Assasination of Lincoln
The united States 1 6th president, the great Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 15th 1865. This Horrific act became the first assassination of any President in America’s history. What happened in Ford’s theater that night is still discussed today with conspiracy theories and unanswered questions. In such a crucial time of movement for society, we lost a leader who was taking steps for a better tomorrow.
What was made out to be a fun night watching the performance of “Our American Cousin”, quickly would turn Into one of the biggest man hunts In history, This thought out plan, was to cause the U. S government into disarray and was successfully executed. John Wilkes Booth was born on May 10th 1838, In Near Bell Air, Maryland (1). He grew up to be an American stage actor making his debut at the age of seventeen (1).
In 1859, Booth Joined the Virginia Company that aided in the capture and Execution of John Brown (1 This was truly the first shown support for slavery from Booth but later at the time of the Civil war, was a Confederate secret agent (1 Booth in 1863 actually performed in Ford’s theater while President Lincoln was in attendance (1). Eventually he decided took a break from acting In theater and organized a plan with six others to capture Lincoln (1).
The goal was to bring the President to Richmond and demand peace or the release of the confederate soldiers as ransom (1). This ultimately failed, which later grew Into the thought of an even more extreme plot for Booth. On April 9th, 1865, General Ulysses S. Grant at Appointed forced General Robert E lee to surrender (2). Two days later at the White House, Lincoln made a speech with Booth in attendance and made the suggestion that certain blacks be granted the opportunity to vote (2).
This passed off Booth to an extreme and led to him call a meeting with his co-conspirators for his second plan Each were assigned a certain duty, Booth kill Lincoln, Decorated to kill the Vice President Johnson at the Kirkwood House, and Powell and Harold to kill Secretary of State William Seward (3). Booth ultimately hoped that with these assassinations the government would be weak and the south would rise and make a comeback. President Lincoln at approximately eight thirty prime time arrived at Ford’s Theater (2).
He was only equipped with a single shot derringer and hunting knife (2). Booth arrived at a saloon close by and had a drink then made his way in around ten o’clock (4). John Parker was Lincoln bodyguard for the night and was from the Metropolitan Police Force (4). His duty that night was to protect the President and stay at his post on his chair outside the door of the State Box (4). It’s believed that Parker was vacant most of the evening and was three hours late that night by arriving chair in the small passageway outside the door (4).
Only a few minutes later did Parker leave and attend the Saloon next door for a few drinks with Lincoln Coachmen Francis P. Burke (4). It is unclear whether Parker ever came back into the theater at all that night (4). Lincoln was enjoying the play with attendance of Clara Harris and Major Henry Rotenone and his wife (4). Booth slowly made his way up to the State Box where an empty chair was unattended (4). At approximately ten fifteen, Booth opened the door and snuck up behind Lincoln in point blank range firing a shot with his Philadelphia Derringer pistol (4).
Rotenone quickly lunged towards him and was stabbed but arced Booth towards the railing which gave him the urge to Jump off (4). As he jumped the eleven feet balcony Jump his left boot snagged the flag on rail which caused an awkward landing (4). Booth broke his fibula on his left foot and shouted “Sic simper tyrannies! ” (2). The audience was unaware of the situation and at first thought it was part of the act till the first lady began to scream (4). More than a thousand people were in attendance and witnessed Booth flash his knife and flee the theater (4).
Once it became apparent to the audience something seriously had went wrong, Charles Lea who was a young doctor rushed up to President Lincoln who was hunched over struggling to breathe (4). Lincoln was paralyzed and was carried by several soldiers to a nearby house across the street from the Theater (4). Unfortunately the damage was so bad that the surgeon general who arrived later on said nothing could be done and that the President would die overnight (4). As Vice President Johnson and Lincoln closest friends sat and waiting by his side, he was pronounced dead at seven twenty two a. M (4).
With Booth escaping the Theater out the back door that night, he hoped onto a rose waiting outside and escaped the city using the Navy Yard Bridge (4). Sergeant Sills Cob was suspicious of why Booth was trying to cross the bridge so late but let him through even though it was forbidden past nine o’clock (5). Later David Harold met up with Booth after his unsuccessful attempt of killing Secretary of State Seward (5). They went to the doctors and got a splint for Booths foot along with some crutches. Rewards were beginning to be advertised for the capture of John H. Surtax, John Wilkes Booth, and David E.
