Abraham Lincoln Death – Planning
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was assassinated by well-known stage actor John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865, while attending the play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.
The presidential party arrived late and settled into their box (two adjoining boxes with a dividing partition removed).
the orchestra interrupted the play and played “Hail to the Chief” as the full house of some 1,700 rose in applause.
His security appointed Policeman John Frederick Parker to guard the president’s box. At intermission he went to a nearby tavern along with Lincoln’s footman and coachman.
Once through this door, which swung inward, Booth barricaded it by wedging a stick between it and the wall. From here a second door led to Lincoln’s box.
Abraham Lincoln Death – Shooting
Booth opened the door, stepped forward, and shot Lincoln from behind with a derringer. The bullet entered Lincoln’s skull behind his left ear, passed through his brain, and came to rest near the front of the skull after fracturing both orbital plates.
Lincoln slumped over in his chair and then fell backward. Rathbone turned to see Booth standing in gunsmoke less than four feet behind Lincoln; Booth shouted a word that Rathbone thought sounded like “Freedom!”
Charles Leale, a young Army surgeon, pushed through the crowd to the door of Lincoln’s box but found it would not open.
Leale entered the box to find Lincoln seated with his head leaning to his right as Mary held him. Leale shifted him to the floor, thinking assailant stabbed Lincoln. Meanwhile, people lifted another physician, Charles Sabin Taft, from the stage into the box.
After Taft and Leale opened Lincoln’s shirt and found no stab wound, Leale located the gunshot wound behind the left ear. He found the bullet too deep to be removed, but Lincoln’s breathing improved after he dislodge a clot.
Abraham Lincoln Death – Treatment
Leale, Taft, and another doctor, Albert King, decided that while Lincoln must be moved, a carriage ride to the White House was too dangerous. After considering Peter Taltavull’s Star Saloon next door, they concluded to take Lincoln to one of the houses across the way.
It rained as soldiers carried Lincoln into the street, where a man urged them toward the house of tailor William Petersen. In Petersen’s first-floor bedroom, people laid the exceptionally tall Lincoln diagonally on the bed.
Stanton insisted that the sobbing Mary Lincoln leave the sick room, then for the rest of the night essentially ran the United States government from the house, including directing the hunt for Booth and his confederates.
Abraham Lincoln Death – Final Moment
Guards kept the public away, but admitted numerous officials and physicians to pay their respects.
Shortly before 7 a.m. Mary was allowed to return to Lincoln’s side, and, as Dixon reported, “she again seated herself by the President, kissing him and calling him every endearing name.”
Lincoln died at 7:22 a.m. on April 15. Mary Lincoln was not present. In his last moments Lincoln’s face became calm and his breathing quieter. On Lincoln’s death, Vice President Johnson became president, and Chief Justice Salmon Chase sworn him in between 10 and 11 a.m.