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It is Friday, April 14, 1865. It is also Good Friday.


Washington is buzzing about the Lincoln’s attending Ford’s Theater. The Lincolns guests were to be General and Mrs. Grant, but Julia Grant and a great dislike for Mary Lincoln so Julia convinced her husband no to go with the Lincolns. The Grant’s then made a last minute train trip to Philadelphia.


It their place Mr. Lincoln had Major Henry Rathbone and fiancee, Clara Harris.


The party arrived late as the play had already started.  The band leader saw the President and he started playing “Hail to the Chief”. The party settled into their chairs.


President Lincoln acknowledged the band and the crowd and motioned to the players to start the show. 


Mr. Lincoln was heard laughing, something he had not done much of during the war. President Lincoln and Mary were holding hands and enjoying the play. Mary whispered to her husband, “What would  Miss Harris think of my hanging on to you so?” 


The president said, “She will think nothing of it.”


These were the last words to be spoken by President Lincoln.


It was about 10:15 p.m. when John Parker was assigned to be Lincoln’s body guard. Parker left his post to better see the play, then at intermission went to a tavern. This allowed deranged southern sympathizer John Wilkes Booth access to the president. 

As Booth went through the door to the box where President Lincoln he barred that door. Booth creeped up behind  Lincoln and fired a .44 derringer ball in the back of Lincoln’s head. The ball entered behind Lincoln’s left ear lodging behind his right eye. President Lincoln fell forward and Mary caught him and began screaming.


Major Rathbone tried to prevent Booth from escaping.  Booth stabbed Major Rathbone cutting his left arm form his shoulder to the elbow.  Booth tried to jump from the Presidential box, catching his riding spur on the Treasury flag causing him to land awkwardly, breaking his left fibula above his ankle. 


Booth got to his feet. He was holding his bloody knife above his head shouting “Sic Semper Traynnis,” the motto of Virginia which translates to “Thus always To Tyrants.” Some witnesses swore they heard Booth shout “Virginia is avenged.”


A young army surgeon, Charles Leale, examined Lincoln finding the wound in the skull of the President, and declared the wound to be a mortal wound. “It will be impossible for Lincoln to recover form this wound,” he said.


President Lincoln was carried across the street to the Petersen boarding house. He was placed on a bed on the first floor. Due to height he was placed diagonally on the bed, and the death watch began.


At 7:22 and 10 seconds in the morning, Abraham Lincoln died. A prayer was said.
The Secretary Edwin M. Stanton saluted and said, “Now he belongs to the ages.”




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