The Christmas Shopping Trip that Never Was

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On December 23, 1864, Louis Weichmann left his Washington, D.C., boardinghouse to do some Christmas shopping for gifts for his sisters. Instead, he was waylaid by history. Weichmann, age twenty-two, was employed in the War Department. In the fall of …

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April 3, 1865: Richmond Falls, and John Surratt Departs

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One hundred and fifty years ago today, on April 3, 1865, Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy, fell to the Union. The day before, Jefferson Davis and his cabinet had fled the city, having authorized the burning of warehouses …

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Dear Cousin: John Surratt’s Letters to Bell Seaman

On at least five occasions, John Surratt, the youngest son of Mary Surratt, put pen to paper to write to his second cousin, Isabel (“Bell”) Seaman, who lived with her family in Washington, Pennsylvania. The first three letters (the second …

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