Nashville in the Dark Hours After President Lincoln's Assassination


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April 1865 marked a turbulent time in Nashville; remarkable given that the city and its citizens had just endured a long Civil War and occupation by the Federal Army. Emotions in the city ran from fear, to excitement, to joy and defeat.

It all began on April 3rd when word reached Nashville that Richmond had fallen to the Union army. Business in the city came to a standstill as citizens, soldiers and freedmen crowded the streets. Everyone began to realize that the four years of war might be at the end.

Then, on Wednesday April 5th William G. Brownlow of East Tennessee was inaugurated as Governor of Tennessee, thus ending the military government under which the state had existed since it had fallen to Union forces in 1862. On the same day the state legislature ratified the thirteenth amendment to the United States Constitution thereby prohibiting slavery. The two events helped prepare Tennessee for re-entry into the Union. It would be the first southern state to do so.

The following Monday, April 10, at about 9:00 A.M., the report of Lee surrendering to Grant was posted on the bulletin board of the Nashville Dispatch newspaper office located on Deaderick Street. A celebration began that continued into the night as the down