Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theater


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, April 29, 1865

The April 29, 1865 edition of Harper's Weekly is a first edition description of the Assassination and Death of President Abraham Lincoln.  We present below, for your research and perusal, the entire newspaper.  Click on the thumbnails to be taken to the full, readable, rendition of that page.


Abraham Lincoln Assassination

 Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln Death

Abraham Lincoln's Death

Lincoln's Box at Ford's Theater

President Lincoln is Shot by John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth kills Abraham Lincoln

Fort Sumter at the End of the Civil War

The Siege of Mobile Alabama

The Siege of Mobile, Alabama

President Abraham Lincoln and Flag Draped Coffin

Abraham Lincoln's Coffin

General Sherman's Army

Sherman's Army







APRIL 29, 1865.]



(Continued from Previous Page)

has been taught by the war. None of us are the same. The views of every man have been modified. The course of some organs of public opinion--of the New York Tribune, for instance —is wonderful and incredible to contemplate. There have been times when Mr. SEWARD was thought by some to be a positive hindrance to the war, a nightmare in the Cabinet. The Senate, with questionable friendship to the country, upon one occasion is understood to have asked his removal. But the President could ill spare so calm a counselor and so adroit a statesman. That they often differed is beyond dispute, but the President knew the sagacity and experience of the Secretary, and the Secretary said the President was the best man he ever knew.

Such was the confidence and mutual respect of the relation between them that the country will regard Mr. SEWARD'S continuance in the Cabinet as a sign of the perpetuity of the spirit of President LINCOLN'S policy. Meanwhile, that he and his son, the able and courteous Assistant Secretary, lie grievously smitten by the blow that wrings the heart of the nation, a tender solicitude will wait upon their recovery. WILLIAM HENRY SEWARD has too faithfully and conspicuously served human liberty not to have earned a blow from the assassin hand of slavery. The younger generation of American citizens who, in their first manhood, followed his bugle-call into the ranks of those who strove against the infamous power whose dying throes have struck life from the President and joy from a triumphing nation, will not forget how valiant and beneficent his service has been, nor suffer the name so identified with the truest political instruction of this country to be long obscured by the clouds of calumny.



THE New York Tribune, in a late issue, after reprinting the infamous rebel offer of a reward of a million of dollars for the assassination of Mr. LINCOLN, Mr. JOHNSON, and Mr. SEWARD, says : " Such facts and the corresponding editorials of the rebel journals countenance the popular presumption that the late murderous outrages in Washington were incidents of a comprehensive plot whereto the rebel leaders were privy. The burglarious raid on St. Albans, the attempts simultaneously to fire our great hotels, and other acts wholly out of the pale of civilized warfare, tend to strengthen this conviction."

In the next column the Editor speaks of the men who plotted the raid and the arson as "certain distinguished Americans" of the other "party to our civil war."

Does not the editor of the Tribune see that nothing can more profoundly demoralize the public mind than to call the men who plot arson and massacre " distinguished Americans ?" ABRAHAM LINCOLN and GEORGE WASHINGTON were distinguished Americans. Has the editor no other epithets for GEORGE N. SANDERS and JACOB THOMPSON and CLEMENT C. CLAY? Is there no such thing as crime? Are there no criminals? Is the assassin of the President a man impelled by "the conflict of ideas" to a mistaken act? Is there no treason ? Are there no traitors? Does the editor of the Tribune really suppose that because it is not the wish nor the duty of the American people to visit the penalty of treason upon every man at the South who has been in rebellion, it is therefore the duty of wise and honest men to invite JEFFERSON DAVIS and WIGFALL into the Senate of the United States, or ROBERT E. LEE, BEAUREGARD, and JOE JOHNSTON into the army?

The Editor of the Tribune may bow down to the ground and grovel before "eminent Confederates;" but it is not from them that the pacification of the South is to proceed. The first step in peace is to emancipate the people of the South from their servile dependence upon the class of " gentlemen" which has first deluded and then ruined them. How can it be done if we affect that respect which no honest man can feel ? If there is one suffering Union man in Alabama who has been outlawed and hunted and starved, who has lain all day cowering in swamps and woods, and at night has stolen out and crept for food to the faithful slaves upon the plantations—who has seen his house destroyed, his children murdered, his wife dishonored—who has endured every extremity of suffering, and still believed in God and the flag of his country—and who now, following WILSON's liberating march, has come safely to our lines at Mobile—if there be one such man, who knows that his cruel agony and the waste and desolation of his land have come from " the leaders" of his section, and sees that when they are worsted in battle it is the Editor of the New York Tribune who hastens to fall prostrate before the meanest of them and salute them as "distinguished Americans" and "eminent Confederates," it is easy to believe that such a man should be overwhelmed with dismay as he contemplates the hopeless postponement of pacification which such a spectacle reveals.

