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An Illinois Soldier Laments Lincoln’s Assassination


Private Abbott Asbury Lamaster of the 21st Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company I, wrote the following from camp near Nashville on May 12, 1865. This incredible description of Lincoln was originally published in the Robinson Argus. Most will recall the 21st Illinois Infantry as being Colonel U.S. Grant's first command.


"The joy of the nation has suddenly been changed to mourning. Abraham Lincoln, the man whom the American people had for a second time chosen as their leader and placed at the helm of the ship of state, has fallen a martyr to his country. Treason, in its death struggle, has dyed its hands in the blood of the Chief Magistrate of the Republic.

And for what? Can it be said that Abraham Lincoln was revengeful or resentful? No! It cannot be said that in that great heart was either deception or smile. There is no other man through-out the land whose natural death would have caused too much natural sorrow. But when the chief ruler of the country is hurried into eternity by the hand of a bloody and villainous murderer, no pen can portray the mingled feelings of sorrow, grief, and dire revenge which most necessarily fill the hearts of all loyal and good men and worsen throughout the land.


"I say, loyal and good men and woman, because they have lost their leader, and they alone will mourn his loss. The opposers of the administration have gained nothing--they have lost their best friend. They have lost the man who, holding in view the interests of the States, and the salvation of the nation, dealt far too leniently with them.


"President Lincoln was the true embodiment of the good and noble qualities which go toward making a perfect American Citizen. Honest to a fault, he hated anything which savored deceit in any sphere of action. Frank in his manner, he won the confidence of all who knew him. Kind and forgiving in his disposition, he learned to deal mercifully toward his most inveterate foes.


"Abraham Lincoln died at a most eventful time, just as he was about to grasp the golden fruits of his four years of toil and labor. He strained his eyes to catch a glimpse of the breaking days but the dark veil of death obscured his vision.


"To the infernal scoundrels who so deliberately planned his death, I trust the just reward of death will be given. Should they succeed in eluding justice on earth, surely the Supreme Ruler of the Universe will prepare them such torture as He did for Satan and all his angels.


A.A. LAMASTER"

Pvt A A. Lamaster was a 27 year old farmer when he enlisted at Palestine, Illinois in 1861. He died April 4, 1879 and is buried in Coles County, Illinois.


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