Voice from the Past on Lincoln Anniversary

NPR commemorated the 140th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination by playing a 1947 recording of a 101-year-old Civil War veteran’s recollections.

NPR : Voice from the Past on Lincoln Anniversary

Civil War veteran Julius Howell of Bristol, Va. was 101 years old when he was recorded at the Library of Congress in June, 1947. He spoke of how he learned of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, 140 years ago this morning.

Howell was one of the last surviving veterans of the Civil war, having joined the Confederate Army’s Company “K” at 16. He spent the last two months of the war as a prisoner in Point Lookout, Md.

It was at the camp that Howell noticed flags being raised to half-mast one morning. He told his fellow prisoners, “I says boys, there must be some big Yankee dead, I wonder who it can be. [Of] course, we had no means of knowing.”

After gaining his freedom, Howell began an academic career, attending the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard before eventually becoming president of Virginia Intermont College.

The audio is available at the link.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Scott Dillard says:

    I love stories like this. My own great-grandmother, who died when I was 15, was born in 1880, in West Texas. She remembered being thrown in the back of a horse-drawn wagon by her dad so they could get away from the Apaches who were burning white ranches. She lived until 1966. She saw some changes, too!

  2. McGehee says:

    That is an impressive list T-bird, even though you left out the atom bomb.