In April 14, 1865, at approximately 10:20 p.m., John Wilkes Booth, a prominent American actor, snuck up behind President Abraham Lincoln as he watched a play at Ford’s Theater, and shot him in the back of the head at point-blank range. The President was carried across the street to a private home where he died early the following morning. Booth, pursued by Union soldiers for twelve days through southern Maryland and Virginia, died of a gunshot wound on April 26 after refusing to surrender to Federal troops.
The murder of President Lincoln was part of a larger conspiracy that included a simultaneous attack on Secretary of State William H. Seward and the possible targeting of Vice President Andrew Johnson. Assuming the Presidency after Lincoln’s death, President Johnson considered the crime a military one, and he ordered that the eight accused conspirators be tried before a military commission. Dr. Robert King Stone, the Lincoln family physician, was one of 350 witnesses who testified during the course of the proceedings. His testimony is shown here courtesy of the National Archives.
Statement of Dr. Robert King Stone, President Lincoln’s family physician, May 16, 1865, -- “I was sent for by Mrs. Lincoln immediately after the assassination. I arrived there in a very few moments. . . . [I] found that the President had been removed from the theatre to the house of a gentleman living directly opposite the theatre, had been carried into the back room of the residence, and was there placed upon a bed. I found a number of gentlemen, citizens, around him. . . .” courtesy of the National Archives.
Statement of Dr. Robert King Stone, President Lincoln’s family physician, May 16, 1865, -- “I proceeded then to examine him, and instantly found that the President had received a gun shot wound in the back part of the left side of his head, into which I carried immediately my finger. I at once informed those around that the case was a hopeless one; that the President would die; that there was no positive limit to the duration of his life, that his vital tenacity was very strong, and he would resist as long as any man could, but that death certainly would soon close the scene.” - courtesy of the National Archives.
Statement of Dr. Robert King Stone, President Lincoln’s family physician, May 16, 1865, -- “I remained with him doing whatever was in my power, assisted by my friends, to aid him, but of course, nothing could be done, and he died the next morning at about half past seven o’clock. . . .” - courtesy of the National Archives.
New York Times Articles
President Lincoln Shot by an Assassin.; The Deed Done at Ford's Theatre Last Night. THE ACT OF A DESPERATE REBEL The President Still Alive at Last Accounts. No Hopes Entertained of His Recovery. Attempted Assassination of Secretary Seward. DETAILS OF THE DREADFUL TRAGEDY.
Mew York Times: April 15, 1865
WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, April 15 -- 1:30 A.M.
This evening at about 9:30 P.M., at Ford's Theatre, the President, while sitting in his private box with Mrs. LINCOLN, Mrs. HARRIS, and Major RATHBURN, was shot by as assassin, who suddenly entered the box and approached behind the President.
The assassin then leaped upon the stage, brandishing a large dagger or knife, and made his escape in the rear of the theatre.
The pistoi ball entered the back of the President's head and penetrated nearly through the head. The wound is mortal. The President has been insensible ever since it was inflicted, and is now dying.
About the same hour an assassin, whether the same or not, entered Mr. SEWARD's apartments, and under the pretence of having a prescription, was shown to the Secretary's sick chamber. The assassin immediately rushed to the bed, and inflicted two or three stabs on the throat and two on the face. It is hoped the wounds may not be mortal. My apprehension is that they will prove fatal.
The nurse alarmed Mr. FREDERICK SEWARD, who was in an adjoining room, and hastened to the door of his father's room, when he met the assasin, who inflicted upon him one or more dangerous wounds. The recovery of FREDERICK SEWARD is doubtful.
It is not probable that the President will live throughout the night.
Gen. GRANT and wife were advertised to be at the theatre this evening, but he started to Burlington at 6 o'clock this evening.
At a Cabinet meeting at which Gen. GRANT was present, the subject of the state of the country and the prospect of a speedy peace was discussed. The President was very cheerful and hopeful, and spoke very kindly of Gen. LEE and others of the Confederacy, and of the establishment of government in Virginia.
