• 44th MA Infantry Archive Includes Details Of Lincoln Assassination, Capture Of Conspirators

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    WILLIAM DEAN of Waltham, MA, enlisted as a private on August 29,1862, and was mustered into Co. E of the MA 44th Infantry.  He was discharged in November for disability.

    The 44th was the second New England Guards Regiment, raised to fill the quota of Massachusetts under the call or August 4, 1862, for nine months’ troops.  On November 1st, the regiment marched into the interior of Rawle’s Mill, [North Carolina] where it encountered the enemy and lost two men with six wounded.  The regiment encountered several skirmishes, including at Whitehall on December 16th when eight were killed and ten wounded.

    Offering an assemblage of five items relating to Dean, four documents dealing with his enlistment and discharge and a superbly detailed letter from his Mother, Sarah Hastings, reflecting much of the country’s sentiments about Lincoln’s assassination, Jefferson Davis’s capture and the prosecution of the conspirators, including John Wilkes Booth. [Sarah first married William Dean Sr. in 1836. Dean died in 1852. Sarah then married George Hastings, who was the proprietor of the Waltham Watch Co.

    4 pp, ALS, from his Mother, Waltham, June 4, 1865.  In small part, “...The fall of Richmond, the surrendering of the armies, the murder of the President, the finding & killing of the assassin, the capture of the conspirators, the pursuit of Jeff Davis & his capture in the disguise of an old woman, his irons, his imprisonment, his behavior, the dwindling down of the Confederacy, [Davis] running away in a hoop skirt & everything belonging to it has been enough to keep the people in a ferment all the time for more than two months. Last Thursday, was the Nation’s fast for the death of the President. Many places still wear the emblems of mourning for our beloved leader. He has gone to his rest & a halo of glory will forever encircle his name. The people seem confident of [Andrew] Johnson competency& capacity to take his place & feel he is better qualified to deal with the traitors & punish them than Abraham Lincoln. He was so merciful & kind. I think you must have a dull time staying so long in each place...

    “Charlie wrote me...sent love you & wants you to write to him...He is camping in Alexandria...

    “Brown Randall has been [on] a voyage & got home. He is satisfied with a sailor’s life. Charlie Fiske is at home, tired of the Navy.  Soldiers are being mustered out of service. The war is over and some are to be retained in the service a while longer...”

    The documents, as follows: Consent form signed by William Dean’s legal guardian George C. Rogers, witnessed by his Mother, Sarah Hastings attesting that Dean is eighteen years of age and granting permission for him to volunteer as a soldier; Certification that Dean has enlisted in Co. E of the 44th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers and has been examined by a physician, signed by Captain Spencer Wells Richardson (1834 – 1914); Two copies of a Certificate of Disability for Discharge stating that Dean has been found to be “incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of lack of physical development.” Signed by Surgeon Robert Ware, a Boston physician commissioned into the 44th Mass Infantry on September 12, 1862.  Surgeon Ware died of disease on April 10, 1863.

    Folds to the letter with very light toning. Very readable as are the documents. Full translation of the letter included.

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