Exactly that base subservience to the arrogance of a slaveholding class which has enabled that class to seduce and betray the people of their States is reproduced in the tone of the editor of the Tribune when speaking of it. Is JEFFERSON DAVIS a distinguished American?"

Is he any more so than AARON BURR and BENEDICT ARNOLD? No men despise such fawning more than those it is intended to propitiate. It is not by such men as JACOB THOMPSON and CLEMENT C. CLAY and HUNTER and BENJAMIN and SEMMES, it is by men unknown and poor, by men who have seen what comes of following the counsels of the " leaders," by men who have been tried by blood and fire in this sharp war that peace is to come out of the South. The men whom the editor of the Tribune calls by names that justly belong only to our best and dearest are the assassins of the nation and of human liberty. They would have wrought upon the nation the same crime that was done upon the President. They would have murdered the country in its own innocent blood. Not from them conies regeneration and peace. Let them fly.

But from the long-abused, the blinded, the down-trodden, the forgotten, the despised—from the real people of the South, whom riches and ease and luxury and cultivation and idleness and, all worldly gifts and graces sitting in high places, drugged with sophistries, and seduced with blandishments, and threatened with terrors, and besotted with prejudice, and degraded with ignorance, and ground into slavery—these, all of them, white and black as God made them, are the seed of the new South, long pressed into the ground, and now about to sprout and grow and blossom jubilantly with peace and prosperity. Old things have passed away. The Editor of the Tribune is still flattering the priests whose power has gone. Great Pan is dead. Why should one of the earliest Christians swing incense before him ?



THE old flag floats again on Sumter ! Four years ago it was the hope, the prayer, the vow of the American people. Today the vow is fulfilled. The hand of him who defended it against the assault of treason, of him who saluted it sadly as he marched his little band away, now, with all the strength of an aroused and regenerated nation supporting him, raises it once more to its place, and the stars that have still shone on undimmed in our hearts now shine tranquilly in triumph, and salute the earth and sky with the benediction of peace.

To be called to be the orator of a nation upon such a day was an honor which might have oppressed any man. To have spoken for the nation at such a moment, worthily, adequately, grandly, is the glory of one man. It will not be questioned that Mr. BEECHER did so. His oration is of the noblest spirit and the loftiest eloquence. It is in the highest degree picturesque and powerful. Certainly it was peculiarly fit that a man, fully inspired by the eternal truth that has achieved the victory, should hail, in the name of equal liberty, the opening of the era which is to secure it.

Even amidst the wail of our sorrow its voice will be heard and its tone will satisfy. Even in our heart's grief we can feel the solemn thrill of triumph that the flag which fell in weakness is raised in glory and power.


EVERY stupendous crime is an enormous blunder. The blow that has shocked the nation exasperates it, and in killing ABRAHAM LINCOLN the rebels have murdered their best friend. His death can not change the event of the war. It has only united the loyal people of the country more closely than ever, and disposed them to a less lenient policy toward the rebellion. Whatever the intention or hope of the murder, whether it were the result of a matured plot or the act of a band of ruffians, whether it were dictated by the rebel chiefs or offered to their cause as a voluntary assistance by the hand that struck the blow, the effect is the same—a more intense and inflexible vow of the nation that the rebellion shall be suppressed and its cause exterminated.

There is no crime so abhorrent to the world as the assassination of a public man. Even when he is unworthy, the method of his death at once ameliorates the impression of his life. But when he is a good and wise man, when he is spotless and beloved, the infamy is too monstrous for words. There is but one assassin whom history mentions with toleration and even applause, and that is CHARLOTTE CORDAY. But her act was a mistake. It ended the life of a monster, but it did not help the people, and she who might have lived to succor and save some victim of MARAT, became, after his death, MARAT'S victim. All other assassins, too, have more harmed their cause than helped it. Their pleas of justification are always confounded by the event. That plea, where it has any dignity whatever, is the riddance of the world of a bad or dangerous man whose life can not be legally taken. It is to punish a despot—to bring low a tyrant. But the heart recoils whatever the excuse, the instinct of mankind curses the assassin.