All the members of the Cabinet except Mr. SEWARD, are now in attendance upon the President.
I have seen Mr. SEWARD, but he and FREDERICK were both unconscious.
EDWlN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
OUR LATE PRESIDENT.; The Last Hours of President Lincoln. Another Account of Mr. Lincoln's Death by an Eye-Witness.
New-York Times - April 21, 1865
WASHINGTON, Saturday, April 15, 1865.
As every incident of the death-scene of our nation's second Father -- ABRAHAM LINCOLN -- must take its position in the world's history, the following facts, which we have not yet seen in print, may prove interesting.
The time at which the dying President was removed from the theatre to the house in which he breathed his last, has been variously stated. The conflict of passion and sorrow in the public heart -- the tumult of agonizing hopes in the minds of all, created such confusion as to make each account vary with the individual. None of the local papers agree as to the time of death or the period, after the firing of the fatal shot, at which Mr. LINCOLN was carried from the theatre to the house of Mr. PETERSON, where he breathed his last. However, we are here enabled to give the exact details of that illustrious death-bed, about which the hearts of the whole loyal people of our country were assembled, though only in spirit.
As to the time at which the President was conveyed to Mr. PETERSON's house, the testimony of members of the family is perhaps the best guide, and they agree in saying that it could not have been more than twenty minutes after the shooting at the theatre.
is quite plain, but a very neat one, on Tenth-street, directly opposite the theatre. It is a three-story brick, of rather a dingy hue, like most of the Washington brick houses, and has sand-stone cappings to the door and windows. It is approached by a flight of six or eight steps, which run up sideways, bordered by a black iron-railing. The front door opens into a hall, at the end of which is a staircase in the Philadelphia style -- the hall being continued on past the stairs at about half its former width, until it is met by the door of the bedroom in which the President died, and which is, consequently, on the first, or ground floor.
which must forever remain historic, is a small room, some nine feet wide by fifteen feet in length, and its walls are covered with a rather gloomy paper -- being brown scroll work upon a white back ground, -- and are adorned with numerous photographic copies of celebrated paintings and some engravings. The room runs east and west, and its furniture, though plain, is substantial. It consisted on the fatal night of the murder, of a small table, covered with articles of vertu, and upon which rests a fine bronze box; a bureau, covered with a white knit tidy; a smaller table; an antique cane-bottom rocking-chair; and the bedstead upon which the most beloved of our President's, since WASHINGTON, gave up his life's breath. This last is a black walnut frame bedstead, with low head and foot boards, (if they can be so-called,) composed of turned uprights, and open. It had been moved from its original position in the east corner of the room to its present position, opposite a window and a gas bracket, so as to give the illustrious sufferer both light and air. The smallness of the room, and the number of personal friends present, made this every way desirable, and the window was consequently kept open most of the time.
Directly over the bed hung a fine engraving of Haydon's Village Blacksmith, some three feet by four in size, and framed in black walnut, edged with a narrow gift moulding. To the right and left of this hung smaller photographic copies of French engravings of a rural character -- the one presenting a barnyard scene, the other an interior. The bed stood at the right hand side of the room as one entered, and near the west end of the room, and moved out from the wall; having, as we have said, been changed from its original position so as to be opposite the window. By this arrangement there was left a space by the side of the bed but some three or four feet in width, the room being very narrow.
To the left of the foot of the bed is a glazed door, leading into a smaller room, and covered with a lace curtain. The remainder of the same floor was occupied by the two parlors, which opened out into the hall. In the front one, toward the last, was Mrs. LINCOLN, completely worn out by agony and sorrow, with some few personal friends. The back one was for the time occupied by the short-hand reporter, Mr. JAS. TANNER, who was engaged with laudable promptness, in taking the evidence of the fearful crime: the witnesses, and Secretary STANTON, Chief Justice CHASE, and others.
