The first days of April produced great excitement and joy in the North. Each day seemed to bring news of another great Union victory, from Sheridan's win at Five Forks to the capture of Richmond. But the Union's greatest celebration came after its people learned that Lee had finally surrendered. "From one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other, the air seemed to burn with the bright hues of the flag," wrote one reporter who watched the festivities in Washington. "Almost by magic the streets were crowded with hosts of people, talking, laughing, hurrahing and shouting in the fullness of their joy. Men embraced one another, 'treated' one another, made up old quarrels, renewed old friendships, marched arm-in-arm singing." Similar celebrations erupted all across the North.
The North's happiness lasted only a few days, however, before turning to rage and sorrow. On April 15, 1865, the man who had skillfully guided the United States through the worst crisis in its history died at the hands of a deranged (insane) Southern sympathizer.
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