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Triumph and Tragedy

Triumph and Tragedy

The end of the Civil War in April 1865 brought short-lived rejoicing followed by shock and grief at the assassination of President Lincoln. In New Jersey, the war ended amidst continuing political strife. As soldiers began to return home and life returned to normal, however, the election of a Republican governor heralded a new era in state politics.

"General Runyon, the Copperhead Candidate, Running for Governor of New Jersey." Song Lyrics. Washington, D.C.: Gibson Brothers, October, 1865.

The Two Platforms. Jersey City: The "Times" Printing House, 1865.

In a stunning reversal, New Jersey voters elected a Republican governor and gave the Republicans majorities in both houses of the state legislature in the 1865 elections. Marcus Ward, Unionist and “Soldier’s Friend” narrowly defeated Newark mayor Theodore Runyon. Once in office, Ward called a session of the legislature to reconsider and ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, although it was already the law of the land.

Portrait, Enoch Brooks.

Private Enoch Brooks of Bridgeton joined the newly-organized Third New Jersey Cavalry in January of 1864 and was mustered out of the service in August of 1865. His letters to his wife Elizabeth show that the Third Cavalry was involved in very heavy fighting during its short career with the Army of the Potomac.In this photograph, a rain protector can be seen on Brooks’ cap.

Portrait, Elizabeth Brooks.

Photo by Edwards and Ogden, Bridgeton, NJ.

Letter, Elizabeth Brooks to her husband, Enoch, Bridgeton, New Jersey. Celebrations at the End of the War, April 14, 1865.

In this letter, Elizabeth describes the celebrations in Bridgeton after Appomattox.

Letter Enoch Brooks to his wife, Elizabeth. Comments on the Death of Lincoln, April 20, 1865.

Writing from Virginia, Enoch expresses horror upon hearing of the death of the President.

R.B. Nicol and Marcus L. Ward. "The Soldier's Friend, for Governor of New Jersey." Song Lyrics. Washington D.C.: Gibson Brothers, 1865.