Secretary STANTON was thus occupied principally in giving directions for the arrest of the fugitive assassin, and sifting the testimony, until a short time before the President's death; and in every respect exhibited that wonderful strength of mind and deep-searching character of the man.
"What is the state of the river?" "Let patrols be stationed at such and such points." Thus order after order issued from him, prefaced by his direction to Gen. AUGUR to issue a hand-bill, offering $10,000 for the apprehension of the assassin or assassins, and each showed the remarkable foresight and determination for which he is noted.
But the last moments of ABRAHAM LINCOLN were drawing to a close, and about half an hour before he died Mr. STANTON was summoned to the bedside of his friend and chief.
OUR GREAT LOSS; The Assassination of President Lincoln.DETAILS OF THE FEARFUL CRIME.Closing Moments and Death of the President.Probable Recovery of Secretary Seward. Rumors of the Arrest of the Assassins.The Funeral of President Lincoln to Take Place Next Wednesday.Expressions of Deep Sorrow Through-out the Land. OFFICIAL DISPATCHES. THE ASSASSINATION. Further Details of the Murder Narrow Recape of Secretary Stanton Measures Taken is Prevent the Escape of the Assassin of the President. LAST MOMENTS OF THE PRESIDENT. Interesting Letter from Maunsell B. Field Esq. THE GREAT CALAMITY.
WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, April 15 -- 4:10 A.M.
To Major-Gen. Dix:
The President continues insensible and is sinking.
Secretary SEWARD remains without change.
FREDERICK SEWARD's skull is fractured in two places, besides a severe cut upon the head.
The attendant is still alive, but hopeless. Maj. SEWARD's wound is not dangerous.
It is now ascertained with reasonable certainty that two assassins were engaged in the horrible crime, WILKES BOOTH being the one that shot the President, and the other, a companion of his, whose name is not known, but whose description is so clear that he can hardly escape. It appears from a letter found in BOOTH's trunk that the murder was planned before the 4th of March, but fell through then because the accomplice backed out until "Richmond could be heard from." BOOTH and his accomplice were at the livery stable at 6 o'clock last evening, and left there with their horses about 10 o'clock, or shortly before that hour.
It would seem that they had for several days been seeking their chance, but for some unknown reason it was not carried into effect until last night.
One of them has evidently made his way to Baltimore -- the other has not yet been traced.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, April 15.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN died this morning at twenty-two minutes after seven o'clock.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, April 15 -- 3 P.M.
Maj.-Gen. Dix, New-York:
Official notice of the death of the late President ABRAHAM LINCOLN, was given by the heads of departments this morning to ANDREW JOHNSON, Vice-President, upon whom the constitution devolved the office of President. Mr. JOHNSON, upon receiving this notice, appeared before the Hon. SALMON P. CHASE, Chief-Justice of the United States, and took the oath of office, as President of the United States, assumed its duties and functions. At 12 o'clock the President met the heads of departments in cabinet meeting, at the Treasury Building, and among other business the following was transacted:
First -- The arrangements for the funeral of the late President were referred to the several Secretaries, as far as relates to their respective departments.
Second -- WILLIAM HUNTER, Esq., was appointed Acting Secretary of State during the disability of Mr. SEWARD, and his son. FREDERICK SEWARD, the Assistant Secretary.
Third -- The President formally announced that he desired to retain the present Secretaries of departments of his Cabinet, and they would go on and discharge their respective duties in the same manner as before the deplorable event that had changed the head of the government.
All business in the departments was suspended during the day.
The surgeons report that the condition of Mr. SEWARD remains unchanged. He is doing well.
No improvement in Mr. FREDERICK SEWARD.
The murderers have not yet been apprehended.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
WASHINGTON, Saturday, April 15.
The assassin of President LINCOLN left behind him his hat and a spur.
The hat was picked up in the President's box, and has been identified by parties to whom it has been shown at the one belonging to the suspected man, and accurately described as the one belonging to the suspected man by other parties, not allowed to see it before describing it.
