This month marks the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. He was shot on April 14 around 10 o’clock at night while attending a play at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC.
The assassin, actor John Wilkes Booth, entered the Lincolns’ box and shot the president in the back of the head before jumping over the railing and down onto the stage. A fanatic for the Confederate cause, Booth exclaimed “Sic semper tyrannis” (Thus always to tyrants), the Virginia state motto, before escaping the theater.
The comatose President Lincoln was taken to a bedroom of a boardinghouse across the street, where he was attended by various doctors and visited by his wife and his son, Robert, as well as by various friends and political acquaintances. Lincoln, who never regained consciousness, died nine hours after being shot, at 7:22 in the morning.
About the same time as Lincoln’s assassination, one of Booth’s co-conspirators made an attempt on Secretary of State William Seward‘s life. Though gravely wounded, Seward would survive (though some newspapers initially reported him dead). Vice President Andrew Johnson was also an intended target, but his would-be assassin lost his nerve and did not attack. The final target was allegedly Ulysses S. Grant, though no successful attempt was made on his life.
You can find a wide variety of articles about Lincoln’s assassination on Newspapers.com. For an overview of the events of the night of the 14th, try reading this account from the New York Times, written the day after, which gives a fairly in depth look at the assassination. For even more detail on Lincoln’s last moments, read this column, from the Junction City Weekly Union, which documents Lincoln’s deteriorating condition throughout his final night. If you’re more interested in the nation’s response to the assassination, this article from the Daily Milwaukee News excerpts reactions from across the country (as well as Canada).
The assassination also provoked countless editorials and opinion pieces. Two editorials that provide an interesting contrast of opinions are this one, from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and this one from the New Berne Times; the two take different stances on whether or not the country should continue to work for the conciliatory peace that Lincoln had favored. Another interesting opinion piece is this one from the Wilmington Herald, which ponders how Lincoln’s death may affect the South’s reentry into the Union.
Interested in learning more about Lincoln’s assassination and the aftermath? Search for these topics on Newspapers.com. Or check out the Lincoln Assassination Papers over on Fold3.
6 thoughts on “Find: Lincoln’s Assassination”
The Newseum in Washington DC has an excellent exhibit on news coverage of the assassination.
Where is the Newseum located in Washington? Is it in the Mall ?That is interesting to know.
For those who are interested in “More of the Story” . The Mudd Historical Society in Bryantown, Charles County, Maryland maintains the original house of Dr. Samuel Mudd. They have a “Traditional Christmas” at the home in December with Military encampments on the grounds. Feels like a day “back in time” and is even occasionally blessed by mother nature with a dusting of snow in the air.
Also “The Surrat’s House”, 9001 Woodyard Road, Clinton, Maryland, has tours of the area that include the route that John Wilkes Booth traveled after he shot Abraham Lincoln.
Alot of American History in this area and there are still alot of unknowns. Several opinions on the entire event are still stirring the pot, and some of these opinions are based on “how investigation occured in that time” versus “investigation in a more current time frame”.
Very interesting “True Story”. Can provide alot of educational discussion about the daily lives of the people at that time and the History of the assination of a president.
Here is an unknown incident from the assassination and subsequent pursuit of John Wilkes Booth:
too many comments about a few people with many people not known or recognised in any way, in both the war of independence and the civil war. I have one very interesting war of independence story from investigating my family history. Keith Dawson,Toowoomba, Australia.
My family genealogy has me related to Abraham Lincoln..its only by marriage…Mary Todd’s sister married my ancestor..
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