In our own grievous affliction there is one lesson which those who directly address public opinion would do well to consider. Party malignity in the Free States during the war has not scrupled to defame the character of Mr.

LINCOLN. He has been denounced as a despot, as a usurper, as a man who arbitrarily annulled the Constitution, as a magistrate under whose administration all the securities of liberty, property, and even life, were deliberately disregarded and imperiled. Political hostility has been inflamed into hate by the assertion that he was responsible for the war, and that he had opened all the yawning graves and tumbled the bloody victims in. This has been done directly and indirectly, openly and cunningly. In a time of necessarily profound and painful excitement, to carry a party point, the political opponents of Mr. LINCOLN have said or insinuated or implied that he had superseded the laws and had made himself an autocrat. If any dangerous plot has been exposed, these organs of public opinion had sneered at it as an invention of the Administration. If theatres and hotels full of men, women, and children were to be wantonly fired, the friends of the Administration were accused of cooking up an excitement. If bloody riots and massacres occurred, they were extenuated, and called " risings of the people," as if in justifiable vengeance, and as if the oppression of the Government had brought them upon itself.

This appeal has been made in various ways and in different degrees. A great convention intimated that there was danger that the elections would be overborne by Administration bayonets. Judge COMSTOCK, formerly of the Court of Appeals in this State, addressing a crowd in Union Square, declared that if a candidate for the Presidency should be defrauded of his election by military interference he would be borne into the White House by the hands of the people. Of the Administration thus accused of the basest conceivable crimes ABRAHAM LINCOLN was the head. If there were a military despotism in the country, as was declared, he was the despot. If there were a tyranny, he was the tyrant.

Is it surprising that somebody should have believed all this, that somebody should have said, if there is a tyranny it can not be very criminal to slay the tyrant, and that working himself up to the due frenzy he should strike the blow? When it was struck, when those kind eyes that never looked sternly upon a human being closed forever, and the assassin sprang forward and cried, Sic semper tyrannis, was it not a ghastly commentary upon those who had not scrupled to teach that he was a tyrant who had annulled the law?

The lesson is terrible. Let us hope that even party-spirit may be tempered by this result of its natural consequence.


IT is very possible that the great affection of the people of the United States for their late President will lead to a general desire to erect some national monument to his memory. Should this be so, there is one suggestion which will doubtless occur to many besides ourselves. It is that no mere marble column or memorial pile shall be reared, but that the heart-offerings of the people shall be devoted to the erection of a military hospital, to be called the LINCOLN HOSPITAL, for soldiers and sailors--a retreat for the wounded and permanently invalid veterans of the war. When, in the happier days that are coming, the wards shall be relieved of the lingering monuments of the contest, the foundation would remain for the public benefit. The soldiers and sailors had no more tender and faithful friend than ABRAHAM LINCOLN. He never forgot them ; nor did he fail always to pay to them in his public addresses the homage which his heart constantly cherished. To a man of his broad and generous humanity no monument could be so appropriate as a Hospital.



GENERAL STONEMAN captured Salisbury, North Carolina, on the 12th inst., securing 1165 prisoners, 19 pieces of artillery, 1000 small-arms, and eight Stands of colors. The plunder found there was enormous, embracing 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition, 1000 shells, 60,000 pounds of powder, 75,000 suits of clothing, 35,000 army blankets, with large quantities of bacon, salt, sugar, rice, wheat, and 7000 bales of cotton. All that was not immediately available was destroyed. Stoneman's raid in East Tennessee and North Carolina has been one of the most important and destructive of the war. He has burned half a hundred important bridges, destroyed about 100 miles of track, captured trains, burned depots, and played the mischief generally with secesh property.

The next day after the capture of Salisbury, Sherman occupied Raleigh, with but little resistance. Governor Vance was taken by our cavalry on the same day. It is said that he was deputed by Johnston to surrender the State, but the power was afterward withdrawn. It is reported that Jeff Davis had joined Johnston at Hillsborough, and was still with him,


Mobile was captured by the national forces on the 12th of April.