The spur was dropped upon the stage, and that also has been identified as the one procured at a stable where the same man hired a horse in the evening.
Two gentlemen, who went to the Secretary of War to apprize him of the attack on Mr. LINCOLN, met at the residence of the former a man muffled in a cloak, who, when accested by them, hastened away.
It had been Mr. STANTON's intention to accompany Mr. LINCOLN to the theatre, and occupy the same box, but the press of business prevented.
It therefore seems evident that the aim of the plotters was to paralyze the country by at once striking down the head, the heart and the arm of the country.
As soon as the dreadful events were announced in the streets, Superintendent RICHARDS, and his assistants, were at work to discover the assassin.
In a few moments the telegraph had aroused the whole police force of the city.
Mayor WALLACH and several members of the City Government were soon on the spot, and every precaution was taken to preserve order and quiet in the city.
Every street in Washington was patroled at the request of Mr. RICHARDS.
Gen. AUGER sent horses to mount the police.
Every road leading out of Washington was strongly picketed, and every possible avenue of escape was thoroughly guarded.
Steamboats about to depart down the Potomac were stopped.
|The "Old Nashville." The locomotive pulled the funeral train of President Abraham Lincoln from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, Illinois. - Author unknown|
The Daily Chronicle says:
"As it is suspected that this conspiracy originated in Maryland, the telegraph flashed the mournful news to Baltimore, and all the cavalry was immediately put upon active duty. Every road was picketed and every precaution taken to prevent the escape of the assassin. A preliminary examination was made by Messrs. RICHARDS and his assistants. Several persons were called to testify and the evidence as elicited before an informal tribunal, and not under oath, was conclusive to this point. The murderer of President LINCOLN was JOHN WILKES BOOTH. His hat was found in the private box, and identified by several persons who had seen him within the last two days, and the spur which he dropped by accident, after he jumped to the stage, was identified as one of those which he had obtained from the stable where he hired his horse.
This man BOOTH has played more than once at Ford's Theatre, and is, of course, acquainted with its exits and entrances, and the facility with which he escaped behind the scenes is well understood.
The person who assassinated Secretary SEWARD left behind him a slouched hat and an old rusty navy revolver. The chambers were broken loose from the barrel, as if done by striking. The loads were drawn from the chambers, one being but a rough piece of lead, and the other balls smaller than the chambers, wrapped in paper, as if to keep them from falling out.
On Friday evening, April 14, 1865, I was reading the evening paper in the reading-room of Willard's Hotel, at about 10 1/2 o'clock, when I was startled by the report that an attempt had been made a few minutes before to assassinate the President at Ford's Theatre. At first I could scarcely credit it, but in a few minutes the statement was confirmed by a number of people who came in separately, all telling the same story. About fifteen minutes previously I had parted with Mr. MELLER, of the Treasury Department, and he had retired to his room. Immediately on receiving this intelligence I notified him of it, and we together proceeded to the scene of the alleged assassination. We found not only considerable crowds on the streets leading to the theatre, but a very large one in front of the theatre, and of the house directly opposite, where the President had been carried after the attempt upon his life. With some difficulty I obtained ingress to the house. I was at once informed by Miss HARRIS, daughter of Senator HARRIS, that the President was dying, which statement was confirmed by three or four other persons whom I met in the hall; but I was desired not to communicate his condition to Mrs. LINCOLN, who was in the front parlor. I went into this parlor, where I found Mrs. LINCOLN, no other lady being present, except Miss HARRIS, as already mentioned. She at once recognized me, and begged me to run for Dr. STONE, or some other medical man. She was not weeping, but appeared hysterical, and exclaimed in rapid succession, over and over again: "Oh! why didn't he kill me? why didn't he kill me?" I was starting from the house to go for Dr. STONE, when I met at the door, Major ECKERT, of the War Department, who informed me he was going directly to STONE's house, STONE having already been sent for, but not having yet arrived. I then determined to go for Dr. HALL, whose precise residence I did not know. Upon