Abraham Lincoln's Assassination


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Ford's Theater

Ford's Theater: The Box Seat Where Lincoln was Shot

Assassination of the President.—On the morning of April 14, l865, General Grant arrived in Washington, and attended a meeting of the cabinet at eleven o'clock. An arrangement was made at the close of the meeting for the President and the general to attend Ford's Theatre in the evening, and a box was engaged. The general was called to New York, and did not attend. The President, with Mrs. Lincoln and a little party, was there. Mr. Lincoln was seated in a high-backed chair. .

The play was Our American Cousin; and just before its close, at a little past ten o'clock, John Wilkes Booth, an actor, entered the President's box, closed and fastened the door behind him, and, with a derringer pistol in one hand and a dagger in the other, he rested the former on the back of the chair occupied by the President and shot him. The ball entered behind his ear, passed through his brain, and lodged near one of his eyes. The President lived nine hours afterwards, but in an insensible state. The assassin was seized by Major Rathbone, who was in the box. Booth dropped his pistol, struck Rathbone on the arm with his dagger, tore away from his grasp, rushed to the front of the box with the gleaming weapon in his hand, and, shouting "Sic semper tyrannis !" ("So may it always be with tyrants!"—the motto on the seal of Virginia), leaped upon the stage. He was booted and spurred for a night ride. One of his spurs caught in the flag, and he fell. Rising, he turned to the audience and said, The South is avenged!" and then

The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

escaped by a back door. There he mounted a horse which a boy had held for him, fled across the Anacosta, and found temporary refuge among sympathizing friends in Maryland. The President died the next morning, April 15, 1865.

Booth's Capture

Capture of John Wilkes Booth

Booth was pursued and overtaken in Virginia, concealed in a barn. He refused to surrender. The barn was set on fire, and the assassin was shot by a sergeant.

The President's body was embalmed and taken back to his home in Springfield by almost the same route as he went to the capital more than four years before. Everywhere loyal people of the land were his sincere mourners. Foreign governments and distinguished men expressed their grief and sympathy, and French Democrats testified their appreciation of his character and services by causing a magnificent gold medal to be struck and presented to the President's widow. It is about four inches in diameter. One side bears a profile, in relief, of Mr. Lincoln, surrounded by the words, in French, "Dedicated by the French Democracy. A. Lincoln. twice elected President of the United States." On the reverse is an altar, bearing the following inscription, also in French: "Lincoln, Honest Man. Abolished Slavery, Re-established the Union, and Saved the Republic, without Veiling the Statue of Liberty. He was Assassinated the 14th of April, I865." Below all are the words: '' Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity." On one side of the altar stands winged Victory, with her right hand resting upon a sword and her left holding a civic wreath. On the other side stand two emancipated slaves —the younger, a lad, offering a palm branch, and the elder pointing him to the American eagle, bearing the shield, the olive-branch, and the lightning, with the motto of the Union. The older freedman holds the musket of the militia-man. Near them are the emblems of industry and progress. Over the altar is a triangle, emblematic of trinity—the trinity of man's inalienable rights—liberty, equality, and fraternity.




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