On the 20th of March the Sixteenth Corps, under General A. J. Smith, left Dauphin on twenty transports, accompanied by gun-boats, and proceeded up an arm of Mobile Bay to the mouth of Fish River, where the troops were landed at Dauley's Mills. The Thirteenth Corps, under General Granger, left Fort Morgan, and on the 21st of March went into camp on the left of Smith, resting its left wing on Mobile Bay. Three days afterward this corps was followed by General Knipe with 6000 cavalry. On the 25th the Federal line was pushed forward so as to extend from Alabama City on the bay to Deer Park. The first point of attack was Spanish Fort, which is directly opposite Mobile, and is the latest built and strongest of the defenses of that city. It guards the eastern channel of the bay. On the 27th the bombardment commenced. In the mean time the Monitors and gunboats were laboring hard to overcome the obstructions. They had succeeded so far that the Monitors Milwaukee, Winnebago, Kickapoo, and the Monitor ram Osage moved in line to attack at 3 P.M. An hour afterward a torpedo exploded. under the Milwaukee, and she immediately filled and sunk in eleven feet of water. There were no casualties. There was steady firing all night and the next day. At about 2 o'clock P.M. on the 29th a torpedo struck the port bow of the Osage and exploded, tearing away the plating and timbers, killing two men and wounding several others.

We give on page 268 an engraving illustrating the nature of the torpedoes found in the Bay. Those given in the sketch are those with the mushroom-shaped anchor. The slightest pressure causes explosion.

On the 8th of April an extraordinary force was brought to bear upon Spanish Fort. Twenty-two Parrott guns were got within half a mile of the work, while other powerful batteries were still nearer. Two gun-boats joined in the tremendous cannonade. The result was that the fort surrendered a little after midnight. Fort Alexandria followed, and the guns of these two were turned against Forts Tracy and Huger, in the harbor, at the mouth of the Blakely and Appalachee rivers. But these had already been abandoned. The Monitors then went busily to work removing torpedoes, and ran up to within shelling distance of the city.

Shortly after the capture of Spanish Fort, intelligence of the capture and the fall of Richmond was read to the troops, in connection with orders to attack Fort Blakely. Several batteries of artillery, and large quantities of ammunition were taken with the fort, besides 2400 prisoners. Our loss in the whole affair was much less than 2000 killed and wounded, and none missing.

Seven hundred prisoners were taken with Spanish Fort. Mobile was occupied by the national forces on the 12th. In the mean time General Wilson, with a formidable force of cavalry, had swept through the State of Alabama. He left Eastport about the 20th of March, and advanced in two columns, each of which, at about the same time, fought Forrest's cavalry, one at Marion and the other at Plantersville, which were respectively situated about 20 miles northwest and northeast of Selma. On the after-noon of April 2 Selma was captured, with 22 guns, and all the immense Government works, arsenals, rolling-mills, and foundries at that place were destroyed. It is probable that Montgomery was also captured, but later than the capture of Selma we have no details.



Roger A. Pryor stated in Petersburg that he believed Mr. Lincoln indispensable to the restoration of peace, and regretted his death more than any military mishap of the south. He and the Mayor placed themselves at the head of a movement for a town meeting to deplore the loss on both private and public grounds. General Robert E. Lee at first refused to hear the details of the murder. A Mr. Suite and another gentleman waited upon him on Sunday night with the particulars. He said that when he dispossessed himself of the command of the rebel forces he kept in mind President Lincoln's benignity, and surrendered as much to the latter's goodness as to Grant's artillery. The General said that he regretted Mr. Lincoln's death as much as any man in the North, and believed him to be the epitome of magnanimity and good faith.



A man was arrested on the 18th in Baltimore who is supposed to have been the assassin of Secretary Seward. He was recognized as such by the negro servant and Miss Fanny Seward.




The rebel ram Stonewall left Lisbon, Portugal, on the 28th of March, having been ordered away by the Portuguese authorities. The national steamers Niagara and Sacramento were forbidden to leave until twenty-four hours should have elapsed. These two vessels, about four hours after the Stonewall left, weighed anchor and moved toward the bar. The commander of the Belem Tower then fired upon them, considerably injuring the Niagara. The captains stated that they were only changing their anchorage-ground, and our consul at Lisbon has demanded that the Governor of Belem Tower should be removed, which demand has been conceded.

0. Dark Corridor leading from the Dress Circle to Box.—H. Entrance to Corridor. I. The bar used by Booth to prevent entrance from without.—J. Dress Circle.—K. The Parquette.—L. The Foot-lights.—M. The Stage.—F. Open door to the President's Box.--G. Closed door.--N. Place where Booth vaulted over to the Stage below


Abraham Lincoln's Box at Ford's Theater




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