inquiring of the crowd, I was told it was over FRANK TAYLOR's bookstore, on the avenue. This proved to be a mistake, and I was compelled to return to his actual residence on the avenue, above Ninth-street. I found the doctor at home and dressed, and he at once consented to accompany me. Arrived in the neighborhood of the house. I had great difficulty in passing the guard, and only succeeded at last in having the doctor introduced, admission being refused to myself. I returned to Willard's, it now being about 2 o'clock in the morning, and remained there until between 3 and 4 o'clock, when I again went to the house where the President was lying, in company with Mr. ANDREWS, late Surveyor of the port of New-York. I obtained ingress this time without any difficulty, and was enabled to take Mr. ANDREWS in with me. I proceeded at once to the room in which the President was lying, which was a bedroom in an extension, on the first or parlor floor of the house. The room is small, and is ornamented with prints -- a very familiar one of LANDSEER's, a white horse, being prominent directly over the bed. The bed was a double one, and I found the President lying diagonally across it, with his head at the outside. The pillows were saturated with blood, and there was considerable blood upon the floor immediately under him. There was a patchwork coverlet thrown over the President, which was only so far removed, from time to time, as to enable the physicians in attendance to feel the arteries of the neck or the heart, and be appeared to have been divested of all clothing. His eyes were closed and injected with blood, both the lids and the portion surrounding the eyes being as black as if they had been bruised by violence. He was breathing regularly, but with effort, and did not seem to be struggling or suffering.
The persons present in the room were the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, the Postmaster-General, the Attorney-General, the Secretary of the Treasury, (who, however, remained only till about 5 o'clock,) the Secretary of the Interior, the Assistant-Secretary of the Interior, myself, Gen. AUGER, Geo. HALLECK, Gen. MEIGS, and, during the last moments, Capt. ROBERT LINCOLN and Maj. JOHN HAY. On the foot of the bed sat Dr. STONE; above him, and directly opposite the President's face, an army surgeon, to me a stranger; another army surgeon was standing, frequently holding the pulse, and another gentleman, not in uniform, but whom I understood to be also an army surgeon, stood a good deal of the time leaning over the head-board of the bed.
For several hours the breathing above described continued regularly, and apparently without pain or consciousness. But about 7 o'clock a change occurred, and the breathing, which had been continuous, was interrupted at intervals. These intervals became more frequent and of longer duration, and the breathing more feeble. Several times the interval was so long that we thought him dead, and the surgeon applied his finger to the pulse, evidently to ascertain if such was the fact. But it was not till 22 minutes past 7 o'clock in the morning that the flame flickered out. There was no apparent suffering, no convulsive action, no rattling of the throat, none of the ordinary premonitory symptoms of death. Death in this case was a mere cessation of breathing.
The fact had not been ascertained one minute when Dr. GURLEY offered up a prayer. The few persons in the room were all profoundly effected. The President's eyes after death were not, particularly the right one, entirely closed. I closed them myself with my fingers, and one the surgeons brought pennies and placed them on the eyes, and subsequently substituted for them silver half-dollars. In a very short time the jaw commenced slightly falling, although the body was still warm. I called attention to this, and had it immediately tied up with a pocket handkerchief. The expression immediately after death was purely negative, but in fifteen minutes here came over the mouth, the nostrils, and the chin, a smile that seemed almost an effort of life. I had never seen upon the President's face an expression more genial and pleasing. The body grew cold very gradually, and I left the room before it had entirely stiffened. Curtains had been previously drawn down by the Secretary of War.
Immediately after the decease, a meeting was held of the members of the Cabinet present, in the back parlor, adjacent to the room in which the President died, to which meeting I, of course, was not admitted. About fifteen minutes before the decease, Mrs. LINCOLN came into the room, and threw herself upon her dying husband's body. She was allowed to remain there only a few minutes, when she was removed in a sobbing condition, in which, indeed, she had been during all the time she was present.
