On April 15th, 1865, as news of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination spread across the nation, references to his death (often in the form of proclamations) can be found in documents from the Federal Courts. Usually, they are recorded in the days and weeks following, but in Cincinnati, a Saturday session in the United States District Court referenced it on that day.
US Attorney Flamen Ball (1809-1885 - yes, his actual name) and District Judge Humphrey H. Leavitt (1796-1873) both spoke and honored his memory and mourned Lincoln’s passing. The transcription from the series Journals, 1849-1921 (NAID 176236033) is below.
The death of the President was announced by F Ball Attorney of the United States for this district in the following words
May it please the Court: A great calamity has befallen this great nation; nay a calamity has befallen the whole interests of humanity, and of the human race. The cup of joy of which the whole people of our country drank on yesterday with so much delight, has been suddenly dashed from their hands, leaving upon the taste nothing but gall and wormwood. From the acme of rejoicings we have suddenly plunged to the depth of grief, at the loss which our country has sustained by the sudden unexpected and overwhelming event. It is not possible for me, or for this Court, or for the jury to compose our minds for the performance of judicial duties; nor is it possible for me by words, to say anything to your honor, by way of eulogy, or of regret, in reference to the death of the great man whose life and services have thus been so ruthlessly and untimely terminated. The most fitting eulogy on this occasion is the mute eloquence of silent sorrow. I do therefore, on behalf of my brethren of the bar, and of the community, most respectfully move that the court do now adjourn.
His Honor Judge Leavitt remarked as follows;
It is due to the occasion that the motion of the District Attorney, for the adjournment of the Court be granted. He is right in supposing that neither the Court, the bar nor the jury, are in a state of mind suited to the transaction of business. The appalling event just noticed has caused the deepest depression and sorrow in the hearts of all. We cannot interpret this dispensation of God's providence. His way is in the sea, and His path in the great waters, and His footsteps are unknown. But yesterday the people were exultant and joyous in remembrance of His great and manifold mercies to the nation; today they are agonized with grief by the sad intelligence that Abraham Lincoln has fallen a victim to a fiendish assassin. I cannot trust myself to say more. The event excites not only our horror, but our indignation. Let us, however, strive to be calm under the pressure of this great affliction, and as far as possible, repress and moderate the feelings of indignation which unbidden, rise to our hearts and mingle with our sorrow.