Harold (2). Harold and Booth gathered weapons and supplies that were previously stored in Survivalists, and then preceded to Samuel Mud’s house who the doctor that gave Booth the splint and crutches (6). After only one day the men fled to Samuel Cox’s house until they could flee on a small boat across the Potomac River (6). They traveled until reaching a tobacco farm which was owned by Richard H. Garret on April 24th (6). Booth lied and told Garret that he was a wounded Confederate soldier and stayed until Union soldiers surrounded the Barn they were hiding in on April 26th (6).
The Soldiers warned them that they would set fire in fifteen minutes (6). Harold walked UT and surrendered but Booth shouted “l will not be taken alive” and refused to come out (6). They set fire to the barn and waited for Booth to come out who was equipped with a pistol in one hand and a rifle in the other (6). The barn began to grow very large and Booth was forced to scramble through the towards Booth which damaged Booths spinal cord entering his head and was only a inch away below the spot where Lincoln bullet entered! 6) The soldiers carried Booth to the porch where he looked at them and stated his last words “Useless.. Useless” (6). As for Powell who was still wondering around with nobody by his side, e was captured Mary Currant’s house who claimed not to know even know him (6). They both were arrested along with all the other co-conspirators. Six were trailed of the plot; Mrs.. Surtax, Powell, Decorated, and Harold were all hung on July 7, 1865 (2). As for Dry. Mud and Arnold they were given life terms in prison (2).
With this being one of the largest historic events in history, Conspiracies have begun to rise on what actually happened on April 15th 1865. The biggest question o them all was Andrew Johnson involved with the assassination of Lincoln? Only seven ours before the shooting, Booth went to the Washington Hotel where Johnson was currently staying at (7). After the clerk at the front desk told Booth that Johnson and his secretary Browning wasn’t there, Booth wrote a note (7). The note stated “Don’t wish to disturb you Are you at home? J.
Wilkes Booth. “(7). According to Brown when he was testified, he found the note later that night (7). Not only was it sketchy that Booth wrote a note to Johnson the night of the assassination, but the two already knew each other! (7) In the 1997 publication “Rig or Wrong, God Judge Me” The Writings of John Wilkes Booth, it stated they met in Nashville, 1864 (7). Also another author made the claim they’ kept a couple of sister as mistresses and oftentimes were seen in each other’s company’ in Hamilton Hoard’s Civil War Echoes (1907 (7).
Not only were these accusations interesting, buy Ms. Lincoln even thought Johnson had something to do with the assassination of he husband (7). She wrote a letter to her friend Sally Erne in 1866 stating, “… That, that miserable inebriate Johnson, had cognizance of my husband’s death – Why, was that card of Booth’s, found in his box, some acquaintance certainly existed – I have been feely impressed, with the harrowing thought, that he, had an understanding with the conspirators & they knew their man…
As sure, as you & I live, Johnson had some hand, in all this… ” (7). After Johnson embarrassed himself at the Inauguration Day it was known that Lincoln ignored Johnson (7). Johnson even owned slaves throughout his life was this his way of helping the confederates secretly? Members of Congress agreed with Lincoln in the sense of Johnson having a part of this tragic plot (7). A special Assassination Committee was established to investigate Johnson but they never mound any suspicious evidence (7).
We will never truly know if Johnson did partake this execution with Booth. The next big question is why John Parker was not protecting the door where Boot entered. With Lincoln being at that theater twelve different times, it’s known by historians that he had little to no protection ever (8). Some historians believe he told Parker to leave his post and go find a seat to watch and enjoy the play (8). Lincoln never was cautious about his personal safety but Parker on the other hand was known for slacking on the Job (8). What’s interesting is that Ms.
Lincoln actually got placed with Parker as her bodyguard after the assassination before he got fired (8). She yelled at him stating “So you are on guard tonight – on guard in the White House What happened in Ford’s theater that night may never be fully understood. This event made John Booth the first person to ever assassinate a United States President. Lincoln was one of the most influential presidents still in today’s history and the mystery will always continue. As for America, Johnson took over president and Justice was done to those who were knowingly apart of this plot on the president.