After completing his prayer in the chamber of death. Dr. GURLEY went into the front parlor, where Mrs. LINCOLN was, with Mrs. and Miss KINNEY and her son ROBERT, Gen. TODD, of Dacotah, (a cousin of hers,) and Gen. FARNSWORTH, of Illinois. Here another prayer was offered up, during which I remained in the hall. The prayer was continually interrupted by Mrs. LINCOLN's sobs. Soon after its conclusion, I went into the parlor, and found her in a chair, supported by her son ROBERT. Presently her carriage came up, and she was removed to it. She was in a state of tolerable composure at that time, until she reached the door, when, glancing at the theatre opposite, she repeated three or four times: "That dreadful house! -- that dreadful house!"
Before I myself left, a guard had been stationed at the door of the room in which the remains of the late President were lying. Mrs. LINCOLN had been communicated with, to ascertain whether she desired the body to be embalmed or not, and the Secretary of War had issued various orders, necessary in consequence of what had occurred.
I left the house about 8:30 o'clock in the morning, and shortly after met Mr. Chief Justice CHASE, on his way there. He was extremely agitated, as, indeed, I myself had been all through the night. I afterward learned that, at the Cabinet meeting referred to, the Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney-General were appointed a committee to wait on the Vice-President, which they did, and he was sworn into office early in the morning by the Chief-Justice.
MAUNSELL B. FIELD.
WASHINGTON, April 16.
The corpse of the late President has been laid out in the room known as the "guests' room," northwest wing of the White House. It is dressed in the suit of black clothes worn by him at his late Inauguration. A placid smile rests upon his features, and the deceased seems to be in a calm sleep. White flowers have been placed upon the pillow and over the breast.
The corpse of the President will be laid out in state in the east room on Tuesday, in order to give the public an opportunity to see once more the features of him they loved so well. The preparations are being made, to that end, under the supervision of the upholsterer. The catafalque upon which the body will rest is to be placed in the south part of the east room, and is somewhat similar in style to that used on the occasion of the death of President HARRISON. Steps will be placed at the side to enable the public to mount to a position to get a perfect view of the face. The catafalque will be lined with fluted white satin, and on the outside it will be covered with black cloth and black velvet.
The funeral of President LINCOLN will take place on Wednesday next. Rev. Dr. GURLEY, of the New-York-avenue Presbyterian Church, where the President and his family have been accustomed to worship, will doubtless be the officiating clergyman.
The remains will be temporarily deposited in the vault of the Congressional Cemetery, and hereafter taken to Mr. LINCOLN's home at Springfield, Illinois.
THE FUNERAL CAR.
The funeral car, which is being prepared for the occasion, is to be a magnificent affair. It is to be built on a hearse body. Its extreme length will be fourteen feet. The body of the car will be covered, with black cloth, from which will hang large festoons of cloth on the sides and ends, gathered and fastened by large rosettes of white and black satin over bows of white and black velvet. The bed of the car, on which the coffin will rest, will be eight feet from the ground, in order to give a full view of the coffin; and over this will rise a canopy, the support of which will be draped with black cloth and velvet. The top of the car will be decorated with plumes. The car will be drawn by six or eight horses, each led by a groom.
BOOTH NOT ARRESTED.
Up to this time it has not been ascertained that the assassin of the President has been captured.
THE PRESIDENT'S PLACE OF WORSHIP.
This morning, at the New-York-avenue Presbyterian Church, which Mr. LINCOLN formerly attended, a large crowd of persons assembled in anticipation that the pastor, Rev. P.D. GURLEY, D.D., would make some allusion to the nation's great calamity. The pulpit and the choir, and the President's pew were draped in mourning.
THE ASSASSINATION A CONSPIRACY.
