Abraham Lincoln Killer – Motivation

John Wilkes Booth(Abraham Lincoln Killer), born in Maryland into a family of prominent stage actors, had by the time of the assassination become a famous actor and national celebrity in his own right.

There are various theories about Booth’s motivations. In a letter to his mother, he wrote of his desire to avenge the South.

While visiting Ford’s Theatre around noon to pick up his mail, Booth learned that Lincoln and Grant were to see Our American Cousin there that night.

He also asked her to tell her tenant Louis J. Weichmann to ready the guns and ammunition that Booth had previously stored at the tavern.

Abraham Lincoln Killer – Assassination

The presidential party arrived late and settled into their box (two adjoining boxes with a dividing partition removed).

Abraham Lincoln Assassination
Abraham Lincoln Assassination

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!”

Booth held his bloody knife over his head, and yelled something to the audience. While it is traditionally held that Booth shouted the Virginia state motto, Sic semper tyrannis! (“Thus always to tyrants”) either from the box or from the stage.

Booth had left a horse waiting outside in the alleyway. As he leapt into the saddle Booth pushed Joseph Burroughs (the man holding the horse) away, striking Burroughs with the handle of his knife.

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.

Abraham Lincoln Killer – Manhunt

Booth and Herold were sleeping at Garrett’s farm on April 26 when soldiers from the 16th New York Cavalry arrived and surrounded the barn, then threatened to set fire to it.

Herold surrendered, but Booth cried out, “I will not be taken alive!” The soldiers set fire to the barn and Booth scrambled for the back door with a rifle and pistol.

Sergeant Boston Corbett crept up behind the barn and shot Booth in “the back of the head about an inch below the spot where his [Booth’s] shot had entered the head of Mr. Lincoln”, severing his spinal cord.

Booth told the soldier, “Tell my mother I die for my country”. Unable to move his limbs, he asked a soldier to lift his hands before his face and whispered his last words as he gazed at them: “Useless … useless”. He died on the porch of the Garrett farm two hours later.

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