attracted many escaped slaves as an outpost of Federal control during the war.  After the war, the area developed the timber economy, which thrived into the 1920s.  Today, the area is known as a retirement community.

New Bern plays a prominent role in Diana Gabaldon’s later Outlander novels, in addition to Cross Creek (Fayetteville).  Tryon Palace, in which the Outlander heroine was briefly imprisoned, was built in 1770 as the colonial government house, but was burned in the 1790s.  The Palace was reconstructed in 2008.



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Diary of Orrin Brown—April 19, 1865

Lady Liberty Mourns LincolnDiary of Orrin Brown, New Bern, North Carolina

Wednesday–Apr. 19th

We had a pretty heavy thunder storms in the night it lasted about two hours. We were all called out today and our names taken together with our Co. Regt. and Corps so we could get our discriptive Roll. We heard a few days ago that Johnson had surrendered and Jeff Davis was captured but that is proved to be untrue. I feel a little better today. We have had a very pleasant day with a gentle S. wind. We drew our cup of coffee and 1/2 loaf soft Bread again tonight. I read 4 Chapt. today.

The Library of Congress has an excellent online resource in their 2009 exhibition “With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition”.  Lincoln’s Long Journey Home begins today, 19 April 1865.

Abraham Lincoln’s long journey home began with a historic funeral procession from the White House to the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Large crowds viewed the procession from sidewalks along the mile-and-a-half route. Spectators occupied windows, porticos, rooftops, and all elevated places along Pennsylvania Avenue. The procession, headed by a detachment of “colored troops” included President Andrew Johnson, senators, members of the House of Representatives, Lincoln’s two surviving sons, soldiers, and maimed veterans, among others. The late president’s body was placed in the Rotunda under the Capitol dome, where he would lie in state as a mournful nation paid its respects.



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