The Extra Star has the following:
"Developments have been made within the past twenty-four hours, showing conclusively the existence of a deep laid plot of a gang of conspirators, including members of the order of the Knights of the Golden Circle, to murder President LINCOLN and his Cabinet. We have reason to believe that Secretary SEWARD received, several months since, an intimation from Europe that something of a very desperate character was to transpire at Washington; and it is more than probable that the intimation had reference to the plot of assassination.
|Original 1865 albumen carte-de-visite by Mathew Brady of the military commission for the trial of Abraham Lincoln conspirators. Photo shows judges John A. Bingham, Joseph Hold and Colonel Henry Burnett.|
The pickets encircling this city on Friday night, to prevent the escape of the parties who murdered President LINCOLN and attempted the assassination of Secretary SEWARD and his sons, were fired upon at several points by concealed foes. Arrests of the parties charged with the offence will be promptly made.
It was ascertained some weeks ago, from personal friends of the late President, that he had received several private letters warning him that an attempt would probably be made upon his life. But to this be did not seem to attach much, if any, importance. It has always been thought that he was not sufficiently careful of his individual safety on his last visit to Virginia.
It is known that on frequent occasions he would start from the Executive mansion for his Summer country residence at the Soldier's Home without the cavalry escort, which often hurried and overtook him before he had proceeded far. It has always been understood that the escort was accepted by him only on the importunity of his friends as a matter of precaution.
The President before retiring to bed, would, when important military events were progressing, visit the War Department, generally alone, passing over the dark intervening ground, even at late hours, on repeated occasions; and after the warning letters had been received, several close and intimate friends armed for any emergency were careful that he should not continue his visits without their company. For himself, the President seemed to have no fears.
The above facts have heretofore been known to the writer of this telegram, but for prudential reasons, he has not stated them until now.
THE LAST HOURS OF THE PRESIDENT.
As everything pertaining to the last hours of the late President must be interesting to the public, the following incidents of the last day of his life have been obtained from several sources.
His son, Capt. LINCOLN, breakfasted with him on Friday morning, having just returned from the capitulation of LEE, and the President passed a happy hour listening to all the details. While at breakfast he heard that Speaker COLFAX was in the house, and sent word that he wished to see him immediately in the reception room. He conversed with him nearly an hour about his future policy as to the rebellion, which he was about to submit to the Cabinet. Afterwards he had an interview with Mr. HALE, Minister to Spain, and several Senators and Representatives.
At 11 o'clock the Cabinet and Gen. GRANT met with him, and in one of the most satisfactory and important Cabinet meetings held since his first inauguration, the future policy of the Administration was harmoniously and unanimously agreed on. When it adjourned Secretary STANTON said he felt that the government was stronger than at any previous period since the rebellion commenced.
In the afternoon the President had a long and pleasant interview with Gen. OGLESBY, Senator YATES, and other leading citizens of his State.
In the evening Mr. COLFAX called again, at his request, and Mr. ASHMUN, of Massachusetts, who presided over the Chicago Convention of 1860, was present. To them he spoke of his visit to Richmond; and when they stated that there was much uneasiness at the North while he was at the rebel capital, for fear that some traitor might shoot him, he replied jocularly that he would have been alarmed himself if any other person had been President and gone there, but that he did not feel any danger whatever. Conversing on a matter of business with Mr. ASHMUN, he made a remark that he saw Mr. ASHMUN was surprised at; and immediately with his well-known kindness of heart said, "You did not understand me, ASHMUN, I did not mean what you inferred, and I will take it all back and apologize for it." He afterward gave Mr. ASHMUN a card to admit himself and friend early the next morning, to converse further about it.
Turning to Mr. COLFAX he said: "You are going with Mrs. LINCOLN and me to the theatre, I hope." But Mr. COLFAX had other engagements, expecting to leave the city the next morning.
