April 17th.—Bright and clear.
I add a few lines to my Diary. It was whispered, yesterday, that President Lincoln had been assassinated! I met Gen. Duff Green, in the afternoon, who assured me there could be no doubt of it. Still, supposing it might be an April hoax, I inquired at the headquarters of Gen. Ord, and was told it was true. I cautioned those I met to manifest no feeling, as the occurrence might be a calamity for the South; and possibly the Federal soldiers, supposing the deed to have been done by a Southern man, might become uncontrollable and perpetrate deeds of horror on the unarmed people.
After agreeing to meet Gen. Green this morning at the Provost Marshal’s office, and unite with him in an attempt to procure the liberation of Capt. Warner, I returned home; and saw, on the way, Gen. Ord and his staff riding out toward Camp Lee, with no manifestations of excitement or grief on their countenances.
Upon going down town this morning, every one was speaking of the death of Lincoln, and the Whig was in mourning.
President Lincoln was killed by Booth (Jno. Wilkes), an actor. I suppose his purpose is to live in history as the slayer of a tyrant; thinking to make the leading character in a tragedy, and have his performance acted by others on the stage.
I see no grief on the faces of either officers or men of the Federal army.
R. A. Pryor and Judge W. T. Joynes have called a meeting in Petersburg, to lament the calamity entailed by the assassination.
I got passports to-day for myself and family to the Eastern Shore, taking no oath. We know not when we shall leave.
I never swore allegiance to the Confederate States Government, but was true to it.