He then said to Mr. COLFAX, "Mr. SUMNER has the gavel of the Confederate Congress, which he got at Richmond, to hand to the Secretary of War. But I insisted then that he must give it to you; and you tell him for me to hand it over." Mr. ASHMUN alluded to the gavel which he still had, and which he had used at the Chicago Convention, and the President and Mrs. LINCOLN, who was also in the parlor, rose to go to the theatre. It was half an hour after the time they had intended to start, and they spoke about waiting half an hour longer, for the President went with reluctance, as Gen. GRANT had gone North, and he did not wish the people to be disappointed, as they had both been advertised to be there. At the door he stopped, and said: "COLFAX, do not forget to tell the people in the mining region as you pass through them, what I told you this morning about the development, when peace comes, and I will telegraph you at San Francisco." He shook hands with both gentlemen with a pleasant good-bye, and left the Executive Mansion, never to return to it alive.
The President and Cabinet, at the meeting, to-day, intrusted to Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, HARRINGTON, the general arrangement of the programme for the funeral of the late President. Maj. FRENCH, the Commissioner of Public Buildings, will attend to the carrying out of so much of it as directly appertains to the corpse, and Maj.-Gen. AUGUR, in charge of the defences of Washington, will be in charge of the military part of the procession. Assistant Secretary HARRINGTON has been in consultation, to-night, relative to the arrangements, with Gov. OGLESBY, Senator YATES and Ex-Representative ARNOLD, of Illinois, and Gens. GRANT, HALLECK and AUGER and Admirals FARRAGUT and SHUBRICK.
The funeral ceremonies of the late President will take place on Wednesday. The time for the remains to leave the city, as well as the route by which they will be taken to Springfield, is as yet undetermined. The procession will form at 11 o'clock, and the religious services will commence at noon, at which hour throughout the whole land, the various religious societies have been requested to assemble in their respective places of worship for prayer. The procession will move at 2 P.M. Details will be made known as soon as perfected.
|Lincoln's funeral procession on Pennsylvania Avenue on April 19, 1865. Lincoln was being moved from the White House to the Capitol rotunda. Photo is attributed to Alexander Gardner|
The acting Secretary of State has issued the following address:
To the People of the United States:
The undersigned is directed to announce that the funeral ceremonies of the lamented Chief Magistrate will take place at the Executive Mansion, in this city, at 12 o'clock noon on Wednesday, the 19th instant.
The various religious denominations throughout the country are invited to meet in their respective places of worship at that hour for the purpose of solemnizing the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.
(Signed) W. HUNTER,
Acting Secretary of State.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON, April 17, 1865.
WASHINGTON, Saturday, April 15.
To-day, Surgeon General BARNES, Dr. STONE, the late President's family physician; Drs. CRANE, CURTIS, WOODWARD, TOFT and other eminent medical men, performed an autopsy on the body of the President.
The external appearance of the face was that of a deep black stain about both eyes. Otherwise the face was very natural.
The wound was on the left side of the head behind, on a line with and three inches from the left ear.
The course of the ball was obliquely forward, toward the right eye, crossing the brain obliquely a few inches behind the eye, where the ball lodged.
In the track of the wound were found fragments of bone which had been driven forward by the ball.
The ball was found imbedded in the anterior lobe of the west hemisphere of the brain.
The orbit plates of both eyes were the seat of comminuted fracture, and the orbits of the eyes were filled with extravasated blood.
The serious injury to the orbit plates was due to the centre coup, the result of the intense shock of so large a projectile fired so closely to the head.
The ball was evidently a derringer, hand cast, and from which the neck had been clipped.
A shaving of lead had been removed from the ball in its passage of the bones of the skull, and was found in the orifice of the wound. The first fragment of bone was found two and a half inches within the brain; the second and a larger fragment about four inches from the orifice. The ball lay still further in advance. The wound was half an inch in diameter.
A silver plate upon the coffin over the breast bears the following inscription:
SIXTEENTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
Born July 12, 1809.
Died April 15, 1865.
The remains have been embalmed.
A few locks of hair were removed from the President's head for the family previous to the remains being placed in the coffin.
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